Archive for March, 2016

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Centennial Events for April

March 31st, 2016

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2016, and continues its tradition of sharing Hawaiian culture and After Dark in the Park (ADIP) programs with the public in April. All ADIP and Hawaiian cultural programs are free, but park entrance fees apply. Programs are co-sponsored by the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. They are:

Ranger Noah Gomes and ‘ukulele. Courtesy: NPS

Ranger Noah Gomes and ‘ukulele. Courtesy: NPS


‘Ukulele Basics. Park rangers show the basics of how to play the ‘ukulele as part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.
When: Wed., April 6 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai


‘Alalā at Keauhou Bird Conservation Center. Courtesy: San Diego Zoo/R.Kohley

‘Alalā at Keauhou Bird Conservation Center. Courtesy: San Diego Zoo/R.Kohley

The Return of the ‘Alalā. ʻAlalā, the native Hawaiian crow, once lived across Hawaiʻi Island. Now, due to a variety of threats in the wild, these birds are found only in captivity. Successful captive breeding and conservation efforts have helped to rescue this native Hawaiian species from the brink of extinction. This fall, ʻalalā will be returned home to the wild, and these very intelligent birds will take their place once again in our Hawaiian forests. Come learn more about the release and recovery of the ʻalalā, a beloved and unique bird found nowhere else on earth. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.
When: Tues., April 12 at 7 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Free Entry During National Park Week. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service this year, all fee-charging national parks in the U.S. will offer nine fee-free days to commemorate the centennial during National Park Week– including Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Come and Find Your Park at no charge! Hawai‘i Volcanoes is open 24 hours a day.
When: April 16-24, 2016
Where: All fee-charging national parks

Kahuku ‘Ohana Day. Calling keiki 17 and younger to join park rangers for a fun day of discovery in the park’s Kahuku Unit on Sat., April 16 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Participants will hike the historic lower Palm Trail, and learn to make traditional string figures called hei. Call (808) 985-6019 to register and sign up for a free lunch by March 31. Bring water, a re-usable water bottle, sunscreen, hat, long pants and shoes. Sponsored by the park and Queen Liliuokalani Children’s Center. Enter the Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on the mauka (inland) side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5, and meet near the parking area. Free.

Hula Performance by Haunani’s Aloha Expressions. This popular, award-winning hula hālau is comprised of an all-Hawaiian volunteer group of kāne and wāhine kūpuna (elders) 70 to over 90 years old, singing and dancing hapa-haole mele and hula. They share the aloha spirit with malihini (visitors) on visiting cruise ships, and at the Hilo International Airport. The kūpuna also entertain patients at many of Hilo’s senior kōkua (caring) organizations, and have performed at the park’s annual cultural festival on several occasions. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing Nā Leo Manu “Heavenly Voices” presentations. Free.
When: Wed., April 20 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Centennial Series After Dark in the Park: What Makes a Species Invasive? Invasive species are introduced organisms that negatively impact our economy, environment and/or our health. They are a leading threat to the world’s biodiversity, contributing to extinctions and the alteration of entire ecosystems, and cost billions of dollars annually. Hawai‘i has been notoriously and negatively impacted by invasives, but no environment is unaffected. Join Park Ecologist David Benitez to learn what makes a species invasive, hear about some of the most unwanted invasive species in the park, Hawai‘i and around the world, and learn what you can do to stop their spread.
When: Tues., April 26, 2016 at 7 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium


Will on ohe hano ihu. Courtesy: NPS

Will on ohe hano ihu. Courtesy: NPS


Hawaiian Arts & Crafts. Staff from the park’s nonprofit partner, the Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association, will make, and demonstrate how to play, the ‘ohe hano ihu (Hawaiian nose flute). In addition, visitors can learn to create beautiful designs on a bamboo stamp, or ‘ohe kāpala. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.
When: Wed., April 27 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Centennial Hike: Save the Summit Understory. Join Park Volunteers Paul & Jane Field and lop invasive Himalayan ginger from the native Hawaiian rainforest at the summit of Kīlauea. Bring a hat, raingear, day pack, snacks and water. Gloves and tools are provided.
When: Sat., April 30, 2016 at 9 a.m.
Where: Meet near the flagpole outside Kīlauea Visitor Center

