Busy Bee

March 31, 2010

I haven’t been making time to post lately because I’ve just been so busy! What a nice contrast to the complacency of the winter. Spring is here, and life has become appropriately more exciting.

This is week four at the Hosptial, with one more week before I’m on my own. Every day has its overwhelming moments, when the doctors want to admit 4 patients from the ER and 2 people need to register for Labs and Radiology, and three people need to be seen by the ER triage nurse, and people are calling me for bed assignments in one of the four other wings, and babies are being born….aaahhhh!!! It’s all good though, I just take one thing at a time.

Later in the night it always gets slower for a bit, so I can go back through everything and make sure I didn’t make any mistakes. I enjoy the excitement of  it all.

I was just talking to my mama, who said she doesn’t know my schedule and when to call, so I should post it on my blog. So if anyone wants to call me (and please do!) I’ll be off this Friday, the 2nd, Monday and Tuesday, the 5th & 6th (happy birthday to me!) and probably Monday the 12th. After that my schedule is likely to change.

Back to Springtime…

Even though you can’t really notice the changing of the seasons here in paradise (heeh), I still felt compelled to buy some plants this week! I picked up a beautiful Orchid for the table in our bedroom, and some hebs – Basil and Sage (they’re my favorites). Hopefully everythng will continue to grow nicely, and our food will be scrumptious, and our room will be brightened by joyful flowers for a long time to come…

Well, not too long, because I still want to move out. But rent is due tomorrow, and we have no prospects of moving elsewhere, so it looks like another month here. Oh well…at least we have the beach.

Roommate Drama

March 24, 2010

I’m not one for roommates. Many of you know that about me. I don’t like confrontation, I like certain things just so, I like my freedom to do or not do things in a timely manner, and I’m finding that I easily hold a grudge. That last part is something I really should work on.

Filippo and I live with a middle-aged woman who has health problems, doesn’t drive, and is therefore always home. She likes to leave little notes on the kitchen table and on the fridge when we forget to do something (like close a window before we leave the house, or put away the dishes before bed). When we first moved in, I made an extra effort to clean the common areas regularly and generally be a good roommate. Still, she would find things to complain about, and I formed my resentment. We pay more than half of the rent for this house, and yet we have the smaller bedroom, no access to the living room, and she doesn’t like us spending too much time in the kitchen. I don’t like being banished to my bedroom when I pay $1000 per month.

As I’ve mentioned several times, Filippo and I are looking into getting our own place. We’ve been secretive about it because we’re not on a lease and could be kicked out at any time. So we make phone calls to landlords when we’re out of the house, or we whisper into the phone from our bedroom.

Yesterday, Filippo met with a landlord to see a studio here on the north shore. As I was driving home from yoga, I called him to ask how it was. He told me it was furnished with ugly furniture and was close to the highway, so it’s a no-go. Our roommate was listening to his conversation. From what Filippo tells me, the conversation went something like this:

Roommate: “So you’re moving out, huh?”

Filippo: “Well, when we moved in we said we’d probaby be leaving in 6 months to a year…”

R: “I knew you would leave as soon as you moved in. You know, you’ll have to help around the yard no matter where you go. And I’m always cleaning the house, so I know you’re never doing it. I’m not your maid, you know. And I try to make conversations with Erin but she just walks off. You guys could try sweeping the porch every once in a while, you know.”

F: “…We feel that we do our part…I’ve got to go”.

That was when I picked him up to go to a friends house and he told me about it in the car. What’s funny is that the day before, I had swept the kitchen and bathroom, and cleaned the ruggs. We never leave anything laying around the house…but I’ll admit, lately I’ve made much less effort to clean and interact with her. I just don’t really care to make things work at this house.

The whole ordeal didn’t really get me very upset, because it’s just more motivation to find a new place. I’ll just continue to avoid her, and soon enough we’ll be out of her hair. And then she can find a new roommate to complain about.

