“I’m coming, too!” I call to the Bearded One who is spraying his tanned shins with mosquito repellant out where the truck is usually parked.

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It’s between rain showers and I can’t go swimming this Monday morning because the truck is in the shop. The Bearded One just got his hat and stick and sunglasses for his morning walk, so I decide to join him on my new bike that I got for Mother’s Day – Pinkerbell.

“Yay!” he calls back and waves his walking stick. Lots of pit bulls on the Big Island.

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It’s 9:30am, 68 degrees. It’s also Mt. St. Helens Day, I see in our Hawaii Tribune Herald. Thirty-five years ago today Mt. St. Helens blew, and I was in Seattle, just a hundred miles away. In church. Now I’m living less than 25 miles from Mt. Kilauea, currently active and rumbling – 25 earthquakes up there this weekend. Our daughters, one of whom is pregnant and had a baby shower on Saturday, still live in Seattle. I fly to the mainland, as we say here, late next month to welcome this grandchild, whose sex remains unknown.

I check the Magic Number – the solar battery read-out in the guest room – 85%. Excellent. This is the best of off-grid life. The sun charges the solar batteries and we don’t have to run the propane generator, and the rain keeps the catchment tank full. The solar system got some needed fine-tuning last week, and we’ve reached 100% every day since.

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I walk through the tiny hallway of our 900 square foot 2-story Hippie House into the den and admire the working sliding glass door and the windows full of green and yellow light. The crocus looks like it’s on fire.


I step out onto the newly finished lanai. There’s the washer and dryer. And there’s Pinkerbell, dry under the new tin roof, ready for a spin.


Pinkerbell has a kickstand. As well as a basket, 7 gears, wide tires and seat, and is the hottest shade of pink outside of a lipstick tube. We bought her at Target, select Schwinns on sale 25% off, and paid $180 including tax and my Hawaii Bike License ($15) which will come in the mail.

My sister named her, although my brother came up with some good ones, too. My brother and I rode our bikes everywhere growing up in Houston, Texas in the 1960s. My bike was a blue Cruiser, a lot like Pinkerbell. His was a bit smaller and red.


I’ve ridden Pinkerbell every day since I brought her home on Mother’s Day. I rode her to the labyrinth last week and wowed the women. “Whose Schwinn!?” one of them cried out on sight. I ride my fairy bike up and down our rode a couple of times a day, inhaling the ocean breeze, looking at the vast sky.

Nala blocks me as I wheel the bike down the lanai, then lies on the step and meows. “Shoo,” I say. Nala sleeps outdoors now. Unlike in Seattle, there are no coyotes or raccoons here to kill outdoor cats. Nala will be a year old next month and she is a great hunter and companion, even if she won’t stay in your lap for 5 seconds.

Smoke’s in the air. Our 80-year-old neighbor starts his fireplace whenever it gets below 70 degrees. The Bearded One collects wood for him as he works the farmlet, spreading cinder soil over the lava, pruning the Monkeypod tree,


cultivating the pineapples (100+ yummy white ones),


transplanting palms and boosting the compost on the bananas. I wheel Pinkerbell around the house, past the huge mango that rains down mangos when the trade winds come, past the barbecue that’s already rusted, into the yard where the truck usually sits.

A huge dove crashed into it yesterday and busted the sunroof out of its weld. The Bearded One heard it from inside the house and saw the wounded dove, seemingly the size of a small turkey, and its mate fly off. “A great way to use up a chunk of bad luck,” he said.

We head out to the road, me pedaling slowly, the Bearded One marching his happy walk, swinging his stick.


We meet neighbors and dogs, everyone waves. The Rottweilers croon, the dog named Shane barks and wags hello, and the old man named Richard waves from his lanai with his dog JC. On our way back, a neighbor comes out to the road to introduce us to Kula, a silky soft 9-week-old Golden/Border Collie mix. “We got her at the Humane Society, half price off on all yellow dogs!”

The Bearded One and I don’t want a dog now. Or chickens. Or goats. Just a cat and each other.  We go to the Maku’u Farmer’s Market on Sundays to get eggs and produce and farm honey, and a pizza for him. For now, we’re buying our meat at the grocery store in Pahoa, pasture raised beef, no factory chickens – until we go to Hilo and the Bearded One has to get chicken strips at Safeway. Along with sushi.

