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Photo title: “C” is for Cow Wreck

Cow Wreck Beach, Anegada, British Virgin Islands.  [Anegada is becoming quite the mecca for kitesurfers. They are amazing to watch!]

Quote of the day: “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” ~ Henry Ford

Daily gratitudes:
Finding my badge
The moon nearing full
Green tea
Tears
Finding a dress for the Saturday night dance

I wasn’t around for Pearl Harbor. Unbelievably, I’m not that old. But my parents equated their feelings about 9/11 with the feelings they experienced when they heard about Pearl Harbor. My father was unable to serve, so my first-hand experience of World War II is non-existent.

Almost.

Years ago, when I was a road warrior for work, I spent a lot of time in New York City.  On one visit, I had a string of meetings with ad agencies on December 7. I liked (and still do like) to create quintessential experiences for myself wherever I go, and so at the end of a long day, I decided to go have an experience at Sardi’s.

For those of you who don’t know it, Sardi’s is a classic restaurant in the Theatre District. It’s one of those places that you can go for a late supper after the show lets out. Known for the hundreds of caricatures of celebrities lining the walls of the dining room, Sardi’s has been a Broadway institution for 90 years. I considered it my duty to experience it firsthand, so on a chill December twilight, I made my way under the flashing neon and the burgundy awning, through the mahogany and glass doors with their brass kickplate, and into a slice of history.

The dining room was quiet so early in the evening, so I headed upstairs to the bar, which was bustling. I ordered a martini and stood back a bit, watching, gauging the energy of the people clustered together chatting. But not for long. The folks were welcoming and social and I was almost immediately included in conversations with people who seemed to have known the place forever.

There was a very drunk elderly woman, garbed in exquisitely pure white, complete with turban, wearing way too much makeup and hanging onto an extremely handsome young Brazilian man.  She was somehow related to the New York Times family, and we had a long chat. She kindly bought me another martini, and when she had excused herself to powder her nose, the Brazilian gentleman slipped me his card – thick, cream-colored, embossed with his name.  He was her kept man – her Giglio, he explained with pride. But if I required anything, he was sure he could get away, and she wouldn’t mind. How…. kind.  He was really quite charming, discrete and nice about it all. And I declined, in case you were wondering.

There was a small circle of old-school newspaper reporters who enjoyed complaining as much as they enjoyed drinking, which was quite a lot, and seeing as how I was a fresh ear, they bought me another martini and regaled me with tales about their long careers.

And then there was the final little circle of elderly gentlemen.  About six of them. They were all Pearl Harbor survivors. They met at Sardi’s every year, coming from around the country on December 7 to celebrate life, loss, patriotism, and victories large and small.  Two of them had overcome cancer.  Others had lost spouses, children, careers. But all were proud of their own survival, their own tenacious hold on life.  They told me stories – where they had been, what it had been like, how they had felt.  Tears were shed. After a couple more martinis for all – I bought them a round – they made me an honorary member of their unit and asked me to promise to come back the next year. They would be there.  I was honored. And I was proud to have been able to meet them all.

I did not make it back next year. In fact, I never made it back. But December 7 never passes without my recalling those men and that night.  I’m fairly sure that their number has dwindled, perhaps to nothing. Nevertheless, I am with them in spirit tonight, wherever they are.

(And after that many martinis, I had dinner with an ex-boyfriend and his wife, and spent the evening pretending that I spoke broken English with a charming French accent when the waiter was around, much to his amusement and her displeasure. I think the old boys would have gotten a kick out of it.)

 

Photo Title: Five O’Clock

Neptune’s Treasure, Anegada, British Virgin Islands.

Quote of the day: “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”  — unknown (but thanks, Nanci.)

Daily gratitudes:
A warm bed
A good job
A truck that runs great
People to love who love me
My pork green chile
Finding gratitudes on days when I don’t feel like finding gratitudes

Photo title: A Warm Sunset

Anegada, British Virgin Islands.

