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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Here Tomasi and I are singing at Alani Violeti's wedding in 1998...... I hope I can make this work. 

  1. folks, this was 16 years ago .....sigh. how time flies. I love this song and we've done it at a lot of weddings. Thanks Alani for posting this. got me singing this song all day today.
    hi auntie! just thought I'd share with you... since it's You! from 16 years ago. :) love you guys!
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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas 2013

 My mother's little band of "Christmas elfs".   Here also is the little log cabin that Tomasi carved for me in our first year of marriage.  I thought these went well together.
 Harp #48.  I put gold levers on this harp.  When taking this photo, I could see many Christmas's here.  The grass shack that Tomasi and I lived in for 2 years with our 5 little ones ages 6 and under in 1970 about.  The Jewel Tea big bowl was my Aunt Vernie's and I spent many happy Christmas's in her home with Aunt Myrtle. When this bowl got broken several moves ago, I saved the pieces and made this planter out of it.  Then there's the now frozen Mississippi through the window....and real logs on my walls....surely a White Christmas for us this year.
 Enter with a happy heart wreathe that Vicki Andrus made for me a few years back...and oh we are soooooooooooo happy in this house of my dreams.  And can you see my "dream man" tending the fire in the house?   I always wanted a rounded door like this all my life with a square window....
Now here's our little tree....with a few of the ornaments that I've saved for over 50 years.  I have 3 bands of singing angles...and two small Nativity sets....and my Christmas Cacti that has not bloomed yet.  
 I can't have a Christmas without one Kerosene lamp...and now two violet plants.  My mother cared for violets in her house.  and Sarina, see, I still have your little thing you made for me too.  I have a butterfly night light that helps those that go up and down the stairs when folks come to visit.  Who will come to visit soon?
 This hanging bells hold special memories for me.  These were Aunt Myrtle's and she always had them in the house at this time...on the other side it says HAPPY NEW YEAR.  Aunt Myrtle was a collector of bells.
Here is the fun blue fish that when I put water in it....gurgles when I pour from it.  you can see a star and another log cabin here....and red cardinals.  I have a special love for cardinals as they lived all around us when we lived in our place in Hawaii.  and if you look closely you'll see a photo of Tomasi and I before we had any children. 


Sunday, September 29, 2013


This article was published in the Dulcimer Player news.   I hope you can make it bigger so to read it.  September 2013

article in Handcock County JOURNAL-PILOT on 25 September 2013

Round home on the river is "perfect" for Tukuafus

The "dead end" sign on Sycamore Haven Dr. just north of Nauvoo seems out of place once you've driven past its warning and pulled into the driveway of Tomasi and Irene Tukuafu's home. Inside, the Tukuafu's are alive and well, and their beautiful circular wooden home is another new beginning after nearly 50 years of marriage.

The unique shape of the home is a reflection of the couples past while living in Hawaii. Now it also functions as a way to enjoy all of the nature associated with the Mississippi River that the home overlooks.

"Thirty years ago when we lived in Hawaii we lived up high and we could see the ocean a little bit and we had a stream that ran down," said Irene. "I said 'there's no place that's not beautiful, I want a round house to see the whole thing.' So that is where the round house came into being.

"Between Vicki (Andrus) and I we created it together. She says 'building round is hard Irene, it's going to take longer.' But I wanted round, so she said we'll do round."

The main area of the home is well-lit thanks to a number of large windows looking west towards the river, as well as a skylight at the top of the yurt roof, a distinctive feature of homes in central Asia for over 3,000 years. The wooden features inside the home are quite impressive as well.

Logs from a 1750's cabin in Pennsylvania hold up the roof. Cedar logs from the area help provide in the structure of the home as well as the staircase up to the loft and guest room area perched above the living room. To make the railing for the loft, aspen logs from Utah's Parley's Canyon were brought in and sanded down by Irene to perfect the look. Barn wood borders a stained glass window and the bottom of the yurt roof, which was an idea developed as Irene was working with many friends in the building process.
"So one artisan encourages another artisan," said Irene.

