Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Chillin' with Daddy

So I've been hangin' out with Dad for the last five days while Becky and Julie are partying hard at Disneyland with Kainoa and friends. (yes, I'm a good sister..) It's funny. We Kaai kids have always been close to our parents. I don't know what it is, but it's a pretty unique love that's hard for some to understand. Anyways, more on that later. As you know, Dad has been sick since September. Recently, he's lost his short term memory skills. He can remember the day he graduated from high school, but he can't remember what he had for lunch. We kids get to make sure he takes his meds on time and that he's puffing on his two inhalers correctly. Sometimes he wakes up in the middle of the night thinking it's time for breakfast. This morning I woke up and found the jar of peanut butter next to his bed with a butter knife and a few bread crumbs. Don't's low sodium peanut butter!

So, the point of this post it to share a few things about Dad that I just wanted to document for family history reasons....Here goes:

1. Dad attended Kaahumanhu Elementary School at the corner of Piikoi and Beretania. It has since been converted to a hospital.

2. Dad attended Iolani High School from 7th to 12 grade. He graduated on June 7, 1948.

3. Mrs. Tanaka was his favorite teacher. She told him.."Most Hawaiians are lazy and're not!"

4. He disliked Mrs. Webber who was a Hawaiian teacher. He remembers her saying that "you folks talk with a fat lip and mumble your words." Grandma Kaai threatened to beat her up.

5. Dad wanted to go to Kamehameha, but they wouldn't let the "real locals" go. Outer island students had priority. He attended Iolani.

6. Richard Pa'paa was his best friend in elementary school.

7. He attended the Long Island Merchant Marine Academy on Mare Island. He was in the navy from 1953-June 30, 1964. He came to San Mateo after he graduated.

8. Ice cream was 5 cents and hamburgers were 10 cents. A McDonald's hamburger was 18 cents.

9. He was a paper boy as a child and his route consisted of City Hall to Alapai, up to Punchbowl ,up to Lusitania and part of King St. The daily paper was 5 cents and the Sunday paper was 10 cents.

10. After the war, his first "real" job was taking down the "black" in the windows. It was made of denim material and was used to hide out all light from the enemy.

11. He also worked at Hawaiian Pine. He was a tray boy and had to line up 5 rings of pineapple and put it in each can. He was a trucker, supervisory, and eventually left to play football.

12. As a child, he had a white "poi" dog called Prince.

13. He worked at Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo for the rest of his career.

I'm sure there are more bits of information that I'll be adding to my list. Stay tuned.
Thanks for listenin'

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Perfect Pancake

My friend Paula just came to California for the Festival of Trees and Lights. About two weeks ago, she invited Tyrone and I over for dinner at Val's house. She made her father's famous pancakes. Below is the recipe that was printed in the Honolulu Star Bulletin. Try them. They're truly the best pancakes ever! I've decided to add them to our Christmas morning agenda.

Paul Chun's Pancakes
2 cups flour
3 tablespoons baking powder
Dash of salt
3 or 4 tablespoons sugar
3 eggs, separated
1-1/4 cup milk
1/3 block melted butter, cooled

Combine dry ingredients. Beat yolks slightly and add, along with a little milk. Stir. Beat egg whites and add, along with a little more milk. Add melted butter. Stir and gradually add enough of the remaining milk so batter is of the right consistency (this is a judgment call -- it shouldn't be too thin and should still have lumps, but needs to be loose enough to scoop easily). Batter will get very fluffy as baking soda activates; do not be alarmed. Do not overmix. Let sit 10 to 15 minutes to settle.

Preheat griddle or skillet over medium heat. Pour about 1/4 cup batter for each pancake. Turn when edge are dry and bottom is golden. Makes about 12 pancakes.

Here's the rest of the article....

CHUN, president and chief executive officer of Chun Kim Chow Ltd., died June 21 at age 84. His company had extensive real estate and retail holdings, including the Robins shoe stores and the Waikiki Circle Hotel. But his hobby was cooking. "Every Sunday was an extravagant nine-course meal," Chun-Ganske says.

During the West Coast dock strike in 1971, the hotel ran out of pancake mix, so Chun put his skills to work and developed a scratch pancake recipe by studying cookbooks in bookstores (he didn't actually buy one, his daughter says).

The recipe became the hotel restaurant's signature; people would line up for the 99-cent plate of two pancakes, eggs and breakfast meat. At his funeral, the family passed out the recipe. A nice way to remember someone, isn't it?

His daughter says she still makes them every Sunday. "I tear up every time."

p.s. They're amazing with coconut syrup!

