Be Our Guest: The Fifth Stiff

I have almost exactly 23 minutes before I singlehandedly must taxi every child…okay like 5 today plus my two elementary kids all DANG day. This has to be quick.

Belle was my favorite princess. Lately we’ve been singing “Be Our Guest” around the dinner table. As of Sunday night, we will have hosted 13 guest in about 10 days time. So you know, we haven’t hosted more than 7 over night at one time. You know, just to be clear. It’s all good. We always say the more the merrier and currently we’re at Christmas office party sort of merry but the good Christmas party… the one where you get the real bonus instead of the jelly of the month club. You know?

Anyway, before time passes too quickly and I have enter the car again for my third trip before 9 a.m. I just need to say, I love this kid!

k chick fil a

We love her sweet parents too! They brought her approximately 4,762 miles across the world so we could hang out. This trip was anticipated for months! I’d say it went well.

Kiana enjoyed Chick-fil-a. She watched a movie in a reclining seat with super sized food containers. There were spy museum trips, shopping trips, all sorts of trips and Arleigh got to tag along with her. It was a good week for us. Oh yeah… I forgot to mention IMG_6655

there was a concert…Something about some kid named Shawn Mendes. 

Any who… in my limited amount of time I just wanted to say we are so very sad that the entire Tasaki family is a world away again. I think we need an annual trip. Mahalo for sharing the fifth Stiff! 


Read More

Your Humble Tour Guide

I get notes on Facebook all the time from people I haven’t seen in twenty years, from people I’ve never met, from close friends who all have one thing in common. They are preparing for a vacation to Oahu. Lucky Ducks! I’ve said 1,000 times, everyone should go to Hawaii just once. So recently I got a text from close friend who used to live on Oahu but a few years before we got there. She asked about a particular tourist attraction and if I had suggestions.

Hahahahahahahahaha…that’s funny. Do I have suggestions? Well, yes. Yes, I do. 

The first thing I usually ask if if the family is military. If you are or if you aren’t but happen to know someone, find someone currently living either on Ford Island, Hickam or McGrew Point that will agree to give you a tour. There are sites that military families can get to that you can’t without a tourist ticket. Next, sign up for Honolulu Groupon. There will be lots of deals that help cut your cost.

A few things I think everyone should eat when they are in Hawaii:

  • Stop at a 7-11 and pick up spam musubi. Yes, you may think I’m crazy but you won’t regret it and 7-11 pretty much has the best.
  • If you are touring The Arizona Memorial a great place to eat is The Forty-Niner. If you make it for breakfast, the Forty-Niner pancake is a must. It doesn’t have to be for breakfast. We also loved the garlic chicken. 
  • Our favorite shave ice was at Aloha General. We loved the Lava Flow Bowl. IMG_6129.JPG
  • Staying in Waikiki? Duke’s is great, especially the hula pie for a special night but we loved the barefoot bar and the Korean Tacos. 
  • If you are interested in Korean BBQ, we always got takeout from Soon’s. You won’t get it any other way. (Cash only.)
  • There is also the Alley Restaurant in Aiea Bowl. It’s a favorite of Guy Fieri.
  • Be open to new experiences. There are any number of asian fusion restaurants. Teddy’s is great for burgers. Saimin is fabulous everywhere.
  • I almost forgot. No trip to Hawaii is complete without a trip to Leonard’s for malasadas and Lillikoi Bakery for cocoa puffs. 

Then the things to do…

  • Snorkle… Haunama Bay is great but my favorite place in the summer is Shark’s cove on the North Shore.
  • Sunset is a great time to see turtles on Turtle Beach. Aloha General closes at 5 so grab some shave ice and head over, then  you can drive back into Haleiwa for dinner a Kua’aina. IMG_2274
  • A MUST DO is the Mac Nut Farm tour. Again. Be prepared. This is a cash only tour but there is an ATM on site if you need it. When you finish, they’ll ship your coconut peanut butter back to your house. Buy some. You can thank me later. IMG_2495
  • You should do a luau. They are all pretty good. My favorite is the one at Sea Life Park.
  • The Arizona Memorial. MUST DO.
  • If you have young kids, this is a no no. If you can handle some filthy language and hard topics, the Red Light District Tour is my favorite. 
  • If you have access to the base, the Jesse Tours (historical tours) that happen out of the MWR office on Hickam are extraordinary. Please tell Jesse I said hello. They are worth every last penny. I would do them over and over because there is something new every time. 
  • Surf? It’s it’s summer take lessons in Waikiki. Spring and Fall, head to White Plains.
  • Summer is a great time to swim with sharks on the North Shore. G0020185OJC_9526

