May 31st, 2018 / posted by paularath

Eleele on her favorite carpet in the kitchen

Meet Eleele. We found this lovely cat in Malaekahana Park. She was living in the hau bushes and she walked right out of the bushes and jumped up onto my lap. Her green gold eyes never left mine. It was love at first sight.

Of course, in those days she was emaciated and appeared to be on death’s doorstep. My heart went out to her as I visited her daily for a week and waited for her to come out of the bushes for her can of tuna. On our final day in Malaekahana, I went to the park prepared to take her home in a carrying case. But the park was crowded with campers and Eleele was nowhere to be seen.

Jerry and I vowed to return the following week and, if she came to me, we would take her home with us. She came bounding out of the hau and jumped on my lap. She was calm and happy when placed in a carrying case to travel to town with us.

When we took her to the vet before we took her home and exposed her to our other cat, Scrimshaw, we discovered that she had been spayed, meaning she had been someone’s cat at one point. Some heartless person had dumped her in the park to fend for herself.

As a pet she had never needed to scavenge for food and she was no competition for the feral cats who had lived for years in the park at Malaekahana. She would have died there in a matter of days, weeks or, at most, months.

Instead, she lived happily with us for six years. She gained weight and her coat became shiny and glowing with health. Of course Scrimmy wasn’t always happy about her “invasion,” but we all survived. After 21-year-old Scrimshaw died a year ago, Eleele thrived on being Top Cat and she softened and become more affectionate and loving than ever before.

Until a few weeks ago, when precious Eleele succumbed to what was probably a brain tumor.

We will always treasure the years we had with her and she will forever hold a special place in our hearts.

–  Paula Rath


May 25th, 2018 / posted by paularath

Al Aiona’aka talks sushi to the Palama Settlement culinary team.                                                                                                                                                             Photos courtesy Larry Sweets

Thanks to our creative, energetic and well-connected youth specialist, Larry Sweets, Palama Settlement’s culinary team from the 808 Junior Chef competition got a lesson in sushi.

The teacher was none other than Al Aiona’aka, the Asian Food Director for Whole Foods Markets.

The youths, who come from a wide range of family and culinary backgrounds, took to sushi making right away. Thanks to Whole Foods, they were provided with outstanding ingredients such as fresh salmon, hamachi and ahi.

Joshua Ansagay gets ready to wrap and roll.


Anthony Hoang defies the idea that sushi always has to be serious.


Vanessa Tupil takes pride in her new skill.

Mahalo nui loa to Whole Foods for their generosity and support of the chefs of tomorrow.

– Paula Rath


May 18th, 2018 / posted by paularath

Ken Downing presents 2018 Runway Trends before an enthusiastic audience.

Neiman Marcus Ala Moana is celebrating its 20th year in Honolulu, and the first celebratory event featured none other than Ken Downing, the company’s Dallas-based Fashion Director.

Downing put together a polished fashion show that literally popped with color, shiny sequins, layers of silk organza, animal prints, cowgirl boots and piles of turquoise jewelry.

Short shorts were de rigeur for men, whether worn with blazers r bomber jackets.

Downing introduced the show with the observation that current trends are all about “The ’80s – all day and all night.” That said, here are some of the key trends he identified for spring 2018:

  • Biker jackets
  • Hot pink (for men and women)
  • Power pantsuits
  • Athleticism in all types of attire
  • Evening shoes for day
  • Animal prints of all sorts
  • Animal prints worn from head to toe
  • Polo shirts for men and women
  • Caftans
  • Cowboy boots with a feminine edge
  • Track suits as “the new leisure suit”
  • Logo mania

Downing donned casual denim for his runway rundown.

Downing espouses sequins for day, whether heading for Starbucks or the supermarket. Bored with “evening wraps,” he encourages women to wear a blazer or bomber jacket over their evening attire.

In order to make black work in Downing’s universe, it should be worn in layers, preferably in a mix of fabrics of varying weights. Italy’s Brunello Cucinelli is doing this in a magical way.

A layered cream confection from Brunello Cucinelli

This being a return to the ’80s, there must of course be shoulder pads. But these are not the shoulder pads we wore in the ’80s – they are a little sharper and, thank goodness, far less bulky.

Downing said he has been seeing aloha prints in every major fashion city, including London, NYC, Paris and Milan. He showed them layered with a range of jackets over them.

A trend I will always love: turquoise, and lots of it. Layered extravagantly, Downing showed chunky turquoise jewelry with caftans, jeans, bomber jackets and frilly frocks.

