Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Day connects lawmakers and caregivers

February 5th, 2016

Have you been seeing a garden of bright flowers in front of the state capitol this week? The Alzheimer’s Association Aloha Chapter planted it there; 350 purple “Promise Garden Flowers” to raise awareness of the disease. The flowers represent the estimated 35,000 Hawaii residents who will be living with the disease by 2025.

Moreover, The Alzheimer’s Association Aloha Chapter will host an Advocacy Day at the state capitol to discuss Alzheimer’s disease and its impact on Hawaii. According to the Alzheimer's Association 2015 Alzheimer's Disease Facts & Figures report, there are currently 26,000 people living with Alzheimer’s, and over 65,000 Alzheimer’s caregivers in this state.

The Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Day will let advocates to meet face-to-face with state elected officials. Advocates will share their personal stories of how Alzheimer’s has impacted their lives and make requests of state policymakers.

What are advocates asking our legislators to do?
1. Support the Alzheimer's disease and related dementia services coordinator position to implement the State Plan on Alzheimer's disease and Related Dementias.
2. Support an Alzheimer's disease and related dementias public awareness campaign.
3. Support Dementia Training for caregivers.

In addition to the human toll of the disease, care for Alzheimer’s - the country’s most expensive condition - cost the nation $226 billion in 2015, with projections to reach $1.1 trillion by 2050. These staggering numbers do not include unpaid care by friends and family valued at $217 billion a year, or the more than $9 billion in increased healthcare costs for caregivers own health.

State governments are increasingly on the front lines in addressing the Alzheimer’s crisis, the care and support needs of families facing the disease, and its impact on local economies.

To register for Alzheimer’s Advocacy Day, contact Ashley Studerus, Public Policy Coordinator, at or (808) 591-2771, ext. 8235. For more information on Alzheimer’s disease, call the Alzheimer’s Association toll-free, 24/7 Helpline at 800-272-3900 or visit

Booger prank

February 3rd, 2016

At eight, Olivia is now at the gross-out stage. She is also getting into pranks.

She once put a big plastic cockroach on the floor and I jumped about five feet into the air when I thought I stepped on it. I had to be peeled off the ceiling- by another person, because Olivia was too busy rolling on the ground laughing her pants off.

Here's the newest one, and she was so proud of herself she commanded me to blog about it. I was getting us ready to leave the house when she hollered across the living room at me, "Mommy! Come see this!"

"No. I'm getting us ready. What is it?" I responded.

"I want you to see my booger!" she giddily declared.

"Um, no thanks," I denied.

"Then I'll save it for you!" she offered. Goody.

I kindly declined a few times but she so generously saved it anyway. In fact, as I ushered her out the door, she ran back inside to retrieve the nearly-forgotten booger. Boy, this is important.

She held out a finger to show me a pea-sized glob of transparent goo, much like what we'd make in high school with rubber cement. Aah, rubber cement. I haven't thought of it for decades and I'm nostalgic now for school.

"Great. Now throw that away before you get in the car," I tell her.

She doesn't. She gets in the car and pronounces, "I shall now examine this booger! ... Oh, it's hairy! ... And crusty! ... And sticky! ... And squishy! ... And tasty!"

"You ATE it?" I reacted, to a lot of self-satisfied giggling from the back. "I thought I fed you enough lunch."

This goes on for a little while more, with someone so smug that she's managed to nauseate her mommy.

Finally, she decided to put Mommy out of her mock-misery by revealing that it was a glue ball. "Best prank ever!" she pronounced.

<groan> Thankfully it's a prank. I probably still have a drying up glue booger somewhere in the back of the car.

Feng shui for love and money

February 1st, 2016

Author and feng shui consultant Clear Englebert will present on the topic of feng shui for love and money (which happens to be the subject of his latest book), a timely offering for the lunar new year, at various public libraries throughout the state, as well as two nominal-fee intensive seminar sessions.


Free library lecture dates, times and locations:

Each presentation lasts one hour and addresses the basic concepts of feng shui before delving in to how to decorate the wealth and relationship corners of the home, and fixes for common problem situations. Englebert allows plenty of time for attendees to ask questions at the conclusion of the presentation.

