When you neglect anything for a while, it’s hard to get back to it. Practice, practice daily and it works better. So here I am…showing up on the page. I love to write, but I’ve been so down on my ability to do anything. At the last meditation retreat I did in Maui, after fifteen years, I figured out the reason I keep at zen practice. Believe me, it’s not an easy one in any way. That was a good thing.

I’ve been reading a lot. Well, actually, I’ve been listening to books a lot. I almost gave up reading because I had such difficulty concentrating. I still do, but listening to audio books has made it easier. The experience is definitely different. I listened to Pico Iyer’s The Lady and the Monk. Mostly I enjoyed going through Kyoto with him. After that, I had to get the book because reading the words makes the images more vivid for me. I just finished Lit by Mary Karr which is well written. I found it hard to get through some of the bad stuff she experienced, but the insights were wonderful. Now I’m listening to Michael Pollan’s A Place of My Own. He narrates it as did Mary Karr and Patti Smith and I love listening to the author read their own work. Ted Kooser reading his memoir, Local Wonders: Seasons in the Bohemian Alps, was one of my favorites. I know, my choice of reading material is all over the place. Anyway, being in touch with the books made me want to practice writing again. So here I am.

Another practice, I’m trying my hand at is drawing and painting. I’ll try anything. I want to try my hand at another form of art practice. Lots of stuff I want to do. I have a humongous collection of art supplies so there is absolutely no reason to procrastinate on this one. I even have images in my head…food, ohia trees and other native Hawaiian plants, dogs and just beautiful things in general. I listened to an interview on Public Radio where the interviewee’s goal in creating work was to give people a reason to be optimistic. It was on Serious Eats and they interviewed Phil Rosenthal. I thought that that was an fantastic goal to have given the current news climate…a perfect goal for me to have whether I write, draw or cook. Looking for the good things is the way I want to spend my life.

My best friend died last year. I still think I can just call or write her about something she would like or think was funny every day. Channeling those thoughts into art would be a way to express those things. She encouraged my writing and watercolor all the time.

So Carolyn…this is for you. I miss you every day.


Believe it or not, a lot of progress has been made in the last week. The construction tent is gone and we can use our garage. The wall in front of the house is complete and the work table is gone. Now we have a blank canvas to work with.

The Meyer lemon buds are blossoming and smell divine! Fern shoots in different stages are unfolding. During the week, I was in Maui so I missed the first magnolia bloom, BUT this one:

photo 2

These are the two views of the front…they don’t look much different than they did last week.

The changes were small and subtle: Magnolia buds, small green oranges, a FIG!!, and the Meyer lemon blossoms have grown.

I’ve been stockpiling cabbage – green, red and won bok – for fermenting. It’s super easy and fun. The process is forgiving and you can be creative as you go. I pull all the vege that I want in the ferments and look for other flavor add ins.

Today the kim chee contains won bok, chives, green onions, ginger, garlic, jalapeno pepper and carrots. The first photo is the chopped up veggies. The second is after salting and macerating with gochugaru.

The sauerkraut ingredients are green cabbage, red cabbage, preserved lemon, thinly sliced lemon (with rind), pink peppercorns and jalapeno. Again the first photo shows the chopped veggies, the next after macerating.

Here’s a photo of the finished ferments. I’ll burp them daily to release excess gas and taste. Then they go in the fridge for consumption. Yum!

We had to clear a lot of the forest to build our home. Now that our house is complete, we plan to plant a garden to fill the area and make it healthy again. Here are two views of the area in front of our house.

IMG_3474IMG_3469Pretty barren except for the citrus trees Kris planted a few weeks ago. There’s a navel orange, Meyer lemon, yuzu,, and makrut (better known as kaffir lime). The yuzu came with fruit and I’ve harvested about a dozen. It’s the most fragrant citrus and I don’t think there is a substitute for it. Here is the last of the fruit that was on the tree…you can see new growth and we’re hoping it will be a healthy, happy tree.


The Meyer lemon has tiny buds and I can’t wait for juicy fruit. Meyer lemons are the best.

IMG_3476I just love finding subtle and not so subtle changes. Plants offer that endlessly. Here is the beginning of a fern frond. It will unfurl and become a huge feathery leaf. And this hau tree poked its branches out of the forest and started blooming…its blossoms are brilliant yellow.


And this lichen…so beautiful.


This day…Friday…on the Kona Coast. Observing kiawe (mesquite) beans that have fallen onto black sand. Shadows join.

What is this about? An online workshop called Contemplative Creatives Journey. The class is run by Bo Mackison whose ideas and art are aligned with what I would like to present to the world.

This is the first practice: Friday phenology.Definition found

The definition for phenology found online: the study of cyclic and seasonal natural phenomena, especially in relation to climate and plant and animal life.

Because I travel so much, my Friday phenology when on the road will involve returning to a place. If it’s a place that I will not be frequenting, I’ll find something water-related in the area…ocean, lake, river.

This blog is where I’ll be “storing” these observations.