Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hula Pie


There is a dessert you can get in Hawaii that is pure frozen Hawaiian bliss. It has the unusual name of Hula Pie and is served in slices big enough for three  to easily share. 

This last visit, Stuart, Amy and I ordered Hula pie three times, and the last time we didn’t even have to pay for it!  We had lunch at an ocean side restaurant called Leilani’s and didn’t notice that the receipt could be presented at the next visit for a free slice of Hula pie.    Later in the week, we went back to Leilani’s and ordered Hula pie again-and when the server asked if we’d been there before, and we said yes-he asked if we had our receipt.  Heartbreakingly, we had to say no.  But when he brought out our Hula pie, he said it was on the house anyway.  I could have kissed him!  (But I didn’t.)

Fist concocted many years ago, legend has it that Hula Pie is known as the dessert that sailors swam ashore to Maui for. It's so much easier to get now, and it is surprisingly easy to make, too.

Here is the recipe-and trust me, this is SO SO SO good!

9" chocolate cookie crust

1 quart vanilla ice cream

1 cup chopped macadamia nuts

12 ounces hot fudge sauce

Whipped cream

Additional chopped macadamia nuts

Mix macadamia nuts into softened ice cream and fill pie crust, making sure ice cream is heaped high in the center of crust. Freeze until firm. Remove from freezer and cover with hot fudge sauce. You will need to heat the hot fudge sauce slightly to make it easy to spread. Return pie to freezer, and freeze again until firm. When ready to serve, remove from freezer and cover with whipped cream and chopped macadamia nuts.


Makes ? servings (depends on how much of the Hula pie  the pie maker is willing  to share.)

hula pie plate

( I also came back with my very own Hula pie plate.  I’m guessing you know what that means…)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Maui, My Week in Paradise



While Abigail was enjoying herself to the fullest in Honolulu-sunbathing on Waikiki, mailing coconuts to her friends, sipping Mai Tai’s at Don the Beachcomber’s, and taking moonlit walks by the water with the nice sailor who helped her down from the palm tree, I had a wonderful week on Maui.  It’s hard to believe that something I looked forward to for so long is over, but I have many fond memories that will keep my heart in Hawaii now that I am back here at home.


I went to Maui with my own “to do” list:

· Hug a palm tree.

· Try a “Blue Hawaii.”

· Swim every day.

· Have Hula pie and coconut shrimp.

· Snack on macadamia nuts (especially the chocolate covered variety.)

· Buy at least one new sarong for my collection.


And above all, I wanted to enjoy the stunning beauty that is Hawaii.


Her rainbow array of tropical flowers…

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Her majestic green mountains…



Her turquoise blue waters…




I was also eager to see what surprises the trip would bring-and this trip did not disappoint. A couple of unexpected memorable events:

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From Napili Beach-our home away from home-we were treated one afternoon to the sight of whales swimming not far away. They were slapping their fins on the water, peeking above the surface with their noses pointed skyward, and diving under the waves and showing off their massive tails. I had never seen whales in real life before- it really was amazing!

Stopping at a roadside stand to buy a fresh coconut for Amy, we met a young wood carver and bought a beautiful handmade Koa wood tiki. (I wanted a tiki, but I hadn’t found any that had been carved in Hawaii.) This young man was a true artist, and I will treasure my tiki for a long time. We also met the owner of the stand-a man by the name of Mel Witt. He is a former pro football player who played defensive end for the Boston Patriots from 1967-1970. From his stand, called “Witt’s End”, he offers wisdom, and advice. He talked my ear off with his stories and gave me a hug to boot! A wonderful man.

Now it’s time to get back to work, and back in to an ordinary daily routine-even if I don’t want to.

But remember my five dollar bill? I brought it back home again…


And stay tuned for future posts, where I will share more about my week in Maui, including more photos,  the recipe for Hula pie, how to make a Blue Hawaii, some different ways to tie a sarong…

Monday, March 14, 2011

Hello, Hawaii


Hawaii has been calling me a lot lately, and I know why.  This winter business is really starting to get old, and I know there are a lot of people out there who would agree. 

I’m tired of sleeping under so many blankets that I feel like a pressed flower.  I’m tired of slipping and sliding on ice so much when I walk any place, that I feel like I should be given a score in Olympic figure skating. And I still haven’t gotten over the mental anguish of Stuart’s near tragedy driving over the mountains.  I’m ready for some sun, and sand, and palm trees.  We all are.

And so next Saturday-we are going to answer Hawaii’s call. We are heading to Maui for spring break.