On the main level, a compass is ingrained into the middle of the floor which creates a vortex of sound when one speaks while standing there. Oak flooring edges out from the compass and is bordered by maple strips that look like sunbursts in the daylight. All of the wood is accentuated by the natural lighting from outside.

"It's absolutely fascinating to watch the Mississippi," said Irene. "It doesn't matter what day. Winter, summer, spring, or fall. It is beautiful."

The river setting also provides a view into the past for Tomasi and Irene. Tomasi grew up in the south pacific islands of Tonga, and Irene grew up in Sacramento.

"For him, he sees the islands. For me, I see across the Sacramento River," Irene said. "We just love it here."

The Tukuafu's came to Nauvoo in 2006 when Irene began building tables for Andrus and her restaurant business. Tomasi had already retired from teaching science and the couple's 14 children (seven sons and daughters) were well into adulthood.

Irene's woodworking ability and passion for music are evident throughout the home, especially in the main room next to the office area where a number of homemade instruments including harps and dulcimers rest.

"I make all of my instruments," said Irene, pointing to a harp. "This is harp number 45. I've made two more since then. The last one I made was in Hawaii for my daughter."

The instruments aren't simply for decoration, as Irene and Tomasi are talented musicians, and being surrounded by music again serves as a living connection to the past as all 14 children play instruments.

"Early on we decided we would go around and do the Tongan way of Christmas," said Irene. "You'd take your instruments and you'd go play. The first five years of our marriage we had a baby, so we would take our little choir around with us."

The use of wood in the home is highlighted by the bed frame made of logs, which required the original foundation be expanded to accommodate the unique piece of furniture. Above the bed is a skylight and within the connected bathroom is a vintage sink and bathtub.

Through the office area is another bathroom which features a large fossil-crete shower, giving the appearance of bathing under a waterfall.

"Old ladies don't like slipping on showers," jokes Irene. "It's just like taking a shower in a cave. I like it. I'll never slip on this shower!"

The kitchen sits on the southeast side of the home, and its middle space is occupied by a large wooden table made by a good friend Dave Hardle, who helped with a lot of the wood in the house. The table is so large it has been bolted together, but the bolts have been covered with wooden knots for a natural finish.

"This is more of a buffet table because we serve a lot of people in our home," said Irene with a smile. "Bring them in!"

The table stands on a cherry wood floor that has been painstakingly put together like a puzzle.

"We tongue and grooved it all, and there were all sorts of different sized pieces," Irene said.

Stained glass windows also feature prominently in the home. One window on the southwest side is stained glass, and Irene has another window placed deeper inside the house next to her half of the office area. It was originally intended for the northwest side, but the view to Ft. Madison would have been obstructed.

"Since Vicki knew me for 30 years she knew I loved stained glass windows," said Irene. "I realized when you put a stained glass window in you no longer have a view. At night time you can see all of the bridge lit up. It looks beautiful."

The Tukuafu's began construction in 2009 and moved in in 2010.

"We didn't want to move in on April 1, so we moved in on April 2," laughed Irene.

Irene admits that there is still more work to be done, but she is capable of doing much that work in the wood shop beside the house where she builds her harps.

"It's not a perfect shop but it's perfect for me," said Irene. "Tomasi doesn't do woodworking, but he's so sweet he'll come and clean up my shop."

Tomasi was also integral in the building process not so much for what he did, but for what he didn't do. Irene and Vicki's creativity was the driving force behind the home, and for what they could build their dream home for in Nauvoo as compared to other parts of the world they have lived, they spared little expense.

"Tomasi let us have free hand of it all," Irene said. "He said 'all I need is a log to lay my head on, you guys just do whatever you want.' How wonderful is that? In Hawaii this would be a $2 million house and the termites would love it!"

There is no love from termites inside the round house past the dead end sign, and the only sign of love is that of Irene and Tomasi. As their voices and music fill the living room, igniting the accoustics of the wood, the look of the house gives way to the feeling of the home.

After 50 years together, through different addresses in different time zones, the spark between the two remains obvious, and for now there is no other place to go.

