Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Baltimore, Day 1

Good day. Thought I would give a short update about what has been happening so far on my trip. The flight was good although hours 9-13 get a little rough. They only change the entertainment (i.e. new movies) every month, so since I flew back on March 3, to Baltimore March 23, and back March 30…I think I will have about everything on the plane watched.
I got to the airport and my stuff was waiting by the baggage claim. How cool. There were a lot of people in the US citizens line, then I realized that it was a lot of college and high school students. Ahh…The last Sunday of spring break. I did get stopped at Customs because I brought some food home for the Family (and some of you, if you stop and see them next week). Although I just went to another desk, told them what I had and was out the door in no time. Pretty painless.
My work had arranged a van for me so I met them outside. There were 2 people going to Baltimore so we had to wait almost 2 hours for the other girl. Oh well. The trip was uneventful and I was the first stop. I got to the hotel and headed downstairs for a beverage and to watch ESPN for a few. I was starting to drag, because I don’t sleep when I travel west on a plane…it helps me to overcome jetlag. I was soon in bed.

So let me tell you about the next morning I tried connecting to the internet. Well the modem in the room was not lit up so I called the front desk to tell them I thought something was wrong. They referred me to a 1-800 help line. I called them and after about 20 minutes they said…we think it is a router issue, let us call the front desk and get them to send a technician. Really? Who knew? So about 20 minutes later a technician came up and said my router was dead, they brought another one up and BAM! Everything works. To add to my frustration, I am in the process of applying for the fellowship program I told you about a few posts ago. So I made some final adjustments to my letter and CV and went to the business center to print it. Well, the business center would not take my card…however they did have a printer that you could hook up a laptop to and print that way. I went and got my laptop and was able to somehow circumvent the system and was able to print everything I needed. I went downstairs to the front desk to get postage and of course, you have to go to the gift shop. Not wanting to put a few cents on my debit card I walked to the ATM…which was Out of Service. So I ended up putting it on my card. I thought this type of frustration was only supposed to happen in Doha…

So I decided after working out to head into the city. Baltimore is actually a really cool city with a lot to offer. Growing up we explored some, but there is really so much more just past the inner harbor. As I was walking towards Fells Point I thought I would stop by the Wharf Rat and have a MicroBrew. No Dice. By the looks of it..they are just closed on Mondays. So, I was going to wait till Carrie got here, but I could always stop at Capital City Brewing…they are out of business. What the crap? So I headed to fells point I stopped and looked for some new swim trunks (mine are really old…like 1999/2000ish) especially since I am going to be floating in July… The Fells Point area is really cool with lots of shops, bars, restaurants, etc. I was looking for a brewery that I knew was there, but I walked up and down every block of that whole area (more good exercise). ( I found out later that I was about one street and a left turn away from it…arrgh!) Anyway, headed towards the hotel and ducked into a nice Irish pub. I rocked out some house brew along with some mussels, and fish and chips. MMMMM. On my way back I saw 2 women walking down the street in Abays. What? Where the heck am I. Baltimore is a multicultural city, so they were not turning any heads. Plus, it just looks like 2 women in black dresses with their head covered. Now, a male walking down the street would certainly get some heads turned. I headed back to the hotel to watch the girls really run out of gas…oh well. It was a good year.
Today I am off to get my stuff for the conference and hopefully do a few museums, plus get back to that pesky brewery!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Update from Baltimore about Doha

So, as you all know, I made it a back to Doha. What a joy. Let me tell you, I do not think the vacation was long enough. First, here is my disclaimer. I really enjoy learning about the Arab culture and the things that go with it. I think it is a very misunderstood and a scary thing for some in the US to deal with. Now, that being said I am done with them. Actually, not all of them, but the overwhelming attitude in Doha I am tired of. This ‘entitlement’ that flows from all of the Arabs. The driving is crazy. People are always in a hurry to get places and not work. All these guys drive land cruisers, Ferraris, BMWs, etc, but have nowhere to go or nothing to do when they get there. Yet everyone in town has to be on the roads. All the time. There is no down time. Actually, I take that back. Friday Mornings until about 3-4 PM you can actually get somewhere without it taking 3.5 days to get there. However, most things are NOT open until after 4 on Friday…so there you go. The roads are OK and they finally put red light and speed cameras at every intersection, but there is still a long way to go. The construction and amount of cars on the road are ridiculous. There should be a limit of cars that can be imported into this country, but that would be painful because all the locals would still get them. Maybe a limit on the amount of cars they can own per family. Something. This is going to get out of control. Last time I read something in the paper they are estimating that about 10,000 people arrive in Doha every month. Wow.

