Archive for November, 2013

Skid mark

November 15th, 2013

Once again, this house is a never ending source of crazy blog material.

Claus and I were sitting in the house while Olivia and the neighborhood kids played outside, a little gang of kids that usually consists of two to ten children from all over the blocks. Cute.

Bikes are the big thing. Everyone has a bicycle and they go up and down the streets. Lately, they're into the kid version of drifting.

They actually compete to see who can brake, squeal their tires, and leave a rubber mark.

Claus and I heard a big screech and then an excited invitation: "Hey, wanna see my skid mark?!"

We started laughing so hard. Gosh. Do these kids even know what they're saying??

Christmas Trees at Helemano Farms

November 11th, 2013

I cannot believe it is time to think about Christmas already. Yikes! Because I through a huge Halloween party (130 guests) I spend three months slowly prepping for the event, and then a few days to clean up. I can barely wrap my head around planning for the holiday season.

In years past, I've blogged about my environmental beliefs, and tied that in to the reason I support buying local - including the locally owned, locally grown Helemano Farms trees for the holidays. Last year my family bought one from Helemano Farms, which was a great deal of fun to pick out.

This year, if we buy a tree, we will go there again. I say "if" because I've been nurturing a potted Norfolk pine for 4 years waiting for it to be our family Christmas tree. That would be the ultimate in environmental. This year it just might be tall enough. Plus, how convenient is that to just pull my Christmas tree out of the yard when I need it?

The farm opens the day after Thanksgiving and will close December 23, 2013.

2013 Prices for fresh-cut Norfolk Pine Christmas trees:

up to 5 foot.....$40

up to 6 foot.......$45

up to 7 foot.......$55

up to 8 foot.......$70

up to 9 foot.......$85

up to 10 foot...$100

Helemano Farms does not have potted Norfolk Pine trees. The farm does not provide delivery, transportation or shipping.

For pricing on taller trees, go to

DOE donations

November 8th, 2013

I was touring Halawa Correctional Facility the other week as a class excursion for the Pacific Century Fellows, which I'm proud to be a member of this year.

The tour left a lasting impression on me. The staff who talked to our class mentioned that the best way to stem the criminal population is to help at-risk youth before their teen years; around puberty is when the attitudes set and become harder to undo.

I think being a mother makes me more sensitive to this because I feel sorry for children who don't have strong guidance or healthy relationships.

The staff said the common denominator in making a difference in children's lives is one - just one!- strong adult role model. I asked what organizations do that really well, thinking the answer would be something like Big Brothers Big Sisters.

To my surprise, they said public schools, because that's the least optional thing in a child's life. Parents don't have to enroll kids in charities like the aforementioned, and they don't have to put them in after-school activities (particularly not if they lack the funds.) But kids have to go to school.

I have personal connections to a public school, so I reached out to that one and asked how I can help. Now, here's the conundrum. If I give my time to mentor a child with reading, I take that time away from my own daughter. So now is not the best time for me to do time-heavy volunteer work.

What I did, instead, was ask the top administrators what needs they have on an individual level and how I can donate money to that cause. They said 30% of their student population is below the poverty line. I was really surprised.

I'm sure you've seen the annual fall campaigns in all the media asking people to help buy back-to-school supplies. What I didn't consider, though, was smaller things, like: poor students need money for field trips, or for covered shoes which are required for field trips.

The principal directed me to a parent/community network organization which is the fundraising arm of the school. I'm working with them to see how I can donate money, and how to earmark the funds for specific use (not just capital improvement projects.)

It's not much; I'm just one person. I have a child in school and I'm not rolling in dough. But I also think it's a priority, so I'm going to do it.

I've decided that, since I stopped drinking coffee, I would donate the equivalent amount of a daily Morning Brew Hawaii drink. Breaking it down to a small dollar amount gives me a benchmark and makes it seem do-able.

The school staff told me this is an unusual gesture because people usually think a state-funded institution is stable, so most people's giving is directed at charities; yet, there is a great need at the state schools. I can understand this truth. If not for the prison staff, I wouldn't have thought about giving to public schools.

I'm sharing this story in the hopes that you might think twice today about a way to make a difference in the community. I firmly believe in the ripple effect of our actions and I also believe in "paying it forward." We are only as strong as our weakest link. What will you do to make our wonderful community better?

Halloween at the mortuary

November 1st, 2013

Paul and I had our annual Halloween party at the chapel portion of Affordable Casket & Moanalua Mortuary. Our first one was in 2009. At the time I didn't think it would be yearly, but that's what it's become. It's grown and evolved in a direction I didn't anticipate but do like.

Paul as a zombie, Diane as Emily the Corpse Bride

Paul as a zombie, Diane as Emily the Corpse Bride

One hundred thirty people (33 of whom were children) from all parts of our lives came to the mortuary to celebrate the season with us. After the first party we thought it would be nice to get together with our KHNL alumni once a year, but it's turned out to include people we've met along the way through our children's schools and our new jobs.

Ashley as a witch

Ashley as a witch

This event gets bigger each year. This year we brought back our very popular psychic reader, Melissa Kurpinski, and once again offered a location tour, but we also added ghost storyteller Obake Hunter and lollipop maker Candy Art Hawaii, which not only made its popular amezaiku treats but also debuted a photo booth. People waited in line for the better part of an hour for a handmade sweet. We were the beta tester for the photo booth and it was well received. My photographer friend Sisto Domingo again volunteered his time to capture the evening on digital "film" for us.

Melissa, reading in the quieter hallway

Melissa, reading in the quieter hallway

Candy Art Hawaii lollipops

Candy Art Hawaii lollipops

Photographer Sisto Domingo with former KHNL anchors Barbara Wallace and me

Photographer Sisto Domingo with former KHNL anchors Barbara Wallace and me

Just about everyone came in costume, which is a significant increase from a few years ago. I can never predict how these things will go!

The kids at the party

The kids at the party

The kids go crazy at these parties. They run around in circles wearing themselves out, shrieking and squealing. Constant access to a low counter full of sweets keeps them mainlining refined sugar until midnight.

After the party officially ended a small band of people helped us clean up. At this time Olivia asked what time it was: "Is it midnight, Mommy?"

"It's past midnight, Sweetie. It's 12:15," I told her.

"Yeah! All right! I finally stayed up past my bedtime!" she excitedly said. That's not quite true that it's never happened before, but this is probably the latest she has stayed up.

Work friends

Work friends

Pacific Century Fellows

Pacific Century Fellows

KHNL crew

KHNL crew

I love doing the Halloween party, but I have to admit that the night flashes by in a blur. Anything past 40 people, to me, is like a wedding: you're just popping from guest to guest but not really having a deep conversation, plus you're still managing the kitchen, the timeline, and the vendor needs. Still, it's really fun to see all our friends, and to get swept up in the 'spirit' of the evening.

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