Always carry a bikini in your purse

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Photograph of a TheBus 40' Gillig Phantom bus ...

TheBus in Honolulu near the intersection of Beretania and Bishop. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, I can breathe. At least until tomorrow. I flew last night to Oahu for my second MPJE exam in a week. Last Saturday, I took the one for New Mexico, and today I took the one for Washington state. It all started out on a positive note…..

I arrived at Honolulu International Airport in the afternoon, with my purse and briefcase on wheels. I was spending the night, but I figured I didn’t need a full change of clothes….just a couple shirts and a bikini folded into my purse. Always be prepared! Walking up to the bus stop, I spotted a man I work with on a project. I use that phrase loosely, since I didn’t even remember his name. He was fiddling with his iPhone. “Aloha,” to which his reply was, “The bus comes at 5:51.” It seems he found some cool way of tracking the buses on his phone.

As luck would have it, we sat next to each other on the bus, across from two military boys who had evidently not been whooped into shape enough during boot camp. These boys were straight from the midwest, had never been on a city bus, were probably excited about the nightlife in Waikiki,

and were loud and obnoxious. Eight-year-old boys on a big field trip, but with tons of testosterone.

I reintroduced myself to the “bus keeper,” and we talked the best we could given the ruckus around us about a grant just released by CMS, and somehow about the school his son goes to. It’s for dyslexic and/or gifted children. In fact, he moved to Oahu so his son could go there, but he works all week on Maui while his wife stays on Oahu. Now, that’s Dad of the Year, in my books! He said a few times that “it’s really expensive.”

It’s called Assets, and I intend to look into it. While I want to stay on Maui, the prospect of a job is slim to none. My daughter is highly gifted and the typical underachiever.  Not only did he (his name is Tony) turn me on to a grant and Assets, he also turned me on to a website for tracking the buses on Oahu. If you Google “the bus”, you will find the website. The buses each have gps on them, so you can find out real time how far they are from you.

Next adventure, the hotel. I had no idea where I was staying, but I knew it was in the outskirts of Waikiki….Equus, boutique hotel. Hmmm.. The front desk seemed nice enough, with a waterfall audible in the background. The desk clerk gave me my key, said to head back out and around the building to the high rise in the back. He pointed to the security code for the building and told me I was on floor 26. Whoa! 26?! I have been on Maui too long. I did what he said, but was a bit confused. High rise doesn’t sound “boutique” to me.

Western Sushi found at Wegmans Supermarket

I found my room, and it was a tiny condo with kitchenette. The bed was a Murphy, and I almost tripped on it trying to walk by, given the 12 inches of clearance between it and the wall. It wasn’t beautiful, but it had a stove, so I could boil water for my Throat tea, and it had a great view of the city. Sushi sounded good for dinner, so I searched Places on my phone and decided to head toward Waikiki a block or so.

When I found the building, there wasn’t the sushi restaurant I found, but something much better! It was Aloha Sushi, with everything to go. Hot dog! I was in business! One spicy ahi and some poke nigiri, all wrapped up, and I headed back for my last study session.

I set up my computer so I could face the city lights and the ocean and got situated with notes and sushi. Suddenly, fireworks went off right in front of me!  Boom! Boom! I had my very own show for 3-5 minutes. Honestly, the timing couldn’t be better, and I took it as a good sign.

I had a hard time falling asleep that night. Spinning in my mind were all kinds of business ideas. The whole plan was laid out, and I battled whether to get up and write it down or stay in my meditative state and hope that I would both fall asleep and remember everything the next day. I decided to stay in bed, but I might as well have gotten up.

The room next to me housed some young, rowdy females up for a good time, and they traipsed in and out of their room every few minutes. They were obviously drunk by the fact they were practically yelling to each other in the linoleum hallway that was ten feet long from the elevator to both of our doors. I cracked my door and grunted “some people are trying to sleep,” which they ignored. A call to security seemed to work, or they were just too busy praying to the porcelain god or passed out. Regardless, I finally got about 4 hours of sleep.

