Sunday, July 26, 2009

Check it Out: Cool Picture

I found this awesome photo while I was stumbling through cyber land using StumbleUpon.  It's from Wikipedia and it was titled "Peacekeeper Missile Testing"


Friday, July 17, 2009

Blog Update

It can be tricky at times inter-weaving two blogs for one family.  I've debated back and forth on the best way to handle this dilemma, and I've recently decided to make a change.  From now on all things pertaining to me will be found on Angela's Soliloquy.  All that Garret and I do together and all things pertaining to Garret will be found here.  I'm going to it try this way for a while and see how it goes.  I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, and I hope you keep reading!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Garret Physical Therapy Update

As of today Garret has completed his physical therapy.  I wish I could report it worked wonders and he's feeling a huge improvement, but not so much; and the quality of his physical therapy treatments have been a little questionable.  He said that after he'd check in they'd just send him off to corner do his exercises, and that's pretty much the extent of it. 

As a girl who has been in physical therapy several times (some of which completely restored my quality of life after traumatic injuries) I have some experience here.  Not to mention I was the Front Office Manager of a physical therapy clinic, so again, I have more experience in this area than say, the average Joe.  That said, my physical therapists were a lot more involved in my treatments.  I mean how do they know if you're doing the exercises right if they're not checking in with you, and what, the exercises you learn the first day are it.  That's all you'll be doing the whole time?  Not in the clinics I've known.

To be fair, maybe therapy would be different for his type of injury.  Still I've seen (and even had) a variety of injuries, and all of them require more interaction than he got.  Maybe it's not the therapists at all, maybe it's the Army's regulations pertaining to physical therapy, although I would imagine in a profession where injuries, and severe injuries at that, are prone to occur they would have a fairly good program developed.

Also, in the civilian world, the therapist contacts the primary care or referring doctor once the prescribed amount of treatments had been completed to see if further therapy is needed.  But, Garret doesn't have a primary care doctor, and the referring doctor was just one of many doctors that all the soldiers see, in place of primary care.  In fact the doctor that finally ordered Garret's physical therapy (five months after the initial recommendation had been made by his surgeon) was just filling in and not even a regular member of the treating staff. 

Whatever the case may be, the bottom line is, it was of little help.  Fortunately Garret is still in aquatic therapy, in fact those treatments have been increased from one to three times a week.  Additionally, he's still going to the chiropractor and pain management as well.  There's still hope, it's just so unbelievably frustrating wading through the drama to find it.

Garret WTB Update

Ok, so remember how a couple of weeks ago I said that Garret's WTB packet had been signed and was going for review, just kidding.  Turns out his packet was JUST sent off a couple of days ago.  Are you freaking kidding me?????  All his Chain of Command had to do was sign one document, of an already completed packet, and still it takes them over a month to sign it and send it off to the appropriate people.  It's ridiculous!  It could take up to another 30 days to be reviewed!!!!! 

His Chain of Command has clearly shown that they are not interested in making Garret's healthcare and rehabilitation a priority, and this is just another prime example.  Given that his Chain of Command is the only channel we have to go through to get things done, we have a serious problem here. So what the hell are you supposed to do, when the people who are there to help you, aren't? 

Meanwhile he still continues to have no Primary Care Physician, no one to coordinate and facilitate all facets of his therapy and care.  Basically he's just floating in the wind, and whenever a strong breeze comes along he get's blown in a different direction.  That sounds like the right way for the Army to be taking care of their soldiers, doesn't it.  This delay is tremendously impacting his chance at rehabilitation (we've long since given up hope for "speedy" recovery).

