Friday, April 30, 2010

Mandatory fun day...

This is where I'll be two weeks from now... we will be going to Venice and on Friday the 14th we will be going by vaporetto (water bus) to Murano & Burano. Hopefully my pictures will turn out as nice as the photograph above.

Work went okay. I didn't go over to "mandatory fun day" until about 11:30pm. In fact, my one co-worker & I got there just at the right time - for lunch! It *was* nice to sit around and talk with friends/co-workers and clients in an informal setting. We got to watch our head bosses do three-legged races with their kids. They had a lot of activities for kids. Afterwards I could have left about 2:30, but instead went back to my office for another hour so that I could get some documentation done. I know next week will be really busy as I try to ensure everything is ready for my co-worker to cover for me.

Tonight I've been watching some movies. I watched a real tear jerker of a movie, called "Taking Chance." It's about an Officer escorting a Marine that had been killed in action, back to the Marine's hometown. Knowing a couple soldiers who have been killed in combat made this a more personable movie. And my oldest brother was a Marine. It was interesting in that you got a glimpse into what goes into transporting a military member's body back home. After that, I watched "Rome, the Eternal City." It's a documentary and it's an old movie... but it let me see some of the sights of Rome.

Okay... time to take the dogs out for a walk. It's almost 10pm and I'm tired. Tomorrow my friends get in about 9am. I'll probably go pick them up at the dock and help them get settled at the hotel. I've got a noon Physical Therapy appointment back up in my neck of the woods though (they will be docking in town, which is about 20 miles from where I live). I'd like to bring them up to my place, but that's only going to happen if I get up and clean the apartment and sweep it (and hopefully mop it). SO... I'd better get to bed.

- Kris

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Two weeks and I'll be in Florence

I'm hoping I can take a picture as nice as this! *SMILES*

Work: Went fine, busy day but I was able to stay caught up. I even went to the gym after work! YEA!

I also talked to my middle daughter (almost talk to her daily, especially as our trip gets closer). Her flight from Atlanta is going to take an hour & a half longer than my flight from Newark. (Although never mind that I will be leaving Hawaii about 12 hours before she leaves Tucson... I fly out Saturday night, she flies out Sunday morning). I sent her a calendar of our trip and plans for our trip. One of my co-workers had asked me for it. The first few days look pretty hectic... having to be up by about 6am at least on the first couple days (2nd day in Rome 8am entrance to Vatican Center, 3rd day is when we catch an 8am train to Pisa, the 4th day we have 9am tickets to the Academy in Florence... get my picture???). We'll need the cruise to rest up from the first part of our trip! *smiles*

Okay... signing off. I need to bake something to take for a potluck tomorrow. We are having a "mandatory" fun day tomorrow. Shouldn't that be an oxymoron? Mandatory fun day???

- Kris

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

In two weeks I will have climbed the tower of Pisa and...

This will be me two weeks from today (Wednesday, May 12th). I found this picture online and thought it was neat! I'll probably take a picture similar to this and have my daughter take pictures of me in some of these various poses. *smiles*

On May 12th, we will be taking an early train up the west coast of Italy from Rome to Pisa. We get into Pisa about 11am and have reservations to climb the tower at 12:40pm. They only allow you about 30 minutes for the climb, so we will be back down by 1:30pm. About 3pm we will be hopping on another train heading towards Florence for the night.

Work went okay today, I had a couple free hours which allowed me to catch up on some documentation (in preparation for my trip). I have a spreadsheet that lists all my clients, contact information and brief synopsis of what's going on with them. One of my co-workers will be covering for me, so I need to have everything in place for him.

Tonight, as usual on Wednesday, I watched "The Unit." I enjoy that show. Now its time to take the dogs for a walk before bedtime.

- Kris

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

In Two Weeks: Vatican City and the Colissium

Work went okay today, all of my appointments showed and I had two meetings, one supervision meeting with my boss and one team meeting. I'm still upset that my training for June is cancelled at this time (there is a tiny, tiny percent of a chance that I can still go). I know it is hard on my boss... we are losing an employee and who knows when we will get his replacement.
After work I had to go for PT, I have to go again on Saturday. When I lay down so she can work on my foot, I find myself wishing she were working on my lower back (it aches when I lay down).
Tonight I was finally able to contact my airlines (who is code-sharing a couple of my flights) to make my seat reservations for my return flight. I was really worried I wouldn't be able to get a window seat, but I have window seats from Frankfurt to San Francisco and from San Fran to Honolulu. Whew! I still need to see about making the seat reservation for Lufthansa from Venice to Frankfurt.
I also figured up how much I have committed to this trip so far (you DON'T want to know!). I still need to pay for bus/boat passes, we will still have food costs and one more tour that we may go one (at least one more) (the Crypts tour in Rome).
Okay... time to take the dogs for their walk. Peanut is being manipulative! She keeps jumping up and down off the couch. I have watched "The Biggest Loser" tonight and now have caught the first few minutes of the news.
- Kris

Monday, April 26, 2010

Wow! In Two Weeks I'll be in Rome!

Is it really that close? I'm hoping that this time in 2 weeks (at this time of that day) that I'll be visiting the Trevi Fountain (then heading back to the hotel to crash!). Tonight I was on the phone with my daughter and we were looking to see where the Hard Rock Cafe locations were in Rome & Venice. In Rome it is right across from the American Embassy and in Venice, its right next to St. Mark's Square in the town of Venice. We also talked about all the stairs we will be climbing and debating whether I'll be able to tolerate it (I sure am going to try).

Work today went fine, I had three appts this morning and then a meeting this afternoon. I actually got off at 4:30 (which is VERY unusual for me!).

Other than that, I found out that someone I once knew in Alaska has passed away. It was just about a year ago that his son was killed in combat (Derek was in the Army... great kid).

Okay, signing off.


