Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Do you see the blond second in line on the outrigger canoe? That’s me. Yeah, right. Don’t I wish. It could be me. I have the courage to try it. The reason I do is because my Daddy taught me to risk. He said that I should try anything, as everything we experience is a way to learn or to grow. All I know is that once we arrive in Hawaii next spring, I’m going for it. I will risk any adventure to experience the beautiful Hawaiian culture, particularly this one because of the paddle.

What? the paddle? Yes. When we went to Hawaii in February, 1994, (on our second honeymoon, the first being in August, 1993 at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan), there were torrential rains. Maui had never seen flooding like this, and we basically sloshed around the island for a week. When we began to drive our puddle-jumper up the Road to Hana, the 600 switchbacks and hairpin turns made my stomach churn. There were no guard rails, and the rain was pelting the Lilliputian windshield so all I could glimpse was the sign that said “Stay in Lane.” What lane? I swear the road was only two feet wide. 

The good news is that we arrived safely. That evening, we skidded from our little romantic villa (out of a movie) to the main hotel where we wandered into the gift shop. There hanging on the wall was the most beautiful wooden paddle I’d ever seen. We both wanted it for our new home, but the $700 price tag was just too much. We didn’t buy it, and I’m still sorry to this day. So maybe this time, we will find one similar, and after I use it to paddle with the natives above, we will dry it off and ship it home. Hmm. 

We are book-ending our 25 years together (when sometimes we wanted to paddle each other, drown each other or push each other over the line) full of love, laughter, hurt and healing, dreams realized, fabulous trips from Sydney to Cassis, family celebrations, romantic beach walks, quiet moments just reading a book next to one another and shared tears as we have lost our parents and even some good friends along the way. The paddle, you see, began the ebb and flow. We pushed the current back, and we floated in the sunshine. Hawaii, here we come. 

Monday, August 21, 2017

     Most days, I heed this advice. Some days, however, incidents, emotions, life gets its contrary attitude in there, and I end up wasting some of those precious hours. Shame on me. Intellectually, I always know that the advice above is solid and divine. Alas, I am human, and I mess up occasionally. It's not that I intentionally set out to be miserable, it just seems to happen. Fortunately, for me, it's rare. When I regress, I spend some minutes reprimanding myself for letting it happen, but then I'm wasting more precious time. ugh.

     Counting blessings seems trite, but it's so true. There is unfathomable hatred and misery in our world, and people are suffering everywhere whether it be from personal illness, poverty or oppression. Putting whatever is upsetting us in perspective is all well and good, but often the perspective doesn't come until after the fact. I continue to work hard daily to keep perspective and to put me second. On the other hand, taking care of others and ignoring the me can cause issues too. It's a delicate balance.

     Today, I say prayers for my dear friends who are suffering with pain, illness, loneliness, tragedy. I hope they know that I care and that I am hopeful that it is all temporary. How they endure, I will never know, but each one is finding his or her own way.

     As we reflect on the Eclipse today, maybe it will remind us of all the natural events that happen and that we are powerless to control certain things in life. Therefore, we need to appreciate what we can and enjoy the light even when it's hidden.


Sunday, August 20, 2017

This is how I started my day. Would I make it?

 This helped.
My favorite view.

Nature heals, thank the Lord. It helps that we live here:)

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Cher M. Carduner:

Grâce aux professeurs comme vous, j’ai passé plus de 40 ans dans ma salle de classe, professeur de français excellent comme vous. Ma carrière était inoubliable et bien réussite car j’ai bien étudié, et j’avais de la chance d’avoir eu des profs comme vous qui m’a fait apprendre une leçon importante:  s’intéresser aux étudiants et passer du temps avec ceux qui en ont besoin d’aide supplémentaire. 

Vous étiez un prof intéressant et accompli. Vos conférences étaient pleine de
renseignements, et j’ai beaucoup appris. Mais ce que je n’oublierai jamais c’était une conversation privée dans votre bureau. Je ne sais pas exactement pourquoi je vous ai fait visite, mais c’était quelque chose que je n’ai pas compris. Vous m’avez expliqué lentement et poliment. Vous avez souri et m’encouragée. Quand j’ai gagné une A- dans votre cours, j’en étais tellement fière. Mais ce qui était le plus important, c’est que vous avez interrompu votre horaire pour m’aider, et vos paroles d’encouragement m’a rassurées.

Je regrette de ne pas avoir dit, “Merci, M. Carduner, de votre bonté.” Le temps qu’on prof passe avec un étudiant pour l’encourager, c’est ce qu’on se souvient. C’est le rapport avec l’étudiant qui dure, pas les faits. 

“Merci, M. Carduner. Vous m’avez inspirée.”

Friday, August 18, 2017

Dear Flaws:

I suppose we all have flaws. Do you know yours? Some are obvious to us; others, are still waiting for us to discover them. At my age, I can honestly say, I have identified all of mine. I am not the least bit proud of this. Flaws suck. I have more than my fair share, but I haven’t really researched the question. Do you get a prize if you survive so many years with the most amount of flaws? 

