Father’s Day 2018

Happy Father’s Day to my dad! My dad, Kevin, he’s probably the greatest father anyone could ever hope to have — He’s a dedicated husband to my mom, a father to us four, a friend to all. He also happens to be the first person to ever introduce me to the world of law enforcement and military, and welcome me into this profession with open arms. And for that, I’ll always be forever grateful to him for being one of the very few (aside from my mom), from the beginning, to believe in me.

My dad and I have had some amazing times together; from running around Oakland together blowing bubbles when I was just a child to working as partners in the field solving cases — We’ve had innumerable fun times together that I’ll always be thankful for.

We all had a great dinner at home; perfectly seasoned ribs on the barbecue and potato salad. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos (shocking, I know). However, another blog post that I’m going to write is the dinner we had last father’s day at Ruth’s Chris Steak House, located at The Shops at Mauna Lani; as a father’s day gift, I took my dad and family there. The food was delectable and the atmosphere was just as great, in fact if I could make that an annual event for us I would.

Thank you dad for being a wonderful, supportive, hardworking father — I love you.

 

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Life Today | June

Life Today | June

Hello June! Wow, I haven’t done a “life today” post since September. Much has changed and yet much has remained the same —

1. I have begun applying to graduate school for the fall semester. In fact, I started the process in February and it has taken nearly four months to complete. I am not going to list any of the schools that I have applied to (yet), however I will divulge that the academic field that I have chosen is intelligence studies. I am nervous, excited, hopeful — Applying to graduate school is a little nerve-racking.

2. Monsoor is healing wonderfully; he is remarkable. I briefly discussed him in a previous post and on my Instagram, however updates on my blog have been non-existent — I have done a stellar job at writing daily updates about Monsoor, however when it comes to posting those updates on here, well, I have been terrible at it! I want to change that because I want the world to know who Monsoor the cat is; a lovable, beautiful, fighter. We have had him now for almost 10 months; he is 1 year 10 months old. He is no longer 3 lbs — I need to weigh him on a scale, however if I had to estimate his weight, he is probably 10 lbs. He is blind; when we found him on the side of the road, at that point in time, he had an infection that took his eyes and nearly his face. Here we are almost a year later and his face is 98% healed and he has adjusted to living blind. He has his own bed/living area, stuffed animals (his favorite is the hippopotamus, maybe because it’s the softest), and he loves playing with the dogs who, in turn, take care of him; Max is his best friend. Monsoor truly lives up to his name.

3. I have had Ray now for 10 months; I adopted Ray from the Humane Society a week before rescuing Monsoor. Ray is a month or so away from celebrating his fifth birthday! He is slightly bigger than your average Red Heeler; I need him to get used to exercise and a diet. I want him to enjoy hiking like Max, however we will need to start with smaller trails and work from there. With the ongoing eruptions, we have poor air quality (it is improving); we need to find a new hiking trail suitable for Ray and Max. Ray enjoys sleeping on the tiled floor and his air mattress; he loves his dog treats (I know, I know. What dog does not?). He enjoys lounging on the front porch and back porch. He is Max’s best friend and wants to be Sophie’s friend but she is not having any of that, and, well, all I can say is cats man…except Monsoor; Monsoor loves humans, cats, dogs, etc. Anyway, Ray is such a sweet boy.

4. Max is as rambunctious as ever, while Sophie has moved back into my bedroom after living in my office…after living in my bedroom. #Dogs #Cats

5. Blogging — I have been getting into a better habit of blogging regularly, however I have thousands of photos (literally) of beautiful places here on the Big Island that I want to post; I need to find the time to organize my photos and write the stories. At the end of the day, I just want to appreciate the good times I have had. At the same time, social media (not necessarily blogging) has been on my mind lately with a HUGE question mark. I love writing. I love photography. I love being able to share a little of my life with those who are interested. However, I am not sure what role, or if there is a role, social media plays in my life or in my profession. Is it good for my profession? Is it pointless? I have no clue.

