Archive for the ‘child’ Category

Booger prank

February 3rd, 2016
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At eight, Olivia is now at the gross-out stage. She is also getting into pranks.

She once put a big plastic cockroach on the floor and I jumped about five feet into the air when I thought I stepped on it. I had to be peeled off the ceiling- by another person, because Olivia was too busy rolling on the ground laughing her pants off.

Here's the newest one, and she was so proud of herself she commanded me to blog about it. I was getting us ready to leave the house when she hollered across the living room at me, "Mommy! Come see this!"

"No. I'm getting us ready. What is it?" I responded.

"I want you to see my booger!" she giddily declared.

"Um, no thanks," I denied.

"Then I'll save it for you!" she offered. Goody.

I kindly declined a few times but she so generously saved it anyway. In fact, as I ushered her out the door, she ran back inside to retrieve the nearly-forgotten booger. Boy, this is important.

She held out a finger to show me a pea-sized glob of transparent goo, much like what we'd make in high school with rubber cement. Aah, rubber cement. I haven't thought of it for decades and I'm nostalgic now for school.

"Great. Now throw that away before you get in the car," I tell her.

She doesn't. She gets in the car and pronounces, "I shall now examine this booger! ... Oh, it's hairy! ... And crusty! ... And sticky! ... And squishy! ... And tasty!"

"You ATE it?" I reacted, to a lot of self-satisfied giggling from the back. "I thought I fed you enough lunch."

This goes on for a little while more, with someone so smug that she's managed to nauseate her mommy.

Finally, she decided to put Mommy out of her mock-misery by revealing that it was a glue ball. "Best prank ever!" she pronounced.

<groan> Thankfully it's a prank. I probably still have a drying up glue booger somewhere in the back of the car.

High school memories

January 22nd, 2016
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I recently spent half a day at my alma mater, Kamehameha Schools, because my daughter applied for the fourth grade class. I have only great things to say about the school and my six years there, but I don't visit it much because life is busy.

Testing lasts nearly three and a half hours, and while I waited, I decided to reacquaint myself with the campus that was my whole life through my adolescence.

I walked from elementary school, through the middle school campus that I absolutely don't recognize anymore due to all the new buildings, up through the high school, to the very top where the girls' dorms are. It was a hike. I was happy to do it.

The bus drivers at school have always been super nice, and one stopped to offer me a ride, thinking I'd missed the bus. When I declined, he smiled and shook his head, thinking me crazy to want to hoof it.

I had forgotten the particulars of what led where, but as I turned corners I slowly remembered the paths my feet knew so well as a student and boarder. It's nice to reconnect. Things changed, but things stayed the same. I do love that campus.

Seeing the pool: SOLD!

Seeing the pool: SOLD!

Later, after Olivia got out of testing, I drove her around to see the campus. I'm sure my experience is like that of many other parents: the kid doesn't want to leave their friends, and then you have to convince them why it would be great to attend Kamehameha.

It has to be this way; if she wasn't interested in attending, she wouldn't try hard during the testing. The flip side is, there's 1,000 applicants for the fourth grade class, which means the odds of getting in are much slimmer than when I applied. So then I have to be careful to temper her hopes.

The night before the test, I showed her photos of the campus and told her about all the activities she could join, listing things she likes - art, dance, the library, the pool. She got really excited.

Kamehameha Dorm

Kamehameha Dorm

After the testing, I wanted to give her a closer look at the things I mentioned, so we jumped in the car and drove around. I stopped at my old dormitory, also named Kamehameha, and had a look inside. It sure was smaller than I remember.

I had a city view for three of my four years in this dorm.

I had a city view for three of my four years in this dorm.

While I liked boarding, I can't imagine sending my child away. I was eleven when I left home: I skipped a couple grades. I can't imagine having Olivia move away before her childhood is up.

"Look, Honey. You'd have to learn to do your own laundry. Your closet would be three feet wide. There's a window on the door so the dorm advisor can check and see that you tidied up your room before you left for class in the morning," I pointed out to her. "You need to remember you're lucky you're living at home where Mommy can take care of you."

