Tag Archives: marriage

It started with an email


I wouldn’t consider myself a risk-taker.

Sure, I’ve traveled to third-world countries without getting the appropriate shots and moved to Chicago without even visiting the city. (I am an Aries!)

But in general, I tend to live between the lines. I don’t paddle out if the waves are overhead and I wouldn’t walk my dogs in the middle of the night.

And to get me to go out on a date with someone I’ve never met before falls into that category.

Here’s what happened: Back in November 2013, I confessed to a friend that I was divorced. It wasn’t something I liked to broadcast. In fact, only a handful of people knew that my marriage was over.

I didn’t tell anyone for a variety of reasons, one of which was not wanting to get set up.

Which is exactly what happened.

My friend sent me over a link to the Facebook page of a guy he had known for a couple of years.

“Single,” he wrote.

“Who is he?”

“He’s a professor at UH, works with us on the wetland project, he does aquaculture mostly.”

“Nice?” I asked. Because that’s really, really important to me.

“Nice,” my friend responded. “And hunky.”

“I seriously don’t care about hunky.” (True.)


After a few back-and-forths — and then a serendipitous assignment on aquaculture — I decided I’d email this guy my friend was raving about.

My attitude was this: “If he’s nice and he’s active and he’s not an idiot or a misogynist or a downer or crazy or an asshole, I’m open.”

So I emailed him about the story. He wrote back the next morning, his message full of useful information. I appreciated his quick and comprehensive response. We became Facebook friends and, a month later, he emailed me this line about that story I was supposed to write: “I’m happy to help, too, and maybe we can meet up sometime in person to discuss.”

We agreed to meet on Dec. 14, 2013 in the early morning to surf at Queen’s — and to talk about aquaculture.

We surfed. And we did talk. But not just about aquaculture.

We wound up talking for six hours at Rainbow Drive-In. And before he got home, he texted me about surfing the next morning, too.

We saw each other every single day from that point on. And six months to the day we met, we were married.

And all it took was an email to a stranger.

I’ve looked back on my exchange with our mutual friend who set us up and I always laugh when I read the message he sent me, begging me not taking on this guy’s last name if we ever got married. (And this was before I had even sent that first email.) “Cat Fox,” he said, was just too much.

And yet, here we are, a year after we met on that fateful morning at the beach, and I’m officially — and legally and happily — a Fox.

Celebrating our one-year anniversary this weekend at the Moana Surfrider.

It’s still so unbelievable to me that our lives intersected last year, that we were both single at the same time, that we would both instantly like each other so much that in six months we made our relationship legal.

It just seems so surreal.

I barely knew the guy at first. (I won’t lie, I did Google him, but not much showed up.) And I’ve never really been the type to just meet someone like that — at 5 a.m. in Waikīkī, no less.

Yet, that departure from the way I usually operate proved to be the best decision of my life.

I met my husband, my best friend. I’m part of an awesome, supportive family. And my two dogs have another sister. Life couldn’t be better or more complete.

I’m still not going to paddle out in high-advisory surf or move to Syria. (There’s no good reason there.) But maybe, sometimes, every once in awhile, I might shake things up, do something that’s out of my ordinary.

Because you just never know what amazing turn your life might take.

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Someone explain cheating to me

Cheating is everywhere, it seems.

In the White House, on vacation, around the corner of your Orlando, Fla. mansion with your Swedish wife standing over you holding a golf club.

The latest cheating scandal splashed across websites and newspapers the past few days involves four marriages — so far: CIA director Gen. David Petraeus and his wife, Holly; Petraeus’ biographer Paula Broadwell and her husband; Jill Kelley and her husband; and Gen. John Allen and his wife.

To make it simple, here’s a quick version of the story: Kelley reported to the FBI “jealous” e-mails sent by Broadwell, who, turns out, had had an affair with Petraeus. The FBI probe also uncovered thousand of inappropriate e-mail messages from Allen, the commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, and Kelley. And there you have it.

Petraeus resigned. Allen’s in trouble. I can’t imagine anyone feels pretty good about what has just gone down.

Doesn’t anyone learn? Cheating isn’t worth it. Sure, folks get away with it all the time. But I believe it all catches up to you someday.

I’ve been cheated on. Several times, in fact. And it completely sucks. You feel betrayed, your trust is shattered, you start to think it had something to do with you. Like you’re not good enough, you weren’t worth it. Oh, I’ve been there.

The subject came up recently with a few of my girlfriends, some of which had experienced cheating, too. And the question came up, “What, exactly, is cheating?”

It’s a legitimate question.

