Author Archive

Is the Easter bunny real?

June 27th, 2016

I can't believe I'm hearing this but my daughter just voiced suspicion about the Easter bunny's existence. We were talking about holidays and she mentioned, "I'm not really sure the Easter bunny is actually real."

2011: creeped out by the Easter bunny

2011: creeped out by the Easter bunny

We're pretty close and she likes to confide in me (more than her dad - it must be a girl thing) about lots of things, or work out her problems by conversing with me. This was a working-out-her-problems tone.

11-4-24_Easter_Di & Bunny

"Why would you say that?" I asked.

She had a very thoughtful argument laid out which consisted of:

  1. "He didn't come to our house this year and he's supposed to go to everyone's house." To which I said, I think he needs to be invited and we knew we were going to Amanda's house so we didn't send him an invite.
  2. "He hides the eggs, but how come Amanda's parents knew what was inside all the plastic eggs?" (Christy and Mike put numbers in many of them, and the kids exchange the number for a bigger toy that couldn't fit into the egg.) Obviously, the Easter bunny debriefed her parents first so they'd know which toys go with what number.
  3. "But there were 986 eggs. That's too many eggs to know about." Obviously, he wrote it on a piece of paper for them.

None of my rebuttals allayed her suspicion and I just let it go. I didn't try to convince her. She's nearly nine.

I hate to see that childhood innocence go, but maybe it's time? It is, after all, inevitable.

Olivia in white. Christmas Day with cousins.

Olivia in white. Christmas Day with cousins.

Still, I asked, "Does this mean the Tooth Fairy and Santa aren't real?"

She looked at me like I was out of my mind. "Of course they're real! How do you think I get money under my pillow each time I lose a tooth?"

A loooong letter to Santa

A loooong letter to Santa

And Santa? "Yes, he's real. He comes to our house every year and he knows what I want."

I was secretly breathing a sign of relief when she added, "I'm starting to wonder, though. His handwriting looks a lot like yours."

Sloppy, Mommy. I'll have to think of that for next year.

A new chapter, and a normal sleep schedule

June 25th, 2016

I have happy news. Friday was my last day at KHON2. My contract ended Thursday, and I chose not to renew it, though I appreciate that management offered to work with me.

15-5-6 Two shot blue dress Good hair

It was an option, but I didn't want to stay on an early morning shift, so my managers offered me a day shift as a reporter. I was excited about it. I'm so grateful to have understanding, compassionate managers who were willing to accommodate me. I am lucky to have worked for such kind people.

15-8-27 KHON_goodbye

However, as I thought about it, I'm just tired from two years of early hours and some personal tribulations, and I need a break. It felt like the right thing to do.

Interview outside

It was a tough decision because the station is great and the job is fun. I appreciated my time there. I will miss working with some really fantastic, hardworking, cool, talented people. I am sad I didn't get to connect more with the folks I didn't know as well on the day and night shifts, but - small town -  it's possible our paths will cross again.


When I start the job search, I'm open to all industries. As with the last time I was unemployed, I wasn't expecting to return to news. It just happened. It was a happy timing, and one I am grateful for. I do know, though, I will decline any job that has me regularly up pre-dawn.

16-5-23 Mad Hatter before Alice movie

For the immediate future, I would like to relax for an undetermined time. I will still be blogging for this paper as hobby.

My plans are to spend more quality time with my daughter, husband, and ailing mother. To spend more quality time with myself. To maybe complete my training hours to get my yoga teacher certification. To meditate and rest.

If you tuned in to our morning show, thank you. The viewers were always so nice!

16-1-5 KHON Il Gelato

If we worked together, thank you and I will miss you. It's a great station, and I hope I see you again.

I've already deleted that 2:30 a.m. alarm clock. Here's to sleeping in!

Maui: Piliholo Ranch Zipline

June 24th, 2016

My daughter is studying macaws and the rainforest in school, and knows about the layers of the forest, including the canopy and the understory. When we were planning our Maui trip, she really wanted to go ziplining.

"I want to feel like a bird flying through the trees!" she said excitedly. I've zip lined before and I knew I liked it.

Olivia on her first zip.

Olivia on her first zip.

There are other operations on Maui, but Piliholo offers tours through trees (rather than a flat field); it's right in Makawao, where we were staying; and my local friends give it high marks for safety and reputation. Perfect.


We booked the Six Line Treetop Zip Tour, which takes two hours, ascends high up into the trees, crosses aerial bridges, and even includes a bungee-like plunge off a 42-foot high deck. The longest treetop zipline is 930 feet!

42' QUICKjump deck

42' QUICKjump deck

The area is gorgeous. It's currently owned by the Baldwin brothers, Jeff, Duke, and Chris, whose forefather, the Reverend Dwight Baldwin, came to Maui in the 1830’s as a missionary.


While the main portion of the ranch is a premier cattle business and horseback riding venture, they started the zipline course in a corner of the ranch as a nod to the growing field of eco-tourism and a desire to share the beauty of the ranch lands. After two years of construction, it opened in December 2008.


