Archive for July, 2009


July 31st, 2009

We are in the midst of potty training right now with our 25 month old, and I guess I better be careful about not pushing her too hard. In 1908, Freud theorized that children who experience conflicts during toilet training may develop "anal" personality traits, namely those associated with a child's efforts at excretory control: orderliness, stubbornness, a compulsion for control. As adults, people with those qualities are called anal retentive.

I don't know if I had issues when I was two, but I do know I'm a Virgo, and I'm sure that accounts for part of my need for order.

It's probably genetic as well. My dad organizes his 5,000 CD collection not just alphabetically (come on- how pedestrian), but within each artist, he organizes it by type of music (Beethoven's sonatas, quartets, concertos, etc). It'll make more sense when I reveal he's a retired computer programmer. Of course, within each type of classification, that too is alphabetized. Duh, what card-carrying AR person doesn't do that?

My mother is the antithesis of that. She can't organize to save her life. I remember being a very young child and trying to organize her coupons and other stuff. So, it's just my personality.

I'm excellent at creating systems and procedures. The minute I got on the morning show and realized we had live guests to contend with, I immediately started making a list of directions and other FAQs for people. I refine the document with each discovery of a flaw. It's crazy to some, but I see it as efficient.

Some guests don't even read it (aaargh! Virgo nightmare!) but some do. Dawn Sakamoto at Watermark Publishing said, "This sheet is SUUUUUUUPER helpful. I love it. Thanks VERY much. "

The AR Department: Di and Miles

The AR Department: Di and Miles

I have a counterpart in the building. Miles works in a different department. The other day, after seeing how I label everything I own (including the USB cables - hey, come on. I own four cameras!) our morning technician Mark categorized me as "the Miles of News."



Most of you have your HR guy. We have our AR guy! At least he has a better excuse. He's in engineering, where you really need attention to details.


I laughed about this with Miles, who labels just about everything he touches, too. For instance, Miles stocks up the soap in the kitchen and bathrooms. It has the Miles Touch: "Do Not Discard - Refillable." I saw the label maker in the office supply room the other day and thought what a cruel joke it would be to hide it from him.


To prove my point, I then e mailed him my guest document, which has expanded to six pages, including photos (in case you no like read) and screen captures. He wrote back, "Tears, Diane, tears of happiness flowing down my face knowing that there are others who are AR like me. There is a need in this world for people like us. We are the ones who make things cleaner, better, neater, easier to find, easier to do, and we must stick together and stick up for one another even during times of ridicule. AR people unite.  Hee, hee."


Labeled on both sides of tool

Labeled on both sides of tool


I totally do the same kinds of things! We had a great time comparing all the silly things we do.

Lables, labels. I love it.

Lables, labels. I love it.

How I love Miles. And he's not even a Virgo.

I thought about having a party for all the AR folks we know, but for sure, it'll have to be BYOL: bring your own labelmaker.

Girls' Night Out!

July 27th, 2009

I still keep in touch with the same clique of about a dozen friends from high school. It's a somewhat rotating group of mostly women, based on who moves back to- or away from- Hawaii. We also get together when one of us returns for a visit. The older I get, the more I appreciate the easy familiarity of old friends who've known each other since the seventh grade.



Lately, seven of us met up for a bon voyage dinner to say goodbye to Lisa, nicknamed Ziggy, whom the recession is forcing to move to California. Now, half of us have young children. If you will note, none of them are in the picture. That's because we left them at home with Dad! Yeah!


We looked around and laughed at the luxury of adults-only dining. When was the last time you ate without Sinjin, I asked Janel. She looked at me. "When was the last time we all got together? Last November?" she responded. Nine months ago?? Same answer from Tina and Zig.


As much as I love Olivia, it's nice to have some "me time" once in a while. No matter how well behaved a toddler is at dinnertime, they will still require some level of attention from you. We enjoyed just being able to focus on our adult conversations.