We were under Hawaii's spell from our very first visit.  I remember the excitement I felt before we even got there.  I remember the thrill of getting the plane tickets, and booking our hotel.  I remember how exciting it was just to say “We are going to Hawaii!”  We chose the island of Oahu for that first trip.  I badly wanted to visit the grave of my Uncle Pete-and I also wanted to visit Pearl Harbor so that I could make the journey out to the Arizona memorial.

The minute we stepped off the plane, I knew Hawaii was a place I would love forever.  The beauty there is staggering!  And my Uncle Pete felt the same way. 

Below, he is pictured at the Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor.

Naval hospital Honolulu 1936

  And it was his love of Hawaii that led my grandfather to choose the Punchbowl Cemetery on Oahu for Pete’s final resting place.

August Going diary excerpt front

The excerpt above, dated March 23, 1949, is from a journal my grandfather kept.  It says:

“The recent notice that Roly’s remains can be brought home-more or less the reopening of an old wound!  My conviction  that he’d be at peace in the Islands-he loved it so, over there.” 


The marker for Roland Erich Going Phm2c

(My Uncle Pete)


with Fred Croydon Hawaiii 

My Uncle Pete is on the left, pictured with his friend Fred in Honolulu, and the car they were so proud of.


A photo Pete took of the beach at Waikiki and Diamond Head.  This is the only photo I have that was actually taken by my uncle.

Friends Hawaii

Pete, on the far left, with friends in Honolulu.


During this trip to Maui, we will stay at a tiny vintage motel right on the beach.  We will have plenty of time to soak up the sun, watch the swaying palms and make an important decision.  A decision that started with a box of See’s Peanut Brittle.

Several years ago, I bought the peanut brittle from a friend who was selling it to raise money for the choir group she belonged to.  The cost of the peanut brittle was  $15 and I gave her a twenty-and so she gave me a five dollar bill in change.  This five dollar bill…

Hawaii 5

I went to the website on the bill and I entered the serial number.  And lo and behold, the bill was first registered  by someone in Honolulu!  How cool is that?

I plan on taking the five dollar bill to Maui-but the question will be “to spend or not to spend.”  Part of me wants to return it to Hawaii, where it started it’s journey.  But part of me wants to bring it home again.

And I have to be truthful  and confess that this particular bill has been along on several other trips to Hawaii -and we’ve always decided to bring it home again.

Because if we bring it home again, it gives me hope that there will be a next trip to Hawaii, and another chance to make the decision…

And I want to go back.  My love of  Hawaii is in my blood.

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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Friday Finds

I go to Goodwill every Friday.  There are several antique stores in town, and they are stocked to the gills with good stuff-stuff that is hand selected  for its vintage appeal.  But I prefer hunting through the more modern discards of people’s personal property.  It’s challenging, it’s cheaper, and the thrill of hitting real pay dirt (a  relative concept, as my husband likes to point out!) is so much more rewarding.

Here is this week’s loot:


A  California pottery covered dish-$1.99.

A lava lamp style bottle filled with a glitter infused liquid. ( It looks neat when shaken!)  Also $1.99.


A 50’s or 60’s era Hawaiian shirt (made in California.)  Granted, I wouldn’t actually wear this shirt-not even in the dark, but I envision a little bamboo handled bag that would be a hit at any luau.  $3.99.

I enjoy these outings-all the more because I am supporting a good cause when I shop Goodwill.   And you just never know, when you get there, what may have your name on it…

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Oh Helen!


She could be stubborn.  She could be extremely unkind.  In truth, she could be downright insufferable.   She was Helen, and she was my grandmother.  In my lifetime, there are few people I have loved the way I loved her.

During the year I lived with her, she would often sing the Helen song.  I can still see her-with a very mischievous glint in her eye as she warbled like a tipsy sparrow:

“Oh Hel-Oh Hel…”  challenging me with a look that dared me to be shocked at her language.

Her acidic tongue was legendary, and nothing escaped her notice.  I remember my first day of classes at Oregon State.  I’d dressed up a bit, and as I walked past her to the door, she spied that I had put on lipstick.  “You been eating beets?” she casually inquired.

“Oh Helen please be mine.”

“Your feat, Your feat…”

The local Lutheran minister was often the target of her barbs.  When the poor man would visit, it was like watching a cat play with a mouse.  Helen was clearly in her element.  The minister, a soft spoken kindly man, refused to say anything negative as Helen fired away-voicing  her critical opinions on a variety of subjects.   That year that  I lived with her, he visited several times, and I admired him for it.  He was either very brave, or had an exceptional commitment to his duty as a man of God, because the same fate awaited him every time. Though she often told me she was going to tell him to buy a new suit, because his current one looked the worse for wear, thankfully she never followed through.  ( The minister and his family were extremely poor.)

