Aloha Friday: Hale

Tropical and warm.

the koi tanks


poinsettia bush, in ground


potted plants, around and behind the house


My grandparents had emigrated from Japan in the late 1890s, landing in Honolulu. My great-grandparents had decided my grandpa had to leave Japan when rumors of war with Russia were becoming louder and louder. They came to the conclusion the United States would be the best place for my grandpa and grandma to relocate. While my grandparents had considered going on to the mainland, they decided to stay instead.

Though my grandpa was a skilled carpenter, work for Japanese émigrés were quite limited. The most plentiful jobs were in the sugar cane fields and pineapple fields, with Dole being one of the largest employers in the territory.

Literally saving their pennies, my grandpa and grandma had saved enough to buy a pair of small homes, next door to one another, in the Kalihi District of Honolulu. With grandpa finding better paying work as a carpenter in the construction trades, they continued to save money and eventually buying a triple lot to build a larger house after the war in the 1940s. It was located on a lane near Houghtailing St.

my grandparents home, Christmas Season 1978


With my grandparents passing away in the early 1970s, two of my aunts lived in the family home until they decided to downsize in the early 1980s. Before they placed the home on the market, they asked my mom if she wanted the house. They would deed over the house, free and clear. My mom and dad thought about it, but declined their kind offer. The house needed some important repair and upgrade work, particularly with the sewer, water and electrical. Besides, Colorado was home. And, living in Hawaii had already become expensive.

When the property was listed, it sold in the $2M range. The biggest selling point was the lot size, and the lot was “fee simple” (no lease).


Brush With Fame –

With a Catholic School located a street over, behind the house, every morning, the school band would play the Hawaii Five-O theme, after the National Anthem, to begin their day. The other connection with the original series is that on Halona St, running parallel to the H-1 freeway, several scenes were shot there during the mid-1970s. When the studio shot the scenes, both of my aunts said there was a pretty good crowd watching the whole process.



The Hawaii Five-0 theme is considered to be one of the most iconic pieces of television music. Also, the program opening is considered to be an iconic piece in television history. The Season 1 program opening can be seen here.


About the photos

The photos were taken in 1978 using a Canon FT b 35 mm SLR with Kodak Max Color film (most likely ASA 400).

Remembrances & Thoughts

By Lauren Westin, MD

It has been a year since the passing of my mom. A day does not pass when I take pause to think of her, or wonder what she would be doing today. There are moments when I can still hear her voice calling me in for dinner. Or, giving reassurance when I needed it badly. They are things you remember the most. While I’ve been blessed with an excellent memory, there are a few things I’d rather not remember – like getting in trouble for tossing a garter snake into Cindy’s (my sister) bed. While Cindy and I can laugh about it now, Cindy wasn’t happy when I did it. And, mom, saying she was disappointed with my behavior would be an understatement.

But, of course, we all grow up, become more responsible. And, hopefully, gain some wisdom along the way. Mom had wisdom. She knew all of us, Tom, Cindy and I, had potential and the possibilities of life were endless. Her wisdom to us was “to follow the goodness in our hearts“. If we do, all will flow from it, with God at our side. There, we would find our calling and place in life. A cynic’s view would label this as nothing more than a nice sentiment, but mom lived it and practiced it daily. To her, civility, kindness and manners mattered. These were her values. They became mine.

I have practiced her values, albeit imperfectly, in my own personal life. Yet, I have impressed upon my daughter, Tara, to have and practice her grandma’s values. They are of worth, and they will define you as a person – in your heart, in your soul. What others think does not matter. Determination is essential, but not to the point where it hardens and steals away your heart and soul.

Professionally, mom’s wisdom and values have served me well. In trauma medicine, it is practiced in minutes and seconds. In the most critical cases, acting quickly and decisively is imperative. It is equally, if not more, important to have a human connectedness when so much is at stake. To reassure and instill hope is just as valuable as the technology and skill in these moments.

In the end, it is about caring for those you love the most and keep close to your heart. And, it is about keeping your promises to them. I thank my mom for teaching life is more than a series of vignettes but rather is a mosaic created by the hand of God.

Mom, I love you and miss you so much.



About the author

Lauren Westin is a practicing trauma surgeon with University of Colorado Health, and an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. She holds certifications in trauma surgery, trauma medicine and microsurgery.



The original tribute, “I Cross My Heart“, to Laurie’s mom, Margaret Westin, can be read here.

