Saturday, October 04, 2014

At Home in Two Places

Here are a few photos that hopefully express some aspects of being home in Hawaii.

One advantage of splitting time between two places is you remain alive to the charms of each place you call home. Ernest Hemingway famously described the paradoxical human yearning for the Other Place, even as we yearn for our present home when we're in the Other Place.

For Hemingway, the two places were (at least for part of his life) Idaho and the Caribbean. Due to family and business obligations, I split time between northern California and Hawaii.

When the aircraft touches down at HNL or ITO, or SFO or OAK, I've come home. Everything is familiar, known, etched into my bones by decades of experience. The Other Place fades away until Hemingway's longing inevitably wells up and I miss the Other Place.

Hawaii lends itself to chance connections. It is after all a small land mass with a relatively small population. On Oahu, the city of Honolulu is called town, as in you wen town yesterday? This reflects the yin-yang relationship of town and country, the defining characteristic of Oahu captured by surfboard company Town & Country's yin-yang logo.

On a flight out of Hilo to Honolulu (one I barely made), luck seated me next to writer Jocelyn Fujii, who kindly shared a snack with me despite my disheveled state. Jocelyn is the author of Stories of Aloha: Homegrown Treasures of Hawai'i and many other highly regarded books. It turned out she'd worked with one of my best friends from high school on a local video production.

Historian and author Gavan Daws came across something I'd written while researching his book Honolulu Stories and invited me for coffee in Manoa. When my brother-in-law Fred R. came to pick me up, they knew each other. These sorts of everybody knows everybody connections are to be expected, even for people who keep a near-zero profile like me.

Food is important in Hawaii in ways that are difficult to describe. Maybe it's the fecundity of the land and sea, or the 180 years of cultures mixing, but for whatever reason food is central to life in a way that's different from Mainland foodie culture, which so often smacks of phony, fussy elitism.

Here are a few photos that hopefully express some aspects of being home in Hawaii.

A homemade lei makes any day special.

The lotus pond at Lyon Arboretum in the back of Manoa Valley, not far from the site of the former Paradise Park where I worked weekends in 1971-72 while attending the University of Hawaii-Manoa.

Another water feature at Lyon Arboretum, which is just across from the site of the Agee House, where I rebuilt the rear steps in the mid-1970s as a volunteer, at the behest of Robert Eads, a fellow philosophy student who worked tirelessly to save the Agee House from destruction. Sadly, it burned to the ground in a suspicious fire in the late 1970s:

Backyard mapulehu mangoes:

Enjoying a mapulehu mango on the deck. Note the old udon noodle press in the lower right corner.

Ohelo berries on the Big Island. Local residents are allowed to pick a limited amount per week/month.

The gathered harvest:

Ohelo jam over vanilla ice cream:

Fresh local ahi sliced at home (sashimi):

Stuffed ulua, caught by my wife's second cousin off South Point:

Kelp noodle salad prepared by my sister-in-law: healthy and yummy:

The household jaozi (potsticker) production, Big Island edition (I forgot to take photos of the Honolulu production). There's a special shop we frequent in Honolulu Chinatown that makes a variety of dumpling wrappers.

I hope you've enjoyed this brief (and semi-random) overview of one place I call home.

Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy(Kindle, $9.95)(print, $20)
go to Kindle edition
Are you like me? Ever since my first summer job decades ago, I've been chasing financial security. Not win-the-lottery, Bill Gates riches (although it would be nice!), but simply a feeling of financial control. I want my financial worries to if not disappear at least be manageable and comprehensible.

And like most of you, the way I've moved toward my goal has always hinged not just on having a job but a career.

You don't have to be a financial blogger to know that "having a job" and "having a career" do not mean the same thing today as they did when I first started swinging a hammer for a paycheck.

Even the basic concept "getting a job" has changed so radically that jobs--getting and keeping them, and the perceived lack of them--is the number one financial topic among friends, family and for that matter, complete strangers.

So I sat down and wrote this book: Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy.

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I am proud of this book. It is the culmination of both my practical work experiences and my financial analysis, and it is a useful, practical, and clarifying read.

Test drive the first section and see for yourself.     Kindle, $9.95     print, $20

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Laura Y.

Gordon Long and I discuss The New Nature of Work: Jobs, Occupations & Careers(25 minutes, YouTube) 

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