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Girls slumber party!

October 4th, 2016

We did it. It's over. I'm still alive.

We had a big slumber party. Six guests from school. Only after the fact did the experienced moms confess I was nuts.

It is nuts. I almost want to warn you never to do it, but it's also very rewarding and fun.

So do it, but beware. You will feel so exhausted the next day.

Olivia and I had lots of fun planning it in the weeks prior. The favors, the guest list, the activities, the menu.

Olivia and I had fun crafting bracelets as favors

Olivia and I had fun crafting bracelets as favors

I had actually deep-cleaned the house over a month ago, just because. So at least there wasn't that much prep to do.

On the first day, the girls were very excited to see each other. We took them to my cousins' pool, which happened to be available because my cousins were out of town and let us use it when they're gone. (Thank you, Cousins!!!)


A body of water is perfect for letting them entertain themselves. We tossed them in and let them play into the night. It was very cute. In the evening they spontaneously broke out in song, which I found adorable.

Dessert bar, before

Dessert bar, before

We brought pizza, chips, and ice cream with lots of toppings. They can detect sweets like sharks smell a drop of blood from a mile away.

We didn't even have to call them. They saw us setting it up and came running. They dove into the ice cream bar like a predator feeding frenzy.

Dessert bar, after

Dessert bar decimation, after

Geez. Hurricane Lester did come to Oahu: it came tableside for five minutes while little grabby hands fought to get eight kinds of sprinkles, crushed Oreos, Snickers bites, chocolate syrup, and whipped cream.

Then there was total quiet for five more minutes while they ate. That was a short-lived peace.


I like all of Olivia's friends, and I enjoy chatting with them and spending time around them. That night, I told the girls ghost stories before asking them to lie down by 10:30 p.m. Of course, nobody listened to me.

Ghost stories!

Ghost stories!

When I got to the master bedroom, my husband was crashed out, snoring. Lucky him.

Our walls are thin and we have no soundproofing. The living room has wood floors, which means every sound bounces off the walls and into adult ears.

Why are you still UP?!

Why are you still UP?!

It was midnight and I could still hear loud footsteps and bursts of giggles. I went to tell them it was lights out now, "and I mean it." They actually went to sleep obediently, but I'm sure that was just coincidence after a long day of play.

I still can't believe this, but they woke up - and woke me up! - at 4:15 a.m. Are these future morning anchors in the making? What the hey? Why do they need only four hours of sleep?!?!

How does my husband sleep through this? I'm jealous.

I had to go tell them to cut it out, which, surprisingly, they did. Silence for two more hours. I know this because I tossed and turned and couldn't get back to sleep. (Grr.)


That morning, we served them whipped cream and sprinkles with a side of pancake for breakfast. Yes, Moms, I pumped your girls full of sugar for 24 hours.

Then we all headed back to my cousins' house, for another five hours in the pool. Thank the Maker for pools, the sanity-saver of parents everywhere.


On the car ride home, half the girls actually fell asleep, and the other half zoned out quietly. High five, Daddy! We did it! We tired them out, finally!

Party favors

Party favors

We sent the girls home with a party favor: a half-pound of candy to help them get ready for Round Three at their own home!

Nothing ventured, everything gained

September 14th, 2016

If you'll indulge me kindly, I'd like to blatantly self-promote my new business plan as a Nothing Coach. Previously, I blogged about a new competition I'd like to bring to America that rewards people for doing nothing. (

As I work up the long-term strategy for hyping up this soon-to-be, super awesome challenge that will sweep our nation by storm, I thought I should actually walk the walk if I'm going to talk the talk. So I've been training for Nothing, too.

My training inspiration

My training inspiration

I try to keep my daily agenda to just one thing, if that. Unfortunately, on weekends, I have a lot of mommy obligations, so I have to actually leave the house for hours to shuttle my kid around to lessons, events, and playdates. That's a lot more Something than I care to have in my day.