Snow Daze

It was a forecast that was not missed, nor disappointed.

generic snow photo

With nearly 8-10 inches of snow, and drifts taking shape through the overnight, it was an early start to clearing the driveway. The plan was to drive Laurie and Andrea to work, and pick them up, like yesterday. A snow drift had formed around the Expedition, with the largest portion across the front end. After an hour of digging, about half the drift was shoveled away – and yet not knowing if there was any snow under the hood.

Nearly ready to start the Expedition after clearing the snow away from the exhaust, a bundled-up Laurie came outside and said her and Andrea had a snow day. Good enough. Also, the girls had another snow day with campus remaining closed, and all scheduled classes and activities cancelled for the day. All the school districts are closed for another day. And, much of the region is rather quiet as many businesses are closed, or on reduced hours.

generic snow photo

The snow has pretty much coated everything. No power interruptions, or flickering lights. All that remains is a cold, north wind and clearing away the snow.

The winter storm is now across Eastern Colorado, Nebraska and Iowa. In blizzard form, the storm is nowhere nice as the name, “Kayla“, The Weather Channel has given her.

Time to tackle those drifts.



@16:10 MT – The snow total, up the amount to the 10-12 inch range. The four-foot drift that was in front of the garage door at 5:00 am reshaped itself into a solidly-packed two foot version. Also, the garage was reshuffled where all of our vehicles are indoors. The other deep drift was 3½ feet at the front steps. The larger drift of five feet is at the storm door into the backyard. We may need Mother Nature to cut it down to size. Another two inches of additional snow is expected tonight. Overnight temperatures are expected to be in the -5 to 5°F range.

Easy Winter Sunday

It was a very early start today with the girls having a groom session with their horses. The early start was necessitated with a winter storm/blizzard beginning later today and tonight. It was snowing fairly heavily when we arrived at the JN Ranch shortly after 5:30 am. Amanda was feeding the horses, hers and ours, their breakfast of premium hay and rolled oats.

With six inches of snow on the ground, there was no plan of letting any horse onto the paddock. Exercise time would consist of walking the horses back and forth the length of Amanda’s barn several times. The more wooly ranch horses, however, they’re a different case. But, they also have a roof attached to their barn.

seen from Amanda’s barn, ranch horses stand next to their barn under the “patio” roof

The horses enjoyed their morning of pampering. Each received a nice brushing, a cleaned stall and fresh bedding, and a fresh horse blanket. Better yet, they had treats of apples and carrots.

Before coming home, Amanda treated us with hot chocolate and mini-marshmallows. A cookie-lover, Amanda didn’t have any cookies on hand. The best she could offer was PB&J sandwiches or pancakes. The hot chocolate was more than enough.

Since coming home, it’s been a slow afternoon. The girls have checked the campus web site a couple times, no delayed start or snow day cancellation just yet.



For those who have adopted named storms not of the tropical variety, The Weather Channel has dubbed this winter storm/blizzard as “Kayla”. Nice name, but we don’t know anyone named “Kayla”.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

The focus is all things hunter/jumper. The competition is very keen with a mixture of professional and excellent amateur riders. A rider can quickly gauge how well they are doing – what to keep doing, what needs fixing and everything in between. Instead of the two weeks like the year before, our stay was three weeks in SoCal. My girls, their coaches, Mark and Trish, thought, would gain invaluable experience and knowledge by riding an extra week. For many riders, a three or four week commitment here is the norm. But, how long or short the commitment really doesn’t matter much.

While staying and competing for nearly a month, often far from home, the priority for riders and their horses is staying relaxed and keeping to their daily routines. The show organizers did their part. They organized media days and fan appreciation days between shows. They also kept equestrian aficionados from wandering through the stable areas to a minimum. After a long day of competing, they ran several food and entertainment events at the horsepark for the riders, their families and support teams. The most popular event is “Beachcomber Night” which features a California-style clam bake and a live band. Though the nearest beach was about 15-20 minutes away, not having a real beach was okay. Besides, it wasn’t ideal beach weather with fog and cool temperatures nearly every night.

Mexican barbeque shrimp

About two days before Beachcomber Night, the live band who were going to entertain notified the show organizers their lead vocalist had lost her voice. Arranging for another vocalist on short notice was going to be difficult. With few options available, someone had asked about doing a karaoke contest with a twist – the twist being a live band. While the musicians were initially hesitant, they thought why not. They had plenty of sheet music, from country to rock and roll. It would be a matter of getting enough sign-ups. In many ways, it was not much different from adding an event, or two, to a horse show while in progress.

Connie, the assistant in charge of events, was tasked to look for possible entrants. A few possibles, though intrigued by singing with a live band, said they rather not. They would be much too nervous. On her short list of strong possibles was Elizabeth. Having struck out on her other strong possibles, Connie asked Elizabeth if she would be willing to participate.