The Perfect Gift!

This is my boss, Bob. The other night at our work party he jokingly asked for a Sham Wow and I couldn't find one. Sooo..I bought a snuggie. I had no idea how comfortable these things really are!
Do you have a snuggie? Would you like a snuggie? or do you think they're lame? Well, I love snuggies and I think they're awesome!

3rd week of December- Sacramento's Homeless

The highlight of the week was visiting the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament. I went shopping on Tuesday night to get food to make "lunches." On Wednesday night, the youth from our ward made 50 ham and cheese sandwiches, and then we filled the bags with oranges, granola bars, chips, water bottles, and Kit Kats. (Don't ask me why I chose the Kit Kats. I was just in a Kit Kat mood.) I bought the "good" ham and the "good" cheese. We made all the sandwiches in the kitchen and the boys got the non-perishable food in the lunch bags. Rancho Cordova Stake has been making these lunches for months. However, this was the first time that an LDS youth group would pariticipate with the delivery.
We then drove down to the Cathedral. We met Deacon Jorge Usi. I have worked closely with him during the Festival of Trees and Lights and thought it would be a great service project for our youth to help him deliver the food. He's responsible for the Cathdral Homeless Square Program. He introduced us to his Catholic youth group and then took us on a tour of the Cathedral. The youth loved the beauty and reverence of the Cathedral. Deacon Jorge then split us up into three groups. We spent the rest of the evening walking the streets of Sacramento delivering sack lunches. We finished around 9:30 p.m. Deacon Jorge does this about twice a week on Mondays and Wednesdays. My dear friend Evie also helps. It's an experience I'll never forget. In my opinion, it was sacred. I know we all left feeling very grateful for everything that we have..especially our family and friends.

Second Week of December

So this week was a little intense. Tyrone had his annual Breakfast with Santa event for the Scouts. This was followed by Kainoa's birthday party at the Happy Frog in Vallejo. I then had to return to Sacramento for a work party at my boss's house. Soo much to do and so little time. I also forgot to mention the school-wide Christmas program at school. I play the piano and the classes perform by grade level. This year's theme was "Peace, Love & Joy."

  • 6th grade - "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing"

  • 5th grade- "Feliz Navidad & We Wish You a Merry Christmas"

  • 4th grade- "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas"

  • 3rd grade- "Twelve Days of Christmas"

  • 2nd grade- "Winter Wonderland"

  • 1st grade- "The 5 days of Christmas in California"

  • Kindergarten- "It's a Small World After All"

Ms. Fedro's class also did a few songs on the recorders. The show includes 525 student performers, 25 teachers, and 1 principal. The kids were amazing. I'd like to publicly thank my piano teacher, Beverly Davis, for teaching me how to play the piano. Because of her, my life has been truly blessed by music.

We also had a great work party at Bob and Kevin's house. Because I had to go to Kainoa's party, Tyrone made the potato casserole for the party. These are otherwise known as funeral potatoes. They were yummy. Anyways, I got the "ZONK " gift. Here's a picture.

Have you ever received a ZONK gift? I might add that this gift is actually a centerpiece made out of some sort of soda pop bottle.

Festival of Trees and Lights

During the first week of December, we completed the 3rd annual Festival of Trees & Lights in Sacramento. It was amazing. I learned so much. I learned that we shouldn't plan every December event during the first week of December. Ugh! I learned that the best job in the world for the Festival of Trees and Lights is the volunteer coordinator. You get to meet hundreds of people and they come from all different walks of life. You also get to meet all the tree designers and watch their brains go to town. AMAZING! I don't think I could ever be a Christmas designer. However, I love being walked through the process by an expert. They generally have a plan and they implement it perfectly. As teachers, we constantly have to change our plans to meet the needs of our students. It was neat to see perfect plans be implemented perfectly..or almost perfectly. hehe..(inside joke!)

Neat story about one of the designers. Valerie Valentine owns the Design Gallery on Fair Oaks. She's amazing! Anyways, I visited her store when she wasn't there with a friend. We walked around looking at all the beautiful trees. When we entered, we saw this amazing tree at the front door. I fell in love with it. It was definitely over the top, but it was just warm and welcoming. Anyways, I knew she was going to donate a tree to our event, but I wasn't sure which tree would be chosen. When her delivery guys showed up, the tree they brought in was "the Apricot Tree." It was the one we wanted! I literally shed a tear when I saw it! Thanks Valerie for all your hard work.