A different get together, with token husband

A different get together, with token husband

Of course, "girls night out" sure has a different meaning these days, than when we were in college. Our dinner was at 5:30, and after making a wildly spontaneous stop for  - gasp - yogart, we were home by 7:30. Don't laugh.  As a graveyard shift worker, that's still past my bedtime.

How often do you dine out without the kids? What do you do on your Girls' Night Out/ Boys' Night Out? Do you still see your school chums?

Mom's surprise birthday party

July 24th, 2009

I threw my mom a surprise dinner party for her 80th birthday. It was small and intimate, just under two dozen relatives and friends.

Popo and her favorite person ever

Popo and her favorite person ever

It was really nice. We had it at On On at McCully Chinese Restaurant because all she ever wants to eat is Chinese food, and after Yong Sing closed down, our whole tribe had to find a new favorite restaurant.


7 yummy courses!

7 yummy courses!

I planned this for two months, making kiln-fused glass plates as party favors, and driving around to as many relatives' homes as I could on my free time to video tape birthday messages, which I then compiled into a ten minute video. Because so many of her peers have health issues like diabetes, I ordered a sugar-free cake.



There were, of course, half a dozen near-slip ups along the way. Here's one that is a classic, small-town Hawaii tale. I went by my Auntie Bobbie's house to shoot the video, and she said, "Your mom asked me to save the Midweek for her, but I don't want to give it to you or else she'll wonder why you came to see me today."


Despite all that careful planning, when I got home, Mom asked, "I heard you were at Aunty Bobbie's today. Why?" Thankfully, a career in live television has taught me to think on my feet, so I tried not to act too busted while I stalled for a lie, and replied, "How do you know?"

"Oh, when I was getting my mail this morning my neighbor Les said he was on the phone with (Bobbie's husband) Uncle Warren, who mentioned you were going there. For what?"

Gosh, I could never have seen that coming. Foiled by Les? Of all the ways to get busted, this was so random. "Auntie Bobbie asked me to pick up your Midweek."

"Great. Where is it?"

"Um. When I got there, she forgot where she put it. She told me to come back."

"Sounds like her."

And then I kind of laugh-cringed because I felt bad for painting Auntie Bobbie as a space case, and worse, having it apparently be credible! Sorry, Auntie!

Sheila, Lydia

Sheila, Lydia

Bobbie, Mom, Alvin

Bobbie, Mom, Alvin

Anyhow, we covered our tracks well enough, because my mom was totally surprised. I hadn't even told my dad - he get big mouth - so the both of them were surprised and happy to see everyone. You know, we are all so busy, we've been seeing each other mostly at weddings and funerals lately.



Back to those party favors. I wanted to do something special and different, and my best girlfriend owns a glass studio. I thought I'd fire up some glass plates. Art glass, you know? Sophisticated. Beauty in both form and function.

6" squares

6" squares

I spent a weekend doing this, with her help. It took me a lot of time, and way more money than cookies in cute boxes. Or how's this one: the super teensy tea cups with two candies inside, wrapped in mesh and tied with a ribbon at the top. Preferably using the color red, or better yet, red and gold. That's a local Chinese table favor if I ever saw one. I bet at least some of you are nodding and laughing right now.


I'm handing out the six inch square plates, and several of my Chinese uncles are like, "Wot dis? One ash tray?" "What I do with dis?" "Eh, too bad I stop smoking."

Two wives were not present, and the third wife was talking across the room, so these three old guys were mulling over what to do with this piece of fu-fu colored glass. I can practically read their thought bubbles: Where the hell are my tea cup chocolates?



I can hear this but I'm still handing out favors. Oh no, they did not just call my fancy-ass art glass an ashtray. I finally walked back over there. "It's a plate," I smiled through a correction.

"It is?" they collectively respond. "It's so small."

One auntie joins in. "Put candy in it."

"Candy?" they ask. "It's not deep enough."

"You could eat off it. Or let your wife put jewelry in it," I suggest.

After a lot of looking at it, they finally decide they will use it as their special ice cream dishes. I'm glad. But I kind of wonder if I should have just gone with the chocolates.

Surfing into 80!

