Family Ties, Big Island Style

For many people, going to Hawaii offers up the promise of adventure. And depending upon your interests, that adventure can take many forms.

Feel like exploring nature under water? There’s no limit to the snorkeling and scuba diving options throughout the islands. Surfing is at the top of a lot of Hawaii travelers’s lists. If you have a four-wheel drive vehicle, you can head up to the almost 14,000-ft summit of Maura Kea. And almost as adventurous as the drive up is mastering your 4×4’s low gears as you try not to burn up your brakes on the way down. A hike along the lava fields near the constantly erupting Kilauea can be breathtaking, or life-ending if you take the wrong step near one of the flowing rivers of 2,000-degree magma. And there is always the solemnity and history that comes with a visit to Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial.

A few of these items were on my family’s itinerary as part of a recent trip we took to the Big Island of Hawaii. But there was also something more adventurous than all of those items combined that we had in mind. Something that really doesn’t show up on the hundreds of activity fliers that are in every Hawaiian hotel lobby. Something that gets at the the heart of who we are and where we came from.

We were looking for family.

It’s no secret that all families have their own stories, and characters, too. For example, my dad used to say that when he was in the army during the Cuban Missile Crisis, he and the other paratroopers had to sleep on the runway, under their planes, in order to be ready to invade Cuba as soon as John F. Kennedy said the word.

Now, this story might be apocryphal, but it’s become part of our family lore. But, in order to have such lore as part of your family, you need to have a family to be the source of such tales. And this how we came to spend a day driving through the southern, Kua region of the Big Island on a quest to find my wife’s roots.

You see, my wife, Megan, was adopted. And as is the case with many children who are adopted, Megan has always wanted to know where, and who, she was from. Her story isn’t uncommon among children of adoption: Her birth parents were young, her mother got pregnant and didn’t feel she was in a position to be a mother, and she gave up Megan for adoption. Within a matter of days, the couple that would be Megan’s parents, her mom and dad, had found her and took her home to Oakland where she has always lived. In fact, we live in the home where he parents brought her and gave her a name and a life. She found her birth parents, who never married or stayed together, back in 2003, and has developed good relationships with both of them.

But, as it turned out, her birth father was from Hawaii. He met Megan’s birth mother on Oahu, they went to California together, and, the rest of the story is history. Or, it was, until Megan began pulling at the strings of her birth father’s family.

And it was all of that pulling that took us on a trip around the Big Island.

Continue reading


Rules For My Daughters

Over the last week or so, I have seen a few dads on Facebook post a list of “Rules For My Son(s)”. I don’t know what the source of these rules is, but I do know I have seen the same set of rules posted by different dads. This is fine, but those rules have little to do with me.

That’s because I have daughters. Two of them, in fact.

So, I decided that my girls needed a set of rules, too, and I sat down to come up with some guidelines. Some of these are specifically for girls, Some of them are more general. Some of them are humorous. Some of them even play upon things I have heard elsewhere.

All of them are based in common sense.

Feel free to take some, or all of these, for your own use. You’re Welcome.

Rules For My Daughters…

1. Never refuse the chance to have ice cream. You can never be in a bad mood when you are eating ice cream.

2. You each have just one sister. Be friends with each other. This will really help out when it comes to sharing clothes. Or, if some day, one of you needs a kidney.

3. Don’t ever be late. For anything. In fact, be 10 minutes early.

4. Get a AAA membership. But know how to change a flat tire, anyway. Your cellphone battery might be dead and you’ll be unable to call AAA.

5. That said…Always keep your cellphone plugged into a car charger when you are driving.

21751438_10212550996744435_2342740166762045685_n6. You have no excuse for ever running out of gas. That thing on the dashboard with the “E” on one side and the “F” on the other? It tells you how much gas is in the tank. When it gets to the quarter-tank mark, pull off the road and fill up.

7. You want to date someone, fine. But I have to meet him before you go out. And I maintain the right of first refusal on the guy.

