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Archive for October, 2010


Friday, October 29, 2010

Aloha kākou!

Here’s this week’s question:

What well-known Hawaiian musician wrote an autobiography titled, A HAWAIIAN LIFE?

Hint: The book was published in 2001.

  • Please post your answer as a reply to this message.
  • All correct answers will be eligible to win a special email message from me.
  • One winner will be randomly chosen at 11:59pm EST.

WillYOUbe this week’s lucky winner?

Good Luck!

Happy Aloha Friday!

**Crooner Update: Wow! Right on! You guys are so knowledgeable. I guess I need to start asking tougher questions. Ha!

The correct answer is GEORGE KAHUMOKU, JR.! I loved this book. Loved reading about his life. It felt like I was sitting next to him, listening to him talk story.

And this week’s winner, chosen by the technology at, is… (Drum roll, please…) CYNDEE! Congrats, Cyndee! You are this week’s trivia SUPERSTAR!

A giant MAHALO to all of you for taking a moment out of your busy Aloha Friday and playing along. I hope you’ll play again next week, too!

Hope you all have a great weekend.

A hui hou…



Old Habits Die Hard

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Some things never change.

I’m one of those folks that seem to thrive–or at least PRODUCE–when I’m under pressure. But that’s not a good thing. It makes me so nervous, watching the “countdown” as the deadline approaches.

And it’s been that way as for as long as I can remember.

When I was in school, I used to drive my parents crazy when it came to writing term papers or working on big projects. I would know about the deadline for months. And the night before the paper or project was due, I’d be pulling an all-nighter–frantically racing to meet the deadline. Every time.

I can still here my parents asking my WHY I wait until the last minute to get things done when I’ve known about it. Why would I do that to myself? Why do I CONTINUE to do this to myself?

And I still don’t know the answer!

I wouldn’t really call it PROCRASTINATION…

…because I think about the current project all the time. I mean, I might even be OBSESSED with the current project and think about it ALL the time! I make notes. I think of all sorts of creative ways to deliver the final product–whatever it is. It’s more like “reluctancy to produce.” (Yup. I’m totally trying to justify it. So sad…)

But the minute the countdown begins, I kick into OVERDRIVE and start making things happen.

Prepping for this trip is no exception.

I haven’t been sleeping much lately. Last night, I stayed up until–well–let’s just say I could see the first rays of sunlight coming in through the window before I decided to call it quits for the day.

I’m working on a surprise for my teacher (aka Pops)!

Because it’s a surprise, I can’t talk about it here on the blog, just in case he should happen to find out before I get there. But I promise I’ll tell you guys about it when I get back. It’s cool. It might even be really cool. And I can’t wait to share it with him.

And then, of course, I’ve been gathering up my “Heading Back to Molokai” supplies.

I never know what to bring. I try to remember what I brought/needed when I was there. And when I finally figure what I want to bring, I can’t remember where I put it when I got back! Auē!

You know how women often keep a suitcase packed and ready to take to the hospital when they’re pregnant? Well… maybe I should think about keeping a bag packed for Molokai. It would certainly cut down on the anxiety factor! Ha!

And, in addition to the physical preparation for the upcoming trip, I’ll need to take some time for the mental preparation, as well.

It can be a culture shock–waking up in bustling New York City and then, before the day is over, touching down on the island of Molokai. An island where there isn’t even a single traffic light. And once we reach Hālawa, it’s like stepping back in time. (My stomach jumped when I typed that. I can’t wait!)

It’s like being in heaven, for sure.

But it can feel like I’m hitting a brick wall, too. An abrupt change in lifestyle and speed. So I know to start to prepare for that. This weekend, I’ll have to take a few long walks in the park. I need to start adjusting to the sounds of nature instead of the sounds of city life.

And this trip is going to be an intensive study time for me, too. It always is when I’m there. So much to learn. In the grand scheme of things, I’m still in the embryo stage of learning about Hawaiian culture! There’s definitely a lot on my plate.

And I wouldn’t change it for the world.

So I’ve got a few more long nights ahead of me. But progress is being made.

Each day I grow more and more excited.

Do YOU wait until the last minute, too? Have any tips/tricks you can share with me and the other readers? I’d love to hear from you!


The Crooner’s Weekly “TOP 3″ (10.27.10)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Aloha kākou!

I always have my iPod with me. It’s my personal jukebox.

