Archive for December, 2009

Lessons from my dog

By
December 17th, 2009



Old adages with a canine twist:

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A BIRD IN THE HAND IS WORTH TWO IN THE BUSH.

I took Inca to the beach during a stormy week in which the waves were still quite large and there was lots of driftwood on shore and in the water. She is a Labrador; a water dog. She is a Retriever. The ultimate combination of that is fetching a stick at the beach. Inca-heaven.

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I found a six-inch stick and was tossing that into the water, when she noticed a yardstick-sized piece floating nearby. She dropped mine and went for the much larger one. Size queen.

In the froth of the constant surf, she lost sight of the big one, and finally gave up. She backtracked to go find the one she dropped, but it too had gone away. She treaded back to shore, empty-mouthed.

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DON'T CRY OVER SPILLED MILK.

Never one to look back, she came to shore and happily ran alongside me for a bit until she found her next stick. Problem solved.

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I need to be more like Inca.

***

Also reach me via DianeAko.com

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Language immersion

By
December 15th, 2009



Languages and cultures fascinate me. When I was about ten years old, I can remember being infatuated with the idea of speaking Spanish. I have no idea where that came from, nor does my mom. I have been casually pursuing it as a small hobby since then!

Denmark was never on my radar until I met Claus. I was vaguely aware of its geographic location in Western Europe, and I associated it with pastry and those hokey butter cookies in the big blue tins. (By the way, Danishes are called Vienna breads in Denmark! Isn't that funny?!) I also thought maybe they sported wooden clogs there, but now I know I made that classic American mistake of confusing Danish with Dutch.

Since I'm married to a Dane, I might as well take advantage of it. I would totally not mind moving to Denmark for a year, enrolling in language classes, and learning Danish. What an ideal situation- I could practice with Claus and all his friends. People of that generation are all pretty fluent in English.

As it is, Olivia is bilingual. Claus speaks only Danish to her, which paid off on the trip. How lame did I feel when I had to ask my two year old to translate what people were saying? Unfortunately, she would not. She knows what people say, because she can issue the correct responses, but she wasn't ready to act as translator. I would get ignored when I asked.

Why did I even find myself in this situation? There was a six year old who, despite being repeatedly told Aunt Diane cannot understand Danish, simply could not digest that, so she would always try to talk to me. I would look at Olivia and say, "What did Ester say?" and Olivia would ride off on her toy ladybug.

Also, that 82 year old uncle for whom the trip was made, kept trying to talk to me. He would speak slowly and loudly, as if that might help. You know, like maybe I might get it if he enunciated. Buddy, let me tell you, the extent of my Danish is to offer someone a cold beer or a clean diaper. Once again: "Liv, what did he say?" Blank stare.

I accidentally discovered a way to annoy my kid with my poor language. I was counting to ten with her in Danish and I mispronounced seven. She corrected me with irritated authority. I now do it with all the words I know, on purpose, to pester her. After a bit, she can't stand it. She actually yells, "Stop. STOP! S T O P!!! Stop saying that!" and she waves her hands in the air. Claus and I snicker on the side.

Or, if I say something in Danish, she always snaps her head in surprise because she knows that's not the right parent.

But I digress. So, I told Claus my thoughts on moving to Denmark for a year, thinking he would be flattered I was that open to his culture and country. He looked at me thoughtfully. He can't stand the cold. "I'll miss you," he said. "Have fun."

The Funeral

By
December 14th, 2009



Over the weekend, Paul Drewes and I held a funeral for the death of our KHNL careers. It was fun, and thanks to Erika Engle for the write up! I didn't invite her because I wanted coverage, but rather, because I like her. However she ended up running this column (click here).

Paul and Diane

Paul and Diane

I'd like to be clear that this wasn't a chance to get together and bitch about being laid off, or any elements related to that aspect. We were too busy having fun to want to rehash upsetting situations. Most of us are just trying to move forward without dwelling in negativity. It was a chance to get together and enjoy each other's company, because now that we don't work together anymore, a lot of us won't see each other as frequently.

