Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Weather-ing Hawaii

Oahu almost always has her head in the clouds. The humidity is high, but if the Trade Winds are blowing the island self-air-conditions. I have ceiling fans in my home and use them almost daily. Most of the businesses are air conditioned. Some of them too much so for my taste. I carry a jacket for going inside!

You'll find the general attire here is shirts and t-shirts. Flip-flops -- the locals call them "slippers" -- are the most common footwear. Hawaiian shirts are everyday wear for the locals. It isn't just a tourist thing.


When you visit Hawaii you'll want your clothes to be light weight and breathable. A wind breaker might not be a bad idea, but on Oahu you'll never have to bundle up against the cold.


Expect rain. It rains somewhere on the island almost every single day. The rain is usually warm and gentle, but I've been in a couple of "gully washers". The windward side of the island gets much more rain than the leeward side. Umbrellas are sold here year 'round in just about every store.


No matter what the weather one can pretty much bet that there will be people on the beaches and in the water.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


It is not unusual to be driving the highways or freeways on Oahu and see roadside shrines. Crosses adorned with photographs, ribbons, fresh flowers, and sometimes even teddy bears adorn the sides of the roadways and the shores near the edge of the beach.

When I traveled to the makai end of Piliokahi Avenue in Nanakuli I was not surprised to find a cross. I was however very surprised at the size of the cross, so I started asking questions. I was told that a Nanakuli church sometimes holds their services here. I must say, I have never seen a more beautiful sanctuary.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The View

The view of Honolulu & Waikiki from Manoa Valley.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Banyan Tree


Cemetery Sentinel
Sentenced to life,
Guarding the dead.


photograph originally posted on
Just Another Day in ... Paradise?,
January 7th, 2008
Photographer: Charlene L. Amsden

Monday, January 14, 2008


Aloha flower,
Ruby throated Hibiscus,
Sunshine on the vine.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Day is Done

As twilight approaches ....

the sun drops to the horizon

and sizzles

photographs taken in Makaha Valley [Oahu], Hawaii

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Wet Diversity

As I've said, I adore Hawaii.

Here one can stand in the sunshine and the rain at the same time. I took this photo the other day at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. You can see the rain falling and the sun shining on the green leaves and the building beyond.

I took this picture from our lanai just before sunset on January 1st. You can actually see the rays of sunshine competing with the rain. I stepped outside and held out my hands. Rain fell into my right hand. My left hand remained dry. I was standing half in and half out of the rain shower. That is not an uncommon phenomena here in the Rainbow State — where liquid sunshine falls almost every day of the year.

The rain is warm and soft. Even so, we carry umbrellas with us every where we go. In a state with an almost constant humidity level of 80% or higher, once one’s clothing gets wet it tends to stay wet all day — and in air conditioned buildings that can get a bit uncomfortable.

Oh, and that sunset photo?

Did I mention that I adore Hawaii?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Lost Trees

The phone rang. She answered it.

He said: “So where was the torture tree?”

She said: “I thought you weren’t checking the blogs any more from work?”

He said: “It was lunch time, so sue me. Where is the torture tree?”

She said:”It is near that Indian place on campus where you like to eat.”

He said: “I’m coming up on the quad now.” Thirty seconds of silence. “Okay, I am at the Indian place. Where’s this tree?”

She said: “Turn around. It should be right there. “

He said: “Turn around which way?”

She grumbled, “I don’t know which way is which on campus. There’s a building and a white fence.”

He said, “White fence? I don’t see any white fence!”

She said: “You know, this could take awhile. I don’t want to keep you from work.”

He said: “I have a few minutes and people are asking.” Pause. “So, it’s not here. Which way do I go?”

She said: “It is near your building. I pretty much walked a wide circle around Bilger Hall.”

He said: “That helps. Here’s the Barringtonia tree. Now where?”

She said: “The tortured tree is somewhere between the Barringtonia and Campus Center.”

He said: “Okay.” She could hear his foot steps on the pavement.

She asked: “Hon, are you near the art building?”

He said: “I was. I can go back.”

She said: “Okay. I took pictures of the huge Baobab Tree near the art building.”

“Once you find it, around the corner to your right is the Orchid tree you tried to tell me was a tulip tree. Then the real tulip tree. And somewhere between there and Campus Center is a shack (portable) and the tortured tree.”

He said: “I can’t even find the Baobab Tree.”

She said: “Are you between Bilger and the Art building?”

He said: “Yes.”

She sighed: “You’re on the wrong side of the art building.”

He said: “Well, I was on the other side. I must have walked right past it.”

She said: “You need to go back to work. Thank you. I love you for trying.”

He said: “Well, I wanted to try because I love you, but I do have to get back to work.”

She hung up the phone thinking how lucky she is and what a special man he is. Then she called the optometrist and made an appointment to have his eyes checked. Meanwhile, he was busy in his office enrolling her in a geography class and a memory enhancement course.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Lily of Pending Doom?

This is a Grand Crinum Lily. I spent weeks looking for the perfect photo op. The blossom begins to wilt almost as soon as it opens and it is difficult to find a fresh, crisp flower. In this photo you can see a few buds and many wilted remains -- and, miracle!, a few fresh flowers.

We were driving along the main road of our housing complex. As usual I glanced over these bushes near the entrance. I expected to see ... nothing spectacular. Instead ....

"Stop!" I yelled. "Pull over!" Luckily my partner is a mind reader (or experienced with my quirks) and he knew, despite my hysteria, that there was no real crisis pending. However, he also knew there would be a crisis pending if he didn't let me out of the car. He stopped.

"Hurry up!" He said, "We're blocking traffic!"

I hopped out of the car, climbed into the bushes and began snapping photos.

My partner pulled the car as far off to the side of the road as possible. The street there is narrow and the curbs are high. There really wasn't any place for him to go. He left the engine running and stayed behind the wheel in case he had to move, and I tried to snap quickly. The bushes were tall, so for the most part I was holding the camera above my head, snapping the shutter and hoping for the best.

At home I downloaded the photos. My partner didn't seem too impressed. "You certainly didn't center those well," he muttered.

"Hey, I'm short." I answered. "I was taking these shots blind. I think, under the circumstances, they came out pretty well. You could have come and helped me, you know."

"I was helping," he said. "I was making certain nobody crunched your car."

You know, [insert head shaking] sometimes I wonder about that guy's priorities.

Oh -- and with a little digital slight of hand, the photos are framed just fine.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Diversity, Part I

I love visiting the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus. Diversity abounds: the buildings, the languages, the people & their skin colors, and the plant life. Each step along every path brings something new and amazing.

For instance, this Coral Tree simply took my breath away. I stopped to photograph it, and a gentleman on campus stopped to query me. "What purpose is there in taking pictures of flowers?" He asked.

"Purpose?" I parroted and shrugged. "I just thought they were pretty."

"Pretty is not important." He flicked his hand like he was brushing away dust.

"But look at them," I pointed and said. "The shape --. The texture --. The amazing color --."

"Listen," he said. "If you want to see something truly amazing you need to study mathematics."

"But numbers aren't very photogenic." I replied.

He looked at me quizzically, shook his head and walked away. I was shaking my head as I watched him go.


Erythrina crista-galli, Fabaceae, common coral tree, origin, Brazil.

Zosterope japonicus japonicus, Zosteropidae, Mejiros or Japanese White Eye, named for the ring of white around it's eyes, is a song bird from Japan.


Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Hong Kong Orchid

This holiday season is in full bloom on the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus!

Happy New Year!


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