Saturday, January 7, 2017

2016 Recap

Hau’oli Makahiki Hou!
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I hope this letter finds you and yours in good health and spirits. Chinese salutations commonly include wishes for good luck and good fortune, prosperity and happiness. As I age, I value good health above all and barring that, vitality at every age and any stage.

Self indulgent - that describes my 2016 filled with new adventures and fabulous friends.

I started the year by completing my Family Trust documents with a local trust attorney. My impetus was two calendared trips to Europe, where random acts of violence are becoming more commonplace. (Funny how American gun violence, its scale of human carnage exceeded only by war, did not move me to get my Trust documents done.) And while I felt tearful and uncomfortable putting my final wishes in writing, I concurrently feel content knowing my estate will flow to the people and causes I care for most. I highly recommend getting this done - contact me for an excellent trust attorney.
Things accomplished on the home front: 1) I had a gargantuan shed built for yard tools, bicycles, etc. 2) exterior painting in “happy” colors, 3) kitchen facelift, 4) master bathroom remodel underway (out with the plastic shower/tub insert and in with walk-in shower, senior friendly fixtures allowing me to age in place). ALMOST done with all the beeeg home projects.

Celebrating Sixty: a catered birthday party at my home with friends and neighbors. Most were pleasantly pleased with the Asian-vegetarian menu. I dressed in a Mamo holoku with leis sent by my sister and cousin. I really had a wonderful time and plan to hold a 70th - so get your mu’u mu’u, Aloha shirt and slippahs ready! And if you no moh, I can fix that at Hilo Hattie’s, though you may sincerely regret it.

Bill, me, John
July found buddies Bill, John and I traipsing through the Dolomites in Italy, floating in Venice, museum-ing in Florence and archeology-ing in Rome. Fantastic trip, hugely educational, instrumental in sorting and sifting through random datas learned in school. 
WWI was fought in the Dolomites as Italy reacquired land from Austria. Austrian influence continues in language, excellent apple strudel and a beverage called a radler = 50% lemonade and 50% beer. DELISH and sooo refreshing. Try it!
For more details of this trip you can read my blog entitled, The Church at You will need to scroll to the earlier posting.
the Dolomites
The run-up and aftermath of the Presidential Election left me in a blue funk. I have more than serious reservations regarding Donald Trump and sincerely hope he does well for our country. Fingers crossed, prayer flags flapping. Seriously - he needs our prayers - every US President does.

Two weeks before Christmas, John and I flew to Paris (John and I met the first day of our Master’s/Nurse Practitioner’s program at UCSF and have been fast friends since) - to take in the European Christmas markets (yes, the very ones Homeland Security advised to avoid), the Louvre, the d’Orsay, the Eiffel, Versailles, and Disney Paris. 
We knew crowds would be lighter - but we had no idea. Crowds were basically nonexistent. The typical 3-hour-line to view the Mona Lisa was 30-seconds. No filing by, pushed by the crowds. There was time to linger - even for a selfie. The spacious galleries were unencumbered; priceless and famous works, easy to find and enjoy. 
The size of Le Louvre - I had no idea. Did you know it is touted to be the largest building in the world? We visited the bowels of the building, where parts of the original castle keep and dungeons survive. Bones of the secondary palace are also still visible.
A less famous but by far the loveliest Venus.
The d’Orsay Museum is a beautifully restored and repurposed World’s Faire, train depot that houses the works of famous French Impressionists. You know their names: Monet, Manet, Degas, Rodin, Gauguin, Toulouse-Latrec, Cézanne, Renoir, Picasso, Van Gogh, Sisley. It was fascinating for me to detangle their names and works in my mind. And with the advent of smart phones - photos sans flash allowed!
We were unimpressed with the Christmas Market. Once a showplace for local artisans, it seems to have been usurped by China’s supply chain. And of course, security is a problem. Uniformed, armed, security forces prowled en masse. 
Paris’ Christmas Market straddles Avenue des Champs Elysées. Naught but a flimsy, white picket fence separates the Market from the traffic. We moved along the edges - where we could duck and run - a horrifying reality. I said they would be better served by closing Avenue des Champs Elysées and moving the market into the street, where they could block the whole thing off. Two days after our return, the attack in Berlin proved me right.

About the family:
Mom has rebounded from two setbacks and like an old Timex, she just keeps on ticking. She will turn 92 in April and I plan to be in Honolulu to celebrate. 
Sister Gina has been instrumental in assisting Mom and the Aunties. She and husband Michael continue to live in Kaneohe and enjoy watching their grandkids grow.
Niece Lael and husband Darth had their first baby: Alanna Quinn Kalea. She turns one in January and I plan to attend her party in SoCal.
Nick and Lindsey’s daughter, my great niece Jaydalyn Ui O Nalani is four and started school at Kawaiahao Church. Before Christmas, they made a snowbank so the kids could play in snow. I receive a steady stream of photos on Jayda’s photo stream and I love feeling more included vs being the auntie way over on the mainland.
Collins son Davin Kekahi Ho’omaluhia (whew!) plays in the band, surfs and fishes with his Dad, and snowboards when they make it to California.

What’s on tap? 
We are experiencing the largest mass extinction of animals - EVER. A photo safari may be next - before they become extinct. 2018. Saving my pennies.
I am taking weekly and monthly ukulele lessons. Monthly, classical Hawaiian lessons with Uncle Saichi - who used to play back-up for Iz, Gabby and others. He speaks full-on pidgin-english and is full of island stories. Good fun! (I really can't fathom how the English speaking students understand a word he utters!)
Work at Kaiser continues to be interesting albeit a bit challenging. Still LOVE the people - and that’s everything; isn’t it?

Some thoughts for the new year from Khe Hy (billed as the Oprah of the Millennials):
1. Have more compassion -- for yourself and others.
2. Do the "Uncomfortable Introspection."
3. Get comfortable with stillness.
4. Live your truth.

Sounds like a sound plan. I’ll take it on. You?
Here’s wishing you and yours a fabulous 2017. Be well, keep safe, and do keep in touch.

Much love and Aloha to you always in all ways ~ Lorin