I think about these things as I ride my bike over the cinder gravel road, past the new construction.

There are 6 houses going in on our mile-long road. They poured the concrete foundations for two of the kit houses (roughly 1000 sq ft on 1 acre for $200,000) this past weekend. Tiny houses, indistinguishable from the Bearded One’s and my first rental in Seattle 20 years ago.

I get home before the Bearded One, park Pinkerbell back on the lanai and head in. Magic Number? 87%! Such a life.

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28 responses to “Pinkerbell

  1. Always good to read your stories.

  2. Oh the sweet freedom of a bike named Pinkerbell!! Congratulations.

  3. So awesome! And so glad you are happy there. It was a huge move and lifestyle change but you are definitely making it your own piece of paradise!! 🙂

    • Thanks, Kathi! They say it takes at least a year, sometimes two for acclimation. I’m right on schedule. 🙂 Congrats on your new digs in Tacoma! Home sweet home. Love and hugs, Christi

  4. “Half Price on all Yellow Dogs” and THAT Dear Ms Christi, is your life. It sounds like heaven to me, somewhere that all kinds of people, a mishmash of society, can commune, and live in solar powered hippy bliss.

    You get to choose which kind of bliss you want. Yours is cat shaped and bearded. I read “tanned” and “sunglasses” and pasture raised” and in between the words, the lines, I read “happy”. No, that isn’t quite right. I read “HAPPY!” with a smiley face.

    You seem to have some kind of affinity with volcano’s Ms Christi. They either follow you around or vis-versa. Must be a life lesson in there someplace because they keep featuring up front and central in your life.

    It is no coincidence that “87” is just over twice as much as “42” which is the official “meaning of life” number around these parts. You have meaning, purpose AND happiness now Ms Christi. Life is about as good as it gets and then some.

    LOVE Pinkerbell and that you are fit, healthy, eating amazingly well and that life is giving you bucketloads of possibilities, capfuls of joy and that you are both infused with Hawaii and all of its beauty and laid back contentedness. Your posts just keep getting better and better 🙂

    • Oh, Fran, how good to hear your voice! I saw your new website and I am blown away. You have learned so much about websites and photographs and EVERYTHING. All those new tabs and scrolling!! I’m very impressed. You and Steve are such an A Team, it’s a joy to see your different styles complimenting each other in art and life.

      You’re also right on about the mishmash of people here. Us white folk are just 17% of the population, the most multicultural state in the Union. That and being on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean make for an intensity of community I’ve not known elsewhere. It’s a social place! And I’ve been embraced by many lovely people.

      Thanks for saying my posts are getting better. 🙂 I struggle with how and why to continue with it sometimes, but I do like having written one. lol Big hugs and love to you and Steve and the boys. Ruff ruff! xxoo

      • I think that hanging off till you have a post actually tapping at your cranium asking you to post it makes that post special and more meaningful than having to pore over the keyboard waiting for words to appear. When a post forms itself, you know that it will hold something special and it did, it was a lovely post Ms Christi, and it was full of happiness, contentment and a sense of place that feels like “home” all the way across the waters to here and I, for one, am SO glad for you and the B.O. that you found that place that can make your posts feel like home to someone else over the seas 🙂

      • Mahalo Fran! Such lovely encouragement and praise. I seem to be on more of a monthly blogging schedule, but I think about it, and you, every day. 🙂 Much love, Christi

  5. Your stories about your life make me so happy! I love Pinkerbell!! It will be so exciting when your grandbaby is born! I’m glad they aren’t finding out what sex it is ahead of time, even better! It’s all just wonderful! Mahalo! Love from Susan

    • I agree, Susan! I’m one lucky woman. 6 more weeks and I fly to Seattle where I shall cook and clean and be Molly’s “person” until the baby is born and Ben comes home from Alaska and fishing. Thanks for your ongoing cheers from Texas. With much love, Christi

  6. I love that photo of you on your bike! I love that you and the BO and Nala are complete unto yourselves and that the off grid life is working out so wonderfully. It hasn’t taken that long at all really has it? I’ve been thinking of you and wondering how life was going for you, so very happy to read this!

