IMR: 1997: November: 09 -- Sunday, 10:57 p.m.
Mom's Place, Mililani, Hawai`i

I never would have thought my father would be giving me wedding rings for my 23rd birthday. Then again, as he wrote in the card, he never thought he'd be a grandfather before the turn of the century.

So it's been four months since I've last taken the time to record anything. Another 2,880 life-changing hours come and gone. Yet looking back, I again can't fathom how so much can happen inside a single season.

Jen's at seven months, and I can feel the baby's kicks as we sleep. She was hired at Tower Kahala, and was recently promoted to "video collections bitch." The weekend before the Fall semester began, Jaimee ran away to Portland to be with Nate. As I facilitated her escape, no doubt the expansive Pang clan is plotting my death. We've printed two issues of the 'Venue, snagging media attention in a brief tiff with Jan Javinar over campus distribution rights.

It would be insane to recount the details of these and other developments, although each would make a good novel. (The Pang Episode in particular is worth a television miniseries.) Instead, I'll pretend I'll be more consciencious about documenting my life from now on, and drop into the present in media res.

My birthday was quiet but pleasant. Although William had forgotten, he vows to treat Jen and I to a dinner at Hanaki (a sushi place at Manoa Marketplace).

We held a staff meeting that evening at Paradise Palms. For the sake of thouroughness, those present (in addition to the three partners) were writers Melissa Lee, Kalei Lee, Mary Brunson, Robyn Tasaka, Lori Saeki and Nalani China. Absent were Michelle Cournoyer, Paul Lerman and cartoonist Nathan Yospe.

It was the first time we'd met Nalani. She was extremely nervous, stuttering and speaking very softly. Seeing her seated beside Mary -- a high school paper veteran who is quite confident in her abilities -- made very clear the wide range of personalities we worked with.

Story assignments were handed out and reviewed. The copy deadline was set for Monday, Dec. 17. The staff was told of their shiny new e-mail aliases. Just as it got dark, the meeting ended. All told, it lasted twenty minutes.

Quite refreshing after two years of four-hour Board of Publications meetings.

I picked Jen up at Tower at 9 p.m. as usual, and we tooled to the other end of the mall to meet dad at Barnes and Noble. He was sitting at a table at the little cafe.

He gave us the rings. Our wedding rings. Gold bands engraved with a floral pattern. The larger ring had a Hibiscus and the smaller, tapered ring had a plumeria. They fit perfectly. Jen was beaming. I was giddy.

He also gave me birthday cards from grandma and he and Gayle. Money, of course, to go toward more condensed chicken soup and crackers.

He said the rings were free, on one condition: that I take off the bicycle chain bracelet I've worn since 1993. Jen, whose been injured on more than one occasion by the thing, was happy with the deal.

I brought up the current controversy at UH regarding Porteus Hall. As the once-esteemed Dr. Porteus has since been deemed a racist (he judged blacks below whites on the basis of brain weight), the student government wants the building name changed. I don't think the name should be changed, and pointed out McCarthy Mall is still, technically, named after everyone's favorite senator.

As usual, dad happened to have a related anecdote.

"I planted that mall," dad said.

He told of when he was working for a landscaping company. A cheap landscaping company. When the UH job came around, he was sent out with a truck, a shovel and a bucket.

He said the grass that grows there to this day was "borrowed" from the Vineyard redevelopment project (the area was once the slums of Honolulu); the fertilizer from the chicken farms that once made up the heart of Kahala; the monkeypod trees that now loom high overhead were barely thicker than his thumb.

Dad always has a story. Of his travels, of his college days, and more and more often, of his first years as a father. Even William, whose only spent a couple of evenings in his presence, considers his storytelling one of his signature traits. Every time we'd mention having seen my father, he asks, "So did the Colonel tell you about the time he visited a friend in Japan and got to eat $200 worth of sushi for only $70?"

I still roll my eyes sometimes, but... I don't know whether his stories are getting more interesting, or if as I get older, the observations of a 50-plus Japanese American are becoming more relevant.

We went home with a seafood plate from a reception dad had attended, trying on our rings again before we went to bed. Afraid of a jinx -- although I don't know of any related to wedding rings -- we vowed to not wear them again until our wedding day.

Monday, Nov. 17. One week away.

Saturday was moderately busy. After taking Jen to work, William and I ran a few errands. Then I buckled down at home and vowed that I'd finish putting our paper's second-issue copy up on the website (it'd been out for over a week already). Four hours of non-stop HTML tweaking later, the new front page was uploaded.

That evening, William joined Jen and I for "Bean." It was as hilarious as I'd hoped. I think the concept works much better in the short-skit format of the original series, but the jump to the big screen wasn't too awkward.

It was disappointing, though, to see how lost most of Rowan Atkinson's humor was on most of the audience. One guy three rows back was snoring. Loudly.

That brings me, finally, to today.

For the first time in months, I saw Donica. After an endless game of phone-tag, we finally lunched at California Pizza Kitchen. Yes, to my faint chagrin, she, Jason, Mio, Jen and I partook of the trendiest fast food in Honolulu.

There was a lot of catching up to do. Fortunately, thanks to the excellent information network set up among the former Ka Leo crew (Kim Fu serving as a major hub), there was no awkward "so we're pregnant and getting married" bombshell to drop. Instead, we gossiped about old friends -- Jennifer Gibson and Martha to name a few.

After a short nap at home, we headed up to Mililani to visit grandma. We showed her the rings, partook of a tasty shortrib dinner, and watched television. Eventually mom came home from her other life as a band mother, and we all watched television together.

I love visiting them. Lounging around zoning out on Hawai`i 5-0 and old copies of People Magazine. Probably the most relaxing moments I ever spend in a given week.

Laundry's done. I guess it's time to head home.


© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 9 November 1997 · Last Modified: 21 April 1998