Suppressing My Expressions

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Surprise. How many times did you come here wondering when I would update lavagal.net? I tried a few times over the winter break, when I first started my Boca Hawaii bike training, when I first started teaching full-time as a permanent sub at Kaiser High School, when my LinkedIn account was finally extinguished, when I first started this year’s Boca Hawaii Honu 70.3 triathlon training program, if I ever got a moment to myself.

But I was in a lot of pain, deep inside. Every time I wanted to write something, my inner demons would tell me it was stupid and that no one cared. Who would read it? What would they say? And always someone to tell me I’m a whiner.

The intentions were there. I miss blogging. I like weighing in on what’s going on in the world and what it means to me, and what I think it might mean to you. But, I have instead begun an implosion, a deflating, a shrinking, a suppression of my expressions. The pie of my life is divided into smaller and smaller pieces. Sleep is one of the smallest. Triathlon training keeps me healthy, and I love to just work things out in my head while I’m swimming, pedaling my bike up a steep hill, or running for miles. I help my in-laws with their vegetable garden, I have my own yard to take care of, I feed the family, I pay bills, and I have those oh-shit moments when I look at the bathroom and realize it’s been a while since it’s been cleaned. Now that I’m teaching, I am thinking just about every waking moment about lesson plans, meetings, deadlines, building quizzes and tests, considering reading assignments, grammar and punctuation lessons, or choosing American Literature stories that won’t turn class time into nap time.

Adjustments have been made. Parts of life have been delayed. But new goals are set and, as I tend to be hopeful and optimistic as the sun rises each day, I desperately grasp the positives that people bestow upon me. They keep me sane, they keep me alive, they show me my relevance.

Hawaii Bike Training — Absolutely loved it. New teammates, different kinds of workouts, riding all over Oahu, loving coaches who pushed my ass further than I ever thought it would go. Grateful.

Teaching — Called by the principal on a Friday to start on Monday. American Literature for juniors, Expository Writing for seniors, English Language Arts for sophomores. I so enjoy it, despite the tons of work that’s involved. I would be lying if I didn’t admit to having students who are disruptive and insulting, but they are far outnumbered by those students who work with me. I teach core courses. It’s really a good idea to do all of the homework, all of the journal entries, and read the book. Teaching reminds me of my youth — that time when you think you know everything, don’t want to hear from the voices of experience, want to forge your own path and don’t see the benefit of someone who would love to help you avoid mistakes. Been there, done that. The older I get the more I realize the less I know. That’s the main lesson I’d love to tell these kids. One student asked me how it felt to hold graduation in the palm of my hand. I told him I didn’t. “You hold graduation in the palm of YOUR hand,” I said. He got it.

LinkedIn: The Brag Book of social media. True, it was extremely painful for me to face unemployment for so long and to wonder what the problem was when I applied for hundreds of jobs, got a handful of calls, three interviews and no offer. Hopelessness was a constant companion. It sucked. I didn’t want to see how wonderful everyone else’s life was. It took nearly six months to shut the front door on all that noise. I feel better already.

Boca Hawaii Endurance Triathlon Training — My home away from home. My extended family. Coaches who see in me what I don’t quite see myself. Third year of training for Honu 70.3. I feel like things are finally working. I’ve made a few personal changes. Wino’clock only occurs on Saturday evening. Beerthirty, once in a blue moon. Those two adjustments have made it possible for me to lose some weight, and it will continue. I pack a lunch for school, which is usually an apple, a Kind bar, some cheese; or humus and pita chips. Water, water, water.

Quiet moments. Cooking. Gardening. Connecting with my husband. Snuggling the kitty. Stealing hugs from my kids. Valuing every moment I have to myself and with you. Treasures.

The Teacher is the Student


Unemployment has run out. I’m working at Costco Hawaii Kai as a seasonal hire, which I hope to turn into a permanent position in January when the job ends. I have never worked so hard in my life. I lift, push, pull and run. I clean bathrooms. I sell Versace handbags. I especially like running into friends and I also like when total strangers engage with me because of my name tag. So, I hope that will be a job I get to continue to enjoy. When I go to work my husband says, “Have a nice workout!”

The teacher's work table.

The teacher’s work table.

But I’m also doing something else. Upon advice from friends in the know, I revamped my resume yet again and attached it to copies of my substitute teacher certificate and evidence of passing my TB test. They also recommended that I hand deliver my resume to the schools I want to work at and request I be put on their preferred list. I did that this morning.

I went to three grammar schools in East Oahu: Koko Head, where I personally know the principal; to Kamiloiki, where I am an unknown; and to Hahaione, whose principal I know at a distance. I also went to Kaiser High. The acting principal, Justin Mew, signed my paperwork in August approving my enrollment in the course while he was the principal at Niu Valley Middle School.

And then I crossed my fingers. And I wondered if I would like being a substitute. I consider myself young at heart and a free spirit. How would that work with teenagers?

Unicorn bones.

Unicorn bones.

About 20 minutes after I dropped off my resume at Kaiser, I got a call from the art teacher asking me to come in because he was feeling sick. I stuttered, asked a few questions and said yes, throwing all of my other plans aside, even the one where I pick up Kid2 at school at 2:15.

Students' work.

Students’ work.

 

 

 

 

 

Art students. Talk about free spirits. As I waited in the room for them to show up, I looked around. I had to find out about emergency procedures, exits, bathrooms and room rules. I was fascinated by the work that surrounded me. This teacher is a proponent of expression without restriction. He encourages his students to work through the mistakes and to work the mistakes into the final work as those flaws speak to the artist and to the observer.