I don't mean to brag, but I have high natural talent for this. As a recovering Type A personality, when I set my mind to a task, I'm going to do it, and do it well.

I know for a fact I can watch Netflix for hours at a stretch. Six hours a day is my average lately, but my PR (personal record, for you non-athletes) is ten with combined split times. (Just a little more industry jargon there to sound impressive.)

I'm also able to lie in bed and stare at the ceiling in the morning, think about getting up, and then drift back to sleep again. I can do this for several revolutions. The hard part is ignoring my family's various noises as they get ready for their day, but it's good for training.

Unfortunately, one's greatest strength is also one's greatest weakness, so curses if that Type A mindset doesn't come around to bite me in the butt sometimes. The other day, I had not one but two goals for the entire day: 1) Turn on A/C; 2) Find password.

Who sets two goals for the day?! For an athlete like me, one should be enough.

And, sidebar, I realize you can click the "I forgot my password" button and then you can reset it or some such, but I lose interest after hitting the button. I never follow through with the next step. It's been half a year and I just can't seem to find the energy to go forward.

So the whole day goes by and I did turn on the air conditioner - amazing job, Me - but I did not fiddle with the password. I didn't even do step one. It's just such a drain when I think about it.

I was kind of feeling like a failure when I realized, I'm actually a huge success. Because if I set two goals but I only accomplished one, isn't that closer to doing nothing? Holy mother-of-pearl, I am such an overachiever I impress myself.

This. This is the kind of superior leadership I could offer in your conditioning to be a Nothing athlete. Sign with me and there's nada chance you'll fail.

Special introductory offer: First three months free, promo code #spacecadet.

Aloha, Jimmy Borges

June 1st, 2016

Today would've been Jimmy Borges' 81st birthday. He died Monday, though- that golden voice our Hawaii community knows and loves, silenced by cancer.

2001, at my wedding. Photo credit: Floyd Honda

At my wedding, 2001. Photo credit: Floyd Honda

This paper did a great job summing it up:

I knew Jimmy for 19 years. He worked with my mother at Forbidden City in San Francisco- he a singer, she a dancer. They got along, stayed in touch.

Shortly after I moved back to Hawaii in 1996 to work at KHNL, my mother told me I had to look up her old friend, Jimmy Jay. "Borges is his real name," she said, and gave me his phone number. All the entertainers in the troupe stayed in touch.

At the 2000 Iolani Awards.

At the 2000 Iolani Awards.

I called him and introduced myself, and it was like I had known him always. Four decades older than me, but only in body.

He really could be my contemporary. Boy, was he a live wire.

After I met him, I called up my calabash aunt, Dorothy Toy Fong, in Oakland, California. Dorothy was the troupe manager. Since the dancers all kept in contact, I wanted to tell her I'd met Jimmy.

Jimmy and my mother, 2011.

Jimmy and my mother, 2011.

I barely uttered his name when her tone changed from friendly to stern, and she cut me off. "You stay away from that man, you hear?"

I was startled. "But? I just wanted to say I met one of your former colleagues?"

"No! You stay away from him. You hear me?" she admonished.

"But - " I interrupted.

"No buts! Just listen to me!" she scolded.

When I mentioned this strange call to Jimmy, he had a huge laugh. "I was a bit of a ladies man back in the day," he explained.

That became the basis for our long-running joke that I'm his third wife. We conspired to call Aunt Dorothy to let her know we'd fallen in love and were planning a marriage. Of course, we never did, but the idea of it had us in stitches every single time we saw each other.

New Year's Eve 2001.

With First and Second Husbands, New Year's Eve 2001.

Funny, relatable, open, and endearing, we kept a friendship for all these years. We had some deep moments of trading confidences, and a lot more moments of just shooting the breeze and laughing about current events.


Jimmy singing at my wedding, 2001. Photo credit: Floyd Honda

In 2001, I was honored that Jimmy sang at my wedding. After I had a baby, we stayed in touch less. I was busy, he was busy, but we'd call each other on occasion to say hi.

