Archive for May, 2016

Small California college attracts large Hawaii enrollment

May 30th, 2016

It's busy behind the scenes at Menlo College, my alma mater, as the school gears up for its 90th anniversary next year. This four-year private institution in the heart of Silicon Valley specializes in business and psychology, though I was a mass communications major.

Kamana`o Hattori, my best friend in college

Kamana`o Hattori, my best friend in college. I'm all about friends of Dorothy.

The college, which has just under 800 students, was a good place for me to find my voice in the world, with small class sizes (a 14:1 student-teacher ratio). For some reason, Hawaii students make up a disproportionately large percentage of the student body (six to 16%.)

Some of my fellow alumni include:

Mike Lilly, (1966) former State Attorney General
Micah Kane, (1990) Kamehameha Schools trustee and president/ COO of Hawaii Community Foundation
John Henry Felix, (1949) CEO of Hawaii Medical Assurance Association and former Menlo trustee
Russell Sinclair Robinson, (1951) Plantation Manager of Gay & Robinson sugar plantation
Sara Sato, (1991) Assistant Vice President of Enrollment Management at Hawaii Pacific University
Rick Humphreys, (1967) President of Hawaii Receivables Management

“The Hawaii to Menlo College connection is a strong one,” says president Richard A. Moran. “Students from Hawaii have a long history of success here both academically and athletically.”

Micah Kane

Micah Kane

My schoolmate Micah (actually, we also attended Kamehameha Schools at the same time) remembers how Menlo’s community impacted him. “The small school environment and relationships I was able to develop with my professors, coupled with Menlo’s proximity to Silicon Valley, San Francisco, and surrounding places like Half Moon Bay created a great environment and great energy for a young person. I want more kids from Hawaii to have that same opportunity."

Micah found Menlo also taught him lessons outside the classroom. “Menlo College was a big part of my life. I credit Menlo College for setting me on my career path."

I myself transferred in from the University of California at Santa Cruz, a public university with (at the time) eight college campuses within the university, and 11,000 students.

It was and is a wonderful institution at which to matriculate, but it wasn't the right place for me at the time. I had just turned 17 and it was overwhelming; culture shock.

In the school luau

In Menlo's annual spring luau

I needed a smaller, personalized, nurturing environment, and heard about it from some Hawaii friends who were attending. I'd visit on weekends and really miss that sense of belonging and cultural familiarity that only my Hawaii friends could offer.

With friends. I'm in blue.

With friends. I'm in blue.

It seemed like the right fit, and it was. All the roads we take lead to where we are now, and I'm happy in my now.

Steph Bates, my Menlo College roommate

Steph Bates, my Menlo College roommate (a great selfie before selfies were invented10

This combination of academic distinction and familial community are sure to account for the college's history and success. Menlo College has consistently ranked high in the US News & World Report colleges ranking; this year, it came in as number nine for Best Regional Colleges in the West. (

Thinking about attending? Check it out. Sit under the oak trees. Soak in the crisp California air. You just might find you want to stay.

More at

DIY Fairy garden

May 27th, 2016

Olivia and I saw a fairy garden display and wanted to have one for ourselves. Of course, I've seen adorable little worlds of miniature gardening before, but it struck a different chord with me as a mother of a girl.

Our fairy garden!

Our fairy garden!

It's a great DIY project - far better, I think, than buying one. The joy is in the journey of making it, spending wonderful quality time with the kiddo.

Fairies welcome!

Fairies welcome!

I'm a gardening hobbyist, so I have a lot of what we need at home on the plant front. She's eight, so she has a lot of what we need at home on the decorations end.

However, there were still a few things we wanted to pick up specifically to make it enchanted, so we drove to Ben Franklin Crafts Hawaii to buy some fairies, bridges, wishing well, and LED lights. (We failed to find a woodland home.)

SKy, Olivia's fairy

Sky, Olivia's fairy

Violet, my fairy

Violet, my fairy

You can make a fairy garden simple with just a couple of figurines, and it will still be charming. Or, you can get crazy like we did, which adds up unexpectedly fast. I wasn't looking at the prices and we just excitedly threw things in the basket.


If you're inspired to DIY, you've been reminded! Little things can cost a lot. $80 later...

Including travel time to the store, the project took us about four hours. We loved it so much, we played with it for the rest of the day and night.


We invented a whole fantasy world involving a quest riddled with challenges- a bit like the Hobbit. Every little item in the garden has a role and a backstory. So much fun letting out my inner child!


