Friday, June 29, 2012

Saying Hello to Goodbye

With every goodbye, you learn.
~ Veronica A. Shoffstall

On a dark day, life seems like nothing more than a torrential downpour of goodbyes. Like tourists without umbrellas, we are caught off guard and unprepared. Neighbors move away; we feel abandoned. Friends move on; we don't understand why. Loved ones die and leave a hole that never stops gaping.

It is hard enough to be the one left behind, to fight through the inevitable denial, guilt, anger, and depression that we hope will eventually turn and lead us to a place of acceptance.

But it isn't easy to be the one pulling the trigger, either.

Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy.
~ Unknown

Don't misunderstand me. I don't believe that we have license to shirk our sacred responsibilities or to choose our associates and activities based solely on what we have to gain from them. I have been taken advantage of more times than I like to admit by narcissistic, self-serving others - hollow, empty individuals who suck the lifeblood from everyone they meet in a pitiful attempt to fill the bottomless void that exists within themselves - and I never want to inflict that kind of pain on another human being. But sometimes there comes a time - in a marriage, in a relationship with an adult child, in a romance, in a friendship - when we are left with no choice but to walk away. Making that decision is agonizing. The huge sense of relief we experience in its wake is the affirmation.

Letting go means to come to the realization that some people are part of your HISTORY but not a part of your DESTINY.

~ Steve Maraboli

I am truly grateful for all the people with whom I have shared a part - however great or small, however pleasurable or painful - of my life. Each played a role in shaping who I am today, and I wouldn't have me any other way. But now I get to choose who walks with me into the future. Are you negative, critical, bigoted, small-minded, judgmental, harsh, blaming? Please, stay out of my way. Are you positive, supportive, accepting, forward-thinking, seeking, kind, forgiving? Take my hand and travel with me. Let's walk together into the sunshine.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Mommy-To-Be Pendant

One of my friends has a niece who is pregnant with her first child, a daughter who will be born sometime during the month of July. My friend is going to her niece's baby shower this weekend and asked me to create a sterling silver pendant stamped with the baby's name and birthstone. I was happy to oblige; the finished piece is pictured above. I hope the mommy-to-be will enjoy wearing it as much as I enjoyed making it!

To order your own custom stamped metal jewelry, click HERE and convo me!

Monday, June 25, 2012


Today I'm blogging over at Petit Fours and Hot Tamales about my plans for the rest of the summer. Click HERE to read all about it. I'll see you back here tomorrow!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Travelogue, Part 7: Moorea, Day 2

Hoping to get a quick overview of the interior of the island of Moorea, Gail and I joined the Island Drive and Belvedere tour on Friday morning.

An air-conditioned bus!
Our first stop was Belvedere Lookout. We saw Mt. Rotui with Cook's Bay to the right

and Oponohu Bay on the left

and the famous Bali Hai (Moua Roa) Mountain.

We visited an ancient Tahitian stone temple, or marae

a pineapple field

Baby pineapple.
Our tour guide.
and many native plants.

Candlestick plant.
Lipstick fruit. Our tour guide crushed a berry and rubbed it into her lips. Beautiful!
Pink hisbiscus.
 Then we stopped at the Ia Ora lookout point for a panoramic photo op

before we made a brief stop at Le Petit Village for a bit of shopping before returning to the ship.
We showered and dressed for dinner and went to Paul Gauguin's Farewell Party.

By then, the MS Paul Gauguin was en route back to the island of Tahiti. That was when my tears started, and they continued at the Piano Bar, where I went for a drink before dinner and had to say goodbye to some of the great friends I made on board ship;

Danny, Dan, Pam, Jim, J.R.
Pianist Ruben Ramos.
Melanie, Pam, Jay.
at L'Etoile Restaurant where I enjoyed one last great meal;

and back at the stateroom afterwards, as Gail and I packed the rest of our belongings and said goodbye to our wonderful cabin stewardess Annie Rose.

Annie Rose and Pam, whose make-up is all cried off.
We disembarked the ship in Papeete 9PM, caught a taxi to the airport, went through customs, and boarded the plane bound for Los Angeles.

* * *
This vacation was a dream come true, but it was a dream I hadn't even dared to dream for myself, and one that I almost missed because of my narrow view of what was possible. 
So if an experience like that can literally fall into my lap, who knows what other wonders lie waiting for me down the road if I will just keep my heart and mind open?

I am grateful for all the beautiful places I saw, for all the wonderful people I met, including the entire crew and staff of the MS Paul Gauguin, and especially to Gail for inviting me to be her guest.   

I'm still trying to sort it all out. But there's one thing I know for sure.

Nothing will ever be the same.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Travelogue, Part 6: Moorea, Day 1

The MS Paul Gauguin dropped anchor off the island of Moorea early Thursday, June 7th. I was scheduled to go on a hike with a naturalist, but that shore excursion was canceled when the naturalist sustained a leg injury. So Gail and I decided to create an adventure of our own. We rode the tender to shore

Gotta keep that big ship looking good.
and caught the red van to the Tahia Pearls boutique in Le Petit Village where I bought myself a Tahitian pearl pendant.

How could I resist Tomas?
Many satisfied customers from all over the world.
Then we walked several blocks to the Hotel Hibiscus

and behind the hotel to the beach where we followed the shoreline 

stopping to sun for a few minutes on this stretch of beach

and take a few photographs here and there

Baby coconut tree.
Dog prints?
This dog was fishing.
all the way down to Hotel Tipaniers.

where I rewarded myself with a local brew

and a cheeseburger in paradise.

The view from our table.
The biggest decision I had to make all day was which restroom to use.

And the most unusual thing I saw all day was a take-out restaurant built around an old van.

Not a five-star establishment.
Then we walked back to the Tahia Pearl boutique, caught the red van back to the pier, and rode the tender back to the ship. We were just in time for tea.

I couldn't resist the pineapple flambe served with homemade vanilla ice cream.

After the sun went down,

we donned our best tropical dresses

We dressed the tiki statue in our state room for the occasion, too.
and made our way to L'Etoile Restuarant, where local mamas were making heis and leis from fresh flowers 

and sharing them with the passengers.

My wristlet.
Then it was time for dinner

Cheese gnocchi.
Pumpkin soup.
Lobster tail.
Chocolate fondant and vanilla ice cream.
 with two of the lovely single women we met on the ship.

Elsa and Me.
Judy and Me.
The evening show featured culture, songs, music and dance of the Polynesian people.

These guys were scary. Especially the one on the far right. Ask Gail.

I ended my last night on board with a visit to the piano bar and the beautiful music of Ruben Ramos

and one last night in the disco, dancing until 2AM.

But there was still one more day in Moorea to look forward to. Come back tomorrow for the final installment of my travelogue!