“Yes, but how did the test go?” you ask. Well, I made it there early, was finishing my second pint of coffee and feeling the haze lift.

Regular Starbucks Coffee tumbler, as sold in 2...

Regular Starbucks Coffee tumbler (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I felt okay going into it, really (that’s what they all say). Plus, I had locker #3 (my lucky number), and then I was seated at desk #3. That just had to be a good sign! Fourty questions into the 90 question exam, I realized I was almost on time (meaning I had no grace time), and that I clearly didn’t study well enough for this one OR the last one. About 1/3 of the questions warranted a WTF?! from me. I honestly don’t know how they come up with these scenarios.

I left the test center last week feeling like most people leave. “No way I passed that exam.” After today, I left feeling completely dejected, so I did what any girl would do. I went to Ala Moana Shopping Center and bought myself some perfume.

Then, I headed to the beach, plopped down my briefcase and purse, changed into my bikini, and got me the first dose of sun in two weeks. After timing myself and flipping like bacon, I rocked a few downward dogs, pigeons and headstands.

Back to the mall for some shoes on clearance (not much makes a girl happier when she is down). I managed to catch my flight on time, where I wrote down some great notes about what I needed to do this next week. Now, here I am, sitting on my lanai with twinkling lights above me, a glass of wine to my right, a soft tropical breeze, and this hacking cough I can’t get rid of.  Tomorrow is a little “me time” before I catch up on the rest of my life….

The Contest Continues! Ends March 14th

Please check out  and RATE the new designs submitted for my contest for a business logo. Contest ends March 14th. Below is some background.

CLICK HERE to vote!

Design Brief:

I am a Medication Wellness Consultant Pharmacist offering holistic Medication Therapy Management services based around collaborative care: to individuals and physician groups via phone, in person, or video; and via speaking arrangements at conferences. In the future, I would like to work on functional, fundamental nutritional consults and workshops, so my business will not focus solely on medicine. I also have a blog, which I hope to build over time.

Theme: Helping Others Help Themselves

My target audience will include both physicians and lay people. They will be of all ages and backgrounds..

LOGO
1. professional, clean and contemporary
2. symbolizes holistic health, vitality, and Helping Others Thrive.
3. It should be simple, reduce to b/w and grayscale easily, and be easily recognizable once people have seen it a few times.
4. No cartoons

When the heart speaks….move

Aside

I remember when I first started Anusara yoga, and the teacher said to ‘melt your heart.’ I really didn’t get it, and I am still in the process of “getting it.” In fact, I always will be, and that’s one of the wonderful things about yoga. Forever a student.

One of the first thoughts I had when I realized this was an actual theme in Anusara was of Gelsey Kirkland, a ballerina I idolized when my life WAS ballet. Her first book Dancing On My Grave fascinated and scared me. Her passion for dance and perfection drove her to severe anorexia and cocaine abuse. It scared me because I wanted that intensity. I wanted to let the passion overtake me and drive me, to give in completely to it and see where it took me.

Her next book The Shape of Love amazed me. In it, she was coaching a dancer in a role that she had herself danced. She was trying to get the dancer to stand up from a chair with her heart. Over and over, she told the girl to try again. I forget how long it took (over an hour), but she would not give up until the dancer initiated and continued her movement with her heart. Gelsey really strove to get to the root of things. She was obsessed, but the beauty of the purity of what she strove for changed my view of dance and ballet forever.

Now, half a lifetime later, I am again tapping into that part of myself in both yoga and dance. Some days are better than others. I am different now. I am older, stiffer, bigger (not saying much, since I was anorexic then), a mom of a teen, and a doctor of pharmacy. For years, I went against my heart, and instead went to school. I did dance for a bit during that time, but realized I had to finish my degree, so quit dance yet again.

During that long 10 years of my life, I tried to compensate by being a gym rat, running in a marathon, competing in endless triathlons, and then cycling.  When I broke my hip in 2008, I couldn’t swim or run, so I ended up sticking mostly with cycling for the next 3 years. For three years, I was bent over a book or a computer and bent over my bike, cycling ’round and ’round in a uniplanar existence. Head down, I plunged ahead toward my goal of a terminal degree, striving for excellence, pushing, pushing, pushing my limits all the time.