Quote of the day: “If your happiness depends on what somebody else does, I guess you do have a problem”.  —  Richard Bach

Daily gratitudes:
My phone sex voice that I get when I’m under the weather
That MKL always has warm hands
That the green chile is simmering on the stove and not flaming on the stove
My wise co-worker
Vintage dresses available on eBay

Photo title: Weathered by Nature

Pomato Point, Anegada, British Virgin Islands.

Quote of the day: “I do not define myself by how many roadblocks have appeared in my path. I define myself by the courage I’ve found to forge new roads. I do not define myself by how many disappointments I’ve faced. I define myself by the forgiveness and the faith I have found to begin again. I do not define myself by how long a relationship lasted. I define myself by how much I have loved, and been willing to love again. I do not define myself by how many times I have been knocked down. I define myself by how many times I have struggled to my feet. I am not my pain. I am not my past. I am that which has emerged from the fire.” – Author unknown

Daily gratitudes:
Animal crackers
My pillow nest
Gentle paws
Sea glass
Recycling

Photo Title: Up A Tree At Sunset

Neptune’s Treasure, Anegada, British Virgin Islands.

They often need to cut the coconuts off the trees, since winds will knock them out, causing damage to unsuspecting tourists and innocent windshields. 

Quote of the day: “Look for the dream that keeps coming back.  It is your destiny.” ~ Unknown

Daily gratitudes:
Meeting a marvelous new sister
That MKL comes back tomorrow
Being warm inside when the wind is blowing the snow around outside
That my 23 yellow roses continue to brighten my room
That there are new llamas in the pasture that I can wave at on my way to work in the morning

Photo title: Where I Was This Time Last Week

Cow Wreck Beach, Anegada, British Virgin Islands.  (This is quite a contrast to what it looks like outside here today with six inches of snow, and still falling. But because I’m nice and want us all to feel warm, I am not going to share a visual of that.) 

Quote of the day: “The universe is always speaking to us… Sending us little messages, causing coincidences and serendipities… reminding us to stop, to look around, to believe in something else, something more.” —  Author unknown

Daily gratitudes:
The sound of the Canadian geese as they fly over the house
That the snow and the mongo icicles hanging from the roof are very pretty
A relaxing weekend
My flannel gnome pajamas
Having Kelsea with me for two consecutive nights

Photo title: The Wet Plains

Pomato Point, Anegada, British Virgin Islands.

Quote of the day: “Good instincts usually tell you what to do long before your head has figured it out.”  —  Michael Burke

Daily gratitudes:
Deep sleep
A happy bithday dinner
Snow in the trees against the blue sky
Cuddling cats
My clawfoot tub

I know that really, every day is special. But today is especially special for me. Why? Because today is the day that my most special and precious daughter arrived on this earth (at least this time around – she’s a very old soul.)

Because some of her friends read the blog, I’m not going to inflict much gushiness and reminiscing on her. After all, she’s 15 today, and you know what that can be like. At least I do. I remember 15 quite well.

The idea that she’s 15 is amazing to me. How could that be? Like an excellent vacation, it feels like she’s been here forever, and yet the time seems to have passed in the blink of an eye.  I wish I had been (then and now) the one to spend more time with her. I missed a lot of her day-to-day growing up by working so much to support us all these years. But she had an excellent parent in her dad for those many years.  And I do feel that the time we have spent together has been “quality” time, more precious for its scarcity.

It snowed the day before she was born; it is snowing now. That day was a Sunday. Today is a Thursday. But at 4:06 pm on that day, my life changed forever for the better because this strong, smart, beautiful, funny, caring soul decided to grace it.

I can’t wait for many more years of roadtrips, inside jokes, kitchen disasters, epic fails, soul-level hugs in front of endless fields of sunflowers, famous chats, and getting to know one another better as we both continue to grow and change.

Happy birthday, Kelsea, my dearest daughter and friend.

Kelsea and Jack. Machyllneth, Wales. June 2007.

Photo title: Ivan’s Stress-Free Bar.

Jost van Dyke, British Virgin Islands.

Quote of the day: “Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain.”  —  Mark Twain (and happy birthday, sir.)

Daily gratitudes:
That it’s still nice here so far from the sea
That the cat missed me very much
That the cat furthermore did not go emo on me
Smiles
That the llamas are growing shaggy in preparation for the coming cold

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