Archive for the ‘parent’ Category

Tidy and hating it

May 25th, 2016

For about a month, I haven't had to ask my kid to clean her room. For the first eight and a half years of her life, it's been a pigsty. I have blogged about this before.

Olivia's tidy room!

Olivia's tidy room!

Sometimes, we had to go in and deep-clean it, like before guests come to stay in it. That required parental involvement. Ugh. It would always revert to its chaotic state within a day of their departure.

I have made a few comments over the weeks about her room being super tidy, but it hasn't been a prolonged conversation. Until last night.

I praised the consistent cleanliness and order, and asked why she's been keeping it so nice (bed made daily too!) for so long. The answer: "I'm tidy and I hate it."

Well, when I'm tidy I love it. She's halfway to being my kid.

Olivia says she hates keeping it neat, but she hates more when I ask her to clean it on the weekends. Now her new habit is to clean small messes as she makes them instead of spending hours picking up one big mess.

"Don't you feel a sense of pride that your room looks beautiful?" I asked.

"Well, yeah," she admitted.

"So this is the new Olivia?" I hoped.

She shrugged, "I guess."

Not that enthusiastic, but I'll take it!

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.

Olivia's Blueberry Cream Cheese Pie

May 18th, 2016

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.


Mother's Day reflections: Mom's best lesson to you?

May 11th, 2016

Happy belated Mother's Day! I love my mother so much. She taught me so many things and gave me a good foundation in life. I'm grateful to have her.

Mom & me, Oahu

Mom & me, Oahu

She taught me to live life to the fullest ("Every day is Christmas") but she also taught me to balance that with fiscal responsibility. She makes friends wherever she goes, and I'd like to think she handed at least part of that skill to me.

I'm a mother too, and I asked my eight year old what's the best lesson I've taught her so far. "To write cursive," came the quick answer. We've been working on that recently since she didn't learn it in the third grade. She thinks it's fun.

14-10-30 Mommy hug

Here's how some friends answer that question:


Robert Cazimero- musician, kumu hula, all-around Island institution

"My mom, Elizabeth Cazimero, forced me to play piano in the third grade! She did it with that famous phrase, 'Someday you'll thank me.' I swore over my body I'd never say thank you, and of course look where I am today. I thank her every day."


15-2-20 Di Taizo

With Taizo. We got the green memo.

Taizo Braden- KHON2's Wake Up 2day traffic anchor, Living 808 co-host

"My mother (Sachi Braden) is a well-known businesswoman so our relationship, while great, has always had a business-tinge to it. Even when I was younger, my mom always said, 'Taizo, under-promise but over-deliver. I didn't get it until much later. She's a Realtor, so she said, 'Always be closing!' And she would always say in Japanese, 'Keep one eye on the future with a telescope, and one eye on the present with a microscope.'"


15-9-21 DA-KG-KS black

Kanoe Gibson Nitta- singer, local personality, Miss Hawaii 2003

"There are a lot of valuable lessons I learned from my mom, but probably the biggest lesson is on becoming a better mother. I learned that through watching her be grandmother to my children."



Jennifer Fairbanks- actress, model, Hawaiian Telcom spokesperson, Miss Hawaii USA 2005

"I'm half-Korean and I learned all my cooking from my mom. I love to cook. Her cucumber kim chee is a winner. That's my favorite thing she cooks, and that's what I take to every potluck! It's one of my favorite things about my mom. Food is love, and it's nice to share my Korean heritage through food."

What's the most valuable lesson your mother taught you? Sending all the moms love on this Mother's Day!

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!)