8. Same things apply for a girl, too.

9. If you are supposed to be home by 10, you will be home by 10.

10. Do I need to repeat Rule No. 9? No? Good. Be home by 10.

11. Always buy the best seat you can afford at the ballgame.

12. When someone puts a specific song on, that means they want to hear that song. Don’t talk over the song while it’s playing. Especially when that song is Boston’s “More Than A Feeling.”

13. Cast-iron skillets. You can cook anything on one and it will outlast you, your children, and your children’s children. And it’s not a bad weapon, either, if you need it.

14. Never go to bed with a sink full of dirty dishes.

15. Hawaii is always a good idea.

16. Accepting a gesture of politeness does not make you look weak. So, let the man hold the door open for you.

17. When you are older, you will learn the value of keeping a good curse word chambered for emergency use.

18. Pick up those AA batteries when you’re at the store. You will need them for something.

19. Always raise your hand in class.

20. Help the kid who can’t figure out the answer. Don’t give him or her the answer, but show them how to get there.

21. When you meet your friends’ parents, or any other adults, it’s always Mr. or Mrs. (Last Name). If they say you can call them by their first names, it’s still always, Mr. or Mrs. (Last Name).

22. No one ever gets tired of hearing the words “Please” and “Thank you.”

23. Sometimes, you will have to judge someone. And they will deserve it.

24. A roll of duct tape, a pair of Channellock pliers and a good hammer. Almost anything can be fixed at least temporarily with one of those items.

25. Take $1,000. Hide it somewhere in the house. And don’t tell anyone else where it is.

26. Know that it’s OK to feel humble.

27. Some places where it’s OK to feel humble: Mt. Rushmore, Niagara Falls, Arlington National Cemetery, the Eiffel Tower and when you get home from the hospital after having your first child.

28. It’s better to take a steak off the grill 10 minutes early than leave it on one minute too long.

29. At times, there will be girls that are prettier than you, smarter than you, and better than you in school. Accept those situations. Because there will be times when you will be one of those girls who is prettier, smarter and better in school than someone else. And remember how it felt the other way.

30. Sorry, but you don’t always get your way.

31. Sometimes, you can say more with less. Want an example? Read the Gettysburg Address. It’s only about 260 words long.

32. Memorize the Gettysburg Address.

33. When you have to put your shoulder into closing your dresser drawers, it’s time to donate some of your clothes to charity.

34. Always tip your haircutter, your bartender, your garbage man, and if you see him, the pilot of any plane you fly in.

35. On a hot summer day, you will never regret drinking an ice-cold Coke.

It’s All In The Chips

My kids favorite food is snacks. Honestly. And if you have kids, you know what I am talking about.

You can spend an entire day sweating over your stove, preparing a Thanksgiving feast that could leave the most-strident vegan PETA member drooling with gluttonous desire over the turkey, and your six-year-old will turn her nose up at that gravy recipe that your great-great-grandmother brought from the Old Country back when William McKinley was in the White House.
But, the thought of a snack of any kind? That kid that was “full” just minutes earlier will suddenly have plenty of room for a bowl of Jell-O pudding.

However, when it comes to snacks, nothing beats the appeal of chips. 

Maddo, after organizing and ranking all the chips that matter.

For kids, chips really check off a lot of boxes in the snack department. They’re usually salty. They’re flavorful. They’re easy to eat. They’re fun. And they’re about as casual a food as you can eat. Set out a bowl of chips and you’re almost required to put a football game on the TV, sink into your sofa, and let your Sunday afternoon slip away into oblivion.
Yet, not all chips are created equal. And no one will let you know their feeling about food as quickly as an eight-year-old girl. Like my daughter, Maddo.

I picked up a couple of variety bags of Frito-Lay chips the other day. These are the bags that look like pillows, only instead of being filled with goose down, they contain 20 bags of various types of Frito-Lay products. We needed these, anyway, because we had been wanting to re-supply our snack selection for a while. And, as she likes to do, Maddo set about organizing the chips by type and her preference. And being that Maddo is a kid who likes her chips, I knew she would have an opinion of all the choices ahead of her. 

