Dork-o-Rama: The Random Thoughts of a Total Goofball

Embracing the Dork Side....Because Life is Too Short to Take Yourself Too Seriously

Sunday, July 27, 2008


It was a hell of an amazing day, and after many months of preparation and anticipation, it was over in a flash.

Mother Nature kindly brought us sun (which can be a rarity in SF in July), and my friends brought great spirit and support.

I'm still processing it all, as I didn't expect our ho'ike to be quite as emotional as it was, but there will be more details (and pictures) soon.

(I have no idea what I'm laughing at here, but it was definitely a joyful day.)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Why hula?

(Will I ever write about anything else? Yes. Not now.)

That's the question everyone asks me, when they find out I take a hula class. The answer is complicated.

I'm not Hawaiian, nor have I ever lived there, unlike most of my hula brothers and sisters who have strong ties to the islands. I got into this almost as a lark, because a friend suggested we take this class. She'd long wanted to take hula, as her daughter used to dance, and she'd gotten to know our Kumu through her connections to Polynesian dance, and work (confusing enough?).

Me? I just wanted to dance again, after a two-decade absence from any class. I took several jazz and modern classes in my youth, and quit a year into college, because my schedule got too full. I've always regretted that.

I had no idea what I was getting into. I was unexpectedly drenched with sweat after that very first hula class. I had no idea it was as hard as it is; like most people, I thought hula was just swaying hips and gently moving hands -- nor that I would come to love it as much as I do. The rituals, the spirituality, the language, the chanting...I love all of it.

I'll share with you what I wrote for the scrapbook we're giving to Kumu at our ho'ike (recital, but more) this weekend:

If anyone had told me two years ago that I would one day stand and chant solo before dozens of people, I’d have laughed. This is just one of the many surprises of my time in your beginning hula class.

For me, hula is a revelation. A challenge. A reward. It is beauty and warmth. It forces me to be in the moment. It has reawakened my creativity, brought new, wonderful friends into my life, and has strengthened my mind, body and soul.

Most of all, hula is a source of tremendous joy.

When my dear friend and her daughter had to drop the class, I almost did too, because, despite all of my bravado, I'm actually shy. I wasn't sure I wanted to do this without someone I knew at my side. I'm so glad I didn't let the 'fraidy cat in me win that one.

And I've stopped regretting that I stopped dancing in college, because if I'd kept at it, I probably wouldn't be having the experience I am now.

There are few reasons I would go out in public in really unflattering costumes wearing no makeup (almost), but that's exactly what I'll be doing on Saturday.

Hula is sacred to Hawaiians. Now, it is to me, too.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

What, two posts in one day??

Yes. I'm back already. I just discovered something surprising and touching.

There was a comment on my last post that I thought came from a spambot, as it referenced a post from ages ago, but when I finally got a clue that it wasn't, I clicked on the link, and found this!

Masgblog, you are too kind.

The best part of blogging is finding people all around the world with whom you connect. It's pretty amazing, actually.

A shrubbery!!!

  • The hula ho'ike's only a week away now, and just when I think I've procured all the supplies I need for the big event, something else comes up.
  • Now, we've each been assigned to bring a lehua branch to the event, so we can create a border between us and the audience (we'll all be on the grass - there's no stage).
  • Umm. I'm no horticulturist, so even though we were told there's lehua all over the city, I didn't know the difference between it and the good ol' bottle brush, which it resembles. Or where I can find it. Or how I'll possibly have time later in the week to go get some, as my boss is on vacation and I'm running the department solo, which inevitably means some long days are ahead of me.

Bottle brush:

See? Similar, and yet, distinctly different when you get up close. The leaves are entirely different.

One of my hula sisters who's a landscape architect told me of a spot where she'd seen some lehua and hooray, it's on my commute! So all this week, I've been studying the trees as I drive to and from work, to see if I can tell whether they're lehua or bottle brush. And whether there's one I can surreptitiously approach next week and snip off a piece. There are several in front of some fancy homes, but I don't think the homeowners would appreciate my cutting off a bit...

  • Guess what? It all looks the same from the car. I also had several near-crashes on my drives, trying to find some. So last evening, on the way home, I stopped and got out of the car to look. The first spot? Terrible. Sad, old blooms, hardly any color. Not suitable.
  • But I then found some a short distance away, completely by accident, and in a spot where I could probably snip some without anyone noticing.
Felt like the search for the Holy Grail...

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


I didn't realize it had been so long since I last posted! Time flies when you're... uh... really busy.

Preparations continue for our hula ho'ike (our first recital). Here's a glimpse of the dress I'll be wearing during the auana (modern hula) portion of the program:

Fabric's kinda cheesy, eh? I like that. There are 120 people in my class, so finding enough fabric with the same pattern to clothe us all was a big challenge, apparently. And I'm pleased I got my first color choice, even though the dress itself isn't particularly flattering. It's really well-made though -- several seamstresses worked their fingers off for us. Now I just have to figure out how to dance in it without tripping on it, as it's very... very... long.

And then there's the kahiko (ancient hula) costume that I have to make. Well, that I've been making with the kind and patient help of my dear friends Kimmy and Rebecca. As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, we have to print a design on our skirts, following some detailed guidelines. I am terrible -- no, really, I'm not exaggerating -- at crafting, so Kimmy* the fine graphic artist made me a fabulous and perfect stencil to use for my wave pattern. She's so good she designed this long-distance, after a brief email conversation. Here's how the pattern looks (with some seashell action above):

No, I couldn't color between the lines when I was a kid, either (and I remember getting in trouble for that in school. wtf??). But I like the imperfections here -- they're very me.

Here's (more) proof that I was actually involved in the printing on the fabric:

  • Apparently, I thought I was doing surgery. To me, crafting is as difficult as surgery!

  • The lovely Rebecca has not only opened her home to me to make this outfit, she's coached me through it from the beginning, helped me paint the fabric (SIX YARDS!), and is sewing the whole thing. It's been very time consuming, and has required much patience.
  • It's safe to say I couldn't do this without my friends, and I'll feel them with me as I dance in this outfit. (Pics of the finished product coming soon.)
  • On top of this, I have a big fat deadline at work next week, so it's been a very busy month of juggling. Of course, that hasn't stopped me from overbooking my social calendar too, so you can imagine how messy my apartment is.
  • And right now, I'm just too tired to care.
*normal people call her Kim