6. Post-grad life brings new meaning to the phrase “take the bull by the horns.”

7. Nick has been in college now for nine months, while Riley is graduating from high school on the 20th. Time flies!

8. Dad is now the security manager overseeing the security at the hospital in Kailua-Kona; he drives roughly 212 miles a day because work is on the other side of this massive island.

9. I spend a lot of my time with mom, which I love; I spent seven years working with dad in the field and it is now nice to spend quality time with her.

10. Lava — I want to delve deeper into this at a later date, however I am sure many people are aware by now of the lava in Puna. I actually heard over the radio, prior to the fissures opening up in Leilani Estates, that Puna needed to be on alert due to the threat of lava. A couple hours later, the eruptions started in Leilani Estates on May 3, and here we are now with many areas in lower Puna completely destroyed. I live 10.4 miles from the fissures, however the only issues we have experienced in our neighborhood is an influx in traffic and sulfur dioxide from the Kīlauea eruptions. Over 600 homes have been destroyed due to the lava and many people/pets are displaced — It is very concerning and I can only imagine what these people are going through. I am incredibly saddened by these homes burning to the ground, places that I have grown to love being lost, and people that are in trouble. A big THANK YOU to the U.S. Marine Corps, Hawaii Army National Guard, Hawaii Police Department, Hawaii Fire Department, County of Hawaii Civil Defense, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Volunteers, and anyone else that I have missed.

 

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Maizie K. Roberts – An Extraordinary Woman | Chapter II | Hospitals, Part I & II

You can read Chapter I of “Maizie K. Roberts – An Extraordinary Womanhere. Chapter I looks back on Mother’s Day 2012; the last day I had with nana before she went to the hospital and passed away three days later, on May 16, 2012.

Again, I contemplated not writing this; mostly because I wasn’t sure if it had a place here on my blog. And then I realized that it does because it’s important to acknowledge both pain and beauty in life. “Hospitals, Part I & II” occurred six years ago; it’s written exactly as the events on May 14th and 15th occurred, however it’s narrated from both a 16 and 22-Year-Old me.

Hospitals, Part I & II: May 14 — May 15

It’s a sinking feeling really; the feeling of losing someone you love, losing them rapidly yet slowly (what an oxymoron), and not being able to do a single thing about it. It’s frustrating. And terrifying. And it’ll make you angry and make you feel lost, that you’ll have to step away from everyone for a while to get a grip – At least that’s how it is for me; how I feel.

The following events unfolded quickly: I woke up mid-morning on the 14th, checked on nana, made her breakfast, and when I went to give the breakfast to her she wasn’t hungry; she hasn’t been eating much these past few days. I tried to convince her to eat, however nana can be so stubborn at times; then again so can I. My parents were out of the house that morning and I was home with nana, Nick, Riley, and Paul – I did make a call to my parents, informing them that nana’s condition looks seemingly worse; the hip pain she’s been experiencing is increasing and she’s not eating, or should I say, refusing to eat. I’m at a total loss; above all else, I detest the feeling of helplessness. And right about now, I feel helpless. A million thoughts run through my head; how can I help nana better, what can we do, what is going to happen, what could I have done better. And, even though I have these questions and thoughts, I know that there comes a day when these things happen; you get older and you’re not as physically strong as you once were. I don’t want to believe it though! I don’t want to face a reality without her; without nana. Without my friend. Even though I can look directly into the face of a problem and in the face of reality, I have a tendency of thinking that somehow, I could possibly change the inevitable outcome. And, more times than I’d like to admit, I often can’t. This would be one of those times.

When my parents returned home, there were many decisions that needed to be made. One of the decisions, most difficult decision made, was to ask nana what she wanted and to hear that she felt that it was time for her to go the hospital; there was a brief discussion of possibly going to a nursing home as well. Unfortunately, due to the fact she was growing weaker, we had to call an ambulance to transport her from our home to the hospital; I went to nana’s bedroom and began helping her get ready to go – I removed some of her jewelry; her necklace and a few of her rings, while the EMT, when EMS arrived, was able to remove her other ring. I didn’t say much to nana, mostly because I felt sad for her and I also felt guilty – I felt guilty because maybe if I would have been able to get her to eat more, or if I didn’t say anything at all that morning on the 14th, she would be able to stay at home with us. With me. It was a difficult situation for all involved, for nana, especially for my mom – No son or daughter wants to ever see their parent in pain or see them declining in health, especially when that parent was always the strong one. It’s very heartbreaking to witness and even more heartbreaking to be a part of.