With Hawaii Pops conductor Matt Catingub, at KHON - September 2014.

With Hawaii Pops conductor Matt Catingub, at KHON- September 2014.

The last time was in December 2015. It was the day before he was set to go public with his lung cancer. He told me doctors gave him six months to live, and he wasn't going to bother with chemotherapy because he preferred to enjoy his life completely, as much as possible.

He said he was happy with what he had accomplished, grateful for his wife Vicki and his daughter Steffanie, and fulfilled by a successful career and a loving community. He made peace with his diagnosis, he concluded.

"Don't talk about my cancer until my friends put out the press release," he said. So I didn't. I never talked about it publicly, actually.

I asked him if I could blog about him - his life should be filling up the pages of a book! - and he acquiesced, but "after the press release and after the (December) PBS Hawaii taping," he said.

I tried reaching him a few times in the half year since, and he wasn't returning messages. I understood.

His time and energy are limited, and he's got a zillion friends. I totally get it. I never see my best friends anymore, and all I'm doing is working and parenting.

I was just thinking about him this week, wondering how he was, and hoping I could get to talk to him one last time. Then I saw the news alerts come out.

You can prepare for a death as much as possible, but when the time arrives, it's always a shocking moment. I've been somber and quiet, reflective and mournful, and just doing the only thing a person can do with grief: sit with it. I know many in the community sit with me in this sadness.

Dancing with Jimmy at my wedding. Photo credit: Floyd Honda

Dancing with Jimmy at my wedding. My mom is in white sitting behind us. Photo credit: Floyd Honda

Thank you for your friendship, Jimmy. You are loved. With the greatest affection, Third Wife


Small California college attracts large Hawaii enrollment

May 30th, 2016

It's busy behind the scenes at Menlo College, my alma mater, as the school gears up for its 90th anniversary next year. This four-year private institution in the heart of Silicon Valley specializes in business and psychology, though I was a mass communications major.

Kamana`o Hattori, my best friend in college

Kamana`o Hattori, my best friend in college. I'm all about friends of Dorothy.

The college, which has just under 800 students, was a good place for me to find my voice in the world, with small class sizes (a 14:1 student-teacher ratio). For some reason, Hawaii students make up a disproportionately large percentage of the student body (six to 16%.)

Some of my fellow alumni include:

Mike Lilly, (1966) former State Attorney General
Micah Kane, (1990) Kamehameha Schools trustee and president/ COO of Hawaii Community Foundation
John Henry Felix, (1949) CEO of Hawaii Medical Assurance Association and former Menlo trustee
Russell Sinclair Robinson, (1951) Plantation Manager of Gay & Robinson sugar plantation
Sara Sato, (1991) Assistant Vice President of Enrollment Management at Hawaii Pacific University
Rick Humphreys, (1967) President of Hawaii Receivables Management

“The Hawaii to Menlo College connection is a strong one,” says president Richard A. Moran. “Students from Hawaii have a long history of success here both academically and athletically.”

Micah Kane

Micah Kane

My schoolmate Micah (actually, we also attended Kamehameha Schools at the same time) remembers how Menlo’s community impacted him. “The small school environment and relationships I was able to develop with my professors, coupled with Menlo’s proximity to Silicon Valley, San Francisco, and surrounding places like Half Moon Bay created a great environment and great energy for a young person. I want more kids from Hawaii to have that same opportunity."

Micah found Menlo also taught him lessons outside the classroom. “Menlo College was a big part of my life. I credit Menlo College for setting me on my career path."

I myself transferred in from the University of California at Santa Cruz, a public university with (at the time) eight college campuses within the university, and 11,000 students.

It was and is a wonderful institution at which to matriculate, but it wasn't the right place for me at the time. I had just turned 17 and it was overwhelming; culture shock.

In the school luau

In Menlo's annual spring luau

I needed a smaller, personalized, nurturing environment, and heard about it from some Hawaii friends who were attending. I'd visit on weekends and really miss that sense of belonging and cultural familiarity that only my Hawaii friends could offer.