She suggested we make this our new hobby and that we keep an eye out for accessories all the time. I love the idea.



Olivia was so happy about this. "Best day ever! You're my best friend!" she chirped. My heart melts 🙂

And for me, that's the real magic of the fairy garden.


Have fun making yours!

Tidy and hating it

May 25th, 2016

For about a month, I haven't had to ask my kid to clean her room. For the first eight and a half years of her life, it's been a pigsty. I have blogged about this before.

Olivia's tidy room!

Olivia's tidy room!

Sometimes, we had to go in and deep-clean it, like before guests come to stay in it. That required parental involvement. Ugh. It would always revert to its chaotic state within a day of their departure.

I have made a few comments over the weeks about her room being super tidy, but it hasn't been a prolonged conversation. Until last night.

I praised the consistent cleanliness and order, and asked why she's been keeping it so nice (bed made daily too!) for so long. The answer: "I'm tidy and I hate it."

Well, when I'm tidy I love it. She's halfway to being my kid.

Olivia says she hates keeping it neat, but she hates more when I ask her to clean it on the weekends. Now her new habit is to clean small messes as she makes them instead of spending hours picking up one big mess.

"Don't you feel a sense of pride that your room looks beautiful?" I asked.

"Well, yeah," she admitted.

"So this is the new Olivia?" I hoped.

She shrugged, "I guess."

Not that enthusiastic, but I'll take it!

Mommy's work

May 23rd, 2016

Olivia loves coming to work with me. She is willing to wake up at 3 a.m., but I prefer to let her get her sleep.

Often on a school holiday, Claus will drop her off at 8 after the show's done, and he'll go to work. I can watch her while I do my off-air duties. In this manner, she's even accompanied me to my reporter beat checks at court and the police station, which are places I'd never visited until I was in my teens or even early 20s, as part of college field trips.

This pretty much sums up exactly why she loves Mommy's work:


Not long ago, the Surf Paws Animal Hospital vet told me she'd bring in a kindle of kittens, so I asked if she'd mind if Olivia came on set with us holding a kitty. Dr. Cristina Miliaresis said OK, and Olivia was thrilled.

Luckily that segment is at 7:20 a.m., so it wasn't terribly early for Olivia or Claus to get to the station. (Not like a 5:50 a.m. guest segment.) So, Olivia got to hold kitties and be on TV (the latter, she could care less about).

Surfer China Uemura brought us pastries!

Surfer China Uemura brought us pastries!

Following that, as they left, I invited her to grab a pastry and brownie outside. Pastries, from one of the other guests. Brownies, which I brought for Taizo's birthday.

Justin Cruz as Darth Vader, for Taizo's birthday

Justin Cruz as Darth Vader, for Taizo's birthday

When she got to school, some of the kids told her they'd seen her on TV, which was a little fun for her. Mostly, she enjoyed bragging that she got to play with kittens.

With Dr. Miliaresis and all the felines!

With Dr. Miliaresis and all the felines!

To sum:


I'm glad she thinks I have a cool job. I do, too.

Olivia's Blueberry Cream Cheese Pie

May 18th, 2016

My daughter made us a pie, mostly by herself. It was a recipe my mother used to assemble for us, and I loved it.

I haven't had this exact recipe since she stopped baking due to Alzheimer's, and her final baking phase was about cakes, so she hadn't made the blueberry dessert for years and years.

Some bakeries sell it with cake on the bottom but I prefer it this way. Comfort dessert, I guess. It's what I grew up with.

Olivia's pie!

Olivia's pie!

It's very easy, and it doesn't require baking. It's a kid's recipe, if you think about it.

It's basically cream cheese with sugar and whipped cream, plus a touch of vanilla, topped with blueberry filling, set on top a crumbly pie shell. What's not to like?

It took Olivia about 15 minutes to put it together. It's so delicious!

She took great pride in watching us devour her pie, and has now declared this "her" recipe. I'm encouraging her to make this for us again.

Here's the recipe if you want to give it a whirl:

Blueberry Cream Cheese Pie

1 eight oz. package cream cheese

1 bottle whipped cream

3/4 c. powdered sugar, unsifted

1 t. vanilla

1 can blueberry pie filling

1 nine inch pie shell (I like the graham cracker ones)

Put cream cheese and sugar in a mixer and blend. Add vanilla. When it's mixed, fold the whipped cream in. Pour half into the baked pie crust. Add half the blueberry filling. Repeat to create a second layer of cheese then fruit filling. Refrigerate it to set it.


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