First for a couple of logistical updates.. this blog has always served as the second A’Kai Silks website. A static site which was located at http://www.akaisilks.com became difficult to keep updates as I always had new photos. So I created this blog as a secondary site to write when the urge hit, whether it was content related to A’Kai Silks or anything else.
I let the site expire and have not been writing much lately.. a few facebook posts and some sharing of images on instagram to keep connected with friends. I still intend to point the URL so that googling A’Kai Silks will land you here, but this blog site is no longer strictly for silks. There’s a lot of outdates posts and images here as well, but after spending a day and a half reorganizing all the photos and music on the MAC to trim it down, I’ll remove old posts from the blog eventually.
The online store will remain open at http://www.akaisilks.etsy.com . The email will remain firstname.lastname@example.org . If I have stock of silk it will be listed in the store. On occasion I may be able to offer custom orders but the best place to look for anything will be at the store link. I will respond to store related emails as soon as possible. I will continue dyeing silk but production will vary depending on where I am at and how much I’m working as a nurse.
I am not moving away from Hawaii, I will be maintaining two residences, one in Hawaii and one in Arizona.
I just renewed my RN license in Hawaii and am now licensed in the state of Arizona as well. When I first graduated nursing school in Arizona, I had considered working as a travel nurse but my older son was still barely older than a toddler and the timing wasn’t right. Ironically, I started A’Kai Silks before graduation and due to its success I ran with it. I reinstated my nurse license in Hawaii a few years ago but was never quite satisfied with the job opportunities I found. I became discouraged and started to stagnate in the nursing field. I gathered some valuable experience in case management but I always liked psychiatric and hospice nursing since my B.S. degree was in psychology. I really didn’t want to get stuck in a nine to five work week because it doesn’t resonate with the lifestyle that I make a priority. So, in November 2014 I took some time off from nursing but being on an island, options can be rather limiting. I know that I enjoy working afternoon/evening shifts, and prefer to work a few days a week since I have no debt. A’Kai Silks was tiding me over and then I decided to go for a visit in Arizona.
Arizona has always been a home base. I admit that Phoenix is hot and I loathe the dry air at times, being used to the fragrant perfect humidity and year round good weather in Hawaii, one can get spoiled. My last trip to Arizona was a train wreck. I had badly needed a reprieve from full time responsibilities for a while and my overall health was in bad shape. It ended in a tangled mess and my health was worse off than when I had arrived to Arizona in 2013. A member of my own family made things increasingly difficult for me as I fought daily to get my health at a functional level again. I learned quickly who my real family was and that unfortunately, history will repeat itself, especially when you enable toxic people to keep at it. I’ve had a bad run with toxic people, a year long friendship recently ended because I was able to recognize that this person was a complete mooch who took advantage of my generosity repeatedly. Enabling. Certain people will continue to treat you poorly if you are easy to forgive their crappy behavior. Make all the boundaries you want, sadly it will continue if you allow it to. I could title the last two years of life ENABLING. However.. good hearts prevail and those two are now history. That’s a post for another day. PS I don’t like mooches. I have zero respect for any able bodied person who lets someone else pay their way all the time. i’m not referring to those down and out on their luck or disabled .. I’m referring to grown men who are dominated by some outdated ego of themselves that the world should “pay them to be them because they are legendary” and let the woman (or any friend) pay for everything. All the time. And I also have zero respect for anyone who lives solely off the alimony of the ex who is stuck serving a life sentence of slaving away at a job and can barely make ends meet while she lives on a couch and asks for more money. Yeah, I retain some bitterness. This all ties in to Arizona. Be patient.
Sooo.. a job opportunity opened up in Hawaii so I fled back to the island, vowing to not return to Arizona again. I wanted to close that chapter for good. The stress of the new job quickly took its toll . I was circulating back into the same environment I had left before. I couldn’t catch my breath , everything seemed to go wrong. The brief two year period where I had worked in case management, had my own apartment, a good social and activity life, I just couldn’t seem to get it back. My solace was in the water, out sailing with the crew I am proud to call my friends (and to this day I still sail with them). I spent hours on that boat, evaluating life decisions and wondering, what was next.
So one could understand my hesitance about going back to Arizona for a “vacation.” Why would I want to jump back in to the fire? On April 30, after quite a bit of doubt and waffling, I knew that seeing my older son was most important. And I had to check in on dad because a car accident left him a bit more broken than he let on to me over the phone.