EMS transported nana to the hospital and we all piled into the car; mom, dad, me, Nick, Riley, and Paul; we followed the ambulance a few cars back. It was a weird feeling; a feeling of being stuck in some sort of limbo. We arrived at the hospital, Hilo Medical Center, and we waited in the waiting room of the ER while mom and dad went to speak with someone to determine what was happening with nana – I didn’t see nana during this time at all; we weren’t allowed in the patient area. We sat in the waiting room for a very long time; enough time passed that I was able to watch the sky change from varying shades before it was sunset. I sat in nearly the same chair for over five hours; not caring to move, not wanting to move forward. Hospitals are a very odd place to be – It’s this place of transition – It’s a place where babies are born, where the sick can be healed, but it’s also a place where you don’t always make it out alive. I was wondering what would it be? What category would this fall into? Nana is 95. Would she get better and live to 100? Would she ever see her home again? Would I ever hear her voice again?

Nick, Riley, and Paul were seated in the waiting room as well; eating snacks out of the vending machine and watching TV. The room was full of people all waiting for answers about the people that they cared about; one of the ladies even complimented my flip flops I was wearing – “Thank you!” I said. It was nice of her to say that. Finally, both mom and dad returned to the waiting room – They explained that nana was in the process of being admitted to the hospital and that she did have cancer that had spread throughout her hip/back area; that would be the source of her hip pain that she had been experiencing lately. It was becoming clearer – She had been tired, in pain, loss of appetite, declining in the health that she had. Cancer made sense. It also didn’t make sense, but then again, I suppose it never does.

It was dark when nana was finally admitted; my siblings and I waited outside on the bench. My mom and dad went up to make sure nana was settled. While we waited on the bench, I recognized one of the Poolees from the Marine office; he was with his family, probably visiting someone who would make it out of here, I thought to myself. I went back to talking with my siblings and we eventually decided we would devour numerous ice cream bars from the vending machine; I lost count of how many we ate. Ice cream sure does have the ability to cheer you up. It was probably 10 PM, when dad came down from the third floor (or second floor; I always get the two floors mixed up), and he told us we could go visit nana before it was time for us to go home. I’ll leave out the details of my bratty behavior towards my dad, regarding the comment of us having to eventually go home – It’s not as though I could camp out at the hospital and it’s not as though it was his fault for anything that was happening. At the end of the night, of course, everyone was dealing with their own feelings and thoughts in their own way. Unfortunately, no amount of creamsicles would make the night better, not for me or for anyone else. My siblings looked at me as their leader to take them up to the right floor; it was time to face a reality I didn’t want to acknowledge and that was to see nana lying in a hospital bed. And I did just that. I took them up to the floor and we said goodnight to nana. As I was leaving the hospital room, nana called out to me; she was cheerful, and she wanted me to get her a glass of water – I couldn’t get her a glass of water because the nurse was already getting it, however this would be the very last time I would hear nana’s voice.

It was a strange feeling going back home knowing that everything would be different – Nana wouldn’t be there, mom and dad were having to make difficult decisions, my siblings were going to have to adjust and yet they were still able to be children, and I felt as though I was responsible for nana; I wanted to change the circumstances and it was beyond frustrating knowing that I couldn’t.

Nana continued to decline on the 15th; she mostly slept and was administered a morphine drip. By this time my mom let the entire family know that nana was in the hospital and her condition was not improving. Family members started visiting nana at all hours; those that lived off the island started calling. It was both a calm and hectic time; the two things that helped me throughout this time was remaining focused on school and helping my mom. In fact, those were the only things that I wanted to focus on. I spent many hours at the hospital, as did the rest of my family.

