Posted by: Dad...Guess What?! | April 11, 2015

So much on my mind….

The title says it all.  And I don’t know where to start.  Let’s start with work.  A common question that has been coming up quite often is, “how long have you been working there?”  However, the answer is usually preceded with a pause and a slight moment of introspection – “about 15 years”.  Fifteen years.  But it hasn’t been easy.

My job consist of delving into the lives of others to a point.  It involves less talking and more compassion.  It’s like listening to an on-going story with endless chapters most times with no ending.  If I think about all the people that have crossed my path, I really don’t know if their story ended on a high or low note.  All I see is the phrase, “to be continued.”  At times that can be extremely unsettling but I manage to mentally walk away or separate, which isn’t easy.  Don’t get me wrong, there are a large number of success stories that I refer to in times of self doubt.  It’s nice when I do actually come across some of these folks because it completely rejuvenates me and helps through the rough times.  Like I said though, it hasn’t been easy.  There are times the stories I hear consumes me where I isolate myself mentally or make attempts to place it outside my body.  I try to replay certain situations but really, what’s done is done and I just need to move on.

Yet tugging at this philosophical struggle are the expectations set forth by my place of employment.  I’m fortunate to be at a place where I can do what I enjoy.  On the other side though is this fictitious race to do more, to accomplish more, but to work with less.  It’s not easy.  A lot of what I do at work is very soulful, meaning I’m committed from a very deep place (which is probably why it is tough to walk away from a lot of things).  When my purpose is questioned, it hurts.  I once heard someone make a reference about me saying, “there he goes, accountable to no one.”  That hurt.  I wasn’t angry, I was hurt and to me that is worse.  I took it as everything I do had no meaning.  It was if someone grabbed hold of my soul with a strong fist and gave it a good squeeze.  I need to remember though that’s done is done and I just need to move on.

In order to advance in my place of employment, it is required to submit a lengthly document that includes details of your accomplishments and its impact.  Each time one advances, those being impacted need to be greater.  For instance, if you were a teacher, the first level would be impact to your students, then the next would be impact to your students and colleagues, and the next would be impact to your students, colleague, and the school…so on and so forth.  I’ve gone through a similar process many times and its been good.  The process helps you to think about where you are and where you want to go.  Depending on the outcome, it can also be a great validation process however my last one was different.  My purpose was questioned.  This time it wasn’t a passing comment but a documented set of statements questioning my degree of commitment.  As if the work I’ve done in the past 15 years wasn’t enough.  But this was a process and I need to honor it.  I have to admit though, when your sense of purpose is questioned self doubt starts to arise, which is not a good thing.  Do I really need to explain how my internal beliefs translate into action?  I suppose I do, but that process could leave one feeling very vulnerable, very exposed.  Did I want to do that?

My wife is, and always been the voice of reason.  “They can’t take anything from you.”  That is true.  All I can do is stay true to what I believe in and “move on”.  But it hasn’t been easy.  Early in the summer I’ll find out if a group of my peers believe in what I’ve been doing these past 15 years.  This will probably be one of the most challenging moments in my professional life.  Do I let these folks determine what I believe in or do I reclaim my soul and treasure it, own it regardless of the outcome.

To be continued.

Posted by: Dad...Guess What?! | December 13, 2014

Is Santa real?

As parents, there are certain questions from our children that we outright dread – alcohol, drugs, sex, and yes, Santa.  The raw emotions “Santa” brings to any child’s life is just magical.  I could just sit by and watch it for years.  There was one Christmas that was extra special.  My wife and I purchased this Santa kit that came with fake snow and a foot print stencil.  The idea was you could make Santa foot prints that started from the door (since there is really no need for a chimney in Hawai‘i) and ended at the Christmas tree.

That particular Christmas night started with the kids writing a message with chalk on the garage floor welcoming Santa…..and letting him know where to park.  It was the kids’ idea 100%.  We also made reindeer food and scattered it all over the garage floor.  Needless to say the kids were excited.  Once they fell asleep, I brought out the Santa kit and got to work.  I also went outside and swept away the reindeer food, and wrote a little note from Santa on the garage floor.  We had so much fun doing this.