There are tons of hikes. I loved paddling to the Mokes and jumping into Shark’s Cove. Diamond Head is a doable hike for the whole family. Koko Head is a fabulous hike for the view. Take time to paddle board in the lagoons at Ko’Olina. We loved loved loved our scuba trip out of Ko’Olina. We did the submarine in Waikiki. It’s not for everyone but a nice little family adventure if you want to spend the money. The best beach, in my opinion is at Bellows Air Force Base. If you don’t have access to the base, go to Lanikai. 

The best advice I can give anyone on their way to Hawaii is just go, relax and soak up the aloha. I’m so jealous!

Read More

I Don’t Speak Emoji

Y’all… I just don’t know where to start. Ray hooked Bria up with one of the girls’ old iPods recently. I’ve had a couple of weeks that may or may not have felt like a couple of months of texting my daughter while she’s standing a few feet in front of me/behind me/ hiding around the corner… You get the idea.

I am not the only one that’s received these texts. Even Arleigh’s friend Josh gets his fair share…

I have no idea where JDawg came from but my money is on Josh putting it in her iPod. Anyway one night I was summoned to Bria’s room. She had been texting Josh. She was texting him “ice cream” emojis. You know…these? đź’©

Josh let her know she’s been sending him poop. Go team! I wish I had a screen shot of that conversation. 

This morning I woke up to Bria informing me that she isn’t the only one that is often lost in emoji translation. She sent me this screen shot with a note that said, “See. It’s not just me.” 

Y’all… I don’t have the words. I’m either dying or lost in emoji translation. At least I’m laughing. Enjoy some ice cream on me! đź’©

Read More

Mosby’s Midnight Raid

I am no history buff. I may say I love it but the truth is, what I really love is people standing around talking story in old places about our great history. Last night I happened to be standing in a restaurant that had once been an old stable standing next to a hospital in downtown D.C. Abraham Lincoln asked congress to construct the hospital. Construction was completed in 1866. It housed 50 patients, was built for roughly $115,ooo and had good ventilation and gas lighting. What this old building has seen. Last night I heard that years ago it was abandoned and homeless people lined the hallways. Today it’s a community center. 

We stood outside next to a civil war era anchor.


Inside, Ray happened to notice an inscription inside a light fixture.


It read, “I can make Generals. Horses cost money. ~ Abraham Lincoln

Someone there said, do you know the story? I am not a civil war buff and I had no idea. So I got to stand in this old stable and hear it.

There was a confederate colonel named John Singleton Mosby. He was known at the time as the Gray Ghost. I read that Abraham Lincoln gave him that nickname. He was in command of the 43rd battalion, 1st Virginia calvary. As our storyteller told us, he was sort of the confederate John Rambo. He lost no men. His battalion came to be known as Mosby’s raiders. 

Last night I heard the story of Mosby’s raid at the Fairfax County courthouse. He snuck 29 men into the city. They ended up at the Gunnel House where a Union general had his headquarters. They politely knocked on the door and made up some silly story to get into the building. Once inside Mosby walked right to the general’s sleeping quarters. General Stoughton was most likely sleeping off a drunken stupor in his bed after a night of carousing. Our story teller didn’t portray Stoughton in the best light. He was known as a womanizer and a bit of a party boy. Mosby walks into his room and slaps Soughton’s bare bum with his gloves to waken him. Stoughton rolls over mad as hell yelling, “Do you know who I am?” Mosby’s quick reply was “Do you know Mosby, general?” The general says, “Yes! Have you go the rascal?” “No, but he has you!” was Mosby’s quick retort. 

Mosby captured about 33 men including one brigadier general and one captain that night and 58 horses. He had 29 men with him and no one ever fired a shot. President Lincoln heard all about the raid. That’s when he said, “I can make Generals. Horses cost money.” 

The even more fascinating story about Mosby is that after the Civil War, he knew that we needed reconciliation. He became close friends with Ulyssess S. Grant and campaigned for him during Grant’s presidential bid. Eventually he wound up on the west coast where he would become a mentor to George Patton and was said to greatly influence Patton’s sense of bravery, duty, honor and even his war tactics. 