So, let me give you an example of discrimination and how it is played in different parts of the world. One of our nurses was at our sister hospital in the northern part of the country. She found a ad posted on a bulletin board at the hospital stating “Apartment for Rent. Filipino Couples Only. Contact….” Now think about that for a minute, cause it didn’t bother me initially. Everyone really migrates to their own in this culture, even I am not exempt. US Embassy parties, poker with the Texans and with others from the south and other native English speakers. How would that go in the states? Now we usually do have some items when requesting renters. The house on Cornell where I lived wanted Grad Students. Sometimes Chemical Engineers like to live together, or maybe just boys or just girls. What if I put up an Ad that said, “Nice 2BR Apartment, Close to Town, White Couples only?” or the same with “Black Couples Only?” There would be outrage, probably a media event, maybe a lawsuit…and probably rightly so. I mean that is blatant. Discrimination should not be a part of anything…right?
Now let’s turn the coin. Maybe it is a nice thing to do…really Feet? How can you say that…Well, now stay with me, let’s think outside of the box. Even though we push diversity, there is still a lot of people that resist, and that is going to continue. Sometimes people are not going to get along. (Israel…anyone?) So, is that ad discrimination…or is it preventative medicine? Maybe the entire compound or housing complex is all Filipino. Maybe they all drink and do things that Filipino culture participates in and that Arabs would not appreciate. Maybe they are cleaner or dirtier and want some of the same. I don’t know. There is a lot to think about with this one and somewhere along the way I got philosophical.
Moving on…

I have been buried in work. I do not get to spend as much time with the field supervisors that I would like, but I am getting a good amount of things pushed through right now that would otherwise go unnoticed. I am currently working on training a new set of supervisors to allow for expansion and removal of problem ones if we need to. I am also working on some strategic planning issues as well as a host of other business things. I am really using a lot more of my MBA in this job than I thought I would. The leadership at EMS needs it, that is for sure. I do have a concern. I have not been involved in the process at all for my replacement. I find that odd. I thought I could provide good insight and information to applicants and our bosses. I was also advised that I am not to talk about salary with anyone because people after me are getting a slight pay cut because they are going to be operating and pushing the guidelines that I have established.

So, here is more about this culture that I do not understand. They are all about service…to an extent. I got back and got a car that only had about 11,000 K on it…very cool. However, after work one day it was difficult to start, the next day a little worse…so I KNEW something was going bad. The battery or the starter. So I dropped by the rental place to switch cars and here are the 2 things that bothered me. One, they told me that they did not have any cars to loan me while they fixed mine…are you serious? There is a line of them…well none in my ‘class’ of car. I told them this was crap. Give me a BMW for 2 days and get mine fixed. Nope. Keep yours and bring it back in a couple days and we will have a replacement for you. So guess what happened? The next day after work… the car was still rough to start, but it did. I went to a bookstore to pick up some paper and found it closed. (imagine that) Got back in my car and it was dead… So now I am pissed. I called the guy at the store and he was like…”We do not have anyone to come get you until after 4…” I told him that the car would be in the lot and that the key would be at my house. They got all kinds of worried cause this hillbilly doesn’t play games for too long. Miraculously, they found a car and a person to immediately come to where I was at and give me a car. Hmmm… Why didn’t they just give me a loaner and then we would not inconvenience anyone…nope…we got to make it difficult. The Middle East just wears on you. You know, I watch a movie in January called Syriana. It was about the oil business, politics, and the middle east…you know what…there was a great quote in that movie. They were asking one of the US guys how the middle east was doing. He went off and said something like “100 years ago you guys were living in tents and the rest of the world believes that 100 years from now, you will be again.” Sometimes, I can see the truth to that.

I did attend another Embassy party while I was back in town. It was a St. Pattys day party and it was actually one of the busiest times I have seen the Embassy. Mary, Dave, Dennis, Carol, and Myself headed up the party and had a great time. Not too much dancing, but there was plenty of partying. I found out on Sunday morning that there was some drama at the embassy after we left the party. So I guess a guy collapsed and was in cardiac arrest. Since they are doing all kinds of construction around the Embassy you literally have to go down like 2 alleys to get there right now. So the ambulance was delayed, not to mention that it gets searched before it goes inside the grounds. Anyway, thought It was ironic that 5 medical professionals left the party 30 minutes before the hoopla. We could have guided the ambulance in and probably done really good CPR. Oh well..some things are not meant to be.