One last little morsel of food for thought, Garret's pain management doctor had to fill out a matrix, which the Army use's in deciding whether or not a soldier should be transferred to the WTB.  The score for his matrix was >1000 Failure to assign or attach Soldier to WTB likely to result in poor medical or psychiatric outcome, administrative delay, poor transition (back to the civilian world), or decrement in unit readiness.  You would think the Army would be a little concerned about this, but I can tell you with all certainty his Chain of Command is most definitely not.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Polynesian Cultural Center Slideshow

Going to the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) was on our "Must Do" list for when my mom came to visit. Besides Pearl Harbor it is the most visited tourist attraction on the island of Oahu. Garret and I had wanted to check it out for a while, but since it's pretty pricey, we decided to wait to until we had company to go. Fortunately I had researched ticket prices prior to my Mom's arrival and knew that our best bet was to go through the ticketing office (ITR) on base for tickets. You can often get killer deals through ITR and this was no exception. We got tickets normally valued between $70.00 and $100.00 for only $30.00! We were so excited!

When you go to the PCC, prepare for an all day event! There are seven villages representing the different Polynesian islands to go through. Each village has different exhibits, activities, and shows that are both entertaining and educational at the same time. There's also a Canoe Parade, the Horizon's Night Show, and an IMAX movie on the coral reef. If you get hungry there are several restaurants to eat at. Our meal was actually included in the price of our ticket and was buffet style!

The day we went was so hot and there was absolutely zero breeze, but despite that we managed to have a ton of fun!!! I would totally recommend it to anyone who's planning to come to Hawaii and wants to learn about the culture and history surrounding not only these islands but the other Polynesian islands as well.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Friday, July 3, 2009

Dole Plantation Slideshow

The Dole Plantation is known for growing many, many crops of pineapples, but they also have an amazing garden, a train that takes you around the property, and the world's largest maze too! They also have the most phenomenal pineapple ice cream you could ever dream of, it was delicious!

Most of my pictures are of spectacular flowers from the garden, sorry I don't really know any of their names, but I thought I should post them anyway because they're so beautiful. Funny how even though Garret and I drive past the Dole Plantation everyday on our way to and from base, we hadn't yet been there until my Mom came to visit, oh well, better late than never! Enjoy the photos!

Mom's Visit

Recently my Mom came to visit us for about a week and a half.  We had so much fun while she was here!  We did lots of touristy stuff around the island and captured much of it in photos.  I will post slide shows of the different places we went as my schedule allows.

A Mom Airport 

Me and my Mom at the airport after her arrival in Hawaii

G Mom Airport

Garret with my Mom at the airport after her arrival in Hawaii

Boston University

Last week while doing online research for something totally unrelated, I discovered that BU Logo Boston University offers a fully online undergraduate bachelor's degree program.  I immediately began investigating further, and I was so excited by what I found!

While they offer multiple graduate degree programs online they only offer one online undergraduate degree, it is a Bachelor's of Liberal Studies with emphasis on the humanities and social science and a philosophical theory focus.  Not only are all of these of large interest to me, but they would serve a law degree particularly well! 

The classes for this degree are taught by the same instructors who teach their on-campus classes, and held to the same academic standard.  As a result, the university makes BU Fall Photo no distinction between it's students: meaning whether you are part of the on-campus program or online program is irrelevant, you are simply a Boston University student period.  The program takes 30 months to complete, and is designed for students who have completed between 52 and 64 credit hours, which I have.

Boston University is a top 100 school in the nation as ranked by US News and World Report (it's official ranking on the list is #60).  It is a school known for it's prestige and high academic standards, and getting a degree from this type of institution (even an online degree) would be of huge benefit when going forward to law school.

Before I made my decision to go to an online school, I did a lot of research on the credibilityBU Lake Photo of online degrees, the results were mixed but usually positive.  Surprisingly online graduate degrees seem to be more accepted than online bachelor's, but as long as you're degree comes from a reputable school with accreditation, then typically it holds about equal weight with a traditional degree.  My research also showed that online degrees from traditional universities that had an online program could be of added benefit particularly if it is a well known and reputable school.

As with the on-campus Boston University, you have to apply and be accepted, however the online applications are accepted on a rolling basis, so I could still be eligible for the fall semester.  Additionally, the cost is double that of what it would be for one of the otherBU Building schools I'm currently looking into, and whereas the other schools include books in their tuition amount, BU does not.  Still, I think if I were accepted, and I could make it work financially, it might be the perfect place for me. 