With friends. I'm in blue.

With friends. I'm in blue.

It seemed like the right fit, and it was. All the roads we take lead to where we are now, and I'm happy in my now.

Steph Bates, my Menlo College roommate

Steph Bates, my Menlo College roommate (a great selfie before selfies were invented10

This combination of academic distinction and familial community are sure to account for the college's history and success. Menlo College has consistently ranked high in the US News & World Report colleges ranking; this year, it came in as number nine for Best Regional Colleges in the West. (

Thinking about attending? Check it out. Sit under the oak trees. Soak in the crisp California air. You just might find you want to stay.

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Music as medicine

May 9th, 2016

A Hawaii group of holistic healers, cultural practitioners, and musicians blends their acoustic skills into a new CD designed to help heal what ails you. The group believes its album, called Medicine E Merge N Sea Dose, is the first of its kind in a new genre that could be called healing sound.

"Music is healing. Certain vibrations are cohesive with joy and optimal performance, and we've carefully put together an assortment of sound tracks designed to resonate with a person's brain waves to uplift your spirit or even, going deeper, vibrate the very cells in your body to fight illness - like cancer!" asserts executive producer Katie Fisher.

The album starts with a opening chant, and the five other tracks are infused with different intentions and themes. Fisher plays me a few and describes them: "This one is supposed to inspire deep meditation," she says of a slow, haunting, didgeridoo layered song with a haunting melody.

Another one is a quicker, upbeat, flute-dominated piece that Fisher elucidates is meant to call to mind images of sunshine piercing the deep jungle canopy.

Most importantly, she emphasizes, all of the music is created with an intention of bringing the listener unconditional love, light, and healing.

"If you've had a bad day, if you're feeling down, we hope you put on this music and let it reset you. It can be as simple as one track. Taking the time to reset your breathing will help you move away from the flight-or-flight response to a calm, productive rest-and-digest mindset. When you calm the parasympathetic nervous system, you are calmer," she explains.

But it's not all about mind-over-matter. The music, she believes, can also fight real medical issues.

"If you have an illness, we believe this can help. Some of the tracks are harmonious, but some create a dissonant sound. That is an annoying frequency that can bust through undesired cells in the body to help promote wellness," she states.

Fisher likens it best to a common medical method of removing kidney stones. It's called extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL), and it uses shock waves created outside the body, to travel through the skin and tissues until they hit the stones and fragment them.

She is careful to remind the reader to use this in supplement to one's approved medical treatment, not in place of.

Healing Sound School in session. Courtesy: Katie Fisher

Healing Sound School in session. Courtesy: Katie Fisher

Medicine E Merge N Sea Dose came about organically. "I'm part of the Healing Sound School, formed in 2014, which is a group of people who enjoy coming together to play various instruments and just make beautiful music. Some play traditional Western instruments, some play indigenous instruments like singing bowls, rattles, or sitars. Some don't play instruments, but are chanters. Some people simply bring their love of music and contribute by clapping and laughing," she tells me.

Didgeridoo. Courtesy: Katie Fisher

Didgeridoo. Courtesy: Katie Fisher

Over time, the group realized the sound was uplifting and healing in many ways. One of its members is a recording engineer and thought it would be meaningful to capture the sound to share with the rest of the community. As a labor of love, he recorded the group in early 2015 and spent the next year finalizing the tracks to digital form.

Studio recording. Courtesy: Katie Fisher

Studio recording. Courtesy: Katie Fisher

"We view this as energy medicine. Music is frequency, and all bodies vibrate at a certain rate. If you're out of sync, you can use this to tune into a healthy, natural pattern. It's about getting in balance with yourself so that you can spread that feeling outward and help create a world that's a calmer place," she declares.

Recording a chant. Courtesy: Katie Fisher

Recording a chant. Courtesy: Katie Fisher

An emergency dose of E Merge N Sea is, she hopes, can help get there.

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