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What? Archie is dead?

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Maybe news of the death of Archie Andrews, the beloved redhead protagonist in the popular comic book series, didn’t rattle your morning.

But it did mine.

My mom texted me the link to a CNN article announcing the tragic news of his impending death come July, when the series, “Life With Archie,” ends after a 73-year run.

The #36 issue hits stores on July 16.

This is devastating to me. Very, very few people know I’m a hardcore Archie Comics fan. My parents would buy me issues all the time, feeding my addiction to all things Riverdale.

These characters — Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica, Reggie, Moose, Midge — were my childhood friends, and I followed their teenage exploits since the time I could read.

It’s hard enough knowing that the comic series will come to an end. It’s like a part of my life is over. But it’s even stranger — and, frankly, difficult to accept — that the freckled-faced teenager who always tried to do the right thing is going to die.

Die.

Sure, he supposedly will die saving a friend. (“Archie dies as he lived — heroically,” Archie Comics CEO Jon Goldwater told the New York Post. “He dies saving the life of a friend and does it in his usual selfless way. Archie has always been a representation of us — the best of us. Our strengths and our faults.”) But it’s just tragic. I mean, what’s the point in killing the poor guy? Doesn’t this just add weight to the argument that nice guys finish last?

In a way, I suppose it’s much more interesting than ending the series with Archie finally choosing between the saccharine-sweet Betty and spoiled-but-fetching Veronica. (I’ve always been a Betty fan, so there’s no argument there.) But death? Isn’t this going too far?

It actually makes me sad to think a whole generation of kids won’t grow up with Archie Andrews and his Riverdale High classmates. But I suppose, like all good things, this, too, had to come to an end.

What has amazed me with this series is how, well, normal it was. These characters didn’t have superpowers, they didn’t live in far-off galaxies. These were regular teenagers dealing with the same problems we all face with — love, rejection, heartache, trust, envy, friendship. And that’s what has made them all so lovable.

So why kill him.

I’m not about to stage a protest — though I’ve seriously thought about it — since, to be honest, it won’t help. But I just don’t think it’s necessary to do something this tragic and heartbreaking. Let Archie live. Let him grow up, find a job, pay taxes, maybe get married and then divorced. Let him live that normal life trajectory he was already on. It would make me feel better that he’s still out there, trying to do the right thing and giving us hope that it’s OK to fail at it.

Who’s with me?

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Oh, age is more than just a number!

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Something happened when I turned 39.

OK, maybe when I turned 35.

Everything changed.

My body started to ache after surfing for three consecutive days. I couldn’t eat Taco Bell without hurting later. And I realize I don’t walk into a room the same way. The swag — if I even had any — is now more of a limp.

I was never one to believe the complaints about getting older. I never really looked my age — thank the Asian genes — and I never subscribed to “adult” things like home ownership and retirement plans.

Then I turned 39 and realized this was my last year to be thirtysomething. And really, what do I have to show for it?

It never occurred to me that I would get old — and what that would mean. I’ve hung out with older folks — I’m talking guys in their 60s and 70s — for more than a decade and never felt like I was a kid. We all did the same things — surf, run, swim, eat donuts — so age never mattered.

But now I’m starting to feel it. I’m tired by 9 p.m. I’d rather sip wine than kick back tequila shots. And I’m starting to squint. That freaks me out.

There was a graphic that I saw posted on the Facebook walls of friends that was a bit startling. It put into perspective how quickly time has passed. It said that “Shrek” and “Monsters Inc.” were released 11 years ago. Hillary Duff is a mom. And Dylan and Cole Sprouse are 20 years old.

I don’t even know who Dylan and Cole Sprouse are!

I can’t change the fact that I’m 39, nor can I fight this aging thing. But I’m just not ready to embrace it yet, either.

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Thanks, folks, for not being there

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Dear Mom and Dad,

I was driving to work this morning and caught a bit of “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” on ESPN radio.

Usually, he chats about things like the NBA Draft, flaws in Major League Baseball, or why warm weather cities won’t have loyal fans.

