Pristine Waters With a Kick Chapter

Sailing on an endless sea

Sailing on an endless sea

New Year and Even More New Experiences

Being on an island, you are surrounded by water, obviously. But, as the ancient and current Hawaiians know, the water has many personalities and characteristics.

The view from our room was spectacular. The verdant grass and trees, the coal black lava and the turquoise and deep blue of the ocean were our constant companions. The water in the morning gently lapped against the hard lava, but later in the day, it slammed against the jagged rock spewing white, churning water high in the air, dousing anyone who was a little too close to the water.

The water in the open sea seemed endless, with no land in sight. It was exhilarating as we glided and gently bumped across the waves. In the distance we saw two juvenile whales frolicking and breaching in the water.

Imagine yourself floating and drifting in the calm, shallow waters of the cove surrounded by thousands of fish of all sizes and colors. It is a surreal feeling. You are very buoyant because of the salt in the water and it holds you up while your face is lapped by the cool sea. The coral reef below is a refuge and home to these undulating creatures of the sea. Some are so colorful that you can’t turn away from their beauty. A sea snake has the same jarring, backpedaling effect on you in the water, as a snake on the land. They are fascinating to watch, but frightening at the same time. Creatures with sharp red spikes are hidden within the corral and black squishy sea cucumbers bury themselves under the rocks.

Hidden coves and warm sandy beaches.

Hidden coves and warm sandy beaches.

Of course, we cannot visit the islands without a dip in the warm waters off the shore. The sea is a fickle creature whose waves taunt and tease you. Not being the strongest swimmer in the group, I had to hang onto Number One. He grew up swimming in the Mediterranean and could be related to some fish in the water. He knows how to play with the waves. When a high wave comes, he dives through it. I see the huge wave, literally freeze, face it and try to jump higher than the wave so my face will not be in the water. Well, I lose that battle almost every time. Some waves were kind and did not knock me over too hard, some were beastly and sent me reeling in the water. I was tossed and turned as if I was in a washing machine. I lost my goggles–they were ripped off my face by the nasty wave and Number One and I slammed against each others leg, fearing that both were broken. Yes, the water has a kick and we have to respect it and realize when we need to get out and watch it from the warm, white sand.

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Little Successes Chapter

We all have days when it seems like our world is falling apart. It could be a minor setback in another’s eyes, but in our mind, it is huge. Today’s chapter revolves around my setback. I have to admit that at first I had a bit of a pity party, then I cleaned the house from top to bottom–because cleaning the house feels like you are wiping up the mess that you are in, AND I washed my car. No, cleaning didn’t work.

Food is usually my go-to comfort, but I can’t go there now. Besides, that is another story for another day. We are told that we should take a long bath or go for a walk to keep our stress at bay. Well, who wants to sit in dirty water and I already walked for an hour at the gym at 5:30 a.m.

Two months ago, I bought three new garage door clickers because the old ones were too cumbersome and we were short one for the number of cars we have. These clickers needed to be programmed to be used with our older openers. Since it was such a bad day, I needed to feel successful at something. Now for many of you, this would not be a huge accomplishment, but anything mechanical seems to be a major challenge to me. Yes, I removed the cover of the garage door opener–I had to use a screwdriver to do it. (Are you impressed yet?) Then I pushed the learn button and my daughter pushed the buttons on the clicker. YES!!!! I DID IT! ( I am so proud of myself.) I was waiting for my husband to do it, but it feels so good to do something you never thought you could. That boosted my spirits.

Then, the BIGGER little success of not so great day was that after trying for a week, I was able to get some sort of comments on my blog page. At least I believe I was according to what is written at the bottom of this post page. Again, for the savvy blogger or computer literate person, this is nothing. But for me, it was a huge challenge. I need to bless YouTube and all the people I watched who tried to teach me how to install comments on my blog. I have about four different comment plug-ins (now I am trying to sound savvy) for my blog. Three didn’t work–or at least I couldn’t see them on my page. Finally, I succeeded in installing the Facebook Comments. Yippeee!

Wait a minute. I just realized I have another huge success today. I have a blog. No, not just that I have it, but I created it. It may not be the best, but I DID IT! I guess that is the BIGGEST little success of the day.

