Thursday, December 26, 2013


"We might want to try thinking about art a little differently. "Art" is less about what we could be and more about what we are than we normally acknowledge. When we are fixated on getting better, we miss what it is we already are--and this is dangerous because we--as we are--are the origin of our art. "We" are what makes our art original. If we are always striving to be something more and something different, we dilute the power of what it is we actually are. Doing that, we dilute our art."
- Julie Cameron

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The value of myth

“The value of myth is that it takes all the things you know and restores to them the rich significance which has been hidden by the veil of familiarity.”-C.S. Lewis


Thursday, December 5, 2013

A world of juggling women; web-making and sources for myth

While winter sets frost and freeze here in the woods, my wandering spirit is warmed by the search of story in the depth of web-making. The Safety Pin Cafe is open to that spirit of story searching fueled by the cold night dreams, drama in some cases; and as well she is open to the everyday magic that is born of necessity.
 "Folk tales are like collective dreams; they are told in the kind of voice we hear at the edge of sleep, mingling the facts of our lives with their images in the psyche." - Lewis Hyde, The Gift
When winter comes we often tell ourselves, we aren't ready for it. As if the season was part of our checklists, we say the thing that is exactly so. We aren't ready, but winter doesn't think about whether she is ready. She simply lives it. The world I live in, as writer and border witch, is one that does exactly as Lewis Hyde suggests mingling and weaving the facts of my life with the images in my 'mind' but something else happens as well. I feel the border where the everyday and the myth cross and park myself there, and pin the magic together to create story. Let me spin a tale from this and see where we are ...


I am in the middle of putting down the newest story in the on-going ka'au (saga) of The Safety Pin Cafe. New characters and the plot begun with a silver-haired raven and an aging woman we come to know as 'border witch' has grown. (I hope adventurous readers and myth-makers will join me in the  the magic of the story already put down ... in a workshop starting January 1, 2014. Check it out here.) The story that grows now is about a juggler; meddlers; mending; and more border crossings. My process of writing is organic and spins invariably from the daily reality of living. This juggler is based roughly on the character and life of my younger brother. He asked me to write his story, and that is what I'm up to. He may or may not recognize himself by the time the story is put down, but "it makes no nevermind." Juggling is what a writer goes, and there will be much more added to the arch of the story than a straight line chronicle.

Last night as I slipped into the dream place images and ideas fished around in my mind, and in the morning I settled them into my belly. Breathing deeply I filled up with new life and let it all swirl in the darkness of the vardo. Juggling was on my mind and in my breath. I wondered this: "Women Jugglers" ... as I felt the part.

Picking up the threads

The story of the juggler is growing nicely, the characters and the continuity full enough to welcome what is next. Not what I want necessarily but what the story has in mind. The threads: Winter. Finding locations for the telling of story from The Safety Pin Cafe. Being patient with the process of growing the cafe. Audience participation: I love that part most of all when I tell. The Juggler is mythic -- man and beastie both. Genealogy.

This morning three threads have fit themselves into the eye of my needle, a thick sort of threading takes place when my hands, my imagination and my real life have a place in the web-making. A source that once offered my wandering spirit a place to light when I was taking a leap of faith from one career to something else. The source was a small elfish man and teacher Brian Way. 
I was sad to learn he died in 2006, but glad we had met when we did. It was time for me to be meddled with, I was about to meet the play actor who would tickle me in a magical way. The pun was not intended, but it does work. Brian Way was a glorious magician of children's theatre and offered me both a structure (lesson plans) for the start of my journey with storytelling and an invitation to meddle with what was. It was 1993. This morning I found an old text book available at written by Brian Way in the 1980's. It focuses on 'audience participation.' 'Aue!

The second thread came when the internet led me to the YouTubes that begin this post. Women Jugglers. Yes, the women of Tonga are jugglers! Beautiful. The videos above are that, and the feeling I get, the sensitivities that juggle inside and outside me are alive with life. I listened and watched both the videos in the early morning hours, still dark. I noticed the nuts the women were juggling, and heard the pronunciation of the word: tui tui nuts. Rewinding the video I took a closer look at the nuts and the tree from which the nuts were being gathered. I watched the women, the girls, the kupuna (elders) and I recognized the nuts. In Hawaiian we call them kukui, candlenut. Kukui is the tree of life, tree of light. From the oil of the kukui came the light, the lamps of kukui hele po (the candlenut that came when the darkness came). The women of Tonga have been juggling light for hundreds of years. It was, and is, a game, it is play, it is what they can do. It is what they do.

The third thread was the use of safety pins, once again pinning a need in a common and efficient way.

