I think it's a generational thing, that men who are now my dad's age, didn't get too involved in child-rearing the first time around. My dad worked, and my mom stayed home to watch me. A lot of my friends had the same experience.
The other day, I called my parents to come over to watch Olivia so I - feeling burnt out and tired - could go to dinner with Claus. Just needed some adult time, and a change of scenery.
My dad answered the phone. "Mom's sleeping. She's really tired. She fell asleep at 5:45," he said.
I told him that's OK, don't wake her, I'd stay home, no big deal. Trying to be helpful, he said, "Do you want me to do it?"
"Oh, would you do that?" I asked my dad. He visits us only as he pleases, which is fine. The family culture that we've long ago established is that my parents hew to very traditional roles.
Mom nurtures. Dad does what he wants to do. He will assist babysitting, but he never solos.
"Well, how hard can it be? Isn't she going to be sleeping?" he asked.
It was 7 p.m. Olivia goes to sleep at 7:30 p.m. "I could put her down at 7:15. That way you only have to be with her for 15 minutes," I said.
"Oh. I better wake Mom," he decided.
I think it's funny that my dad didn't want to be with Olivia alone for even 15 minutes. He was probably fearing the worst, since he has never done this alone before. They get on very well, though. Olivia really likes him.
I am acquainted with a group of male retirees at the Y. I ran the story by them and asked if it's a guy thing.
I got a story back from Ron, who told me what happened when he babysit his grandchild. "The kid took a huge dump, and after I changed the diaper, I couldn't find a new one. So I wrapped my golf towel around him and duct taped it into place," he shared.
I don't usually go to that dinner. For most of my career, I've been working on a Friday night, or at the very end of the career, I needed to be asleep at dusk. "It could be our last chance to attend as an actual contestant. Let's go," nudged my co-entrant, Tracy Arakaki.
Tracy and I entered a piece together about a martial artist, Henry Smalls, which we titled Unlikely Samurai. Tracy shot and edited it. I wrote and voiced it.
I was lukewarm. I made a production out of going to San Francisco for the Emmy awards, only to - in politically correct parlance - not receive the statue.
Which then meant that I lived the rejection for a week. I tried to ignore it, but it was hard, since the only reason I was in San Francisco was to attend that dinner. I wasn't sure if I wanted to repeat another second place moment.
I don't need to be reminded of the painful patch that was the layoff. Because the stories I entered this year represent the last work I'll ever do for KHNL News8, the Emmy disappointment unexpectedly conjured up feelings related to my layoff.
Ala Moana Hotel
Attending the SPJ dinner required far less commitment, but I told Tracy, "Not sure if I can handle it." But he insisted, and I gave in.
Sisto Domingo, Sonny Ahuna, Lisa Kubota, Tracy Arakaki, Ben Gutierrez, me, Keoki Kerr
I'm glad I did. I had such a nice time - far better than I expected, and not just because I won an award. I got to see a handful of former colleagues, shoot the breeze, and remember what it feels like to be part of that fraternity. This is who I was for so long. This is where I lived for so long.
Craig Gima and me
I forgot how much I loved the newsroom. I like our collective sense of humor: sarcastic, dry, witty, sharp, liberal. I've known some of these people for 14 years and I miss working with them. In a very small way, it felt like coming home.
KITV's Dick Allgire and me
Me and Garett Kamemoto
HPR's Kayla Rosenfeld and me
So, I took first place in the features category for Unlikely Warrior. I also was a finalist in the same category for Butterfly Farmer. (I know, I competed against myself, but it was the only category that fit for both, so I stacked the deck.) That was fulfilling.
Sisto, me, Tracy
Here's what the SPJ website says:
Diane Ako, Tracy Arakaki, KHNL News 8, "The Unlikely Samurai"
Comments: Beautiful. Heartwarming and inspiring story. Story has all the elements. Perfect lighting, wonderfully edited. Great choice of music. Well written. Spot on transitions, Photography was phenomenal. Easily rises to the top at all of the other entries.
To that end, I would be remiss if I didn't thank Dolphin Sound's Ron Klohs for selecting the music on both those packages. Thanks, Ron.
I want to point out that KHNL News8 garnered the most television news awards. That's KHNL NEWS8, the old station, before it merged into Hawaii News Now. And 100% of the KHNL people who won those awards were laid off: me, Tracy, Leland Kim, Sisto Domingo, Taires Hiranaka, and Ed Matthews.
Tracy and Sisto
The only one of that list of names who has a full time job is Leland Kim, and he had to move to California and leave the media industry. I'm unemployed (no, I DO NOT WORK FOR Aloha Care; the commercials were a one time acting job), Sisto is in school learning a new trade, Tai works one or two days a week shooting news at another station, and I think Ed is still jobless.
There are a lot of talented professionals pounding the pavement. May my friends land another job soon.
I left the dinner and went back to my new life as a housewife and mother. My life is too busy to allow me to dwell on old times. Always, even in the first days after the layoff, I didn't have the luxury of moping. I have a toddler to care for. It propels me forward - for better and for worse.
But I have that moment, a brief night when I returned to the old me, and I savor that. Some days, when Olivia is just killing me and I'm up to my ears in Mommyness, I'll pull out that memory, unwrap it like a candy, and enjoy.
Me and Claus
Claus, me, Jen
Christine, Tracy, Violet
Midweek's Yu Shing Ting and me
PS I finally edited the video from the May Emmy awards dinner in San Francisco. Here it is:
Olivia has discovered the fun of a flotation device known as a water noodle, that flexible, foamy, straw-shaped pool toy that helps kids play and have water fights.
Dash (Howard Dashefsky) had a pool party at his house. Olivia and Claus were in the water playing with two noodles. I apparently was the Keeper of the Noodles.
Darin and Dash
Kerry, me, Darin
"Hold my noodle, Mommy," she would periodically command, while she did some other fun thing. "Hold Daddy's noodle, too."
Claus would smile at me and we would snicker.
At some point, I decided to punk her by blowing water through the noodle while tricking her into peering into the center "to see what's in the hole." After the initial annoyance at me, she wanted to see it again. "Blow my noodle, Mommy! You blow my noodle!"
Then came the inevitable, "Blow Daddy's noodle now!"
Big smile on Claus' face. "Shouldn't you make your daughter happy?" he asked.
That Supermom has done it again. When I grow up, I want to be just like Susan Yuen.
Susan and kiddos
The Honolulu chef has come out with a second cookbook that's almost too cute for words. Hawai‘i’s Bento Box Cookbook, Second Course, arrives two years after the original book debuted. And I wanted to go back for seconds, to be sure!
"This second helping includes 75 new bento masterpieces your child is sure to enjoy. Included are recipes such as Crab Rolled Omelet, Reindeer Musubi with Garlic Butter Shrimp and Mushrooms, Piggy with Chinese-Style Corn Soup, and more. By popular demand, more sandwich creations are included that require no cooking time and little prep time.
"These creations are perfect for your child’s lunchbox, a picnic in the park, or a family-day at the beach. Also included is a comprehensive section with over 45 delectable recipes to be used in your bento box creations," the press release announced.
I tried half a dozen of the traditional recipies in the back of the book and loved them. Yuen is a former sous-chef at local eateries Palomino Euro-Bistro and Kincaid’s, so I knew it'd be good. I have come to trust her recipes as no-fail delicious, and so easy to make.
Making food with faces is actually pretty labor intensive, but I'm excited to give it a whirl for when Olivia goes to preschool this year. After all, kids eat with their eyes, so I know she'll be wanting to feast on this.