When a baby turns one in Hawaii...

The first birthday celebrations are an important tradition in Korea but also in Hawaiian culture. We celebrated Ka'iwa's first birthday with a traditional Hawaiian luau. He is one sixteenth Hawaiian.
This adorable family is about the partake on a luau feast they prepared with love in a three day span.

My tiny mermaid the big sister.
Day 1:  Dad dug and prepared an Imu, a lava rock roasting pit and began to heat the rocks.
Day 2: Imu was lined with sand, banana pulp, banana leaves. The pork wrapped with layers of tea leaves was placed inside. Imu was then closed with layers of banana pulp, leaves and sand and is left to cook overnight.
Day 3: Lau Laus were prepared for steaming. Lau Laus are made with taro and tea leaves, wrapped and tied the old way. Inside each lau lau is some meat,
fish and garlic. This was my frist time making lau laus. So beautiful!
Finally the Imu is opened and the roasted food is unearthed.
Also on the table were Lomi lomi salmon,
baked breadfruit, poi, rice, kimchi and so much more, ending with lemon pies made by the other grand mother.

Day 4: Huge beach barbecue party for all.


from three seas: The South Pacific, the Atlantic and the Caribbean.

It's more on the subject of "Why I collect" from previous post on August 30, 5 posts back.

On the vines...

Tiny fruit on the vines at the park. Sweet summer comes to an end when these begin to appear on the vines.
First freeze is expected tonight and I am not prepared.

But I will be...

See the last post for view the vines.

September rain...

So much rain in September... record, maybe. New Mexico is looking more like Hawaii now.
Spectacular lighning and thunder, arroyos with water! Coyotes and bears out roaming the neighborhood.
Giant puffy clouds. Such drama in the high desert.
Chilly and darker mornings, and I am looking forward to going to Hawaii late October.
Time for new provisions both emotional and sartorial.

Pine tree just outside my door and the vine at the park, entangled with silver lace. 

California beauties...

My niece got married a couple of weeks ago in California wine country. This fact alone is a amazing as she is the daughter of my little brother.
Having just arrived from the high desert the Golden State flowers appear new and overwhelming.
The ginkgo leaves are one of the shapes and colors of my childhood fall. The streets of Seoul would be covered with yellow ginkyo leaves.
These two leaves triggered sweet nostalia as I hadn't seen them in a long time.

Why do I collect?

Because collecting is a form of meditative contemplation.
Foraging is my favorite passtime.
Archiving/documenting what I collect is my obsession and joy.
Sharing them through photography is a fairly new passion. I am a curator by nature. 
I enjoy editing and picking through things that I consider priceless treasures. 
My collections have no intrinsic value. Many of my photos here reflect just that. I am an archivist.
I have to be mindful that these things don't take over my life or my house!!!

You can find me in Instagram under "omjsk" for more of these.

Arroyos transformed...

After much awaited late monsoons.
Not only for the happy cactus groves but the landscape changed so much that 
levels of dips and valleys are almost unrecognizable. 
What once was three feet deep is level with hills around, filled up with soft warm sand.  
Oh, the power of rain!

At the park...

Sitting on the bench, playing with flowers...watching the summer go by.
Pondering on the goals I had set for the year.
Time to reassess, rethink, regroup and move on with more clarity

Spectacular home...

New Mexico, you are more than a beauty! You are now part of me, my home 
and my very being to the bones. I amused myself as an outsider, anything but
New Mexican all those years since 1998 when I arrived here to stay for a couple years...
always in the state of potential departure, just a sojourner ready to go home.
I want to get to know this magnificent land of enchantment.

At Abiquiu lake to gazing at the Pedernal peak on the way to Ghost ranch recently.

Vines and raindrops...

Surprise rain the other day, and again tonight. Never enough but raindrops 
never sounded or smelled more beautiful. 
Heavenly music to us desert souls with ocean mind.
Moving into July with alacrity!

Ocean longings...

This ongoing three year drought and too many wildfires have
created a deep longing in my heart for the ocean. More so then ever.
It was heaven to be in the ocean with my sister last weekend in California...
with sand between our toes!
Just to smell the sea, be in it, gaze at it even for a day! 
And to have the time to chat and collect little treasures from the Sea together.