Living in New York City, I spend a lot of time traveling underground via subway–and those rides can be long and boring! But having a collection of great music with me at all times keeps me from losing my mind. I can escape to a tropical isle with the push of a button. Portable paradise!

Here are the TOP 3 SONGS from my iPod this week:

1. Haleakalā Hula (Uluwehi Guerrero’s recording on the albumUluwehi Sings Nā Mele Hula Aloha)

One of the hula classics! We’ve been strumming this song a lot lately here in NYC. And let me tell you, it makes the chilly fall air feel a bit warmer! The song celebrates the beauty of the legendary volcanic crater, Haleakalā (House of the Sun), on the island of Maui.

I love Uluwehi’s delivery of this mele. His falsetto is smooth and sounds effortless. And he captures the effervescence of the song brilliantly–it bounces! Love it!

He does an interesting “double vamp” in between the verses. I haven’t heard another recording that uses this. I’m not sure why he does it that way. Maybe as a kumu hula (master hula teacher) he sings it in a way that corresponds to his hula choreography? It’s wonderful. And the slight variation makes it even more fun to listen to.

2. He Lei No Kamaile (Kealiʻi Reichel’s recording on the album EŌ Mai)

This is one of those songs that will leave a long-lasting impression. It’s melody is haunting. One of my favorites. I heard it years ago when this album was first released. And it’s a song that plays sometimes as a “soundtrack” in my dreams at night.

The lyrics, written for Kealiʻi’s grandmother, are rich with poetic imagery. An amazing tribute to such a special lady.

A mele inoa, a name song. And a stunning musical tribute.

3. Highway in the Sun (Cecilio & Kapono’s recording on the album Elua)

You guys know I love a good ’70s vibe. And this song BRINGS IT.

While it describes a driving down California highway in the sun, I can totally picture a long stretch of road that leads along a Hawaiian coast when I hear it. (I’m sure C&K’s California-based fans loved that Kapono wrote a song about California, though!)

Do you need break in your day infused with sunshine and feel-good vibes? Well, look no further. This song is just what you’re looking for!

What are YOU listening to? Drop me a line and let me know!!


The Laundry List (10.26.10)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I sat down to write an essay-style post this morning, but there’s just too much happening to write something coherent!

As I prep for my upcoming trip to Molokai, I’m in full on “Make It Happen” mode.

All of the things that I’ve been working on for the past several months need to be somewhat presentable for me to show Pops and the gang on Molokai. I’m very excited to share–and a little bit nervous, too! I hope I’ll be making him proud!

And, OF COURSE, this has to be a busy week with a million other things to do, right? I mean… that’s kind of the rule. When it rains it pours!

I wanted to keep you all in the loop:


Can you believe October is almost over? Aue! Where does the time go? This month we’ve been reading Stuart Holmes Coleman’s FIERCE HEART. I know some of you have already finished the book. Right on! I’m almost done, too. I’ve been reluctant to finish this book. (I love these stories!) So we’ll do some sort of “wrap up” on November 1st. And remember: PLEASE SEND ALONG YOUR QUESTIONS FOR STUART! He’s agreed to answer some readers’ questions here on the blog! Send ‘em this way!


It’s time to pick a new book for the month of November! I’m going to do my best to keep up with the reading schedule as I’ll be traveling for 2 weeks! But CAN DO! That’s what airplanes are for, right? There was a suggestion to read HAWAII’S STORY by Hawaii’s Queen, Liliuokalani. It’s the autobiography of Hawaiʻi’s last reigning monarch, Queen Liliʻuokalani. I read it a few years ago and loved it. Sound like a plan? Let me know what you think! (And thanks for the suggestion, Karen!)

2. I’m working on prepping some writing and things to take with me.

Projects that I’ve been writing. Songs that I’ve been learning. Chants that I’ve been learning. Gifts for Mom and Pops Solatorio. It’s going to be a week of LATE NIGHTS, for sure! (That reminds me: I need to buy some more coffee. Something tells me that my coffee pot is going to get a real work out this week! Ha!)

3. Packing for a Molokai trip takes a while.

Not because you need anything special, per se. It’s more because I need to pack in a SMART way. I need to prepare for all sorts of situations and circumstances–from working in a muddy loi to attending an event where one might need to “dress up.” AND… I need to pack as little as possible. So I find myself packing and unpacking repeatedly.