The show was flamboyant and fabulously fun, a treat for the senses.

  • Paula Rath




April 29th, 2017 / posted by paularath

Jerry’s art is an original watercolor, now featured on this permanent sign at the Zoo.

Okay, I admit it. I am a prideful wife.

I can’t help it. Jerry is one of those Renaissance men who can do anything. For 40-plus years he was a brilliant orthopedic surgeon. He was an exemplary military man who worked his way up to become a Colonel. He has excelled in many sports, including football, paddling, racquetball, tennis – and he nearly shot his age in golf last week. He is Mr. Fix-it around the house. He loves to drive, and even manages foreign places with foreign languages on the signs. He has great taste and always chooses beautiful clothes and accessories for me. He makes a mean Green Chile Stew.

And now he is a commissioned artist. He was asked to paint an image to go on the Honolulu Zoo’s Children’s Discovery Forest sign. It’s a lovely part of the zoo where indigenous plants are featured.

The sign offers educational opportunities for the keiki.

He added a human touch to the painting, with a woman making kapa and a man pounding poi in front of their little hale.

Painting a commissioned work is not easy, especially when it’s the first time working with a team on a first-time project with no history to guide you. But he created a beautiful and lasting educational tool for the Honolulu Zoo.

  • Paula Rath
March 23rd, 2017 / posted by paularath

Kalahari Bushmen and Women of Botswana with whom Jeff Gruber worked and studied. Titi is at center, standing, in the gray coat.            Photo courtesy Maureen Page

I don’t pretend to be a movie critic, but I do love movies and see lots of them.

So I just want to let you know about a wonderful movie that is playing right now at the Kahala Theatre. It’s called “A United Kingdom” and it’s the true story of the true love of Botswana’s (black) heir to the throne, who later became its first President, Seretse Khama, and his (white) British wife in the 1940s and onward. They suffered greatly for their love, and their love for their  country, then called the British protectorate of Bechuanaland. It became Botswana when it achieved independence in 1966, largely due to the efforts of Seretse Khama.

Through exile and family strife, this fierce couple won the backing of the Tswana people and Seretse Khama also managed to protect the mining rights to Botswana’s diamonds.

It’s a story of great courage and determination. And it’s one of the great love stories of all time, a love story that affected an entire nation and shook the British Empire to its core.

To this day, Botswana is a shining example of fairness, democracy and integrity to all of strife-torn Africa.

Jeff and Maureen Gruber with their dog, Tladi, in 1975     Photo courtesy Maureen Page

I have close ties with and many fond memories of Botswana. I lived there from 1972-73, just a few years after independence came to the country. During those years Botswana was surrounded by the hateful practice of apartheid. South Africa and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) were steeped in racial divides that completely separated black and white. And there, smack in the middle, was Botswana with its black President and white First Lady.

I was a pioneer for the Baha’i Faith and pioneers must work to make a living, so I worked for a tiny mimeographed newspaper called Puisano. We especially loved making it a front page story when someone was kicked out of the country for using the expletive “kaffir” to describe a black person. It was great when an Afrikaans woman used the term and was sent packing back to South Africa by a government and people that simply won’t put up with such prejudice.

Puisano was based in Selebi-Pikwe, a copper nickel mining town that no longer exists. I googled it and there is nothing but brush to remember it by. Where I lived, Mahalapye, is now a thriving town, thanks largely to mining and the railroad.

It was my great fortune to have known an American linguist, Jeff Gruber, and his lovely English wife, Maureen Page, both dedicated Baha’i pioneers for many decades and in several nations.

Jeff was an MIT-educated linguist studying the Khoisan Bushman languages of the Kalahari Desert. These are also called the “click languages” because many of the “words” are clicks achieved with the tongue making a variety of clicks against the roof of the mouth. This language had never been written – only spoken. Jeff was creating an alphabet so it could become a written language. He worked with a remarkable Bushman named Titi who was extremely smart and seemed to be able to do anything under the sun. He even saved me from a scorpion one night because of his amazing sixth sense of what was happening around him.

But I digress. The acting in “A United Kingdom” is fabulous, though quite understated. David Oyelowo plays Seretse Khama and Rosamunde Pike plays Ruth Williams. Please go see it, or stream it or rent it when it’s available. You will learn a lot of history and watch the birth of Botswana, now a thriving, safe and secure African nation. A nation, by the way, that is now lead by Seretse Kahama’s son.

  • Paula Rath