The word flawless comes to mind today, as I picked up my recording yesterday, and I am
sorry to say it was not flawless. One might think that if you record at a studio with all that fancy equipment that all flaws can be eliminated. Not true, at least not so in my case. I am human. I am flawed. My flaws include my fingers which are in charge of playing perfectly. Hah. That never happens. I always breathe easier when I hear a concert pianist miss a note. I know then that even the best are human.

I asked my piano teacher today about finding a recording studio that has a grand piano, not a digital version with a tall chair that made me feel like I was riding a horse. He informed me that he has never recorded in the history of his concertizing. He has been performing for over 30 years. He said he wanted no part of recording. I sure get that. It’s like saying to yourself, “I am human. I am flawed. Let’s record my flaws for all the world to hear. Nope. Not smart.”

I'm flawed in other ways too, and the older I get, the more flaws I discover. It seems like there’s some flaw bug that gets in bed with me every night and performs its magic while I’m sleeping. I wake up the next day with more age spots, another wrinkle or two, a tiny bag under one eye only, and a cowlick behind my ear that looks like there’s kale growing out of my cheek. Oh my.

I truly believe in flawless. Yup. Less flaws. Less is more, more or less. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017


      We all have filters. Some of us are aware of them, and others have no clue. I am in touch with my filters, and that’s not necessarily a good thing. I have more than one filter, and I’m not bragging about this fact. Filters can distort experiences. Do you have any filters? How do they impact your daily life?

      Today, I will feature the communication filter. I get very annoyed with people who one-up, brag, speak in the superlative. These people are either clueless, very insecure or just plain pathetic. When we meet someone new, my filters are all standing at attention. I don’t consciously ignite them, but they are there just waiting to react. 

      We have had friends through the years who bragged occasionally. We have done it ourselves at weak moments. The difference is how often and the context of the bragging. If you can’t go out with someone and have an enjoyable exchange of information and experiences without someone one-upping, bragging, hijacking your conversation to make it all about them, then this is a problem. The best remedy is to stop frequenting such people. As this has happened to us more than once in our twenty-four years, we have grown filters which, as soon as someone starts the “I have the best, we have the most, I am the world’s finest,” our filters go wacky, and we vent all the way home. We’re done with this. This filter has served us well. Narcissists are not in our quality world.

    Years ago, I had the bad habit of putting myself down in social situations. My best friend’s husband said to me (I was in my 30s), “You know, Sandy, putting yourself down all the time is very unflattering. You need to stop doing that.” I was startled, as I didn’t even realize I was doing it. (I often still do that silently, but I never verbalize it). 

     When I was divorced, I dated a guy who, when I would start babbling, would say, “bah-dip,bah-dip,bah-dip.” That meant, “Stop talking, babbling, carrying on.” Those two men (neither of whom I am very fond) really taught me a lesson. They were right. I stopped putting myself down, stopped babbling, and I even began to speak much softer in public places. Apparently, there are many people (not just women) who have not learned these lessons. 

     As a result of these two valuable pieces of advice, I now have a “stupid me” and “ba-dip” filter. When someone engages in either of these annoying habits, my skin crawls, and I want to scream, “shut up!” 

     What’s your filter? Does it just annoy you, or do you go home and look in the mirror first?




Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Dear Robin Williams:

Ever since I saw the film, Dead Poet’s Society, I have looked at the character you played as a role model. That character was not just a role model of the kind of teacher I wanted to be, but the film had so many lessons, i.e. Carpe Diem, which I live by to this day well into my 70s.

You stood on your desk and made the students look up at you. They saw that you were different; you weren’t afraid to be crazy, silly, unorthodox. You modeled courage and confidence—qualities for which we all strive. You brought history and literature to life by dramatizing the people whose reputations still stand alone in their respective arenas. And now, you, Robin Williams, stand among them. You modeled talent, energy, brilliance, humility and courage.

Most did not know of your illness. When we learned of your suffering, we were heartbroken and sad. How could this hysterically funny and talented actor have endured the pain and depression that you encountered at the end of your career? It is unfathomable to me.

I have been sad and depressed in my life. I have had a taste of what it feels like to want to give up. I have not given up, nor will I unless, faced with the excruciating pain you experienced, I had to make that horrific decision that you did. No one really knows what he or she would do in such a situation. I know people who have had similar experiences to yours. Some gave up, some did not. I do not pass judgment; I just marvel at your endurance.

You brought so much joy to millions of your fans. You made us laugh. You made us cry. You made us think. You were your characters, and your mind was so quick, most of us couldn’t believe anyone could think that fast much less talk that fast. When I saw you interviewed, you never sat still. You were all over the stage, your mind going four times as quickly as your host’s posing the questions. Your brilliance came at an unbelievable cost, dear Robin.

We all miss you, especially me. I became a better teacher because of Dead Poet’s Society. I became a funnier person because of Mrs. Doubtfire. I became more sensitive because of Good Will Hunting. So many wonderful films, such incredible talent. Please know that while you are prancing around up there entertaining the angels, we all miss the light you provided us. We are all better because of you, Robin Williams.