So my brother expects my posts to start looking something like Grey’s Anatomy “but like the old seasons when people blew up and stuff”…hahahaha.

There haven’t been any bombs in the ER yet (although every phone does have a checklist next to it of what to ask if someone calls with a bomb threat). But every day is really exciting! Sunday night is statistically our busiest night, and last night was no exception. Every bed was full, and we even had two patients being treated in the family room.

There were the typical patients (kids with abdominal pain, old people with dementia), and then there were some sad ones (like a  5 year old who was bit by a dog and a sick baby), and there were some fun ones (a guy from Canada who cut his head open while surfing on the last day of his vacation, and a girl with a laceration from hiking to the waterfalls).

The strangest was probably a young couple who came in because the guy had nearly drowned and had been throwing up since it happened. I thought “suck it up dude. Drink some water and take a nap.” But they came in and were given the same attention everyone gets. After a couple of hours and some tests, the doctor discharged the patient and they drove off. They only got about a block away when they got hit by a car going pretty fast. They weren’t really hurt all that bad, but they both had to come in to the ER. What luck.

But truly the most interesting thing that has happened at my job so far has nothing to do with any patients. I hesitate to say this because it’s bad to spread gossip….but it’s not gossip when it’s true, right? And it’s public knowledge….Ok here goes:

The woman who trains me is married to the man who killed John Lennon. That’s right. I work with her every day, and her husband murdered John Lennon! He’s in jail in New York, and every six months she goes to visit him. She’s remained faithful to him for some reason, since 1980. He’s obviously what at work we would call “SMI” (Seriously Mentally Ill), and he’ll be in there for the rest of his life, but she’s faithful. Weird.

So that’s my Grey’s Anatomy excitement for the week. Hope you found it as dramatic as I did!

The Commuter Club

March 19, 2010

My commute is about as far as it can possibly be on this island. I live on the Northwest (ish) corner of the island, and I work on the Southeast corner. Without traffic, it’s about 45 minutes, but with traffic it’s an hour and a half. Luckily, my shift avoids rush hour.

As I’ve said before, this is my second week of work. Sadly, I already got a speeding ticket last Friday on my drive home.

They seem to have a surplus of cops here, and what makes it worse is that most of them aren’t even in marked police cars. Apparently, the Hawaii PD solved a budget problem by having cops use their personal cars as patrol cars. So you’ll see a normal looking SUV, but it has a blue light sitting on top, and that’s the enemy….well, the commuter’s enemy anyway.

I actually got pulled over by a motorcycle cop waiting for me under an overpass, so this doesn’t apply to me, but I think these unmarked cop cars are pretty sneaky. They’ll be sitting there innocently on the side of the road, and when it’s dark and you can’t see the light perched on top of the car, you could easily speed on by without realizing you just provoked a cop.

But to combat the overabundance of sneaky cops, it seems that Hawaiian commuters have decided to band together. I’ve started to notice that whenever someone passes a speed trap, they’ll warn oncoming traffic by flashing their headlights. I noticed it twice today, and I just think it’s so considerate. I decided to pass the favor on myself when I saw the evil cops waiting in the shadows, and I’m sure I saved a couple people speeding tickets.

So that’s just another reason I love Hawaii’s aloha spirit.

It’s too bad I still owe $135 on that stupid ticket though (I was only going 60 on the freeway!!!)

Working Girl

March 18, 2010

I’m into my second week of training, and it’s been quite an adjustment!

The first week I went in from 10-3, did a little training here and there, no big deal. But this week I’m working full 8 hour shifts from 3-11pm! From 3-5 I’m shadowing my trainer at the ER admit desk, which is super fast paced and exciting…except half the time I don’t know what’s going on. Then from 5-9 I meet the other new admitting hires down in the IT training room, where we’re learning how to use the computer programs necessary for our job. Then from 9-11 it’s back up to to the front lines, where I continue to be excited and overwhelmed by the commotion of the ER.