Thursday, Feb. 4, 6pm, Manoa branch, 808-988-0459

Saturday, Feb. 6, 10:30am, Kapolei branch 808-693-7050

Saturday, Feb. 6, 1:30pm, Main branch, 808-586-3500

Sunday, Feb. 7, 2pm, Kaimuki branch, 808-733-8422

Saturday, Feb. 20, 1pm, Kealakekua branch, 808-323-7285

Saturday, Feb. 27, 2pm, Kailua-Kona branch, 808-327-4327

At each of these talks Englebert’s books, Feng Shui for Love & Money, Feng Shui for Hawai‘i and Feng Shui for Hawai‘i Gardens, all published by Watermark Publishing, will be available for purchase; 30% of each purchase goes to the Friends of the Library for the hosting library.

“Interior Chi Flow” intensive class at the Bodhi Tree Dharma Center (654 Judd St., 808-537-1171). Class fee, $10. No reservation required. • Friday, Feb. 5, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm This class introduces chi energy, which is the most basic feng shui concept. Lecture explains how to maximize chi’s beneficial flow and retain it within a home, how to locate the powerful spots within a room, how to counter harsh energy, furniture selection and placement.

“Bedroom Feng Shui” intensive class at Lily Lotus, Kaimuki (3632 Waialae Ave., 808-277-1724). Class fee, $15. Call to reserve a space. • Sunday, Feb. 7, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm Your bedroom is the most important room in the home. This class covers all aspects of the bedroom, including bed placement and creating a supportive atmosphere for rest. The bagua of the bedroom is discussed, with emphasis on the Relationship and Wealth Corners.

For more information call 808-328-0329 or visit

Taiwanese Election to be Discussed by Taiwanese-American filmmaker and author

January 29th, 2016

Tensions between Taiwan and China are on the rise with the island nation’s selection of a pro-independence president, Tsai Ing-wen. Two Taiwanese Americans, Shawna Yang Ryan and Will Tiao, will discuss the situation in an upcoming event, "Taiwan on Screen and the Page: Screening of Formosa Betrayed and a Conversation with Writer/Producer Will Tiao and Novelist Shawna Yang Ryan."

"Formosa Betrayed" film poster. Courtesy: Wayne Akiyama

"Formosa Betrayed" film poster. Courtesy: Wayne Akiyama

Ryan is a creative writing professor at UH-Manoa and author of "Green Island", a historical novel set during Taiwan’s White Terror period, a period of martial law that lasted from 1949 to 1987. She was interviewed by The New York Times about the period and rule under Kuomintang at that time.

Will Tiao. Courtesy: Wayne Akiyama

Will Tiao. Courtesy: Wayne Akiyama

Tiao is a Fulbright Scholarship recipient and former Presidential Management Fellow in the Bill Clinton administration and international economist under the George W. Bush administration. He is also actor/writer/producer of the feature film "Formosa Betrayed", based on the true events surrounding Taiwanese democracy and independence activists in the 1980s, starring James Van Der Beek (Dawson’s Creek) and co-starring Tiao.

Green Island book cover. Courtesy: Wayne Akiyama

Green Island book cover. Courtesy: Wayne Akiyama

"Formosa Betrayed" will be screened during the event and Ryan will read selections from "Green Island". A discussion will be moderated by "Asia in Review" host Bill Sharp.
The event, sponsored by the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Asian Studies department, The Academy for Creative Media, and Creative Writing Program, is on Saturday, January 30, from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Center for Korean Studies Auditorium, UH Manoa, 1881 East-West Road.

Kaneohe woman competes on American Idol

January 27th, 2016

Musician Ashley Lilinoe shares her love through her music - a clear, soulful voice accompanied by acoustic guitar that stirs the heart. At 21 years old, this accomplished singer/ songwriter is now meeting a national audience as one of the contestants on American Idol (FOX).


"The producers found me online, because I post my music videos. They asked me to audition, but the first couple times I ignored their emails because a television competition just didn't resonate with me. It's not my calling," she remembers. "The third time, the producer said, 'I believe in you and want you to try out.' I felt his heart and I decided to do it. What have I got to lose, right?"

She's right; she has nothing to lose and everything to gain. When the show debuted in mid-January, her Facebook page went wild. "I got hundreds of notifications every five minutes. It was crazy," she laughs. She's definitely on a bigger stage now.

