Archive for the ‘Career’ Category

This blog wins Society of Professional Journalists 2015 awards

July 1st, 2016

Every June, the Hawaii chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists holds its awards banquet for all media. It announces winners of the previous calendar year's stories.


This year it coincided with my last day at KHON2, which was a nice way to cap the day. I won three awards for my Honolulu Star-Advertiser blogs.

Goofing around with Jai.

Goofing around with Jai.

It's a peer-judged competition so I'm truly honored to be recognized for my efforts. The stories were profiles on newscaster Jai Cunningham (a first and a second place), and musician Tracy Terada (a second place).

Trey and sons Quentin and Dillon

Trey and sons Quentin and Dillon

Jai, by the way, earned his real estate license since I wrote about him, and now has a second job at iProperties. He's so engaged and energetic, I have no idea how he does it - but he does! He's a powerhouse!

Real estate agent Jai Cunningham!

Real estate agent Jai Cunningham!

He told me he was excited about the award too, because it validates and recognizes his message. I agree, and still remain awed by his bravery in sharing his tragedy... and triumph.


Over my tenure, he and I became close friends, and I walk away from KHON2 with gratitude for that, as well as for the other dear friendships I formed. You walk into a new situation and you never know how it will play out.

Things I thought would occur, didn't; and vice versa. Life keeps you guessing, huh?

Me and my Kaniele`a ukulele

Me and my Kaniele`a ukulele

Trey is still teaching and now working on developing an online `ukulele classroom, which he hopes to launch live later in 2016. "Other than that, fatherhood has been occupying my time," he updates.

I'm sorry to say I ran out of energy to keep up the lessons, and Olivia lost interest. I really liked it, and perhaps now I'll have the time to pick up again. Either way, I am glad for those months that Trey taught us. One thing is for sure: I came away with a stronger friendship with a great guy.

More about Trey at

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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!

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.

Explaining rejection to a child

May 6th, 2016

The letter came in the mail. We all suspected this was coming, but we all hoped - Olivia  most of all - that it would say otherwise.

She was not accepted to Kamehameha Schools for the fourth grade year. It was crushing.


We're crushed to see her crushed. I hate these moments as a parent.

We had prepped her that the competition was stiff, and that even with amazing test scores, the odds of its quota system were still high: 1,008 applicants, and just 64 openings.

That's a six percent chance to get in. Those are stupid odds. The only odds I've heard of that are worse are for CNN, which my friends in Atlanta tell me is a ratio of 1,000 resumes for every one on-air position.

It's a difficult place to be. In order to get her excited to do her best, we had to sell the school to her. Otherwise, she didn't want to leave her current school and friends. Ever since we tested in January, she'd been asking regularly when she'd know.

I understand the feeling. I recently attempted something I wanted badly, and though I tried to endure the process with detachment, it's hard not to get your hopes up. I couldn't explain the concept of detachment to an eight year old, so her process was even harder than mine.

She moped when she came home. She asked questions about why she wasn't good enough. Her dad gave her all the right answers and made her a smoothie. It helped, but still the long face.

I decided to show her something. I have saved most of my TV rejection letters since the start of my career. I say most, because there was a busy period where I know I forgot to save one or two dozen letters.


At first, it was just a way to track which stations I applied to, since most times they don't even bother to respond. That's how you know in TV news that you didn't make the cut.

Seriously, it's nice he even wrote back.

Seriously, it's nice he even wrote back.


So a lot of the papers are actually my notes and lists on when I sent in a resume, so that I would know to follow up. But let's just call them "letters" for short.


After a while, though, I decided to save it as a testament to perseverance; a symbol to myself that hard work pays off, that I needed to keep believing in myself, and that for every 20 no's there is a yes.

As I've blogged before, I knew I wanted to be a reporter, and that was that. I wasn't going to let a little (actually, a lot of) rejection divert my plans. This was the career I wanted, and I was going to have it.

