What 2013 has taught me

I knew a year ago, back in December, my birthday month and the month of holiday cheer, that those I found so very uninspiring were plotting to end my corporate-within-the-cube-writing career. It was OK as I had already left in my mind at least more than 1,735 times. In April of 2013 the footprint was on my ass and it was the first time I left an employer without feeling sad. It was more a wave of relief. I had been dismantling my personality from the cube over the months until it looked like a sterile, cold and gray space without personality, exactly what it was supposed to be.

I am grateful that finally I was free to be me. 

I applied for at least three jobs a week — sometimes three jobs a day — until my unemployment ran out in November. I completed the substitute teaching course for the DOE in October. I started my seasonal position at Costco Hawaii Kai in November, too, so I have been able to step off the ice floe. 

I am supposed to be grateful for the more than 80 jobs I applied for and didn’t get, but it’s hard. I got a few interviews and I am sure those humiliating experiences have made me a better person. Radio silence gives you a lot to think about. It was hard not to think about rejection, it was hard to see the silver lining. I know I’m a survivor and I’ve got the most amazing support person at my side. He gets the most gratitude of all. 

What good was there from 2013? I got to spend a lot of time with my husband and we really enjoyed it. There are new gardens in the yard. While things like tomatoes, zucchini and eggplant don’t do so well, our kale, Swiss chard, chili peppers and herbs are bountiful. We have a beautiful area in the backyard where I can write or where we can sit even when it’s raining, with our Kitty Girl. The avocados drop before me, a compost bin settles without stinking, and there’s always gas in the grill. 

In 2013 I trained for triathlons and did alright. I went to the Big Island and participated in my first half Ironman in Kona. I rode my bike, ran and swam several times a week. I did the Honolulu Tinman, the Na Wahine Festival’s swim and spin, the North Shore Swim Series and the Waikiki Roughwater Swim. I love doing all those things. This year I was able to participate without the mental and emotional cave in I had the year before just as the swims were starting. I’m pleased that I can remain calm during those first crazy minutes of an ocean swim with hundreds of arms and legs flailing at me and around me. 

In 2013 I found an editor who gave me a shot at writing for his magazine and I have been writing for him steadily since the summer. I hope to continue. 

During 2013 I applied at Costco four times and finally got a call for this seasonal job that is quite demanding. As a shopper I always thought how fun it must be to work there. Yes, it is fun, but it’s the hardest job I ever had. There’s a chance that I may get picked up as a permanent part-time worker after January 7 when the gig is up, and I’m hopeful that I do. How can that happen? Go. Spend. Your. Money. Thank you!

I am optimistic about 2014. I’d like to weave a work life of substitute teaching, freelancing and customer service at Costco. Once 2014 kicks in and I’m no longer working 48 hours a week at the big box, I’ll start focusing on my triathlon training again, focusing on the May 31, 2014, Kona Half Ironman with a few other triathlons to help me gauge my progress.

I am grateful for my husband and my daughters for their confidence and love. I can’t imagine having a better family. 

One of my strong suits has always been empathy. For that reason I often wondered why I had to have this year of humility to reflect on other intangible qualities generated by my heart and soul. I’m still not sure why, but I am confident that I will put it all to good use. 

Please keep me in your thoughts so that my 2014 is much better. Mahalo. 


The Bitch Inside


This gallery contains 4 photos.

Yesterday I swam in the Duke Kahanamoku Ocean Mile Swim and finished with a time of 36:17:00. There were about 400 people competing, with the men launching 5 minutes before the women. Before the start, I was standing around waiting … Continue reading

Waves for the Duke in Waikiki

Waikiki morning, last Saturday.

@postaday 234; #postaday2011.

Tomorrow is my big day. It might not be anyone else’s big day, but it will be a big day for me. I’ll swim in the Duke’s Waikiki Ocean Mile Swim, which is part of a bigger week-long festival honoring Hawaii’s Number One Ocean Man, Duke Kahanamoku. Did I say Hawaii’s? I meant The World’s!

So I just checked the surf report. A South Shore swell is expected tonight, and it will subside some on Saturday, then gradually rebuilding for a week of surfing fun for those who have the time to take advantage.

Am I worried about the conditions? Not really. Sure, it might be a challenge going out, and the winds are supposed to be blowing onshore out of the south.  But I used to surf Waikiki daily, way back when I was single. Smear on some Hawaiian Tropics alcohol-based sunscreen, pop a bite of Sex Wax in the butt of my bikini bottoms and paddle out. Smile, be polite, rip waves. The advantage of a south swell are the waves coming back into shore. I hope I can catch a few on my way back to the beach!

Am I worried about the other swimmers? Yeah, a little bit. I’ve heard that part of the fun is getting kicked in the teeth or scratched or slammed or swam over while out there. So part of me wants to take it slow, and let the fierce and furious in front flail at each other. Coach Joe says to treat it like another practice, so I will.

