IMR: Entries: 2006: January: 06 — Friday, January 06, 2006


The start of 2006 didn't go quite as well as I'd hoped.

Since before Christmas, a cold bug had already been working its way through the family, and both Jen and I were chugging Robitussin and choking down Airborne like it was going out of style. Then, as we entered the last week of the year, dear Justin Fujioka — weather dude for KITV and former band geek — explained that some odd combination of low and high pressure systems would bring a haze of vog to Honolulu. And he was right. Even walking around downtown, the tops of nearby buildings were faintly faded behind Pele's breath.

Of course, that meant respiratory havoc in the house. It happens every winter without fail, but it was particularly bad this go 'round. Katie's coughing kept her up at night. Late last week, Zac had a dramatic breathing attack. And by the time the last day of 2005 rolled around, all three of our offspring were coughing and wheezing.

For the boys it turned out to be a combination of the usual cool-weather congestion and croup, the awful "barking-seal" cough. And if the effects of vog were bad, the onslaught of fireworks on New Year's Eve was a nightmare. The noise was bad, but the smoke was worse. Even though we closed all the windows and turned on all the fans and air conditioners, there was no escaping it. Instead of celebrating, we were cowering in the house like refugees in a war zone.

I switched the kids' cough syrup for a more potent dose of Benadryl, and while they still tossed and turned and coughed for a while, they were thankfully unconscious relatively early. But Alex simply couldn't sleep. He was coughing and miserable and just a tragic sight. Jen and I took turns being up with him all night, frustrated and dazed, completely missing the clock striking midnight, pacing all over the house with Alex slung over one shoulder, the poor kid struggling to breathe and sounding like a geezer in need of an iron lung.

Exhausted, worried, and full of rage for your neighbors is a pretty rotten way to start a new year.

We were so out of it the next morning — the entire family was piled in a sad heap in the living room by 4 a.m. — that we missed the 9 a.m. New Year's service and blessing at my family's Buddhist temple in Waipahu. Eventually, Jen and I (with Alex in tow) decided to head out there, anyway, just to pick up the usual array of omamori and ofuda. We caught the new minister locking up, and while I was writing a check for the good luck pieces, he came up to me and seemed to take an almost perverse glee in telling me that we missed everything.

Yeah, we know, thanks a lot, buddy. Not even a "Hello," or "Happy New Year," or "Thanks," for our visit or donation? I had to count to ten. I knew I was headed for trouble if a Buddhist minister could piss me off.

Fortunately, we were able to meet up with my dad, and visited the family grave in Mililani Cemetery. Seeing him, going to the cemetary, and getting caught in the first light rain of 2006 did wonders for my mood. Our relatives had apparently already made their offerings, so there was little cleaning to do. We lit some incense — admittedly, yet more smoke, but this was special — bowed our heads, then headed off to eat. Dad graciously offered to treat us, and after searching Mililani for someplace that was open on New Year's Day, we ended up at Ruby Tuesday's.

While we were out, Katie had invited a friend over (something for which she'd later catch much grief), so I went home just to pick up Zac to join us. Alex slept, Zac worked his charms on dad, and we enjoyed an unexpectedly hearty lunch. By the time we finished, I was lost in my thoughts, trying to clear my head and give 2006 a fair start.

So yeah, it's been a while since I've written. Almost a year. Definitely the biggest break yet in this nearly ten-year folly of escribitionism. I'm not even going to say the same things I always do after a long hiatus, either. You know, starting over, no more waiting for only stories worth telling, yada yada yada. Because for all I know, this will be the last thing I write for another 11 months.

I just hope not. I miss journaling.

Sure, I've blogged, moblogged, videoblogged and podcasted (and how). I've posted stuff all over the web, came up with a hundred ideas, started a dozen projects, and quickly forgot about half of them... the usual degree of geekiness for me, for the most part.

Actually, in sheer bytes? I probably generated more junk in 2005 than I have since first getting online. And podcasting in particular is the main culprit in falling off the writing wagon. (Well, falling off further than I'd fallen already.) Still, I have to say last year was probably the best year to go overboard with it. But now I'm thinking I might slow it down. Just a little.

There's just something about the unapologetic self-centeredness, the sometimes melodramatic introspection, the absolutely indulgent nature of an online journal that I refuse to completely abandon.

