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Castle Park and other things I miss

Castle Park and other things I miss

The other day, for whatever reason, I thought about Castle Park.

It was Oahu’s version of Disneyland — complete with a castle. I remember spending weekends there, playing video games in the arcade — I was a big fan of Mappy — maneuvering bumper boats and racing go-carts around an open track. There was nothing quite like it.

It got me thinking about all the things I miss — from the glazed donuts from Kimuraya Bakery in Kaimuki to

I’m too young to remember the termite-infested Honolulu Stadium, the Sky Slide in Waipahu, wrestling at the Civic Auditorium, even “Checkers & Pogo.” (Though I’ve heard stories.)

But I do remember seeing the monkeys at Pearl City Tavern, singing with my friends at Rising Star in Pearlridge Center, getting splatter-paint shirts at Guava Lane in Ala Moana Center, watching movies from the balcony in the Waikiki 3, playing video games at Joy Square in Waikiki and buying back-to-school clothes at Gems in Kalihi.

Here are more things I miss:

• The smell of pineapple around Dole Cannery, even when the water tower was taken down
• Icebox cookies from King’s Bakery
• The water and bird shows at Paradise Park in Manoa
• The food counter at Woolworth’s
• The annual Farm Fair at McKinley High School
• The smoke from sugar cane burning
• “Hawaiian Moving Company”
• The lighted cross at Camp Smith
• The return policy at Liberty House
• The manapua man
• Cinerama and Varsity theaters
• Raraya and Taishoken ramen shops
• Professor Fun (“Pow, pow, pow!””

I guess it’s true, though, what Billy Joel sang in “Keeping the Faith”: “The good ol’ days weren’t always good and tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems.”

Still. There are some things I reflect on fondly.

Got any to share?

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The Royal Wedding obsession

The Royal Wedding obsession

Get this: For $4,000, you can send your 8-year-old daughter to a princess boot camp — one of many that have sprung up prior to the April 29 nuptials of Prince Edward and Kate Middleton.

One in particular gathers wannabe princesses at a posh London hotel to teach them how to curtsy properly and what to say to the Queen, should these taffeta-wearing tweens ever cross her path in the buffet line.

We are obsessed with the Royal Wedding. Obsessed! You can’t turn on the TV without getting an update about William and Kate, where they’re planning to get hitched, who’s in her bridal party, what will she be wearing? We just can’t stop!

The royal couple is so lucrative, for example, Lifetime is airing a docuseries on them. Newspapers and TV stations have created special blogs centered around the wedding. And there’s even a “For Dummies” edition about the Royal Wedding. I’m not kidding.

More than 2 billion — BILLION — people are expected to watch the event live. It’s said to be more anticipated than Princess Diana’s fateful marriage in 1981 to Prince Charles, which was watched by about the same number of people.

But why?

Is it because we love a good romance? Are we just fascinated with royalty? Or are we desperate — after last month’s devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, among other awful things going on in the world — for some good, uplifting news?

What do you think?

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Turning 36, no turning back

Turning 36, no turning back

Last year on my birthday I woke up with a pounding headache.

At first I thought I had a migraine. Everything — the light outside, the noise from the TV, my dog licking my feet — was bothering me.

I was in severe pain, didn’t want to get out of bed, could barely think clearly.

When it donned on me: I didn’t have a migraine. I had a hangover.

At the age of 35, I was experiencing — for the first time in my life — what most 21-year-olds wake up with the day after their birthdays.

It was a bit pathetic, I’ll be honest, but it was also a hard lesson: I wasn’t a young kid anymore. I was getting old. And that meant my body wasn’t as resilient — or tolerant — as it used to be.

Now, I realize 36 isn’t that old. But it’s not young, either. If I got pregnant now, the chances for chromosomal abnormalities is substantially higher. If I wanted to lose weight now, it would be twice as hard, as my metabolism has slowed and my ability to burn calories on the decline.


But there are upsides to being older. I know better, for one. And I tend to care less about what people think of me or my wardrobe choices.

We are a society obsessed with our ages, with getting older. We do anything to stay younger, from eye creams that promise reduction of wrinkles to major surgery to restore our bodies to our previously youthful state. It’s a lot of pressure to not get old.

But, for whatever reason, I’m not worried about getting older. At least not yet. I actually like the fact that I’m in my 30s. I feel like people will take me seriously, that I’m not some young kid trying to assert herself in the “adult world.”

I say that now. We’ll see how I feel when I turn 40.

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Kona: Northbound

Kona: Northbound

One of the must-trys on my list of things to do in Kona was, literally, “Eat malassadas at Tex Drive In.”

I had never been. And being such a malassada connoisseur — OK, not really, but I do love to eat them — I figured I had to try this popular Big Island version.

Lucky for us, the restaurant opened a location in Kopiko Plaza in Kailua-Kona in January. That meant we didn’t have to drive out to Honokaa — about an hour drive from downtown Kona — to its original location, opened in 1969.

But we did anyway.

And not just because I was desperate to try Tex’s fried dough. I wanted to see all the sights along the way: views of the ocean from Hualalai, Waimea Town, Anna Ranch, Waipio Valley, Hapuna Beach.

So we hit the road early, hoping to reach Tex’s by lunch. Or at least before it closed.

Here’s what today’s adventure looked like:

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Dining at Tex Drive In

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ASK DR. DISH: Drinking etiquette

ASK DR. DISH: Drinking etiquette

Question: Dr. Dish, my company has a policy that we cannot drink while at work events. But what about at networking mixers at bars and nightclubs? Technically it is not a work event.

Answer: Thanks for the question! It’s a good one, too, so this recently happened to me.

I was at “An Evening of Sustainable Cuisine” at the Halekulani to support the efforts to raise money for the Culinary Institute of the Pacific at Kapiolani Community College, where I work as a journalism instructor. My chancellor and dean were in attendance, noshing on the “green” cuisine from Roy’s, town and the hotel.

But master mixologist Julie Reiner was there, too, serving up specialty cocktails that were hard to resist.

So what did I do?

Nothing. Until my dean walked over with a ginger beer drink and told me to try it. How could I not?

The rule of thumb is this: don’t get drunk. Don’t even get close.

Here’s the deal: even though it’s not technically a work event, you’re still representing your company (and your industry) at these mixers. You’re handing out your business card, right? Then people know who you are and where you work. And you don’t want to embarrass yourself or your company by downing six shots and licking the dance floor.

Be smart. Have a beer or nurse a cocktail. But don’t go overboard.

Anyone else got advice to dish? Or better yet — got a story to share?

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