My world is still not good, but at least I can say that I had three little successes today! If your day wasn’t so good, what were your little successes?

Redemption Chapter

I flew 5 days after my mortifying experience.  Yes, I was worried I would not keep my footing, but I did.  I also, did not have a carry-on piece of luggage.

That is where the dilemma begins.

I put everything in the luggage that would be transported by Lufthanza,  so I could travel light.  One bag arrived in Dusseldorf, one did not.  Whose was that you ask?  Right, it was mine.  I stayed very calm.  My brain was in a fog from the flight.  I was noon in Germany, but it was three in the morning in Carlsbad–I am not an all night type of person.

I do believe the woman at the lost luggage counter felt sorry for me.  So she mentioned that Lufthanza will reimburse up to 1200 Euros if we need to purchase items.  My husband kept repeating 1200 Euros?  1200 Euros?  I could not understand why he wanted to know.  I just wanted to get to my hotel room and sleep, which was about another three hours from that point.

Once, we got to the hotel, my husband only had one thought in mind. He hurried us out the door so we could go shopping and get reimbursed from Lufthanza.  HE WANTED TO GO SHOPPING?!

Thanks for the clothes.

Thanks for the clothes.

He was a man on a mission.  He pointed to so many items my foggy brain could not keep up with him.  Try this one on.  Try that one on?  I  think you need this.  And that.  To you, this may not sound strange, but my husband avoids shopping at all costs.  Ask my children, before today he would find anything to do other than being in women’s apparel and going through racks of clothes looking for my size.  My arms were filled.  Finally a woman saw me struggling with the pile of clothes and asked if I wanted a bag.  At least that is what I interpreted since she spoke in a very fast German and she handed me a bag.

Trousers for the evening, a jacket for the evening and all that goes with it was what my husband was looking for.  Finally, he realized that I needed underwear.  We got that and European walking shoes because the only shoes I had were flat with no support whatsoever.

In an average store in small town Germany, it is hard to spend 1200 Euros.  We spent a little more than 400, but I am happy I got some clothes.

My bag did arrive the next day.  If this is what I get for a lost bag, I may request that they lose it more often.  Finally, redemption from the mortification of my last airline experience.


Mortification Chapter

Babies and old people fall.  Babies fall easy.  Old people fall hard.  Since I am not a baby, I guess that puts me in the old category.

Imagine if you will, a plane completely full with cosmopolitan, savvy, LA bound, passengers.  Most of the passengers carry roller bags onto the plane since very few want to pay the fee for having their luggage thrown around and dumped in the plane and then plopped onto the carousel.

I assure you that I have flown many times and I have seen  smart, seasoned travelers check the overhead bins in the front of the plane for an empty space for their bag, particularly if they are seated towards the back.  Today, I  forgot the seasoning and kept walking towards the back expecting that there would be a place for MY bag.  Oh, I forgot to mention that I was in the last group and there were only eight people behind me, most of them without a bag.

I got within ten rows of my seat and a squat flight attendant came up to me and told me I had to check my bag because all the overheads were full.  That leads to another dilemma.   I am willing–sort of–to pay $25 for one bag.  However, if your bag is over 50 pounds it will cost another $25.  Therefore, I put the heavy electronics in my roller bag.  My breathing machine must weigh at least 10 pounds.  Then I added a laptop, an iPad, and a Kindle.  I think I had one small jacket in it to pretend I was padding the machines.  What I am trying to say is I did not want to check it and get my electronics broken or stolen.  I tried explaining that to the flight attendant, ok, I begged the flight attendant to let me keep it on the plane.  A begging old lady is a pathetic sight on the plane, so luckily–I guess it was lucky– she found a space in first class.    I hurried up the aisle because all the passengers were already seated and waiting for me.  As I pass into First Class, I see these awesome black patent leather shoes attached to very long legs sticking out into the aisle.

The space was at the very end of First Class.  This compartment is half the size of a regular compartment.  Oh, I think I forgot to mention that I am also wearing a backpack that weighs 15 or so pounds.