2016 is the centennial anniversary for Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, and the year-long Centennial After Dark in the Park & Hike Series. To find out what’s happening throughout 2016, visit the park website. It’s also the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. To find centennial events at other national parks, visit

The jellybean jar

March 30th, 2016

The myriad number of ways my life has changed since I welcomed a child into my life is mind-boggling. Sometimes it's not good or bad, but it's just eye-rolllingly ridiculous.

Olivia had jellybeans in a jar. I am not a jellybean person, but it's all we had left in the house and I had a mean sweets craving.


I know I take my chances when I eat anything she's taken responsibility for. It could have been dropped in the yard first, generously sniffed by the dog, handed by very dirty hands, or most likely, left exposed for longer than it should have been.

I peered at the jellybeans as if my naked eye would actually discern bad bacteria. They looked OK, they smelled OK, so I tenuously bit one. It was tasty, so I ate another, then another, then another.

I probably had a whole fistful of jellybeans by the time I hit the bottom of the jar. And you know what I saw? Oval shaped, small brown crumbs rolling around on the bottom. About a dozen.

Panicky thought process:

Is it... roach poop? Did she leave this uncapped overnight? Think, think... in my Swiss cheese brain, do I remember seeing it opened at night on the counter? How much does one cockroach poop, anyway?

No, it's sprinkles. She likes to put sprinkles in everything. Yeah, it's cake decorating chocolate jimmies. Whew.

No, it's not sprinkles. I don't own brown sprinkles.

Wait, there's one chocolate chip in there. She likes to mix her candies. It's probably just pieces of chocolate. Yes. You didn't just eat jellybeans marinating in cockroach poo.

No, it doesn't seem likely that it's chocolate chip flakes. How would chocolate chips flake into all perfectly similar oval loaf  shapes?

What was that crash? Oh, just the sound of my heart sinking as I realize I just ate turd-dusted jellybeans. Oh my God. I feel disgusting.

I couldn't even bring myself to look in the jar again. I wasn't even sure I wanted to ask my husband for a second opinion. I just wanted to forget this ever happened (after telling the world about it first, because I need your sympathy to get through this dark time.)

That night, I had a dinner party at my house and I told my friends what happened; showed them the jar in hopes of being told it was not poop. They all, unfortunately, thought it was.

My husband said, "There's only one way to know for sure," he laughed. "Eat one and see if it tastes like chocolate. If it doesn't, it's poop."

Darin said, "It's not going to kill you. If you've eaten a hot dog, you've probably already eaten rat doo doo."

Maile said, "If it's the cockroaches in your own house, it's cleaner than the cockroaches from outside. At least the ones living with you are only crawling on your own stuff."

Paul suggested I float this as a new flavor idea to Jelly Belly, the company that has a line of gross flavors it calls BeanBoozled. I searched it and see it does not appear to have Roach Dung as an offering. I could make money off my pain?

Everyone had a laugh at my expense.

Helpful, Friends.

I'll just dump the jar and pretend this never happened, thank you.

Protecting your eyes from too much digital screen strain

March 28th, 2016

How many hours a day do you spend staring at the computer, TV, cell phone, and tablet screens? It can be harmful to your eyes, doctors warn.

Between 50 to 90 percent of computer users experience symptoms related to computer vision syndrome (CVS), or digital eye strain, a very common and treatable condition.

CVS can occur from extended use of any device with a digital screen. Symptoms include dry eyes, blurred vision, headaches and neck and shoulder pain. CVS is caused by any combination of the following factors: uncorrected refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism), poor lighting, screen glare, and poor workstation setup for posture and viewing.