- Kris

Sunday, April 25, 2010

White Plains Beach

Just a tad crowded...

Waves crashing on the beach...

There were a TON of surfers out there today catching a LOT of waves...
So... I started out the day having breakfast at Denny's with a friend, then I went and did some grocery shopping, came home, unloaded the groceries and then decided I'd check out White Sands Beach. I think I've only ever been there once before. It's about 9 miles from where I live. BUT... I still like the calmness of Ala Moana, I think that will always be my favorite beach. I managed to get a couple hours of sunbathing in today though, that felt good. It was pretty darn crowded though.
Tonight I've made dinner (steak on the grill), and now I'm watching "The Amazing Race."
Not much else to write about today. My most significant thing I did was go through and delete about 5,000 emails. I had over 6700 in my hotmail email box alone!
Okay... signing off.

- Kris
P.S. 13 days from this minute I'm scheduled to fly out for my trip! YEA!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Neat day meeting an old friend

Beautiful sunset on the North Shore...
If you hang out AFTER the sun sets, oftentimes it will become a lot more colorful

So... this is Pam, Rob & me at the Diamond Head Look out.
Look at those skies... it was a beautiful day to come to Hawaii for a cruise! *smiles*
So, this morning after running to the Post Office to mail a couple things, I went & picked up my friends, Rob & his wife Pam. I've known Rob for 20 years or so, we met online through a "list serve" that we were both on. It was back during a time in our lives that we both were experiencing a lot of turmoil. (We always "just" been friends). We've NEVER met though, until today. It sounds funny to say that I finally met a friend in person that I've known via the cyber world for 20+ years.
Anyway... because we have shared so much over the years, meeting in person was just a matter of putting a face to the personality and person I've known (and cared about). His wife Pam is a really nice person too! (I wouldn't have expected anything less... people tend to be attracted to like people, so if I like him, I was sure I would like her as well).
After picking them up we headed into town. They wanted to find a thrift store to see if they could find some Hawaiian clothing, so we stopped at what I consider to be the best one, over on Beretania street. They didn't find anything THEY liked, but I *did*. I got a nice pair of capris that fit good and may come in handy for my upcoming trip. It was a good deal, I got it 50% off too.
From there, I drove them through Chinatown and then through Ala Moana beach park, on down through Waikiki. From there we went on over to the Diamond Head lookout (there were a LOT of surfers out today!). We circled Diamond Head and stopped for a bite to eat at Zippy's over there in the Diamond Head and then afterwards we headed back to the ship. I was and am still amazed at how little they packed for their trip. Wow... I wish I could learn to pack that light!
After dropping them off, I came home, hung out awhile and then took the dogs up to the North Shore to watch the sunset (see above). Then I came home and uploaded & played with the photos (loaded them on my facebook). I've taken the dogs for their walk, it's already almost midnight and time to hit the sack. I stayed up til 3:30am this morning, and got up about 8:30. I made a couple sets of all of our trip documentation (copies of train tickets, plane reservations, hotel reservations, and the tours I've paid for). I wanted to get it done so I could send a set to Michelle so she would have it before we leave.
Speaking of leaving. I leave in 13 days, 20 hours and 3 minutes from now! WHOOHOO!
Time to sign off!
Aloha & good night!
- Kris
P.S. it was my friend Walt's birthday today, I got to call him & sing Happy Birthday to him! *smiles*

Friday, April 23, 2010

Wonderful day!

Sunset in Haleiwa from Haleiwa Joe's.
Dinner with friends and former co-workers

Most of the gang is all here (Elaine had to leave early).
So... this morning started with a meeting for about 2 hours. I was kind of irritated in the meeting. I guess it was because my boss was sharing about the training she has been at this past week, one that I had asked her if I could go to, because she has said I will need to cancel my training in June (in EMDR, you can google the initials). The training she went through was called "Prolonged Exposure." She said that it is supposed to surpass EMDR as the lead "best practice" for dealing with PTSD. The way she said it, almost sounded like there was no sense bothering to learn EMDR. I've been trying to get EMDR training for over two years! I still want and I still feel lke it will be valuable. I'm going to be pretty peeved if I end up not being able to get the training. When I switched clinics, I was initially told I would get a recruitment bonus (pretty good amount too!), but then at the last minute it was pulled. I still agreed to take the position (I really didn't want to work for the contracting company that had taken over my contract at my old job), but I took it with the understanding that I would be able to get the training I wanted and feel I needed (to include EMDR). Anyway... this morning I was just a tad irritated about the whole situation. (Of course, it didn't help that my dogs had me up for a half hour about 2:30am!).
At lunchtime I went to lunch with a bunch of my nurse co-workers. One of my favorites is leaving (but not going far... just across the complex). It was a nice time of socializing. The husband of the co-worker leaving, works in our complex and is responsible for building maintenance and facilities. I've mentioned to him before that I'd like a bookcase (I've needed one since October when I *moved* to the office!) Anyway, to make a long story shorter... HE went and acquired my old bookcase from my old office (which still isn't being used).
I was SO productive this afternoon! I got all of my boxes unpacked, YEA!!!!! And then I went through piles of paperwork, sorted through charts and got my office cleaned up quite a bit. I left work about 5:30 (I was supposed to be out of there at 5!), because I was trying to wrap things up and prepare a little for next week as well.

After work I headed up to Haleiwa Joe's to join my co-workers. They were already well started into pupus (appetizers). There were quite a few of my former co-workers there, and another co-worker from another clinic that asked if she could join us. We had a great time socializing (see above pictures). I stayed up there until almost 7:30.
Tonight I'm not doing much, I'm finally watching "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." It's a long movie - almost 3 hours long. I ordered it through Netflix. I need to look at my queue, I think I'm supposed to get a documentary of Rome next, but last time I looked, it was still on back order. I'm hoping to watch it before I leave for Rome.
Okay... I'm going to sign off. It's already 11:30pm. As soon as I finish the movie, I'm going to take the dogs for a walk before going to bed.
Tomorrow I need to get up and head to the Post Office. I need to return a couple pieces of clothing that I bought online that weren't the right size/style. I was supposed to get copies of stuff to send to my daughter, but haven't gotten it all together yet. So... I'll have to do it early in the next week.
- Kris

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Two weeks and one day to go!

