15/52

“… everything is ordinary and extraordinary.” (Natalie Goldberg)

The Easter Bunny showed up … it was a surprise visit for all
week15aDuring Shortstack’s first Easter, the EB started a tradition of using the same basket every year. Hey – even the EB knows that being eco-friendly is a good thing! After stashing all his Easter goodies, he was excited to use his basket for our farmer’s market shopping.
week15b I’ve been driving across the ko’olau range daily these past couple of weeks to spend time with my dad while he’s been hospital-bound. With views like this, it’s difficult to get frustrated with the time spent in the car. week15c Water and shadows.week15d Ka pua ‘o naupaka … I love these plants. The flowers bloom in a semicircle; these flowers carry a story of separated lovers (you can find a version of the story here)week15e THIS! This is the memory I want to hold of my boy at 9 yo.week15f I covet few things in this world … but I covet this houseweek15g Final Four watching and cocktail hour. Cocktails for mama, not Shortstack. I promise!week15h Have you seen the “He>I” bumper stickers? Good on you if it’s your thing … this one is more our thing. Kudos to Honolulu Beerworks!week15i Shortstack was our photographer this week. He was loving the yellow shower trees. No, I don’t know if that’s the proper name for them … only what I grew up calling them so that’s what Shortstack is calling them as well. week15j Study hard, baby boy! And soak in the greatness of this space! At the Main Branch of the Hawaii State Library system.week15kWho knew that we’d be the mamas of a graphic novel addict. Never was my thing, never was Panda’s thing, but it sure is Shortstack’s thing!
week15l This little guy kept me company for a 45 minutes while I spent time on the University of Hawaii’s Manoa campus. His eyes were painted with the prettiest sea foam green. week15m My sister loves – and knows – me. If you haven’t tried it yet, PLEASE find a dark chocolate & seasalt bar. It makes life good. week15n We escaped to our favorite camp site this weekend. We usually are set up within an hour (pretty quick when you’re setting up a glamping site, I assure you) and we have our feet in the sand and a beer in our hands very soon thereafter. Not a raindrop in sight. week15oShortstack had SO MANY friends to play with this weekend – we rarely saw the boy except when we required him to sit down to eat something and when it was time to go to sleep.
week15p This is my version of the tree of life. week15qMother nature is a pretty spectacular artist.
week15r Weathered and worn and still standing. week15s One of those rare selfies that I felt compelled to take because my soul was so happy.week15t Change your angle – see things differently. week15u A hallway of sun-kissed leaves.week15v Camping trip success!week15w

May is a few short weeks away. My wife and sister are celebrating their birthdays next week. Our boy has less than two months left as a 3rd grader. It goes too quickly. So squeeze the bliss out of every day, friends.

 

Do more of this …

bluewalk

beach walks with the Shortstack
evening stretches
listen to Hawaiian music in person
pupus and cocktail gatherings with our people
be loving towards my wife
breathe and be still
paint
write short stories

Barre: Back to Basics (aka DAMN! I’m unfit!)

doublebarre_editMovement is difficult this morning. My body is trying to figure out what the hell I did to it. And why. It hasn’t done anything to me. In fact, my body has been very nice to me lately. It eats, sometimes sleeps, gets me from point A to Z throughout the day. It allows me to give fabulous hugs and cook delicious meals for my people. So, right now, my body is whimpering and begging for an explanation as to why I would inflict torture on it. Oh, body of mine … how sorry I am that you are feeling pain – because, let me tell you, every iota of my being, physical and mental and (yes) even emotional is feeling the pain too. But it’s not from torture. It’s not from self-inflicted harm. It’s from a decision I made to take another step to being well.

I am intimidated by physical activity. I don’t like not knowing what my body can and cannot accomplish. I don’t like discovering those boundaries while in the presence of others. I don’t like being new to something and not having the competency to execute the exercises with confidence. I don’t like being in front of a mirror. I don’t like my body feeling weak or unstable. All of which happens when you’ve reached a level of unfitness that your body has never experienced before and you have to take those first steps to rediscover fitness.

I don’t have a driving desire to be super fit or to be 20 lbs lighter because that’s what I was however many years ago. My wife has been committed to reclaiming her health and weight in 2015 and she’s doing an amazing job. But her motivation seems to be an internal desire to settle at a certain weight that she feels most comfortable at. For me, it’s a challenge for me to tie my weight to my fitness. Pre-baby, I had weighed in at 120 lbs and, by all appearances, could be considered fit (yoga, hiking, walking -i’ve never been a runner – swimming, various fitness classes) but my weight belied my health. I’ve been trying to change the way I think about fitness and be more holistic about my physical health. I think I’m settling into a philosophy of wellness.