But this morning he started ranting about over-parenting.

He talked about how modern parents are obsessed about being there for their kids. They want to do everything, go everywhere with their kids. They feel guilty about going on business trips, like they’re going to miss something important or impactful.

I agree with him: parents today don’t want to mess up. But “messing up” may not be as bad as they think.

You both worked full-time jobs. You had four kids to raise. You didn’t have time to take us to basketball practice or soccer games. You did the best you could, and that’s all any kid could ask for, really.

And now, in hindsight, I actually appreciate the fact that you weren’t always there for me.

I know that sounds weird to say. But think about this: I caught the bus in second grade, mastering the public transportation system by age 8. As a latch-key kid, I figured out how to bake sugar cookies in a toaster oven and make grilled cheese sandwiches — and I was still in grade school.

I had to figure things out on my own. If I missed a bus stop, I had to learn to stay calm, ring the bell, find my way back. If I broke something, I had to fix it. And if I was left with a choice, I had to make my own decision — and live with the consequences of it.

I know you would have wanted to be there, to help me navigate life. But because of that freedom — OK, it was more like throwing me in the deep end of the pool and telling me to swim — I gained confidence in myself, I became self-reliant, and I learned to be creative.

There was a study done awhile back that showed kids who got fewer presents turned out to be more creative. That made me laugh, remembering how we’d play in empty refrigerator boxes stuffed with styrofoam peanuts. Seriously, those were good times!

It’s easy to blame our parents for the things that go wrong in our lives. And I could sit here and whine about how you weren’t around growing up. You rarely came to my volleyball matches, you never taught me how to ride a bike or swim, you were never around.

But that’s not fair.

You guys were great parents. You provided for us, you pointed us in the right direction, you doled out advice (some of which you don’t take yourself, but that’s another blog), and you were our biggest fans, even from a distance.

So I’m not upset that you worked more than most parents and didn’t make me home lunch every day. You helped me become the person I am today, flawed and somewhat neurotic but happy nonetheless.

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What I learned turning 39

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I had it all planned out.

My birthday happened to fall on a Thursday when I had no plans. None. I couldn’t believe my luck!

So I decided to actually spend a day doing everything I loved to: surf in the morning, breakfast with the guys I surf with, hike Makapuu with my dogs, maybe relax on the beach with a book, then hit the surf for an evening session and eat somewhere with great food. I wasn’t going to check e-mail or do any work of any kind. It was my birthday — and my last in the 30s — and I was going to spend it the way I had wanted, dammit.

But like most things in life, they don’t always turn out the way you expect — or want.

I did manage to catch a few waves in the early morning, but that’s about the only thing on my list that actually happened according to plan.

I should have known when I stepped on something sharp and hard on the way back to my car that this wasn’t going to be my favorite day.

The “Check Engine Soon” light flickered on while I was driving down to the beach. And when I was about to head home, it started making a clunking noise, one that my mechanic said could be bad, really bad, like, tow-the-car-to-my-shop bad. And the bottom of my foot, where the shard was lodged, was starting to ache.

I had to skip on breakfast at Rainbow Drive-In and spend the morning, instead, sitting outside my mechanic’s shop in Kakaako until my mom came to pick me up.

So we grabbed breakfast at Pancakes and Waffles Hawaii in Kalihi (photo at top), where we gorged on honey butter chicken, mini waffles, buttermilk pancakes and vinha d’alhos (Portuguese pickled pork). It wasn’t on my to-do list, but I wasn’t complaining, either.

I wasn’t sure when the car would be ready that day — or if it would even be ready that day — so I couldn’t do much of anything. I stayed home, watched Netflix, took a nap, walked the dogs and did nothing much remarkable.

IMG_1939I wasn’t in the mood to surf that night, and I didn’t feel like sitting in a bustling restaurant, ordering dishes I couldn’t pronounce. So I made comfort food bentos — Spam musubis, shoyu hot dogs, shoyu eggs — and headed to Waikiki to watch the sunset. Bubbies was my dessert. No singing “Happy Birthday” necessary.