Hi! Still counting down (pic is from the south side of Kauai, near Poipu, near "Spouting Horn.")

Work went fine, I had a no show this morning which let me get caught up with my online training that was past two (two different trainings and both took about an hour each). Then I sat in on a case staffing regarding a client before I had to dash out the door to head down to our main clinic in town. I got to watch the "graduation" of some "inpatient" clients and felt very proud of all they have accomplished! Then I met with another client that is currently inpatient.

I made to the Physical Therapist, she didn't really say what was wrong with my foot. She did point out that one knee is higher than the other (amazing what you don't realize about yourself!). She did a lot of testing and she used ultrasound on my foot. I have to go back on Tuesday for more "therapy."

I also went over to Old Navy. I bought a dress about a month ago, it's a beautiful, colorful floral pattern. I wanted to find some lightweight colorful sweaters to go with it. I found three sweaters, a bright pink, a light pink and a dark blue sweater. I also got some "flip-flops" to match the sweaters (not a bad deal... three pairs of "flip-flops" and three sweaters for $30!).

Okay... time to sign off. I've watched "Survivor" tonight, I'm watching CSI (with the pups asleep in my lap) and pretty soon I'm going to watch "The Mentalist."

- Kris

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Easy day...

Waialua River on Kauai

So... I actually had a fairly easy day today. This morning I met with a client who received good news while they were in my office, that made my day! I also had one cancellation that freed up a little bit of time. This afternoon I had the opportunity to watch a theater production on a military base called "Theater of War." Here's a synopsis:

Theater of War has presented readings of Sophocles' Ajax and Philoctetes to military communities across the United States. These ancient plays timelessly and universally depict the psychological and physical wounds inflicted upon warriors by war. By presenting these plays to military audiences, our hope is to de-stigmatize psychological injury and open a safe space for dialogue about the challenges faced by service members, veterans, and their caregivers and families.

It has been suggested that ancient Greek drama was a form of storytelling, communal therapy, and ritual reintegration for combat veterans by combat veterans. Sophocles himself was a general. At the time Aeschylus wrote and produced his famous Oresteia, Athens was at war on six fronts. The audiences for whom these plays were performed were undoubtedly comprised of citizen-soldiers. Also, the performers themselves were most likely veterans or cadets. Seen through this lens, ancient Greek drama appears to have become elaborate ritual aimed at helping combat veterans return to civilian life after deployments during a century that saw 80 years of war.

It was interesting, but I'm not really into Greek drama (unlike my middle daughter who loves that kind of stuff).

Not much else going on today/tonight. I did spend a little time looking at Italy stuff. Thought I had messed up with my railway ticket, because it is for us to go into Venice and when I got to looking at the website for the hotel, it looked like the railway station was miles away (it was supposed to be really close). So, I talked with my daughter, and it looks like the train stops near our hotel before it goes on into Venice. We are actually staying on the "mainland" and not on the actual island of Venice. But, we will be really close by train or boat (Vaporetto).

We are also planning to visit the Basilica of San Clemente in Rome (at the advice of my daughter's college advisor). According to my daughter "what's amazing about this church is that there are levels. At the top level is a 12th century basilica. go down one level and there's a 4th century basilica. And then go down another level and there's a 1st century pagan temple. So one of the things that's pretty remarkable about it is that it shows you how deep the city of Ancient Rome was and how much was built up from that time." Apparently it isn't too far from where we will be staying in Rome.

Okay... time to sign off. I'm watching "The Unit." Good show.

- Kris

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

In One Month, Corfu

Corfu is one of Greece’s most popular islands and attracts every year thousands of visitors. It is the most northern island of the Ionian Group and lies at the entrance of the Adriatic Sea. It is the second largest island of the Ionian.
It is a mountainous island with impressive landscapes, dense vegetation due to the many winter rainfalls, long golden sandy beaches, one of Greece’s prettiest towns, many traditional villages, Byzantine churches, several museums, impressive Venetian fortresses and some lively resorts spread all around the island.
So... work was relatively easy today with a couple no-shows this morning. Although I've been off by a day today. I was thinking that my Physical test was tomorrow at lunch time, so thankfully, because my 11am appt was a no-show, I got to run home and change into my exercise clothes and then I got put through the ringer. I had to do weight & height, body mass, I had to do stair-stepping for 3 minutes, I had to do sit-ups (I did 25 in one minute), found out how week I am in pushups (I think I did 8 in a minute), my resting heart rate was 104, the highest it got to was about 168 as I worked out. Oh yea, and I also had to walk a mile. All during my lunch hour! My knees are really sore tonight, as is my left ankle (below the ankle actually), I see a Physical therapist about my left foot on Thursday after work.
This afternoon was spent in a meeting and then a 4pm appt. After work I got to join some other fellow co-workers (some from different clinics) at a going away dinner at an Italian Restaurant in Mililani. This particular co-worker has been in Hawaii for about a year and a half. I used to joke with her that we worked the night shift together. Oh yea and found out another co-worker (that I would have liked to have gotten to know better) is moving back to Colorado Springs. Hopefully she will be able to connect with my old friend Dianne L. there (a psychologist that used to live here and was in the office next to mine. Dianne and I used to do case consultations after work on a regular basis). The person for whom we had the dinner is heading off to take an assignment in Brussels, Belgium (how cool is that!) She'll be over there by May 18th. I told her to keep ME in mind if any jobs come open in the next year or so (I'd go to Brussels, why not?). So we said our parting good byes but made sure we exchanged emails.
So... it was late getting home, now it's 10pm and I need to take the dogs out for their final walk of the night before I go to bed. No researching Italy tonight (darn it!).
- Kris

Monday, April 19, 2010

In One Month, Santorini

This is where I'll be a month from now... doesn't it look beautiful! I can't wait! On my countdown clock as I write this, it says 18 days, 23 hours and 9 minutes til I fly! I got our train tickets in the mail today! YEA! One less thing to worry about. Now if the Volcano stuff would just die down and go away before our trip so that it doesn't interfere or delay our trip!

