IMR: 1999: August: 15 —  Saturday, 11:31 p.m.
Our Apartment, Makiki, Hawai`i

The girls are in bed. I'm fresh out of a long-overdue shower, smelling like lavendar.

We got back late tonight from our regular lounge-a-thon at mom's. Although we had to grimace our way through what turned out to be the first part of a two-part episode of "Walker: Texas Ranger," we eventually got to enjoy an all-night marathon of Desmond Morris' "The Human Sexes" on The Learning Channel.

It's still on now. Desmond is touring the famous temple of penes (I think that's right) in Japan. I swear to god, this guy has the coolest job.

I love documentaries on "the human animal." So does Jen. Indeed, knowing winks and nudges flew all night, as clearly science continues to affirm our shared belief that men are dumb, hopeless gits.

[ Happy Birthday! ]Despite the havoc of the preceding week, we managed to have a pleasant weekend, starting of course with Jen's birthday yesterday.

She's 27, which really gave me a bit of a jolt insofar as I distinctly remember thinking — oh, back when I was 16 or so — that 27 was really old.

In fact, when she and Katie came into the office to join me for lunch, I blurted to everyone, "She's 27 today!" I said it in that dazed, disbelieving way innocent bystanders often say, "...and then he just started shooting!" Jen finally shut me up with a good whack with the backpack.

I didn't mean to be so rude about it, but really, I'm obviously one of those people ill prepared for the reality of aging. I'd always enjoyed the comfort of knowing that the "late 20s" were some way off, but turns out it's not. Indeed, if she's turning 27, that means I'm coming up on 25, and "a quarter of a century" has such an ominous sound to it.

I guess there's a part of me that earnestly and honestly thinks I'm still 19. But I know I can't possibly be, because when I was 19, I was only just starting to fall in love with Jen.

The original plan for tonight was a simple dinner at Angelo Pietro, but as Lacene was at my desk admiring the flowers I'd picked up for Jen, she spotted an coupon in the paper for a special prime rib dinner for two at Stuart Anderson's steak house. "I know you guys," she said, clipping it out. "You want the red meat."

"Yes!" was Jen's response to the suggestion. So after I got home and we put Katie in her new dress, we headed over to Ward Warehouse — a musty, creaky dinosaur fast becoming the Varsity Theater of local retail centers.

For whatever reason, although it was a Friday night, the place was almost empty, and we were seated immediately in one of the big cushy booths in the corner. I wasted no time whipping out the coupon (no shame!), and before Katie even let out her first random shriek, we were enjoying their fancy appetizer sampler plate.

Bafflingly, Katie just went ape over the fried, breaded zucchini. The trick to getting greens down is clearly hiding it in something far less healthy.

The trivia nut that she is, Jen was captivated by the many video monitors in the restaurant, on which flashed questions from a nationwide game network. She clearly wished the control terminal was on our table, and indeed, "S. ANDERSONS - HONOLULU" ended the night ranked a pathetic 243 out of 250 bars and eatieries across the U.S.

[ Birthday ]It was a wonderful, relaxing evening, punctuated only by a few mini-tantrums on the part of our adorably-dressed offspring. As we devoured our perfect medium-rare slabs of cow, we silently lamented the approaching end of the era known as Still Safe to Take the Kid Out to Eat.

Finally dessert came. A single solid brick of double-fudge chocolate cake topped with a little scoop of vanilla ice cream and a cup of molten hot fudge on the side. It was so big and dense it practically tipped the table.

Mmm. Absolutely deadly.

Before calling it a night, we strolled over to Child's Play, and Jen went ga-ga over the shelves and shelves of brightly colored toys. (Katie was more interested in one misplaced box of little die-cast Volkswagen bugs.)

Jen eventually cashed in the last of her "birthday credit" to buy Katie a bag of classic wooden blocks. So far the little darling prefers chewing on them rather than building with them, but certainly that'll change.

[ Expo ]This afternoon, Jen's mommy-buddy Tina invited us to join them at the "Good Life Expo" at the Blaisdell.

These days there's an expo every other week, most entirely indistinguishable from each other, and the name "Good Life Expo" was especially vague. Still it was a nice enough way to spend a few hours, entering drawings, filling up on free samples, and getting to know our neighbors.

The big thing at this particular event was electric cars, of which there were at least half a dozen on display. I still don't see them really catching on in the near future, but with the state's various tax incentives and the promise of a complete recharge for $1 (versus $1.71 for a gallon of gas), I suspect nationwide Hawaii will one day be ahead of the curve.

Tina got a deep massage. I shot the breeze with the folks at Mac Made Easy. And Jen, in an unusual flash of bravado, marched over to the Moving Mountains corner and got hitched up to do some indoor climbing.

Never mind that she chickened out four feet off the ground. I was proud of her!

We also stumbled across the Kim Taylor Reese Photography booth, oddly tucked way in back. He apparently has a new book coming out, and by the looks of the samples on display, it seems the guy has given up the pseudo-reverent pretense of Hawaiiana altogether, settling simply for pictures of naked girls frolicking in the surf.

My favorite image from the whole affair, though, was the "E.L. Models" booth, which was overflowing with glossy 8x10 photos of pouty shoyu bunnies. The operation didn't exactly exude class, the color in almost all the pictures oversaturated and the girls in them definitely overdone.

And the girl staffing the booth? She looked like... like she could crush coal into diamonds without using her hands, if you catch my drift. She was trying very hard to look dark and mysterious while furiously picking every last crumb out of the bottom of a Doritos bag.

Oh yes, girls who lick their palms and pick corn-based gunk out of their nails are so attractive!

When Katie started rubbing her eyes we called it a night, retiring home enjoying fantasies of winning a Chevy Blazer.

© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 15 August 1999 · Last Modified: 17 August 1999