Then there's Chelsey. Chelsey LaPlaca is my amazing friend with three triplets. She sings. She dances. She's a gifted decorator. She was the decorating queen designer for the event. Can you imagine decorating a community event with three triplets at home? Anyways, she's "off-the-hook." How she does it I'll never know. I had the opportunity to work with her a little during the event. Her support system is awesome and her brain can process more information than a head chef at a 5 star restaurant. Its unbelieveable to watch. Anyways, all that garland and all that sparkle comes from her expertise. During the same week, she was responsible for our Relief Society Meeting. We put together over 150 crafts to sell at the Holiday Boutique. She was once again the leader on that event. I know..amazing..huh?

I also wanted to thank my sisters, Julie, Becky, & adopted sister Nancy, for coming and buying out the place. Your donation to the homeless in Sacramento is greatly appreciated. :) They left with three trees..two small and one big. They also left with a few crafts and a ton of other goodies. Thanks girls! Thanks again to everyone that came. If you're interested in volunteering next year for the event, let me know. We're always looking for people to make scarves, aprons, and other simple crafts for the holiday boutique. :)

Top Ten Things I learned this year at the Festival of Trees and Lights

10. Don't forget your parking pass. (could cost you $15 a day if you don't get one.) Volunteers get a free pass from the volunteer coordinator.

9. Carl's Jr. has strawberry soda at the downtown mall.

8. Don't forget your green floral wire to tie on all your tree ornaments.

7. Invite all your friends to be volunteers. It's a great way to catch up with all your buddies that you don't see regularly.

6. Teachers and my students' parents are great volunteers. They always show up on time.

5. Don't talk to tree decorators until they're "done," and don't mess up their plans. EVER!

4. Ettore's cookies are the best.

3. Live auctions are intense! If you have an extra $300 bucks next year, you can get an awesome tree. Some large trees sold for only $250 this year.

2. My family is pretty lucky when it comes to raffle tickets. Tyrone won three things last year and Becky won two things this year! (an ipod and $100 in gift certificates for Golfland Sunsplash)

1. Even though the economy is horrific, we still were able to make a profit and fund the Cathedral Homeless Square Program for the year. In other words, when people tell you that you shouldn't do something because the economy is bad, don't listen. We still have homeless people we need to feed and help in Sacramento. Go Team FOTL!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Mean things

I'm sure this blog is supposed to be happy most of the time, but right now I just had to blog about mean things people say. Why must people say mean things? Is it because of their own weaknesses? insecurities? Is it because they want to be funny? even at the cost of those around them? I was thinking about my day today and realized that it was pretty horrible because I had to hear so many people say mean things. Some weren't really mean, but some were terribly mean. Some words were exchanged between students and some were exchanged between adults. Why..why mujst they say mean things? And then after they say mean things, they continue to say meaner things? Even the apology sounds mean. I hate mean people. I hate mean words. I hate how it makes others feel. I hate how it makes me feel. I hope I can continue to fill my life with people that are positive and use positive words.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009

Go Bears!

So, I went to the Chicago Bears/49er game last night. My cousin, Olin Kreutz, is the center on the Bears' team. (He's the guy in the middle that gives the ball to the QB (quarterback) before the QB throws the ball. Anyways, it was a fun game and we had awesome seats. Becky, my sister, had sweatshirts made up for everyone in our family that read "Olin Kreutz's Ohana." It was fun to have fans stop us and ask us questions about our family. For a moment, I actually felt like a famous person. However, it did get annoying at times when people around us would ask questions during the game. Sheesh! Many of our cousins came out to support him and we had a total blast! I learned a few things about going to a professional football game at Candlestick. Some of this stuff is obvious, but I hadn't been to a 49er game in a really long time, so it might help those of you who need a few reminders.

#1) Go early and tailgate. It's amazing. People bring their BBQs and some of the BBQs are bigger than their cars.
#2) Don't be late. If you leave late from Sacramento, you'll hit traffic in Berkeley and have to sit in traffic for two hours. Worst case miss the first quarter of the game. (Sorry honey...)
#3) Don't buy beer there. I don't drink, but I couldn't believe that a bottle of beer was a dollar more than a bucket of popcorn. The beer was $8.75 and the popcorn was $7.75. (I guess you shouldn't buy the popcorn either..)
#4) Don't meet your family at Gate F. EVERYONE meets their family at Gate F because it's right in the very front of the stadium.
#5) The hot dogs were awesome. I generally only eat hotdogs from Sac's in Vallejo or at the RC games, but this one rocked..
#6) If you want to get signatures after the game, go around to the back where the buses are waiting. The players, at least the cool ones, come out and sign autographs.
#7) Take BART! Parking is $30.00
#8) BEARS fans are sooo loyal. There were probably more BEARS fans than 49er fans at the game. Not really, but it sure looked that way. GOOOO BEARS! If you ever have a chance to go to a Bears game, do it. The energy is amazing.
#9) Football games are cold in SF. Wear warm stuff because you will freeze.
#10) On your way home, don't eat a fish fillet from MCDs because you won't feel that great in the morning.