Our weekly poker game grew to enormous proportions this past week. We had 27 people there. That made the prize pool very nice. The winner took home 4000 QAR which turns out to be about $1100 USD. Not a bad day at the ballpark. I finished 12th unfortunately, but I played perfectly I thought. I got out kicked on a good hand and there is not much you can do about that. You cannot read people enough to see the difference between KQ and KJ. Oh well. It was a really fun night.

So I have moved to the world of IPODs. Joshy got me an IPOD for Christmas in Feb and it is actually not to o bad. It is really nice to have while working out…so now I don’t have to carry about a boom box and CDs anymore. It is one of the smaller ones, but it hold 1GB of music, which is plenty.

I am getting tired of writing, so that is about all for now. I am headed to Baltimore for the JEMS conference and hope to make some more good contacts, see some good people, and relax in the states for a week. I will be in touch with you guys very soon!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Just Cause I Feel Bad

I know so many people read this, I feel bad that I have not updated in a while. So here is a little bone I am going to throw to you. This is what I am hoping to do after I get out of Doha. This is a Fellowship Program I am applying for that looks awesome. Basically, if I get accepted I do 13 months in Pittsbugh going to various departments and learning the ropes. Then I get placed abroad for 5 months at one of our other projects (I already know Doha). At the completion of the fellowship I would be granted a Project Manager or similar position at one of our international projects. Pittsburgh is growing so rapidly, that there are many places I could end up. This is by no means in the bag...just something I am shooting for. I am also looking for any type of EMS Executive Director/Administrator jobs or Health Care Operational Jobs. I have become very good at teaching and mentoring leadership, change management, and process improvement...plus I got a MBA. Keep me in mind if you know anybody looking for those plus a bunch of other skills. (Business Manger, Project Manger, etc.) Here is the info for the program I am applying for.

International Leadership and Management Administrative Fellowship Program
UPMC announces the newly-formed International Leadership and Management Administrative Fellowship Program. With the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA), the Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH), and the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, the program provides fellows with practical experience in international health executive management.

The 18-month program identifies talented individuals with management expertise to support the knowledge and technology transfer of our international programs and cross fertilize our UPMC domestic and overseas operations.
Program Structure

The first 12 months of the program consist of rotations in key areas such as cultural preparedness, finance, clinical operations, physician practice management, clinical support services administration, nursing, and human resources. The remaining six months of the rotation comprise a five-month on-site placement at one or two of our international sites in an executive leadership role. The remaining month is spent in the International and Commercial Services Division. The project assignment is specific to the host facility.
GSPH provides a seven-week course in late summer/early fall which covers global public health care issues in each of the countries in which UPMC has established an ongoing relationship. GSPIA, the University Center for International Studies (UCIS), and the Katz International Business Center collaboratively provide a nine-week course from October through early December to cover cultural sensitivities about the regions in which UPMC operates, the internal politics, and the historical and ongoing economic relationship between the country and the United States.

Core Functional Rotations

§ 1. Clinical Operations This rotation exposes fellows to the key components of clinical operations such as physician relations, nursing, clinical staffing, regulatory compliance, patient care initiatives, process improvement, medical records, and health information management.

§ 2. Finance This rotation exposes fellows to management in various financial and revenue cycle initiatives including registration, coding, billing, collections, financial modeling/forecasting, budgetary development and variance reconciliation, and business plan development.

§ 3. Physician Practice Management This rotation offers fellows a management opportunity in various outpatient clinics, procedure areas, same-day surgery, and the medical center’s largest physician practice, University of Pittsburgh Physicians (UPP). This rotation includes participation in the 12-week UPMC-Katz Physician Leadership and Management “Mini-MBA” Certificate program.

§ 4. Patient Care Services Administration This rotation exposes fellows to the many facets of nursing operations and administration. Fellows are involved with ongoing strategic initiatives with business unit directors to help improve patient care, workflow, staffing, and scheduling issues.

