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….

You CAN take the city out of the girl

Staying in Honolulu for a couple days, and the traffic is driving me crazy. Last night, driving through Waikiki drove me to tears. Yes, this girl who used to thrive on the hustle and bustle of San Francisco and Boston is reduced to a blithering mess when confronted with the absurdity of Waikiki roads. Honolulu? I’ll pass, thank you.

Roll With It

Sometimes, life pushes you in a certain direction, and if you just go with it and do your best, even when you feel like you could drown soon, it turns out great. Example: I was invited to speak at a conference recently for the Critical Access Hospitals Quarterly Meeting. I hadn’t drawn a consensus on what to do it on, and when I realized it was on Oahu, I called to tell the guy that we didn’t have the funds. His response was to buy me a plane ticket. I was committed, and I didn’t have much time left. Somehow, it all came together, but I was burning the candle at both ends. The day of the presentation, I was supposed to catch the first flight out (6:09am). Well, I woke up at 5:50am. Boy, was I glad I had packed everything! Thanks to the corporate nature of the reservation, I was able to catch the next flight out. When I parked at the airport, there was a full rainbow in front of me, and I knew it was going to be a good day. I made it to the hotel on time, thanks to a new friend (let’s call him M&M), and the presentation went well. In fact, I was offered a job at two places and asked to speak at a national conference next year. Wow! That gave me a real boost.

I met my new friend M&M for a bit afterward, then met with a friend of mine from Oahu later. He is a photographer and wanted to check out a new underwater casing for his camera, so he asked if I wanted to be his underwater model. I have been wanting to do that for some time, and how fun is that?! It was a blast, and a great way to end a very stressful few days. We watched the sunset from a peak afterward, then caught dinner and drinks. It was a one-day event, and a very long night. I crawled out of the bed the next morning, prepping for a day of meetings. My day again started with a large rainbow. The last meeting of the day was with a possible preceptor for the residency who works with the Department of Health. I think it’s going to be an amazing experience, and I left very excited about the opportunities available to us.

Last night, I must have washed up to shore, because I slept a long 12 hours. I just didn’t seem to want to get out of bed. The stage had been set for something very exciting. I am so glad I went through with the presentation, as uncomfortable as I was, and I am so glad I pushed the meeting the next day to happen. Sometimes, you just have to roll with it, and you don’t realize the value until you are done being tossed around. You just have to trust in the process.

280/333- Peering

Maui, How I Love Thee

Sheena and I spent the weekend in a truly bustling city. I couldn’t believe how crowded Waikiki and the surrounding area was! Thankfully, most of our weekend was spent in the hotel, where it was mellow. Although mellow, the ideas were flowing, and some great discussions and tentative plans took place.

When we got back to Maui, there was a calm lull all around, even in the airport. I appreciate Maui even more now, and know there will always be a special place in my heart for the island. Like they say, Maui No Ka Oi.

Oh, Waikiki

Friday was quite the day, and Waikiki “greeted” us in a unique way.

Sheena and I were to fly to Oahu for a conference for the Hawaii Pharmacists Association conference in Waikiki. It was a night flight, so we had time to go home and get our stuff. Well, Sheena offered to pick me up. I had been thinking I would drive to the airport, since I was running late, but so was she. I was animated and jazzed, yapping away, and halfway to the airport, I realized I had forgotten my wallet. We turned around to get it, which cost us about a 1/2 hour. We had no problem in security, thankfully, and we weren’t checking bags. So, with all the rushing, we ended up with plenty of time. Then, the flight was delayed. Flight 555. I told Sheena things would get better, since 555 is a lucky number to the Chinese. Ha! The flight went fine, and we had no problem finding a shuttle at the Honolulu airport. There was only one other person on the shuttle. Little did we know how many stops this bus would make! We arrived at 9:40, but did not get to our hotel until nearly midnight. Sheena joked during the ride, as this huge tour bus wove through the crowded, small streets of Waikiki, that since she complained about how long it was taking, we would be the last ones off. Well, if it weren’t for one person’s stop being missed, we would have been.

We were wired, and I wanted a night cap, so we went downstairs, and they only had a funky, loud little bar/restaurant with 3 nasty domestic beers on tap. So, we decided to find a place down the street. We started down Kuhio Street, since there seemed to plenty of people ahead. Oh, boy! Every male it seemed greeted us with, “Hello Girls”, and all the places were super loud. Then, we noticed an inordinate amount of women in micro minis and platform heels with the clear bottoms. Sheena joked they should have fish in the soles. Those must be required attire for a prostitute on Kuhio street. At one point, we were in the International Market looking for a place suggested to us called the Lava Lounge. I stepped up some steps into the food court, and suddenly felt like I was in the movie Big with Tom Hanks. It felt like the deserted carnival. As soon as I said that to Sheena, I turned to the right, and there was a machine just like the one in Big that grants him his wish. That was just too weird, so Sheena and I headed straight back to the hotel, where we had a nice, quiet room awaiting us.