The every day necessity of our real life safety pin cafe comes from now: today we need an added layer of warmth against the 20 degree temperature outside. It's the Quonset Hut that's in need of extras like a pair of long underwear. Flannel sheets, our layer of choice over and over again serves the purpose.
A double sheet doubled up and safety pinned into lengths of a decorative binding found years ago in a thrift shop (and gentling washed in baking soda and aired of lingering fragrances) keeps the draft out.
 JOTS' felt covered door is now a bit changed. She will need some time to get used to the in and outs. She's adaptable, not always living it, she makes do and mostly likes the warmth more than the inconvenience.
Peeking through the newly safety pinned layer of flannel, the coZy den is warm and more ready for the promise of lower temperatures.

There in the dreams and the deep well of listening my belly brain was tickled. The web, the jugglers' invisible arch and the storyteller's melody pull themselves through the eye of a needle. Noticing the value of a story present in the everyday, the story hums. Listen. Hear it?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Consolidating and Investing

"Comings and goings

Many things have happened since I began blogging in 2008: blogs and bloggers have come and gone, I have a lot more gray hair today, and my love affair with blogging has grown to epic proportions. I've learned a lot about blogging and opened and shut dozens of them (really!) Vardo For Two was the first blog I started. It started as a way to chronicle the process of building a two wheeled moveable Gypsy-style home that was 'safe enough for us.' We needed to invest in the belief that we could rebuild our lives after I became increasingly ill from multiple chemical sensitivities and could no longer live, or be, in most enclosed spaces (houses were a no-go!) We, my husband Pete and I were part of the early stages of the Tiny Home enthusiasm thanks in part to Jay Shafer of Tumbleweed Tiny Homes fame. We drove to California in the fall of 2007, met and participated in one of Shafer's first workshops and as they say in the Twelve Step Rooms "took what we liked and left the rest." Vardo For Two did become the record-keeping journal of the process and the experiences of two old dears investing in a new beginning..." - read the rest of the story here.

Winter for a Border Witch and the Silver-haired Raven is a time of consolidating and investing our energy into that which sustains and does not deplete Earth. It's a harsh sky we're under, and everyone is feeling the pressure. What pressure one feels is unique, but without doubt what pains one affects the other. I juggle my options for life: aware of my limitations due my sensitivities and weave magic from those sensitivities because Earth is sensitive. Without a sense of entitlement to something or somewhere better, I can and do invest in being where I can be at my best while cracked.

The Safety Pin Cafe is young, a myth and a sit-at-the-table-and-have-pie place that needs time to be known and to know the whirl of locations. Where can we safely pop up and share the medicine and magic? Not just anywhere. Winter protocol requires more due diligence for me as the scents of the season tamper with me and weaken me. I consolidate after an exposure to some thing that sets me back. I go within, and open another door. Sometimes you need to dig deep or reopen a door that can reignite your mojo. Sometimes, like going over the river and through the snow/to grandmother's house we go ... I go back to my roots, and back to the genealogy of my writing mojo. That's what I'm doing now reopening my first blog and serving from there with the herstory that reminds me that I can live from a cracked bowl. Wonder what that means? Go here to follow the bread crumbs.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The 5 and Dime

Do you remember the old 5 and Dime stores? There was a Ben Franklin in Kaimuki when we were kids. An escalator ride led from the parking lot on Center Street into that place that I can still feel and smell. The KRESS Store in downtown Honolulu where my Ma and I would go for Tulip Sundaes at the counter.

Ma didn't drive in those days, we caught the HRT (Honolulu Rapid Transit) bus from Kuliou'ou and it was a treat and a memory I could not have known would live a lifetime. Nostalgia and practical magic combine to tickle the light from their hiding places today. To do that I'm created The Safety Pin Cafe 5 and Dime our version of a 2013 five and dime store. The doors to our E-shop are now open for "magic within reach".
Click here to stop in at The Safety Pin Cafe 5 and Dime.
Hope to see you in the e-shop.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

"The Cafe's in the orchard ... " Raven observed

"The Cafe's in the orchard. If there is one thing for certain, it's this: with help they will pitch this cafe with ease, without it they will labor." Raven observed as the two old dears carried poles and stacks of tent from the turquoise truck, the truck they name Bernadette. Raven was quiet in his noticing, but the tree was listening.

"Is one better than the other? I mean if they have help to raise the cafe it will ease their effort. Without it they labor, but that is not bad either." The Ancient Fir was always curious about humans at their work.

The hens were curious too, but don't make much commentary about things they know nothing about and continued with their business.

