Author Archive

Kali the dog

May 25th, 2015

My friend Paul Drewes recently got a new dog. It'd been some years since his other dogs died and he said he didn't think he would get a new one, but his kids nagged him into it, so he says.

Kali Drewes

Kali Drewes

"We had a family meeting. We all got to say what quality we wanted in a dog. I said I wanted a low-maintenance dog, because I knew I'd be the primary caretaker. I wanted something that didn't shed, an adult, well-trained, housebroken, friendly, and solved mysteries on the side," he describes.

So everyone had a list of what the perfect dog would be, and the children agreed they would walk it, feed it, clean up after it, and all that good stuff.

They had just started this process of looking when they saw a foster dog at the dog park. It was a cute female Lab-Spaniel mix that won the kids' hearts that afternoon.

"She was nothing on the list. Nothing," says Paul, who tried to discourage them, but it's hard when the kids have their heart set on something, so they adopted her and named her Kali.

"Now I have a dog with long hair that sheds like crazy, is a puppy, bites, pees everywhere, and to top it off, she does not solve mysteries in her spare time," he sighs. "Let me put it to you this way. She is so misbehaved, she was rejected from Petco for a grooming."

Paul and Kali

Paul and Kali

He brought her to my house where I met her for the first time. She is dear.

She is also needy and either sticks right to his leg or leans into the screen door to make sure she can tell he hasn't left without her, and whines or scratches the door every so often to remind him she's out there. She was out there with my dog and the two completely ignored each other.

Kali is still quite young (one year old) so she is certain to improve with time, because that was the trajectory with my dog. But I laugh at him, because the guy with so much on his plate is also now a dog dad all over again.

I'm going to buy him the Lassie DVD collection so somewhere in his house there will be a well-behaved canine that doesn't shed and still fights crime.

“Aging and Caregiving with Dignity” Advocate Offers Hilo, Maui Workshops

May 22nd, 2015

Author and educator Frances H. Kakugawa will conduct a series of book signings and presentations in May and June, speaking on how to revise our view of Alzheimer’s caregiving as a burden and instead see it as a gift. Kakugawa travels the country speaking to health organizations, medical school programs, and caregiver and community groups about caring for loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s or other debilitating, long-term illnesses.

Frances Kakugawa. Photo by Jason Kimura.

Frances Kakugawa. Photo by Jason Kimura.

Her message: that bringing dignity to the caregiving process makes the experience less stressful and more rewarding for both patient and caregiver. Kakugawa also advocates the power of poetry and creative writing to help ease the demands of caregiving—and to allow the caregiver to come to terms with the emotions of the situation, thereby building a healthier relationship with the patient.

In Hawai‘i, although many families share multi-generational homes, caregivers often have difficulty finding effective ways to care for loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s. The experience can be stressful and frustrating, as well as confusing for young children, and Kakugawa strives to help families better accept the changed “new” person in their lives.

Art courtesy: Watermark Publishing

Art courtesy: Watermark Publishing

This is the driving concept behind her latest book, I Am Somebody: Bringing Dignity and Compassion to Alzheimer’s Caregiving (Watermark Publishing, 2014), in which Kakugawa presents a new vision of caregiving—a world that recognizes that a loved one with Alzheimer’s is an evolving individual who may have their own reality. The book is a reminder that both loved one and caregiver deserve compassion, respect and a life with dignity.

I Am Somebody is Kakugawa’s fourth book on caregiving. Her previous works include Watermark Publishing titles Mosaic Moon: Caregiving Through Poetry and Wordsworth Dances the Waltz, a children’s book about families living with grandparents with Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related illnesses (a Mom’s Choice Award® Silver recipient), and Breaking the Silence from Willow Valley Press of California.

The award-winning author of eleven books, and a regular column in The Hawai‘i Herald, “Dear Frances,” for caregivers, Kakugawa helps others embrace caregiving and, through writing, discover their own humanity.

Kakugawa was born and raised on the Big Island of Hawai‘i in Kapoho, a plantation village covered by lava flows. During her years as an educator, she taught in Hawaii, Micronesia and Michigan and lectured at the University of Hawaii. She is the recipient of the Hawai‘i-Pacific Gerontological Society Award for her work with the elderly and appears in Living Legacy: Outstanding Japanese Women of the 20th Century in Hawai‘i.