Now, my psoas is tight, my sciatica is flaring up, and my heart is barely peeking through it’s little house. So, I did what I always do when I need to get back to my roots. I started yoga class.

Enter Anusara Yoga into my life.

I found myself quickly emerged in a practice where the benefits carried themselves over into my life off the mat. I am learning to listen to my heart, to feel my heart, speak from my heart, and one day to move from my heart.

I bring this all up because of an article I read today titled Love As Alchemy.  It spoke of receiving love through our backs behind our heart. Our backside, the Divine, the unknown, where we build trust. The Love that is always there. I have had a painful tightness for about 2-3 weeks now right behind my heart, between my shoulder blades. I almost feel that if I bring my should blades together tightly enough, my spine would pop. Many times, I have wanted to ask someone to press on it, for it felt like if someone pushed really hard, my spine would pop and release there, and the pinching would go away. I figured it was from the kayaking I did, but I should know better. It’s my heart, which has recently been through a lot.

I had been thinking of being a channel of love, rather than collecting it behind my heart. I guess there are multiple ways to view it. You can move love through you, soaking it up to nourish your soul, then giving it your flavor and offering it back into the world. You don’t hold onto it like a material object, but it forever changes your make up. Your cells come alive and dance, and you FEEL love. Your heart swells and glows, radiates and pulsates, with the in-pouring of love. And love is all around us. When we open up, we can fill that well, nourish our cells and our soul and offer it back to the world.

It can be scary to open up our hearts, but we are only opening to divine grace, so what is there to be afraid of? Afraid of being fully me? Afraid of my own beauty and brilliance? That’s silly, and yet it happens. And so the mission to open and receive love so that we may transform ourselves and offer love back to others continues.

Freudian Blunder

Do you see it? This is from MedWatch

Spinbrush Powered Toothbrush by Arm and Hammer or Crest: Safety Communication – Choking Hazard and Serious Injuries

AUDIENCE: Comsumer, Dentist

ISSUE: FDA notified parents, caregivers, consumers, and dental care professionals about reports of serious injuries and potential hazards associated with the use of all models of the Spinbrush. These reports indicated that while turned on, the brush head has either “popped off” or broken off in the user’s mouth or near the face, causing cuts to the mouth and gums, chipped or broken teeth, swallowing and choking on the broken pieces, and injuries to the face and eyes. When the unexpected release of any part of the powered toothbrush occurs, there is a potential for serious injury. This risk is higher for unattended children or adults who may need assistance while using this device.

BACKGROUND: The Spinbrush line of powered toothbrushes is currently sold as the Arm & Hammer Spinbrush and until 2009 was sold as the Crest Spinbrush. The Spinbrush line is manufactured by Church & Dwight Co., Inc.

RECOMMENDATIONS: FDA recommends that consumers:

  • Inspect the Spinbrush for any damage or loose brush bristles prior to using. If you notice any damage or loose brush bristles, DO NOT USE.
  • Check to be sure that the headpiece is connected properly to the handle of the brush and test your brush outside of the mouth prior to using. If you notice the connection feels loose or the headpiece easily detaches from the handle, DO NOT USE.
  • Supervise children and adults who need assistance when using the Spinbrush.
  • Do not bite down on the brush head while brushing.

See the FDA Safety Communication for FDA/manufacturer recommendations and product photos.

333/333- Coming Full Circle

With the final post of my 333 project coming up, I clicked through each and every post and was surprised at the evolution of my posts, and of my life, my focus. While riding my bike that week, I thought of all that has happened over the past two years since I started the project, and I had the complete blog all in my head. It was fabulous (or so I thought at least), but once I stopped spinning, the thoughts stopped flowing, and it wasn’t long before they trickled away. I have bits and pieces in my mind, and I scribbled down some thoughts while with a friend, but I can’t find that paper. C’est la vie. Let’s see what happens.

