Field Trips

Harper had her first school field trip last week. They walked to Louise's Restaurant and learned about making pizza. It sounded pretty fun for them all and she drew great pics in a little book they all made:


Interesting to see how 6-year-old, learning-how-to-read/write-brains work. This is how she spells all on her own. Super fascinating to me is how their young brains are still connecting left to right and often they will reverse the direction of letters and numbers.

Anyway - her field trip reminded me about the first field trip I remember - going to McDonald's in Kahala*. I was either in first or second grade and we walked the block or so to the restaurant and got to see inside the kitchen and how it worked. Then we all got a small bag of fries. What a treat! (We rarely ate at McDonalds when I was growing up.)

I love this tiny little similarity in our lives.




*And now I have the damn Kahala Mall jingle stuck in my head. The one from way back in the 80s....

34 Years Ago Today...

MixTapes...Seabury Hall had a dance, planned and executed by the Social Committee, headed by - guess who? - that's right - ME.

On February 15, 1984, we put on a Valentine's Dance and I made mix tapes for them. Two mix tapes to be exact: #1 called "New Music" and #2 called "Harder Rock". 

(Quick thing to point out: Seabury back then was 7-12 grades, about 200 students total. And we had dances every month or six weeks and everyone could come, very casual, you didn't have to ask anyone or dress up or anything. We also had a prom in the spring every year which was just for 10-12 graders and it was very fancy.) 

So, here is my Mix for:


(All spellings as per the paper label inside. Gosh-my all caps handwriting hasn't changed at all!)


Bowie - Modern Love 

English Beat - Jeannette

Madness - Madness

Rod Stewart - Young Turks

Squeeze - Piccadilly

Pretenders - Pack It Up

Men W/O Hats - Ideas For Walls

Duran - Lonely In Your Nightmares

BowWowWow - I Want Candy

Culture Club - Karma Chameleon

Billy Idol - Dancing With Myself


Duran - Is There Something I Should Know

Stray Cats - Rebels Rule

Rob Stewart - Tonight I'm Yours

BowWowWow - Louis Quatorze

Bill Idol - Baby Talk

Bowie - Without You

Stray Cats - Sexy & 17

Duran - Girls On Film

Led Zepplin - Stairway to Heaven**

Billy Idol - Mony Mony


**All my Seabury Peeps will understand the inclusion of this song 


Let's get to the Harder Rock! (OMG can't wait for this, I haven't read this list yet.)



Rod Stewart - Baby Jane 

Led Zepplin - Black Dog

The Who - Who Are You

Van Halen - Jump

U-2 - Sunday Bloody Sunday

Foreignor - Head Games

Black Sabbath - Mob Rules

Soft Cell - Frustration

Thompson Twins - Love On Your Side

Madness - Our House



Pretenders - Bad Boys Get Spanked!

Led Zepplin - Rock and Roll

Joan Jett - I Love Rock And Roll

AC DC (I wrote it with the bolt in between!) - For Those About To Rock

Alice Cooper - Schools Out...

Kajagoogoo - Too Shy

Thompson Twins - We Are Detective

U-2 - Refugee

Forgeignor - Dirty White Boy

Alice Cooper - I'm 18

AC DC - Let's Get It Up


Okay I think we can all agree that the "er" in "Harder Rock" was critical in that description...! 

Wow that takes me back. And now I have Rod Stewart stuck in my head. Of all the songs from these lists. {eyeroll}

I'll make a spotify playlist for you later so you can enjoy it out loud. Check back in a bit for that. 

Oh the 80's on Maui...





Look How Fat I Was*

MyMarlin*I was not fat.

But boy oh boy, I thought I was. This was me in 8th grade with the first and only marlin I've ever caught. 175 pounds (technically a "rat" in the big game fish world). My dad was friends with the captain, Ben Baldwin (in the boat behind me) and the fish were biting like mad in Kona for a few weeks. Dad called to say, "Come over and catch one!" so I did. An unusual weekend visit to the Big Island during school.

