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….

I Am Transparent

I received a friend request on couchsurfing.org from someone here on Maui. I hadn’t been on there in a while, so I decided to check in on my profile and see if it needed updating. It was great to see all of the friendly reviews from people I have hosted. I forgot how many people had stayed here! What I love are some of the things I wrote when I made the profile back in May of 2011. It’s good to know I am consistent. It’s good to know I have made some progress toward my mission…..Here are some snippets:

Current Mission: To find a way to free myself in order to follow my dreams

Personal Description: I am what you see, but oh so much more. I am transparent, how else is there to be?

Philosophy: My goal in helping others is to help others help themselves. Also, truth in all interactions, which starts with yourself. The most beautiful things in life are free, but not something you can own

Types of People I enjoy: REAL, meaning down to earth, humble, truthful, respectful, open minded

What is the Spirit of Maui?

Deutsch: Sonnenuntergang bei Kihei (Maui/Hawaii)

Kihei, Maui, Hawaii

How would you describe or define the Maui Spirit?

We all know Maui is special and attracts many amazing people.

So, tell me please, how do you describe (in one sentence or one word) the island of Maui, no ka oi?

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”.

What a Trip!

Stayed up all night after the party because I didn’t want to risk oversleeping for my flight.

6am- taxi to airport

7:50am- flight to Houston

Switch to San Diego, where I have to go to a different terminal to catch a flight to LA

Flight from LA to Kahului, arrival at 6:30pm

Total time: 17 hours

Sunset? Sunrise? I lost track

Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

The following is a post of mine in response to a post on ASHP Connect regarding residencies, pharmacy, and finding your path when setting out after finishing pharmacy school.

*******************************

Elva, you bring up some very important points, and I want to add my experience for any of those looking at “residency vs. retail”. My story is proof that you never know where you are going to end up, and that sometimes the unknown is better.

I was set on completing an inpatient pharmacy residency. I believed hospital was for me and also did not want to do “retail” pharmacy. In 2010, I was one of the 1100 or so Match applicants that did not match, and suddenly I was left trying to find a job in a local hospital where experience or a residency was required. I applied to 30 positions in all aspects of pharmacy, received two call backs, and did not get a job.

I was lucky enough to have a mentor from my 4th year, Bill Jones, who believed in me. He was hired to help set up a new residency on Maui and suggested me for the residency. How could I say no to living in paradise? (It isn’t all paradise, as moving out here and living here are both prohibitively expensive, but it’s worth it)

Originally, this was supposed to be a hospital residency. With only one hospital on the island, we had a tremendous opportunity to focus in on local needs and continuity of care. The hospital fell through, and so the residency was changed very suddenly to a community pharmacy residency. At this point, I was about two months away from moving, had not been able to find a job in the 3 months post-graduation, and decided I would go for it and make the best of it. I started in October of last year and have 9 days left in my residency. Little did I know  last October what an amazing experience I would have!

Setting up a new residency is never easy, and this past year has certainly had its ups and downs, but the end result is amazing. From the community setting, we are able to affect change on so many levels. Working out of an independent pharmacy, I have the freedom and capability to start up just about any type of clinic I want (assuming it is feasible and warranted in our community). I was able to branch out of the hospital and look at the COMMUNITY we live in. This included working in long-term care, going on home visits with a public health nurse, and giving presentations on the pharmacist’s role in continuity of care to the local medical society, to critical access hospital administrators, and to rural healthcare providers. Through a USDA grant, I was flown to neighbor islands to present to elderly about high risk medications. My co-resident and I started both an MTM service and an immunization clinic that are both picking up speed, and the incoming residents already have a business plan and are advertising their new Cardiovascular Risk Reduction Clinic. I am currently working with a physician in her office, completing chart reviews and looking at implementing a CDTM protocol with her. The next step is branching out to other independent physicians and group practices to see how far I can take my practice. I want to increase continuity of care and focus on transitions of care.

Through a community pharmacy residency, I have been able to see the WHOLE community aspect of transitions of care. Having seen the gaps, I can do something about them! I have a more global view of healthcare on the island than I would have only working in the hospital.

I think community pharmacy is redefining itself, and much of the work is started in community pharmacy residencies. What a great opportunity for a self-starter and innovative thinker! I challenge people who are only considering hospital pharmacy residencies to talk with some community pharmacy residency programs and see all the innovative services they are providing. It is mind-boggling and exciting, to say the least!  Imagine if a community pharmacy residency partnered with an inpatient pharmacy residency. What a great model for continuity of care they could create!

Why is continuity of care so important? If you have been paying attention to all the buzz, you know about ACOs and the new Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative, among other new and exciting opportunities aimed at coordinating care across the continuum of healthcare. These initiatives present amazing opportunities for pharmacists to become involved and tie together some of the major gaps in healthcare, many of which cause costly medication errors and involve transitions of care between the hospital, rehabilitation facility, long-term care facility, primary care and the community pharmacy. We have an opportunity here, and I think that if students looking at the future can see beyond what they believe to be pharmacy, they will see that we are at a turning point. Pharmacy is at a place where we  can create the practice we want. It will not be easy, and reimbursement issues are huge, but I believe that we can create programs through residencies that will demonstrate value and support our case for provider status.

Think outside the box, don’t limit yourself, and find a way to create the practice you know your community wants and needs.

Aimless

I drove around Oahu all day today with no real plan but to see the island. It ended up being a bit of a bust. I didn’t go skydiving, nor did I go into the ocean (my reef cut isn’t totally healed anyway). I saw all shores, and they are certainly better than Honolulu, but need to hang out with a local who can show me the sights.

Priority numero uno

So many things I wanted to do … I wanted to go to the State Board of Pharmacy meeting next Thursday and then stay the weekend. I was excited to meet up with one or two of the new residents, go skydiving, hang out with a new friend on Oahu, go hiking, etc. Then, I found out the meeting had been moved up one week. That’s this Thursday. I looked at going this weekend, and it was just too soon, too expensive. PLUS, my daughter has State Championships for swimming from Thursday to Sunday. That’s kind of important.

So, I got this reminder email about this TriLanai Three Hills road ride that is this Saturday. I have been wanting to do it for a couple months now, as I haven’t been to Lanai, it would be fun and different, and it would be good training for Cycle to the Sun. But, alas, Keely has State Championships, and her actual scheduled event is on Saturday night.

So, despite everything, I will end up staying here on the island, cheering on my little girl. When it comes down to it, she always takes precedence. There will be more opportunities to go to Lanai, numerous opportunities to go to Oahu, but this might be the only time she will compete in a State Championship. I want to be there for all of it.

Ohana

Just posting pics of the ohana because someone was interested in maybe renting it later… any suggestions on how to furnish it??

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306/333- Pleasure Point