English as a Second Language part #1


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I started learning English (well, sort of but not really) when I was in 7th grade.

I was living in what was then Yugoslavia and now it’s part of Serbia.  I lived in Beograd and only spoke Serbian and a very little Russian.  You see, in this country students start learning a foreign language in 5th grade.  I wanted to sign up for English, but by the time I got to the school, those classes were full and the only other option was Russian. So I had to take Russian.

How did I start learning English 2 yrs later?

Thanks to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.  I learned “I wanna hold your hand” and “Satisfaction” and “Eroplane” (yes, that’s how I heard it and that’s how I pronounced it) Those words were the extent of my knowledge of the English Language.  Oh, did I mention that I didn’t know what any of those words meant? At that time, there was no google translate to help me out, so I just knew some words from a song and had no idea what they meant.  My family didn’t listen to that kind of music and my friends didn’t know either.

After my 8th grade, my family and I moved to America and with my knowledge of English, I started high school within 2 months of arrival.

Talk about immersion into this part of my life….this was a gigantic step for a 15 yr old.

Immersion into:

  • a new culture
  • learning a new language
  • making new friends
  • being the translator for my non-english speaking parents
  • learning my new surroundings
  • being the oldest freshman in high school

That first year (or rather 1/2 year, I started in January) was very difficult.  Needless to say, I didn’t know anyone and couldn’t speak the language, so could not communicate with anyone.  Not too long after I started, most likely about 2-3 weeks, I met a couple of girls who spoke my language and things started to get better.

Learning a new language can be fun and exciting, but when you are thrown into it, it can be rather frightening and demoralizing.

Since then, I have grown in to a wonderful woman with a slight accent.

More of my story in Part #2.


Be Good to Yourself




Frame of Reference


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On my walk today I listened to the Invisibilia Podcast.  The topic was about each of us having a family with different frame of references. How those references affect our adult lives.

When my kids would complain about having to walk to school while living in a tropical climate, I remind them that…

“I had to walk to school in snow, uphill both ways, with very thin boots, was not allowed to wear pants, but had to wear a dress.  Even though I had a coat and some thin gloves, the cold air would ride up my dress and I’d get to school with frozen thighs”

My mom who was a teen during WWII would complain to me that her granddaughter has more than one coat for winter.

“Why does she need more than one coat?  You can’t wear two or three at a time, there’s no need to have more than ONE”

It’s a perception that we carry through out our lives.  Things could be worse, and they were for some of us, and they actually are for some others.  Sometimes, we can’t see it because we had it worse and this “little” struggle that the next person is going through.

The thing is, what appears to us as this “little” struggle, is a huge hurdle for another person that has not had the same reference point as you or I have.

I grew up in a small room with only 3 usable walls and ONE window.  Yes, EVERYTHING was in ONE room.  So when my mom wonders why we need to have 3 or 4 bedroom house when a couple would do, I get the reference point.


Be Good to Yourself





Do you sometimes have a hard time getting motivated to do “stuff”?

How do you get motivated?  Do you motivate yourself or depend on others/thinks?

What is your process of getting yourself off of your behind and start doing “stuff”?

For me it’s just starting the act of doing and then I am off to a great start.

……well, this does not always work, but most of the time it does….so I keep getting off my behind and moving forward, always hoping for the best.

What is your secret to getting motivated?


Be Good to Yourself

Before I Die….


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…..I want to write a children’s book

….I want to write a novel based on my life

….I want to bake cookies with my GBG

When I walk for exercise I listen to a podcast.  I have a number of podcasts downloaded on my iPhone, because I also listen to blogs while I do my paper flower artwork.

As I was walking Pua this morning I was listening to NPR the TED Radio Hour podcast.  The topic  for this podcast was “Rethinking Death” featuring Candy Chang the artist.  She is a large-scale participatory mural artist, known for, among other projects, Before I Die…. board.

This got me thinking about what I would like to do before I die.  At first I couldn’t think of anything…..

  • my life must be complete then
  • what more do I want to do
  • is there nothing left for me to do
  • am I done???

As I continued listening to this inspiring podcast, many thoughts started to swirl through my mind.  All the swirling going on started me thinking about what all I have already done. Just because I’m no longer working for the big corporation or teaching music, does not mean I have to stop living.