    • Thank you, Pauline! It really hasn’t taken that long, you’re right. I feel more and more acclimated. And am more social than I have been in years. Swimming, going to the labyrinth, Soul Collage class, and I even went to a Tai Chi class! Who has time to write? I think of you often, too, and am slowly catching up on my favorite blogger sistas. Hugs to you and Siddy and Orlando. xxoo

  7. How lovely to see a post from you, Christi! I hope you never stop writing them, but that’s me being selfish, I think. Love your bike; next best thing to a horse, eh? 🙂 and it doesn’t need to be fed or mucked out . . .

    I’d forgotten the Mt. St. Helen’s date, but I remember that eruption very well. Not sure how far away I was, but I was outside on the property north of Victoria, BC, where we lived for a few years. I was quietly meditating and heard the bang very clearly,, but wasn’t sure what it was. We heard the news that night on our battery-powered radio. I was glad the winds weren’t blowing north, but sorry for those in the dust shadow.

    I admire you so much; making a new life in a new place. I still have trouble with the words ‘cultivating the pineapples’ and ‘composting the bananas’ 😉 A big shift from the gardens in my past . . .

    I’m so happy for you two; and now you have the grandkidlets to look forward to; I, too, am glad they are waiting to find out if it’s a boy or a girl (or one of each??) I always think that Anticipation just makes the unveiling that much sweeter . . .

    I love that photo of you and your brother, too; you haven’t changed all that much, have you? Hugs to you and the B.O. ~ Linne

    • Aloha Linne! So nice to hear from you. And my condolences to you on the passing of your dear auntie. I read your post about her and could picture her pixie self pressing on through life and making the best. She will be missed. And you are just about the most compassionate, competent, loving niece on the planet. I admire YOU for your heart, and your strong back. 🙂 Thanks, too, for mentioning the photo from 1966. I was just starting 4th grade…would be 10 in December. I can look at that picture and remember myself, the feel of that seat and my feet on the wet driveway. I guess I do have the same smile, don’t I? lol I’m off to take a spin on Pinkerbell now…and you are so right, no feed or mucking out or vet bills. Much love to you, dear friend, Christi

      • Thanks, Christi! I do miss my Aunty every day. But I wouldn’t have wanted to hold her back, really. I only wish we’d had a few weeks at least together, she and Mum and I. But maybe it would have driven me bonkers; who knows? Three strong-willed, opinionated, feisty women in the same home . . . I used to wonder how it would all work out. I am a pretty quiet introvert, but once you get to know me, the feisty bit seems to escape its wraps . . .

        I forgot you are ten years younger than I am. When you were riding that bike, I had already dropped out of uni and set out on a rather convoluted, challenging path . . . ten years back then would have made a lot of difference (My second sister down is your age), but these days not so much. Except, maybe, a difference in musical and other tastes. Life is funny, isn’t it?

        I love the name Pinkerbell,, too (I want to spell it ‘Pinkerbelle’ lol); I hope she has some sparkly bits to her. Maybe you could get a package of sparklers and tape two to your handlebars or basket, then light them and ride up and down the road . . .

        I was looking at the map of the world on Mum’s desk tonight and thinking how much further out Hawai’i is than when I just think of it; you are nearly halfway to Pauline and Wendy . . . now you only need a reed raft like they had for the Kon-Tiki expedition. 🙂

        Warm hugs to you, Christi (and to the B.O.); today it was 29C, but luckily we had a nice breeze. Still, I’m happy to share . . . ~ Linne

      • Mahalo for the lovely comment, Linne. Yes, Hawaii is THE MOST REMOTE inhabited spot on the planet! I think I’d feel that more if I’d come here on a boat, actually trekked the miles somehow. It’s fascinating to think about how different plants and animals managed to arrive here, not to mention the Polynesians back in the 3rd century A.D.

        It’s fascinating how a decade is virtually nothing now in terms of friendship. In that picture, Septemeber 1966, I was almost 10, in the fourth grade. You were 20! Most of my friends are older than me. I think I was 15 when I was born. 🙂

        Hugs to you and your mum, Christi

  8. Love your bike Christi 😍. I was 15 when Mt St Helens blew to smithereens. I remember being amazed and concerned all at once! My house is perched on the top of a long extinct volcano and the city of Albany nestles in its crater 😄. No hope for me if it rumbled to life 😳.