I’m starting to get the hang of some things, like getting signatures from patients and giving them wrist bands. Last night I was running all over the ER, feelng very professional. I also got to register one patient, and complete a doctor change request, all on my own. I can tell I’m going to enjoy the job once I get the flow of everything.

Last night was particularly intense, because we had a young boy come in by ambulance who had been in an accident. He was flat lined when he came in, but there was a lot of commotion with identifying who he was, and then the whole family came in and it was really tragic. There were also a lot of other patients coming in all night, so the ER was really full. It might sound bad, but all of the commotion made me kind of excited…Maybe it made me realize the importance of my job, and it felt good to know that I could do my job and help the other people. The quicker I work, the quicker they are seen. I think I’m cut out for this sort of work.

I go in tonight for the same shift, and then on Friday I’m trainng with the switchboard operator all evening. Saturday I’m off and then Sundy I do my first full shift at the Admit desk. I’m pretty excited!

We’re still waiting to hear about that perfect apartment. We were able to submit a complete application on Monday, and they’re just verifying our information. I really hope it works out, but if it doesn’t, hopefully there’s something even better waiting for us!

Chasing Rainbows

March 10, 2010

Here in Hawaii, it’s safe to say that we get our fair share of rainbows. It’s been rainig a lot lately, so we’ve had quie a few. Today, on my way home from work, I snapped this picture, because the rainbow was the best I’ve seen. Of course, the picture doesn’t begin to do it justice, but I promise it was amazing. Everybody else pulled over too, to take photos (note the car in front of me). The pasture I’m stopped next to is a horse pasture (see the sign!), and it would have been great to get a shot of the horses and the green grass with the rainbow and the blue sky….but I was rushing to get home and don’t really have any photography skills. But a full rainbow is still impressive!

This has been my first week of work, and it’s been so great to be busy!

Monday was orientation, where we spent 8 hours listening to the heads of various departments talk about the hospital’s mission, vision and values.  We also watched movies on customer service, how to handle a natural disaster or flu pandemic, MRI safety, bariatric sensitivity training, Confidentiality, and so so much more. Castle Medical Center really does seem like a great place to work, and now I can be glad I didn’t get a position at any of those other hosptials! We got copies of the 2008 quality review, which illustrates the hospital’s superiority 🙂 We were ranked the best hosptial in Hawaii! Go Castle!

Yesterday I started training in my department, and it’s been a little less exciting. I sat at a computer for five hours yesterday, going through training modules and then taking quizzes on what I learned. I also got my uniform, which is an aloha shirt, of course!

Today was another 5 hour day, but I got to sit in with the PBX (switchboard) lady to get trained on the switchboard for the first half. Admitting covers for PBX when they go on breaks, so we have to  know how to do the transfers, page people on the intercom, and also how to handle codes! I got to listen in on the calls with a headset, and it was fun seeing how she handeled it all. She had to call security to go to the morgue for  pickup, but they call it the “holding room”….creepy!

The drive down and back hasn’t been too bad, except that it’s sucking up a lot of gas! I filled up over the weekend, and then had to fill again last night, and I’m already at half a tank! It seems like it costs me about $10 or more per day to drive there and back…but it’s worth it. Yay for employment!

A Worthy Home

March 8, 2010

I saw the most amazing apartment over the weekend, and I just can’t stop thinking about it. It was truly something special. I feel like I’m in love. I almost feel like I shouldn’t talk about it , as not to jinx it.

Maybe just a bit.

It comes fully furnished, and when I say fully, I mean that it even includes linens, dishes, empty picture frames and coffee table books. And these are not just any furnishings, they are stunning. The furnished apartment was featured in Architectural Digest. It was built in a converted water tower on a huge, elegant estate in the Pupukea hills. It would be like living in Architectural Digest, which is to say it would be like living in a dream.