So, with that, here is Maddo’s definitive ranking of chips, and a reason behind her decisions. Keep in mind that this ranking is complete and absolute.

1. Nacho Cheese Doritos.

Maddo’s Take: It explodes in my mouth! I get a burst of flavor as soon as these are in. Y mouth!

2. Chili Cheese Fritos

Maddo’s Take: There’s a mix of spicy, but not too much. I get this taste all over my mouth, which is good.

3. Regular Chee-tos

Maddo’s Take: There’s all kinds of cheesy goodness here. And it just explodes in my mouth.

4. Cool Ranch Doritos

Maddo’s Take: Daddy? You know how you hate hippies? Well, you don’t really like hippies? Cool ranch is like a mix of bad boy and nice guy.

5. Original Fritos 

Maddo’s Take: Nice and crunchy, but also plain and salty. But not “Sun Chips”-dull.

6. Classic Lay’s

Maddo’s Take: It’s just a classic, like the name says. It’s delicious, and it has a vegetable in it.

7. Lay’s Sour Cream and Onion

Maddo’s Take: It isn’t the best, but I would choose this over Sun Chips. But, when I have them, I don’t think, “LIKE, WOW!”

8. Lay’s Barbecue

Maddo’s Take: Myself, I would prefer real barbecue sauce. I mean, like the kind you put on ribs. You know, REAL STUFF!

9. Being Run Over By The Lay’s Delivery Truck

Maddo’s Take: OK, I made this one up.

10. Sun Chips

Maddo’s Take: These have a really dull flavor. No offense.

Football Leagues Ranked

(With football season almost upon us-aside for the Canadian Football League, which is on right now-I decided that it’s time to re-visit my ranking of football leagues. This list is definitive and final. Why? Because I know everything.)

As a dad to two young girls who are eight and almost seven, I face a dilemma every fall. That dilemma is that I am a football fan and I have two young girls who would rather watch Disney’s “Descendents 2” for the 10,000th time than join me in a feast of chicken wings and watching Russell Wilson run the offense for my hometown and beloved Seattle Seahawks.

But, the girls have shown some signs of coming around. I actually got them to watch a decent amount of the Seahawks Super Bowl win three years ago, and they will sit down with me for as many as four plays in a row. They also know how to cheer for Daddy’s college team, Washington State, and can give a vocal round of “GO COUGARS!” when prompted.

I'm getting them started early on Seahawks Fandom

From 2014 after the Seahawks won Super Bowl XLVIII. I’m getting them started early on Seahawks Fandom

So, with football season almost here, and my calendar already marked with the days and times that my teams will be on TV, I decided it was time to give a completely subjective ranking of football leagues. Some of these include different styles of “football.” Feel free to debate and consider things like why the XFL didn’t last more than one season. [Because it needed more He Hate Me].

1. NFL [Regular season]

2. College Football [In spite of the fascistic NCAA and the existence of USC]

3. Australian Football League [aka “Aussie Rules”]

4. Anything coached by Coach Taylor on “Friday Night Lights”

5. United States Football League [Games involving Herschel Walker]

6. My daughter’s U6 soccer league

7. Canadian Football League [Warren Moon with Edmonton Eskimos-era]

8. NFL [Preseason]

9. English Premier League

10. American Football League the year Joe Namath guaranteed a New York Jets win over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III

11. USFL [Non-Herschel Walker games]

12. CFL [Non-Warren-Moon era]

13. Legends Football League

14. Eating at Chipotle

15. CFL [The year the Baltimore team won the Grey Cup]





It’s a word that’s both descriptive and active. And it’s a word that usually suggests something in motion.

We live in fluid times. The memories were fluid. It’s a fluid situation. When our kids are sick, one of the first things the doctor always tells my wife and I is to make sure the girls drink plenty of fluids. Fluid covers a lot of ground.

But the word fluid will always have a new meaning for me, one of sadness and heartbreak.

“She has a lot of fluid in her chest.” That’s what the emergency room veterinarian said grimly when she told me, my wife, and our daughters about the condition afflicting our cat, Corina.