My little love is contemplating an evening dip but first she must gaze out and be one with her ocean.

Moving deep into summer...

with this incomparable beauty.
Clematis from the backside, the stronger side, more interesting side, more beautiful side.
See how it's designed to support the frontside, the side that is so full of vanity
with only bees on their mind. The backside? Its their backbone, its their true abode.

Learning from the invisible.

His things that I have...

I have a few personal things and books that belonged to my father.
Sometimes, I flip through his books especially the well worn ones... 
Korean/English dictionary, the bible in Korean and many classical literature.
He was a good student to the very last. Always curious, expanding his English vocabulary, reading history.
I find I do so many things exactly the way he did. 
We are so alike. I wish he had lived a bit longer... yet I feel his presence all around me.
Happy Fathers day, Appa!! 

Korean Bible, calligraphy ink stone, water well, and the pearls he gave me.

After the rain...

Long awaited and prayed for rain finally arrived with lights and noise
appropriate for the monsoon season. 
Our village hopes that it might be just a beginning of more rains, thunder and lightening.
Wildfire are popping up all over like the clovers in the field and its only June!
I am dreaming of the Sea!

A small sample of field study after the rain. 

Exquisite impermanence...

Winter snow long melted. 

There were noisy cherry blooms in early spring then cinematic forsythias and tulips.
Now the sumptuous peonies tell us its early summer. Same as always.
Peonies are the most beautiful and poetic when they begin to wilt.
When the petals fall, its sheer joy!
But that's just me!

Summer dreams...

Walking on a heavenly beach for miles, searching for treasures... 
anything that catches the eye. For memories, future nostalgia, recollections, something to hold and see it all again. 
The bright sun, my daughter's footsteps in front of me, her pareo dancing around her in the trade wind.
The horizon where the ocean blue meets the sky blue, warm sand, 
and a dip in the blue water to cool our feet.
And the long drive back home along the ocean as we had ventured far.
And a lunch stop on the side of the road for fresh mahi mahi plate! I think about that day often. It's so clear in my mind, more so than any other day that I had spent just with her. That was before she married her sweetheart and had two sweet babies.
I can't wait to see them all very soon!

My wild beast...

warming his belly in the arroyo.

The endless meandering of arroyos are all around us in the wild wild west where we live.
We go there to surf the steeply carved sand walls, for inspirations, treasure hunt 
and to stay alert just case we encounter coyotes or rattle snakes... and I have seen them!

In this state of heightened awareness we find respite from the swirling world we live in. 
Along the side walls of the dry riverbed are beautiful exposed juniper roots, rocks, 
curious skeletons, scurrying horny toads and other slithery things and many curious 
plants I don't know the names of. 
As the season changes so does the arroyos. It can be filled with water
during the monsoon season. Snowfalls are heavenly in there.

I walk the beaches in Hawaii for the same reasons. In some ways, there is no difference 
except I can't jump in the sand and go for a swim. Ipo doesn't know about the ocean... yet.

I love kimchi...

Red cabbage + red and white radish kimchi on the counter fermenting away...
This makes me a very happy Korean!

Scroll down to April 1 post titled "Lets make kimchi" for the recipe.
I dare you to make it!!!

Farmers Market blooms...

and I am just so happy about that!
Just made some radish kimchi and it's fermenting away. 
I feel healthy already!


and happy in her playground. She will be seven in June. 
I am counting the days till I see her and her baby brother in July.
They are my little loves.

Awaiting leaves of summer...

Elms are everywhere in Santa Fe. To me, they are the prettiest right 
about now before the leaves sprout and pods drop. 
The chartreuse pods look like pompoms threaded into dancing branches
against blue spring skies.

Sadly once the leaves grow, the elms lose their special spring charm 
yet they will provide cool shade along the winding streets.

River stones...

from the shores of the Rio Grande.
This year hardly any water flows down there...
One of my first hikes when I moved here was a hike down into the Rio. 
We ate lunch sitting on warm rocks along the river. 

I could't help but haul some back, heavy in my backpack,
for their solid disposition and smooth beauty.

Spring flowers...

and leaves.
All seasons are prefect and beautiful if your heart is open.
And the preference is set aside for peace of mind.

Bye bye Spring...

