Archive for April, 2012

Minna's party

April 30th, 2012
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My longtime friend and colleague Minna Sugimoto moved on to a new job outside of news, so current and former staff got together for a send off. Minna reported and anchored for KHNL, then the combined KHNL-KGMB operation, for a total of 14 years. She's now moving into a field similar to mine, as Communications Director at Hawk Tree International. She's thrilled; good for her!

Diane and Minna

Diane and Minna

The party, which lasted 10 hours, was at Hawaii News Now reporter Brooks Baehr's house. I very much enjoyed seeing old colleagues and friends again, and getting to meet new ones. I like the newsroom culture, and I like the kind of people it attracts.

Here's some photos from the night - only the non-embarrassing ones!

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Lyle, Diane, Russ, Brooks

Lyle, Diane, Russ, Brooks

Diane, Teri, Keoki

Diane, Teri, Keoki

Diane, Sean

Diane, Sean

Maile, Beth, Ed

Maile, Beth, Ed

Posted in Career | 6 Comments »

Time travel, part 2

April 27th, 2012
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"I'm doing things with Claus I haven't done in six years!" I exclaimed to my guy friend on the phone, who asked what I have been up to.

"Wow! Good for Claus!" he replied.

"I didn't mean it like that," I laughed.

"I did," he said.

It's true. I got pregnant, had a baby, and life completely changed. The simple act of taking a walk alone or going to the beach without packing toys and floaties is now unthinkable to me. We have not had this kind of couples time since I got pregnant six years ago.  I scared a young couple with this information.

Day three of the staycation passed in much the same form as the previous two days; some exercise, lots of nothing, and an afternoon nap. I went three for three on this one, and I love it so much, I'm thinking of approaching my state legislator to sponsor a bill to make a daily siesta mandatory. That, or get myself re-enrolled in preschool.

I originally thought the mini-vacation served as a small reminder of what my life was before I had a child, but after the nap times, I am starting to think it also gives me a glimpse into my future as a retiree. Either way, I like.

So on the third day off, Claus started with a dawn bike ride for a couple hours, followed by an hour walk with me and the dog. He then had to stop in at work for a couple hours. That's the thing about being a manager. He had to go manage.

I also had to do a little bit of work, and did check the cell phone for e mails and messages every few hours. I like to work, but I forced myself to take a mental break. I think it's healthier, though that means I'll have a pile of e mails to return to upon my return.

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In the afternoon, we met up again for lunch at another new-to-us joint, Bella Mia in Kaimuki. It was very nice, and I would go again. The food was hearty, the service was friendly, the price was reasonable, and I like supporting small businesses.

I followed this up with a nap and a long walk around the block.

Very, very enjoyable. We love to travel and discover new places, but at this stage of life, this was the perfect type of vacation for us.

What's your vacation this year?

Time travel

April 25th, 2012
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My house looks a wreck, and I don't remember it being this way in 2006. Oh well, the basic premise of my time traveling vacation is being fulfilled, which is - to spend time doing activities I enjoyed doing before I had a child.

For three lovely days, my husband and I took vacation so we could hang out together and remember what it was like to do things without having to account for a third person, and most importantly, to reconnect with each other. We have spots of time alone, but it's not frequent, it's not more than a couple hours, and it's not usually in the day.

This year, we wanted a mini-vacation that allowed Olivia's patterns to continue, while we played hookey. This way, she could go to preschool all day, get picked up by the sitter and watched for his two hours' duty, which let us have about eight hours a day to ourselves. Perfect.

The first day, we went for a three hour hike in the hot sun. The dog and I were wiped out. This is nothing for Claus, who exercises about five hours a week, but it's practically my monthly quota of exercise. What was I thinking? I know. I had weekend-warrioritis. Typical overeager desk jockey. I had to take an afternoon nap and I was still groggy and done for the rest of the day.

The second day, we tried a new trail, and only went for one hour. My body was confused by the abnormal pattern and revolted. I got very hungry and wanted to fetch lunch. It's a good thing my gentle husband is clear on the goal of this time off - that it's to hang out, not to work out - or he would be really disappointed.

We ate at a new joint that's been collecting buzz, He'eia Pier General Store & Deli. We liked it. It was an upscale plate lunch in a great part of the island. We ate lunch on the picnic benches outside with a beautiful view of the Pacific. The breezes were blowing, the sun was shining. It doesn't get better than this.

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Or does it?

After lunch, we stopped for dessert at Kaneohe Bakery, also another first for us. My cake decorating teacher worked here once a long time ago. When I was heavy into cake decorating in 2010 and wanted a new career, she said she could refer me for a job here. "It's hard work. You won't like it," she warned. "It's more than just piping cakes."

I'm not afraid of hard work, I told her. But she insisted so much that I tabled the idea, and it eventually drifted off in the tide of unrealized ideas as other things in my life took over. Still, I'd never been inside and was curious. Today was the day for doing new things. This is a vacation, after all! I'm breaking old patterns!

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Inside, I saw the cutest piped cupcakes with a spring theme. They had flowers and butterflies on it, and it was so cute, I had to buy one for my little girl. I stared at it all the way home, inspired to make the same. Like mother, like daughter. When I presented it to her after dinner, she actually said, "It's so pretty, I want to gaze at it all day!" Gaze. Sounds like a Disney word.

The deli and the bakery provided just the right respite. Claus wanted to go for a swim, so we actually chose Waikiki Beach, to continue the theme of playing tourist in one's own hometown. The water was refreshing and clear enough to see a few fish, the waves were gentle, and the view from 400 meters out was stunning. People pay big money to do this, I thought, and this is my office. I should take better advantage of it.