Talk about speaking to my heart! This is what has to happen to me? I get called on the spot and put in a classroom to learn how to relax and write?

Old style bikes and chickens.

Old style bikes and free-range chickens, the unofficial mascot of Kaiser HS.

As a writer I edit myself into a straight jacket. You know why.

The students were generally well behaved. I’m sure they took advantage of my newness, but I stayed engaged, walked around and observed while they painted, and wrote down in my notes to the teacher who did the work and who didn’t, just because.

The Honolulu Marathon Game Plan

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By now, about 11 months after my husband signed me up for the Honolulu Marathon, I thought I’d be fit, skinny, and ready to run. Isn’t it interesting how your body has other ideas? You may be in your 20s, … Continue reading

Koko Crater vs. Koko Head

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@postaday 276; #postaday2011. Departed the Mothership early to take Kid2 to her doctor appointment. We had Kid1 with us, too. Submitted the prescriptions and then inquired if my new bifocals were ready. THEY WERE! New sunglasses and IRL glasses. It’s … Continue reading

Hawaii Kai’s Fourth of July Celebration


Hawaii Kai's Fourth of July Extravaganza!

@postaday 161; #postaday2011.

A few years ago I was recruited to be on the board for Independence Day at Maunalua Bay. After just a few meetings, I had to decline. The energy required was overwhelming. I couldn’t match the effort being made by the other members, and I felt someone else with more to give could fill my place. But I did tell them that if they ever needed a write up somewhere, I’d be happy to assist.

Now’s that time. According to the website, they still need about $25,000, to pay for the show that’s less than a month away. Don’t worry, the show will go on! But it’s a matter of closing the books without debt on July 5, 2011. And knowing this organization, and the effort they put into each annual production, you can bet they’ll start talking about July 4, 2012, while they’re at this year’s event. It’s their way. They’re constantly looking at ways to make it better. And to emphasize the community benefit, this event is more than a one-day show. It’s also linked to the group’s foundation, which awards scholarships to East Oahu high school graduates headed for college.

What I love about this event is that East Oahu residents can stay put for a full day of fun. The festive atmosphere starts building a few days before. When we pass Maunalua Bay while driving or riding our bicycles on Kalanianaole Highway, we watch as the tents go up, the grounds are spruced up, and the little outhouses are set up in neat rows to relieve thousands of celebrants!

Anuhea

Music is a huge component at the Maunalua Bay party, and this year Maui-grown, now Hawaii Kai’s own Anuhea will be performing. Other musical guests include Heartsong, Steve Maii and Friends, Dennis Kamakahi, and Maunalua. A patriotic performance will be presented by the students in the Kaiser High School band, too!

We’ve got plenty of keiki in the ‘hood, so a special KidZone with free activities are planned, including a good, old-fashioned parade of bicycles, decorated with red, white, and blue crepe paper, streamers, flags and bells. An art project with nature artist Patrick Ching will be held early in the day. Children are invited to come for lunch and to paint a life-size horse statue.

Food booths, activities, games, music, keiki bicycle parade and fireworks. Why leave East Oahu when it’s all here? Skip the traffic and stay put. Oh, and if the spirit moves you, write a check.

BTB FTW & KMOB


@postaday 66; #postaday2011

Check my stats? http://connect.garmin.com/activity/71707089

I woke up this morning later than I had wanted at about 8:20 a.m. Something about sleeping beyond 7:30 sends me into a slight resignation that I might not accomplish all I want on any given weekend day.

I look out the window and the sky looks iffy. The wind is blowing. The yard needs work. Numerous chores neglected. Children to feed. You get the picture. I start thinking to myself that maybe I should stay home and get something done. But the problem with that is that I only get a fraction of those things taken care of. So when John kicks my butt out the door, despite my negative feelings inside, I relent. Part of the reason is I know I feel so much better after a ride or a workout at 24-Hour Fitness Hawaii Kai. Part of it is because if I only get a little bit done, and NOT ride, then there’s an exponential growth of negativity smoldering inside me, rendering me unbearable to be around.

I know some of you think that must be impossible! That I’m the most amazing wife, mom, friend, and cook alive. Go ahead and keep thinking that. Heh. But the man who married me knows better. And he can blame himself for building me bicycles and getting me to fall in love with doing something that makes me work my heart and lungs, my muscles, to BTB FTW & KMOB.

That would be BITE THE BULLET, EFF THE WIND & KICK MY OWN BUTT. And that is exactly what I did today.

When I came home the house looked great. John had the girls clean their respective areas, etc. The kitchen was ready for me to start the dinner that I have planned for the family tonight: cross-cut beef shanks roasting in the pretty blue Le Creuset Dutch oven, root vegetables, a perfect Sunday evening meal.

Today’s ride? The wind kicked my ass, the hills were tough, the traffic was intense, the other bicyclists, as usual, were quite friendly. Toward the end of my ride I encountered four guys who passed me on Kalanianaole Highway. I caught up with them in Portlock where they were cooling their heels. I went by and asked if they were mocking me, but they were just resting up. We compared notes and I told them I like to do the hills first and then do my ride. 31.61 miles today. They were on mile 80. Wow! I should figure out how to safely extend to 40, 50, 60 miles. I waved good bye to them when I turned off Lunalilo Home Road onto the Kaumakani Street closest to Kaiser High School, and I was home in less than five minutes. Good ride. FTW.