My mind started to go places and the swirling thinking became more tame and clear.  From thinking of so many things I wanted to do that I would need to live a couple of more lives to get it all done….to I needed to focus on one thing for now.

If you chose just one thing that you want to do before you die, does that mean once you get that one thing done you can then die?  Or does that mean, you set another goal for yourself?

I would like to think that I set one goal at a time and see how many life achieving goals I can complete before I am done here.

Life is not about death….

Life is about living…..set your sights on LIFE!

What do you want to do before you die?


“Be Good To Yourself”

Change: is it good, bad, necessary or over rated?


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I love change. Sometimes, I just have to move some furniture around, even if it’s just one chair turned to a slightly different angle. Somehow, that makes me feel good, energized, refreshed and new, and then I feel like I can accomplish anything. Change can be that powerful. I can’t explain it other then the fact that I don’t like things to be sedentary, everything must move and change.

Sometimes change like this works wonders and sometimes it backfires.

I have this thing about my hair.  I feel like I need to change it up all the time….and for a few years, I have actually had pretty much the same hair, at least a very similar hair coloring.  I thought this was good, I was getting comfortable with the style and color, feeling good about myself, and was feeling good about my hair.

Then BAM!! It hits me…. I NEED TO CHANGE MY HAIR! And there was no stopping me.  I was totally convinced and loved the idea, loved the new possibilities and I even rationalized it and I believed it!

My Rationale 

#1. My hair is too damaged from all the bleaching, let’s start over again and cut it short


sometimes too much of a change ends up being uncomfortable 

#2. I am now a grandma and should look like one (OK, I don’t think I ever bought into that rationale, but there it is)images-3

or what we make ourselves think the change is all about

#3. If I’m gonna do this, I will go to another hair dresser, maybe someone that doesn’t charge as much as some people pay for their monthly electrical bills (those without solar)


and sometimes it’s the worst mistake at the moment, not be repeated again.  you get what you pay for

Let me continue to be open and honest here……

…..I have the same hair color, the same cut (basically) as my 91 yr old mom, and I am nowhere close to that age.

Make the change you need to make, then sit back and get used to it…. or make another change….keep it rolling till you feel good, energized, refreshed and new.

Enjoy the refreshing change as long as it lasts…. until the next BAM comes along.

Meeting my new GBG


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“Wait till you hold your first grand baby, you will fall in love”

“After you hold her, you won’t want to come home”

“You will love her more than you love your own children”

My GBG (Grand Baby Girl) has arrived.  She is a beautiful little girl, perfect in every way.

When we arrived 6 days after she was born, I was eagerly anticipating the “falling in love” feeling as soon as I held her. So when I sat down, stretched out  my arms and my son handed his beautiful daughter to me, I looked at her as she was sleeping unaware of being held by anyone, much less her Grandma, and….I didn’t feel any different.  I was waiting for this overwhelming abundance of emotion….but it never came.

I smiled as I looked at her, filled with gratitude for this sweet little precious life.  I loved holding her, loved looking at her, smelling her baby smell, kissing her forehead, and seeing her eyes open for the first time.  Wow, she has beautiful big eyes.  I could hold her for hours remembering how I used to hold her dad when he was that little.  Oh, but wait…. she is 6.12 lb and he was born at 9.3 lb.  Yes, he was a big baby from the start.

After our first visit, I was talking to my husband and my daughter and a couple of my already grandma friends, about the lack of my “falling in love” with this sweet little child.

“What’s wrong with me? Why don’t I feel this overwhelming feeling? Am I a cold person?”  I was genuinely feeling scared and confused and frankly worried.

My already grandma friends let me know that they felt the same way.  The hype about falling in love immediately and having a hard time leaving the baby is somewhat a myth.  As the baby grows and we spend more time together, the “falling in love” does happen.  My already grandma friends and I agree that the hype of “falling in love” and “just can’t leave the child” feeling is overrated and that more new grandma’s feel the way I do, just don’t want to admit it.  This does not mean that we don’t love our GBs, we do, just not the way we were made to believe we would love.  Granted, there are those ladies that grab onto their new grand babies and have a hard time letting go…but I am not qualified to discuss those issues.

I’m looking at the calendar and booking my flight to see my new GBG in a month or two.  Who knows if this will be the “falling in love” visit…. I have a feeling it just might happen.

Meet my GBG Olivia

Meet my GBG Olivia