Monthly Archives: March 2013

Stepping out

1st stepsTwenty-one years ago, days shy of her first birthday, I let go of her chubby little hand and away she went.

Then she kept on going. In preschool, she was queen of the monkey bars. In junior kindergarten, the most popular girl in the class. In fourth grade she had a reputation on the soccer field as being the player who made the most spectacular tumbles but popped right back up and raced down the field to get the ball back.

With a sense of her own gifts as a leader, she seemed to relish being in the middle of the action, wherever that was. And whether it was orating in the Damon Speech contest, or portraying Viola in Twelfth Night, or the many times she stood, bedecked in paʻu, lei poʻo and kupeʻe on various kahua hula — to be on stage was like being home to her.

When she was four, she was in her first performance on an elevated stage at the Waikiki Hoʻolauleʻa. After their final number, the little dancers left the stage to great applause. Eager to praise and congratulate her, I raced backstage to find her dissolved into tears. “I want to go back up there!” she wailed. “Why can’t I do it again?”

When it comes to stepping out on her own, my girl is just getting warmed up. At 22, having long since let go of my hand, she has all the confidence she needs to make her own way in the life that lies before her.

So today I blow her a virtual kiss, and with a heart full of pride, watch her step out into the adventure of adulthood.

Happy Birthday, my angel. E kūlia i ka nuʻu: strive for the highest.

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Trouble in paradise

Look, I understand that listening to someone who lives in a tropical paradise whine about her problems is not what you signed on for, but can I just have one more swing at it? Then, I promise, pau.

First whine: I’ve gotten accustomed to people (and when I say people, I’m including the quadruped member of the family) being healthy around here, fully functioning and at the top of their games. So when they’re not, it’s a bit of a challenge for yours truly.

Three weeks ago, it was our boy who suffered surgery on the sole of his foot. Originally there was thought to be an inclusion cyst there; turns out it was a rather large plantar wart. Upshot: doctor’s orders to be 100% non-weight bearing on the foot for a full three weeks. Crutches only, no walking, no driving even. Definitely no surfing, which is probably the biggest difficulty of all.

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I was going to say this looks worse than it is, but the truth is, it’s exactly that bad.

So, it has fallen to me to do for him all that he cannot do for himself. I do however draw the line at  bathing; it’s been a couple decades since I’ve had that responsibility, and that’s exactly as it should be. I did go to the pharmacy and purchase a bath bench and a special plastic bag for covering his leg so that he could perform his own ablutions without compromising the dressing, so you can’t say I’m not doing my part.

But that still leaves making his breakfast (and washing the dishes), packing his lunch for work, then driving him to work and picking him up in the afternoon. Then making his dinner and washing those dishes (which I’d be doing anyway, so that sort of doesn’t count). It feels almost exactly the same as having a school-age child, which, as I recall: I DID THAT ALREADY.

And on top of all that, my four-legged baby also had to have surgery last week to remove a few cysts on his tummy and chest. Which means the poor guy has been relegated to the Cone of Shame. So I’ve been administering pain pills and antibiotics and wrestling him into the COS so that he won’t lick or chew the stitches. Bless his heart, he’s been awfully patient with me and the whole process; I think if I were in his shoes — paws? — there might be some inadvertent biting here and there.

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Such a good boy

And finally there’s the fact that I may or may not be about to have a birthday in a couple weeks, to which I have to say: UGH.

I know, I know; as my dad used to say, any day above ground is better than the alternative. But can I just say, birthdays at this age and stage just serve to remind me that I get to deal with fun stuff like:

  • hot flashes
  • a weird bald spot on my forehead
  • growths
  • those pesky seven pounds I mysteriously put on in the past nine months, that appear to have no intention of going anywhere anytime soon, South Beach be damned
  • being closer to 60 than to 50

The good news is my birthday consistently falls during Spring Break, a week off for The Coach, so for the past twenty-plus years I’ve celebrated on a (mostly) annual ski trip to Colorado. Maybe it seems odd that an island girl would enjoy snow skiing in the Rockies, but I learned to ski — and got hooked — in college, and ever since it’s been the best vacation activity I can imagine.

The bad news is this year we are staying home. That has to do with the construction being approximately a month away from completion, and we have yet to make a decision about the wood for the bathroom cabinets, a ceiling fan, wall-mounted (or table?) lamps for the bedsides, a desk or desk design for the southwest corner, and a bookshelf configuration for the northwest corner. Plus the fact that a new bedroom and bathroom cost roughly ten times your average ski week. So, okay, I can live without a ski trip this time. However, I’m also missing our girl’s birthday. Hers is the day after mine, so we have always had a joint, two-day celebration.

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What my baby girl and I WON’T be doing on our birthdays this year

But for the first time in 22 years, we won’t be together on our birthdays. Which I’m trying my hardest not to dwell on, because it just makes me more blue. Recently when our girl and I have had a chance to talk — which hasn’t been often, given my various commitments [see above] and hers (being a junior in college; nuff said) — she has asked me what I’d like for my birthday.

Oh, Sis, where do I start? I just want to hang out with you, go get pedicures, tell funny stories about the night you were born, eat cake and pretend all the other nonsense [see above] isn’t happening.

That would be a great birthday present, but I suppose I can live with its deferral. Time moves on, after all. Stitches will be removed, crutches and Cones of Shame eighty-sixed, and building projects completed. It’s even possible I’ll come up with a solution to the pesky seven pounds.

So, there’s nothing left to do but wind down the whine. Thanks for letting me get it off my chest.

Now back to our regularly scheduled P in P programming. Look! Sunrise over Koko Head:

IMG_0400I feel better now.

Slumps

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The Coach and I were driving to a party the other night, and as we listened to the sports talk station,  the topic of discussion turned to the fact that the University of Hawaii baseball team has started its season with a 1-12 record.

Ouch. We’ve been followers of UH baseball for years, decades even, and one of the guys on the team is the son of friends, so we feel for them. As they say in the islands: pua ting.

Naturally the speculation is all on whether and when those poor boys will be able to turn things around, and how much longer before people start asking about the coach and his contract. Before the season started they had been expected to do well, in their conference and overall, even given a challenging and competitive schedule. So far it hasn’t turned out that way, and it’s getting painful for fans to witness.

Like the proverbial train wreck: too awful to watch, but too fascinating to look away from.

The Coach commented: “You know, I’ve been through that before. We won the national championship my freshman year, but by my junior and senior seasons we were one of the worst teams in the country.

“And you know what you do when that happens?” he posed.

“Keep playing?” I ventured to guess.

“That’s it. There is nothing else. You just keep playing. What else can you do? What’s the alternative? Quitting? Walking away?”

I’ve been dwelling a bit on that rhetorical question — “What’s the alternative?” — myself lately, as well as finding myself in deep sympathy with those poor baseball players. And Rory McIlroy, who I feel a little less sorry for, because of all the, you know, wealth.

My own dilemma exists on a much smaller scale, of course, but it’s distressing nonetheless. I expected to have a different experience here with this blog: more productive, more consistent, more — I don’t know if this makes sense — helpful, somehow.

But I seem to be in a bit of a slump, and no end in sight. Yet I know there’s nothing for it except to … keep playing. So far, I am; I try my best to show up and at least practice most days, even if there hasn’t been much in the way of actual product to show for it.

And I offer my thanks for your patience, my dear readers (all four of you), as I travel through this dry spell. I’m thankful you’re not some virtual team owner who has the power to not renew my contract. Because that would probably be worse than any slump.