Event schedule follows (all events listed are free and open to the public):

Sat., May 23; 9 AM – 11 AM Hale Mahaolu Elima Community Hall 11 Mahaolu St., Kahului, Maui For more information call Lynsey at 808-242-8636 or Kathleen at 808-871-5804. No reservation required.

Sat., May 30; 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM Basically Books 160 Kamehameha Ave., Hilo

Books will be available at her events and are also sold at bookstores and other retail outlets and by online booksellers, or direct from the publisher at

Puppet shows, free oil pastel lessons, therapy dog help, and more at Hawaii's libraries

May 21st, 2015

Be Clean Water Heroes! Find out How at Selected Oahu Libraries

"The Journey Home," a free puppet show based on the City & County of Honolulu's popular children's book about water pollution, will be performed at four selected Oahu public libraries in May. Follow lovable o'opu fish Apoha and his companion ninja opae shrimp Holokai as they struggle through common stream pollutants on their journey to return to Apoha's home stream.  Watch as they teach Malia and Keoni how we all can be everyday clean water heroes!

The show features three original songs including a catchy sing-along "Clean Water Hero" that reminds listeners to keep our streams and oceans clean. The puppet show was developed under the direction of Mark Branner of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Theatre & Dance, Theatre for Youth Program. "The Journey Home" booklet was written, illustrated, designed and printed by City & County of Honolulu personnel.

Courtesy: City & County of Honolulu, Storm Water Quality Division

Courtesy: City & County of Honolulu, Storm Water Quality Division

See "The Journey Home" puppet show at the following libraries:

* May 28 (Thursday), 10:30 a.m. at Waipahu Public Library (675-0358)

* May 31 (Sunday), 2 p.m. at Kaneohe Public Library (233-5676)

Kaneohe Library Presents Special Performers and Screening of "Jurassic Park"  

Kaneohe Public Library will present an encore performance by Uncle Wayne and the Howling Dog Band, a Fairy Grandmother Storytime and a screening of "Jurassic Park" in May.  All programs are free:

* May 27 (Wednesday) at 5:30 p.m. - "Jurassic Park," Bookmobile Garage.  Relive the excitement of the original "Jurassic Park" before the next installment "Jurassic World" is released in theaters on June 12.  In this adaptation of Michael Crichton's best-selling novel "Jurassic Park," an age-old fantasy becomes reality as dinosaurs are genetically re-created for the ultimate theme park.  The adventure begins in wonder and  excitement for the park's first visitors, but soon takes a suspenseful turn as the dinosaurs break out of their carefully constructed environment and begin to wreak havoc.

Directed by Steven Spielberg, Universal Pictures' "Jurassic Park" is rated PG-13 and stars Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, and Samuel L. Jackson.   All children must be accompanied by a parent or caregiver.  Free popcorn and refreshments will be provided.

Uncle Wayne and the Howling Dog Band. Courtesy: Wayne Watkins.

Uncle Wayne and the Howling Dog Band. Courtesy: Wayne Watkins.

* May 28 (Thursday) at 10:30 a.m. - "Sing-Along with Uncle Wayne and the Howling Dog Band," Children's Section.  Back once again by popular demand, Uncle Wayne and the Howling Dog Band will perform classic children's songs as well as original tunes in this highly-interactive program.

The Friends of Kaneohe Public Library is sponsoring this 45-minute event that is recommended for the whole family.  Contact the Library as soon as possible if a sign language interpreter or other special accommodation is needed for these programs.  Kaneohe Public Library is located at 45-829 Kamehameha Highway.  For more information, please call the Library at 233-5676.

Keiki Can Learn to Draw with Oil Pastels at Makawao Library  

"Drawing with Oil Pastels," a free Saturday afternoon program series, will be offered at Makawao Public Library on May 30, and June 6 and 20 in the Children's Section.  Children ages 5 through 10, accompanied by a parent or caregiver, are invited to register for these programs which will be presented from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Local Maui artist Shirley Dumo will conduct the programs and demonstrate drawing techniques using oil pastel and pencil on paper. Dumo will discuss shading, color blending, perspective and contrast.    Children will be encouraged to use their imagination to tell a story by drawing pictures using oil pastels.

Children will have an opportunity to show their work and discuss ideas.  All supplies will be provided.   The Maui Friends of the Library is sponsoring this special program series. Reservations are required due to space limitations.