"It was the old woman's idea and the old man's labor that led to the Cafe being positioned in the orchard. The large canopy tent is a gift from their friend who is packing up his truck and his happy heart to journey south to California where it's warm all the time. The old woman thinks it will be fun to have the tent/cafe nearby as she plays with the magic." The Ancient Fir is within earshot of all the conversations and is expert at hearing the magic that rides the border between words and belly intelligence.

"She prayed those song words she sings to ask for permission when they'd finished raising the tent. She's consistent in asking." The tree was swaying remembering the old woman's chanting.

Raven watched as the woman went about the orchard pushing on the small button capturing images in the black box. He appreciated that about the woman, she chronicled. Ravens have exceptional memory rather like the human's digital black box, but legions more expansive. "I like that she is looking at the tent through the limb of the Gravenstein. It's a view the apple will see after all; and the hens will see the Cafe whether they comment about it or not."

"There is room for magic in that orchard, and it gives the old ones another shelter to play in when the rain makes it inconvenient. Perhaps this tent will draw the help they need when sharing the labor is what's needed. Perhaps the season of long nights and dreaming will send them stories worth telling. And, who knows with our meddling this winter could be just the one to continue common magic." Raven liked that idea. Flying from The Ancient Fir's dancing limb the black-feathered bird let out with a chant of his own. The Old Man and The Old Woman took it as a blessing. They were glad.

Friday, November 1, 2013

"I'll be seeing you"

"... I continue to struggle to learn basic web stuff (like backing up the site, cloud storage and other things I pretty much loathe doing or even knowing about). I can’t complain at this point. I’ve crested the top of the learning curve and while there is plenty more that I can and will learn, things are functioning both on the surface and behind the scenes…and it’s no longer on a hope and a prayer! It’s definitely good to push to learn new things when you’re older. On that level, I’m grateful for these problems..."-from my astrologer Elsa Panizzon who created the first astrology blog on the internet 11 years ago
I found ElsaElsa the first year Pete and I returned to the Pacific Northwest after the initial times of homelessness and tail-spinning. Our adventures in my homelands were indeed rendering me "faceless" as well as homeless. I was a writer who could no longer touch ink or paper, but there was an escape hatch and it was called BLOG. Short story: I found Elsa's blog, and wove her stories, her angle on astrology (not a new tool, but certainly I needed to make it more real to be useful). Elsa did that for me in 2008. I sought a tether to ground myself, I found a storyteller with real life astrology and a kind and generous heart. I used one of my safety pins and hooked up with her. The pin still works, holding me efficiently and I have learned to blog and stretch what I know about the cyber-publication game as far as my safety pins can take me. Like Elsa I have so much to learn about basic web stuff. My son comes in and out of my life to teach me or do for me what I cannot, and that gets me a bit further on the learning curve. I let that be enough and that makes it possible to accept the disappointments like having to cancel Tea and Toast at The Safety Pin Cafe. The reality of harsh and chemically toxic environments exists. When winter and cold season move people indoors the heat sources (electricity or wood smoke) do two things that challenge us: first, the heat warms up the cleaning agents used in carpeting and in the scents people use to wash and dry their clothing; and if it's wood used to heat most people don't know how or choose not to burn 'clean'. Both scenarios shut out or shut down people like me and my husband. Location, location, location. Where to go, where to be?

We are old and resilient. That's the combination that allows safety pins to be the efficient and moveable magic that is at the belly and heart of The Safety Pin Cafe. Where is she going with this tale? She's taking you outside where the two old dears spend most of their lives. Out in the woods, out in public places that allow for a safe haven, small, "grounded and sensitive" spaces, a place where mushrooms pop up, and where the big red umbrella and banner of the cafe can appear. I have slowly recovered from the body burden of being maluhiluhi (not well). Impatient to be at full steam my head wished for QUICK, but the organic nature of life is different, and SLOW and LESS is the more usual answer. So, I slog through and weeks later I am excited to find alternatives for The Safety Pin Cafe. That's what this tale, this post is all about ... a New Moon Message to say we'll be seeing you in all the old familiar places, or unexpectedly familiar places. Click on the arrow below and listen to Billie croon "I'll be seeing see," while you take a look at some familiar places in and around our town.
Pete and I went looking at the familiar places outside where The Safety Pin Cafe umbrella, a hand-stitched banner, room for a storyteller's stool and a few silly and artful props can be set up in our version of FLASH performances. We had such fun, playing around and believe we're onto something ...