I think that's about it...Have you been to a game lately? Got a favorite team? Share your thoughts! GO Bears!

Monday, November 9, 2009

It's a Small World after all...

Today I went to a funeral for my friend's father. My friend's name is Micky and her father's name is Wayne. He passed away last week and I was asked to sing "Be Still My Soul" with two other friends at the funeral. We had practiced the song yesterday after church, so I felt confident that things would go smoothly. Anyways, as I sat on the pew listening to the words that were being shared, I was getting pretty emotional. In fact, I was actually worried that I wouldn't be able to make it through the song without crying!! I then turned around to look at my two friends and they were a mess too! Ugh! What to do..what to do?!?!?

In a few moments, the Bishop announced our song and we briskly walked to the microphone. As we began to sing our song, I looked out into the audience. I saw an older woman in the front row smiling at me. She looked really familiar, but I couldn't remember her name. She was sitting pretty close to the front of the room, so I knew she had to be one of Mickey's relatives. Anyways, during the song, I noticed the older woman was whispering something to the woman next to her. Within seconds, I noticed an entire pew of people were smiling at me with REALLY BIG smiles. It was a bit odd because half of the people in the room were crying while the front pew was smiling. I knew that I was going to have to speak to this older lady to see what caused all the smiling in the front row.

After the funeral ended, I walked to the front of the church to check in with Mickey. As I went to give her a hug, a tall, beautiful young woman tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Do you remember me?" As I looked at her, my life flashed before my eyes and I realized that I was standing in front of one of my old 4th grade students. Her name was Kristen. She was in my class ten years ago. The older woman in the congregation was her grandmother. Her grandfather was Mickey's uncle. In other words, I taught my friend's niece ten years ago at Florin Elementary and she was at the funeral today with her entire family. WOW! What a small world!

We chatted for a few minutes and Kristin told me she had just graduated and was attending Sacramento City College's nursing program. WOW! Definitely a proud teacher moment!

I have thought about Kristen many times over the past few years. Where did she go? What is she doing? Did she graduate? Does she have a college plan? How's her Mom? Even though I'm not her current teacher, I feel somewhat responsible for the lifelong choices she's made. Did I instill within her a desire to make the world a better place? Does she know I still care about her success even though she hasn't seen me in ten years? Wow..I know parent guilt is pretty bad, but teacher guilt is the worst!

I think Heavenly Father provides us with moments like this to make us evaluate or just think about our own purpose and plan. Life is short and we really don't have a lot of time to put our carbon or physical footprint on the earth. So..might we ask ourselves..Am I helping others with their goals? Am I being supportive? Am I setting and meeting my own goals? How am I making this world a better place and what am I doing to make others happy? In the end, we really can't take anything with us to heaven, but we will have lots of memories, friends, family....and love.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


WOW! So here it #3. Tiffany and Chris came over tonight and she gave me the Blogging 101 class. Let's just hope that I can keep up with this thing. Thanks again Tiff. So good!

During the past few months, I have enjoyed reading blogs about other families and friends. The topics varied from what to do on long summer days, who passed the bar this week, house decorating ideas, recipes and much, much more. I always thought, "How the heck does anyone have time to do this?" Chelsey has triplets and even she has TWO blogs. Anyways, I knew with a little help, I might be able to do some blogging and I thought it would be a great way to record some of the crazy day-to-day things that happen in my life. I used to love writing in my journal, but since I got married, I usually write to vent about my frustrations as a wife, mother, teacher, etc.. You get the idea right? So, I have promised Tyrone that I will focus on the positive and share the blessings that one might receive or the lessons one might learn, when they're TRYING to do what's right..but at times fall short. So...Welcome to the Brown Girl's Blog!


Thank you Tiffany for setting up my blog! You're too funny!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

My First Post!

My first post is actually not written by me but by my friend, Tiffany, who is excited to have me start blogging. She really wants me to write a book about all my crazy (and they are crazy) experiences with my job and my life. For now I've decided to blog about them to give you a taste about what a typical day is like for me.

Stay tuned as I plan to blog often.


Sandra (Tiffany)