Said Irene, "I'm in my dream house with my dream man."

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Frances Irene Worth buried proper like

The following post is of my trip to Pearl, Colorado.   Tehani drove me in her car as she was leaving Keokuk, Iowa where she was attending school and is moving to S.L.C. to live with Isabella and family to earn money for her mission.  We sooooooo enjoyed our road trip together.  I really love road trips.  The weather was perfect.  We got to Pearl at Noon and Kapua them were not there so we just fooled around, read, I fell asleep on the hammock an got big time sunburned.  whew....forgot about 8,400 feet elevation.  whew.  11 of the 14 children came and we reburied my mother in a proper grave in Colorado. 


 Tehani and I put up this hammock that is Bob's.   Yep, I took a nap on this when we first came....and BOY DID I GET SUNBURNED....
 Here is the fallen down "bunk house" that took care of other folks when my great grandfather Cooke Rhea was living there alone after my great grandmother died. 
here are some SWALLOWS NESTS that just have to be knocked down....but keep making new.  Hard to see, when i go again, I'll get better photos of these birds and nests. 
 they were the last to make bread in this old wonderful oven....I made bread this time...turned out GREAT. 
 Here are my grandmother's sisters, Aunt Clare (my middle name is her name) and Aunt Nina Ruth Rhea.  This and other family photos hung on all the walls of this old Pearl House.  These sisters came out here for a month every summer until they died.  They lived in Denver.
 11 kids came and myself to this old graveyard in Colorado.
 this is a photo of my dear mother that died when she was 82.  I buried her in Santa Barbara in a park that she always took my brother Worth and I to when we'd come to visit her.  That was really illegal and somehow Kapua and Ma'ata found her ashes still in the box 20 years later.  They dug her ashes up....and was always watching out for any "ranger" that might come by.  They took her all around Santa Barbara before taking her ashes home to Hawaii.  It was in Hawaii, that Kapua designed the tomb stone and had a man in Wyoming engrave it. 
 After we buried my mother's ashes, we had a memorial service up a lake that she used to play at when she was a little girl. 
Kapua designed the gravestone...and we all put lilacs on the grave.  My brother made a wood box to put her ashes in.  I'm sorry I do not have a photo of that here. 
just another view of Pearl house so far away....look at the SUNBEAMS. 
 up close, the pump house, where the wringer washer is stored and you can see the place to hang out the cloths.  When I came in 2006, she and Val Sewell were using the old wringer washer, but now Kapua goes to the laundry mat in Waldon, CO and drys 'em here.  you have to turn on the generator to use the washing machine.  There is NO ELECTRICITY in Pearl.  ALL HAVE GAS things.  lights in the house are gas, stove, refrig and gas furnace in the living room.  I'd post all of these, but it would be too much. 
 you can see the Pearl's the white one to the far right...
In the perspective, here's the sign in a tire.  cute, eh?
 this lets you know how high it is up here. 
 What a view from the outhouse, eh?
When you enlarge this photo, you can see the ANTELOPE PLAY...(like as "oh give me a home where the buffalo roam and the deer and the Antelope play".  this area was soooooooooo full of game that is the reason that my great grandfather came here in the late 1800's.  My grandmother, Ethel Roberta Rhea was the first white woman born in a log cabin in this area.
 I took these with my TABLET....
 I just love this area
wayyyyyyyyyyy beautiful
 here's a melting snow bank...
 Here is part of the desert sage area....BIG SKY COUNTRY of Colorado
In perspective....the sign on the post of the gate.  He had hundreds of acres at one time.  The large Ranch was sold and only the white house in the "town" of Pearl that is owned by Kapua.  She bought it from her cousin. 
 Rhea Ranch sign
 here's some of my children.  Isi, Felila, Kapua, Manu, Dan, Sarina, Isabella
This is the little 2 seater outhouse that is at Kapua's place (old 1904 family Rhea house that she bought in 2006.)

