Forget the Octopus. Gimme a Coral Garden.

I’ve been traveling a lot for my job. Job? What job? Yeah. I was hired the first day of my internship at a private forensic psychological practice. My employer is one of the most notable forensic and clinical psychologists in the field and I say I won the lottery. We travel for Court trials all over the world. I was also able to travel to Maui, and also spent a week at her home on the Big Island. I work hard and we get along great. She treats me like a professional and is very generous with her knowledge and time.

Larry and I have also been exploring Hawaii quite a bit, hiking and checking out the different beaches. Each part of the island of Oahu has its own culture, and the beaches are no different. While the hiking and mountains are certainly second to none here on the islands, the snorkeling I have experienced is still not as impressive as Guam’s many beautiful reefs. Even Bonaire and Aruba couldn’t compare. Guam’s natural beauty is a treasure…in that way. Now… the black mold and awful radio stations (lookin’ at you, I94) are a different story.

My two nieces, 7 & 14, visited me last week here in Hawaii. We did all the sights, cultural activities, seaside hikes, and lived the beach life. My oldest niece told me this trip has “changed her life.” Secretly, that was the idea. Neither had left the continental U.S. before. Virgin daiquiris (“lava flows”), a Pearl Harbor memorial visit, Polynesian Cultural Center, beach days, Dole Plantation, Chinatown in Honolulu, Kailua shopping, snorkeling with Hawaiian sea turtles off the coast of Diamondhead, lunch aboard an ocean catamaran; we even went to a luau at the Hale Koa. I guess I’d say a spring break on Oahu is a pretty good way to spend your time.

You know sometimes you feel a little down. Today I felt that way. Moving to a new area, no matter how idyllic, extroverts still need that dose of social energy each day. For those of you who have moved to a new city, you might understand. While most people my age befriend coworkers, my job is just me and my employer in a private practice. & I don’t hear a lot from my friends back on the mainland. But you know what? The drive to and from work today was the most beautiful I had seen yet. Also, I received a lovely voicemail message from my niece’s father who said that my niece sees me as a role model, a mentor, and is very inspired. It sure is nice to have someone tell you “I appreciate you.” When I am down, I only have to look around to be reminded of the good things in the world.

I’ve also joined the local Rotary club after having to leave my Bossier City, Louisiana club where I was the pioneer social media outreach committee chairperson.  This club, Windward Sunrise of Oahu, is a smaller club, and was very welcoming. I immediately set to work setting up the social outreach, including online media. Since the 2020 Rotary International Conference is being held in Honolulu, I asked to be my club’s president for that year, so I could take part as being a host club. This is a great honor and I am so amazingly stoked! My president-elect role begins in July.

How predictable am I… watching a documentary on Netflix about how volcanic Pacific islands are born, and the flora and fauna within. I dare you to find an animal documentary where they omit the line “…& the competition is fierce…” And when they play Skyrim style music, they are talking about disappearing cultures. What is that? Whimsical bassoon? Must be a Bowerbird decorating his nest or a Bird of Paradise showing off a comical mating dance. And forget it if you hear intense drumming. That flamingo doesn’t stand a chance against that hyena. Damn.

Oh yeah, I graduate with my Master of Science in Counseling next month. Nice.


Road Trip Souvenirs

TINY DOGS. In biggest news, after a three-week road trip, I brought back a tiny Dachshund puppy for a souvenir. Of course, she is more than just a souvenir. She is now a distinguished, important member of our family and household. Anyway, we adopted her from the same breeder as Otto… and four of my mom’s Dachshunds. Say no to puppy mills! She has disapproving eyebrows and a tiny bark.

Speaking of road trip, I packed up the PT Cruiser and headed to Pensacola to visit my friend, Devin. I stayed there a week, then headed to my parents’ place near Asheville, North Carolina. Devin’s condo is half way through to their house, which is pretty convenient. We plan to come back right before Christmas, but this time we are renting a condo down the street from my family. You know what? There was the cabin next door to them for sale and they didn’t let us know. Could have had a sweet mountain cabin. My cousin Marjorie also just moved to Asheville, so it was great to see her. She is pursuing her masters in Social Work.

MSCP. As for my masters, I am signed up for four more classes starting next Tuesday. The first class I took for summer was only a month long… which left me with a sweet two-month break. Also got most of May off. I know it’s starting to be time for me to go back to school when I consider putting on a bra and washing my hair an accomplishment for the day. Anyway, learning about Statistics, Ethics, Counseling Theories, and some other class I forgot. Then, next semester I start my thesis! I AM AN ADULT.

SOCIALLY WILLING. My Rotary Club has named me the social media manager. And by named me, I mean “Hey, you guys need to be on social media to attract new members. I got you a Twitter and Instagram. Oh, and your website looks 2001.” So, follow us. Better yet, join your local Rotary Community Service Club. Meet people, share experiences, yada yada. I’ve never been a huge fan of social media. I have an Instagram (I just got it two years ago), and I deleted Facebook in 2012. I think we have a huge problem with oversharing every detail… as I sit and type on my 15-years strong (well, hasn’t had significant gains) blog. It’s a way to connect, I get it, and it’s fun. But wow, it is time consuming! Oh, and here is a photo of me speaking to three Rotary clubs about the benefits of sending 10th graders to RYLA camp in the summer. I went a million years ago. It’s a confidence booster. Just look at those briefing hands.

MEDALING KIDS. Lastly, the Air Force ball is next month. I’m no longer active duty, but Larry is. As an officer, he feels it’s his duty to attend these sorts of things to network, and I totally agree. So, I found a dress… it was the last one and in my size. It fits perfectly, and my medals will look awesome on them. No bling needed; it’s built-in with years of service. & for fuck’s sake, ladies: no sateen, rhinestone-embellished prom dresses. Tacky as hay-ell. I’m ready to move away from the South. & where are the people my age? So odd. It’s like a black hole around here.

Went to Starbuck’s yesterday. Tried to contain the excitement that in a month I will have sugar-free PSL in my life again.