Catching a marlin is hard, btw. It took 20 minutes to reel it in. And as the angler, you have to sit in the chair and do all the work yourself, just in case it is a record breaking fish. (Record breaking fish are 1000 pounds or more, just so you get why this one is called a "rat".) The crew on the boat, all experienced anglers, coach and cheer you on while you do it. It was a blast and I was really excited. 

But back to the fat part. Where did I get the idea that I was fat, ugly, unattractive, etc etc? So sad that I had no confidence in my strong body (well, maybe a bit more after wrestling that fish in). I am working so hard now, almost 40 years later, to feel good about who I am, what I look like and to not say a damn negative thing about myself in front of Harper. Even when she pokes my fat tummy and says "big tummy!" How do I create confidence in her? How do we help her know she's beautiful, inside and out? How do we make sure that when she looks at a picture of herself in 8th grade she thinks, "damn, I look great!" 

I will keep working to make it happen!

Also, in the last few years, I weigh lot more than that rat fish did. And I bought a bikini last year because F*UCK IT. Life if short. It feels good to just enjoy being at a beach or pool. Maybe that's the best way to teach Harper. 

Moana and Wayfinding

The movie "Moana" is big at our house. I'm lucky enough to get screeners and Moana was one of them so we've watched it quite a few times. The soundtrack is on heavy rotation in the house and car and Harper often looks askance when I start doing fake hula and maori dancing in the kitchen, though she's getting used to it now.

While the song "You're Welcome" (Sung by Maui) is super fun, my favorite song is "We Know The Way". It's the song about Moana's Polynesian voyaging ancestors teaching her who they were and it makes me cry every time. The first half of the song is sung in Samoan and Tokelauan and the second half in English.

Here is the full video for the song:

Being from Hawai'i, the northern most tip of Polynesia, and growing up when I did, the navigation story point hits deep in my heart.The song tells the story about ancient navigators, wayfinders, who learned to read the elements to find their way across the Pacific and back. This kind of navigation was almost dead but came back to a full life in the 70's when The Polynesian Voyaging Society built a replica canoe called Hokule'a. Master navigator Mau Piailug from an island called Satawal decided to share the ancient knowledge with the Hawaiians, even though he was not Hawaiian and this knowledge was held in secret. Thankfully he did share so that this knowledge would not be lost (there were 5 other master navigators on his island, but Mau was the only one to share).

The Hokule'a set sail in 1976 and made it to Tahiti from Hawai'i and then back, using only ancient navigation techniques. It was a huge touchstone in the life of everyone in Hawai'i at that time. I still get emotional when I read stories about the current voyages that the Hokule'a makes. (She was in Boston last summer!)

With all that in mind, the moment in the video that slays me every time. EVERY TIME is this moment right here:

A bird means land. Land means you found food and water and you navigated correctly. I love the look of relief and pride that the navigator conveys and the acknowledgment of the other crew members. That's powerful stuff, but might not register for a lot of people.

Aue! I just love it.


Ropers Heels


The other day I wore these half boots that Kurt bought for me. My colleague and I were walking down some stairs and I was off balance and mentioned I was not used to wearing these boots. He looked at my feet and said, "Oh yeah, ropers heels."

Dang! Someone who knows about cowboys and rodeo! If you saw him you'd think: "LA hipster" but in that instant I remembered that he grew up in Calgary, home of one of the biggest rodeos in the world. I'm guessing he wasn't really involved with rodeo as a kid, but you can't live in a city like Calgary and not know about rodeo. That would be like living in LA and not knowing about Hollywood.

Of course there are plenty of times when I talk about rodeos and people would say "Wait, you grew up in Hawaii, how do you know about rodeo?!" Clearly all they imagine are beaches and hula girls. Well, that and Diamond Head. Hawaii is a big cattle state, having one of the biggest cattle ranches in the country. It's on the island called "The Big Island." Big being the operative word.