Beginning

I should probably talk again about what the 333 project was based on. Many friends of mine were doing 365 projects, where you post a pic a day. I liked the idea, but missed the start of the year, so I decided I could do a 333 project based on that many days in the year left, as well as 3 being my favorite number. My posts had to do with the numbers 3, 6, or 9 either literally or figuratively. If you want a quick background, please read my post HERE about the significance of the numbers. I highly recommend this, or the rest won’t make sense.

Middle

Reflecting on the number 3, and how it has played in my life since February, 2010, I see many births, beginnings, creation. Some of them were wonderful, some of them very painful. Many of them came out of loss and death, which is embodied in the number 9.

My project itself was born out of the ending of a very special relationship, which led me to focus in more on myself and start fresh and redefine myself. (Let me just add that going back and reading my old blogs is a trip!)  Here is when I made the commitment to myself.

10-17-09 symbolized for me a new beginning in my relationships with Myself and everyone I interact with. It symbolized a letting go of destructive views and behaviors and an embracing of a life based first and foremost on love.

And during my project, an old love was being rekindled and fostered. In fact, it was our third time dating since we we were 15. Heck, we even fell in love in our 15th year (1 + 5=6). Don’t they say third time is a charm?

I experienced the death of two family members, the cancellation of a very exciting trip to Nice, and received notice that I had not matched for a pharmacy residency all within two months.  The death of my grandmother brought together 3 generations of women, which was a beautiful reconnection. We all shared our love (6) while we mourned the loss of our matron (9), and this allowed us to move on and start again (3). My daughter’s father came back in the picture after 11 years, which was, and is, bittersweet. I finished up ten years of college upon graduating with my Doctor of Pharmacy, and I moved with my daughter to Maui, an island way out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Talk about a big change! I was again ready to treat myself better. The relationship I had been in all this time ended, and I found myself feeling strong, but a bit lost. I started and ended a pharmacy residency, and now I am starting my own business. I also have reached a new phase in my life, which is only just beginning to unfold.

Now is when I wonder if I do a timeline or go through each category? Everything ties into itself, with 3, 6 and 9 working together in a cycle. So, I think I will just work on reflection, rather than recounting things. Let’s start with today…..

12/18/11

Reading “The Wisdom of Patanjali‘s Yoga Sutras” by Ravi Ravindra, I found myself with a deeper understanding than in prior times. Before I could comprehend the philosophy of it, but now I can say that I have embodied just the beginnings of some of the first chapters.

I feel that I have learned to let go of a lot and flow more with the cycle of death and birth, and I have accomplished this through love. When I made that commitment to myself in October of 2009 (see above), it was powerful. It started with loving myself. I had to learn to love myself first and forgive myself for any mistakes I had made. Flowing with love requires letting go of attachments. In the yoga sutras, vairagya is the concept of non-attachment and brings freedom from personal desire. “This includes desire for salvation or enlightenment, as well as the desire for great knowledge or wonderful experiences.” My journey in love and relationships has led me to deal with my attachments to certain things, and to realize the pain these attachments cause. One by one, I identify an attachment, dive into it to find the root, and pull the plug, letting the pool drain away. My motivation for this self-reflection has been freedom from the pain that I knew I was causing myself. Yet, it has taken me on a path much wider and more beautiful than I imagined, for I never viewed the path, never projected what I thought it would be like. I was going into the unknown, and I simply knew it would be better than what I had been experiencing. Life has shown me that I can’t know the future, and to project actually prevents me from experiencing the Real, which may be oh so much nicer than what I can imagine.

In the book, vairagya is “freedom from myself, the self which is constituted by all my past actions, fears, desires, ambitions. It is a dying to myself.” I feel that is what I am working toward. I was a dancer. I still am, but not in action. To call myself a dancer is to identify with certain ways of being. After 10 years of college and several years of triathlon, I have realized that movement is what moves me. It’s all a dance, an internal dance with one’s self. It is a constant meeting of doubts and insecurities, and ideally a spinning away of those feelings and thoughts, leading to a lightness, an elevation of spirit within. It brings tears to my eyes thinking of the beauty of the lifting of the soul in movement. There, right there, is an attachment to past feelings, and that’s okay, for now.