Isabella and Haumana and Dan walked slow up with me.....and I'm grateful for their kindness....she ran down with others when we went back.  There are 4 more miles to get to some other lakes, GLAD we didn't try to do that one.  WHEW....I WAS TOTALLY EXHAUSTED AFTER THIS HIKE.
 and boys just HAVE to skip rocks.  You can see the dead trees everywhere. Beatles kill on Douglas fir trees.  nope, don't attack other trees.....mostly these are just cut down and supposedly just go back to "mother earth"...but such a waist of lumber if you ask me.  the beetle seems to attack every 100years or so....and only the the inside of the trees are good lumber.  Looks like a dangerous place to be when the fire comes.   sad.  I'm sure this was soooooooo beautiful when all was GREEN TREES.
this is the lake that these falls go into via the little river. 

 Here we are near the lake that the falls flowed into.
 these are the four boys that took care of their mama.  Isi, Haumana, Dan and Manu
 I have to show this stick that Manu cut up for me to use as a walking stick.  It was perfect and I needed it many times.   The sign says, "Mount Zerkel Wilderness"
 SOOOOOOO BEAUTIFUL FALLS...DAN ON THE OTHER SIDE. the water was like melted ice cubes.....burrrrrrrrr. quite a few went in ..NOT ME. I so love the spray after the 2 and half mile up.  Now keep in mind that this area is over 8,000 feet up from sea level. 
 ahhhhhhh, the spray from these falls was WONDERFUL
Manu fell asleep on this log

Sunday, January 20, 2013


 I took a trip to Washington, D.C. on the train to deliver this Voyager harp to Claire Guggenheim.  She commisioned me to make it out of Mahaony Wood.  It was cheaper to go on the train and taking the "lower level" and keep a watch on this harp then it was for me to box it up and ship it.  the harp only weighed 18 pounds and folks that ship stuffs, often get it banged up.  Here in the first picture of when I had it in transition in Chicago.  I rode in the front little cart.  My round trip costs $220.00. (about)
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 you may wonder what this wall is all about.  Well, my wonderful friend that I met here....came to pick me up and she and her family lived in South Africa and I got to stay in their "Africa Room".  Here is what greeted me.  I loved it.  So many interesting things in her house and so many marvelous books that I'd love to read, (oh oh, that's my problem, I also have lots of books I want to read all over MY house).   On the right is Claire Guggenheim recieving her harp in Washington D.C. train station.  My friend CHRIS TROGER met us 5 min after Claire and I met.  She came with KAREN SENECA.  The 4 of us went to lunch in the food court.  After that we took Claire and her harp up to the place that she was waiting for her train back to New Jersey and Chris and Karen and I went to Chris's house where I stayed in the downstairs African Bedroom. the above is a fabulous Chess Set.  Now isn't life a "game" sometimes, eh? 
 Now If I knew how to turn this photo right side up....I would.  you'll just have to cock your head.  This is the FIRST thing I wanted to see.  Abe and I are distant cousins through my Maiden name Holmes.  I have wanted to see this for MANY YEARS.  
 Then Chris and Karen and I walked over to the Vietnam memorial.  A name on a wall....the reflection of the day ............the remembering of me singing the songs of those years....Joan Boaz.....I loved the folks songs the best and was not a war protester at all.  These were my age of men. 
This is such a fun statue.  Chris has lived in Washington D.C. for 30 years and was a super great tour guide.   you can take your curser here and make the photo bigger. 