She was delighted when Elizabeth said yes. Securing Elizabeth as her first sign-up, Connie refined her pitch. By the end of the day, she had five more sign-ups. With one more day left, Connie was hoping to add a couple more sign-ups – aiming for a field of at least eight entrants. Late in the day, Connie came around and heard Andrea singing while she and Laurie were brushing Mr. Ed. Connie asked if Andrea would like to be part of the contest. Andrea replied along the lines, “Are you sure? Isn’t the contest for riders only?” Connie said it was about having fun. Andrea didn’t know about competing against her daughter, but asked her if it would be alright. Elizabeth said, “Sure it would be alright. I compete against Deborah and Tara all the time.” Andrea asked Connie if she could do a duet, saying she had someone in mind to sing the other part. “Sure! More the merrier,” Connie replied. Elizabeth smiled, indicating she knew who the someone was.

Being told I was part of the singing contest, it was a little bit of okay, “what else have I been volunteered for?” At the contest meeting later in the evening, with only seven entrants in the contest, we were informed there would be two rounds – everyone sings two songs. The live band was open to the notion if we wanted to use a different arrangement and/or if we would like to play an instrument, just let them know. If there was a tie after the two rounds, a sing-off would take place. It seemed simple enough. The next step was a blind draw to determine start position. Andrea and I drew #5, and Elizabeth drew #7. In horse show terms, both were good start positions.

When the Beachcomber Night festivities began, Andrea and Elizabeth both had a tiny case of the butterflies. Though the evening started a little slow, the time passed rather quickly to the start of the “Karaoke Contest With A Twist”. The band was composed of studio musicians, which there are many in SoCal. Everyone had to stay with them in tempo, and be in very good voice.

The first song for Andrea and myself was the Hall and Oates song, “Sara Smile“. Elizabeth opened with another Hall and Oates song, “Do What You Want“. We were very impressed, and so was everybody else, by Elizabeth’s performance of the very soulful song. Undoubtedly, Elizabeth was the leader at the end of the first round.

After a short break, round two began. The other entrants, in front and behind of Andrea and I, stepped up their performance considerably, showing the true competitors they are. In introducing us again, Kevin, the band leader, said Andrea and I must like Hall and Oates quite a bit. Our second song was “I Can’t Go For That“, but the more sultry version similar to the one Rumer did with Daryl Hall. When it was Elizabeth’s turn, she did the Daryl Hall rendition of the early 1960s hit “Our Day Will Come“.

While Andrea and I thought Elizabeth was the winner based on the strength of her performance of her first song, it was decided a sing-off was needed. Elizabeth did her sing-off choice, the Diane Birch song “Nothing But A Miracle“. Andrea and I stayed with another Hall and Oates song, “Kiss On My List“.

In the end, Elizabeth kept her record perfect edging out her mom and dad. Long as we’re at a horse show and there is a singing contest, Elizabeth will do very well in this event. Afterwards, Kevin said we made it easy for him and the band with all of the Hall and Oates numbers. Three of them were working with a few artists who were considering doing Hall and Oates covers.


Side Notes

If you have the Palladia channel on your satellite or cable line-up, every week is an installment of “Live From Daryl’s House“. Originally beginning as a web series, “Live” features both established and upcoming musicians and vocalists. The series is also available as syndicated programming in local markets – sometimes showing in the middle of a Saturday or Sunday, or late at night. It’s a show you will certainly want to turn up the volume. And, if you have a surround system, you will certainly want to turn on the concert hall setting.

Live From Daryl’s House videos:


Seen: National Western Stock Show

There is plenty to see at the National Western Stock Show in Denver. It is a showcase featuring the western way of life. Ranching, farming, and much more.

A sampling of what we saw –






The stock show is one of the last places you would imagine in having an “A” rated, USEF hunter/jumper competition. English saddles and equestrian glamour. The five-day equestrian event does seem to fit.

 hunter waiting on her rider


The two-night dressage event, better known as “An Evening of Dancing Horses”, is the high-brow affair (tuxedos and evening gowns) with fine dining on the main arena floor, followed by the dressage exhibition.

Tuesday Returns

In the real news, it is birthday time for our Miss Egypt. She turned 13 years young, last Thursday, as day one of the hunter/jumper show at the NWSS opened in Denver. If you thought we forgot, we didn’t. Momma Laurie and Momma Andrea gave our young miss plenty of hugs and kisses on her special day along with a few of her favorite treats.

Miss Egypt is still our sweet purr machine she has always been. And, definitely the cat-in-charge.


Happy Birthday Miss Egypt!