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….

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Crawfish Roll, Yo!

New Orleans Sushi Roll with crawfish in it for lunch (mighty tasty!)

A stroll down Bourbon Street and a peek in the bars

Some interesting views of the night sky

Sushi-mania

Today was a sushi fest in our household. My daughter and two of her friends helped me in preparing all kinds of wonderful things for sushi. I showed them how to make sushi rice properly with tezu. Oh yum! I had ahi tuna, shrimp, and spam, along with a spicy peanut sauce, a srirachi and mayo sauce, avocado, cucumber, scallions, carrot and cilantro. I don’t think I need to eat for a couple days now. Yummy!

Aloha visit continued…

Day 3

I had to go back to work, but I was lucky enough to be able to attend the AHA Go Red for Women event at a resort in Wailea. I met some great people, but specifically Suzie Cooney, a trainer on Maui. She invited me to a stand up paddling clinic the next day, which would be her last free clinic. I got to go home early after the event, so Nick and I headed to Kahului to rent a board from Naish, one of Suzie’s sponsors. That night, Nick, Keely and I went to Sansei for sushi, and it was yummy!

Day 4

I almost missed the clinic. I popped up at 6:30am, when I should have been there. I jumped into a bikini, brushed my teeth, and headed down. I was there by 6:45. The weather couldn’t have been better. No wind and the water was like glass for the whole clinic (nearly 3 hours). The whole event was filmed, so eventually I can share that with you. Until then, Suzie went through about 700 photos to create the slide shows on her SUP blog. It was a great 2.5 hours of bonding with amazing women, working on something new in the ideal setting (hence more success), and being mesmerized by the simplicity of it all. I could see the patterns of coral beneath me, and I almost fell over a couple of times I was so entranced. Some called me “natural”, but I think there were a couple others that had snowboarding and even surfing experience that whooped my butt. Overall, a great time, and I can’t wait to get out there again.

Here’s the whole group:

After I got back, Nick and I went hiking in the Iao Valley. We were ready for however long we could handle, which was good because we hiked 3.5 hours. We set out not quite sure where to jump the trail, and then we ran across a tall, thin, shirtless guy with long, blonde hair. He sauntered out of the woods barefoot in jeans, t-shirt in hand, and asked us if we were looking for “the hike”. He told us where to go, and to keep to the left when the trail forked, and that the yellow fruit was good to eat. What timing! It made it feel so prophetic…or something.

Anyhoo, we found it with no problems, and of course Nick made sure to go to the right at every fork, just to see what was there. And those yellow fruit were passion fruit. There were so many rotten ones littering the trail, that many spots were squishy from all the fruit, and the flies swarmed as you walked through. I will forever know the smell of passion fruit. We didn’t find one that was ripe but not rotten. The hike eventually peaked at a lookout over the valley.  I could see the wheels spinning as Nick gazed over to the far side of the Needle, which looked to be promising hiking. There was a lot of uphill on this, and I wish I had my GPS. By the end, I could hardly walk. We actually got back down, decided to walk along the left stream, since we heard there were natural pools to swim in, and we kept finding people in the pools. We kept hiking, and we eventually ended up scaling a really long, slippery trail that met up with the trail we had just finished. SO, we headed back down the same trail. That’s when my knees told me they had had enough abuse for one day.

Here are some pics of the day:

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187/333- Invisible 3

Sushi restaurant in Santa Fe

21/333

Working dinner....end of residency interviews