Contact the Library as soon as possible if a sign language interpreter or other special accommodation is needed for the programs.       Makawao Public Library is located at 1159 Makawao Avenue.  For more information or to register for a program, please call the Library at 573-8785.

Keiki Can Read to Therapy Dog at Wailuku Library on First Thursday of Month

"Paws for Reading," a free on-going program for keiki in grades 1 through 5, will be offered at Wailuku Public Library on the first Thursday of the month from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Literacy Room.        Assistance Dogs of Hawaii, a non-profit organization that provides people with physical disabilities specially-trained dogs to assist them in living more independent lives, will present the program, which is said to improve children's reading and communication skills.

Therapy puppy-in-training Roxy. Courtesy: Assistance Dogs of Hawaii.

Therapy puppy-in-training Roxy. Courtesy: Assistance Dogs of Hawaii.

Reading to a Therapy Dog can help build a keiki's reading confidence, strengthen literacy skills, and is a lot of fun. Parents should contact the Library to sign up their children for 15-minute reading sessions. Pre-registration is required. All children must be on time for their session and accompanied by a parent or caregiver. Contact the Library as soon as possible if a sign language interpreter or other special accommodation is needed.

Wailuku Public Library is located at 251 High Street.  For more information or to sign-up for the next available reading session, please call the Library at (808) 243-5766.

See "Eyes of Hawaii" Photo Display at Hawaii State Library

The Eyes of Hawaii Photography Club will showcase a variety of photos in its ninth annual exhibit at the Hawaii State Library through May 28.  This colorful photo exhibit will be on display in the Lobby. The exhibit is suitable for all ages, and may be viewed during normal library hours.

Photos by Lance Wong. Courtesy: the Eyes of Hawaii Photography Club.

Photo by Lance Wong. Courtesy: the Eyes of Hawaii Photography Club.

In 2001, the Eyes of Hawaii Photography Club was established by a group of enthusiastic photography students at Kaimuki Community School for Adults. Today, the club has grown to more than 100 members and provides programs and activities to enhance members' photography skills.

Photo by Jerry Anaya. Courtesy: the Eyes of Hawaii Photography Club.

Photo by Jerry Anaya. Courtesy: the Eyes of Hawaii Photography Club.

The Club presented its inaugural photo exhibit in 2004 at the former Sam Choy's Diamond Head Restaurant. Since then the Club's photos have been featured at the Hawaii State Library as well as several other Honolulu venues. As a registered non-profit corporation, the Club also provides photographic support to many community service and educational organizations.

The Hawaii State Library is located at 478 S. King Street.  For more information, please call the Library's Art, Music and Recreation section at 586-3520.

Kaimuki woman is boxing's oldest current World Champion

May 20th, 2015

When I reached Eileen Miyoko Olszewski by phone, she was just finishing her two hour daily workout at the boxing gym. She's keeping it "short" now that's she's 46 years old, she told me.

Diane with boxer Eileen Olszewski

Diane with boxer Eileen Olszewski

"I run about ten miles a week, in addition to shadowboxing 20 minutes straight. I also spar two to three times a week. and add in stretching, and reinforcement exercises to work the underused muscles," she detailed, making me tired just hearing it!

It's the kind of determination that catapulted Olszewski to the title of the oldest current boxing champion in the world, male or female. She was 45 years old when she earned that distinction in September 2013 in a fight against Patricia Alcivar for the world flyweight title. It was a quick ascension for a woman who only turned pro seven years before, at age 38.

Boxing champion Eileen Olszewski

Boxing champion Eileen Olszewski

In a way, it's a surprising turn for the Palolo native, who didn't expect to make a career of professional boxing, despite the fact that she loved to watch boxing every Saturday on television with her father.

Still, the Kaimuki High School graduate had danced through school, and after graduation, turned down a partial Rainbow Dancer scholarship to the University of Hawaii at Manoa to train with ballet great Noland Dingman in Florida. From there, she parlayed her dancing skills into a job at Disneyworld, before moving to New York City and taking odd jobs before finally scoring a rare opportunity.

"I was selected to be a Knicks City Dancer for the New York Knicks NBA team. This was from 1992 to 1995 under Coach Pat Riley, when this was the hottest ticket in the NBA, and when hip hop was in its golden age!" reflects Olszewski of the unforgettable experience.