I would give anything to live in this apartment. What’s shocking is that it’s affordable, but we’re running into some problems getting our application completed. They want us to fax a credit report for each of us, and I have no printer and no fax machine. They also want one month’s pay stubs, and we both started new jobs so we don’t have pay stubs. They also want to call our current landlord, and we haven’t given notice, for fear that they will kick us out when they hear. See, we have no lease, and the last tenants who gave notice were given an afternoon to pack their things.

So there are some hills to climb to get to the most amazing apartment in the world. But we deserve it. It feels meant to be.

Please God, please give us this apartment!

If all goes well, I’ll be able to post pictures. If not….I might just cry for what might have been.


March 5, 2010

I thought it might be good for me to write my goals down. I really do want to accomplish a lot with my life, but it won’t happen if I forget about my goals. The best way for me to remember is to write them down! So here we go:

  1. Practice Yoga Daily: Every time I go to yoga, I feel amazing. I am also blessed to have a donation yoga class with amazing teachers close by, so cost or quality can never be an issue. Must go to yoga.
  2. Become a Registered Nurse: I love helping people, I am smart, I am organized, I have what it takes. There is no reason for me to settle for anything less than a kick-butt career. And nursing sounds pretty kick-butt to me.
  3. Live Without Roommates and With Toby: I need my puppy. I don’t need to walk on tiptoes, living with people I don’t know.
  4. Save Save Save!: After bills and having a reasonable amount of fun, the money needs to go into a savings account. I won’t have limited expenses forever, so I need to take advantage of it now. Also, I have seen way too many “Value of Compound Interest” graphs to not start investing in an IRA.
  5. Buy Real Estate: I know I’m young and don’t really need to worry about this, but it physically hurts me to pay rent every month. You can get a nice condo here for under $200,000 and the payments wouldn’t be anything more than I’m paying now. There are many other factors to consider (including freedom to move, the volatile market, maintenance fees, etc.), but now really is the time to buy, and I just can’t get the idea out of my head….(this is one of the things I want to save for, a big down payment). But this is a longer-term goal.
  6. More Travel: I might be living in paradise, but there are still many more places I want to see. I need to make sure I remember to make time for travel. Maybe not as many trips as 2009 (what a year!), but I still want to make travel a priority.
  7. Cook a Great Meal Every Week: I really have enjoyed cooking lately, so I want to make cooking a weekly priority. Of course, I’ll be cooking something every day (we’ve gotta eat!), but once a week I want to make something special, follow a new recipe, or have people over for dinner.
  8. Speaking of having people over for dinner….Have Fun with Friends: I’m very lucky to have made some great friends here, and it’s always so great to get together with them, or even just talk on the phone. Somehow I often forget to make time for friends, so that needs to be a priority.

A couple of nights ago we had to make one of our infrequent trips to “town” (honolulu) to drop off one friend and pick up another at the airport. We like to make the most of these trips, so I was put in charge of finding something “to do” while in “town”. (I don’t know why I’m so into the quotation marks right now…)

Filippo had been craving ice cream, so I did my google searching and found Bubbie’s Homemade Ice Cream on University Ave.

It was just what we were looking for. They had good, interesting flavors, an assortment of sundaes, pies, and shakes. They also had ample seating with a good ambiance (haha ice cream parlor ambiance), and they were playing the Rent soundtrack in the background (which was my favorite part).

Their menu looks cool right? Well it is. But what you might not be able to read is that their sundaes and pies have very….sexual names. At first I thought it was an accident, but when I saw that everything in the display case was named with sexual innuendo I lightened up a bit. But I couldn’t bring myself to order a sundae or pie, because to ask for one of them would make me feel dirty.

See those names?

How scandalous!

Acutally, we thought about getting a pie, but nowhere did it say what the ingredients were, and we like ordering based on flavor, not innuendo, so we passed on the pies and got ice cream. I got oreo, Filippo got banana and strawberry cheesecake.