Today was a fairly nice day, saw 5 clients this morning and then I had a meeting almost all afternoon (typical Monday). I thought I was going to need to go in to our main office tomorrow first thing in the morning, but thankfully, I don't have to (I'll be down there on Thursday).

Tonight I'm watching "Hurt Locker." It won all kinds of awards, so thought I would check it out. It IS one of those movies where you kind of hold your breath for a few minutes. It gives me perspective on our military "downrange." Not sure if the first part is actually set in Bagdad, but it looks real.

Okay... I'm going to sign off.


- Kris

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Lazy weekend...

These are photos from Ephesus, Turkey where I'll be in one month (on May 18th). I'm excited about the trip!
So, today has been another lazy day. I stayed up way too late (after I shut off the computer, then I laid in bed reading in my Rick Steves book about Italy). I think it was 2:30am when I turned off the light. THEN, the dogs had me up at 7am. Ugh! At least they are willing to go back to sleep. I did watch "Road Trip" with Robin Williams on TV. That's a funny movie. There's a scene where they are trying to hook up the hose to dump the sewage, I was reminded of the time my daughters & I were driving the cabover camper down to Anchorage for the weekend, trying to hook up the sewage line was comical (wasn't it Kori!). At least it was just gray water!
I've also been reading about Italy and creating a trip planner on Yahoo. I've just been listening to Hawaiian music all day and in between reading and being on the web, then I have been napping. Just hanging out and relaxing. I didn't get as much done as I had planned to, but maybe I wasn't meant to.
Okay... signing off.
- Kris

Saturday, April 17, 2010

20 days, 21 hours

A view of the Wiamea Canyon on Kauai

So... not a whole lot to write about today. It has been an absolute lazy day! I did chore (laundry, dishes, etc) and other than taking the dogs out for their walks, I haven't gone anywhere today.

I did watch 'Angels and Demons" in preparation for my trip to Italy, (I now leave in 20 days and 21 hours!). I think with this past week being rather emotionally demanding, I've just needed to rest today. The weather this morning was overcast and not beach weather, but later in the day it was a little nicer (by then I was napping).

Okay... its time to go walk the dogs again.

- Kris

Friday, April 16, 2010

21 Days and counting... and it can't come fast enough!

Wow... what a day! Started off in (another) meeting, then the rest of the day was driven by various crisis. (Shortly after the meetings, I did have about a half hour to do *some* documentation). I do have to say today that I was getting impatient with a client that our team was working with. The client has taken a lot of time this week, not just on my part, but on the rest of the team as well. For instance, that particular client, because of the crisis yesterday, I missed a WONDERFUL opportunity to go meet with about 8 of the cast members from LOST. Darn it! But... bless a friend's heart, I had told her about the "meet and greet" so she had a postcard size picture autographed to me personally. I have it up in my office. Today, one of our treatment team members was to have gotten furniture delivered and had to call them when they were on their way and tell them that she wasn't able to be at home because of a medical emergency. We all understand that this client is mentally unstable, but when it personally affects an opportunity or obligation, sometimes it is hard to NOT feel at least a little resentment. We keep reminding each other to "let it go." And we try not to take comments personally. Anyway... days like today are why I say that my 21 days til my vacation cannot come fast enough! I will get 2 and a half weeks of. The other person who was to have her furniture delivered today is supposed to go to the mainland for some training on the 23rd, so she too, will get a much needed break!

I was *very* disappointed to find out today that some training that I've wanted for two years, that I was approved for in June, will not happen. Apparently, because one of my co-workers made a commitment to some vacation obligations WITHOUT checking with the boss first, they have to cancel MY training. I struggle, because I know this co-worker has busted her butt for the past 6 months, she's worked a LOT of hours (and has earned a LOT of comp time). But on the other hand, one of the reasons I took this position was because of the training opportunities. It is VERY important to me. It is what will KEEP me in this position or have me looking at other opportunities. I *am* a team player though and realize we WILL be short handed because one of my co-workers will be leaving to take a promotion as soon as I return (and then *I* will be VERY busy and VERY overwhelmed).

I have had a couple people ask me if I am glad or satisfied I took this position. It IS a lot more strenuous than my last position, a lot more demanding (or at least it seems so). Today was one of those days when I regret having left my old position (BUT... I did *not* want to work for the contract company that took over) and I regret turning down an offer from the head boss of the former clinic I first started in (that is really quiet), to come back and work there. Today was one of those days that I say "this too shall pass." In fact, I told a couple of my nurse co-workers that if I start laughing really weird by the end of the day, to tell me to go home (I still didn't come home until 7pm though and *didn't* get my work finished!). I had one of my former co-workers email me... so I wrote back and asked if she wanted to go "wacky" with me! *smiles* (At least I still have a sense of humor)... and I *was* able to have lunch with another former co-worker (who was also a former classmate in my MSW program).

In addition to dealing with the one client in crisis, I had one of my head supervisors call to see if I would speak to a spouse about a domestic violence situation they are involved with, so I met with the spouse for about an hour and a half at the end of the day.

This is one week that could not have ended soon enough. I need the weekend to rest, recuperate and recharge.