Clearly, sex is cheating. Kissing is cheating. Anything involving a cigar and a naked White House intern is cheating. But what about “inappropriate” e-mails? When does flirting cross the line?

I don’t get the whole cheating thing, how it’s exciting and fun. I think it’d be stressful and tiring. I have a husband, thanks, not to mention two dogs, a house to clean, a career to cultivate, friends to share dinners with, waves to surf, beaches to run. I don’t need an extra thing on my to-do list.

So what’s the appeal? If you’re not happy with the person you’re with, leave. If you met someone else, be honest. And if you’ve already cheated, ‘fess up and figure it out.

And if you’re going to cheat, my God, don’t send e-mails!

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Yes, I’m still a Toth

It’s the first question most people have asked me since I tied the knot:

“What’s your last name now?”

Truth be told, I had no plans of changing my last name. And it’s not because of an identity issue or because I prefer my last name to my husband’s. (In fact, I actually dig the name Taira.)

I didn’t change my last name because I’m lazy.

Until you’re married, you don’t realize how humbug changing your last name can be. You have to change it on everything, from your Social Security card to your voter registration.

It’s not easy — and I didn’t feel like tracking down every bank account, every magazine subscription, every doctor’s office that needed my new name.

To put this into perspective, here are some of the things that need notification, some of which can take up to six weeks to process:

• Social Security card
• Driver’s license
• All bank accounts
• Documents at your job, including payroll
• Credit card companies
• Insurance companies (auto, home, life)
• Utility companies (such as electric, cable, Internet)
• Schools and alumni associations
• Doctors’ offices
• Post office box
• Voter registration office
• Investment account providers
• Attorney and accountants
• Passport office
• Email and social media accounts

The list goes on and on and on.

Sure, you don’t have to update everyone with your new last name. I mean, your hairstylist and massage therapist don’t need it. But you’d be surprised how tedious the process is to notify all the important ones — banks, credit cards companies, Social Security Administration — about the change.

Honestly, I’d rather spend my time surfing and walking my dogs than chasing after this. It’s all about perspective!

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#MerryMe: At last

We did it.

We got hitched.

And it’s rather appropriate that my blog — which was hacked and had been down for weeks — was finally revived (with the help of Brian Dote of Tapiki) the day after Independence Day and exactly two weeks after our wedding.


So here’s the deal: Derek and I tied the knot on June 21 — summer solstice — at a beach in Aina Haina. We celebrated with family and friends in a small reception — about 160 people — at the Waikiki Aquarium.

We ditched the formal wedding for a casual outdoor, pau hana-style event — with an outstanding live jazz band — under the stars in Waikiki. No dress code, no program. It was a very laid-back affair.

Instead of a buffet, we did food stations, with dishes from Tanioka’s Seafood & Catering, Rainbow Drive-In and Alicia’s Market. We had huli huli-style chicken, Ono Pops and a live sushi chef. And the cake — designed and baked by Aloha Cakery — was really a bunch of beautifully decorated cupcakes with an ocean theme.

Seriously, it was perfect.

Here’s what our wedding entailed — and what the Big Day looked like:

We love surfing

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First order of business: photos. We hired my pal Dave Miyamoto to shoot our photos — and he was stoked to find out we both surf. So he came out to Queen's — our spot — to catch us in action.

Thanks for sharing this special occasion with us!

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I kinda like my last name, thanks

I never put much thought into changing my name after marriage.

In fact, it never really occurred to me that it would be an option. I always thought I’d keep my last name because, well, it was my name. I grew up with it. It would take a lot effort to get used to another name.

But my fiance recently asked me if I had planned to take his last name.

Hmm. Trick question?

While it’s no longer socially rebellious to keep your name, some brides do feel a bit of pressure to take the name of their soon-to-be husbands. It’s tradition, it’s easier, it won’t spark a conversation with your kids later when they ask why Mommy and Daddy have different last names.

To me, the name change is so complicated, especially at my age. You have to change your surname on everything from your social security card to insurance policies. Some require a copy of your marriage certificate; others just a phone call. Still, all of it takes some effort.

But beyond that, it’s about identity, too.

A lot of my friends who are professionals — dentists, journalists, doctors, lawyers, business owners — don’t want to change their names because they’ve built a public or professional identity. Changing that means changing who you are — and some women don’t think we need to conform to arbitrary social standards anymore.

Which brings me to, well, me.

What do I do?

I’m not interesting in hyphenating our names or, worse, combining our last names to create a brand-new one. But I’m also not sure if I want to give up my surname — my identity — just because I’m getting married. Shouldn’t the commitment — and it’s a legal one! — be enough?

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