So, we'll be seeing you in these familiar places soon. Be quick though, we're old but move like the wind, with safety pins. Look for messages posted in those familiar places and shared through the coconut wireless networks here and there (Drewslist and more!) telling you when we'll be popping up the umbrella and stringing up the banner.

A'a i ka wala'au. Let the words fly.

Moki and Pete

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A year of magic

I found a set of these cups one day nearly a year ago while taking myself on an "Artist's Date." The medicine story had begun, and in my heart I knew the cozy place would need cups to fill with hot milk or tea and magic.

If you don't know about Artist's Dates click here.
Those seven sweet cups sat in the paper bag after The Safety Pin Cafe popped its tent into the Raven-lit sky, sharing story, inviting involvement and keeping a promise. Those cups sat unwashed for nearly a month. We kept passing the bag, but not washing them ... inexplicable. Until I did reach in and found the magical leavings of Red Hibiscus Tea ... in the shape of a red apple. (faint, but there really) Messages. Notations like a musical score.

This morning on my way back from feeding the hens the call of the leaves from the blueberry bushes catch me and would not let me go. "It's been a great year!" they sang. I stopped and randomly picked a handful of glorious petals and agreed, "Yes, it has been a magical and magnificent year of magic."

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Thanks Mercury (in retrograde) ... about the cancellation of Tea and Toast

" I never fear Mercury retrograde... I think the main reason is ... anything that creates a situation where a person glosses over information the first time it comes around. Perhaps you get overwhelmed with a barrage of constant or simultaneous information flow. Perhaps, like me, you tend to set things aside because you didn’t know what to do with them at first sight. Perhaps you’re a slower processor and the world moves faster than you do. Maybe you get overwhelmed, or maybe you specialize, to the exclusion of some data ... - Satori
Astrology is one of my constant navigational tools; I check my bearings regularly. Pete has come along for the astrological ride over the years and like me appreciating how he uses his box of tools and his beast-of-a-truck, my husband has an appreciation for the planetary alignments. We were chatting yesterday and he shared stories with me about his day out in the public.

"Mercury is retrograde," he said to more than one person.
"Oh god, Mercury is always in retrograde!" one woman said.
Another said, "Oh no I'm trying to sell my ---. Is that going to stall things!*!?" He had a philosophical and classic Cancerian statement to encourage peace, patience and a don't go off the edge sort of response (he's got a lot of Virgo). I've noticed that even with folks who don't use astrology the way I do, "Mercury in retrograde" has a universal oh-my-god effect.

Time and study has aided me in seeing the blessing in (almost) everything. Life with the changeable nature of being human, and alive, means I get to re-do, unravel, re-stitch and safety pin my choices and my habits again and again. Tea and Toast at The Safety Pin Cafe is an event designed to keep promises; keeping promises is important, I think. The juggling act that I manage is the border crossings of promises to others with those I make to myself. Satori's description and insight into Mercury's retrograde (October 21-November 10) calms the rabbit-rabid pace within me: this moveable feast is such fun!! Never-mind the potential for the space to be difficult. I did gloss over the potential danger, hoping I could juggle fancy.

Here I am this Tuesday morning recouping from the effects of choosing and hoping to be just like everybody else (who can enter, occupy and sit anywhere). The facts and art of my life require different navigational choices. For now, I write and heal from choices which pushed me to a new border. Mercury's retrograde period covers ground already crossed and I process the information more slowly and make peace with time and limitations. Sorry for disappointing any of you would looked forward to tea, toast and more moveable feasts of story! It's so much about location, location, location. Seasons change, and we are now into the season of Scorpio and winter begins. The Safety Pin Cafe will pop up somewhere close-by, sometime. An unexpected space? Perhaps. That's a promise.

A hui hou,

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Tea and Toast Time at The Safety Pin Cafe

THE SAFETY PIN CAFE  ... the moveable feast of storytelling pops up again!

"Enfin un peu de temps pour vous ecrire! Time flies!" said my dear Laurence. She is so right. We opened the tent space for The Safety Pin Cafe on a Sunday just after the New Moon in October (October 6th by most calendars). A grand and satisfying time it was. We were blessed by the Raven who brought the sun shiny Sun. I kept my promise to give thanks to the place and the space of the South Whidbey Tilth for being a chemical free place to be. But time did fly before we could contain and finish the sweet celebrations of common magic that is the signature of The Safety Pin Cafe.
What? What are the sweet celebrations of common magic of The Safety Pin Cafe? Of course there is the magic of story ... and that was surely shared and spread around. But what was missing because time flew were these promises:

  1. Sit and fold an origami paper cup (as a symbol of connectedness)
  2. And eat cinnamon toast cut into stars, moons and hearts (because it's fun and fun is THE magic!)