I study the hole.  I gauge  the height and the force that is needed to get my bag up there.

My gauge was broken.

I swung the bag up and unbeknownst to me, my backpack also caught on the seat behind me.  I lifted the bag, it was much heavier than I thought.  My  aching right shoulder shuddered in pain.  The bag was already heading upward and there was no space to let it drop, unless I wanted to drop it on the head of the man seated below the compartment. I could feel the eyes of everyone in first class staring at me.  With all my might I pushed upward….

Not enough lift, too much drag from the backpack and I tumbled over, ending up kissing the floor of the plane.   I have no idea what happened to my bag.  I think my bag landed on me.  Now, the men in First Class were helping me.

“Get the backpack off her!”

“Don’t move!”

I was listening, but it was at this point that utter mortification set in. I knew every passenger saw me hit the floor.  I wanted to get up and run out of the plane.  I wished I was invisible.  My arm was at a weird angle in front of me.  My head hurt because I think I hit it on an armrest.   I hurt all over.  The floor reeked of smelly feet.   I tasted something that I wish I hadn’t.

“Don’t move,” someone repeated as I pulled myself up.

“The paramedics are coming,” the flight attendant shouted–because old people are hard of hearing.

Oh my God! Please take me away from this circus.

“I’m ok,” I squeaked.

“Stay down,” someone said.

I pulled myself up and a tall doctor-looking gentleman kept asking if I hurt anywhere.  He wanted me to stay on the floor and wait for the paramedics.  What really hurt was my pride.    It would not have mattered if I had a bone sticking out of me somewhere, I would have said I was fine so I could get back to my seat.

“I’m ok,” I repeated. As I turned to go back to my seat.  Black patent leather shoes had my bag in his hand and asked if I wanted him to put it up for me.  I shook my head yes.

Now, I know what it means to slink back to your seat.  My head was hung VERY low.  The only people I saw were the tiny ladies in the aisle seats who were asking if I was ok.  I barely nodded and moved on as fast as I could.  I held my body tight hoping it would grow smaller and I could disappear.

I finally made it back to my seat.  I looked down believing that if I did not see them, they did not see me.  As I sat there, the pain started showing up in various places.  My wrist, my forearm, my temple and of course, my shoulder.

A short, stout policeman came plodding down the aisle, stopped at my seat and shouted, “The medics are coming!”

I could hear the moan from the 200 passengers.  Now this lady was going to make them late for their destinations.

“I’m fine,” I whispered.  “I’m fine.”

I sat staring at my hands fearing that the men in the bright yellow suits would come clicking and clanking down the aisle and start asking all sorts of more embarrassing questions.

“The door is closing,” the attendant announced.

I breathed a sigh of relief–no more mortifying experiences on this flight–I thought.

I have to thank the pilot because he got on the speaker immediately and said that they still have a few bags to load and once those are done, we would be on our way.  I love that pilot because now everyone won’t give me the stink eye when we deplane.

I hurt.  I usually sleep, but who can sleep when you hurt and are embarrassed beyond belief.

Of course, people love to talk about other people’s misfortunes.  I was standing next to the facilities and black patent leather shoes was talking to the flight attendants in the back.  It is disconcerting when strangers are talking about you.  Ok, it is embarrassing as all get out.

“Those old guys in first class just watched her struggle.  No one got up to help.”  He must have sensed my presence because he turned around and stopped talking.  As I left facilities, he turned to me and asked if I wanted him to take down my bag when we landed.

“Yes, please,” I murmured feeling a deep flush come up my face.  “I appreciate your help.”  True to his word.  The bag was waiting on the floor of First Class.







One Chapter at a Time

We tell our children when they finish college that their life is now an open book.

They get to write the chapters of their life and their future.  They can fill it with fun, conflict, love, struggle, and success as they see fit.

Now that I have reached another milestone in my life, I too have an open book and I have to write the chapters,  one chapter at a time.  That is how Life’s Chapter was born.  We can only live one chapter at a time.  Characters and events drive each chapter.  Will the next chapter be about an interesting character, or some fun or a struggle or a major success?

It is time to a tell a story.  It is time to get writing!