“The good news is that there’s currently no scientific evidence that CVS permanently damages the eyes; however, some experts believe daily computer use may be a contributing factor to the rise in dry eye disease,” says Steven Rhee, D.O., corneal specialist at Hawaiian Eye Center. “Dry eyes can lead to more serious eye conditions and even vision loss if not properly treated.”

To protect yourself from CVS, the first step is to correct any refractive errors by visiting your eye care professional. It’s estimated around eleven million Americans ages 12 and older suffer from easily treatable refractive errors, according to the National Eye Institute. Having the proper glasses, contacts or surgery to correct these issues will decrease any added strain on your eyes.

Dr. Rhee's advice includes properly arranging your work station: position the monitor 20 to 28 inches away from your eyes; adjust the chair to support upright sitting that allows you to view the screen’s center just below eye level at a 15 to 20 degree downward angle; change the screen contrast and brightness to level comparable to surrounding light; and use screen covers, lower lighting, and curtains or blinds to reduce glare.

Lastly, he says to follow these simple tips: take regular breaks and blink frequently to rehydrate your eyes; every 20 minutes, focus on an object at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds (20/20/20 rule); and try over-the-counter lubricating eye drops.

“If CVS symptoms become chronic, speak with your eye care professional to see if special computer glasses are needed or treatment for dry eyes is recommended,” Dr. Rhee advises.

UH Manoa researcher provides global perspective on honeybee viruses

March 25th, 2016

The plight of the honeybees has been on the national radar for years, and now a University of Hawaii at Manoa researcher's study on this topic has made the prestigious journal Science.

Grad student Scott Nikaido and researcher Dr. Ethel Villalobos examine honeybees in a hive. Courtesy: UH News

Grad student Scott Nikaido and researcher Dr. Ethel Villalobos examine honeybees in a hive. Courtesy: UH News

This study provides insight on the geographical origin and evolutionary history of the parasitic varroa mite and the deadly Deformed Wing Virus (DWV) it transmits. She follows how human transport of managed hives had unforeseen repercussions on bee health. The European bee was exposed to new environments and placed in contact with the Asian honeybee and its parasites.

One parasitic mite, Varroa destructor, “jumped” host species to the European bee and became a vector of previously mild viral diseases, in particular the DWV, which is now amplified in virulence due to mite transmission.
The subsequent movement of managed colonies helped spread the combination of mite and disease to most parts of the world, with the exception of a few Hawaiian Islands and Australia. Dr. Villalobos indicates these geographical “refugia” hold valuable information about the DWV virus.

Recent studies suggest the high viral levels found in bees can spill over to the pollinator community as whole. Thus, the data gathered about honeybee viruses is valuable not only for beekeepers or growers who depend on bees, but also for conservationists.
Read the Science article at


March 23rd, 2016

My daughter's going to be nine this summer. I've been a parent for the better part of a decade. Wow!

I remember when I was a child. I thought age ten was the age of enlightenment. I'm among the younger of most of my cousins and I so badly wanted to be big! Like them!

Esther, Colleen, me, Kung Kung, Chris, Andrew at HNL.

Esther, Colleen, me, Kung Kung, Chris, Andrew at HNL. I had cut my own bangs.

It just seemed like at age ten, the heavens would open up and I'd be miraculously allowed to eat candy, turn on the TV, and boss around littler people.

Like my cousins Colleen or Sharie.

Turning three.

Turning three.

I asked Olivia if she was excited to turn nine pretty soon. "Yes!" came the enthusiastic answer.

"Great! Why?" I asked.

I expected something along the lines of my rationale, which is, being closer to being a Big Girl.

Her reason: "Because I'll be that much closer to you buying me a cell phone."

Just as she said that we passed another family on their evening walk. The mom had a preschooler with her and she laughed at Olivia's remark.

"That's going to be you in a few years," I warned.

Recent Posts

Recent Comments