From the book on dying to myself:

“We are like

A bird in a cage.

It’s door wide open.

With no practice in flying,

sitting in the cage,

composing an ode

To freedom.”

How sad to have the ability to fly, but be so settled in what we DO know that we never try.

I have always felt there is something very powerful within me, a certain “greatness”. I never dared to say this to anyone, for it may come across as pompous. This quote from Krishnamurti, one of my favorites, explains what I have sensed all my life but denied until recently.

“To be absolutely nothing is to be beyond measure.” (Journal, p. 73)

To be empty is to be full. When you let go of what you “know”, you make room for the Real. When riding my bike that day that I planned this post, I had a feeling of being a channel of positive energy. What you put out in the world comes back to you, and what you put out in the world comes from others. When you channel positive energy, you are simply a receiver. Love moves through you. It is no longer just from you to others. It is boundless, for you accept love from others and give it freely. Like the torus, it is a constant flow, and the more you are empty and can let go of attachment to love and what you “know” love to be, the more love you have in your life. I had a day recently where the love was running so freely through me, that everything glowed. Everything was vibrant and beautiful, and my skin prickled with calm excitement. I was an open channel and would have kissed any of my dear friends and let them know how beautiful they are.

The End? No, for that is only the opening for another beginning……

“To be absolutely nothing is to be beyond measure.”

By letting go of the image I had built of myself in others’ eyes, and letting go of what I thought I once was, I am allowing myself to be me, truly me. I have been taking more yoga and putting my bike aside, for my body and mind are wanting more movement. I recently decided I want to dance again, to try any and all movement possibilities available to me. Right when I decided that, I was told of a dance class being offered just one night by some women from Phoenix. It was three classes rolled into one: classical jazz, hip-hop, and modern/contemporary. I was ecstatic to realize that my body was strong enough (thank you yoga!) to fully express and go into the movements with conviction. My training did not fail me. It’s all there. All those years of sweat, tears, dedication, and LOVE of movement are in my cells, in my heart. My energy level was so high afterward, I can’t describe the joy I felt to dance again, to truly move through the space within me and within the room. I had ideas of what I would like to do with my experience, which I will save for later.

Right now, I am letting go so that I can fly. I am learning to trust myself and let myself fly. No longer composing that ode to freedom. The door is wide open, and with the new year, I am taking that leap of faith into the beautiful unknown. Like my friend TJ Frank said, “In Faith, No Fear”.

Virtual Brain

I want to tell you about Evernote. If you have never used it, you will probably wonder why not after you read this. I saw a little note on Tim Ferris‘s Facebook page about Evernote, and I read about how they managed to stay afloat and how wonderful their product is. You can organize basically everything. You know when it comes to tax time and you can’t find those Rx receipts for deductions? Or how about you tried this great wine and either can’t remember the name, or you lost the napkin you wrote it on? Evernote can help you organize that!

To start, Evernote is accessible and compatible on any platform. It works on any PC or Mac product, as well as Droid and iPhone/Pad/Touch. You organize everything into notebooks, and then notes within the notebooks. You can cut and past into a note, clip from the internet, email directly to a note, take a picture and store it, and even add voice messages. The really cool thing is that when you take a picture of, for example, a receipt or wine bottle, it deciphers the text in the picture. You can then search either for any words you remember from the picture, or search via tags you assign to the note. It does the same with voice messages and transcribes the audio. Now, how cool is that!

Best of all, it’s FREE! Okay, if you want to add certain features, or need more capacity, then it’s only a few dollars a month. Minimal when you think that this thing organizes your life, and it is accessible any time you have access to internet, no matter what the device. Not many people go anywhere without at least their cell phone.

So, go check it out. It’s free, so you have nothing to lose. And let me know what you think!