And I need to pack not only clothes, but also all of the other “stuff” that one needs. My ʻukulele tuner, instant coffee, hats, tabi shoes (mine are neoprene. Pops insists I wear ‘em sometimes–even though I’d rather be barefoot), gallons of sunscreen, various lei (seed, shell, nut), books, notebooks, my Halawa “tools,” electronic recording devices, etc.

For this trip, I thought I’d be proactive and I started making a list. I’ve already redone the list 3 times–and I only started it yesterday!! Are any of you MASTERS OF THE ART OF PACKING? Any suggestions?

4. I need to find my flashlights!

Why? Please click HERE to learn more.

I know I’m forgetting something.

I need to make lists of all the lists I need to make. What? How insane does THAT sound? (But that’s not really a bad idea! Ha!)

Thankfully, I have a week to prepare.

If you guys have any suggestions, PLEASE send ‘em my way!

A hui hou…



And Another Year Begins…

Monday, October 25, 2010

I remember one of my birthday parties.

I think I was turning seven. I remember there were a lot of kids that came to the house. I remember there was a lot of chaos. I remember being stressed out BIG TIME!

Birthdays stress me out.

They always have.

It’s not because it’s a reminder that I’m getting older. (When I was a kid, that was a GOOD THING!) It’s not because I’m stressed out about getting the ultimate gift. (I’m in the “material things weigh me down” part of my life.)

I don’t really know where it started. And I don’t really know the cause. I think I might have ALWAYS felt this way.

I celebrated another birthday yesterday. And I broke tradition: IT WAS A WONDERFUL DAY!

I decided that this year was going to be different. No more unnecessary stress. I can choose how I want to react. I make my own choices regarding my actions.

I took a deep breath when I woke up. In my mind, the old pattern of “It’s my birthday. That means Iʻm going to have anxiety attacks all day” started to loop in my mind. But this year, rather than attach all sorts of emotion to those thoughts, I let them be exactly what they are: just thoughts.

And you you know what? They stopped. Just like a little kid who fusses to get what he wants and then gives up the fussiness when he realizes it isnʻt working.

I decided to make it day of THANKS.

For example: Things like social media (i.e. Facebook) make it really easy for folks to send a quick “Happy Birthday” message. I woke up to a bunch of ‘em waiting in my inbox. That would have stressed me out in the past. I would have felt the compulsive need to respond– immediately.

This year, I decided to be thankful for Facebook making such connections possible. And I decided to be thankful for the wonderful messages from folks who I’ve known through the years–through all the different chapters of my life. Instead of it being a stressful thing, it was wonderful to read the messages and remember the friends. (Yes… I still responded to each and every one of ‘em, but I took my time this year!)

I’m thankful to be connected to a network of such cool people!

Here’s another example: I accepted an invitation to brunch–even though my heart was pounding at the thought of eating with a group of people. (That’s one of the leftovers of having an eating disorder. Sometimes group meals freak me out. Sometimes I manage to get through ‘em without feeling like I want to run and hide under the table.) This year, I decided to recognize the “panic thoughts” as simply “thoughts.” And I went to brunch. And it was fun and wonderful and we laughed and ate and had a great time.

This year, I decided to recognize my “triggers” as just “thoughts.” I didn’t invalidate them. I didn’t scold myself for having them. I just didn’t get attached to them.

It made a huge difference.

This year I decided to try to remain calm.

This year I chose to try and stay as “present” as I could. (No pun intended!)

And this year, instead of being all stressed out, I was full of thanks.

Thankful for the things I’ve experienced. And thankful for all of the opportunities of things still to come.

Do birthdays stress YOU out?



Friday, October 22, 2010

Aloha kākou!

Here’s this week’s question:

What is the Hawaiian word for EYE?

  • Please post your answer as a reply to this message.
  • All correct answers will be eligible to win a special email message from me.
  • One winner will be randomly chosen at 11:59pm EST.

WillYOUbe this week’s lucky winner?

Good Luck!

Happy Aloha Friday!

**Crooner Update: I’m so thrilled to see that the Hawaiian language questions are popular! Mahalo for that!

The correct answer is MAKA!

And this week’s winner, chosen randomly with the help of, is… (Drum roll, please…) CAROL! Congrats, Carol!

Mahalo (thank you) to you all for playing along this week! And I hope you have a great weekend!

A hui hou…