§ 5. Support Services Administration This rotation allows fellows to work on projects that address the current needs of support services administration to gain an understanding of medical center-wide initiatives in key support services areas including facilities planning, construction, and maintenance.

§ 6. Human Resources and Cultural Preparedness This rotation exposes fellows to the many facets of translating the UPMC corporate culture to the overseas experiences. This rotation includes cultural preparedness training and in-depth education on political, economic, and public health issues in the countries that host our international facilities. Opportunities to increase the fellow’s second language proficiency also are available.The remaining six months of the fellowship offer additional opportunities to develop satisfying career objectives in a global environment. Based on the organization’s needs and available opportunities, the fellows are assigned an administrative rotation at one of our international sites. The fellow works under the direction of one of our senior executives at our host site, with project work addressing the current administrative and operational needs at the site. A minimum of a five-month oversea stay is required.

International Leadership and Management Administrative Fellowship Program Overview
Based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, UPMC is one of the leading nonprofit medical centers in the United States. Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh schools of the health sciences, UPMC includes 20 hospitals, 5,000 physicians and 48,000 employees, an award-winning health plan serving 1.2 million members, and a broad array of diversified health care services. An integrated health care enterprise, it has the medical expertise, geographic reach, and financial stability that allow it to develop models of excellence that are transforming health care nationally and internationally.

The Graduate School of Public and International Affairs is a professional school distinguished by the presence of public administration, international affairs, and international development in its academic mission. In 2007, Foreign Policy ranked GSPIA at number 15 among the top master’s programs for international relations. The school also is ranked 21st among the best schools in the nation for public affairs and nonprofit management, according to U.S.News & World Report. For public affairs specialty areas, GSPIA’s nonprofit management program was ranked 11th. The University Center for International Studies is home to a European Union Center of Excellence, one of only ten so designated in the United States partially funded by the European Union. UCIS works closely with most of the professional schools at the University of Pittsburgh.

The Graduate School of Public Health is world renowned for contributions that have influenced public health practices and medical care for millions of people. GSPH is one of 37 U.S. schools accredited by the Council on Education for Public health, and the first accredited school of public health in Pennsylvania. Among all public and private schools of public health, GSPH ranks third in the nation for National Institutes of Health funding. GSPH is home to more than 20 interdisciplinary research, practice, and service centers. The Center for Health Environments and Communities, the Center for Minority Health, and the Center for Healthy Aging are only a sample of the more recent community service activities coordinated by GSPH centers.

The Executive MBA programs at the Katz Graduate School of Business are the second oldest in the world. The Katz EMBA program is accredited by AACBS International — the premier accrediting agency for bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs in business administration and accounting. The programs are consistently ranked in the top five percent of all MBA programs worldwide by U.S.News & World Report, Business Week, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and the Financial Times of London. The EMBA Worldwide program, designed for the business leader balancing global perspectives with local expertise, is ranked 35th in the world and 17th in the United States according to the Financial Times 2006 survey of EMBA programs.
Application Process

Interested applicants are required to have a master of health administration (MHA), a master of public or business administration (MPA/MBA), or an equivalent master-level degree from an accredited graduate program in a health- and/or business-related field. Applicants should have a minimum of three to five years of experience in a mid-level management position. Preference will be given to candidates with health care experience. Candidates should be highly motivated and self-starting, possess excellent analytic and communication skills, and fluent in English and one additional language. Preference will be give to candidates with Italian, French, and Greek language skills.

Salary and BenefitsUPMC provides a competitive salary and full benefits including medical, dental, vision, life, and disability insurance as well as generous relocation, retirement, and paid time off programs.

Sorry for the Delay

Since getting back to Doha, things have been crazy. I will be headed back to Baltimore on Sunday, so I am going to try and write some updates on the plane. I do have to stuff to update you on, but I have done so much computer work lately I don't feel like writing much when I get home.
I have finished some more books. Since my last book update, you can add these to the list:

  • 32 Third Graders and One Class Bunny -Phillip Done
  • Doctor on Everest -Ken Kamler
  • Getting to Yes -Roger Fisher and William Ury
  • Touching My Father's Soul -Jambling Tenzing Norgay
  • Deception Point - Dan Brown
  • Breaking Vegas -Ben Mezrich

I have some more in the cooker as well. Anyway, I will get you all an update soon. Take care and keep in touch!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Home Visit

I do not know where to start. I want to thank everyone for a great visit home. I tried to see and spend time with as many people as possible, but with limited time and busy schedules, it is very difficult. I did learn a few things. I have the best family and friends that you could ever ask for. It was non-stop fun and excitement the entire time I was home. I also learned that this blog is read in many parts of the country, county and world. I cannot believe how many people knew what was going on just from my blog. That is a very nice pat on the back.