Seriously, I spent today recovering from NOLA. I relaxed, caught up on emails, tried to catch up on blogs, etc. Near sunset, my friend texted me that she was at the beach if I wanted to come down for sunset. What a wonderful way to end my day! So glad she did that.

She’s Got Legs

Tonight was the last night of the conference, when they always put on a big show and party. When you have 20,000+ attendees, even when many of them go home, the party can be incredibly large. I heard there were about 6000 there tonight. I was excited to wear my new slinky dress and high heels. I just don’t get many opportunities to dress up here on the islands. It was cold out, but I knew that I would be taking the shuttle bus over to Mardi Gras World and then going inside. I spiffed myself up, then headed down with only a small cardigan and my purse. When I got to the waiting area for the shuttle, I knew I stuck out, and walking onto the bus was hilarious. Everyone was bundled up in long coats, beanies, scarves, gloves, etc. In walks the girl from Maui with a slinky dress and bare legs. Oh well. I felt good and was ready to dance!

When we got to Mardi Gras World, there was a line outside, again of overly bundled folks. Once inside, I was greeted by numerous giant faces. I didn’t realize we would be walking through the area where they make and store the floats for Mardi Gras. It was certainly cold, and we had to keep moving, but I shot some decent pics. I danced the whole time, and even had the lead singer Rockin’ Dopsie Jr (David Rubin) come down and dance with me at two points. Fun, Fun!

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Is there a Steve in the house?

Great end to a long day of sessions!

I went down to the hotel lobby (ok, bar) because that is usually where you connect with people for dinner, music, etc. I wasn’t hearing back from my buddy Steve, so I sat down next to a very pretty lady, and we chatted about all kinds of things. She was actually there for another conference. Sharp lady! Well, Steve#2 showed up with another great guy I see every year (you like how vague I am?) and someone I had met once before. That someone was slimy and overly forward. It amazes me that he gets the privilege of hanging out with such nice men. Well, he invited us over to sit with them, so I convinced pretty young lady to come on over. Slimy man was hanging all over her and wouldn’t let her attention go to us. Really? She was so far out of his league, but all he could think of was the fact that she was pretty. I guess pretty girls who look like dolls are out to be played with? Um, NO. Well, it scared her off, so she went off to bed.

Then, of course, I got a text from Steve (the first one). He was meeting some friends at Maple Leaf Bar to watch Rebirth Brass Band. They were nominated for a Grammy, but I didn’t know that until after I met them. I jumped in a cab to meet him out there, but beat him and his friends. A quick hello to the door man, then a $12 cover through a small hole in the wall to a girl that sat behind the band. Yep, her knees (if I could really see them) were at my eye level. First thing, I met a guy selling CDs, and then I was hit with the cigarette smoke. I didn’t realize that you could still smoke inside anywhere in the US. How naive I am! Hell, I remember when I lived in San Francisco and everyone was throwing a fit because they couldn’t smoke in the coffee shop I worked at anymore. That was less than….ah hem… 20 years ago. Oh my….

I got a text response to Steve#1’s group text from an unknown number that they were across the way at Jacque Imos. When I asked who it was, guess the guy’s name? Oh yeah! Steve! (#3). The music started, and the place was just starting to fill up when Steve #1 came in, introduced me to all of his friends, bought us all a round of drinks, and then I was off to dance!! Wow, the music was amazing. I don’t know if a lot of it was just being there in the room where I could just drown in the music and let it take over my body, but I really don’t care. I found new rhythms inside of me I hadn’t felt in my many years of dancing. I got a compliment from a local guy (no, he wasn’t hitting on me), which was nice. White men can’t jump, and white girls have no rhythm. Not this white girl! I left sweaty and happy and stinking of cigarettes, but so did everyone else. Steve#1 and a friend of his and I decided to go to a late-night diner, and ended up at Daisy Duke’s, where I had a glorious, man-sized salad! Yeah, roughage! Anyone who has eaten in New Orleans knows it is hard to find any greens that aren’t boiled with onion and pork.

Here are some videos I shot. The sound quality is awful, but I got what I could! Then, I had to continue dancing.