My dad had a career as a sportscaster in Hawaii. When they moved to the Big Island, he started to work with the cattle ranchers and became the announcer at all the rodeos they had in Waikoloa. (He also had a big hand in bringing polo back to the Big Island, but that's a different story.) As a kid I spent summers in Waikoloa and when there were rodeos at Waikoloa Stables Arena, I ran around with all the other kids, punching cattle through chutes, hoping to get ahold of one of the coveted cattle prods. How old were we? 8? 9? 10? We used cattle prods with no supervision (I don't remember any) but no one got hurt (other than the cattle). 

Ropers heels. Good times. 



Ten Years, Man! Ten YEARS! (Part 2 of 2)

IMG_1495The first half of 2006 had been a fun year, jetting to Paris and up and down North America. And by the way, if you ever get the chance to hang in the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge in Montreal, take it! We got to relax in the business class lounges for all of our travels because in 2005 I was supposed to have worked on a long term project in Virginia. I would have been flying twice a month from LA to Richmond for about eight months so my work partner and I decided to spend the money on a United Red Carpet club membership. Then that job got cancelled but I still had the membership. Silver lining? I suppose. I would have liked to have worked on that job.

So July. The job in Mexico had gotten into a smooth rhythm. We had some adventures on our weekends. Then I got a call that my dad had taken a serious downturn and would probably die in the next 48 hours. And he did. My dad had been in a nursing home facility for years as he had alzheimer's. He also had heart issues and was 83 when he died, so it wasn't entirely unexpected, though a death is always a shock, even when you know it's coming.

100_1265The team in Mexico was supportive and helpful, of course. At the end of July, I flew back to LA for a night, then Kurt and I flew to the Big Island for a week, helping with the funeral plans and reminiscing. We stayed at the hotel at Anaeho'omalu Beach, which was perfect. It is the beach I know so well on the Big Island, have known it since I was so little, where we used to go before there was a hotel. Also, let's be honest, so happy to be in air conditioning. Waikoloa is H O T in August.

It was a fascinating time, learning more about my dad, hearing others talk about him, people who knew him in a totally different way than I did. We all told stories and looked through old pictures all while playing the Keola and Kapono records, shouting out the words to Mr. Sun Cho Lee. (He got plenty lychee!) 100_1288

It was also surreal to be with my sisters and stepmom and nieces and nephew in dad's house, all there without dad. All the emotions were heightened, of course, the grief hitting us all in different ways. There were tears and laughter and plenty of shouting and hurt feelings, all the usual family stuff. At one point Dor turned to me and said, "How can you be so calm?" I just shrugged and said, "That's what I do. That's what I've always done." Then added, "Hand me another beer..."

There's my dad. The Don Draper of Honolulu. (Who later moved to the Big Island.)

The day after the funeral, we scattered his ashes from canoes at Anaeho'omalu Bay. The water was calm and the experience quite new for me on a variety of levels.

Then a big aloha to Hawai'i and back to Mexico for me. I was really glad to have two overnights in LA on each side of that trip. Nice to sleep in my own bed and pet the cats.

There were three more weeks of the shoot in Mexico and I enjoyed the hell out of them. We went to Puebla for a few days as well as Cuernavaca. We had various locations that were a refreshing break from the sets at the abandoned quarry/mall. A friend from LA came down to hang out for a long weekend and we timed it for the two day weekend that had been scheduled (we were working half days on Saturdays). It was so nice to be a tourist with a good friend.

100_1460A giddiness started creeping into the crew as we got near the end. We were all still working hard, but laughing more and taking more pictures of each other. The crew went out one night for drinks and music and that was our non official wrap party and it was a blast. Then the real wrap party came and it was nice, but not as much fun. On the last day of shooting, when the first AD called "That's a wrap!" I, of course, burst into tears. What a long crazy summer it had been.