The next day was priceless.  But just for a moment, think back to your childhood and what was the first thing you did on Christmas morning?  Check if Santa arrived, right?  As predicted, the kids woke up and check for Santa’s arrival.  They were beside themselves when they saw the prints.  They even went outside to check on the reindeer food.  They loved Santa’s note as well.  It was awesome.

When my wife and I reflect on this, and every Christmas with the kids actually, we try out best to savor these moments because we know at some point it’ll change.

But we were not ready for this day to come so soon.

About a month ago, my oldest son (9 years old) asked the dreaded question, “Is Santa real?”  Followed by, “do you and mom buy the presents and say it’s from Santa?”  Talked about mixed emotions.  I was hit with sadness, anxiousness, worried all at once but I had to remain positive.  I had to think fast.  First, I did the typical, “what do you mean?”  But then his follow up question attacked my consciousness.  “Dad, tell me the truth…”.  ARGH!  He continued to say that his friends don’t believe in it.  I suppose outnumbered by his friends, he had to seek the “truth.”  My mind was spinning.  I must admit, I did say some white lies and dodge it for a few minutes.  “Um…yes, we do buy you presents.”  But my son kept pushing.  “No, the presents from Santa.  Do you and mom buy presents, place it under the tree, and says its from Santa?”  DAMMIT!  At this point my mind was in overdrive.  Then it hit me.

But first, I did want any adult would do if they didn’t know the answer or wanted to avoid it all together, throw the question back at them.  I asked my son, “What does Santa mean to you?”  I proceeded to lead the discussion buy connecting emotions and traits that come with Santa.  “Does Santa make people happy?  Does he promote giving?  Does he foster love?”  As I was asking these questions to my son, I started to internalize it to which the conversation turned.  I continued to share that to this day I believe in Santa.  I told him Santa is a concept that is larger than a person in that “Santa” promotes positivity and selflessness.  It was getting deep.  So my son asked, “so…Santa is like God?”  My response was, “well, no” but I think he was getting the idea.  It was a surprisingly productive conversation because I didn’t have to lie and he understood what I was saying.  I think he, at age 9, still wants Christmas to be magical and we feel the same.  But I hope this conversation removes the material and commercialism that comes with Christmas and turns it back to more of a feeling, which is a present that keeps on giving regardless of age.

So is Santa real?  Yes, it is.

Happy Holidays everyone.

Posted by: Dad...Guess What?! | June 14, 2014

Happy Father’s Day


Happy Father’s Day.  If you had told me years ago that I would one day be a part of this group called “father’s”, I would have turned up my Walkman and well, walked away.  But here I am amongst this wonderful group of people who dedicate their lives to raise others.  Now, I use the term “father” in a broad sense because there are mother’s out there serving as both roles, which is simply mind blowing.  Many times I think about the amazing things I’ve seen other fathers do.  They are coaches, umpires, referees, scout leaders, instructors, leaders, mentors, hanai’d uncles (and aunties), the list goes on.  I was at one of my son’s baseball practices – the first one for this particular season – and next to me on the field was another father who met all the players for the first time.  One of the cool things about this guy was he treated each player as if he, or she, was his own child.  He was encouraging and supportive to each and every player no matter their skills level.  Some of these kids may not play baseball again in the near future but this dad taught them hard work pays off and it is safe to be themselves.  Super awesome.

Being a father, no, being a parent is a selfless role with invaluable rewards.  The goofy ties, the bright colored socks, the crazy aloha shirts are all good, but the smiles at the end of the day is the best gift of all.  Happy Father’s Day to all those that play a “father” role in a child’s life.