Hello! early summer.
Spring, you were so brief and windy yet so full of life and hope... 
and your light, so unlike any other time.

Baby aspens leaves aim to upstage sweet spring blossoms.

Color, Shape and Size...

Perfection in every way.
Natural Beauties in subtle hues of spring.

At the Santa Fe farmers market

Spike and Squid...

Can you tell which is which?

I am experimenting with a perfect home for them 
but they are a bit unruly and somewhat competitive.
Aren't they amazing? They live on air!

Adopted at the farmers market Saturday.

Ready to fly...

into the unknown. Again.
The feathers tell me tales of their fearless flights beyond the familiar skies.
 And I am listening to every full throated chirp attentively.
This life, so full of wonder!

Lets make kimchi!

Basic kimchi Recipe

I head Napa Cabbage
1 medium size daikon– I perfer uncut one
Green Onions  - 1 cup finely sliced
Garlic - 4 big cloves chopped fine
Ginger - 1.5 to 2 Tb sp. chopped fine 
Red pepper flakes (2 to 3 Tb sp.) – at Korean grocer
Sea Salt - quarter cup or enough to wilt the cabbage.

Cut the Cabbage in half then across to bite size. wash well
Shred (or julien) daikon
Mix cabbage and daikon together
Salt and mix in, then press down (with weight, big stone) to wilt

Let it sit out for 3hrs or more till limp - can refrigerate over night.

Mix the rest of the ingredients into cabbage daikon mix.
Pack it into sterilized Jars leaving 1 or 1.5 inch space at the top,.
Make sure the ingredients are submerged; if not add some water.
 Let sit for 2 to 3 days on the counter till it begins to ferment.
You can smell it or see the bubbles in the jar.

Taste to see if fermenting is progressing well, refrigerate when ready.
Should last several weeks but it will get more sour as time goes.
Then you can use it for other wonderful things.

Optional but recommend:
Pine Nuts – quarter cup - add when adding assembling.
Asian Pear cut into small pieces or dried goji berries to sweeten.

You can make kimchi with almost any vegetables.
Experiment and Enjoy!

Born beautiful...

In the South Seas.

My very first piece of jewelry was a graduated, double strand Mikimoto pearl necklace. 
I still have it but had it restrung as two separate necklaces.
I would love to restore it back to its original style someday...

My father bought it for me in Japan as a high school graduation gift. 
It was a big deal! Before that I wore no jewelry because it was 
unthinkable for young girls to wear jewelry then.

Pearls have been my weakness ever since. My daughter found these
heavenly black pearls from Tahiti. I wear this bracelet as often as possible.
Such treasures from the Sea.

I think of my father when I pick up my pearl earrings every single morning.

Pines pine for spring...

Crazy winds blow in all directions;
Tender spring buds, restless!

Picked on a morning walk yesterday. Jasmine sprig from my new house plant.

Rowing gently...

in the Sea of Tranquility.
My loves floating dreamingly on a Sunday afternoon.
Oh, how fast the little ones are growing!

Water! where are you?... and Spring! where are you?
Equinox is only minutes away.

Last week in Lanikai, Hawaii

Standing at the edge...

of Silver Lake on a hike in Telluride,
a very steep hike from the end of the box canyon.

I had a moment of clarity as I looked deep into the water.
The light moved yet the water was very still.
I could see clearly all the way to the bottom of the lake.
... and it was peace, stillness and blue.

I painted this picture later in Hawaii based on photos I took that day.
Colors are inspired by the unforgettable memory of standing at the edge of blue.

Every morning, I wake up to this painting staring at me and I stare back.
We have an understanding and a pact.

 Oil on canvas

Spring in Tesuque...

My friends have the most sublime floor. Tulips are just props.
Happy Birthday S.

A few days in Tesuque with furry friends.

New obsession...

A cactus garden.

My mother collected cactus for as long as I can remember. 
They were her quiet passion amidst political turmoil of her time.
She has just a few now... all that she can take care of.
I wish I appreciated her tenderness and love for them more.
Recently, slowly, one by one, I began to collect them.
Friends have given me cuttings to start.
My first purchase was a small Desert Rose at the farmers market. 

I can't wait for it to bloom but I will.
As I patiently wait, I will remember my mother's loving care towards 
all that is around her, even pokey plants.