The startling realization occurred to me as I sat next to nana, and that was the fact that I would not be having any more conversations with her; she was right there next to me, but she was so far away.

 

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Happy Birthday, Nana

Happy Birthday, Nana

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Happy 102nd Birthday, Nana.

Nana, well, I’ve never met anyone quite like her — She was incredibly hard-working, loved Jesus with her whole heart, and took care of her family; do you know she once built her own home (literally) and she was a designer. She was truly amazing.

I miss our conversations. I miss watching Audrey Hepburn movies with her. Most of all, I miss my friend.

I love you, Nana.

 

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Mother’s Day 2018

Mother’s Day 2018

Happy Mother’s Day to my mom! My mom, Laurie, is an amazing woman; an amazing person. She is not only my mom, but she also happens to be my friend; she is my best friend.

She’s raised four children. She’s been a wife for nearly 23-Years. She is a person who has dedicated her life to her family; she is also a person who puts the needs of her family, her kids, before herself. More times than I can count. She is the type of person that if I wasn’t her daughter, I would want her to be my mom.

I love you, Mom. I hope one day I can make sure you have the kitchen of your dreams.


Mom, Dad, Paul, and I went to Yogurtland today to get some frozen goodness. I love frozen yogurt. It was actually my dad’s idea to go. I had a combination of pistachio, peach, blueberry, coconut, and taro; it was fantastic!

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When we went home, the sky was beautiful; pale blue with golden hues. The sky was doing its usual thing. And so were the trees. And the pretty flowers in the garden.

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Dinner was delicious. Kalbi (Korean-style short ribs) on the BBQ; dad grilled. Mom also made spicy, sesame peanut butter noodles with green onions and cilantro.

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It was a great day.

I read something once that stated that Mother’s Day is a day that can be celebrated by all women because deep down inside we are all mothers in some way — I kind of like that thought. Happy Mother’s Day!

 

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Maizie K. Roberts – An Extraordinary Woman | Chapter I | Mother’s Day

This post is something that I contemplated (I do say that word frequently) not posting, let alone writing. Why? To be honest, I don’t know why I wouldn’t post it or why I wouldn’t want to write it. The death of my nana, technically my great-grandmother but the only grandmother I’ve ever really known, is something that I don’t like to discuss. However, if there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout my life, the things that we don’t like to discuss are normally the things we should be discussing. I loved my nana; I love her now and always will – Maybe it’s because I miss her and the conversations that we frequently had; maybe this is why I don’t talk about her death on here. I’d like to change that, however. I want you to hear about the amazing person that she was; that she will always be. I’ll begin with the first day, Mother’s Day 2012, in a series of events leading up to her death on May 16, 2012 at 9 PM HST.

Mother’s Day 6 Years Ago

I’m 16-Years-Old and the house, our house, is abuzz; it’s Mother’s Day and after years of not having any family parties, my mom is throwing a family party for her mom, my nana. I’m not exactly looking forward to seeing anyone; cousins, uncles, aunts – Not because I don’t love them but because I’m overwhelmed and I don’t always enjoy get-togethers. I’m also not looking forward to doing all of the dishes, in fact I’m the only one who will do the dishes; I don’t want mom washing them because she’s doing enough as it is – Cooking for a household of normally 7 individuals that will soon turn into a household of 27 individuals. And mom, well, she cooks food that’s exceptional; flavorful, time-consuming, causes excitement in the bellies of family and strangers alike. Yes, there will be a lot of dishes.