July 22nd, 2009

For her 80th birthday, my mom requested to do something on her Bucket List: canoe surfing. As a very athletic girl, she used to catch waves with the beachboys in Waikiki, but that was decades ago, and it was always board surfing, not canoe surfing. She's still mentally and physically agile, and most people think she's 70.


We booked an appointment with Hawaiian Ocean Waikiki, the ewa-most beach stand near Canoe's surf break. It's right next to the Waikiki police substation, or, better yet, look for the red and yellow umbrellas. Can't miss it. The place is run by Don Ho's former manager, who knows a thing or two about customer service. We were treated like VIPs.


Her birthday fell on a gorgeously sunny day, so it was perfect. My family of five hopped into the six-man canoe and set out a half mile off shore to catch some waves! We are not paddlers, but it was not hard at all. Captain David steered us into a perfect spot to wait for our one footers.



We caught two waves. When he saw the wave coming, he would yell, "Give me a glide!" As it came closer and he was sure it was going to break under us, he'd say, "Paddle hard! HARD!"


We missed the first few times, so he'd turn us around and start it all over. (That also pretty much sums up my personal board surfing experience since I'm a perpetual amateur.)


When we finally caught the wave, we rode it in for what seemed like a full minute or two. Enough time for me to look back and see a huge, happy grin on my mom's face. And that's her gift to me on her birthday!

Home, Part 2

July 20th, 2009

There’s a saying that there are no accidents. I have to wonder if that applies here. This is a small story about weird and wonderful coincidences.


My grandparents’ Pauoa home was bulldozed in April 2009, after standing there for more than 80 years. Our relatives owned the plot of land, but the sibling trio was getting too old to maintain it any longer. They finally sold it to the next door neighbor, the Honpa Hongwanji Temple of Hawaii, which had been interested for decades.

Temple shares southern border.

Temple shares southern border.

I, of course, took some final photos, before the structure was bulldozed. Imagine my surprise when I learned someone else had captured images of it, too – but this person was a total stranger.

In April, my cousin Janice called me to tell me about a random encounter she had with an acquaintance of hers. She bumped into a guy named Mike Todd at the café in the building where they work, and he showed her his latest drawings. He’s an amateur painter who sketches as a hobby with a group called SketchCrawlers. She recognized one of the sketches as my grandparents’ house!



I said I wanted to see the drawing, so she gave me his e mail. This is what he told me: “You certainly can see the painting! I had no idea I might actually know anyone connected with this house! When I saw how fast the house had been demolished, I was glad I had painted it. I chose it because it looked like an interesting subject and because I didn’t want the image of such a building to be lost after all the history it had been through. I also thought it might be sentimental to someone - and I was right. I believe in synchronicity, meaning things do happen for a reason and there are no coincidences. So this was probably not so random.

I first saw the building on Wednesday, March 18th, some time after the hedge around the house had been cut to the ground. It was drizzling and I wasn’t sure about doing a sketch in bad weather. But I also felt I might not get another chance. I started the preliminary sketch then and luckily got to go back and finish it on the 24th. I was very surprised at how fast it was demolished after that! We went by three days later and saw it was gone!"

We met shortly thereafter and I was impressed with his work. The home he drew looked warm and inviting – not neglected and abandoned as it did in the end. I offered to buy the painting, but he doesn’t sell his art.

Prepping for demolition.

Prepping for demolition.

I thought he was such a nice guy with a neat hobby that I invited him to come talk about Sketchcrawlers on the morning show. Here he is (on the left) with his friend, talking about their sketches.

May 19, 2009

May 19, 2009

Mike did, however, let me make a color copy of the piece, which I framed and gave to my mother as a gift. It was the home she was born and raised in, and it means a lot to her.

At 80th birthday party, On On at McCully Chinese Restaurant

At 80th birthday party, On On at McCully Chinese Restaurant

We looked through her old photo albums and there aren’t any shots of the actual house, so it ended up being a really nice memento to have of the place. Strange, that a stranger would help us connect to a piece of our history in such a sentimental way. Or… maybe not such a coincidence at all?

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