Our tradition – Camera Photos, A Year in Review

I do not know when exactly this became a “thing,” but, for over six years, Squire and I have been making use of our camera photos each year to commemorate that year and fill our family and friends in on what we have been up to in the year, or at least the things we decided to capture with our phone cameras. It has become a regular thing that we send around the holidays, and by regular, we now feel compelled to do it because people actually made a point to mention that they like it enough to hope they get another one so they can see what’s happening. Who knew? But this is just our 2021 one to welcome in 2022 and wish all of you the best of the best. See you sometime in 2022.

3/25/21 update: Is Covid-19 all Bad News?

News outlets that skew strongly in one direction or the other, seemed to focus on bad news in regards to Covid-19. At least that is what this working paper states which is published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, and titled, “Why is all Covid-19 news bad news?

So I want to focus on what the good news is right now.

Vaccines save lives.

Highlights of the New York Time article, “Good Vaccine News.”
  • All five vaccines (with public results which are Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Novavax and Johnson & Johnson) have eliminated Covid-19 deaths.
  • They have reduced hospitalizations.
  • None have been remained hospitalized 28 days after receiving a shot.
  • The shots dramatically lower your chances of being infected.

Also understanding the difference between effectiveness and efficacy is something we might need to understand better here in Hawaii as this article makes clear from Hawaii Tribune Herald on “Three ‘Breakthrough’ virus cases found in Hawaii.” It misuses the concept of efficacy as 5% of vaccinated people could get covid based on the clinical trial which is not true. Efficacy in these trials meant that people with the vaccine in the clinical trial were 95% lower in risk to acquiring Covid-19 in comparison to the control group. Efficacy is related to clinical trials and effectiveness is related to real world use. Real world effectiveness can be lower then clinical efficacy because trials are typically not a true representation of the population in demographics and overall health. It is also worth mentioning the possibility that 1) people were exposed prior to getting the shot or during the two week time period after vaccination where the body has still not built up an immunity, 2) underlying health conditions inhibit the immune response to vaccination, or even 3) you were exposed due to being in a situation where the virus was running rampant and that large dose of virus exposure overwhelmed your body’s built up immune defenses.

Something to celebrate. And just thinking seriously about the vaccine and what it means for me and those around me.

3/23/21 – Hearts (Pu’uwai)

So this story is based on my furbabies dislike for vegetables. We are one of those fur-parents that stopped feeding their dogs kibble and have tried raw food, mixing it with other things, and now all the cats and dogs get cooked food. They love chicken and it fits our cat, Kili’s allergy needs as well (I cannot believe how much of cat food has fish something in it, even if it says chicken).

Chicken has been all of their main protein but getting them to eat more vegetables to get the vitamins and nutrients they need has been … a challenge. I know I can try to find a supplement for them, but personally it is not my favorite option. I would rather find it naturally in the food any of us eat.

I mentioned this issue to my dad when he visited one day, he mentioned trying chicken liver (vitamin A, vitamin B12, vitamin C, selenium, copper, and iron) and gizzards (zinc, iron, selenium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin B12, niacin, vitamin C, riboflavin, magnesium, copper, manganese, and calcium). So we went to Times to find it. They also had these items at Don Quijote and Foodland Farms. Foodland Farms is where I also found the hearts (fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, iron, taurine, and zinc) this last time. So we bought it and most of them just gobble it up.

We do not want to give them too much because we worry about any issues with feeding them too many organ meats, like purine (uric acid level rise) and saturated fat. So we fried a little of each and I cut it up to create small portions for the five of them. Cutting up the hearts bothered me a little because they kind of looked like what I thought my heart would look like. This piqued my interest so I did a little search time looking up what hearts look like for other animals. Also do animals have hearts that look like mine? So the answer is basically, yes, if the being has a heart it does look a lot like mine.

The idea that all beings that have hearts, have a heart that looks a lot like mine, is something that has really stayed with me and I am still reflecting on it. I recently went a little smaller in my reflection, with the realization that the human heart looks the same in all of us. Right now I think there is something special in remembering this and I should keep it top of my mind.

Thought for March 17, 2021

Happy St. Patrickʻs Day (Hauʻoli Lā ʻo Patrick Haipule – I think). So there is some positive news around covid-19 and potentially being around others. Vaccines in Hawaiʻi are on the upswing – some of our counties have over 25% vaccination rates, we are nearing Tier 4 reopening (although as of this writing we have over 1% testing positivity rate – which is supposed to be under 1% for two weeks for us to move into Tier 4), and more vaccines are becoming available to more of the population. With the guidance from the CDC for those that have been vaccinated, I am looking forward to seeing my grandmother soon.

Year 2020 Furbabies update


Just to share, very soon after my September 2019 post we lost Onyx. Ten months later she came home to us. This was thanks to her being chipped and a call from the Hawaii Humane Society.

Happily Home

Did you knows? we learned from this experience.

Outdoor cats are estimated to live on average of 5 years and indoors cats live on average of 15 years.

Chip your animal and keep your info updated, you never know.

Onyx was missed.

Our furbabies

So I realized that I did not share a couple of things that I love about living in Waipiʻo now. Pets!! We have a yard and bought a couple of puppies as soon as we moved a couple years ago.

Below the babies just got home and were about ten weeks old.

Brand new furbabies, Pō (night) and Lā (day).

They obviously have grown up a lot since then and are nine and ten pounds respectively. Pō has a lot of white hairs that make her look distinguished and Lā is still as charming as ever.

We never had dogs so we went out to Petco for training courses. It was good because it taught us a lot in terms of how we needed to act and the level of consistency and praise we should be giving to them to positively reinforce the training. It worked, we still have to work on getting their attention, especially when they see their friends from the park.