Join Mokihana Calizar, Pete Little and Pam Winstanley for an afternoon Tea and Toast Time at The Safety Pin Cafe.

Date: Sunday, October 27, 2013
Time: 3 pm until 5 pm in the afternoon
Where: Freeland Library Meeting Room (click for directions)
Freeland, Washington

What to bring? Bring your sweet self and a favorite tea cup or mug to sip hot tea.  If you have an extra tea pot or tea cups you'd like to share for the afternoon come a little early and we'll add them to the party.

Please don't wear fragrances or scents on you or your clothing, Mokihana and Pete are chemical and fragrance sensitive.

* If you were there to help with the magic of making The Safety Pin Cafe a reality on Sunday October 6th, an especially warm welcome back. If you weren't there on October 6th but wish you had been, come for Tea and Toast Time October 27th!

RSVP if at all possible. (leave a comment here, or email me at mokihanacalizarATgmailDOTcom). We'll be setting up tea tables and bringing in toast so let us count you in for Tea and Toast Time.

See you then,
Mokihana, Pam and Pete

Read here ... about THE CANCELLATION.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

At the South Whidbey Tilth October 6, 2013

Mahalo Rumz for the video!

These are the final minutes of a grand two hours of The Safety Pin Cafe's inaugural event ... making the virtual a sit and be with reality. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Meditation on a simple stitch

 "The Silver-haired Raven wore splendid garb." A beautiful remnant of turquoise corduroy was enough to cut into a vest for Pete/The Silver-haired bird. A silk-screened wood cut done by friend and fiber artist and partner in collaboration Pam Winstanley I trimmed and hand embroidered with silver metallic thread.
 To accentuate and add a bit of shimmer to the shape of the vest I machine stitched the curves of the back and front using that same silver metallic thread
The vest is fully lined with cotton flannel, the last of a once warm flannel sheet that has kept us warm in seasons passed.
Can you spot the turquoise vest on The Silver-haired Raven?
"For centuries women have done needlework. It was a necessary skill, it was an accomplishment, and it was a chance to appear to be active while giving one’s mind free reign to consider, to think. Calm, slow, careful stitches gave the appearance of activity, skill and usefulness, but the mind was free to think, to be quiet, to wander... An unbroken thread of women, stitching quietly, their minds pondering, considering, thinking, deliberating... for ages and ages...-Universidad de Palermo

I remember when I learned to stitch. The old house in the valley. An embroidery hoop and colored thread. Cross-stitch. Already an impatient learner I saw how beautifully the colored thread made pictures, and wanted to make those pictures. Now! My brother newly born, we were new to that house, new to the valley. I am four. How do I remember all this when until I sat to rewind the memory those thoughts weren't there? Time would pass and my embroidery skills would not develop much mostly because I did not practice them. The next stitching memory is that of the old Singer that rose from the box when Ma opened the top and pushed down on it. The dark stained wood and black metal machine filled in the wall inside the bedroom shared with all four of us. Two soft and lumpy big beds: one for Ma and Dad and one for me and my brother. Ma sewed and I said under the lid as the machine roared and the sharp needled chewed up and down the material. Ma.Machine.Stitches. Comfort. Closeness.

Sewing is what I got good at. Good at sewing because I loved it, and did it often. Island girls in the 1950's went to Sewing School. I went to Sewing School one block Honolulu-side of my house on Dalene Way it was an easy walk and I had a cousin who went with me. She became a very accomplished seamstress with a day job that paid her bills for decades. We both had day jobs for decades and paid the bills with skills and commitment to being productive in the modern world. But what is miraculous and meditative for me at this stage of life is how the simple stitch practiced over time is the metaphor I feel mostly in my bones. Coupled with my practice of writing, the longer-still disciple and activity of stitching holds me, grounds me while at the same time allows me access to the "minds [of women who have been] pondering, considering, thinking, deliberating... for ages and ages."

Fall is definitely in place here in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. It is cold. My body shudders with the reality of the seasonal shift, and without thinking I wish for the warm sunny sky and salty beaches. A soak and a swim would be heaven. As writer, storyteller and stitcher the magic and medicine of art can create the portal or ha'a kaau to open time and space. That's what the story that began The Safety Pin Cafe chronicles are all about. Creating a cozy space to weather the weather and invite solutions transformative yes, and practical as well. I sit to quiet my aching joints and wrap myself in fleece to warm my fingers: regalia for writing in winter. I process the experience of birthing a project of art and get a sense of what to do next, where to go from here. A bug dangles from a fine invisible thread, wiggling at screen level as my cat curls on the table not far from me. What does a Border Witch do after one performance, one border has been crossed?