Obviously I enjoyed my evening. It’s even better that I got to hear my stories with this guy.


Read More

Just Keep Swimming 

So this kid…

decided swim team sounded like a lot of fun. She’s been swimming forever but she never had a formal lesson. When you’re the third kid it’s more of a jump in and see if you can keep up sort of thing. I’m not sure what sounded fun about waking up at 6:30 all through your summer to jump into a cold pool by 7:15 but I thought it sounded like a great way for her to learn her strokes. So we signed up.

There has been a learning curve for both of us. She’s also had a lot of fun.

Who can argue with ice cream for breakfast? 

She has managed to drop her time significantly in every stroke she swims. On Monday night she chose to swim butterfly for the first time. She qualified for this morning’s A meet on Monday night.

While she’s been swimming forever, this is first year of competitive swim and her first time listening to any sort of instruction. She was armed only with her mother’s love of the water and she killed it!

She’s so excited to get awards for her first time swims.

And the pep rally’s are pretty awesome too.

Her cheering section is not too shabby either. 

She has had a great season and I couldn’t be prouder. Did I mention she dropped 9 seconds off her freestyle time and 12 off her back stroke? Yeah. There’s that. Just keep swimming Bria. We can’t wait to see what you accomplish next year!

Read More

Seek The Peace

My son is autistic. My brother was a police officer. I’ve lived all over the world. I’ve lived with a group of people that are very proud of their genetic makeup. I’ve lived with a group of people that mostly embraced me in spite of mine. My children have been the minority in their school. At the time, my little people weren’t aware. My big kids were very aware, sometimes bullied not necessarily because they were white sometimes because they are military brats. The short point to my long sentence is our perspective may be different than yours.

I read the story yesterday. You know the one. An unarmed black man with his hands in the air trying to protect an autistic patient was shot. Thankfully he was only injured and not killed. You can read the story here.–abc-news-topstories.html

Sigh… I read it and then read it again. My first thought was “what would Tye say?” My heart broke knowing that officer knew he made a horrific mistake. My heart broke for the man who was protecting a patient. My heart broke because he felt the great need to protect a patient from the police. My heart broke for the pain he will endure. My heart broke for the damage this will do to another community. It is still breaking as I scroll through the Facebook posts of my friends.

I am white. I don’t have the benefit of truly knowing the perspective of a black American. I do know a little about a police officer’s perspective. I do have a degree in criminal justice. My only brother was a police officer. While I wish I could ask Tye what he thought, I think I can speak a little to how he might respond.

The officer most likely reacted out of fear. I’m not in his head so I can’t say. He even said he wasn’t sure how he reacted that way. I hate that the fallen world we live in makes it so that the people we choose to protect us are worried about their own safety at a suicide call. 

I think Tye would say we expect too much from all of our first responders. They are expected to walk into volatile situations and  be psychiatrist, babysitters, field medics, family counsellors all while upholding our laws and in the back of their minds…now they have snipers to worry about. We are expecting them to do all that with little support from the community.

So what do I think about this situation? It’s a tragedy. It’s horrible. I wish I could walk back and change everything that happened and I’m probably not the only one. A few days ago, one of my children almost closed a door on Jack. She was excited, in a hurry, irresponsible but there was no real intention to hurt her brother. I was angry. I scolded her. I explained what might have happened and how awful things could have been.

Now, don’t get your panties in a twist. I know almost is only important when you play with horseshoes and hand grenades. There is very little about a slammed door that can compare with a gun shot. I’m sure this officer has a sick feeling like Bria had. He reacted. He reacted badly. He hurt someone else and an entire community and maybe even an entire country of people will have repercussions from that single millisecond reaction. I am so disappointed but I can’t revile him. I don’t know what happened to him that made him react that way. I don’t think he should be working as a police officer. I am sick for his family. I think he will be paying for this mistake for the rest of his life.

Why am I telling you all this? I don’t want my children growing up thinking police officers are inherently bad or judgemental or racist. I don’t know what it must be like to raise a young black man up and send him out in the world. I do have friends that have done it. They’ve raised these precious spirits to be kind, generous loving men. I can’t imagine a police officer being threatened by any one of them. I only hope we can all stop. Let’s talk about this in a reasonable manner. More than that, let’s pray.

My friend recently posted this.

I want one for D.C. Let’s all remember to pray for our communities so that we can all prosper together. 

Read More