Lilinoe also learned about the business of show-biz. "Presence is important. I saw how I was portrayed through the process. I also realized being myself is exactly what I needed to do. I stuck to my true self."

Who is the true Ashely Lilinoe? The born and bred Kaneohe girl is a stunning mixture of eleven ethnicities: Predominantly Filipino, but also Native Hawaiian, Native American, Swedish, and Chinese.

Her last name is Swedish: it's Soderberg, and Lilinoe is a stage name, derived from part of her incredibly long Hawaiian middle name. "It means 'the misty lei that lays upon the flower of the heavens.' Lilinoe is 'fine mist,'" she enlightens.

"What I really am, though, is universal. I don't connect with just one culture," she clarifies.


Lilinoe grew up in a musical family in Kaneohe. "We live on a lane with lots of families, and when someone comes out to celebrate something, we'd all go out and play music. I'd be in the garage watching, and then I'd practice what I heard. My parents, my angels - they guided me to practice. My ear was my teacher," she recalls.

She was about six when she first picked up an ukulele. At Castle High School, she started playing the guitar.

"I love how music makes me feel and how it can make others feel. Everything is a song: The ocean, the environment, the blue sky," she breathes as she looks up at the clear lazuline sky of a Honolulu winter.

In fact, it's the Earth that inspires her through its wordlessness. "I'm learning to unlearn traditional songwriting techniques. It doesn't have to be 'verse, chorus, bridge. It's not necessary. My heart says to listen to the silence."

She is lovely and thoughtful, gentle and poised. She seems unconcerned about fame and fortune, instead focused on a metaphysical goal of unconditional love for self and others, living in the moment, surrendering to life. She strikes me as wise beyond her years.

Lilinoe says she needs the silence more than ever in the overwhelming "aftermath" of American Idol. It was a high-intensity, non-stop experience. "I'm still observing with my heart. There are no words to describe it right now," she decides.

"Yes, it opened doors for my career. More importantly, it opened doors to peoples' hearts, to let them connect with me and see there's another human being like me in this world," she smiles.

Actually, she says she didn't really know what her music sounded like until a year ago. She was too busy playing gigs to stop and listen to herself, and then it was a powerful moment for her. "What I have to share - my love - is so great. It's a lot of power. I was afraid of it, and I'm still learning to gently introduce it to this world," she announces.

This means she doesn't have a regular gig. Not that she's lacking for offers, but she's spontaneous and has certain preferences. For instance, "I like playing where children are allowed. I like to entertain at places where everyone can be together," she expands.

"I love children. I love how they inspire, stretch my imagination, and guide me to my heart," she says. "I am a child. They remind me to love, to play."

Play is how she answers the question, What do you do for a living? "I flow day to day. Music provides me the monetary exchange, but I surrender to life."

As for the practical questions, she shrugs. "I'm know I'm taken care of greatly. I've given the amount I need, which is small. I'm a minimalist and an alchemist; I will recycle and upcycle things. My Earth Mother will take care of me, my friends support me. I'm always provided for."

Lilinoe's typical day is... atypical. The commonality is that it usually starts without a jarring alarm clock, and with the luxury of a slow rising from bed. "I greet myself, I greet the new day, and I welcome what comes."

As you may be able to guess by now, Lilinoe eschews labeling her music with any one genre. For purposes of print, she acquiesces to give me some kind of description: neo-soul/blues/jazz/R&B/funk. However, she prefers to call it "soul-filling music." If you hear her sing, you'll understand.

Lilinoe has no plans set in stone for the future. When I ask where she sees herself in five years, she chuckles. "Five years? I don't even know what tomorrow brings."

She does, however, know this: "I honor myself deeply. I show up for life, and I navigate life through my heart. I live by feeling, and if it feels good, I do it."

While her calling may be as a musician that sings emotion into people's hearts, she says her soul-mission is "to return to self. To be into my heart so that I can truly hear the voices who call for help."

Lilinoe leaves me with a parting thought for you all: "Wherever I am, everyone is my family."

American Idol airs Wednesday and Thursday nights on KHON2 (FOX).

Lilinoe's website:

Other coverage of Lilinoe:

Update: Lilinoe was eliminated on the January 28, 2016 episode.

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