The good thing about being gone so long? Nobody's going to notice, now, whether this is a fresh start or a false one.

The bad thing is, again, losing the chance to document and reflect on so many things to an addled brain.

So what has happened since Febraury 2005? A million things.

My other grandmother, my dad's mother, died. I was honored to read a short biography of her amazing life at her funeral. I don't think I could ever live up to her accomplishments and wisdom, even if I had three lifetimes to try.

I was reassigned to a more prominent role at work, and just about lost my mind, but I survived, and now I'm curious about what happens next.

We went to the Big Island twice. Once in April (video clips here, here and here, with photos here), and again in November (more photos). Every time we go, our hearts ache with the totally irrational, impractical desire to move back to Hilo. Someday. Someday.

Zac and started pre-school — special ed with an emphasis on his speech. In the few months he's been in the program, his language skills have improved spectacularly. Every short conversation with him is a joy. Last night? I asked him where his brother was. "He's in the family room." Doing what? "He's playing with the box." So, so great. Now if we could only get him fully potty trained.

Katie changed schools. Yes, again. I think this is her sixth school in four years. But when Zac started pre-school, he was assigned to Kipapa Elementary. Katie goes to Mililani Waena Elementary. Apparently there was some dispute as to the school district in which our townhouse is located. Jen decided she liked Kipapa better, and Waena Elementary decided Katie wasn't theirs after all, so just a week before the winter break started last month, Katie moved to her new school four blocks away. She's adaptable, resiliant, and incredibly social, fortunately, so she didn't mind at all.

Alex started walking, got lots of teeth, and is definitely developing a distinct personality. More thoughtful, more intense, definitely stubborn.

We traded in "Maggie," Jen's maroon Ford sedan, for a second minivan. It's a 2000 Pontiac Montana (that's yet to get its own web page and a name from the kids that sticks). It was no picnic to acquire, and I think the Tony Autoplex will exercise its right to refuse service to me indefinitely, but it was a great upgrade. With two minivans, though, we've probably reached the pinnacle of squaresville.

That gym membership I mentioned in the last entry? Cancelled. Way too expensive. But Jen and I are now taking walks around the neighborhood after the kids go to sleep. Those walks, plus the fact that we started podcasting together, are two of the tangible ways I'd definitely say that Jen and I have become closer this past year.

Zac turned three. Alex turned one. I turned 32 and got a nice, long nap. Jen turned... a year older and got a video iPod.

And a whole bunch of other stuff happened, too.



I shouldn't butt into your business, but do you think the air in Hilo might be healthier for the children? That alone would more than justify a move, Ryan, if it was do-able. So sorry for all your New Years' misery! I hope the remainder of 2006 makes up for it. Snoopy
Busybody (January 7, 2006 9:27 AM)

Next is never a question you should ask, because you'll get the answer!!! Btw, any chance that we might have a brief convo via AIM (or other IM protocol of your choice) about podcasting?
Dreama (January 7, 2006 3:15 PM)

Hi Ryan, long time no read! :) Well, that's not true; I've been reading the various other blogs here, and listeing to HawaiiUP. I definitely know what it's like...I've let a journal go fallow myself. But there's definitely something about reading the longer stuff. Here's to another 11 months!
Keith (January 8, 2006 10:26 PM)

Buy my house! Buy my house! Then you can live Hilo too!It's on MLS#166205. I thought 2004 went by fast and a lot of things happened, but I have no idea where 2005 went! Hope you and your family have a smooth sailing 2006!
Pam (January 9, 2006 10:43 AM)

WAUGH!!! Granma passed away?!?!?!? NOOOO!!! {goes and cries a little} A woman I have ALWAYS resepected and loved dearly... I'm sorry. Nice to hear everything else seems to be going... normally. {coughtwominivanscough} Love from Jai and me...
Lusus Naturae (January 21, 2006 3:13 AM)

Another 'long time. no see' posting. Hello Ryan, and hope 2006 is good for all of us. -Joy
Joy (January 28, 2006 7:42 AM)

E kala mai! Comments have been disabled due to overwhelming abuse by spammers. Please click through to any of the video hosting services linked above to leave a public response, or feel free to send an e-mail. Mahalo!

© 1997-2008 Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: [ PGP ] · Created: 13 November 1997 · Last Modified: 14 January 2008