Archive for February, 2012

The Wills & Bills move house (again)

February 13th, 2012

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. In this case, an affinity for all things aquatic has finally caught on with me.

I grew up around hundreds and hundreds of fish and marine life of all kinds, in fresh, brackish, and salt water. My father is more than an avid aquarium hobbyist. He is mildly obsessive-compulsive.

I should really know a lot more about fish, based on this upbringing, but I don't. My mother discouraged his hobby because she found herself a fish widow, eating dinner alone at 9 p.m. because my dad was still cleaning "one more tank" or whatever people with 1,000 gallons of fish tanks do.

I can commit to pets; I've almost always had a cat, dog, mouse, rat, hamster, rabbit, guinea pig, turtle or something around my residence. My commitment to a water animal has been limited to my water garden outside or one solitary fighting fish.

Then, I recently got these Hawaiian red shrimp, opae ula. The tiny red shrimp have captured my interest in a big way, which is surprising even to me. I love sitting down and watching them. I can spend a long time staring at them.

For my viewing pleasure, I wanted to upgrade the experience to a larger tank, where a larger plane of glass and a bigger swimming area would surely increase the enjoyment. My cousin had a 10 gallon tank she was giving away, so I took it.

I discussed this at length with my father, who recommended I go to one of his favorite pet stores for gravel and other decorations. (I could practically hear my mother rolling her eyes in the background.)

Once there, I saw a lot of different sizes of tanks, and they were all pretty affordable, so I selected a more manageable size - a one gallon tank. It's perfect. It's a good step up from the flower vase they current inhabit, but not as huge as a 10 gallon.

Then, I got some gravel and a plastic plant - one that Olivia would approve, as it has a flower on it. Lastly, I took the clerk's recommendation to buy a Japanese moss ball (Cladophora aegagropila) to add to the tank.

This adorable puff ball cost nearly as much as the tank ($10) but he said it cleans out the impurities from the water. When I got home, I dropped it in the vase (this was before I put the tank together) and all the shrimp congregated on it.

My dad was quite excited that I was finally taking up his hobby, so he called over to the store and provided his credit card. At check out time, the clerk handed it all to me and said, "Your dad just paid for it." Cool!

Later that day I showed my parents the goods. "This is really cute," my dad said. "I might have to get one of these and start a shrimp tank, too." Now retired, my dad gave up his indoor tanks, but cultivates five water gardens outside and inside, two big bowls of swordtails and 14 vases of Bettas. And maybe, to my mom's dismay, one starter tank of opae.

Domestic excitement

February 10th, 2012

My life goes at 100 miles per hour during the work week, and then some, leaving me ready for down time by the weekend. It's not just the job, it's the whole enchilada- the family, the house, several extra curriculars I am active with, sad attempts at socializing.

My goal for weekends is to stay at home. I don't even want to go anywhere that I can't get to on my own locomotion, but if a car is required, then I prefer to stay within a five mile radius. Claus is kind of the same so our values align.

Now and then, on a quiet Sunday, I will get a wild hair, as a I did last weekend. "I'm going to run a quick errand at the mall," I announced. "Want me to take Olivia so you can have some quiet time?"

"Are you just going to the one store?" he asked. He hates going to the mall with me. He hates waiting.

"Well... depending on energy, I might go to the pet shop to look at more opae ula," I said.

He likes to be together. "I'll come too," he offered. And then he got all ambitious on me and threw in a couple more errands, including this: "Let's go to the new Safeway on Beretania to look at it!"

"Ooh, good idea. Let's check it out," I agreed. We piled in the car and left.

The new Safeway was all big, clean, and gourmet inside, with an elevator and a fancy escalator that accommodates shopping carts. So 21st century. Wow! It wasn't as Whole Foody as we thought it might be, but we still liked it. It's better than our old Safeway on Beretania, if you recall that one, which was in need of a makeover.

It made grocery shopping more exciting, so nearly three digits later, we were walking out with all kinds of Iron-Chef-aspirational things to try for dinner that night.

I laughed to Claus that this trip was an amusing indicator for our life stage, one in which checking out a new grocery store is a planned outing, perhaps even verging on date material. I recalled with a little nostalgia the days where the standard for excitement was higher - a new restaurant, wine bar opening, or to go really  crazy, a music concert on a weeknight.

Then I realized: I've become my parents. In fact, they did check this place out on its opening day!

Hospitality industry conference

February 8th, 2012

The Pacific Asia Travel Association, or PATA, and Travel & Tourism Research Association, or TTRA, invite the public to their annual conference on the state of the hospitality industry - "2012 Outlook:  Enter the Year of the Dragon." It is an opportunity to hear first hand from economic and visitor industry experts on their predictions for the year ahead, as well as the latest trends and opportunities.

Session I: "Economic Trends & Forecasts"
8:30am - 10:00am
Moderator: Chris Kam, Senior Director, Market Insights, Hawai'i Visitors & Convention Bureau

Paul Brewbaker - Prinicipal, TZ Economics
Joseph Toy - President, Hospitality Advisors, LLC
Eugene Tian, Ph.D - Acting Administrator, Research & Economic Analysis Division, DBEDT

Session II: "Major Markets & Competitive Destinations"
10:10am - 11:45am
Moderator: Daniel Naho'opi'i, Tourism Research Director, HTA - Visitor Data

Duke Ah Moo, Vice President Product Development, Partner Relations, eCommerce, Pleasant Hawaiian Holidays
Yujiro Kuwabara, President of JTB Global Service, LLC and Travel Plaza Transportatoion, LLC

Session III: "Shifting Retail Markets"
12:00 noon - 1:30pm

Barbara Campbell, Vice President Retail Development and Leasing, Outrigger Enterprises, Inc.
Dave Erdman, President, PacRim Marketing Group

Where: Hawaii Prince Hotel, Mauna Kea Ballroom
When:  Tuesday February 28, 2012, from 8:00 am - 1:30 pm

Ticket sales:

Panties in a bunch

February 3rd, 2012

The hand-me-down underwear Olivia is now wearing come with an embarrassing story- not for her, but for the giver.

Paul's niece, Emma, received a pack of panties she didn't like. He asked me if Olivia wanted them. They were new. "Sure," I said.


Apparently, for weeks he carried the half dozen undies in his briefcase, in case we spontaneously saw each other. It's entirely possible.

His travel path could take him through Waikiki. Sometimes my work brings me to KITV. The reason he didn't use our (previously mentioned) "Interoffice Trish" is because he wanted to see me in person and also deliver a belated Christmas gift.

So this man is walking around town with a man-purse full of little girl panties, which is otherwise not a problem until he gets assigned to cover President Obama's arrival, and his bag is checked by Secret Service.

"By the time I remembered they were in the bag, it was too late. I probably should have left them on my desk but I was rushing out the door," Paul said.

He says he didn't get odd looks from the agents after they handed the bags back. Or maybe he blamed his photographer.

After all this, Paul finally gave in and asked his coworker/ my neighbor Trish to take it all home to me.

I had informed Claus of this anecdote previous to getting the goods, so when I pulled the brightly colored stack of undergarments of the bag, he quipped, "Is that what it means to get your panties in a bunch?"

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