New chapel attached to Diamond Head side

New chapel attached to Diamond Head side

The glass office, seen from Moanalua Freeway

The glass office, seen from Moanalua Freeway

We ran it like a real funeral, with reception table and casket. We even had a slide show of the "deceased" - all the photos of employees- and a video presentation of bloopers. For the pre-ditigal camera days, I had to look back through photo albums dating back to 1996 and painstakingly, manually scan each photo, so I was judicious about using only one or two photos from each event.

Diane, Tammy Yamanoha, Darren Pai, Julie Ogata, Patty Lee

Diane, Tammy Yamanoha, Darren Pai, Julie Ogata, Patty Lee

Paul Nickel, Duncan Armstrong, Gavin Huihui, Susan Armstrong

Paul Nickel, Duncan Armstrong, Gavin Huihui, Susan Armstrong

I tried to represent everyone by having at least one photo per employee (yes, even if I didn't like them, which was only three people in the whole of my time there). It ended up being about 230 photos, from major work events like the 2006 quake, to bon voyage parties, to some of the more scandalous social events the staffers have thrown.

Ericson Cristobal

Ericson Cristobal

The program started at 6 p.m. at Moanalua Mortuary. Paul and I had a eulogy scheduled for 6:30 but a lot of people were late, so in the tradition of "News Late", as we used to joke about ourselves, we postponed that till 7.

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My dad is a classical pianist so I recruited him to play any death-related, somber tunes, like Chopin's Funeral March. He played for an hour, and then was pulled back on stage much later by music aficionados, who held an impromptu live music concert/ karaoke/ dueling pianists. The other piano players were Scott Ishikawa and Attila Seress. My daughter and her cousins were there, so at some point my dad also had to contend with four kiddies around his chair.

Attila

Attila

We had a casket, and inside we buried relics of our work history: business cards, station logo shirts, tapes, and one witty person wrote "innocence" on a paper and dropped that inside. Surprisingly, when we opened the casket lid and started to puff up the pillow and blanket inside, Inca actually jumped in!

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She was sitting at our feet and I don't know what intrigued her, but she easily jumped straight up and inside the casket- about 3 feet. She can jump high. She then curled herself up and started to get cozy, to our astonishment. Before I could snap a photo, Claus took her out.

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Also, a little bit to my astonishment, guests actually wanted to get inside a casket and take a photo. I'm the last one to think anyone's too weird or extreme, so it's fine with me, but I for some reason have never been interested in lying in a casket. It's fine if they do- and some did.

In this same vein, I was also amused and surprised some people wanted a tour of the mortuary. Pleased, too, that they weren't shying away from the idea of a party at a funeral home. We got a lot of "eew" reactions (from people who obviously didn't come) because death is still such a taboo subject in the US.

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We had a disco ball and dancing, with music supplied by two friends, Christine and Kym. Special thanks to Kym Miller, because he labored over a CD for me to find songs with death-layoff-news references. Then he mailed it from Seattle! I can now say I outsourced the vendors for this funeral!

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My best girlfriend Jen came with me at 4 pm to set up, and spent most of the night manning the reception table with Lea. (Now you see why she's so awesome?) She also helped me set up the news-themed Christmas tree, decorating it with video tape garland and news script. Thanks to Maile for giving us the tapes to rip up. We ended up using the tape as a "red carpet", stringing it from outside the door, down the hall, and into the casket.

Master control's nightmare

Master control's nightmare

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Inca was such a good dog. She let five small children drag, chase, and lie all over her for four hours. I have never seen Inca so tired before.

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It was a lot of fun, and ended somewhere pre-dawn. There was way too much beer and wine left over. I even gave doggie bags of alcohol to the very last guests, and I STILL have left overs. Claus and I were exhausted and left at 1 am, but a small group of friends were still drinking and talking, so we simply left them.