 As we were walking to this Memorial of F.D.Roosevelt, they were pointing out the Air Port and I looked to see where they were pointing and I stumbled on the pavement.  bummed my knee and my right hand.  Karen ran back to the car and brought her essential oils and fixed me up right away.  I loved Karen for using these on me. You can see by these pictures that I'm just fine.  F.D.R. claimed he hated war....yet our country was in 2 plus wars under his leadership.  He had a lot of good sayings.  This memorial has many fountains and I enjoyed that part a lot and walked around being thankful that I was not hurt more then I was.  The three of us went to a Art Museum.  This is only a "taste of things to come"   The one place I wanted to REALLY SEE was the instrument floor in the Smithsonian Museum.  "I'm sorry, but that floor is closed for renovation".    (bummers) I loved seeing the HUGE AMERICAN FLAG.  Harrah for Betsy Ross.  The repair of that flag, the history of it, that is a must see if you go there.  We ate in the art Museum....with waterfalls behind the glass. 
 Here is the next day when I was to go back on Thursday.  We went to the Washington D.C. Mormon Temple.  It was also closed for cleaning.  We sooooooooo enjoyed the Visitors Center.  (Kapua, this is the shawl that I so love to wear.)  I must have been talking as she took this photo.  hrumph...but I was happy to see this.  Welllllllllllllllllllll, we kept on going in this traffic and OOOOOOOOOOPS, missed the train by 2 min.  yep, missed it.  Karen zipped me around as fast as we could go, she had one of my luggage and I the other...but missing a train by TWO min. or TWO hours, same smell, I MISSED THE TRAIN.  So Karen and I went to the help window and I got it all set up for the next day, Friday. same station, same time, same price same lower level.  yeah.  When we got back in the car, Chris was listening to Louise Hay C.D. and I so enjoyed that too. 
 Now, I need to learn how to make the picture right........ZOWIE they are up high.  I've been told that many Native Americans take these jobs as they are not afraid of heights.  This is in Chicago.  I had a 6 hour space there on Saturday Morning and parked my two little luggage guys and went for a 9 block walk up from the Chicago Train station to STATE STREET. It was 50 degrees.  great for walking.  I asked where the Library was.  On State Street.  I surely was the only one in a long dress.  Nobody wears dresses any more.  oh well. 
 When I was raised in Sacramento, dad often had business in San Fransisco and my mother, and brother and I would often go with him.  I SOOOOOOOOO LOVED THE CITY PIDGINS then as now.  
While in this 9 story GORGEOUS LIBRARY....there was a little display of CHICAGO, CANDY CAPITOL OF THE WORLD. I had no idea.  I had fun in this whole room full of candies that I'd eaten as a child.  I was the only one in here.  yep, MANY of these factories have "gone off shore" because of the cost of Sugar, and labor and oh well, Chicago is no longer the Candy Factory of the world, and that a fact.
 Here is this BEAUTIFUL Chicago Library.  I'm going to look it up and read more on the history of this building.  Can you see the owl on the corners?  and Look at the beautiful building on the right.  San Fransisco has many beautiful buildings like the one on the right. 

I used to sing this little song along with these words, "my stars, how does Mars make such wonderful candy bars"?  
 yep, I know this looks really RANDOM.  It's because I don't know how to move photos around. oh well, you're entertained, right?  On the day I was supposed to leave Washington D.C. we went to the LARGEST ASIA MARKET I'd ever been to in my life.  yep, AWESOME.  and got some other fun things as well.  didn't get dragon fruit though.  That's one reason I had TWO little luggage's going home.  Chris gave me a bowl made of some yellow and black wood that is from Africa.  so that and foods that Tomasi loves was in my other little luggage.  ahhhhhhhh, what a marvelous Market. It was larger then some of the Walmarts I've been in!!  and check those Okra.  Bins of live Crabs....and oh the pastries.  I love Orential Pastries, not too much sugar. 
 Here is the owl.on top of the Library. yep, can't see it very well, phone camera...but hey, knowledge is wise, right? 
Here is the Eternal Symbol that is on the Chicago Library.  I have 3 Eternal friends, Chris, Karen and Claire.

  I left on Monday 7 Jan 2013 in the afternoon on the Train from Burlington and had a little layover in Chicago and boarded the all night train that arrived in Washington D.C. on Tuesday.   Missed the train I was to take on Thursday and took the Friday train back to Burlington and arrived on Saturday 11 Jan..  Tomasi was one happy Tongan to pick me up.  both times I set up my little kid swimming pool mattruss and slept well.  welllllllllllll, could have been better if these two old ladies didn't BLA BLA BLA all night long.  I need BETTER ear plugs.  ha.  Well, that's all folks.