    • Thanks, Cathy. Extinct volcanoes are our friends. 🙂 May it continue to sleep! The cauldron here is bubbling again, Pele is stirring her pot. Makes life interesting. Hugs from Hawaii, Christi

  9. Christine Widman

    HI…thank you for this idyllic little stroll/bike ride day-in-your-Hawaiian haven. I can feel the connections to the land and the neighbors….and of course love seeing pink you on your pink bike!
    “The Bearded One and I don’t want a dog now. Or chickens. Or goats. Just a cat and each other.” This line touched my heart.
    Here we are beginning slow B&B season with our great contractors getting some much needed work done on the property. And I am pleased to report that the solar panels on our Catalina Guest House are keeping our Magic Number “twinkling”
    Here all the birds and hawks and turkey vultures and ground squirrels and Harris antelope squirrels and black-tailed jack rabbits and desert cottontails and bobcats and coyotes and javelinas are roaming about….the desert is abundantly green and rife with life.
    Here and there – blessings.

    • Oh, Christine, leave it to you to pick out the line that the B.O. edited to perfection. I initially wrote, “The Bearded One and I don’t want a dog now. Or chickens. Or goats. Just a cat.” He added the “and each other,” which also touched my heart and is a big part of why I love to blog, every month whether everyone is ready or not. 🙂

      The Azure Gate is truly an oasis for more than just humans. Loving you here and there and everywhere. Christi

  10. Lovely post Christi. I have been contemplating getting a bike… still not sure as I do love to walk :). Your photo of your brother and you reminded me of a photo I have of my brother and I on a bike with the seat at the back. He is on the bike seat and I am in the back seat being ridden about. I was probably about 4 years old. I love that photo too. Such bliss at your place. Good luck with the grandchild, I am jealous 😀 x

    • Mahalo, Kym. I LOVE riding my bike and recommend it highly. I have a weird hip (lots of hip replacements in the fam), and it is so much easier to ride along with the B.O. for his miles of walking. And I get a good workout, too! I love the smells and the wind. Hugs from Hawaii, and thanks for commenting. xo

  11. Aloha Christie – I just discovered your blog, and I love it! I had to scroll all the way back to when you first moved to Puna and then read it all in order. Hubby and I are retiring and planning to move to HPP next year, and your comments and observations have been very helpful! I have learned more about HPP and living in Puna from reading your blog than any other website.

    I was disappointed when I got caught up on your posts, I wanted to keep reading, lol. What an amazing adventure you and the B.O. are on! I’m even attached to Jeffrey, the Gecko now, lol. I can’t wait to have my own pet geckos! We are moving with 2 small parrots, so hopefully they will get along with the geckos.

    Anyway, mahalo nui loa for your fantastic blog!

    Love & light…


    • Aloha Lorinda! What a lovely comment! Mahalo to you for making my day. 🙂 Where are you moving from? I hope to post another blog soon, before I leave for the mainland on June 26. Everything moves a bit slower here, right? One of the ladies in the labyrinth group, when asked why she moved to Puna a decade ago, said, “The weather, the land, and the people. In that order.” After a year of acclimation, I agree, although I’d but the people first. Then the weather and indoor/outdoor lifestyle. The coldest it’s been since we’ve lived here is 57 (an especially chilly morning) and the hottest is 90. The sun shines most every day, and it rains mostly at night. Mostly it’s 67 at night and up to low 80s during the day. And the birds, and the coqui frogs! Jeffrey has left the building now that Nala prowls the floors. But his ancestors stay high on the walls…. love and light to you as well, Christi

  12. Those are all the reasons my hubby and I want to move to Puna. But also for the adventure! we are retiring next year, from government jobs. We are Californians, living on the Central Coast. We have very nice, moderate weather here, but the ocean is so cold, I can’t stand to get in it. We want to have that adventure before we get too old to enjoy it!

    • Aloha Lorinda — Yes, the adventure, too! My swimming friend and I were just talking about the rare, warm water, especially at Pohoiki, which has warm springs nearby. Hope to see you swimming at Pohoiki some day. 🙂

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