Pō and Lā today.

Princess Pō (night)
Lord Lā (day).

And as an added bonus, we also received a cute kitty cat to grow up with them, she came with the name Onyx and it stuck.

Such a full house of fur.

Silent improv scene revisited

Aloha mai kākou.

So I am constantly trying to figure out how I want to use this. Right now, I am going to make it my depository for information on things improv that I have done throughout the years and do not want to forget.

June 2019:

Squire and I had a couple of improv things. We had a board meeting for our nonprofit, did a short scene for a night of improv to fundraise for Garrick Paikai, and ended the month with a lunch with his leadership cohort that is also interested in improvisation to build leadership skills.

Board meeting: It was the annual board meeting but of interest we talked about some of the new initiatives we wanted to develop. Jay, Squire, and I are all working on curriculum offerings for our target groups, students, teachers, and businesses.

Short improv scene: Squire and I had a rare chance to improvise together on stage. Although people think the opposite, we really do not get to do it much. The directive for the evening was to do “The Marty.” Multiple pairs doing five minute scenes in real time that are relationship driven, no effects. We decided to make ours a mini-tribute to OTS and did a HUSH-inspired silent scene. Since we decided not to talk, we had to rely on eye contact and the actions and reactions of the other. I am happy to say that we made the most of the relationship because we did not have the option to get mired down in creating business that did not add to our interactions with each other. We had five minutes but edited out at 4:10 somewhat abruptly. In retrospect, we should have let some of the moments land and in a weird way take our time with it. In the scene, Squire threw his cell phone away and when I went to find it, I knew exactly where it was, which I probably wouldn’t have. I should have taken the moment to “find” it. Also, I got a little emotional at the end but if we played it right, we should have sat back down as we were standing on two blocks and looked back out at the view we established. That would have been a great button. Of course, part of me was worried about the time but we obviously had enough time left. Garrick liked it, he made a kakegoe (shout or call) that we were pleasantly surprised to hear, “Mattemashita!” This made it all worth it for us, we went in with the right mindset and did something for the honoree.

I just wanted to make sure that I kept note of it for future reference, if we ever want to look at doing more improv in this way.


Improv Workshop at Kumu Kahua Theatre

Squire and I are going to be putting on an auditioning workshop at Kumu Kahua Theatre in the next month.

It should be a blast mostly because we are going to work it around some input that we received from directors in the community. It actually made our job a little easier.

We are going to theme out our 8 sessions over four weekends, in order, 1) playing without fear, building trust and having fun, 2) movement, 3) voice, and 4) acting.

WHAT: Improvisation Workshop taught by Monica and Squire Coldwell

IMPROV FOCUS: Audition skills, confidence, working with others, being willing to let go of your fears, and preparing you to sing, dance, and act your way through your next audition.

WHERE: Kumu Kahua Theatre, 46 Merchant St, Honolulu, HI

WHEN: Consecutive Saturday and Sunday mornings, January 19 – February 10

COST: $120

INFO and REGISTRATION: 808-536-4222, KumuKahuaTheatreOM@gmail.com

We will see if people show up.


What I did this summer …


So I wanted to share about one of the highlights this summer. Squire and I directed a show at Kumu Kahua Theatre. It was special for many reasons, 1) because it was the first show the both of us have worked on together in a long time, 2) it was at Kumu one of our “homes,” and 3) our lives are considerably different from the other times we’ve been this involved in a show.

Normally, I would have wanted to give you a blow by blow of the process while we were doing it but it went by so fast.

First off, we were going to do an improv workshop but Donna Blanchard floated this idea of directing a show at Kumu based on submissions they had received around the 38 minutes around Hawaiʻi received a false missile alert of an inbound ballistic missile.

The process for us was, we looked at and chose the pieces we were going to put in the show based on a submission call out that Kumu had made a week after the event, had auditions, and jumped straight into three solid weeks of rehearsals before we had to have our cast ready to act and improvise in front of an audience for another three weeks of shows.

Challenges were, not everyone had acting experience or improv experience, we had a short time to do both, and we had to teach everyone how to improvise in the style that we thought would serve the show the best.

The overall concept of the show was to have the actors perform, based on what we could do in such a short period, the most stage ready pieces in the first act, and use those pieces to make the audience comfortable enough to share their own stories in the second act. We tried to set up the show as naturally as possible, having the actors pretend to be audience members, breaking the fourth wall whenever we could by using the whole space, having moments of interaction between the cast, the crew, and the audience, and having the our tech and actors exchange places to show that everyone really is a part of the show.

This worked out the way we had envisioned it, we had no shortage of people volunteering their stories and all types of people willing to do it. We weren’t being overly cocky but because of what we had experienced so far through auditions and talking to others about their experiences we knew that people had stories and they were all unique. The odds were in our favor that people would be willing to share.

I have so many stories based on the people in the audience and what we learned about Hawai’i and the people that make up this wonderful place. The best part of the experience was getting to hear more stories and feel the connection between the performers and the people that came to the show. But delving it this subject would definitely take a really long time.

So I’d like to end with some general thoughts, although it was a terrible 38 minutes to live through, we all lived through it together and came out unscathed at the end, how lucky is that. Many people realized this and sought out what really mattered to them. Hawai’i is a very special place and what really highlights that, and our fragility, is what makes us pretty amazing and can easily brings us together. Squire and I also knew that this show was going to be special because of how different and unique each of the experiences people had were and continued to be during the run of shows. I may not remember every single line of every story shared in the second act for the shows that we were able to watch, but I remember every single person who shared, their story, how they felt, and how it made me feel with them letting us in and being a part of our show.



38_Minutes_Poster_Draft (1).jpg