IMR: 1998: December: 24 — Thursday, 11:20 a.m.
Pioneer Plaza, Downtown Honolulu, Hawaii

Forty minutes before we clear out for Christmas. Not that much work was done today, anyway, what with most everyone gone on vacation.

We were even sent home at 3 p.m. yesterday, so Jen and I decided to head down to Ala Moana Beach Park. It had been a while, and it felt good to be outdoors again, in the sun, especially at Christmastime, when most Americans were turning blue (like dear Greg, busily going numb in Austin).

Katie enjoyed the excursion too, although she had to be strapped in while in the stroller, as she's now nimble and adventurous enough to try and climb over the side. We let her crawl on the grass for the first time, and she effortlessly shifted into all-terrain mode -- crawling high on her feet, rather than on her knees -- and zipped around. She only tried to eat dirt a couple of times.

We headed back to the apartment well before sunset, and after a surprisingly delicious experimental home-cooked chicken meal, we headed out again for a final, pre-Christmas tour of the Honolulu City Lights.

We'd gone driving around town several times before, but just once we had to do it for real, on foot, with the crowds. And there were crowds. Still, it was heaps of fun, and it was exactly the kind of last-minute infusion of holiday cheer we needed. We even listened to a bagpipe troupe practicing in the Municipal Building parking lot, a soul-stirring treat apparently not related to the Capitol District festivities.

For both the park and downtown outings, we brought along the video camera Gayle gave us as an early Christmas present. Thanks to the swanky setup here at work, I was able to put up a couple of video clips for Jen's parents this morning.

(I also got both webcams up and running -- it's been a productive day at the office indeed.)

Tonight it's up to mom's for a small, quiet Christmas dinner, followed promptly by the opening of presents. Jen's just giddy imagining Katie ripping open her many gifts. Then tomorrow it's over to dad's for one of his famous sunset cookouts. My mouth waters just thinking about it.

Oop. Boss called and said, "Go home now." I'm being ordered out.

Thursday, 1:53 p.m.
Our Apartment, Makiki, Hawaii

Just a short stop at home to give Jen and Katie a short nap before we head up to Mililani. Jen's so excited, it's adorable. This despite the fact that, at last check, neither of us have yet picked up presents for eachother.

Not that I should have expected anything different. The only person who can expect to get loot for baby's first Christmas, after all, is baby.

I met her for lunch at Ala Moana, as I had asked her to take my Christmas present from Jaimee -- a Tower Records gift card -- and surprise me. I didn't know what to get, and I certainly was in no hurry to set foot inside Tower, so I just pulled some band names from thin air as suggestions. Eve 6, Garbage, Third Eye Blind, Semisonic... all overplayed on alternative radio, actually, which is probably why I could remember their names at all.

I don't know how I expected to find Jen and Katie in a jam-packed mall on Christmas Eve, but fortunately I did. She had Katie all dressed up already in a Christmas jumper mom recently bought her. Her selection? The soundtrack to "City of Angels."

I should just face it already. I've gone mainstream. I haven't listened to Fish Karma or Ministry or Bjork in months. I've even forgetting the names of the more obscure groups I used to toss around to try and look cool. Hell, even the Barenaked Ladies are now about as mainstream as you can get. Just put me in a Honda with a pair of Celine Dion concert tickets already.

(Speaking of Celine Dion tickets, Lacene wants some so bad, she's been chain-dialing KSSK with four out of our five telephone lines every time there's a giveaway. With all the blinking lights, it's like she turns every phone in the office into a little square Christmas tree.)

Anyway, thanks to Jaimee, our CD collection has actually grown for the first time in ages.

We were lucky enough to see her on Monday, what with most of her last few days back in town booked solid. After following her around the assorted Victoria Ward Centers as she did some last-minute Christmas shopping, we treated her to a belly-busting dinner at the Dixie Grill. A combination birthday and Christmas present of sorts.

Even with the extraordinarily loud music, Katie seemed to enjoy herself, chowing down on her very own plate of pasta. The grown-up food was delicious too, of course. After stuffing our faces and shoving the rest into styrofoam boxes, I had the crew crowd around Jaimee and sing a boisterous birthday song. And because our server felt we had waited too long for our food, we even got dessert on the house.

A great evening by any account.

Jaimee leaves tomorrow afternoon, and hopefully we'll be able to see her off at the airport before heading to dad's. Jen and I have definitely missed having her around, but no doubt Nate misses her more.

Hmm. Looks like naptime is over for the girls. It's time to go.


© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 24 December 1998 · Last Modified: 31 December 1998