In the meantime, I’ve made it my goal to help nana get ready for the party; I enjoy helping her get ready. It’s a full circle now; she used to bathe me in the sink when I was a little girl and get me dressed afterward. Now, here I am, taking care of her in the simplest and most profound way; I’m not the little girl anymore. It’s a sunshine filled day and the house is warm; filled with the scents of roasting pecans and an assortment of meats. Mom is in the kitchen, dad is in the living room. Nick, Riley, and Paul are in their bedrooms watching TV. Kalapana is lounging around the backyard. I’m trying my best to get ready ahead of time because I want to spend the day making sure nana is comfortable; it’s in the morning and I have nothing to wear! I hate when that happens. Honestly, I look at my closet and it’s full; I just can’t decide what to wear and what to do about it. I’ve been feeling that way lately; I finished training with the Marines/Poolees and I don’t ever want to go back to that office since Joey’s death, meanwhile Andrew and I are officially over. I settle on my favorite denim shorts and a pink shirt with silver straps; my nails are even pink. I apply far too much mascara and lip gloss – Now I’m finished getting ready. I walk into nana’s room and just stand there; she’s sleeping soundly and I don’t want to disturb her but time is dwindling and soon the family will be arriving. I watch her sleep; lately she’s been sleeping more and not feeling well. Our conversations are nearly non-existent; not because we don’t want to talk to one another but because she’s increasingly getting weaker. I want her to get stronger; I will it in my mind that she’ll get stronger.

I bathe her like a child and get her dressed. However, it’s important for everyone to know that she’s not an invalid – She just needs help because she’s growing weaker. 95 will do that to you, I’m sure. I clean her bedroom and put fresh linens on her bed; I open up the curtains and let the warm breeze sweep over the room. As I help her back in to bed, I have to remind her several times that in a few hours the party will begin; family members will fill the house and she’ll get to see everyone that she loves. Unfortunately, nana does have mild-moderate Alzheimer’s; she never forgets me or our immediate family or even the past but she does have a tendency to forget what’s happening in the moment. Sometimes we both laugh about it, sometimes we cry. She tells me to sit down and talk with her. I do. And I talk, while nana mostly listens. I tell her about the day. I tell her about the food mom is making. I tell her about my outfit. I tell her about nothing in particular. I tell her about everything. Nana always listens intently, as though everything I’m saying somehow matters. She continues to get tired but she wants me to do one thing for her to complete her outfit: Paint her nails. I smile a huge smile. You see, if there was ever a fashionista in the world, Maizie Roberts is it – And good nails is something nana always has. Mostly in shades of red but this time, I paint it a maroon gold color. I take my time painting her nails; she enjoys it. It’s a comfortable silence – I’ve only met a few people in the world where we can be in the same room together and not say anything for hours because of being content; nana is one those people. I finish painting her nails and I raise her hand so she can see the outcome; she’s happy. She needs to rest now but before I get up to leave, she tells me in earnest: “You’re beautiful, Amber.” I shake my head and laugh a bit. “Thanks, Nana.” I say. I can tell she means it though. She tells me she needs to speak to my dad; I call him in the room. She tells him to listen: “You’re a good man.” She says it with conviction and pride.

Eventually the family arrives and the house is full once again; laughter fills the house, loud conversations, and constant pitter patter of tiny feet, hands reaching out for food. Dishes piling up in the kitchen sink. I’m moving though at a fast speed; washing dishes, cleaning up messes, talking fast, helping pile food onto plates. I’m enjoying myself, which is surprising. Everyone is taking turns talking with nana and she appears to be enjoying herself too. However, I know that she is getting tired but somewhere in my mind I think to myself that maybe she’s not tired…maybe she just wants a little more attention. No, she really is tired. The day moves into night and the whole family is simply enjoying themselves. For just a moment, as I wash the last fork in the sink, I turn around and the living room is full; I capture the photo to store in my head. I know that, most likely, the living room won’t be that full again. Before everyone goes back home, they kiss nana on the cheek; tears clearly in their eyes. I don’t know what to think.

As the party concludes and the house becomes silent once again, I have a lot of leftovers to put away. I quickly check on nana to make sure she is sleeping and I think about what I should have said to her earlier in the day:

No, nana. You’re the one that is beautiful.”

 

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Happy Birthday, Papa

Happy Birthday, Papa

A day after his 97th birthday and I think what a wonderful person my Papa was. He was a person who cared deeply about others. Even though I was just a child when he died in 2002, I always saw his goodness; I saw his heart and his love for God.

He was a follower of Christ; a husband; a father; a grandfather; a great-grandfather; a friend to many; a park ranger; a gardener; a light in this world.

I miss him greatly.

 

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