Alatasi & Whitney

Olivia, though a little scared at first, quickly found her comfort zone and enjoyed her experience. The guides, Whitney and Alatasi, made her feel at ease with their warmth and friendliness. There was another family in our group with a boy her age, which added a sense of camaraderie. At the end, she asked if we could do this again!

I have to admit, when I stepped off the QUICKjump deck, I let out a little scream as my heart went up into my throat! Talk about my adrenaline rush for the morning!

With The Becketts

With The Becketts

And here's our funny of the day: just as I was about to leap off for another zipline, the other mom said to me, "Oh, uh. Your tie is coming loose." I was confused.

Our guide Whitney had just adjusted my carabiners and ties, and it was very clear they have a keen eye for your safety at all times. I jerked short and said, "What?!"

The mom, Mei, pointed at my head. "Your tie. Your ponytail holder?" and she pulled it off the end of my hair.

Whew. Right. Just that.


Then off I was for another zip through the tree tops, soaring like a bird in one of the prettiest places in the state.

More at



Jazz Peace Concert this weekend

June 23rd, 2016

Hawaii jazz greats get together this weekend for a Jazz Peace Concert at the Byodo-in Valley of the Temples on Saturday, June 25. The lineup is:

Rocky Holmes- Saxophones/ Flute
Brien Matson- Trombone
Ernie Provencher- Bass
Grant Carvalho- Keyboard
Mihoko M.- Vocals

Byodo-in Valley of the Temples is on 47-200 Kahekili Hwy. in Kaneohe. It runs from 12:30 - 3:30 p.m. and organizers say it's subject to weather. Temple admission fees apply: adult $3,
senior & child $2.

For details, call (808) 239-9844. More at


Maui: Assistance Dogs of Maui changes lives

June 22nd, 2016

The woman sitting in the motorized wheelchair drops her cell phone on the floor, to the side of the wheelchair. Nani, the yellow Labrador at her feet picks it up, walks around to the front of the chair, steps up onto the footrest, and places the phone back on the woman's lap.

Vezuete and Nani

Vanessa Vezuete and Nani

The woman's left arm falls off the armrest. Nani puts her snout under the arm and places it back on the armrest.

Then, the woman clicks her tongue, making a sound like a gecko. The dog's ears prick up and it starts barking, louder and louder, until she gets a command to stop.

The woman is trainer Vanessa Vezuete at Assistance Dogs of Maui, and Nani is being readied for a life of service with a woman with ALS,  a progressive neurodegenerative disease.

"Nani can save her owner's life," Vezuete says of the barking command. "If this client's breathing tube falls out, the only sound she can make is clicking. Nani is trained to bark until her husband comes in the room."

16-4-21 Maui_Assistance Dogs_puppy

Each year, Assistance Dogs of Maui places eight to ten service dogs with owners around the state. This training is intensive; the puppies start training at two weeks old. It will take the dog 12 to 18 months to learn 90 basic commands (like turning on the light and opening the door) before being matched with a specific client.

"We spend significant time matching the animal to the person. We consider the person's gender, age, and how fast they walk," details Vezuete. "It's important to get it right because the owner so heavily relies on his or her dog for independence, convenience, and sometimes, survival."

Me with a puppy

Me with a puppy

After the dog and person are matched, more training takes place to customize the dog's skill set - as illustrated in the above example of Nani's preparation to live with an ALS patient.

With all this time and care dedicated to training a guide dog, many are surprised to hear that Assistance Dogs of Maui doesn't charge for the dog. It estimates the value of the dog at $25,000.

Mo Maurer and Nani

Mo Maurer and Nani

Assistance Dogs of Hawaii has been helping people unleash their abilities since 2000, when Will and Maureen "Mo" Maurer founded the non-profit. It's known across the state - and actually, the world - for providing service dogs to children and adults, particularly for people with physical disabilities.

Part of the campus of Assistance Dogs of Hawaii

Part of the campus of Assistance Dogs of Hawaii

It's located on three acres in Kula, Maui. Mo is a whirlwind of energy, always pushing forward to see how she can make a difference in people's lives. In the last half of this year, she reveals, the program will be expanding to the Pacific Northwest: Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

16-4-21 Maui_Assistance Dogs_Olivia trail

Furthermore, Assistance Dogs of Hawaii is working with the Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific on a groundbreaking study involving medical scent detection dogs. "Our dogs have been taught to detect the early stages of melanoma with extremely high accuracy," previews Mo. She tells me they're also working with Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children to train dogs to detect bacterial infections.

Just last month, many statewide news outlets including KHON2 shared the news of Ollie, a courthouse dog who joined the Kauai Office of the Prosecuting Attorney with Deputy Prosecutor Joanne Sheng as his handler. The Labrador Retriever provides emotional support for victims and witnesses in the courtroom. Ollie can offer support by resting his head on a person’s lap and putting his paw on their leg.



Posted in pets | 4 Comments »