AN Ukulele or A Ukulele?

ukes, uke, ukulele, ukelele, HawaiiOh, you grammar mavens are cringing over the possibility of an ‘ukulele, I just know it. But while you’ve probably known this tiny four-stringed instrument as a you-ka-lay-lee, that’s an anglified version of a Hawaiian word. The Hawaiian pronunciation is oo-koo-ley-ley. Pronounce it Hawaiian style, and ‘an ‘ukulele’ sounds just fine.

It’s a problem for someone like me, who writes frequently about Hawaii. If I write it so that it feels comfortable to me, my editor will likely think I’ve skipped Grammar 101. When I do write about ukuleles* I present the issue of pronunciation to my editor. Invariably, ‘an ‘ukulele’ is trashed for the more common ‘a ‘ukulele.’ Editorial license trumps my comfort zone.

I prefer to use the Hawaiian pronunciation because, well, it’s just more accurate. It feels right. Just as a San Franciscan may cringe to hear their city called ‘Frisco,’ I’m sure folks from Hawai‘i find ‘you-ka-lay-lee’ to be a little hard on the ears.

Some people find the Hawaiian pronunciation to be snobbish. I can’t quite follow that train of thought, myself. It seems more respectful to me since the word is Hawaiian in origin. Of course, if you want to continue playing the you-ka-lay-lee, that’s fine by me.

It’s a contentious subject, though. My 17-year-old son is the editor and webmaster of Live ‘Ukulele. Via email, he interviewed a gentleman who used the term ‘a ‘ukulele.’ In his capacity as editor, my son changed the verbiage to ‘a[n] ‘ukulele’ to suit his editorial style. The man in question was not happy about this and things got a little unpleasant. I understand that the changes must have felt awkward to someone who’s used to the corrupted pronunciation, but again with the editorial license. It’s like to-may-to, to-mah-to. No matter how you say it, it’s good stuff.

And as if that isn’t enough controversy for an ‘ukulele, there’s the whole question about how to properly spell the word. I’ll let Aunty Anuhea address that one for you, though.

*Technically, that plural ‘s’ shouldn’t be there, but we’ll push one envelope at a time, ‘kay?

(Photo: Flickr user Runder)

Must See Places of Worship on Oahu

Photo: jdnx

No matter your religious affiliation, these places of worship offer a unique opportunity to visit the history and diverse culture of Hawaii. Enjoy the serenity of a Buddhist Temple, see the Christian church raised in Oahu by missionaries, and pay respects to the Hawaiian culture at a heiau.

Byodo-In – This Buddhist Temple is non-denominational and invites people of all faiths to worship, meditate, or simply enjoy the beauty of the temple and its surroundings. Stand in awe of Amida, a nine-foot-tall golden Buddha housed at the temple or tour the peaceful gardens where you will see koi, peacocks, or black swans. Admission to the Byodo-In grounds is $3/general; $2/seniors; $1/children.

Kawaiahao Church – The first Christian church to be built on Oahu, Kawaiahao Church is made of pink coral. Each slab of coral weighs more than 1,000 pounds and was quarried underwater in depths of 10-20’. The church was completed in 1842. Visitors can attend services conducted in both Hawaiian and English.

Keaiwa Heiau – Located inside the entrance to Keaiwa Heiau State Park, Keaiwa Heiau may look like a collection of loosely jumbled lava rocks to you. But this heiau, or temple, was a medical center and school in Old Hawaii. Plan to bring a picnic lunch and explore all the park has to offer once you’ve spent time at the heiau. Please remember that this is a sacred site. Do not remove anything from the site, and do not climb or walk on the rock walls and platforms.

All three of these locations are an easy driving distance from the heart of Waikiki and budget lodging like the Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel or Park Shore Hawaii.

Top Fun Stops for Kids on Oahu

Sure, the beaches in Hawaii are like a great big sandbox. But the sun and surf day after day can wear a kid out. When you need a break from the sun, these family friendly stops are surefire kid pleasers.

Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center – Catering specifically to young children, the center captivates kids with hands-on exhibits and experiences. Learn about the human body, explore different cultures, discover the plantation history of Hawaii, or imagine what it would be like to be a firefighter. Fair warning: you may need to drag your kids out of there. Maybe shave ice is a good incentive?

Bishop Museum – The museum has much to offer for those interested in the history of Hawaii. What may surprise you is the Science Adventure Center. Interactive exhibits allow kids to explore geology (think: lava!), oceanography, and biology as it relates to the Hawaiian Islands. Pack a picnic to enjoy on the expansive lawn and you could easily spend the better part of a day here.

Photo: Casey Serin

Dole Plantation – Admittedly, the Dole Plantation is tourist attraction that’s heavy on souvenir items. Even so, it makes a pleasant stop if you’re heading toward North Shore. The Pineapple Express takes kids on a 2-mile trip through fields of pineapple and other island crops. The plantation is home to the world’s largest maze, too. Work your way through paths lined with tropical plants in search of eight stations hidden within the pineapple shaped maze. You’ll want to finish off your visit with a Dole Whip. It’s good.

Lilikoi Gingerade

Otherwise known as passion fruit, liliko‘i is Mother Nature’s answer to a SweeTart. The first sour bite of a liliko‘i will jangle all the way back to your jawbone. Stick with it though and you’ll catch the tropical sweet undertones if this much-loved fruit. Filled with small black seeds wrapped in a juicy orange membrane, it grows on a vine that can get rambunctious in this mild climate. While I’m told there have been attempts to eradicate the vine as a pest, I consider myself lucky to have one growing in my backyard.

One can only eat so much liliko‘i fresh out of hand, though, so I find myself juicing much of my bounty to turn into liliko‘i jelly and liliko‘i butter (I want to try this recipe). I also use the juice to make a knock-your-socks-off liliko‘i gingerade. If you’re lucky enough to have access to fresh or frozen liliko‘i juice, this is pure refreshment. Not so lucky? You could substitute lemon juice for the liliko‘i. Or you could come visit.

Liliko‘i Gingerade

  • 6 cups water
  • 1- 6″ piece of fresh ginger
  • 2 cups lilko‘i juice
  • 1 cup sugar

1. Wash the unpeeled ginger and cut into 1″ lengths; place in a blender with 6 cups water. Pulse until ginger is chopped.

2. Strain ginger water into a pitcher. Discard ginger.

3. Stir in liliko‘i juice and sugar.

4. Chill and enjoy.

Thinking About Halloween?

do it yourself Halloween, Halloween, costume, homemade

If you’re all about homemade costumes for Halloween, head over to Blogher where I share instructions on how to make this cute duck costume from a paper bag and paper plates.

If cardboard and a hot glue gun are more your speed, check out GeekMom, where as part of their Halloween 2010 collection you can read about my kids’ insistence on dressing up as inanimate objects for Halloween. Like, say, a bulldozer.