Archive for November, 2011

Euphemisms

November 30th, 2011
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Having a child has made me re-think lots of adult systems, including the way we speak. In addition to Olivia's inability to fully grasp figurative sayings yet, she also isn't sure what's a euphemism and what isn't. She's four; that's acceptable.

Adults have so many substitute words that soften the blow of the harder or uglier truth. A recent one that's come up is the use of "big."

I'm always telling her that she's such a "big girl," a phrase I use to praise her for doing something well, or for a new attempt at responsibility.

Naturally, she would think "big girl" is a compliment. She told me when she grows up she wants to be a "big girl, like my mommy."

"Oh, no, Sweetie. We don't call women 'big girls,'" I gently corrected.

"But why?" she asked.

"It means two different things when you call a child big, versus an adult. Ladies don't like to be called big, even if they are," I said. "Don't tell any ladies that you think they're big."

"But why?" Famous last words of a preschooler.

I was very reluctant to go there, but in the interest of truth-seeking, I did. "Big means 'tall' for children but it's usually a nicer way of saying 'fat' when you've stopped growing up. Then you just grow out. People don't like to be reminded that they're getting wider."

She looked at me with an even more confused look. "So what about men?"

"You can call men big if they're muscular. Then they probably like it. But not if they're fat," I explained.

I am fully aware of how ridiculous this conversation sounds. Maybe it would be just easier if I told her not to make a comment at all.

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Literally

November 28th, 2011
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Kids are funny, how they're so literal. I was telling a story at the dinner table and saying I couldn't "stand it anymore," and Olivia said helpfully, "Then sit down!"

Another example: I said, "I hear it's raining in town. " I was trying to decide if it would be better to try for a beach in the suburbs, or in Honolulu proper. Olivia said, "You can hear the rain from here?"

I laughed and explained it's just a manner of speech, and that I had watched Paul's KITV weathercast before I left the house. In hindsight, I should have just said yes and let her think I had super-Mommy hearing, to go with the eyes in the back of my head.

I'm sure as a young child's cognitive ability increases, so will the level of understanding of the different meanings of a word and the complexities of the English language. Until then, perhaps a more thoughtful choice of words is best.

Good thing I didn't talk about putting any animals "to sleep." How freaked out she would be at her own bedtime.

What funny linguistic mix ups have you had?

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O Christmas tree

November 25th, 2011
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What kind of Christmas tree do you have? I will be buying a large one this year.

We did not get a live tree before. The last time I had a live tree was in 1996. For years, we had a small, fake tabletop tree. It was fun and very easy to store. It took up very little space. It required no maintenance.

I realize (or remember) how important it is for children to feel like they're fitting in, and she's starting to come home and talk about wanting to do what her friends are doing. I would like to give her that, so I told Claus we should observe a traditional ritual.

This opens up a question: live or artificial? I'd now like to buy a tree that reflects my values, not my wallet. I've decided artificial can be environmentally unfriendly, and live imported trees can bring in unwanted pests.

I'm debating on cutting my own Oahu-grown tree, or having a living tree in a pot that I might even be able to keep year-round.

This means I have to buy ornaments and more decorations. When I was in college I used to enjoy shopping, and I remember the after-Christmas sales as a time to buy everything deeply discounted. It seems that's all changed- now there are great deals before Christmas, and not necessarily the best deals after December 25.

It'll be fun, though. The joy she'll get from looking at a tree in our living room will be a gift in itself!

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Thankful

November 23rd, 2011
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Every year since I moved back to Hawaii, I've been spending Thanksgiving at my dad's sister's house. After my uncle died, my aunt ceded responsibility to her daughter's family, while I added a family of my own. Around the same time, my parents moved back to this state. Now we unload a carful of five Akos.

My cousin, meanwhile, opens her home to all kinds of "orphans" - transplants without families, new divorcees, college kids, couples who gravitate to a large family-type gathering - so at times, the dinners bloat to two dozen or more. She generously tells me to bring "whomever," so some years I come with more friends.

I always look forward to this time. I think of my cousin like a sister, yet I don't spend nearly enough time throughout the year with her. (Nope, not Cousin Val. Large Chinese family, remember?)

As we head into another Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for my family- besides a supportive extended family, a husband I'm still in love with, a great daughter, loving parents who I see all the time, and the blessing of knowing who my true friends really are.

I asked a few friends for their thoughts, as well.

STACY LOE PARIS, At-home mom, freelance journalist, former KGMB anchor

Stacy, on a family trip to Colorado this summer

Stacy, on a family trip to Colorado this summer

I am extremely thankful for my loving family.  My 7-year old son Cole is the joy of my life.  He makes me enjoy being a mother, more than I ever thought possible.  And my husband Bill.  He is simply the
most amazing man on earth in my eyes.  I thank God every day that we managed to find each other.  I have two adult stepchildren whom I also adore and love as if they were my own.

I am blessed to be living in Hawaii and be surrounded by wonderful and caring friends who love me despite my flaws.

I'm also thankful to be living a lower-stressed life as a freelance writer and producer.  It affords me the flexibility to work from home most of the time and be free to pick up my son after school and spend quality time together.  There is nowhere else I would rather be at this point in my life.

After almost 20 years in the news business, I am thoroughly enjoying a slower pace which allows me to focus on being a hands-on mom.  It's a job that won't make me rich, but which gives me the greatest joy I have ever known.

OLENA HEU, KHON Wake Up 2Day anchor

Olena & Daniel

Olena & Daniel

Olena's bachelorette party

Olena's bachelorette party

group

I am so very thankful for my friends because they are my family and have supported me all of my life... and I am so blessed to have found my love, my best friend and my soul mate in my husband.

...What are you thankful for?

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Is nail polish the new lipstick?

November 21st, 2011
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Have you heard of the lipstick index? It's a term coined a decade ago by Estee Lauder chairman emeritus Leonard Lauder, which refers to the increase in lipstick sales in reaction to a recession. In 2001, lipstick sales soared as the economy declined. The theory is that it's a small luxury to consumers who otherwise have to cut back on many expenses.

We're in another rough economic patch (to say the least!) and, according to an October issue of Time magazine, lipstick sales are up 14%. "Nail polish, which more recently has become a bellwether to economic turbulence, has risen an even more disturbing 54%," says the article. It's prompted Lauder to dub nail polish the "heir to lipstick" in this recession.

I myself have been enjoying nail polish for a few years now, since Olivia was old enough to be interested. She is very girly and loves makeup. I did, too, as a child and teen, but then became disinterested as an adult too busy to remove chipped polish every few days.

Mom-daughter mani-pedi

Mom-daughter mani-pedi

Now, however, I have about 20 bottles (yes, my collection's grown since I last blogged about it), and several sheets of nail appliques. I even bought skull design press-on nails for Halloween, but I never used them. Olivia and I put on nail polish frequently. It's fun to do together.

Olivia's manicure

Olivia's manicure

None of my polish purchases have to do with the recession. I also don't buy lipstick when anxious about money. If I had to name a small decadence, it would be buying dessert at a cafe or restaurant rather than buying a whole carton from the grocery store, which is cheaper. Food... I'm so predictable.

Oh, I also enjoy designer toiletries. I really love the scents at Lanikai Bath & Body. I particularly like supporting local businesses, so I go there now and then and buy a $6 bar of soap if I want to have a pick-me-up.

If you're a woman, does the lipstick/nail polish index apply to you? Or for everyone- what small thing do you treat yourself to when stressed about money?

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