I remind myself of the positives of the job... I am generally able to claim comp time for the hours I work over my normal duty hours. Each new day is different, no two days are the same. And I *do* feel we are making a difference in the lives of our clients.

My boss wants me and another co-worker (the other real busy one) to participate in a work-sponsored exercise program. I'm all for it. We get three hours a week on company time to exercise. BUT... as I was working after hours today, I couldn't help but think - we can't get our work done in the 40+ hours we already, how in the heck are we going to work 3 hours less in the week and still get our work done? Beats me. But I *am* willing to give it a try. Lord knows I could benefit from a monitored exercise program.

Nothing new on the Italy trip today. There's not really a whole lot more to do to prepare, basically everything is paid for, other than the hop-on, hop-off bus in Rome and the Vaporetto pass in Venice. I've got to pay for our hotel in Rome when we get there. I *am* a little worried about that volcano in Iceland, I hope it doesn't cause us any problems. We don't have anything scheduled for the first day, we just plan to get the hop-on, hop-off bus that afternoon, after we check in at our hotel. So, we have a little leeway.

Other than that, tonight I downloaded an episode of "The Unit" (a military drama). I downloaded one from season 2 that involved Domestic Violence. I'd like to save it and use it in a group in the future.

I've already taken the dogs for a walk. We took a long walk tonight. They enjoyed it and now they are sleeping here on the couch next to me.

Time to sign off!

- Kris

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Is it really Thursday?

Well, today kept feeling like Wednesday, I'm glad it wasn't though! It was one of those kind of crazy days dealing with various crises. As I keep reminding my clients "this too shall pass." Three weeks from Saturday night, I fly out to Italy. I can't wait. AND, I was very happy to hear that it sounds like my one co-worker will stay in our clinic until I get back from my vacation (and then I will be *slammed* with work!).
Not much going on tonight. I'm finally watching the movie "Precious." What a sad story. So much poverty, so much hate and dysfunction. I've still got about 1/2 of the movie to go.
I'm going to sign off for tonight.
- Kris

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Happy Hump Day again!

Photo is off shore from the Kilauea lighthouse on Kauia, the island is a bird sanctuary.

So, this morning was busy with clients and some running around first thing trying to catch up with one of the bosses. (Never did find him this morning, but met with him at a meeting this afternoon).

This afternoon I had a doctor's appt and while I was in town, I went ahead and had a meeting with a psychiatrist regarding a mutual client and then I met with the above mentioned boss to discuss another client.

MY doctor's appt was just to address my osteoarthritis, I want to make sure I have something I can take when I wear out my knees climbing the Basillica and the Tower of Pisa. She prescribed Celebrex. I hope it works. I still have some low grade narcotics, for what little good they do. I didn't want any stronger narcotics because I just don't think they address my type of pain (inflammation). They WERE concerned when they took my blood pressure and it was 88/63! I had a couple nurses ask me while I was waiting if I was okay, and one sat with me and talked with me awhile (we talked about my upcoming trip), but I think it was more to reassure himself that I wasn't dizzy or light headed. I *reassured* them that low blood pressure is normal for me. They asked me if I was on blood pressure medication (THAT would lower it). I think they asked because I'm overweight and the chances of my having high blood pressure is great. BUT... I don't and I never had. I think I get my low blood pressure from my mom. I *am* surprised it was that low though, because I had just finished a rather tense meeting with the one boss involving a client (not tense for or because of me... tense for the client) and then I had to walk quite a ways to get to my appointment (well, less than a block, but it was in the same building, so I had to walk about a block to the other end of the clinic and it was on a different floor) AND I was running late because I didn't want to have to excuse myself from the meeting with the client until some issues were resolved.

Oh well... I *am* still alive. And my doc & I agree that as long as I am not symptomatic, we aren't going to worry about the blood pressure. She knows that I would tell her if there was a problem (i.e. I am feeling light headed or passing out). It's been low like this for at least 5 years that I know of.

TRIP-wise... I've got our train tickets booked, bought and paid for, I've got our museum tickets paid for and tonight I paid for our admission to the Tower of Pisa. I hope everything works out time wise! Other than that... COUNTDOWN IS: 23 days, 22 hours until I leave. *smiles*

Okay... pups are wanting me to take them out for a walk, so I had better sign off.

- Kris

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Looking at Train tickets I had a case staffing about a client at 7:30am, then went right into a staff meeting at 8:30am. After that there were clients scheduled at 9, 10 and 11. I had a full assessment appointment for a client at 1pm (they take an hour & a half), then I took another client over to where there was a group, so I could make sure she made it. After that it was a meeting that lasted until 3:30 or so (it's a weekly meeting) and then I could focus on getting my paperwork done. I didn't finish it all. My supervisor sent out a note that they wanted us to limit how much time we work over, so I emailed her back and said I would quit in the middle of what I was doing and hopefully I will have time to get it done later this week.

Tomorrow I have appointments in the morning and then in the afternoon I get to go see my regular doc. Nothing major, just still trying to figure out what works best for my osteoarthritis. My doc put me on Tramadol (also known as Ultram). It doesn't do anything really for the pain and if I try to take 2, then it makes me VERY nauseated. I think what I need more than a pain killer is some kind of anti-inflammatory. I really hope we can figure out something so when I go to Italy, I can hike up the Basillica Dome and the Tower of Pisa without suffering TOO much.

Other than that, I've kind of got my train plans set. I'm just waiting on my middle daughter's concurrence. We need to take trains from Rome to Pisa, Pisa to Florence and then Florence to Venice. Other than actually paying for the hotel in Rome, it's the last major expense. (We will still need to buy the hop-on, hop-off bus in Rome and the Vaporetto (water taxi) in Venice). I *am* so excited about the trip.