The idea of wellness has obviously been around for years. I’ve read through articles, books and websites about how to approach and incorporate wellness into your life. Hell, Kaiser sends me a mailer about wellness at least once a month. As I whittle away the busyness and business that surrounds wellness, I’m realizing that this is one of those concepts that is fully personal and one that you need to internalize in order to manifest. Wellness is not based on a good BMI number or the number of reps you can do in the gym. Wellness is not about switching to a vegan diet or eliminating alcohol. My vision of wellness is evolving into a feeling of satisfaction with how my body carries me throughout my day and rests at night. And, when I look at it that way, I have a lot of work to do because, although my body has sufficed, it has and does not carry me through our days with strength and grace and comfort. It hurts to sit on the floor and play a board game with Shortstack and then try to stand up, carrying our SUP from beach to water causes pain in my right shoulder, standing in the kitchen and cooking for a morning causes my ankles to swell and become achey, sitting at my desk for a few hours inevitably creates painful muscle tension that often explodes into a headache. So, no, I am definitely not well.

I decided to try something new in the way of exercise. Although I can and love to walk, I know that having an external motivator (i.e. an expectation to show up at a class) is good for me. Through a fluke I discovered Sweat & Soul Studio in Kaka’ako and screwed up enough courage to go to a class. Granted, first I emailed the studio to see what class they would recommend for a very unfit beginner and Melissa (I believe she’s the owner) was gracious and welcoming. I have a background in ballet – I danced for 20ish years. I know, and was reminded during my Barre class, that although you may take the dancer out of dance, you will never take a dancer’s awareness out of the dancer. I forced myself to leave the house, park the car and walk into the new studio; anxiety was bubbling up everywhere and I fought the urge to turn around and make excuses for myself all the way back home. But I walked into the studio, was greeted by Keala with such damn good energy and an open ear, before I realized it I was standing in a studio with walls of beautiful barres, a yoga mat, a strap and 1 lb weights. Oh lord. And then the next hour+ was intriguing and creative demands on my body which engaged and sought out muscles that I’m not sure exist within me. It felt right … not necessarily good – there was a wall of mirrors in front of me which I determinably tried to avoid looking at, but it was right. I knew and craved the feeling of standing in front of a barre again. My body unconsciously arranged itself into an acceptable position and, under Keala’s guidance and patience, I asked my body to do things that surprised me.

I’m in pain today. Tomorrow will likely be worse. The class I took yesterday has altered the way I think of a dance studio and the versatility of a barre for a full-body workout was quite a revelation. But I’m going to another class – hopefully tonight. And another one this weekend. I don’t expect big changes, but if I can start to extend my right leg from a seated position without toppling over or if I can engage my core long enough to maintain independent arm movement  for a second or two while in a suspended V, I’ll be satisfied.

I can say that my mantra for my 40s will likely be some version of “being well and happy is an everyday journey – filled with many steps forward and back.”

Be well, friends.

12-13-14/52

I’ll start out with an apology. This post is a deluge of pictures. But, being that this blog is my little sliver of cyberspace and my memory-keeper (gods know i need it!) I figure that it’s all good. Busy-ness – and business – have taken over our home and my mind. But life’s been loving us well and we’ve been loving life. Can’t ask for more than that. 

mother’s milk … week141312a

standing tall week141312dd

Shortstack made breakfast for me during spring break … week141312w week141312x

The pancakes were AMAZING!week141312y

GIANT
week141312r

Who reads … week141312t

Everywhere …week141312u

Anywhere …(this one did take his mamas by surprise – especially since he was supposed to be cleaning his room)week141312o

One of my favorite views of Diamond Head … yes, the one in Waikikiweek141312s

I have a serious addiction … to office supplies … week141312k

There was a soccer tournament. Our first. Well, the first for Shortstack and me.week141312z

Soccer tournaments mean DAYS of soccer. All. The. Time. Many – MANY games going simultaneously. week141312aa

And yet, he reads. He’s such an interesting mix of Mama Panda and I.week141312cc

A soccer mama and her wife.week141312bb

There was bike ridingweek141312d

And running … yeah. I don’t get it. week141312c

Mamas and their babies.week141312gg

Waikiki lightweek141312v

Baseball season is here!week141312p

A glimpse into the teen years that are barreling down on us far too quickly … week141312m

But always a lego addict …week141312l

I’ve been subbing 3rd grade. Boggle rocks! And these kiddos came up with better words that I could!week141312h

“The baby owls thought (all owls think a lot) …” {name that book and you’ll get a prize! well, you won’t. but I’ll be impressed!}week141312i

“The best night ever!” AH, Spaghetti Factory … may you never go away … week141312j

We lit a candle for Nana … she was well-loved and loved well.week141312f

Library time … ain’t nothing like it!
week141312g

Through the looking glass.week141312e

Oh, my eyes are getting old.week141312b

No words needed …week141312ff

And life moves on … may it move smoothly for you and yours. 