After her tenure with the Knicks ended, Mortal Kombat: Live Tour hired her as a stuntwoman as it played on stages across South America.

Eileen and Matthew Olszewski

Eileen and Matthew Olszewski

Olszewski transitioned into boxing after she met her husband, Matthew, who was a boxing trainer. "I met Matthew in a martial art studio in Chinatown in Manhattan. I was rehearsing for a kung fu movie trailer with Stephen Tartarglia, a stuntman in Hong Kong and in Jackie Chan films. Matthew was visiting New York and strolled in. We both were surprised later to find out we liked the same restaurant out of the hundreds in Chinatown!"

Matthew started training her and recognized she had an aptitude for striking. "I like boxing. Like dance, it's both an art and a science. I like that there's always more to master," she explains. "I constantly continue my education; I study anatomy and kinesiology for my work as a trainer and rehab/performance specialist. I study fights and train with high intensity to stay in top of my game."

With his encouragement, Olszewski pursued the sport seriously. "I still remember my first fight. It was terrifying! I still remember little details like the floor being turquoise, and this woman coming at me, me trying to block her and looking at the floor wondering, 'Why am I here? All my friends are back in Hawaii having babies!' Then I told myself to get a grip  and I stopped her in the second round."


Looks are deceiving. In person, she is gorgeous - a petite and feminine woman whose beautifully sculpted muscles don't seem like they can deliver such a punishing blow.  She smiles easily and radiates charisma.

She's not sure when she will hang up the gloves and what would be next, but says a logical transition would be to train up and coming fighters. "I have assisted Matthew in training his latest two amateur champions, however he has already produced many amateur champions and has trained and cornered several professional world champions" she details.

When she's not boxing, she likes to cook, stroll through flea markets, and picnic at Central Park, which is near her residence. She says she'd love to retire in Hawaii!

Meantime, she's planned a visit to Oahu for this fall, to see her mother, and possibly, make a public appearance. Count me among her new fan base.

On being a psychic

May 18th, 2015

On last Sunday's radio show, Hawaii Matters on Ohana Broadcast (93.1, 94.7, 102.7, 105.9 FM on Oahu), the topic was psychics: How does a psychic work? And how do you know when you’re seeing one who is legitimate?

Diane with Darrell Harada and Melissa Kurpinski

Diane with Darrell Harada and Melissa Kurpinski.

A psychic is a person who claims to use extrasensory perception (ESP) to identify information hidden from the normal senses. The Gallup Organization in 2005 did a survey and found that 41 percent of those polled believed in ESP and 26 percent believed in clairvoyance. 31 percent believe in telepathy or psychic communication.

Darrell Harada and Melissa Kurpinski, Honolulu psychics, shared more about their talents and provided advice for the audience on how to find and vet one if you're in the mood to see one. In full disclosure, I throw an annual Halloween bash and hire them both to read for the guests; the feedback my guests give me is positive.

"The word psychic literally means - of the soul, so psychic ability is soul ability. What is normally considered a psychic type is really a description related to our five senses. So clairvoyance means clear seeing and is related to the visual receiving of energy and having it appear as mental images or as visions. Without getting too technical, psychics feel, see, hear, smell, and just know information," said Harada. 

He says he uses all psychic senses, but least used is the sense of smell. "I feel sensations or emotions, see images from my memory or knowledge bank, hear words that sound like my thought but feel different, and sometimes just have things pop in my head."

Kurpinkski says she gets images and feelings when she sits to read someone.

Is everyone psychic? Harada believes it's a latent skill everyone has, "but just as everyone can sing or do math easier than others, I am more easily able to use and understand psychic ability. To me you don't develop it, you become aware of it and get to know your style of sensing and communicating with the spirit world and Higher Power."

He shares one technique: "Go back to a moment of regret, then back up to when the wrong decision was made, then back up even further to when you struggled between your logical mind and your intuition, then when you can identify your intuitive voice, remember it and get more comfortable listening to it.

If you're seeking one, Kurpinski suggests, "The best caution I can give is to be wary of anyone trying to up-sell you. Especially if the price dramatically increases, say from a reading that was a $100, to telling you to buy curse-lifting candles for a few thousand dollars. Also, if the information is to directive- if they are telling you how to live- that's a red flag."

Remember, both intuitives say, the future changes all the time and we can create our own destiny!