Speaking of my middle daughter, she found out that because she won't be defending her thesis until July, they are going to charge her an extra $1200 for ONE graduate college credit for the summer semester! YIKES! Dang... poor girl, she has had a LOT of unexpected expenses this semester (i.e. over $1,000 on her car, having to pay a deposit on her faculty housing in WA, and she will have to pre-pay her moving expenses. I can't remember what all else she has had to pay for, but it's been like an unexpected $5,000 out of her pocket this semester... and she's been REALLY good about not spending any extra money. I'm hoping she will be able to *enjoy* the trip, given her financial concerns.

Okay, time to sign off and take the dogs for a walk. It's supposed to be down in the 60's tonight and it feels like it already.

- Kris

Monday, April 12, 2010

Grrrrr.... computers can be a pain!

So... I'm uploading my blog from my NETbook. I'm glad I have options. I've been deleting programs on my laptop and I had to go in and delete my Windows virus software. I had already uploaded the software from Roadrunner (virus protection software). Anyway... It's been a pain, I think because I had two virus protectors running at the same time. And it doesn't help that I have SO much of my hard-drive used up on my laptop. I need to figure out a way of getting rid of stuff I don't need on my laptop. I probably need to defrag it now too. It's just SO time consuming to mess with.

Other than that, today was a typically busy Monday, I had four clients this morning, a 2+ hour meeting, had a new client come in that I needed to do a risk assessment on and then I had to meet with a couple case managers. I got out of the office at 6 (so I got to listen to the news on the way home, in the car).

Today was also my friend Bette's birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY Bette! She's 84 years young (shhh... don't tell her I told you! *smiles*).

Not much else going on... I think I am down to 26 days and about 22 hours before I leave. I haven't done anything to prepare for the trip (at least not yesterday or today).

I feel bad for my middle daughter (Michelle), she just found out that she has to pay for 1 Graduate credit in order to defend her thesis in July. Oh yea... and that "credit" is over $1200! YIKES! I feel bad for her... she's also got to pay for her move to WA state (where she will be teaching next year). They will *reimburse* her... but she's a VERY poor graduate student.
Keep her in your thoughts.

Okay... I'm going to sign off and have some fresh strawberries with whip cream for desert and then take the pups out for a walk before going to bed.

- Kris

Sunday, April 11, 2010

No Turtles today...

Ali'i Beach today - it was beautiful, but no turtles today...

You'll probably find dogs in trees when pigs fly? LOL! They really *didn't* like being up there, but they were good sports and stayed sitting so I could take some pictures (they were about 5' off the ground).

It looks like they are posing, huh! Someone remind them that they are Chihuahuas! LOL! (Well, Peanut is Chihuahua & Terrier).

This is Peanut "sitting pretty" *smiles*

And this is Bruno, being Bruno.
SO... not much going on today... I took it easy this morning and then this afternoon I took the dogs up to Ali'i beach in search of turtles. We didn't find any today, but the dogs had a blast romping and running around. I need to expose them more to other dogs. Bruno especially still wants to bark a lot. Peanut is doing better. Maybe it is because Bruno is a male and feels the need to either dominate or protect. We had fun though.
And, I got more news from my friend Jan. Apparently her grandson is brain dead in Germany (that is where the injured are medivac'd to out of the "theater" (out of Afghanistan or Landstuhl). I haven't heard HOW he was fatally injured, but they have had him on life support until his Mom & family could get there. (I believe the military flies the family out there - they pay for it).
This is what Jan posted today: "Thank you for your prayers. Robynn, Steve & Trissy are at Jonathon's bedside in Germany. woke up again this morning with tears in my eyes. Steve called last night. He said that Jonathon's body looks good - a little swelling in the face and legs. Trissy is having a difficult time. Steve said she is hugging him and patting him and asking the doctors why they couldn't just put another brain in him so he would be alright. Steve is so touched by her devotion to her brother. It is affecting him. Robyn is staying right by Jonathon's side and is also hugging and patting Jonathon. Steve said he is breathing by a machine and his body is warm. Steve said the chaplain met them when they arrived at the hospital. he said the personnel of the hospital have been so supportive and taking care of their every need. A team from Munich will come on Monday morning and harvest his orgas, and then they will bring him back to the private room he is in and Robynn, Steve and Trissy will say their last goodbies, and then his life support will be unhooked. They will leave on Tuesday morning, which will be Monday night here. They will fly him from Dover, NJ to Nashville and then there will be a military escort to Fort Campbell. Jonathon's captain at Ft Campbell is flying to Dover to escort the body back. They had developed a good friendship since Jonathon had been at Ft Campbell. They say he is grieving for his friend. (I am writing this with tears streaming down my face.) There will be a funeral in Clarksville, and then the military will bring his body to Chattanooga for another funeral, and then he will be buried here with full honors. Your prayers mean so much."
And it makes MY eyes teary as I read/write what Jan posted. Please keep them in your prayers and ALL of our service members serving overseas.
- Kris

Saturday, April 10, 2010

27 DAYS, 21 HOURS until I leave for ITALY

First... I found a different beach today. It wasn't your normal soft sand, but it was fairly empty. There was one other young woman who arrived about the same time I did, and we stayed down on the one end where no one else was. In the picture above, there were some families on down the other end.
Look at this gorgeous day! I think it was up to the mid-80's today. I only laid out for about 2 hours.