Anyway, so to give you a quick update. Here is a brief summary of my time at home.
I flew into Morgantown about 1 hour + late, it was snowing and all the other flights out of Dulles to the PA/OH/WV area were being cancelled, so I am glad ours was finally able to make it. We did a touch and go and had to circle around again in Morgantown. I think it was either wind or deer on the runway, or both. I got off the plane and there was a great friend of mine standing with a sign. Keep in mind the Morgantown airport is really small, and there were 6 people getting off the plane. Don’t think she would have got lost in the shuffle. It was really cool, however. She took me back to the trailer and I got the mail and my truck and headed to the hotel. (My work pays for me to stay in a hotel during my home leave…since I have no place to stay…my house is rented…and there is no furniture.) I got to the hotel and crashed. I stayed up the entire flight and connection, this allowed me to switch back over very easily.
The next morning I headed to Fairmont to go to the dentist. I got my cleaning and got some new impressions made. Afterwards, I headed to Yann’s to have some world famous hot dogs. Mmmmm. Soon, I was back on the road headed towards the Spa City. I got back to town and stopped and saw mom, then sis and Dad got home. It was a great homecoming. We had a great dinner and a great time catching up.

The next day was basically me just visiting around town. Family, friends, EMS, etc. All the regulars. Plus I got really motivated and did my taxes and got a haircut. Very cool. Thursday we headed to Rio, which there is no need to tell you what transpired there. We finished off the evening with a stop at the Irish Pub and the Black Bear. Can you tell I am back in the greater GBR?

Friday I visited some more folks and then headed to see Carrie teach. That was a cool experience. Aunt Pam about knocked me over when she saw me in Carrie’s class. It was really fun to see Carrie go from nice fun teacher to mean teacher so quick. After a while at the school and hanging in the teacher’s lounge….(for those of you that don’t know…like I was…the teacher’s lounge is the place to be. The ‘teacher’ persona gets checked at the door and you really get to see what happens when teachers are on a ‘planning’ period. After school I headed to Roanoke to visit another great friend. We had dinner and had ‘tasty’ beverages late into the evening.
The next morning I headed back to WSS. Stopped to see the parents and have lunch, as well as a few friends. Then it was off to Morgantown.

Donnie met me in Morgantown and I went to pick up a few items at the store and then headed to the Brew Pub to meet Jon and Julie. It was a good time with some great friends. Sunday we visited the future President McClintic-Coates-Gore-Clinton-Obama who had a house full of kids. We grabbed some Quiznos and then headed to the WVU game. Thankfully, we dominated Seton Hall, so it was a good game. After the game we stopped by the house to get some laundry that I did and then headed to the Beanery to do some dinner and hanging out. After much conversation and fixing many of the world’s problems, we headed back to the hotel.

Monday after breakfast, Donnie headed out and I went to spend some time at EMS. It was good to see everyone and catch up. I have such high hopes for EMS, but I think the health system is holding them back (no surprise). I chatted for a long time while my truck was getting an oil change and trailer brake hooked up. (Funny, I am out of the country and ask the family to drive my truck once in a while…when I get it back it has many miles and needs an oil change…what do you think?) Monday afternoon I caught up with Kelly and we had dinner. It was nice to see that she is doing well and continues to expand and grow in her job.

Tuesday was a work day. We had a conference call that I attended in Pittsburgh with the people that are usually in Pittsburgh, however they were in Qatar and I was in the states. So I went to their office and they were at mine and we met for a few hours. I got some things put into motion and cleaned it up pretty soon. Primanti brothers was on tap for Lunch and our Overseas Secretary and myself went to indulge. Mmm….What a great lunch. Tuesday evening it was Porter, Michelle, Sarah and myself went to grab some wings at BW3. There were supposed to be more attendees, but we had some cancellations. After wings, I headed to Dan’s new house and got to see the boys. They were having a poker game (kinda-sorta in my honor). We went and played and it was a good time. Got to see Bill, Dan, Jeremy, Josh, Luke, Dylan plus some new faces I have not yet met.