11/52

“But they rested for a moment in each other.” (May Sarton – Kinds of Love)

Salt water blurs my vision – sea or tears
week11a

Digging, building, watching it wash away. Many lessons to be learned in the sand and on the waterweek11b

Bafflement. Never saw this sight before. Yes. I waited 17 minutes, surrounded by a bunch of crazies for a chicken. And then everyone was all shame to reach for the first one so I jumped in and helped myself. Yes, that shame is completely cultural. And my impatience was completely personal.
week11c

Waikiki skyline, late afternoon sun and spotted clouds – our world doesn’t suck
week11d

There was late-night reading and moments of zoning out, looking at the senior game picture of my sexy-ass wife and our marriage equality self-made signweek11e

I woke up one morning, turned over and found this guy week11f

Art does a soul good
week11g

A hospital room with a view. Papa had emergency gallbladder surgery this week. Medical concerns are never fun, but we’re thankful for competent doctors and medical staff that are taking good care of my dad as he heals. Impatiently. It’s fair to say I’m a lot like him.
week11h

Waiting room blues. And reds. And a knitting project that will NEVER be done. week11i

Red Army’s last game of the season. The boy where he loves to be – in the goal. week11j

Lay back, look up week11k

The Red Army ‘ohana was an amazing group of players and parents that we got to work with this season! We’re going to miss this crewweek11l

We stopped to look for whales and it devolved into a tickle/boxing/chasing match with these two. Always these two.
week11m

Late night cuddles and tired smiles brought an end to a busy, unexpectedly hectic week and welcomed in Spring Breakweek11n

 

Rest up, people! We plan to. When we can. There’s a first-ever soccer tournament, Papa’s healing, many a meeting, some adventuring and exploring to be done. And, hopefully, some really good nappage.

10/52

“I wanna be ready, I wanna be ready, I wanna be ready when joy comes back to me …” {folk song lyrics}

Beach time and battleship
week10a

Sunshine and palm trees – our backyard
week10b

They’re silly. They’re mine. week10c

Sometimes life gets topsy-turvy – find the beauty in that
week10d

Going old skool

week10e

Color coordinated
week10f

Doesn’t she just look like a dame?week10g

Tiny church
week10h

Library pictures are my favoriteweek10i

Tinola and wine … a preview of the sick days to comeweek10j

Promises, promises …week10k

Sick day #1 … keeping my hands busy and using up my scrap yarn waiting for the Nyquil haze to kick in
week10l

Sick day #2 … refusal to nap = time to get the Red-billed OxPecker report doneweek10m

Sick day #3 … nappage achieved!week10n

This is how they basketball. Aunty Reech hasn’t something to say about it.
week10o

So, every university does senior night I hear. I also hear that NO ONE does senior night the way UH does. I’d concur. For wahine basketball, there were a couple of hakas, a hula, lei-giving and a ton of crying. #GoBowsweek10q

 

Starting the week off a little stuffy and still a little achey but it’ll all be good. Oh – i HATE Big Hero 6! Wanna see me blubber? That’ll do it!!

Sick Day

sickday

UGH! I’m sick today. Well, actually, I’m feeling icky today. I haven’t hit full-blown sickness. Throat and ears and tingly scalp. Not a good sign. So I did something that I have refused to do since I left my job; I sent my family off for the day, took Nyquil and crawled back into bed. At some point, I fully expect to fall asleep as I’m typing. And while I wait for blessed drug-induced relief to hit, I will battle back my feelings of guilt that I’m back in bed. Why guilt, you say … simple – even though I don’t have a formal job to go to every day, I have a routine, a self-imposed schedule that carries me through my days.

Ever since I left my job (no, I don’t want to think about just how long ago), I’ve imposed a rigid schedule and expectation on my time. Even though I’m not employed, I still have work to do.  And I have a lot of difficulty processing the guilt I feel when my wife heads out every morning to her crazy-ass job. And – let’s face it – I function much better when there’s at least a skeletal structure to work within.

