Archive for November, 2012

Parent volunteering

November 30th, 2012

Every parent should spend some time volunteering at their child's school. I'm convinced of that after my so-far-short foray into the world of elementary school parenting.

Now and again, when I can carve out a spot of time, I volunteer at my daughter's school. I try to participate in every request, but I can't do many things due to my work schedule.

I'm lucky, though. I have a job that's flexible, and because I work some odd hours (early mornings, nights and weekends), I'm able to find an hour here and there to assist in class. I love it.

I had no idea what the teacher would use me for, and if you don't know either, here's my experience: I have prepped craft projects or finished them, particularly if the job involves cutting or precision. I have collated files. You know those book sale flyers you get? I did that. I wrote the code numbers and dates on 23 sets of papers, and collated three different flyers. I have taken baby fish to give to another teacher down the hall. I have returned books at the library. I work with the children on their math and reading. I check homework and dole out stickers to those who finished.

Prepping craft projects

Prepping craft projects

So basically, odds and ends that the teacher would otherwise have to do herself, since she has no teaching assistant.

When your child starts at school, the staff asks the parents to help out. Olivia goes to a public school, so I'm not sure how it's done at a private school where the resources are greater. I cannot remember how this was handled when I was a student at a private school, either. I would assume it's a universally open door to get the parents involved in the child's life.


I didn't know what to expect, but out of a sense of both community service and a desire to be a part of my daughter's life, I said I'd give as much time as I could.

I have gotten back much more than I could have anticipated. I love being a part of the little classroom community, and that I know the children by name, and that they know me by name. I love that when Olivia talks about her day in school, I know who she's talking about. I so appreciate getting to know the teacher, and seeing what she does with my daughter all day. I like hearing the little songs they sing, the stories they read, and the routines they practice.

It's also very rewarding to work with the individual children and feel like I'm advancing a cause, even if one as simple as learning a few new words or a new concept like "less than/ more." I've learned about myself that I like working with five year olds.

It's also been very interesting to see how Olivia handles herself in school, and to have a better sense of where she falls into the spectrum of her peers. I've never worked with children before, so it's totally new to me. Now I know: she's an excellent reader, but not a good listener!

Most of all, I love spending a little extra time with my daughter. I hope she understands that what this really translates to is that I care about her and what she's doing, and that I want to be a part of her life.

Now, I totally understand that a lot of parents have rigid work schedules and cannot. Some mom friends have expressed to me how lucky I am and that they wish they had the same luxury. I know, and I do appreciate my fortune. I also know there are many, many other ways to be involved in your child's life, so please don't feel I'm judging you if you don't volunteer in class.

However, if you can, do it! Instead of an obligation, it is really a privilege - an incredibly enriching experience- to be a parent volunteer.


November 28th, 2012

I have an iPad, and I recently figured out there's a dictation function on the keypad. There's a microphone icon by the space bar, and if you press it, it'll take dictation. Super awesome.

I've been using it quite a bit, but it's apparently jarring to the rest of my family. My habit is to sit around the living room and surf the internet while Claus and Olivia, and maybe my parents, are around. At random intervals, I'll yell into the keyboard with staccato bursts of words, like, "can of worms" or "grow plant sage." It's a lot like how people will raise their voices to speak to someone in a different language, as if volume helps people get the message clearer.

"Why can't you speak normally into it?" Claus asked one day, tired of tolerating these odd interruptions of calm.

"Because I think yelling helps block out the ambient noise," I said, then continued surfing and yelling like a crazy woman with the digital version of Tourettes Syndrome. To prove my point, I tried speaking normally into the machine. To aggravate me, Claus started yelling words out as well.

However, I double punched, meaning I didn't hit the record button when I thought I did, so when I went to stop it, I actually was just starting the recording. I didn't see the dictation appear on the computer right away, so I thought I proved my point.

"You're confusing my iPad," I gestured smugly.  Then I realized it was recording. I hit the button to stop it.

The dictation appeared perfectly: your confusing my ipad. Claus laughed at me. "Do you even know how to use it?" he chuckled.

I had to go to my default response, honed from years of working on air in TV. "I'm talent. I don't touch the equipment per union rules. Don't hassle me," I countered. Then went right back to yelling into the iPad.

Posted in family | 1 Comment »

Reuseable gift bags

November 26th, 2012

Go green this holiday season! Forget about using wrapping paper and use fabric gift bags under your tree!

Last year, my friend Trini Kaopuiki and her mother-in-law started selling reusable fabric gift bags and they were a huge success!  It's a great alternative to disposable paper gift wrapping, and in the process, saved a few trees and some space in our landfills.

These unique fabric bags are super easy to use... just drop your gift in and tie the attached ribbon. Done! I love them! You can even keep most of your bags within your family and re-use them year after year. No more trash and no time wasted wrapping gifts on Christmas Eve!

They offer an assortment of holiday-themed fabrics to choose from, including a very limited amount of Hanukkah and birthday bags.

If interested, write her at

Fat pants

November 23rd, 2012

I put on a pair of pants one morning and the button was a little tight. "Do I look fat in this?" I asked Olivia. My husband would actually give me an honest answer, which I really do appreciate, but he wasn't home.

"Yes," she said without hesitation.

Frustrated because it validates that I just don't get out to exercise the way I could before, I turned around. "From the back, too?" I asked.

"No," said Olivia. "Just the front. It's puffy right here." She pointed to where the button was making the fabric feather.

"Oh. I thought so," I responded.

Kids. She's so good for my self esteem.

Posted in child | 2 Comments »


November 21st, 2012

I don't know what's come over me, but I made a startling revelation recently vis a vis my emotional relationship with large arachnids: They no longer scare me.

I was in my super small bathroom (42 square feet, not even kidding), which is so small that when I want to shut the door I need to move stuff around to achieve this. I saw movement out of the corner of my eye when I hung up a towel.

I peeked behind the door and it was a huge cane spider. That guy was probably five inches in diameter and hairy. I also know they jump.

After getting over the initial half second shock of realizing a hairy beast with half a dozen eyes was peeking back at me, I decided I just didn't care.

I have read up on them before because I've found them in my house now and then. I know they're beneficial because they eat other insects including the ones I most hate, American cockroaches.

Therefore, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. The spider gets to live in here if it wishes.

I saw it again the next day. Same spot. Didn't faze me.

I took a harder look at it. It has seven legs. I knew I recognized him. I saw him last a couple of years ago in the hall closet.

I named him Seven after the number of legs he has.

I have a couple of friends who don't like these kinds of creatures. Between the "pet" spider (named Seven) and the "pet" gecko (named Patrick) living in here I can see the number of visitors paying housecalls on the decline!

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