Archive for January, 2012

Aloha shirt stamp dedication ceremony

By
January 18th, 2012



The new U.S. Postal Service stamps commemorating Hawaii's iconic Aloha shirts will be officially dedicated by Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie and USPS Honolulu District Manager Frank Santos in a First Day of Issue ceremony at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday Jan. 19 at the Honolulu Main (Airport) Post Office. The set, consisting of five post card stamps issued at the new 32-cent post card rate, can be viewed at http://www.beyondtheperf.com/2012-preview/#stamp-aloha-shirts.

My friend Ric Noyle shot the pictures of the stamps! Ric will be present along with aloha shirt authority Dale Hope, whose book The Aloha Shirt: Spirit of the Islands served as a catalyst for the development of the stamps.

The public is invited to attend. Collectors will be able to purchase the Aloha Shirts post card stamps and have them hand cancelled for free with a special commemorative First Day of Issue postmark by postal personnel from 1 to 4:30 p.m. at the event site.
 
Two of the five classic shirts depicted in the stamp art showcase surfers and their boards; one shows fossil fish, shells, and sea stars; another shows a bird of paradise flower; and one shows Kilauea volcano. Manufacturer Alfred Shaheen created four of the shirts in the stamp art, showing surfers and their classic early boards on a black background; the bird of paradise; Kilauea; and finally—carrying the private label of the retailer Watumull's and Leilani—the shirt depicting the fossil fish, shells, and sea stars. The red shirt showing surfers and a large wave was manufactured by Malihini. Art director Carl Herrman designed these stamps using photos by Ric.
 
The post card stamps themselves will be available for purchase on Jan. 19 at Post Offices nationwide, online at usps.com and by phone at 800-782-6724.

Hawai‘i Children’s Trust Fund’s One Strong ‘Ohana

By
January 16th, 2012



For those of you who have resolved to get fit in the New Year, Jamba Juice’s new Fit ‘n Fruitful smoothies are a great new option – and support a great cause! From now until March 12, Jamba Juice Hawai‘i will donate 25 cents from each Fit ‘n Fruitful smoothie purchased to the Hawai‘i Children’s Trust Fund’s One Strong ‘Ohana campaign.

Studies show that parents who have a strong support network are less likely to abuse or neglect their children. The One Strong ‘Ohana campaign aims to increase public awareness of child abuse and neglect and what all citizens can do to strengthen families and keep kids safe.

The smoothies are available in three different flavors – strawberry, raspberry and banana; peach – mango; and berry blend. And while there, families can pick up information on simple ways you can help strengthen families and prevent child abuse and neglect.

Save the date

By
January 13th, 2012



I am a planner. It may be a personality trait, but my careers have cultivated that tendency to appreciate schedules and appointments. I have a lot to do; it's best to block off time if something is important, right?

Our family has a somewhat new tradition in which we celebrate Halloween as our family's big holiday. Yes, we observe all the other traditional American holidays, but we make a big deal out of Halloween, with an elaborate party of about 50 - 70 guests. One year, I put out a Save the Date notice in April.

Claus laughs at me all the time, but it was actually a guest who asked me to pick a date and let him know, so that he could request a day off. If one person thinks like that, maybe others would, so I sent out the e-mail invite six months early.

It's not unreasonably anal, but I cannot get away from the teasing. Until David.

My cousin Henrietta and her husband David have a decade old tradition of throwing a New Year's Eve party. After they bought a house on Oahu, they started opening it up to relatives and friends for the annual get together. It's a very elegant gala and we have always enjoyed going, though it's difficult to have a small child in tow. We are the only ones with a small kid.

This past year was full of distractions for David, who wasn't able to get the printed invitation out until December 23. I think we all assumed we'd be going to their house, but he still felt badly for the last minute nature of the official invite.

The very next day after the 2011 party, on January first, he e mailed everyone to thank us for our attendance and vowed he'd improve for 2012.

In his words: "I WILL do better next year.  In fact, please mark 8 PM Dec 31, 2012 on your calendars right now!  God willing, we will have a party again next year, same time, same place.  I'll try to contact you all specifically long before December 23."

I laughed and read this to Claus. "You can stop teasing me now about being so OCD with my event planning," I requested. "David just bested me by six months."

Thank you, David.

Claus laughed and agreed. I then said, "I already know my RSVP. It's a no for me and Olivia."

I had a particularly difficult January first because we were all tired and cranky. Olivia wouldn't fall asleep in a strange environment at David and Henrie's house, so Claus or I couldn't enjoy dinner or conversation because one of us had to sit with her on several sofas while she tried, but failed, to sleep. By the time we got her home and in bed, it was three hours past her bedtime.

In the morning, we always volunteer at a local Shinto shrine for community service. We've been doing it long enough to be assigned a leadership role, so we feel obligated to show up early. In this case, we woke her up an hour earlier than her usual wake up time. She howled when woken up.

This poor kid was running a sleep deficit of four hours, and she was grumpier as the day drew on. I had less sleep than I'm used to as well, so my patience grew thinner than usual by later afternoon. The whole situation was not one I'd like to replicate.