My day didn’t turn out much like anything I had originally planned — and I learned a few things with that experience.

You can’t control everything. No matter how much you want to, you really can’t. So much in life isn’t determined by you and you have to learn to just go with it. It’s not the easiest thing, especially when your plans are derailed; it’s frustrating. But it’s important to realize the only thing you can control is how you deal with these situations, not the situations themselves.

Sometimes the surprises are better than your plans. I hadn’t planned on eating breakfast with my mom — and because my car broke down, I was able to. And that was one of the highlights of my birthday.

Doing nothing can be a good thing. I’m not one of those people who enjoy lounging around the house, doing nothing. I don’t sit in front of the TV for hours or even take naps. But sometimes it’s a good thing to recharge and unwind. It’s a lesson I haven’t quite learned yet, but I’m starting to.

There’s always tomorrow. Sure, Thursday was my birthday, but that’s just an arbitrary date. All the things I wanted to do — I can do today. Or tomorrow. And even over the weekend. I can’t worry about not accomplishing everything today, right now. I have to learn to let go and realize the surf will be there in the morning. It’s all good.

Thank you to everyone who sent birthday wishes via the blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, e-mail, text message and every other way technology has allowed us to stay in touch. I appreciate all the love!

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When you’re a bad friend

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Something happens when you’re older, aside from the obvious weight gain and memory loss.

You sort of forget what it means to be a friend.

Or maybe your definition of a friend changes.

Whichever. I feel like that’s what’s happened to me lately.

In high school it was easy. Friends were the people you hung out with every morning before class or after school. They were the people you called late at night to cry about a breakup or gush about a new crush. You brought an embarrassing amount of flowers and helium balloons to school on their birthdays and wrote them letters, neatly folded into origami-like forms, when you were in class.

Friendship got trickier in college. Most of us had to juggle full class schedules, extracurricular activities and part-time jobs. I didn’t have as much time as I did in high school to hang with my friends — most of my spare time was spent working or studying — and I didn’t see them as often during the day, either. We all took different classes, had different breaks, or weren’t even on the same island anymore. We wrote letters every now and again — yes, this was before e-mail — and called on the weekends. But it wasn’t the same.

And now fast forward nearly 20 years and I can’t even remember to take the laundry out of the dryer much less post, “Happy Birthday!” on someone’s Facebook wall.

I don’t know what happened to me — or if friendships change over time and there’s not much I can do about it

I’m a firm believer, though, that all relationships — and that includes friendships — need to be nurtured and require attention. You should call, you should check in, you should be there when they need you. But as we get older, the face-to-face time gets harder and harder, and you suddenly realize you haven’t talked to or seen your bestie in months.

Lately, I think I’ve been a bad friend. Despite my social nature, I tend to hide out a lot. I like to be alone, spend time with my dogs, hang with my family, watch whatever’s on Bravo. As most of my close friends can attest, it’s hard to get me to go out these days. Party invites and tweetup RSVPs sit untouched in my inbox for weeks. I dread going to events where there will be more than 10 people in attendance. I do it and I almost always have fun while I’m there — it’s just hard getting me there.

That’s not an indicator of a friend gone bad. It is, though, when I can’t meet friends for lunch or text them on their birthdays or send thank-you cards.

I used to be better about it. I don’t know what happened.

I had a conversation about this with another super-busy blogger type and she said friendships shouldn’t be overly complicated. If she doesn’t see you or hear from you in weeks, fine. But when she needs you, she expects you’ll be there. I guess that makes it simpler.

And people can be bad friends but great acquaintances. And maybe we should determine what the nature of the friendship is before getting our feelings intertwined and ultimately hurt.

I feel badly for all the friends who might have felt dismissed in recent years, displaced by my dogs or my sick sister or my big move from Aina Haina. I really don’t have any excuse. It was never intentional; my life got in the way. But it’s always good — not matter how much it hurts — to get reminded of that every once in a while.

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