The dorm's common area.

The dorm's common area.

It's certainly different to grow up in a dorm, but like anything in life, there's always a bright side. I learned at a young age how to fend for myself.

Olivia kept remarking how amazing the campus is, and how much she'd like to attend. I was surprised and pleased that she actually said, "Pinch me. Is this a dream? Are schools this nice?"

If she gets in, she gets in. It would be great!

If she doesn't, at least we know we tried. We'll find a way to manage her disappointment.

As for me - it was a lovely way to spend the morning, literally walking down memory lane. Thank you, Kamehameha.

All-Star Catcher Kurt Suzuki returns to Maui to host fundraisers

January 15th, 2016
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Major League Baseball All Star Kurt Suzuki returns home to Maui to host two events this weekend, one of which will be co-hosted with world renowned chef Alan Wong.

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On, Saturday, January 16th, Kurt will be hosting his fifth annual Youth Baseball Clinic at Iron Maehara Stadium from 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. In partnership with the All Pono Organization, the Kurt Suzuki Family Foundation has continued to make a positive impact on countless members of Hawaii’s youth by teaching them hard work, dedication and the values of being a team player.

For the second straight year, Kurt joins forces with local celebrity chef and restaurateur Alan Wong to host A Taste of Hawaii on Sunday, January 17th at the Four Seasons Hotel in Wailea from 5:30 - 8 p.m. A special private VIP cocktail reception will also take place from 5 - 5:30 p.m.

Several celebrity chefs will feature their own dishes while professional athletes serve them up.  Participants include Chefs Sheldon Simeon (Top Chef Finalist), Isaac Bancaco (Iron Chef America, Head Chef at Andaz Hotel, Maui), Cameron Lewark (Chef at Spago, Four Seasons, Maui) and Craig Dryhurst (Head Chef at Four Seasons, Maui).

Proceeds from A Taste of Hawaii will help raise funds for the Kapi`olani Medical Center, Pediatric Cancer Division and the National Kidney Foundation. Kurt’s father Warren Suzuki, who is a stage four kidney cancer survivor and has been in remission for seven years.

It's put on by The Kurt Suzuki Family Foundation, a 501c3 organization that is dedicated to supporting the scientific research of chronic illnesses as well as encouraging healthy lifestyle choices. For more information on the Kurt Suzuki Foundation, please visit www.kurtsuzukifamilyfoundation.org.

Discipline & Punish

January 8th, 2016
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I am going through a year-long yoga teacher training program and have for a long time - a decade - wanted to do something for women prisoners. I'm not sure why, but I've long felt drawn to helping them. When I started the yoga program I thought I might like to teach yoga at the women's prison.

During grad school I read a great book, Discipline & Punish, by philosopher Michel Foucault, which gets into the history of punishment, from public executions to prisons, and its effectiveness. Anyhow, thinking about this possible goal made me want to pick up the book again.

I shared this with my friend Jul, while Olivia happened to be sitting nearby. At the mention of the book title, Olivia groaned. I didn't realize why, but Jul did right away.

"Don't worry, Olivia. That book has nothing to do with you," he assured with a chuckle.

"Oh. Whew," she thanked. "I thought Mommy was coming up with new consequences for me."

So far the punishments I mete out have been five minutes of time-outs facing the wall, or a deficit of 15 minutes of iPad time. The only drawing and quartering around our house involves crayons and payments for daily chores. I mean, I am the disciplinarian in the family, but I don't think I'm that bad!

Makeup artist provides beauty more than skin deep

December 23rd, 2015
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Honolulu makeup artist Jonathan Freitas spends his days making people feel beautiful - inside and out. He's been practicing his craft for 13 years, always as a representative for the makeup line Motives.

Jon and me

Jon and me

Freitas's days are a mixture of meeting clients, teaching new Motives reps, and doing makeup. He has a small studio in The Co-op in Ward Warehouse where he does some of this, and he goes out to provide makeup for events, weddings, photo shoots, television tapings, special effects needs, and lately, Halloween costumes.