Posted by: Dad...Guess What?! | May 21, 2014

Falling in Love with Radio, Again

Passing On Information

I recently completed a learning styles survey which revealed that my listening skills are well, for lack of a better word, weak. I was a little taken aback by this since I am an educator and engage in many listening activities: small group and student-centered teaching activities, department and discipline meetings (OK maybe that’s just work-related) and committee work on campus. I’m even a part-time caretaker to an 87-year-old, who has an endless ability to gab. As someone who tries to improve upon personal deficiencies, I struggled on how to remedy this. Do I take notes while people talk? Should I read up on listening strategies? What about interviewing people who are “good listeners”? Is this even effective? What makes someone a good listener? Can someone change their listening abilities through practice? I have no idea.

I thought about my deficiency a lot this summer. I wondered when did my…

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Posted by: Dad...Guess What?! | March 26, 2014

Is the glass really half full?

I have two new years resolutions – do not eat lunch at my desk and to have no resentments.  *Sigh* 2013 was filled with resentment.  Anyway, I was doing ok with my first resolution but I’m slipping back to eating lunch at my desk.  I didn’t realize it was that tough and I use the same excuse, too much work and so little time.  I’ll work on this one.  The resentment one however, was also going well but it is creeping up on me again and it is frustrating.

Where did this resentment come from?  As I dig, which wasn’t that hard, I discovered it came down to justice.  It sounds dramatic but I feel fairness is a simple request and I become conflicted when it doesn’t happen.  The return of resentment came when I was reading current events around the Malaysia Airlines and the Ukraine.  Read any news feed on these two topics and it is filled with grief, unanswered questions, and issues around integrity.  I know we don’t live in utopia but c’mon.  As I read through these global events, I started take mental assessments on local events and all of sudden I’m looking at issues right in front of me.  I think this is where the “creeping” started.  Issues I pushed aside at the start of 2014 is starring at me again.  It’s not my family.  That part is great.  It’s everything outside my family circle.

I feel like I’m looking down at this mad puzzle with pieces that are slowly creating an ugly picture.  I see the corners and the pieces within forming something I’m not ready to accept.  But as one piece connects to the next I’m forced to accept the final product.  I could walk away I suppose but that doesn’t solve anything because it’ll still be there.  I might have said this in a previous post but I need to simply change my perspective.  Maybe the glass is half full.  So as I’m starring at my metaphorical puzzle, I may need to force myself to look around.  Rather than look outside my family circle, maybe I need to look within my family circle where things are real.

My two kids share with me regularly their Lego creations and random drawings.  In there eyes, they’ve designed something reflective of what is within, something pure, something happy, maybe even, well, fair.  They have a big box of mixed Lego pieces.  They have a container filled with a mixture of color pencils and crayons.  Are they resentful?  Not at all.  They look at it as if they are going to create their own masterpieces from the chaos.  They are controlling their own destiny.  Mmm, I suppose I need to take away something from that.

Posted by: Dad...Guess What?! | November 24, 2013

Movember…please bring me my razor!

November is actually Movember, and I’m not enjoy it at all.  I thought it would be fun when my co-worker “recruited” me in late October but little did I know it was going to be one of the most uncomfortable experiences in my adult life.  I’m in the final stretch but it is itchy and I feel like this mustache is just collecting a whole bunch of stuff – buggers, food, dirt, etc.  I’m also extremely self conscious in public, which I realize is very self centered (but I can’t help it).  I feel I look like a dirty old man.  I’m not saying that others with mustaches are creepy – I honestly feel I don’t wear it well at all.  I just need to add a pair of mirrored sun glasses with a very dark, tinted window white van and have just become that man you DON’T want your kids to meet.  It REALLY doesn’t help that I’m a Cub Scout co-Den Leader.  Yes, creepy.

But Movember is a prostate cancer awareness movement.  Cancer has a profound place in my life because I have a family history of colon cancer.  In fact, I had my first colonoscopy in my early 30’s where they found about 5-6 polyps (luckily non-cancerous).  I’ll probably have about about 3-4 colonscopies by the time I reach 50 (I had two already).  So Movember is actually something more than just facial hair, it’s a reality check.  I’ve grumbled to my Movember team captain (our team is called “Balls of Hair”) more than once about this experience and his response, “Is this as uncomfortable as prostate cancer?”  Point taken.