Adiós Mexico! Adiós Diana, my favorite statue in Mexico City. Hello LA...

Home. But not for long. At the end of September I'd be off to London to work with the VFX team for a few weeks, handing over the information from the shoot to the new producer. But before that, we were invited to a friend's beach house in Santa Barbara for Labor Day weekend. A wonderful few days of good friends and sitting on the beach and looking at the ocean. Soothing.

London. I got good at figuring out the bus schedule (cheaper/easier than the tube) and my little neighborhood in Clerkenwell where I stayed in the Zetter Hotel. Quite hipster cool at the time and so expensive that when my work was done and Kurt and I were staying a few days more, we found a cheap and therefore TINY room elsewhere. We played tourist, my favorite day being the one at Hampton Court Palace. (I love a good audio tour!) 100_2347

Then for fun and also because you can, we took the train to Paris for three days where again, our friends were staying in their apartment and we spent a lot of good time with them.

Paris twice in one year? Man, that is a good year.

Home at the end of October. I was exhausted and charged with emotion and restlessness since I had been moving practically non stop since April.

There was one more trip and that was to Maui in early December with Kurt's family. They had never been so we enjoyed many touristy things, trips to Hana, up to Haleakala, ziplining, snorkeling, big hotel Luau, the whole nine yards.

Then home. HOME. A quiet Christmas on our own here in LA. Just us and the cats.

2006 was a roller coaster and I loved it all. I know that sounds strange since my dad died in the middle of it, but loving it all is just embracing all that life throws at you - the good, the bad, the easy, the tough - everything. I'm proud of that year. I doubt I'll have another quite like it. But I hope I do.

Ten years, Man! Ten years.

Going To The Beach

This morning I started a blog post about going to the beach in LA vs. going to the beach in Hawai'i. About one paragraph in I realized that it's not that different because I was remembering going to the beach as a kid.

As a grown up with a three-year-old in tow, going to the beach means bags of towels and dry clothes, snacks, drinks, hats, sunscreen, buckets, shovels, etc etc etc. It also means finding parking in expensive lots or parking spots, some times far from where the sand actually starts. Then schlepping all that stuff across the W I D E expanse of beach that lines the Santa Monica Bay to sit near the water.



Compared to my three favorite beaches in Hawai'i:





and Anaeho'omalu:


And Beach 69, but I think I've made my point. The beaches in Hawaii are small.

(Bonus points to whoever can tell me why it's called Beach 69!) (Dor, you are disqualified from competing.)

My main point is this. As a kid, going to the beach was a snap: put on your suit, grab a towel (and maybe a t-shirt) put on your slippahs and HELE ON! Easy! But of course the more I thought about it earlier this morning, I realized that whoever drove me to the beach had also packed a cooler, bags of snacks and all the other stuff. (Minus buckets and shovels - we dug WITH OUR HANDS!) So, in fact, it wasn't that different than today in terms of schlepping all that stuff. But at least once you got to the beach, the distance was much smaller.

So my original rant of a blog post fizzled out by the dawn's early light.

Then I got to thinking about going to the beach in high school. That, in my memory was also a snap. Bathing suit, shorts/t-shirt, sunglasses, slippahs, bag with towel and suntan lotion (not actually sunscreen...). Oh and someone might have had a small boombox. On the way we would stop and get manapua and/or arare and/or li hing mui (oooh my mouth waters just typing that) and sodas.

Steinlager-new-zealand-beer-lagerAfter a long hot day at the beach, catchin' rays, brah, all relaxed and sun-kissed, we would head home but usually with a stop at a store along the way for a quart of ice cold Steinlager. (A quart each, mind you.) And maybe more manapua if there was any left.

Okay, if I'm honest, sometimes it was Lowenbrau.