I *tried* to nap... but I swear, I must be a magnet for kids. These kids had the WHOLE rest of the beach... where did they want to hang out? Down on the end where the other woman & I were trying to sunbathe & rest. GRRRR! It was weird, when I first got to the beach, there was a little girl singing some song about missing her mama (it sounded like possibly a country song? It didn't sound like one she had made up). The little girl was only about 6. Of course, since I was on a "military" beach, I was wondering if she was singing about her mom (who could have been overseas or deployed).
THEN... there were THESE kids. They seemed like nice kids and I know they were just having fun. I think they were loud, but I think I just thought that because I was wanting peace and quiet to just listen to my music and the soft lapping of the water on the shore. I heard one kid say "I caught 5 fish! I caught 5 fish!" I believe he was the one using the plastic pail. they kids sure were having fun and I'm sure their parents were appreciating that the kids were out having fun and not getting into trouble. The area I was at looked to be like a lagoon which was VERY shallow... I think you could walk the distance of what would be a couple blocks without going above your waist. I don't know where the tide was at while I was out there (whether it was low or high). I'll have to go back out and check that place out again. I wouldn't have really wanted to get into the water where I was sunbathing, so I have to keep that in mind for the future. There was a time or two today where I got pretty warm and would have liked to have felt comfortable to go jump into the water... but didn't. Oh well... I did enjoy being at the beach.

Now... onto the upcoming TRIP information...

So... last night I went online and purchased our tickets for the Coliseum in Rome and the Academy in Florence (where we will see the statue of David by Michaelangelo. Today I got our baggage tags for the cruise ship. It's getting CLOSER!! YEA! And I have let my bank know that I will be overseas (and where I will be when).

I've bought new crocs to take on my cruise (I'll use them on the ship), and I have bought a new backpack (time to retire my old one). I'm still worried about luggage, because I will have a HUGE one that I will be taking with me. And, I will be traveling for a week before I board the cruise ship in Venice. I've ordered a couple new pants/capris and have picked up a couple tank tops. I'm thinking I'll need to take at least one sweatshirt and I'll be taking my anorak (it packs easy). I think the temperatures over there will be about 15-20 degrees cooler than what I am used to.

Someone suggested I take a camera, guess they don't know me well enough... I *will* be taking a camera... right now I'm thinking I may take 3! Two Canon's and my Sony. I've got a couple 8 gigabyte memory cards (for my Sony), I need to see what I have for my Sony. The nice thing about the Sony, is that it takes regular AA batteries, so I don't have to worry about charging a lithium battery. Having said that, I do have an extra battery for my new camera. I am pretty sure I can put about 8000 photos on each of my 8g memory cards that I have for my Canons. I've been using my newest camera, trying to make sure I'm 100% comfortable with it before I use it.
On another note, please pray for my friends Jan & Don and their daughter Robynn and her family. I met Jan & Don shortly after I moved to Alaska (in 1985). Well... maybe about 1987. Jan is involved with and works for "Precept Ministries." (They have awesome Bible studies!). Don was a helicopter pilot while he was stationed in Alaska. I remember one year he spent quite a bit of time building a helicopter "costume" that he wore to run the "Midnight Sun" race. They live down in Tennessee now (where Precept Ministries are located). Don has retired. Their daughter Robynn stayed up in Alaska with her family (in the Anchorage area). I'm sure Don was pleased as punch when his (only) grandson joined the Army. This week they received the sad news that he either has passed on, or they were waiting until Robynn & family could get to Germany to pull the plug. On Robynn's blog, she said she was going to Germany to say her last good-bye to Jon (Little Jonny boy) and then bring his body home. Apparently he was in Afghanistan. I don't know any of the details - even though I know where to look (, it still doesn't list his name. There is only one pending notification of Family. The best I can figure is that it happened on the 8th? (of April).
Anyway... PLEASE keep the family in your prayers. They are more fortunate than most, in that in addition to being strong Christians (and Jon was a Christian), so they are able to take comfort in that, they also have a HUGE support system. Still, it is never easy to lose a child. So... please keep Jan & Don, and Robynn, her husband and her daughter in your prayers. Thanks.
Okay... I need to sign off... it's almost 11pm. I've been watching the annual Merrie Monarch competition (Hula competition) live on TV. It's held in Hilo every year. The dancing is beautiful and amazing. And I still need to take the dogs for a walk.
- Kris
Okay... time to sign off for tonight. the dogs are getting antsy for their walk.

Friday, April 9, 2010

quieter day

This photo reminds me of a man hunched over with his long arms and hand reaching upward on the hill.

So... this morning was consumed in two meetings, then I went to a going away party for a former co-worker. It was nice to see everyone! This afternoon was just busy... I was helping a co-worker with some forms and examples of documentation. I was hoping to get a couple applications filled out for 2 of my clients, but I didn't get them finished.

Tonight I've just been on the web and I have made our shore excursion for the tour in Ephesus. Its called "The Best of Antiquity." Its about 8 hours long! Whew! I'm not sure if we are going to book any more shore excursions, although it sounds like I need to find out more about a cable car in Santorini.

Oh yea... and I got to connect with a friend that I've known since 1978 when I was in Germany (she lived across the hall and whenever I worried about my oldest daughter as a baby, she is the one I would run to!). It was good to talk to her. She's made plans to go rent a catamaran in Greece for a couple months later this year. Wow. That would be nice!

Okay... I'm going to sign off.

- Kris

Thursday, April 8, 2010

What can I say?

Today was one of those CRAZY days, busy, busy, busy. And it didn't help that during lunchtime a couple came in for an unscheduled visit, so I met with them over my lunch hour. I didn't leave work until about 6:45pm. I did see our head boss about 4:30pm and talked to him about a couple of our clients (that he has a vested interest in) and mentioned about working over lunch. He said to make sure I claim the comp time (I said I would) and then he said to also make sure that I USE the comp time...(and I said I would) and then proceeded to tell him about my upcoming trip to Italy. *smiles*
As I said (somewhere else), that I like my job, I like the people I work with and the clients I work with AND I like that no two days are alike. Some days are very challenging and some days take their emotional toll. It's all part of the job. Speaking of job, I found out that one of my former classmates is applying for a job with our clinic. That will be interesting, because I would probably be one of the main trainers for him. He's a nice guy, he actually graduated a year behind me, so I don't really know about his work skills.
Okay... time to sign off. I'm going to watch "The Mentalist" and catch a little bit of the news before I had to bed.
- Kris

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Hot Hawaiian days...

