Archive for the ‘dad’ Category

Father's Day reflections: Dad's best lesson to you?

June 17th, 2016
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The best lessons my father taught me were how to be fearless and independent. Through our interaction, I learned almost nothing is insurmountable, and if you stare fear in the face, it's not as scary as you imagined it. You are stronger than you know, and when you call upon that inner reserve, it'll be there for you.

Living in Rocky Hill, CT

Living in Rocky Hill, CT

On a less philosophical note, Dad instilled in me an enjoyment of classical music (particularly piano, since he's an incredibly skilled pianist), and a predisposition to be an aquatic hobbyist and a home gardener.

Road trip to Vermont

Road trip to Vermont

I grew up with a dozen fishtanks in the house (some, 200 gallons), and my version of an aquatic hobby is breeding shrimp. I'm pretty into my decapods.

He, like his mother, loves to putter in the yard. I like that, too. I'm a pretty good gardener and I find spending a couple hours in the yard meditative and grounding.

My husband, Claus, is a great father - the best, I think. Our kid's lucky to have him. He's totally there for her every step of the way, and incredibly involved in her daily life.

Back Camera

I asked our nine year old daughter what is the best lesson her dad taught her. Without hesitation, Olivia replied, "Swimming, because I love to be in the water and I won't drown."

Here's how some friends answered that question:

 

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Mahealani Richardson- Shriners Hospitals for Children spokesperson

"My dad taught me how to have fun. He used to just play with us at birthday parties and that sort of thing, you know, where you do the three-legged race and the donut eating contest. That's important today. Often, parents are disengaged from their kids. He was really engaged! That's the greatest lesson from my dad."

 

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Sean Olanui Robbins- musician

"Just to have fun and do what you love to do. When I was growing up, he always worked for himself, so he chose his own hours. He made it work. He was successful and still got to do what he wanted to do, and he loved life. Now I'm doing that; I love to play music!"

 

Mommy's work

May 23rd, 2016
By



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:

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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:

Kittens
Brownies
Pastries
Kittens

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

Olivia's Blueberry Cream Cheese Pie

May 18th, 2016
By



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.

Enjoy!

Explaining rejection to a child

May 6th, 2016
By



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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!)

 

 

A piece of art only a mother could love

April 29th, 2016
By



Parenting, as you know, is so totally subjective. Everyone thinks their child is the best, smartest, funniest, most talented, etc, in the world. ...Well, Claus and I know Olivia's not a prodigy, but we do rank her #1 in many superlative categories.

From the start, every little artistic creation she has brought home from school meets with a shower of compliments. We love that she made it with her own two little hands, and that she gives it to us with all of her heart. She's the sweetest.

The other day, she brought home a glazed ceramic the art class had been working on for a few weeks. They molded the clay, designed their sculptures, painted it, and then brought it home after it was fired in the kiln.

"Here, Mommy," she said as she nonchalantly plopped a rat-unicorn hybrid ("a raticorn" I was informed) on the counter. She's eight now, so sometimes it's not such a big deal to give your parents gifts.

I turned around to receive it. "Oh! That's nice, Dear! What is it?"

She said what it was, which I think is weird- but I rationalized it within seconds that it's just her brilliant expression of creativity. It's actually odd looking but if Olivia made it, I love it.

And then she said she didn't make it! "It came from one of the other girls in class. She didn't want it. She gave it to me."

Duh, she didn't want it. It's ugly.

"Oh. Where is yours?" I asked. "You should give this back to that girl. Her parents probably want it."

"Mine's in the art show," Olivia explained. "And I like this. She gave it to me, she doesn't want it back, and I'm going to keep it. Let's put it here on the counter."

"Actually, no. Put it in your room if you insist on having it. A rat with a horn is kind of scary," I admitted.

Olivia stopped to put it together. "So... why'd you say you liked it when you thought it was mine?"

"Because it's special when it comes from you. You're my kid," I explained.

Later, Claus and I compared notes and apparently, he had a very similar conversation with her about the raticorn.

Funny, isn't it, that within seconds one's whole perspective on something can change based on a little piece of knowledge? It's still the same sculpture!

By the way, I lost that fight. Somehow the dang uni-mouse found its way to my bedroom nightstand where Olivia likes to play with it before she tucks me in.