Today, he's an established industry professional. Sometimes, he says, it's a surprise to him where he landed in life.

Ooh, all the pretty colors!

Ooh, all the pretty colors!

After graduating from Kamehameha Schools, he studied psychology and sociology at Seattle University. Freitas has always liked children - absolutely evident by the way mine quickly takes to him - and decided the best combination of his talents and interests would be to work as a Kamehameha Schools dorm advisor. "I could interact with the kids, but not in a clinical setting of a therapist's office," he explains.

He moved back to the Islands in 1993 as an advisor for the boys at Iolani Dorm. He married his college sweetheart and found himself a father shortly thereafter. His three children are 21 year old Janya, 18 year old Chrislyn, and 13 year old Ethan. It was an ideal job that let him spend a lot of time with the kids.

It was a fun period- young children, the early blush of marriage, a rewarding job. Then things started to dissolve in the early 2000s, reaching a low with his divorce in 2007. He got full custody of the children, which was fulfilling but extremely draining.

Freitas says he hit rock bottom for five years. "I was a single dad. I was exhausted. I felt angry that my wife just left the picture. I stuffed my emotions until it ate me alive."

Additionally, near the end of this very difficult period, he started questioning his identity as a straight man. "I met a new friend, Shawn, at volleyball. We became good friends, but then I felt something else going on. I denied it to myself at first because I thought it wasn't acceptable to have feelings for a man. It was a big struggle to accept my homosexuality, and a slow coming out," Freitas recalls.

In the end, it was a talk with his mother that helped nudge him into his new life. "My work with Motives was taking off. I really enjoyed it and saw this as my new career. I had come out as gay. I wanted a change, and decided to quit my job at Kamehameha and move into my own place for the first time!"

A story from his parent's life inspired him to take the plunge. "After my dad retired from the Air Force in North Dakota, my parents wanted to start a new chapter of life. They knew they wanted to move to Washington State, but weren't sure which city. They just packed up the car and drove west until they hit I-5 and the road forked. Should they go north or south? They took a guess and ended up driving to Tacoma, where life worked out wonderfully for the next two decades," Freitas recounts.

His dad found a job with Boeing, and his mother went to college to become an RN. "Have faith. Take risks. Just know things will be OK" are the lessons he takes out of this story.

In 2013, he took his own risk by quitting the dorm advisor job, having faith that full time work as a makeup artist in Hawaii would pay the bills, and not hiding his sexuality from society. He and Shawn moved into a house in Aiea.

It's worked out better than he ever expected. "To think, I worried about so much, and for nothing. Fear of the unknown is worse than reality."

Jon and Trini Kaopuiki in Halloween Week costume for KHON2's Living 808. Courtesy: Jon Freitas

Jon and Trini Kaopuiki in Halloween Week costume for KHON2's Living 808. Courtesy: Jon Freitas

Freitas loves his work. "I'm paid to help people feel beautiful!" It's taken on a life of its own, with recent higher profile clients who include Jourdan Miller , winner of CW reality show America's Next Top Model; Keke Lindgard, the current face of Ralph Lauren; Emma Wo, Miss Hawaii USA 2015; and Trini Kaopuiki, host of KHON2's Living 808. He and his team also secured work for the Kaypee Soh Spring 2016 ready-to-wear fashion show, and Honolulu Fashion Week (Motives was the official cosmetic line.)

Gratitude, positive thinking, and self-care are a big part of Freitas' daily routine. Every day, he makes sure to spend time with positive thoughts that could include meditation, readings, audio tapes or podcasts, or videos like TEDTalks. "It helps ground me and keep me positive. I still get set back by negative interactions, but the disappointment lasts for minutes, rather than hours or a whole day."

Freitas also wants to spread this positive energy. "It's my personal mission to make everyone I meet, every single day, feel better about themselves. When I give people makeup lessons, especially at schools, I ask the kids, 'You can learn to put on cosmetic makeup, but what about your personal make up- that which makes you up inside? How can we make that or keep that beautiful?"

It's a question he asks - and strives to answer - for himself every day.