All in all, a very fun place. But they only take cash, so remember to stop by an ATM. We didn’t realize they wouldn’t take debit until we had our ice cream in our hands. Filippo had to run to the ATM at the corner while I waited with the ice cream. It was really hard for me not to eat it all while he wasn’t looking. I distracted myself by quietly singing along to Rent.

P.S. While trying to find Bubbie’s website, I typed http://www.bubbies.com, and it led me to some lady who makes Kosher Dill Pickles. She told me “Don’t talk with your mouth full or your brain empty.” hehe good advice!

Yesterday was a great day for food and shopping!

The Kitchn (my favorite food blog), posted a great video showing how to poach an egg. I’d been under the impression that poaching eggs was hard, but as you can see in this video, it’s super easy (and oh so good!). One requirement for good poached eggs is that the eggs be fresh, and fresh eggs are hard to find on the island (most having been shipped from the mainland). But with wonderful timing, our roommate filled our eggs carton with fresh eggs she got from her friend, an egg farmer (is that what they’re called?).

We were actually in the middle of figuring out what to have for lunch when she gave them to us, and we’d already started making some brown rice. With the opportunity  to try poached eggs, I simply couldn’t wait, so we decided to have poached eggs over brown rice. It was really good, and quite filling. Perfect comfort food for a cold Sunday (and yes, it was cold here in Hawaii!).

Prior to the egg poaching experience, I had been in a pouty mood because I had nothing to do, so Filippo promised me some thrift-store retail therapy. The poached eggs turned the mood around, but we still wanted to do some shopping.

First stop was Goodwill in Wahiawa, which is a very nice Goodwill. This was Filippo’s first thrift-store experience, and I’m so glad the store was clean, big, bright, and organized. We found some cool vintage drinking glasses (a set of 6), but decided against them because they weren’t colorful enough. But then we found a great set of blue-tinted Pyrex mixing bowls:

I know that some people collect Pyrex (usually the solid-colored, patterned kind), but I’m not one of those people. So I have no idea if these are a good find, or just normal Pyrex, but I am excited about them. Everyone needs mixing bowls, and these ones have a blue tint. That’s just cool. I got them both for $7.00.

Then we found a matching casserole dish with a lid:

Again, this was $7.oo for the set, and I couldn’t say no. I mean, I could have, but I didn’t want to. We also walked out with a George Carlin tape for Filippo (since he only has a tape player in his car). It was .99 cents.

Then we went on to a great antique shop where we found tons of cool stuff for our future apartment. Especially cool was a big turquoise glass table lamp. I can’t wait till we have our own place, because I really want that lamp.

Our last stop was Ross, because Filippo had some pants to exchange. Since we were in a shopping mood,we started looking around, and I stumbled upon the best find of the day…a pair of adorable green leather BC wedges for $2.50. That’s right, $2.50.

My first thought was “What’s wrong with them?” But I still haven’t been able to find a single problem. They’re just cute, comfortable goodness.

WordPress is being stupid, so please turn your head to see the beauty

They’re just so cute, right? What a score, and what a great day for shopping. All of this for under $20!

The day ended with more great food, and this time the idea just popped out of my head! Looking into our fridge I saw a bunch of veggies, tomatoes, and a baguette. So I made something like a bruschetta (although I’ve never made one, so I’m not sure). I minced scallions, and chopped potato, carrot, mushroom, long beans, and tomatoes. The scallions went in the pan with a little olive oil, and the rest of the veggies followed. My plan was that it would become a chunky sauce, and the veggies complied. I also added some mushroom bullion, a little sugar to counteract  the acidity of the tomatoes, and seasoned with fresh thyme, an Italian seasonings blend, and a little garlic salt. I buttered and pan-toasted the bread, and poured the saucy goodness over the bread. I wish I’d taken a picture, but it was so good we just gobbled it down without thinking or speaking.

That just made me hungry.