Today’s workout: Delayed, but on the books.


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#postaday. John joined me on my ride today. Since he’s in the Great Aloha Run (GAR) tomorrow, he thought he’d ride with me. The wind is such that it could carve stone. A few times I got hit on the … Continue reading

Spreading the Aloha.


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@postaday 346; #postaday2011. OK, some people in Hawaii would say my headline is a double entendre. Yeah, well, let’s keep it clean, shall we? I noticed something lately. When I’m out riding my bicycle, and I’m always alone these days, … Continue reading

The thrills are in the journey.

@postaday 171; #postaday2011.

Maybe it’s because I’ve never had to work in Washington, D.C., but it is one of my favorite places to visit. Just as we found on our day trip to New York City, WDC is very crisp and sophisticated. I love it. Sure, there are the brusk, self-absorbed and legends-in-their-own-minds types on the periphery, but for the most part, I can’t help but get a sense of aloha. It started with the hotel valet and the reception desk, it occurred when we had to squeeze by the guy shampooing the carpet in the hallway, I expect it tomorrow when we board the metro and head to Sen. Daniel Akaka’s office for our Capitol Tour. Mahalo, Elisa!

Entering Delaware, aka, Bad-to-the-Bone Zone.

The drive down from South Jersey was intense. I don’t get that aloha feeling along I-95. It takes a lead foot and a white-knuckle ride to hang with the 18 wheelers and the regular movers and shakers who dart from lane to lane, hopscotching their way to the finish line. I imagine their big shiny SUVs panting in reserved parking stalls. Would one of those have belonged to me?

Early this morning we were woken by a dramatic thunder and lightning storm that blew in and out within 30 minutes. Having been through a few of these before I departed for a life beyond New Jersey, I walked around the suite unplugging all of the family’s iDevices in case there was a nearby hit, crisping our bushel of electronic apples.

Between Perryville and Baltimore we drove through another wild thunderstorm. Visibility was nearly nill. It’s thrilling, but I do prefer appreciating dramatic weather from a safer perch, such as a hotel room.

The Benderettes will get their fill of museums over the next few days. I’m grateful most of the museums in our nation’s capitol have free admissions. Your tax dollars at work.

Good-bye with Aloha

@postaday 97; #postaday2011

In Hawaii when we say good-bye to someone, it’s quite often with lei, a lingering hug that is supposed to last the rest of your life because you never may see this person again, a kiss on the cheek, and always some tears.

I’ve had my share of good-byes. Even though I was ready to move on from a job or a place, even if I was so excited about the new adventure, I always had a heavy heart when those last moments ticked away. You say good-bye to people you don’t care if you never see again, because we all work with people like that. You say good-bye to those who looked out for you, who made sure you had the keys to your desk drawers, who asked about your kids or your weekend, who spent more than a superficial moment and dug a little deeper to have a conversation.

Saying good-bye provides closure. If you were successful at what you are walking away from, if you are being let go because you let folks down, it is always, always, always an opportunity to reinvent oneself, to grow. Some departures deliver a shocking blow. You hear about them through the coconut wireless, you may never get a chance to bid adieu. And some departures are so final, that you never even get a chance for a conversation that helps the living move on and the dying go in peace.

Janine & Johna

Later today Janine will say good-bye to her friend and manager, Johnna, who is leaving Starbucks for another adventure. We wish her well!

I’m not being maudlin. It’s just that Johnna, the manager of our Keeaumoku Starbucks near our HMSA Center offices, is moving on to a better job, a new adventure, and toward new challenges that will continue to shape her as a person and a professional. Last week she told me to be sure to stop in today. I didn’t want to miss the chance to say farewell!

I do know what makes people reconsider what they are doing and look for another way to make an income. I know being bored, or broken hearted about being in such an awful job that you feel sick every morning upon approaching the mental sweat shop. The people are stupid or cruel, and almost always dishonest. You just don’t feel right about being part of their mission.

Having had some awful jobs and having been unemployed, I am genuinely grateful to have finally landed at a place where I don’t feel any of that. I like being at work. Last year when I blew out my Achilles tendon, I tried everything I could to keep working from home. It is a good thing to arrive each morning at a place where people are confident in your abilities, interested in your success, and occasionally ask about what’s going on in your life. You gotta have that.

Acknowledging others is priceless. Yet it seems to be the commodity that is withheld most.

Hawaiian Style Thanksgiving

Any haole in Hawaii would be crazy to assert that her white butt could be an authority on anything Hawaiian, but I am going to take a stab at describing how Thanksgiving is celebrated here in the Islands. Based on my own experience. Your mileage may vary.

