Archive for November, 2009

Jen's omiyage

November 30th, 2009
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My lovely friend Jen always brings us thoughtful omiyage from her sojourns. She regularly goes to Portland for continuing education in her hobby, warm-glass making. She brought back gifts for the family. I normally wouldn't blog about something like that, but these are such super awesome gifts, I just had to share. Plus, I like that it came from local artisans.

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Olivia got crayon cats. CRAYON CATS! How incredibly adorable is that??? In my book, it rivals Sanrio-cute.  Olivia was immediately entranced. She played with them non-stop for a week. That's huge for a two-year-old's attention span.

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Cats are sleeping

The first thing out of her mouth the next morning was, "Mommy, I want to see my cats." I swear. Direct quote. Then she had them lie down and sleep while she ate breakfast watchfully over them.

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I got a rose-scented soap that looks like a little chocolate. It smells SO good. I want to eat it, but I will instead be happy to shower with it. I did get something edible. I got a real-gold painted chocolate!

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Claus got wine-flavored gummy candy. Anything remotely about wine makes him happy.

Swimming with the sharks!

November 27th, 2009
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Most times, people go into the ocean hoping to avoid sharks, but two Haleiwa businesses cater to folks who pay to see them. I've used both companies; the first time, when I was seven months pregnant. Most recently, I went with the other company, North Shore Shark Adventures, and brought along a photographer.

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Why did I want to do it? I wanted to see these majestic creatures up close, but from the safety of a steel cage. The boat takes people three miles off shore. The sharks are attracted by the sound of the diesel engine - no chumming needed. When we get to the location, staff lowers the cage into the water, and invites four people at a time to crawl in. Then they detach the cage from the boat (still connected by a couple leashes) so that it drifts about ten feet away.

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The sharks come almost immediately. I would not know one type from the other, but the staff said it's mostly Galapagos and reef sharks. All I know is, they're beautiful. I've always respected their deadly power and grace, and their essential role in the ecosystem. It saddens me to know that people hunt and kill them, or cut their fins off and leave the animal to die.

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Seeing them just feet away amplified my awe for these remarkable creatures. Of course, this is the only way I'd want to run into one of them!

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Crystal beading

November 25th, 2009
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I had loved my old job in news because it was a great way to meet a neat cross-section of people. That's how I met Ryan Soeda, who wrote in to say he enjoyed watching the show. He crafts as a hobby/ side job, and wanted to gift me something from his EBay inventory. I declined, but he insisted.

You never know if someone's a stalker or something weird, so I am always cautious. I figured out over time he was fine.

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Finally, I said he could bead my coffee mug. I used a silver mug up on set. It had a brand logo on one side, which I always hid from the camera. I asked if Ryan could cover up the logo with a butterfly design, if I supplied the crystals. He said yes.

The butterfly mug

The butterfly mug

I dropped off the mug and a few days later, it came back artfully done! I was impressed, so I asked him to be a guest on the show. I'm a sometimes-crafter, and I think gluing crystals on your stuff is quite popular these days. It was a "how to" segment, like a local Martha Stewart.

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He was really sweet and cute, and very prepared. For this segment, I brought two metal water bottles and bought more crystals. I think it went over well since every female I mentioned it to said they were planning to record the show.

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I liked him so much, I asked him to come back and do another how-to show. This time, he taught viewers how to glue crystals on your body. He happened to come on KHNL's last day. It was fun to end the show with a little sparkle!

Intern Shere'e, and Ryan Soeda

Intern Shere'e, and Ryan Soeda

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Love Ocho

November 23rd, 2009
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I have a walking reminder of KHNL. It's called Ocho, the feral cat I saved from the old parking lot a few years ago. She got sort of domesticated by the staff, who then bugged and begged me to take her home. I had a dog and I didn't want another dependent, but I do love cats, so I finally conceded.

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I called her Ocho because she probably used up one life foraging for her food in the wilds of Kalihi. Also for the reference to News8. When I first took her home, she would still look for food in the garbage can.

She reigned queen of the house (bossing around the 70 pound Labrador) for years, until I had a baby. Then, she demonstrated her jealousy by peeing on the sofa immediately after we brought Olivia home. It happened twice in the first couple months, but then she seemed to settle down. We let her continue living inside.

She picked the expensive sofa to pee on, but I was luckily able to rehabilitate it by washing the cushion covers a dozen times and letting the cushions air out on the lanai for a month straight. I let the hot sun dry it out. It worked.

However, she did it again this summer. What the--?? Why?

So, out she went. I tried making her a bona fide outdoor cat, but she fought with the other, larger cats in the 'hood. She has lost every trace of her feral-ness. She would come by the screen door and cry and cry.

As a concession, I put her on the lanai. Luckily, it's pretty comfortable out there, with a regular assortment of birds to keep her amused. She got used to it and stopped crying to be let inside. She seems to like it, and accept it  out there.

Olivia has always loved our pets, and I've come to realize that Ocho is now worth her weight in gold. You see, Olivia likes to go out at least once a day and play with the cat, who is now captive in a small balcony, so she has nowhere to go. Before, Ocho would hide under the bed and that would be that. Now, she can run, but she can't hide. Heh heh heh.

Ocho is now subject to tea parties, book readings, doll dressings, wardrobe changes, and whatever else little girls like. Awesome. It keeps Olivia occupied and out of my hair for half an hour. She hugs the cat all the time and says, "I love you, Ocho."

Meow!

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"Where's the escape route?"

"Where's the escape route?"

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Facebook fears

November 20th, 2009
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Our friends Sal and Erica are prominent community members in their hometown of El Paso. El Paso shares a border with Juarez, Mexico- now the deadliest city in the world due to drug wars.

They just told Claus and me that they don't share much information on Facebook, particularly their childrens' photos, due to kidnapping and extortion risks. How it works: the drug guys look around for a target and research them online. This had an impact on me.

That night I awoke at 3 am from a nightmare. I shook Claus awake. "Honey, should I pull Olivia's photos off my blog?"

He sighed. "I'm pretty sure the Mexican drug cartels aren't reading the Honolulu Advertiser for parenting tips. I think we're OK."