After the swim, we headed home to receive Olivia from the sitter before his shift ended. We would normally then get into the usual dinner-bath-bedtime routine, in which I myself end up falling asleep with or not too long after Olivia. This, however, was not a normal night. This was Date Night!

We asked my parents to come and stay with Olivia so we could eat out in a grown up restaurant. I got to wear a child-unfriendly dress (one that would slide right off if my kid clung to me like a tree, which has been known to happen at the end of some dinners) combined with teetering high heels. We went to a place where semi-loud techno music set the tone, while our food dishes were all spicy, raw, or otherwise would have been deemed weird-tasting by a kid. We both got to indulge in a cocktail.

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Also, I saw no other children in the restaurant. Not only did that establish that I was in an adult-zone, it was very liberating in the sense that I always snap my head around when I hear someone call for Mommy. I can't help it. It's instinct, and it keeps me in a mommy frame of mind. Were I to hear a random call for Mommy, I would then start thinking about Olivia, looking at my watch, and wondering if my mom put her to bed on time. So that didn't happen for two hours, and it was nice.

We got home at 9:30. There was a time when this was the start of my night. At this stage of life, this is the end of my night. Given the massive amount of exercise (don't laugh!), I was actually overextended for the night.

Still, it's been a good vacation so far.

Raising Stronger and Happier Kids Today

April 23rd, 2012
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We all want children to be happy and grow into productive, fulfilled adults, and according to parenting expert Maureen Healy, the secret to that success is in providing a foundation of inner confidence. Healy, a popular columnist for Psychology Today and the PBS Series, This Emotional Life, literally traveled the world in search of the best practices in raising inwardly strong children, and the connection between inner confidence and lasting happiness.

Her new book, Growing Happy Kids, draws on her Buddhist training, her background in child psychology, and the latest scientific research. Her book is packed with guidance and ideas to help parents achieve success raising kids who are strong and confident.

She offers seven specific action plans parents can take to create inner confidence and cultivate a sense of emotional strength that lays the foundation for children's happiest lives:

1.         Build Confidence Daily (even for 5 minutes!): It is the everyday things we do with our children that help them feel stronger, and happier no matter what. So you may say affirmations together on the way to school (they are captive here!) or read a bedtime story every night that teaches about your child’s power within - the point is that small things done over and over again really build your child’s sense of strength.

2.         Get Them Moving: Children need to move their bodies and get their energy released in a healthy way. Because physical activity, eating right, and a good night’s rest are the biological basis of your child’s emerging sense of self-confidence. Also, be sure they do something they love from making a garden to becoming a soccer star. (Let them pick it!)

3.         Sign Them Up for 1 Weekly Confidence Building Activity: Your child’s weekly confidence building activity may be a sport like soccer or something else like singing lessons. Most importantly, they need to see themselves succeed (really important) and also have a regular way to see themselves master a task thus building outer then inner confidence.

4.         See Success Together (visualize, affirm, meditate, pray, and sing): Oprah always says that if you can believe it, you can achieve it. So help your child believe more fully in him or herself. Perhaps it is doing affirmations together like “I love me” and “I am amazing in every way” or doing a guided meditation, singing a song that sparks them up or drawing a vision board. Let your creativity loose so you both become more self-assured. Have fun with this!!!

5.         Get Inspired: Do something inspiring together whether it is going to see magnificent waterfalls, flying a new kite on the beach or learning hula-hooping. By doing something that lights your child up, they learn how to build a new skill and you’ll see their confidence soar.

6.         Create an Uplifting Space: Decorate your child’s space so they see happy photos of themselves, their awards displayed, goals (or vision board) hung up and they have their favorite things all around them. By making the space feel good to your child they’ll realize this world is supporting them, their dreams can come true and everyone wants to see them succeed. (Feng Shui can help too!)

7.         Play More: Happier children know the importance of play whether they are outdoors helping their parents’ garden or playing tag with their peers! So the more you help your child build skills, see their power within and play in their daily lives the happier they’ll be.

Corp-speak

April 20th, 2012
By



I was in my home office on Saturday morning when Claus came in. "I'd like you to do something for me," he said, in a serious voice that sounded like a preface to a complaint.

"OK?" I ventured.

"I'd really like us to join (a certain organization)," he said. "Can you look into it and sign our family up?" So I wasn't in trouble, but I was about to get work dumped on me for a club I wasn't super interested in.

My husband is the nicest person ever, and he has never treated me like a subordinate. I wouldn't stand for it, but that's besides the point. "Why can't you do it?" I asked.

"You have to sign us up. Applicants have to be US citizens," explained Claus, though he didn't know much more than that. I'd have to look up the fees and the details.

Which annoyed me a little. Like I'm not busy? Spouses do stuff for spouses, but this just seemed a little more secretarial than the usual, Hey, put this check in the bank for me today kind of chore.

"Fine. Draft an application for my review and signature," I sniffed. He looked a mix between amused and surprised.

I have never spoken this way to him before. Frankly, I have never spoken this way to anyone before until I got to this current corporate job. "It's corp-speak," I laughed.

He got up to leave. "Well, well. Okay, then."

We had company coming for breakfast and we were tag-teaming the cooking. He had to go man his dish in the kitchen. I shortly finished my computer task and joined him.

He had hash browns in the pan and they looked decent. We lack a potato ricer, so I asked how he made them. "Fill out a request in triplicate for me to process and respond to," he retorted.

My eyebrows went up an inch and then I let out a big laugh. "So that's how it is?"

"Two can play at that game," he chuckled... but he did look up the club info all by himself online!

Posted in dad, family, mom | 3 Comments »