Wednesday and Thursday were just Visiting friends and family. It was so great to get to see everyone. Plus there were some preparations for Pipestem. Friday morning I got up early ate breakfast and went and got the stereo. Then it was off to Shinnston to pick up Chad. After loading the car we headed to the Greater Greenbrier valley. We started at Route 60, then hit up Rio and then headed to the Irish Pub. We also somehow ended up at the Black Bear in WSS. What a full night with lots of good friends and family.

Sat was extremely busy. Chad helped mom cook (he is into that cooking stuff). I made some rounds and picked up some more supplies for the next week. At about 3:00 the family started arriving for our Christmas dinner. Mom had left up many of the Christmas decorations and we actually had a full Christmas dinner. It was nice. Most of the family was there and it was good to catch up with everyone. After dinner Dad, Myself, Chad and Josh headed to Sugar Camp for an evening with friends.

Sunday morning we got up and headed to Beckley. It was time for Sams and Wal-Mart Supercenter shopping for Pipestem. We got a large amount of supplies and went back down the Mountain to meet Carrie. She didn’t understand until she saw how full my truck was why we needed her to drive Dad’s down with the Stereo and our Luggage in it. When we go away for a week and shop for 7-8 people, you acquire a lot of stuff.

The week of Pipestem was great. It is one of the most relaxing weeks every year. I look forward to it constantly. Plus, the fact that we have reservations tied up for 2 years in advance makes it hard to get off our mind. It was great seeing everyone and catching up with all of my EMS buds from all over the state.

After Pipestem, I headed home. Laundry was needing done and it was such a nice day Sunday and I felt pretty well I decided to undertake a project. When I opened the Garage to put the cooler back in you could not see past the door. Since I had all afternoon, and the weather was awesome…I decided that I was going to clean the Garage. I pulled everything out. Organized it, and put it back in some sort of order. You can now actually walk in there. It was fun going through all of MAMA’s stuff as she kept some really neat things. Plus she left notes in everything, which I know surprises no one.

Monday I helped Dad with some odds and ends around the house. Around noon, Carol, one of my close friends happened to be in the states and stopped by to hang out for a while. We hit up April’s for lunch and then I showed her around town. We hit up EMS, the Fire Department, Memorial Park, and The Greenbrier. After the tour, we took Mom and Dad and met Susan, Jeff, and Carrie at the Irish Pub. After happy hour we headed home and had dinner at the house. The night ended with all of us going to Lara’s to play Nintendo’s Wii.

Tuesday I ran around and said my goodbyes to everyone. Dad and I headed to Beckley, but with the impending storm and the fact that my flight was already 2.5 hours late we made the decision to drive to Dulles. Thank goodness Dad did not have to work the next day. We stopped back by the house and had a quick lunch with mom and then headed to DC. I love him for that quick decision to take me all the way to DC. It was good getting many hours to chat and catch up. My dad is truly a great wise man and I love him dearly.

So after a few hours in the lounge and catching up on some news and happenings it was time to board. I started feeling a little bad the day before but I thought it was just my allergies because the weather was so nice. Well, I was wrong. The fight over was miserable. When we started to descend into Doha, I could not equalize. The pain and pressure in my head was killer. Finally about 10 feet off the ground I was able to get the pain out of my head.
I was hoping it was just a bug, but Thursday morning I felt like I had been hit by a truck. Fever, coughing, aches, chest and sinus congestion, runny nose, sore throat. I stayed home and worked from my office. I needed to clean our my emails and do some computer work anyway. Thankfully Carol had some antibiotics, and told me where her key was to her house. So I am about 12 hours into some antibiotics and feeling a little better. You guys that know me know I am sick because I have been so cold. I actually woke up freezing last night and went and got my other comforter from my other bedroom and put it on my bed. It did not help much. Today I woke up cold and now I am burning up and sweating.

I did go get my car yesterday, so if I need to get out I can. I picked up some milk and some other items so I have some things to eat for the weekend. It will probably be a lot of computer time and some time with The Family Guy.

So anyway, I had a great trip home. I am truly blessed with all the family and friends I have all over the US and the world. Everyone is so warm and welcoming. I love you all and cannot wait to see you again. Those of you that say I don’t blog enough I am sorry. I will try to pick up the pace. It is hard to write when not much happens on a day to day basis. Thank you all for a wonderful experience. See you all soon!