Going to the beach as a kid and later as a teenager was the best. I like taking Harper to the beach. I am just looking forward to when she is old enough to carry more of her own stuff and old enough that I don't have to hold her hand as we splash in the water. Sometimes it's nice to just sit at the beach and chill. With a cold Steinlager.





Misty Watercolor Memories...Then Pele Burned Them To The Ground!

This bad boy is parked in our neighborhood and it instantly brings me back to fun summer times on the Big Island.


My parents were divorced so in the summers I would visit my dad, stepmom and two older sisters. One summer we rented one of these Tioga RVs (not sure what the actual model was, but this seems close) and toured Volcano.

In my small kid memory we spent a week, but in reality it must have have been about 3 nights or so? Someone older than me is going to have to help me fill in the blanks! Also, I can't remember, did we do this one time or multiple times? I remember Jen being there but then I remember her not being there. (She didn't always come in the summers - long story on how my nuclear family breaks down.)

Anyway! The point is - happy memories. Kilauea caldera, Kilauea Iki, Chain of Craters road, Queen's Bath (Rest in Peace!), Kalapana black sand beach, bird park and of course Thurston Lava Tube. Night times were filled with eating at pic-nic tables and singing John Denver songs to Dor's guitar.

My dad had hearing loss/damage from work he did in WWII (This is my understanding, of course I could be mistaken). He used hearing aids, but still had issues with hearing. Most times I think he had issues with paying attention, but that's another theory... Dad's lack of hearing was just another aspect of him, like he wore glasses and was a good swimmer. But I never really got what his hearing loss was like until one day on this trip we went to Kipuka Puaulu (Bird Park) to walk the mile loop trail. Dad, in his tour guide way, announced that on this trail we would hear a lot of birds singing and that many were endangered native birds of Hawai'i. At some point on our walk Dad said something like "Wow, there really aren't many birds in here at all." I remember someone saying "There are tons of birds singing" I was thinking the same thing. And it dawned on me that Dad couldn't hear them at all and that made me sad for him.

Black Sand Beach was a great local stop for us to get out of the RV and go body surfing and swimming. Queens Bath was the same, but more magical as it really felt like a place Pele built especially. Sadly, both are gone. Queen's Bath in 1987 and Kalapana Black Sand beach in 1990. Pele clearly needed to start over.


Look how enchanted this spot was. I'm so sad I can't take Harper there.


But the best memory of all was having Lucy along for all the fun. She walked the trails with us and body surfed at Black Sand Beach (She really did!) and swam in Queen's Bath. Mostly though, she hogged the front seat of the Tioga. I miss that Lucy, she was one in a million.


I think fondly of the RV trip (trips?) and actually fantasize about doing our own some day. But oooh, it will be so much easier with just the three of us!

A Few More Questions

Good Morning!

Continuing the questions from this article on getting to know someone better:

6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you choose?

I would have to go with mind. My dad had Alzheimer's and boy oh boy, that was awful. I can keep exercising and see almost immediate results (note to self: keep f****** exercising!). And apparently exercising helps you retain a strong brain/mental capacity, but it's harder to know how your brain chemsitry is working on a day to day basis.

7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?

Hunch? Not so much. Fear? Yes. I worry that since my dad had Alzheimer's, I will too. Not much I can do about it, so I don't really think that much about it. And even though I just turned 48 and am on the downhill side of middle-age (this concept is still mind-boggling to me, btw), I don't really think about dying that much. I think having a young child helps in this department!

8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.

Kurt and I are "on-time-if-not-early" people. (Thanks the gods for that! One really grating thing to me in the world is people who are consistently late. I will not adjust my arrival time somewhere even when I know the person I'm meeting is going to be 10 minutes late. I will not.) Kurt and I have the same level of un-tidiness around the house. (The chair in our bedroom has an equal number of our clothes draped on it.) We are both pretty chilled out people. It takes A LOT to ruffle our feathers. (I tend to ruffle sooner than Kurt, but still.)

