Archive for the ‘dad’ Category

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

January 15th, 2016

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.


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

Makeup artist provides beauty more than skin deep

December 23rd, 2015

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.

Six hours

December 11th, 2015

I've hit my mommy stride. I love having a daughter!!!

I had a haircut and an errand at the mall, and I asked Olivia if she wanted to come with me or stay with Daddy, and he'd probably take her to the pool.

"Mommy!" she declared.

"OK, but you have to bring a book so you won't be bored while I get my hair trimmed," I warned.

No problem. We left the house just before noon.

We arrived at Ala Moana Center early, so we decided to walk the new Ewa Wing for the first time. It was exciting. We enjoyed looking at the stores.


It was then time for the salon. I thought she would be bored, but she ended up asking for highlights, and Ryan had time to take her, so I ended up waiting for her.

It was very Big Girl to have her hair foiled and washed in the sink. She was excited. She was most excited that this meant she didn't have to wash it at night.

Then, we continued strolling the mall, picking up gifts here and there, and getting my shampoo at Maile Organics (yummy!)


Time flew. I haven't really been a shopper for years, but there was a time in college where I spent every weekend at Stanford Mall. If you know that mall, you know there's a lot of enticing things there.

As we drove home, Olivia exclaimed, "The sun is setting! The sky is pink! How long have we been out?? Daddy must be wondering where we are!"

Stuff we got

Some stuff we got

"Oh, I'm sure he knows where we are," I smirked. Though I rarely have the time or energy to shop now, when I get into a shopping center, I can get carried away. I'm sure he was relieved he wasn't with us. Actually, I like that he wasn't with us, pressuring us to leave.

Sidebar: funniest moment of the day was passing Victoria's Secret and seeing a solid wall of men sitting outside holding bags.

We had such an awesome day! It was so excellent to do this together!

We left after six hours, when we were starting to run out of steam, so I told her, "Hey, I still have to get more gifts. Tomorrow, let's go to --"

"No. I'm done. No more shopping," she stated flatly.

"What? Tomorrow's a new day! There's time to shop anew!" I insisted. "So, let's go to --"

"Nope," she cut me off again. "I can't even think about it. I'm so tired. I just want to get home and veg out."

And I had such high hopes for the apple not falling far from my tree. Ah, but there is so much more to learn, Grasshopper. Let Mommy show you the way.

Kaneohe Christmas parade

December 7th, 2015

For the first time, I was involved in parade preparations. Not because I was in it, but because my daughter was in it.

Halau group photo

Halau group photo. Photo: Yuki Mizuno

Olivia dances for Halau Ke `Ao O Anolani, and she really likes it. It's new this year, and I think she likes it as much for the friends as for the dancing. It's based in Kaneohe, so it was invited to be in the community Christmas parade on December 5.

Photo: Geri Wong

Photo: Geri Wong

Oh, goodness. The amount of work is mind-boggling. Kumu Ka`ohu Cazhina has about 75 students and organizing elementary and intermediate-aged students (plus getting 75 pairs of parents, I bet most of them working parents, on board) must be like herding cats. From the little I saw, that's how I would describe it.

The e-mails started a month ago for calls for labor, in-kind donations for various needs, costume fittings/ pickups, and extra rehearsals. This, plus she asks three Marines to walk alongside the float to collect Toys for Tots donations, and she asks each girl to donate a toy.

I give her lots and lots of credit. She just seems like a fountain of energy.

Let's just put it this way: the day before the parade, I got six long e-mail updates. Six. I couldn't even read them all. It because a jumble of words in my brain.

Here it comes! Excited Mommy!

Here it comes! Excited Mommy!

Finally, the morning of the parade came, and we got up bright and early to dress Olivia and bring her to the staging area. The float looked great (a 16-wheeler flatbed truck), decorated nicely.


Husband gave up trying to stay dry!

It's unfortunate that it's Kaneohe and it rains all the time, because a squall dumped so much water on the truck that it got soaked, and all the kids and parents hid under what seemed like a postage stamp-sized awning to try to stay dry.

Photo: Yuki Mizuno

Photo: Geri Wong

My husband and I really didn't know what to expect on this first year of our participation, but we knew we had to get our car near the finish line at Castle High School, so we ended up leaving Olivia and driving there. We were kind of late, so the closest parking we could get was half a mile away from Castle.

So many spectators!

So many spectators!

Photo: Yuki Mizuno

Photo: Yuki Mizuno

By the time you factor in walking to the finish line of the parade route, it was a mile. Then, because I wanted to be near Olivia and see her for more than three minutes at the finish, I wanted to walk towards the start line, so that we could join the parents who were invited to walk behind the float. A handful of parents were doing that.

Photo: Yuki Mizuno

Photo: Yuki Mizuno

So Claus and I walked another half mile towards the start line. At that point, by the Kaneohe Fire Station, Claus suggested we stop because I'm not in the best cardiovascular shape and would be very tired by the time we wrapped up the day.

He is always right, but I am always stubborn and overachieving. I insisted I wanted to keep walking until we met up with the float.



So this super-Western husband of mine pulls a delightfully face-saving Japanese trick and says, "I think it would be best for Inca if we just waited here. The dog will be very tired at the end of the day."


I saw what he was doing and I appreciated it, and I laughed. "OK, fine. We'll wait here at the fire station."

Parade sights! Photo: Yuki Mizuno

Parade sights! Photo: Yuki Mizuno



This contingent represented a pet shop!

This contingent represented a pet shop!




In short order, the float came, and we joined the procession of parents behind the truck. It was really fun.

All told, we spent four hours of the morning in the partial sun/ partial rain, and walked two miles. Claus maaaay have been right. I immediately went home and took a long nap. I also slept very soundly that night.

I'm sure glad we didn't walk further. You know, for Inca's sake.


Half-baked when half-baked

December 2nd, 2015

I know full well the dangers of doing anything while extremely tired. I live this at least five days a week with my 3 a.m. wake up call.

Still, I persist. Life marches on and stuff needs to get done. I tried to bake a quiche at 5:30 p.m. when I should be getting ready for bed. Bad idea.

Firstly, I'm a pretty decent home cook, but I do like to improvise a lot. The recipe called for chicken, and I used ham because it was on sale. It called for bell peppers and I used frozen peas because I needed to use that up.

My husband always watches me with amused interest because I think of the recipe as a suggestion. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't.

If you combine this with the forgetfulness and lack of focus that comes with fatigue, it can be a scary combination. I had piled the ingredients into the pie shell and it still didn't fill up to the top. I pulled out some extra spinach leaves and chucked that in to add content, though the recipe didn't ask for it.

And yes, it was tasty!!!

And yes, it was tasty!!!

"What else should I put in? Didn't it overflow the last time I made this?" I queried. He couldn't recall.

Then he spied the roux and sautéed onions in the pan. "Are you adding that?" he asked.

"OH! That! YES! I forgot!" I exclaimed as I threw my hands up in the air. "Thank you!" You know, it's only sitting right in front of my face.

I mix it in and open the oven door. "Can you read me the recipe and tell me if I missed anything? What else goes in there?" I requested.

Pause. "I really don't think it matters at this point," he stated.

HEY. When this quiche comes out amazing, he'll be sorry for that comment!