Waimea Canyon, Kaiua

So... for the past three days the air conditioning in our building has been out. It's just amazing how hot it has been! Today I met with one of my clients at an outside gazebo. It was a nice break.
Other than work, not much else going on. I *did* get a $200 discount on my upcoming cruise, it will come as an onboard ship credit. (Might pay for another shore excursion?). I need to let some others that will be going on my cruise know about the discount, maybe they can get it too. (I'm on a weblist with a few others that are going on this cruise. My guess though, is that most of those on the ship will be from Europe because there aren't many Americans signed up on the list serve).

Okay... I'm watching "The Unit." So I am going to keep this short tonight.
- Kris

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Work, Blow Hole and traveling in Italy

Another picture of the blow hole. It was pretty impressive.

Work today was another crazy day. After our 8 am supervisory staff meeting, I had appointments scheduled for every hour this morning with one no-show. Today was the last day I was to meet with my one client on his lunch hour. I will now have Tuesday lunches back to my regularly scheduled time. That'll be nice. I'm going to miss this client as they move on to the next chapter in their life.

And I don't know if it is an ethical violation to say this, but apparently the Amy had a VERY sick, contagious soldier out at Walter Reed hospital who was dying. And I have to give Kudos to the Amry for getting him back here. I think they had to hire a private jet & having nursing staff (and doctors?) accompany him back. Apparently the soldier's last dying wish was to die on Hawaiian soil. He reportedly got here last Friday night and then passed away this morning. (so he was back on Hawaiian soil for 4 days).

This afternoon was mainly spent in a staff meeting (where we discuss each case). I guess it is just as well that we a staff meeting because our computers were down. They said the computers wouldn't be back up until tomorrow. SO... I didn't get ANY computer documentation done online (well, maybe 2?).

We got our cruise pack from the tour company and then I got Michelle on the phone so we could get all of our information into the system for pre-boarding purposes through the cruise line web site. It's always something. But the countdown on THEIR website shows 41 days, it's actually less days to countdown for us because we go to Rome, Florence & Venice on our own. I hope this cruise helps me to decide whether or not to live in Italy some day.

Okay... I'm going to sign off.

- Kris

Monday, April 5, 2010

Its Monday!

Halona Blow hole...

Welcome to Monday, please secure your seat belt, keep your hands and legs in at all times and enjoy the ride!

That was my facebook post (courtesy of status shuffle) this morning. I thought it was cute! It *was* an interesting Monday, not so much for me, as for a co-worker that had such an unruly client that almost everyone came out of their offices to find out if help was needed and to make sure everyone was okay. THAT was interesting. I found out today that two of my clients will be leaving soon, two of them that I care about and one that I've known and worked with for a couple years.

Other than that, one of my clients ended up in the hospital (medical purpose) over the weekend, hopefully they will be okay (I believe they will be). This morning I saw 3 clients, this afternoon I was in a meeting all afternoon. Tomorrow I get to start my day with a meeting.

Did I mention that I made our reservations for Vatican City. It's just the basic entry tickets, and I am waiting to hear from my daughter (MICHELLE) about whether we will also get tour tickets. I don't know if I need a separate ticket for the Basillica (I know I need to buy a separate ticket to climb up to the top). I also need her help to determine whether to buy our train tickets before we get there, or wait until we get there. We will be taking the train from Rome to Pisa, then Pisa to Florence (same day) and then onto Venice the next day.

Not much else is going on here... I have Bruno asleep on my lap and Peanut asleep beside me as I sit here on the couch. I've already taken them for a walk and I'm going to be heading to bed soon. I had to run over to Home Depot to pick up a copy of my receipt for my closet organizer & the carpet for my lanai, because I lost my receipt and I needed to give a copy of it to my landlady.

Okay... signing off.

- Kris

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Sunrise At Mokapuu

Food, fun and friends
Rabbit Island basking in the morning glory

Waimanalo Coastline

Bruno on the trail...
Peanut posing for a picture...

A rainbow on the way through town (Honolulu)

So... I got up at 3:37 am and met up with one of my former co-workers to share a ride to Mokapu'u. We met up with a bunch of others at the Mokapu'u Beach lookout after Wally (he is the Admin person in my former clinic) called to say the parking lot to the Lighthouse trail was locked up. They don't open the parking lot til 7 am or something like that. So, we had to walk a little further to get to the trailhead.
We met at the parking lot about 5:15 and amazingly, we all got there within minutes of each other. Then we began our hike up. A couple had been up there before, but several had not, and none had ever gone up for Easter sunrise before. (One of my co-workers overslept and wasn't able to make it though).
We were fortunate, because it was one of the few places on the island where it didn't rain (we did get a little rain before we made it all the way back to the parking lot)
There was a church group that did the hike up and had a small service up there. They didn't hang out too long. As you can see, the sunrise was beautiful!
After the hike, I was wiped out... I definitely have NOT gotten enough sleep this weekend, so I came home and took a nap with my pups (they were definitely ready to sleep... I sadistically enjoyed waking THEM up early and then keeping them on the move for a few hours! LOL!

So... other than the hike, it has been a lazy day. It's 5:30pm (I thought I would post early tonight, rather than wait and try to do it after Ambien... Ambien & posting don't mix! *smiles*).
I found a neat blog yesterday, it belongs to a woman on the East coast. I came across it as I was googling for touring Vatican City. She did an AWESOME job blogging about all the places they saw in Italy. Her blog was almost like reading a guidebook. She also traveled with her daughter and covered many of the areas we want to see. I sent her an email and she sent me a link to making early reservations (she was able to get into the Vatican before all the crowds because she made her reservations early). THANKS Mary Ann!
Okay... signing off!
- Kris