Taires Hiranaka, Paul N, Maile Akita, Scott Ishikawa, Darin Akita, Paul, Gina

Taires Hiranaka, Paul N, Maile Akita, Scott Ishikawa, Darin Akita, Paul, Gina

Tom Brower, Joe Aikala, Henry Smalls, Tim McRobert, Glenn Wakai, Derrick

Tom Brower, Joe Aikala, Henry Smalls, Tim McRobert, Glenn Wakai, Derrick

The second to last people left at 2 am, and they said they left our friend sleeping on the bench. I'm going to have to check on him later. If you stay in that position too long at that place, you might get mistaken for a customer.

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Split comforters

By
December 13th, 2009



I splurged on a new comforter. It's actually a split comforter, which means it's two twin-sized comforters on one bed. The idea is that you aren't fighting for the covers with your bed partner.

I learned about this Scandinavian tradition on my first trip to Denmark in 2004. The comforters are always made of down, and are enclosed in a duvet cover. There is no flat sheet on the bed, as there is in America, or anywhere else I've been in Europe. It's just you and the comforter. Very easy to make the bed in the morning. Also, probably nice for my husband, since he claims I'm a blanket hog.

I wanted to buy it back in 2004, but Claus said it would be way too hot to have a down quilt in Hawaii. I tried to replicate the concept by folding two American blankets in half and sleeping with that. Didn't work. Something about how heavy and floppy it was didn't sit right. We went back to our queen-sized Macy's synthetic batting comforters.

I couldn't forget about those split comforters, though, and on this trip back,  I had comforter-envy at everyone's homes we stayed at. I just love it. So light, warm, fluffy, and secure. I feel like I'm sleeping in a waffle! A warm, tasty, honey-covered, butter-slathered, mouth-melting waffle! LOVE IT!

Ahem.

So Claus is trying to talk me out of an unnecessary expense that he thinks will be used once and abandoned the first week we get home to the 75 degree heat of Hawaii. Besides, we have like, ten comforters at home, unused in the closet. I insist this is different.

I suppose I could have bought two twin sized down comforters in America, but I don't think it's the same. Anyhow, I wanted the real thing. I wanted to make sure it was exactly the experience I savored in Denmark (as well as Norway.) What's so bad about that?

On my last day in Denmark, I finally decide to buy the thing. I mean, five years of wanting surely qualifies it, right? It costs a lot, but I assure Claus we're actually saving money because it's half-priced. I bought the lightest-weight feather count I could, and they're on sale because they're the summer inventory! See how brilliant a shopper I am? It is SO meant to be!

Two goose-down quilts, two duvet covers with matching pillow cases. For such a large item, it actually vacuum packed to the size of a small plastic bag after we forced all the air out. I even wrote a note for the TSA inspectors. Dear TSA, This is a vacuum packed down quilt. If you unpack it, it will be hard to put back in. Thanks for considering. I'm sure it wouldn't have worked, but it was worth a try. Anyway, my stuffed-to-the-gills suitcase didn't end up being checked.

http://www.moodsshop.dk/product.asp?product=5928

http://shop.magasin.dk/TH.-Wessel-moskusdundyne/5768890403404,default,pd.html

First night back at home, I was dead tired but made sure to get those things on the bed before I slept. I was happy. Very happy. Still am thrilled. As if sleep wasn't enough of an incentive to get me to bed, I now think about lying underneath that comforter all the time.

But you know what? Guess who was even happier. Yep, Husband, who actually likes the heat more than I do. To think, he totally tried to dissuade me from what he thought was a frivolous purchase. You're welcome, Honey.

Are you done with your life?

By
December 11th, 2009



Olivia says really random things. Or, she'll remember a word wrong and say something a little bit off. She asked me, "Are you done with your life yet?" I think she meant light, but it was still funny.

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