I plan on blogging about it after the event. If I can finish without wobbling on the sand, I’ll be happy. I’m a little worried about the Achilles injury for that part of the event, so I will probably lose my age group during my water exit, LOL. OK. I’ll admit to being competitive. A little. But really? All I want to do is finish.

Swimming Zen.


@postaday 231; #postaday2011.

John is usually off Mondays, and when I got home last night his car wasn’t there. I got a text that he had taken Kid2 with him to run some errands. Kid1 was home convalescing. Bronchitis anyone? The classroom isn’t only an idea and dream incubator, it is also the great germ incubator.

I had to make a decision, and so I gave him a call and told him that I wanted to swim last night. The session was from 6:30-7:30, and it was more prep for ocean swimming. I knew he wouldn’t talk me out of it (he doesn’t talk me out of anything that remotely gets me in the direction of slender), but you know how it goes. You don’t just bail on family time. But I got the green light. Another thing John has learned is that workouts improve my outlook.

You know when  you’re running, or on the elliptical, or riding your bike or swimming,  and you’re moving along without pain, and you’re in this zone of nothingness and oneness and everything works correctly and  your heart and lungs and limbs and muscles and brain are busy doing their thing, and you’re possibly daydreaming, or, in my case, putting together a story? That place where you realize you’re part of the environment and cruising in the Zen?That place nearly like sleep? Unfortunately, I wake myself out of that with “OMG, I feel GREAT! This is fantastic!” And as i try desperately to hold onto that Zen, it becomes a greased rope and slips away. I’m learning to resist the excited and happy freak out and to relax into the swimming and riding, to retain that fleeting feeling.

Last night when we were in the pool, we’d get our orders to do 400 meters and I’d lose count and do 500. Then we’d be told to do two sets of 250 meters and I end up doing two sets of 300 meters. I couldn’t understand why I was the last to finish in my lane since I was the first to start and no one lapped me. One of the nice things about riding alone or doing my swims is that I’m not interested in keeping score. Your swimming style is different from mine. Your pace is, too. I can’t be bothered with matching anyone else stroke for stroke. And I think that is why I am achieving this floating zen, this connection with the water and the road, the emptying of my cares and worries.

Last night I could have done another thousand meters, but I knew I had to get home to the gang and to enjoy the dinner John had put together. When I got out of the van, wrapped in my damp towel, hair wet and body satisfied and tired, I could smell the fragrant chicken curry and brown jasmine rice. Life is no fairy tale. We had our share of strife last night because Kid1 is really cranky and under the weather, but life is what it is. You can put that love out there but the returns are never guaranteed.

There’s no point in being a vessel that holds tight to its cork, still and tight, dark and lonely.

Dodging the raindrops in East Oahu.

Red at rest at Diamond Head. Good waves today! Surfer chick with her board.

@postaday221; #postaday2011.

Apparently, there was a deluge while my family was at Hawaii Kai Towne Center, as they got a kick out of sharing the details of the event with me when I got home from my ride. They asked if I got rained on. I didn’t! I got sprinkled on just about everywhere, but nothing substantial. Nothing like bucket-over-the-door downpour! Thank goodness! I don’t mind riding in the rain, it’s just that no one in Hawaii knows how to drive in the rain, especially a driving rain. So I’d rather not be sharing the road with the overly cautious and the overly impatient.

I woke up this morning and the earache had gotten worse, so after my ride I went to the doctors and got ear drops and antibiotics. After John took off for work, I made myself a sandwich. This morning’s yogurt didn’t require much chewing, so I didn’t realize how bad this earache was! Yup, chewing was difficult. I’m thinking it might be wise to make a pot of soup for dinner.

All this means that my plans for attending a free ocean-swim clinic at Hilton Hawaiian Village tomorrow are dashed. I’ve decided that I’ll ride my bicycle there, listen to the land lesson and tell Coach Joe Lileikis laters when they launch into the sea.

I know I bellyache about the winds a lot, and the hills, and doing the hills in the wind, but there they were again. But I can really tell that I’m getting stronger. I still heave and my heart rate hit 173 today, but I feel as though I am getting stronger.

My stats are at Garmin Connect.

I left the house around 7 a.m. and got up Kamiloiki and Makapu’u hills without strong, handsome escorts who can stand up and discuss the roadkill with me while climbing. I love them, I hate them. LOL. It’s always a treat when the people who pass are pleasant. If I spent enough time with any of these handsome men, I’d probably pair them up with single girlfriends I have. Or boifs. I have all kinds of friends and I want them all to be happy.

The best thing about my ride is going down Kamiloiki or Makapu’u when Team Jet or TryFitness or Team Bocca are coming up. They would all pass me, I’m sure, but, since I’ve already had my hurt, I just tighten up and ride like the wind!