Back to David's party. "Are you sure you don't want to wait and see how it feels in the fall? I'd like it if we can be together," Claus asked.

"Age four, age five - I'm sure she won't change that much in terms of sleep needs," I said. "I think it's the smart thing to stay home. You can go with my parents, though."

Now that I think about it, in the first year or two after her birth, those three went without me. It's totally fine. I enjoy going to sleep at my usual time.

Claus agreed it sounded reasonable, and I sent Olivia's and my regrets back to David that same day, which, as you recall, was January 1.

So while I no longer qualify for a teasing about being the most over-scheduled event planner, my husband is still giving me a hard time about actually responding to a party invitation a full 364 days ahead of time.

***
Also reach me via DianeAko.com

Coach Claus

By
January 11th, 2012



My husband used to be a University of Hawaii swimming coach for nearly a decade. I have met some of his former swimmers, who tell me he was known to them as Coach Hardass.

This came as no surprise to me when I first learned of it years ago. I'm married to the guy, y'know? He's just ultra disciplined and expects the same of people who ask for his services in training.

For our new year's resolution, we decided want to tone up. What with managing all we do in our lives, it was easier than ever for exercise to fall away from us in 2011. So, I entered this knowing about his alter ego, Coach Hardass.

However, he entered this knowing about my commitment issues to exercise. I am a fantastically loyal spouse and friend. I am a very dedicated worker. I am a flaky athlete.

Here's how he trains for races: he tracks and analyzes his times on a computer program. He then faithfully runs to his computer after a workout and notes not just his times, but his split times. He charts out his progress over the weeks. He modifies his program based on this feedback. He works out for an hour.

Here's how I train for (I'm not going to call it races) whatever: I psych myself up for hours before the event, and then when the designated time comes, I put on those running shoes and go. I congratulate myself if I stick to the pre-set route and don't cut it short. I congratulate myself if I don't cancel because I figured out there's an "urgent" task I need to attend to first. I work out for five to 30 minutes.

So, the resolution. We decided we would run twice a week after work, and before dinner. He started talking about how to measure goals in terms of heart rate, mileage increases, and BMI. I was like, I only hear "wonk wonk wonk" (the teacher from Peanuts). I countered with my idea of achievement: I would use a tight pair of pants as a yardstick and try it on again in three months.

Handshake agreement. Whatever works for both of us, right?

Off we went on our first day of jogging. He is a very good coach and made sure I only went a short distance so as to keep it fun and do-able, and build time gradually. I ran slowly (this should be an assumed adverb as I never, ever do the opposite; running fast) for 12 minutes and walked for another 12.

The winter weather was very windy and kept us cool and comfortable. I had fun. I felt great after. I considered it a success.

At home, in moving through our bedtime routine, I threw my clothes off in a pre-designated "I'm in a hurry and can't put things away nicely" pile in my bedroom.The pile can sometimes get large.

The next day after work, we had time and energy to go for a walk. I dug around for some clothes. "Did I wear this yesterday?" I asked Claus, holding the running shirt up.

"Yes," he answered.

I put it to my nose. "Can I wear it again?"

"Does it smell?" he asked.

"It doesn't," I said with surprise.

"Well, if it doesn't, it should. We need to run longer next time," he assessed. I cannot believe I just shot myself in the foot. Coach Hardass, indeed.

***
Also reach me via DianeAko.com

Learning to use the telephone

By
January 9th, 2012



At what age do kids learn to dial the telephone? Should I be teaching Olivia now?

One to three times a week, Claus and I attend a night class. We have been doing this for four years. This is no surprise to Olivia, but lately, she has been super-clingy when I go.

"NOOOOO!" she will howl, and grab my leg. It's so dramatic. Lately, she has been also giving the sitter, Jul, a hard time for an hour. Before, she used to stop crying five minutes after we drove off.

We had a short class on Monday, so we came home earlier than usual. Jul looked very annoyed and said tersely, "She cried this whole time. You're just in time to see her because she probably hasn't fallen asleep yet."

Sure enough, little footsteps came racing out of the bedroom to greet me. "I missed you," she complained. "And I told Jul to call you but he kept using my fake cell phone. I told him to use the real phone but he wouldn't."

This was a new thing to hear from her. She had never spoken much of calling people before.

She continued, "I told him the only real phones are his cell phone, your cell phone, Daddy's cell phone, Kung Kung's cell phone, Aunty Val's cell phone, and Uncle Pat's cell phone. But he kept using my Hello Kitty cell phone. Huh!" (Sidebar: an annoying noise maker whose batteries I had to remove.)

I quieted her down and tucked her into bed, and she fell asleep shortly thereafter. It was an hour past her bedtime.

Now I have to contemplate if I should teach her how to use the land line, which I purposely did not cancel because I have an old mom and a young child who may need to call out.

But I can just imagine getting a dozen calls the minute I drive off, from one desperate child. I saw it happen one night when Val and I had the audacity to go out alone. Her kids are older and can dial. So... I think I'd like to stave it off as long as I can... what do you think?

***
Also reach me via DianeAko.com

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