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.

Big South Shore Waves

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This is the last week before the quarter ends, so school teachers aren’t calling in sick and substitute teachers like me are not getting called to work. What a gorgeous day to be outside! Hot. Hot. Hot. But beautiful. There is nothing like living in Hawaii. Nothing.

After we drove along the Ka Iwi Coast taking in the sights, and getting a video via Instagram, we came back home for a cold lunch. Cold wheat linguine for me dressed in sesame oil, shoyu, sesame seeds and green onions; target-rich tossed salad for him. Naps.

I was craving an ocean fix so bad. I couldn’t go out at Sandy Beach because it was too big. My hair was a big ball of fuzz, and the best remedy for that is an ocean swim. I decided to go for a swim at Kaimana Beach in Waikiki before I had to pick up Kid2 at school. Hot. Hot. Hot. Parking was easy at 1:30 p.m. In fact, if you run the Honolulu Marathon, there were like ZERO cars parked along the finish. The waves are too big on the South Shore for most surfers and definitely not a swim to the windsock kind of day.

The clown goggles. Seriously, these TYR goggles are polarized, so great for a sunshiny day. One earplug for my right ear. This year's WRS cap.

The clown goggles. Seriously, these TYR goggles are polarized, so great for a sunshiny day. One earplug for my right ear. This year’s WRS cap.

Put on my fins, my Roughwater Swim cap, and my clown goggles and headed out toward the windsock. The waves were deliciously rambunctious. I love swimming up and down and under and over, swishing around loving the sea foam, diving under to check out the fishies. But I wasn’t confident to swim all the way out to the wind sock. Waves were breaking big outside — they looked easily to be 6-8 feet. The wind sock pole was always in a wave. And besides, no one else was out there. Not that I ever swim with a buddy, but when there are other swimmers, then we’re all buddies.

Nope. I noodled around inside on my back, on my side, under and over, freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, a few butterfly kicks and under again. A half hour to myself. Instead of mom time or wife time or sub teacher time or maid time, it was Me Time.

It was cool.

How best to begin a new year


I wrote my first check for 2014 without making a mistake. I thought that was pretty good. I waited a few days to let 2014 sink in, just to see what would happen if I held back. I have finally concluded that there is no point in making any pronouncements about what a new year will be for me. After 2013, how could I?

Yesterday I was herding carts in the best Hawaii weather: Breezy, low humidity and cool. I couldn’t ask for a better last day on carts as a seasonal Costco Hawaii Kai employee. While I was working I noticed a big woman running across the parking lot. Because I am a triathlete, I notice people who run and wonder if I’ve ever seen them while training or in a race. But I didn’t recognize her, and I realized she wasn’t running for exercise. She wore black capris and a T-shirt, her long, wavy brown hair blowing in the wind and she was carrying a backpack or something. She kept looking back, and then she ran to the Kiss and Ride, where I stopped paying attention. I then noticed a manager, phone to his ear, looking in the same direction.

Soon there were police cars in our lot. One blue-and-white stayed at the front door for what seemed like an hour. I guess that’s how long it takes to file a report. And maybe, because it was Saturday and the craziest day ever, the other officers hung out as a calming measure. You’d think it was the day before Christmas the way people poured into Costco to spend their money. The lot was crowded and tense, and for a handful of times, I heard conflicts and horns beeping over parking spaces.

I don’t know if we can say that she got away. In conversations with other cart crew members, I learned that teams of thieves come in with stolen bags they fill with stolen goods. If they get caught they can say it’s not their bag, so it’s not their crime. It can’t be that easy. I wondered if they give the things they steal as gifts or if they try to sell them. I wonder if they are stealing to fill the voids in their life.

New merchandise for 2014 includes luxuries, organic foods, gourmet goods and fancy libations. It’s all so very tempting. I often remark at the restraint of members who come in for milk and eggs and leave with milk, eggs, a bag of fresh spinach and a bottle of wine. Every day something new and interesting shows up at Costco. With my reduced income, it is easy to tune out the fancies and focus on the essentials.There are things I wish for, but I could never take them. When I sweep the floor I pop the dimes and pennies I find on a register counter, they wobble and spin and ring until they are silent, standing by, waiting to be slipped into a cash drawer. They are not mine, not even for a second.

For a minute I had empathy for an overweight woman running as fast as she could. When I realized what was going on, I thought how much better it is to run toward an honest goal than to run from a crime. Honey, that ain’t no way to begin a new year.

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

Whole Hearted, Half Assed.

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I wish I had a tech T-shirt that said “I’d Rather be Riding my Road Bike,” that I could wear while running. That way everyone who saw me running wouldn’t think I was putting in a half-assed effort but that … Continue reading