My mom went through some extremely challenging points in her life when my dad was going through his cancer treatment.  And it goes without saying that my dad probably went through hell as well (he is a two-time cancer survivor – colon and lung).  They shared what they went through but I can’t imagine, for the life of me, what that must have been like.

So yeah, I’m a little comfortable right now.  And yes, I can’t wait for December 1st to be perfectly honest.  But this experience provided me perspective.  There are people out there confronted with far more difficult, life-altering situations then a mustache.  So even after I reunite with my razor, this experience will stick with me for a long time.

Stay healthy.

Posted by: Dad...Guess What?! | September 28, 2013

Another trip to the Pacific Aviation Museum

I have to admit it, I love that my sons love history.  And Hawaii has A LOT to offer in terms of history from a Hawaiian and American perspective.  We spent the past two Saturdays checking out the Pearl Harbor Historical Sites.  The Mighty Mo will never get old but we have never visited the USS Bowfin.


Needless to say the boys loved it.  They had a tough time wrapping their brain around the idea that the USS Bowfin would spend DAYS underwater.  The audio guide definitely helped and better yet, they had two versions – one for families and one specifically for adults.  My boys had an easy time understanding what was said on the audio tour.  The museum was well worth it too, again, equipped with a kid friendly audio guide.  Very cool.


The following weekend was for the Pacific Aviation Museum.  Again, this place never gets old, for my wife and I too.


We haven’t gone in a while so there were some new features like this B17 Bomber.  It was too cool.


I did catch myself completely fascinated with the bullet holes from the Dec. 7, 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor.  I know it happened, so I know it was real but to see the realities of it right in front of me was mind blowing.


A return visit to this place is around the corner for sure.  It is an amazing trip through history, but it is also a place that reminds me of what I have today.  I am forever grateful.

Posted by: Dad...Guess What?! | September 20, 2013

Weekly Photo Challenge: From Lines To Patterns (entry #2)

Weekly Photo Challenge:  From Lines To Patterns (entry #2)

Another shot of the Cooke Mansion at the Manoa Heritage Center –

Posted by: Dad...Guess What?! | September 20, 2013

Weekly Photo Challenge: From Lines To Patterns

Weekly Photo Challenge: From Lines To Patterns

The Cooke Mansion at the Manoa Heritage Center –

Posted by: Dad...Guess What?! | August 24, 2013

Making the most with what I have

There is this one spot at our house that has always been a challenge.  We’ve tried planting stuff with the existing dirt but nothing seems to work.  So I decided to suck it up and try a little landscaping.


As you can see, it is not the prettiest.  The dirt was a mixture of red dirt and rocks…lots of rocks.  There also was this root from a very stubborn tree that I had to remove.  That in itself was tough.  Actually, part of the root is still there because it was nearly impossible to remove with my limited tool selection.


This is a close up.  On the far left is the stubborn tree.  I couldn’t move it so I had to do something with it.  You’ll see in a little bit.


I started to dig once I figured out what I was going to do with the area.  If any of you are familiar with Hawaii during the summer, there is only one word that comes to mind….HUMID.  It was brutal but I was determined to get it done.


The depth of the area was determined by the roots that I could not remove.  So it is about 8 1/2 inches deep, enough for herbs, maybe kale and some small flowers, which is what my wife wanted.


I didn’t want to purchase those locking bricks because it was too expensive and I didn’t want to invest that kind of money into a project I was uncertain about.  I had bought some wood from Home Depot to serve a retaining wall and I really enjoy the natural look of wood.  I also picked up some gardening soil and top soil to fill the bed.


I also added my boys’ bird house, that they made a few years ago, to the tree stump.  Who know, may be the birds will start making this their new home.  We’ll see.  I also planted lantanas to attract bees and ti leaves that I bought from my boy’s school.  Now we wait and see how this turns out.  I think the total amount spent on this project was around $120 at the most.  Not bad.  But of course no price matters if my wife enjoys her new gardening bed.

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