I had really wanted to pursue a traditional school, but what I want even more than that, is to complete my degree so I can continue onto my next goal which is law school.  Ultimately, I'd decided the best way to facilitate this would be to attend an online program.  Now it seems I might have the opportunity to do both, combine the prestige of a traditional program with the convenience of an online program.  It sounds like a match made in academic heaven. 

In the end it will come down to, where I'm accepted and what my financial aid will cover.  I trust completely that wherever that is, it will be the perfect place for me, because at this point I'm only pursuing schools I would be happy to be a part of.  That said, I'm definitely making Boston University one of the schools to pursue.

BU Logo 2

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Angela's Odds and Ends

I have been working on a few other miscellaneous items in the last few weeks that are worthy of noting.

I've begun doing some of the necessary preliminary paperwork and by extension research to start my charity.  This is definitely a work in progress, but it makes me feel good taking any steps that will make this goal a reality.

Also, I've been working hard on an outline for a novel.  Anyone who knows me well, knows   that it has always been a dream/goal of mine (depending on what stage of my life I've been at) to be an author, and I decided the time is now!  Why not?  Chances are, I'm book clip artnever going to be any less busy than I am now so, just like starting the charity, I determined anything I could do to make this become a reality was worth doing; and also like the charity it is definitely a work in progress.  Who knows, this is something I could finish in a month or it could take me the next four years, and even if it does take me four or even more years, the bottom line is those years are going to pass regardless, so I might as well have a book to show for them.  Working on an outline doesn't entail a whole lot of writing, it's more of a planning and organizational progress, so in an attempt to continue to improve my writing in the meantime I'm working on some smaller pieces that can be finished more quickly. 

Besides these, the other activity occupying my time is maintaining the website for the Spouse's Club.  We're on break for the summer, but the website still has to be maintained and updated regularly.  I really enjoy the website, because it's the only thing I do that combines technical aspects with creative ones, and the contrast is both stimulating and rewarding!

I like to keep busy and I like to have a variety of different activities on my plate at once, and right now, that's exactly what I've got!

AFTB Instructor Courses

Last night was my first AFTB Instructor Course.  Initially I was little concerned at the length of time for each class, almost four hours, and even though I enjoying learning with the best of them, sometimes sitting in the same place for that long can make my inner A.D.D. child come to life.  Turns out, I had nothing to worry about.  It was a great class, both informative and fun!  I have three more classes ending on Thursday, and also on Thursday I have to give a 10 minute presentation incorporating the material we're learning. 

Six hours later . . . .

I just had my second AFTB instructor course and it was even more fun than last night's class!  The instructors were so engaging and they covered there topics with such ease and efficiency that the time just flew by!  All of them were great, but one of them, Tracey was pretty exceptional.  She was just the right amount of professional and authoritative combined with comical and down to earth.  I really want to be as good as she is one day!

Tonight we had to give an impromptu one minute talk on a random topic we picked out of a hat.  Can you say, Traumatic?  when you're totally put on the spot like that, even for me--the girl who has something to say about everything, it can be a little un-nerving to say the least.  Despite involving and interacting with the group while I talked and even though I had them laughing, I still felt like a raging idiot by the time I was done. 

However, I apparently did a better job than I thought, because at the end of the night the Program Manager told me I was going to be good at this and that I had a "Tracey" type personality.  OMG!  That was seriously the best compliment ever!  I'm still riding the high from it!

In related news, I will be teaching my first AFTB class in mid July at the WLC.  WLC stands for Warrior Leader Course and is a month long program that teaches Specialists and Corporals how to manage and lead small groups of soldiers and prepares them to advance to the rank of Sergeant (that's taken directly from their web page).  The course is taught at the NCO Academy and the WLC students live at the Academy for the duration of the training.  Because of the variety and wealth of information the AFTB offers in it's courses, it is not uncommon for Commanding Officers to request us to teach various sections of our program in a variety of ways that will benefit their units or specific groups of soldiers. 

It is such a great program to be involved in, and I couldn't be more excited to have the opportunity to be a part of it!