9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

There are so many things I'm grateful for, hard to narrow it down to "the most." Being born into my family in Hawaii (and therefore the United States) makes me incredibly lucky. And all the advantages I have had from those two things have given me everything else that I am grateful for: good health, great education (not just institutional) good attitude.

Is that too general of an answer? More specifically I'm grateful that Harper is a sleeper and that she is a pretty chill kid. Not a lot of tantrums, she is calm most of the time, listens most of the time, likes to do things. I can't wait to take her traveling! (See below)

10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

Ooooh, this is tough because the way I was raised has made me the person I am today and I like, nay love, 99% of the person I am today. The only thing I can really think of is "I wish we could have traveled more" (Hawaii is quite an isolated place, see #2 of this list.) But then again, if we had traveled more would I be as obsessed about traveling as I am today? Maybe, maybe not.

Also, I had a very good upbringing with a lot of advantages. Did I mention Hawaii? (When do I not mention Hawaii?) So there isn't much to complain about. My dad was an alcoholic so that was not great, but again, I was lucky because my parents divorced when I was five and I lived with my mom. And while I don't recommend anyone have alcoholic parents, there are things I used to cope with it that actually make me a better producer.

I guess I wouldn't change a thing.

Melancholy in the Cracker Aisle


ChickenBiskitSo there we were in the cracker/cookie aisle at Target and all of a sudden, there it was on a high shelf. That blue box of memories and melancholy and grief. The box of Chicken In A Biskit.

This ALWAYS makes me think of Grandma Jane (who died 22 years ago) and Jen (6 years ago). Any time Jen and I reminisced about GrandmaJane, Chicken in a Biskit would inevitably come up. When GJ was married to Grandpa O, there was an open kitchen shelf that had clear containers of crackers. Grandpa O always had Diamond Brand Soda Crackers (Gawd I love those!) and then that blue box. We loved those salty chickeny crackers. They were like a special treat because mom didn't buy them.

Now, anytime in the last 22 years I've seen that box, I would call Jen or email her or something. And she would do the same to me. If she were still here, I would have simply texted her a picture with "GRANDMA JANE!" as the message and moved along.

What makes it so sad is that Jen is simply the ONLY Person on this planet that I shared this with. It's one little thing of many that we shared, of course, but one of those things that makes me miss the goofy fun stuff you have with a sibling, whether your politics or religion or whatever aligns or not. We could have disagreed about something in the news and not talked for a day but we could always, ALWAYS laugh or at least smile about Chicken in a Biskit.

It made me happy and sad to see that box on Saturday. Plus I was at Target with Harper staying cool and buying ingredients to make these cute cookie sandwiches:

Image-6(From this website-can't wait to try the pizza crescents!) (And also big ups to Melissa for pointing me to that website in the first place.) (And no, that is not my picture of the finished product, ours were not so perfect.)

Harper loves sprinkles, BTW.


I wanted to tell Jen all about how fun it was to try these things now that I have a daughter. She did it all when Grace and Matthew were little and It was fun to be at their parties and eat the sunflower cake made out of twinkies. (I did kinda tease her about making a cake with TWINKIES!) But I can't. Yes, there are plenty of friends and family to talk about all this with. But it's not the same.

For example, I found this while doing research on a script I'm working on:

MetalTyperI would have instantly texted or emailed this to Jen and said "REMEMBER THESE???" (I did post on facebook and tagged Betsy and Sloane, cuz I knew they would know.) But then Jen would have picked up the phone (probably) and we would have talked about life on Oahu before we moved to Maui. Where was that machine? Longs Drugs in Kahala Mall across from the Yum Yum tree? Remember the Yum Yum Tree? And on and on and on.

But I don't get to and it makes me really sad. Not all the time, mind you, but when I have a chance encounter in the cracker aisle to a touchstone of my childhood and the one person I can talk to about it is no longer there, that is a deep dark bummer.