She could do many things, do nothing, or perhaps she rests and recuperates, gently grounding herself and forgives herself when she snaps with Mars-infused fire because she is tired. Today, the writer, teller and character from the myth writes and reflects on the simple stitch that led to another, and another creating something from nothing ... a vest the color of those salty turquoise beaches, soft and smooth as silky ocean water. The Silver-haired Raven who worn splendid garb is both a character and a flesh-and-bones old man I know. I stitched the vest, I let my thoughts swim with the story preparing for performance. The jitter bugs and fear of odds and ends stay enough away as I stitch and sew and fit and unstitch, pin and stitch again. The art and disciple takes me through and across the borders of known and unknown space. A vest is stitched. A vest is fit. And in the process the Border Witch shows up to do her work.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The real deal ... The Safety Pin Cafe is open!

"Feel the possibilities
The soaring fantasy of your dreams
The solid support of your reality!"

We did it! Mahalo niu loa a pau to each and every one who came for the first day at the real deal Safety Pin Cafe. There's more to come, and what joy and magic we have to share here, there and everywhere (well, not just anywhere!).

Keep your eyes peeled, and your ear to the ground for the chants, and stories gather in The Safety Pin Cafe in time for Makahiki Season (The Hawaiian New Year) coming soon.

Thank you to our friend Michael Seraphinoff for taking the wonderful pics.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Set the table, practice the art of living (be flexible)

The Cafe set up team

 Cute and cozy Calayx Community Art School's cob house was too small for the cafe.

This is a week of weather: all sorts of weather. On Friday a handful of friends came out to the South Whidbey Tilth to practice. What a day it was. BLUSTERY! The wind made itself present, and made some decisions about where and how to set the tents for The Safety Pin Cafe. Fiber Artist Pam Winstanley has helped with designs and support for this project since I first dreamed up the possibility of 'an event.' Jo Stevens, South Whidbey Tilth's Land Steward and Farmers' Market Manager was with us to choose a location for the setup and hold the tent down when the wind became bombastic. Pete made sure the chicken stew was hot and slices of whole wheat bread and butter were ready when we were too wind-blown to keep practicing. I cooked up the stew, made a batch of cinnamon toast and chanted a prayer of permission to be in this place.

The banner for The Safety Pin Cafe is done, stitched by machine then hand-embroidered to lay the script of the small letters on "the" and "pin." The detail and quiet work of hand stitching is one of my favorite parts of this art. Everything used to create the banner was found at The Good Cheer Thrift Shop. Purchased weeks ago, the table runner was washed and air to clear it of lingering scent; the bolt of fiber ribbon threaded with copper wire I cut and used to create the large letters (these were pinned and machine stitched using a wide zigzag stitch.) The edges of the ribbon was saved until I used them to drawn, pin and embroider script letters for "the" and "pin." The decision to use the edges of the ribbon came when it was obvious I wouldn't have room for capitals of all the letters in THE SAFETY PIN CAFE ... The "i" in pin is dotted with a red felt flower a sweet connection with the story, and the heart of the character Pale whose journey is mapped in this myth.

As I pull needle and thread through the ribbon anchoring it to the golden cloth memories of times past, and empty spaces fill in with solutions and transitions as the stitchery is a meditation. Between the wind and the stitches my mind emptied and art was the present. Between the hours of setting up and practicing on Friday and this afternoon when Pete and I hung the banner in our orchard, the meditation of stitching has allowed me to lose myself, letting my heart and soul cross the borders of imagination and play.

We envision a gentle breeze and temperate weather for the first of The Safety Pin Cafe storytelling times. Come with a heart to participate, layered for the season and flexible if necessary to enjoy being part of the borders of myth and creativity.*

The Safety Pin Cafe
Sunday, October 6th, 2013
11 AM - 1 PM
South Whidbey Tilth
Langley, Washington

*Flexible means we have a plan B to relocate to the Backroom of The South Whidbey Commons in Langley. Keep an eye out on Drewslist for a change in location at the last minute.

Here's the Langley Weather FYI.
Check in with us via email:

Friday, September 27, 2013

Mau a mau: The Continuum

I continue. I continue a tradition of navigating and translating. Forty one years ago to the day I gave birth to my son. To create him I needed to travel, leave the home island my birth place. My tradition and practices at the time were young and in so many ways I was ignorant of the protocols ... the treatment of others, creatures, the elements. Or, perhaps to be gentle with myself, I was early in the journey of knowing. I became a mother at twenty-six, wet behind the ears, a Capricorn Moon woman with decades of practice ahead of me. There were inklings of my practice of navigation and translation: I knew I must journey even while I felt the internal tug of leaving. The clue/the inkling remains true now.