Over the years, as I developed success and still occasionally filed a letter in the folder, I also started seeing it as a humility check. In a job defined by lights, cameras, and a high-profile, I never wanted to become someone who thought they were "all that."

Perhaps now, because I've been on air in this one town for over a decade, I have a modicum of name-recognition. I don't ever want that to get to my head.

I generally presume you don't know me unless you indicate you do. Not everyone watches TV, and not everyone has lived in Hawaii for years.

It's fun, and it's a privilege to experience, but the file takes me back to my beginnings, when doors shut on my face all the time. Remember who you are: you're just a person with a job.

But I digress. Back to Olivia.

She always tells me she thinks I have an amazing job. The entire time she's known me, I've always been an established newscaster. She has never seen the struggle.


I held her rejection letter in one hand, my file in the other. It's almost an inch thick. It's impressive! Her eyes widened when I presented it.

"Just because you didn't get into one school, it's OK. It doesn't mean you're not worthy. It just means you need to stick to your goals and try harder. Don't give up," I encouraged.

I explained to her that in my follow ups, I'd ask the manager what they didn't like about my resume and how I could improve. Then I'd work on that so the next station might want me.

I really appreciate any manager who took the time to give me feedback!

I really appreciate any manager who took the time to give me feedback!

"That's what you need to do. Keep being the best student you can be," I said. "Then next time you try for a school, you have a better chance. And always believe in yourself, because we believe in you."

The only handwritten rejection I ever received, and he was so nice. This is my favorite.

The only handwritten rejection I ever received, and he was so nice. This is my favorite.

It perked her up a little, but she said she was still kind of sad.

"That's normal. It's OK. You sit with that for a little while, but then you use it to make you stronger. You tried, you didn't get what you wanted, but you'll pick yourself up and figure out what you need to do to get what you want. Mommy and Daddy are proud of you for trying, and we're always here to help you dust yourself off and support you," I soothed.

That seemed to do the trick. She said seeing my file was both a shocker and helpful.

Then it was back to her smoothie, which in its own way was just as wonderful a Band-Aid as my pep talk. There ain't nothing a lovely dessert can't cure, right?

...How have you handled your child's rejection? What did you tell them? (Give me more tips for next time, because I know there's got to be a next time down the road!)



Yoga training: Contemplating challenge

April 20th, 2016

One month, we studied what the yoga sutras have to say about challenge. Essentially, they're there to help you clarify your own desire.

"Many obstructions are purposely put in the way for us to pass through... We seem to need to be challenged and tested in order to understand our own capacities," writes Sri Swami Satchidananda.

The example that came to mind right away when we discussed this in class was of my career in news. I pursued it right out of college and lived it with burning enthusiasm for over a decade.

When KHNL had mass layoffs in 2009, I decided to try another career, and enjoyed pushing the boundaries wildly, contemplating cake decorator, lawyer, social worker, behavioral therapist. It's not that I disliked news anymore, but it's that I felt this might be a chance to try something different.

I made this purse-shaped cake.

I made this purse-shaped cake.

In the end, a fancy PR job meandered across my path, and I did that for several years, learning and enjoying what that had to offer, until family crisis called me away. (Mom, Alzheimer's.)

Me at my PR job.

Me at my PR job.

Mom and me.

Mom and me.

Soon after my mom's situation stabilized, the job at KHON2 came to fruition serendipitously. I hadn't thought about my next steps very hard, but returning to news became an attractive idea. I knew I had missed lots about it during the now-five years I was away.

Me at KHON.

Me at KHON.

I like the culture, the energy, the excitement, the type of people it attracts, the craft itself. I was grateful to return to a career I have always had passion for. Most people don't get to work their passion.

Considering this situation within the framework of the sutra, I see my love for my craft didn't diminish during the years spent away, and sharpened my realization that it's what I still like to do.

Which is nice to see in retrospect, because sometimes you go through challenges and wonder why such sucky things happen to you. So maybe there really are no coincidences in life?

15-3-17 4 shot Jai

Is there a time in your life when challenge helped you sharpen your focus? How did you handle it?
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