The bulk of my mornings are spent researching jobs, applying for jobs and finding new ways to approach the job search. Although I am hoping that my next career move will be fulfilling and meaningful, it’s time for us to have a steady second source of income, so some priorities are back-burnered. In the past I’ve mentioned that the job hunt eliminates any professional ego that you may have; I can now say that the job hunt eliminates virtually any ego that you may have. I think I’m fully ready to start putting my writing out there for feedback because my soul is well-prepared for consistent rejection, some of which is baffling and some of which is downright infuriating. {Sidenote: employers – please don’t tell people that they are “over qualified” –  we are either qualified or we are not. If you don’t wish to hire us because you’re concerned we won’t commit ourselves long-term to your company or you don’t like our personality or you think that we’re smelly, fine! Tell us that! But don’t say that we are over qualified.} I’ve been told that I’m over qualified (see previous rant), I possess a personality that is too strong, I have too much experience and that a company doesn’t want to be a bus stop in my career path.  The job search has been humbling but also a mental forge ; I’ve needed to find ways to shore up my mental and emotional being so that my self esteem doesn’t crumble like a sand wall under the barrage of rejection that my self esteem endures.

I have started to substitute teach after finishing the certification course in the fall. I’ve had the pleasure of serving as a sub for Shortstack’s class and I’ve had a friend (thank you, Teresa!) who’s been amazing at getting my name out there and thinking of me when her classroom has needed a sub. So far I’ve only worked with upper elementary, but I am looking forward to getting into classrooms in the intermediate and high school levels.

After several hours devoted to the job hunt, I sit down and write. I have a novel, people! It’s not complete. And, in fact, I demolished a couple of chapters yesterday, but I have a novel. It’s coming. It’s growing. And whether or not anyone else wants to read it, I’m writing it! I’ve also had a flurry of short essays about mamahood, wifehood, womanhood. Oh – and coffee. I think the coffee essays are just because but they ensure that I continue to put words on the page. I’m prescribing to the philosophy that you just need to get the words out and down, no matter how crappy they are and then you have a place to start. Earlier in this era of post-employment, I was devoting a couple of hours each day to my Etsy shop: researching SEOs and Etsy marketing, taking product pictures and comparing different shops and products, creating new products and trying to make my way through. I’ve taken a huge step back from Etsy – but I’m still tinkering with new ideas and products and ways to make what I make unique and appealing to a niche market in the big, bad world of Etsy and small-shop cyber universe.

And then I clean – and tidy – and cook – and shuffle – and shop (people, Costco is much better to go to on a weekday but, even then, the senior citizens halting their carts mid-stride in the middle of the aisles so that they can get a food sample is still infuriating!). I’ve always known that stay-at-home-mamas work hard and their lives are a constant drain on their emotional and mental reserves as they balance an perceived expectation that all will be cared for in the home and domestic life because, well, they’re home all day so – of course – that’s all they have to do in life; I have to come to believe that the partners that “go to work” often forget that the stay-at-home spouse also has goals that they are trying to achieve, challenges they face throughout the day, disappointments and victories, and that although it is reasonable and legitimate to think that the home front will be mostly dealt with by the spouse who stays at home, there are some days when said spouse will not want to cook or do dishes or deal with fussy kids. The home is still home to all in the family. Sorry – another tangent. I’ve been working on a few essays about stay-at-home-mamas as well. Probably because I’ve never been one nor have I ever had one in or around my life; my mother would NEVER have considered being a stay-at-home-mother (all the angels and her family and neighborhood is overwhelmingly grateful for that!), I didn’t successfully make it through my maternity leave without ending up in the office because I needed that stimulation, and I can’t think of any friends who had a stay-at-home-parent. This era of being the primary home keeper, care giver, home maker, etc. has been eye-opening.

The last hours of my day are blurred into picking up Shortstack, wading through 3rd grade math and language arts, library visits, dinner prep, bath time, ukulele lessons, soccer practice, greeting my wife, after-dinner chaos and bedtime, an hour or so of tv time with my wife and then bed. So, yes, my days are filled.

But today, I have piled myself into bed. I have computer in hand (obviously) and my job search file. I have my pens and notebook. I have my honey-lemon tea and my comfy pjs. And I’m starting to feel the pleasant drifting sensation of my mind shutting down even as I type these last words. God bless Nyquil. Nighty-night, friends. Hope you all stay healthy and bug-free!

Sick day, commence!