I continue and pass along the tradition of navigation and translation and see that the practice continues with my son. Born in the Pacific Northwest forty one years ago, he, like myself, travels ... back and forth, forth and back and then further from his home places he explores more of this planet home. Beyond, yet including those places I have been, my son navigates and adds his mo'olelo ... his story, to the practice. My son is now back on the island of my birth, O'ahu, experiencing the place and the traditions that expand his life. He sent us the photos below and through them he connects me with the past opening a portal through which we step together. Kekuhi Kanahele might call this connection and portal the Haka kaau. In the gesture of sending photos using the metaphoric stream of space and time both space and time become timeless. The longing and the loss I feel is tempered as I live the metaphor and am transported. There is the magic! The magic of a continuing practice.

Later today my husband and three friends and I will gather to practice putting together the tangible form of the imaginary and mythic place called The Safety Pin Cafe. I prepare myself in the early morning hours saying my prayers and meet with my guides and teachers: watch the video of Pua and Kekuhi and get myself into the portal with them, clear all doubt and visualize, connect. The recipe for creating what Kekuhi describes as "alchemy to allow flow into a different time and space" is the one I work with as I prepare the tangible Safety Pin Cafe.

  1. Recognize my space
  2. With guidance from my kumu (teachers)
  3. I consider the poetic text (the medicine story)
  4. Prepare the regalia/props that speak to particular entitities and help me petition respectfully
  5. Energy of the collective gathers
  6. The portal is created
  7. I the practitioner step in
  8. Then, it is my honor, to invite the audience in with us
No matter how many times I have presented story, I, like my kumu Pua and Kekuhi, get nervous. Humble in my approach to something not yet done. Knowing that humility is different from humiliation, my practice of navigation and translation continues. Mau a mau. Mother to son. Son to mother. Within our family the journey continues. 

Hauoli la hanau keiki kane Kawika.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Come for the story, nibble on stars, and dress for the season of common magic

''To see that your life is a story while you're in the middle of living it may be a help to living it well."   - Ursula K. Le Guin (Gifts)

The Safety Pin Café

a storytelling event & celebration of metamorphosis,
myth & mixing metaphors!

Join Mokihana Calizar for the Inauguration of The Safety Pin Cafe

Sunday, October 6th @ 11 a.m.

At the South Whidbey Tilth Farmers' Market

The two-hour event begins with a haunting and healing Hawaiian chant, followed by sharing stories, art and music – fold an origami cup as a symbol of how we can support one another – enjoy cinnamon toast, a symbol of safety and love.

Come for the story, nibble on cinnamon toast stars,
and dress for the weather of common magic. *

* Do layer up, for it might be,
"a day only a duck could love."

Mokihana has written about her journey through illness from chemicals ubiquitous in the modern world using myth, metaphor and ancestral memory to create a tale and medicine story. She has found safety on Whidbey Island and has turned a corner toward regaining her health. She acknowledges the South Whidbey Tilth campus as a safe space – fragrance and chemical free.

– from South Whidbey Tilth Newsletter (August/September 2013)

Read Mokihana's writing on the internet:
 "The Safety Pin Cafe":

For information email Mokihana at:

Please remember this is a Fragrance and Scent-free event. Performers, family and visitors are allergic or sensitive to perfume, essential oils and other scented product.

The final stitches, the details and butterflies of anticipation set the stage for the event. The season shifts from summer into fall come September 22nd and fittingly, "a day only a duck could love" is more probable than not. It makes no nevermind though, the magic of living comes from the middle as mistress of story Ursula LeGuin reminds me. 

After months of dosing you with tantalizing bits from the medicine story, I will pull up my sensible black leather lace up boots, cut bread into stars, moons and hearts spread them with magical cinnamon butter, help pitch the tents, and chant for the wisdom to spin a tale that will touch your heart. Protocol and permissions will be in place, a space for myth created. It won't be complete without you though... your story, your open heart, your wish, your prayer.

See you soon,
"Pale The Border Witch" and "The Silver-haired Raven" 

Link here to appreciate metaphor in its many layers; and a major factor in my preparation for The Safety Pin Cafe.