I hit the ground running.. the flurry of activity was instantaneous. After a great evening with my dad, the next day I saw my 19 year old son and my brother. My son (birth name Morgan, but he has changed it to Xav), is an exceptional young man, wise beyond his years but is going through his own period of stagnation, and I have every bit of faith he will figure it out. We spent sunset in the Superstition Mountains just east of Phoenix, a place I used to visit often when I was going through nursing school. Action take one.. it was dark as we were walking back to the jeep. I was busy jabbering away about snakes, taking care to scuff my feet along the gravel to warn any desert critters that I was coming. I paused at the top of the hill to admire how the desert rocks sparkle a bright silver in the full moon, Xav turned to me and shouted “MOM” .. boy talk about a connection between mother and son. The fear in his voice made me jump straight up in the air (yay adrenaline). I had no idea why I jumped upwards, maybe an instinctual reaction over the fear in his voice. Coiled between my feet was a rattlesnake, maybe two feet long. I did not hear him rattle. He struck at me and by the grace of all the desert spirits, I don’t know how he missed me. Xav and I ran to the jeep, our hearts pounding, and of course I questioned if it had just been a twisted piece of wood. We used the flashlight from Xav’s phone and carefully walked back a few steps, and sure enough, a rattlesnake was moving towards us. Even in the darkness I could see his silvery shape and he looked like water rolling down an incline. Dude. Welcome back to the desert girl. We piled in to the jeep but had to turn on the engine and wait, because the rattler had slid underneath the car and I didn’t want to run him over. Xav and I talked excitedly as he insisted I check my legs to make sure I wasn’t bitten, and eventually the snake moved on. It was game on.
The pace only accelerated as the next day I reunited with a dear friend from college that I had not seen in 20 years. I was treated to a road trip north to the pine forests of Prescott. I quickly remembered how much I loved road trips, and during my month long stay in Arizona, the weekend road trips/escape up north were something I looked forward to.
On one trip we started in Prescott and went over Mingus Mountain, through Jerome, drove through Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon, all the way up to Flagstaff where we had both gone to college together at NAU. I experienced a flood of memories so powerful that it was difficult to process it all. It was in Flagstaff, during those college days, with S and E, two wonderful guys and those I hold in the highest regard, that I discovered a renewed love of nature. In between music sessions, we spent a lot of time exploring the woods and canyons around Flagstaff. In a way it was like a second childhood for me, an awakening to being on my own, running around in full moonlit forests in the snow, watching the sunflowers and aspen bloom in summer. Despite the bad experience in Phoenix in 2013, the magic of the north lands is much more powerful and made me fall in love all over again .
In between the road trips and adventures with my son, I got to spend quality time with my dad. While he was at work during the day, I quickly set up a place to dye silk and was back in business again the moment the silk arrived.
I had long thought about travel nursing. As mentioned earlier, the options for variety in nursing jobs in Hawaii are pretty limited. It took only a moment of thinking about it to make the decision to apply for licensure endorsement. I would maintain my registered nurse license in Hawaii, but I decided to walk straight in to the board of nursing office in Arizona and the application was turned in instantly.
You know when you make a good decision about something, that all the details start falling seamlessly into place? Job opportunities opened up immediately. I had to jump through the arduous hoops of being licensed. I realized with a complacent grin that all the time I had spent in Hawaii working as a nurse was about to pay off in a very liberating way. I did not want to leave Hawaii. But Arizona has so many job options, and I quickly found one that fit perfectly (there’s actually a few but the others require a longer time commitment and it’s good to have that option, in fact I can do both). When I was a CNA, then an LPN climbing the ranks in nursing school, I worked for agencies during that time and loved the freedom of building my own work schedule. If I needed extra money I could take on an extra shift. If I needed to study for finals, I could take a week off .
How perfect that this could be integrated in to my responsibilities as a parent and my restless nature to move about. An overview of the budget quickly assures me that I can do quite well working three days a week. It is more than enough to cover the minimal expenses and actually save up. Xav and dad seem quite happy that I’ll be around, and flying back to Hawaii to spend a month with the young one will be a piece of cake. There are some expenses associated with such a lifestyle.. for now I will be renting a car to get to work (the island car is staying here) , and travel to Hawaii will be costly. But four shifts a month will cover the expense of both! And unlike the per diem offered in Hawaii where you may only get 2 or 3 shifts per month, the agency has plenty of work and I will be able to go to everything from residential care homes, acute and inpatient facilities, I can work with elderly or with adolescents.. And they staff in other states! So once I’m licensed in Colorado, won’t that be a bummer to spend a week in the Rockies working then zipping over to one of many music festivals. Heck, even Costa Rica which rivals Hawaii in awesomeness can be earned with six days of consecutive work and a plane ride south.
The beautiful bonus is that I have space to dye silks in both Hawaii and Arizona. I don’t have to choose between a nurse job and A’Kai Silks. And I won’t have to choose between mainland life and island life.
“If you don’t choose, everything remains possible.” Mr. Nobody