The fluid was why Corina had been breathing laboriously. And it was why she wasn’t moving around or raising her head or running seemingly out of nowhere when she would hear me pull back the tab and crack open a can of Fancy Feast, most of which she would devour before letting our other cat, Baby, have a single bite.

The fluid was a sign of heart failure. And the fluid was too much for her, or us, to overcome.

Continue reading

Welcome To The Beaver/Duck/Legal Pot/No Sales Tax/Only Full-Serve Gas State

Oregon is a state that does things in a way befitting its geographical location. When you’re bordered on the north by coffee-addled tech geeks in Washington, pot-loving Northern California hillbillies (and as I live in California, I guarantee you there are as many backwoods rednecks there as in the entire South), a section of the gambling mecca of Nevada on the southeast, and Idaho, you’re going to end up with a place where contradictions rule.

And what contradictions there are in the Beaver State.

First off, Oregon should be called the Duck State. The University of Oregon (Ducks) have become a college sports powerhouse, get most the state’s sports fans’ attention, and all of Nike founder (and U. of O. alum) Phil Knight’s money. Also, Eugene, home of Ducks, is right off of I-5, the main north-south highway running through Oregon, and eventually up to Canada.

Conversely, the Beavers, of Oregon State, are perpetually in a position of playing second fiddle to their avian cousins, both on the gridiron and in affections of Oregonians. And Corvallis, where Oregon State is located, is somewhere between the Pacific Ocean and Nevada, for all I know.

There’s the the state’s politics. Oregon had voted Republican in pretty much every presidential election through 1984. The older George Bush didn’t do so well with the Oregon crowd in ‘88, and the state has voted Democrat ever since. I can’t say for certain if presidential politics had anything to do with Oregon voters’ decision to vote in legalized pot back in 2015, but I’m sure that choice has only helped the business at the famous Voodoo Doughnut shops in Eugene and Portland.

But, whatever your politics are, Oregon has you covered.

Continue reading

The Drink Of The Weekend–Lagunitas Hop Stoopid Ale

As part of our mission here at Why Daddy Drinks to revel in the humorous lunacy that is fatherhood, and to promote the drinking of quality beverages, we bring you our erratically scheduled segment highlighting something that should be in your glass. This is The Drink Of The Weekend.

There is nothing that is both as finite and infinite as time. Yes, time never ends. There is always a new day tomorrow. And the day after that and the day after that and…You get the idea.

But, within that always ongoing cycle of time lies the beginning and ending of everything. The day begins, the day ends. You only have so much time at your disposal. And within that period of time, you have to find a way to handle your responsibilities, find some recreation and deal with all the unexpected things that seem to come out of nowhere, and which often take up much, if not most of the time you expect to have for predetermined responsibilities and hoped-for recreation.

And when you have kids, so often those “unexpected things” that appear out of nowhere are related directly to your lovely, wonderful offspring. Just the other morning, as I was trying to get some work done, my daughters felt the need to ask me to give them ponytails, show off a new “dance” one of them had done (Eight-year-old Maddo looked like a cross between Mick Jagger and three cats fighting with each other) and tattle on each other for the heinous crime of trying to brush their teeth at the same time.

What I’m trying to get at is that I’ve hardly had any time to write much lately. And no time at all to do one of these Drink of the Weekend features. Not that there haven’t been reasons to imbibe in something good, mind you. For example, as I write this sentence, three full days have passed since I last wrote anything here. And, I am also doing so at the end of a 10+ hour day of working at home, one that was punctuated by 10+ hours of my daughters crying, whining, and fighting with and tattling on each other, while also barging in on me to ask for what seemed like a million times if I could get them out of the house, or call one of their friends to have a play date.

Yeah, there hasn’t been much time to write about something to drink. But, man, there has been enough going on to make me want to drink.

And when I have had a chance to crack open something cold, and good, lately, it has been Lagunitas Brewing Company’s Hop Stoopid Ale.

Continue reading