Monday, September 2, 2013

"Fiction and poetry are doses, medicine"

 "In many shamanic societies, if you came to a medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions: When did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing? When did you stop being enchanted by stories? When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence?"  - Gabrielle Roth

"A plate of fine bone china, only slightly chipped but sparkling clean, was arranged with cinnamon toast cut into stars and moons and ducks." - from The Safety Pin Cafe

 “I had lines inside me, a string of guiding lights. I had language. Fiction and poetry are doses, medicines. What they heal is the rupture reality makes on the imagination. I had been damaged, and a very important part of me had been destroyed - that was my reality, the facts of my life. But on the other side of the facts was who I could be, how I could feel. And as long as I had words for that, images for that, stories for that, then I wasn't lost.”  - Jeanette Winterson

" Scorpio Sun is both the puzzle and the puzzler.
Seeing what is beneath the surface is what Scorpio does best. When presented with a situation where the pieces don’t seem to fit, Scorpio moves those pieces around until they do. When Scorpio can’t make those pieces fit they throw the puzzle in the trash and set off to find a new one, amputation.
 - Satori H.

The weeks of late August and September fill with the details and finishing touches for the opening of a mythic and magical place, a place where common magic is the medicine: The Safety Pin Cafe. The story is transforming me as I believe "Fiction and poetry are doses, medicines," as Jeannette Winterson wrote above. The original Safety Pin Cafe is my daily place of medicine making where meals for the belly and the imagination are cooked up simultaneously sometimes; or separately as when I sit to eat oatmeal and am 'dosed' with the flavor of spice: cinnamon the friend-maker.

What continues to thrill and enliven me is the process of becoming. I love digging around, and with a broad Scorpio signature, I am both "the puzzle and the puzzler." Nature all around me in the woods does the work of becoming without as much rumination. To be human with a will that often forks into two (or more) directions at once is perhaps just one more example of quantum reality ... the wind does it all the time! As I shift a gear and compose this JOTS is stretched across my leg trying to ignore my jiggling arm that keeps striking keys. I write during the 'Ole Moons reflecting on the progress made during the months of the magic medicine story begun in November. Many surprises and challenges have made the process time-consuming. I thank my ancestors who speak to me through dreams, and that amazing box of a computer connected to the cyber-web which allows me to see and hear things like these videos.  My husband Pete encourages me as he sees my energy build after a cycle of challenge and isolation. The dreams and the stillness temper and bake my refueling mana and I listen to the quiet, and what is most important rises to the surface. I lap it up like cream to a kitty. I have much to learn to orchestra the opening of The Safety Pin Cafe. Layers of symbolism, storytelling and collaboration with others make for an event that stretches my imagination and my capacity to create. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Location, Location, Location

Many thanks to all of you who have adventurously walked under the red awning and stepped across the threshold into The Safety Pin Cafe. In a few short weeks more than 1,000 visitors, and nearly 200 readers have sampled the medicine story of Pale the Border Witch. The cafe located in a town so familiar, yet without an address, might be found in The Dictionary of Imaginary Places? The story of wandering between what passes as reality in the everyday and what could be just as real in the borders has a gift for any of us who has been faceless, homeless, or otherwise without. Tucked in the folds of a cozy yet mythic story of 6,000 words layers of common magic has been planted in the community imagination. The wave that is Drewslist: what a place! Most of the visitors and readers discovered The Safety Pin Cafe because of the ongoing enticements I've posted on Drew Kampion's email list.

Many thanks also to Annie Horton Zeller and Gwen Samelson from WhidbeyAIR for creating the space to share The Safety Pin Cafe and the Hawaiian traditional practice Makua O'o. The air waves, and the comfortable recording studio of WhidbeyAIR in Coopeville is a perfect location for spreading a medicine story. Mahalo nui loa a pau. LISTEN to that program here.

Simple and sometimes silly, the journey between here and there can dwither (I made that up) a person who is set in the way things ought to be. Mythic arts editor, author and blogger Terri Windling has long been a source of courage and inspiration to me. On her blog Myth and Moor Windling wrote this about "Foolishness" 

"While our intellect chases its bright and lofty visions, our  most original, powerful ideas tend to rise from muddy, murky depths below: from the clouded waters of the subconscious; from the baffling landscape of nightmare and dream; from the odd obssessions, weird fixations, and uncanny flashes of intuition that rise up from those strange parts of ourselves that we know and approve of least; from those places most likely to make us feel ridiculous, and exposed. The muse, if we follow her far enough, and honestly enough, demands that we bare it all: our angel wings and our asses' ears. It doesn't matter if we're writing genre fiction and not memoir; it doesn't matter if we're painting fairy tales and not self-portraits. "All art is autobiographical," said Federico Fellini; "the pearl is the oyster's autobiography."