“Your features are divine.”

“I swear, I swear…”

The thing about my grandma, was that despite her ability to be such a pill, she was, when all was  said and done, truly a sweetheart.  I have many happy memories of my time living under her roof.  One of my favorites is  how  at night,  as each of us lay in bed in our own rooms- we would talk back and forth like the best of friends- before finally getting drowsy.   She would call out “Good night Valerie.  I love you,”  And I would answer “I love you too grandma.”

I’ve thought about this.  My grandmother did not have any easy life, and I think she was a little bitter about it.    (Well ok, “little” may be an understatement.)  From the time she was a child-through her years as a young woman and later in her married life, the road she was fated to travel was a hard one.  She was often in circumstances-during the Great Depression, for instance-that I can’t even begin to imagine.  And by the time she was an elderly woman-she just had to get her bitterness off her chest.  I think it was her way of getting some recognition, at last, for the trials that she’d been given.  But at the same time, she had a great empathy for those also struggling along in life.  As with the minister, she knew what lines should not be crossed. She was infuriating, but harmless.  The sum total of who she was caused me to feel fiercely protective of her-even when she didn’t seem to deserve it.

“I swear I will be true.”

“Oh dam, Oh dam…”

Her Helen-ness was never more apparent than the time she accused me of taking the rubber sealing ring from her blender.  “Why?”  I asked her “What possible reason would I have for doing that?”

As we sat down to dinner that night-I noticed bits of silver colored rubber among the bread crumb topping that crowned the buttered noodles.  I didn’t have the heart to tell her.  I just ate very carefully…

“Oh damsel, I love you.”

Oh Helen.

I miss you, and now more than ever-I need you.

Helen and me


I still get a kick out this poem she wrote once while visiting my family-I guess I was a messy kid:)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

In an Instant

Our Wedding

I’ve been married enough years now that I occasionally lose count.  I know Stuart’s and my anniversary is September 5th-but it seems the years have gone by in the blink of an eye.  In an instant.

Over the years, we have had our good moments and bad moments just like any other married couple.   I’ve sighed over the little things- just like Stuart has-things we wish we could fix in each other-but know it won’t ever happen.  There are certainly many moments we have taken each other for granted.

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This last weekend, Stuart flew to Austin for a conference.  To get to the Seattle airport from Ellensburg-you have to drive over the Cascade mountain range.  It takes about 2 hours.  This isn’t a big deal in the summer-but in the winter it can be dicey if the weather doesn’t cooperate.

And this trip-when Stuart was trying to get home-the weather was really being a-(Well let’s just say it isn’t a very lady like word.)

Stuart flew into Seattle very late Sunday night-but the mountain pass was not in good driving condition.  And so I talked him into waiting until yesterday.  Early in the day, the pass closed due to multiple accidents and an avalanche.  While my husband bided his time waiting for the pass to open-he tried to find ways to kill some time at a nearby outlet mall.  I continued to monitor the pass report, and would call in updates to him. 

At one point when I called-he was looking at some new swim trunks for our next trip to Hawaii.  He was considering a pair in a bright blue hibiscus print.  He told me he’d already bought a new cordless drill-and was afraid of what else he might buy. ( He was so bored, he said-that even “Vitamin World” was starting to look interesting.)

Eventually, around 5:30 pm-the pass opened up and Stuart decided to go for it. 

I did not hear a word until  about 9:15 pm, and I could tell right away that something was wrong when I said hello.  There was a terror in Stuart’s voice. 

He’d had a close call.  A very close call.  And I had come within a hair’s width of losing him.  All in an instant.

He arrived home about 40 minutes later-tired and visibly shaken.  He seemed reluctant to talk about what had happened. (Later he told me-it involved losing control on ice, crossing down one side and up the other side of an embankment, nearly rolling our car- and ending up in the lane of oncoming traffic.  All when he was only driving about 35mph.  He was shocked at the momentum our car seemed to gather as this was happening.)

We had a pretty sleepless night.  Stuart was replaying the scene over and over-while I could only think about what it must have been like for him.  And  I kept thinking about those hibiscus shorts, and the new drill-and what my life would have been like without him…

So today, while Stuart is trying to get back that feeling of normalcy, I just want to give all of you-my sweet readers-a gentle reminder.  Tell those near and dear to you that you love them-and that you appreciate them.

It only takes an instant.

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