When I first came to Hawaii, a single airman in the USAF, I was often invited to homes both on and off of Hickam AFB, for celebrations. The military does its best to acclimate its personnel into Hawaiian culture, even to the extent of having an orientation session to enlighten us about the subtleties of facial expressions (jumping eyebrows) and hand signals (shaka). Admittedly, some of us in the military embraced the message, and the rest shipped out as soon as possible because they couldn’t hang…loose.

About Thanksgiving dinner in Hawaii — the basics are all there: Turkey, stuffing, cranberries, green bean casserole (?), sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, and gravy. At our house my mother-in-law will bring a mince meat pie, a pumkin pie, and one of my sisters-in-law will bring a pecan pie.

And then there’s all the stuff that localizes the meal as Hawaiian Style: rice, rice, rice; sushi, potato-mac salad, ocean salad (seaweed), fried noodles, poke (po-kee) (raw fish cubed and tossed with Hawaiian salt, seaweed, maui onion, green onion, chili pepper flakes, etc.), soybeans, May’s teri beef short ribs and Redondo’s red hotdogs from the bbq., etc. Then there might be some items that are luau mainstays: squid luau, kalua pig (smoked pork and cabbage, possibly cooked in an imu), haupia (coconut gelatin dessert) and a chocolate dobash cake from Napoleon’s Bakery at Zippy’s.

I mentioned yesterday that when I worked at Oceanic Institute in Waimanalo, we were invited to bring our turkeys to place in the pit they built to roast them. This is called an imu (ee-mu), traditionally dug for whole (dressed) pigs, but there’s enough room down there among the rocks and ti leaves for the pigs and, in the case of OI, about 40 turkeys.

As much as I’d like to romanticize the imu, it’s been given some modern twists. The process begins the day before when the pit is dug (often the same pit is used year after year) and filled with kiawe (mesquite), that is lit on fire. This fire can reach 20 feet in the air or more while the guys are feeding it. Rocks are placed in the pit to collect the heat. Then the guys unroll a giant metal grate, like a piece of fence or something like that and place it on top of the pit. Then goes the pig, the turkeys, the pork butts, the sweet potatoes, all kinds of stuff that do well getting smoked for hours and hours. All of these are wrapped in aluminum foil. My turkey had been rubbed in butter and Hawaiian salt and herbs, then in ti leaves, and then in foil, and then placed in one of those foil disposable roasting pans before I handed it over to Don Dela Pena, who helped engineer the whole imu effort. More rocks and ti leaves go on top, dirt is pushed on the whole pile, and the guys stomp on top of it to be sure no steam escapes.

Then out come the ukuleles, the guitars, the green bottles, and the talk story begins, lasting long into the night. A single plume of white smoke snakes into the sky.

The next morning Don and his buddies shake off the sleep and start digging open the pit. Each item comes out, identified and handed over to its rightful owner. When I got our turkey home, I slipped the meat off the bones and had a big bowl of Hawaiian Style smoked turkey to serve along with my traditional bird.

At our house there will be nine of us, but sometimes that number swells, depending on who is in town and if anyone is bringing a guest. Some of our neighbors have giant gatherings. Multiple pairs of slippahs and shoes populate the doorstep, the house overflows with smells and people, the men hang in the garage or in the backyard, the kids run rampant everywhere, the dogs howl, the Hawaiian music changalangs in the background, a little bit of pakalolo here and there.

If I missed something, let me know! I’m sure I did! I wouldn’t be surprised if there are Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese and Indian elements to some family celebrations here in the Islands. It’s impossible to really know. I never had sweet potato pie, but, I am betting there are families here that will!

Up the street is a neighbor who built an imu into his driveway. Some years I’d watch from my kitchen window to see him stoking his fire. Today I slept in, so I don’t know if the heat is on over there. But the neighborhood smells of mesquite, surely an indication that there will be celebrations all around us, while we have our Italian dinner tonight. I’m sure the smells will make me crave the wonderful turkey and all it’s localized trimmings, but we’ll be waiting until Sunday to have our own feast.

Happy Thanksgiving and Aloha!

Lance Armstrong training in Hawaii

Surrounded my humpbacks. Thank you, Hawaii. Pure magic here. on TwitPic

“Surrounded by humpbacks. Thank you, Hawaii. Pure magic here.”

Mahalo for coming to Hawaii to train for your races, Lance! Best wishes on your pursuit.

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The beginning of Kaloko on TwitPic

Lance on Kaloko Road.

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Decent of Kaloko. Fast! on TwitPic

Lance decending Kaloko Road. Pretty zippy!

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