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Japanese Garden Training the Tree

Keep Training

Yea, some of us bristle when we just hear the word “training”. To us as adults it represents hrs in meeting rooms trying to learn something new.  For others it is endless hrs at the gym training for who knows what. For others it is a systematic change of attitude, life style, outlook at oneself or life etc…

Trining is important and necessary throughout our lives. We start with training when we are born, and it doesn’t end. It shouldn’t end.

“Training builds character”

When I was at our local Japanese Garden, Hakone I met and talked to one of their groundskeepers.  He has been working there for over 20 yrs tending to all of the trees.  He hand trims them each, no matter how small or young or how tall or old they are. His job is to train the tree to grow outward. Besides his careful trimming of needles that are not growing in the right direction, he uses a bamboo stick to train the branches to grow outward, moving the sticks to different areas once that particular branch has learned to grow outward.  (notice the red error pointing to the bamboo stick) This tree has been going through training all of it’s life.

That is the same with us humans…. our training keeps getting adjusted for ultimate growth. We continue looking outward and stretching our arms out to help one another grow. If we don’t…..we will just keep growing straight up only thinking of ourselves. Keep training!


Just Around the Corner…


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A New Opportunity is just around the corner

Take a peak

There are days and times in our lives that an opportunity seems to be just around the corner.

How many times, out of fear of failure, did you and I miss an opportunity for a great new career move, personal growth or a relationship.

“Learn from taking a peak around the corner of lifes’ opportunities” 

Just around the corner is not a guarantee that it’s all going to be hunky dory….. sometimes, just around the corner turns out to be scary.  Those are the times when we learn how to deal with various obstacles which prepare us for the next corner.  Each corner that we take prepares us to better deal with the next one and the corner after that.

It’s just around the corner….if you don’t look, you will never know what’s around the bend.

Keep being curious!

Hip Surgery Experience – Take TWO


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Here we go again…..

In July it will be 4 years since I first wrote about my hip replacement experience.  During this time I am very happy to say that my right hip is performing flawlessly.  I am so glad I did not wait even longer to get it replaced with a titanium hip.

Now it’s time for the left one to be replaced.  Apparently I was born with hip dysplasia plus giving birth to two children, my hips have deteriorated faster then someone who was born with healthy hips.

Since we are no longer living in Hawaii and it’s not wise to go back to have Dr. Nakasone perform this one too, I had to search for the right doctor for my left hip.  Not everyone in CA does the less evasive, anterior approach to hip replacement surgery.  Therefore, I had to interview 3 different surgeons and in the end I chose the one that Dr. Nakasone recommended, Dr. Hartford from the Palo Alto Medical Foundation.

Now it’s time for me to take his Preoperative Total Joint Class prior to starting the preparation process, prior to the surgery.  I have gone through all of this already but after 4 years it is good to do it again and hear Dr. Hartfords methods.

Now, I’m off to the class….

……more later



The Road Upward


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The Road UpwardWhich way are you going?

We are all moving either upward or downward.

“The road upward can be steep and gloomy, but the views are spectacular”


  • Going down is giving up on what you wanted to accomplish.
  • Going up is moving towards your goal.

Keep moving up because the top is a mark of an accomplishment…and then, building on this accomplishment, you will have another goal creating a movement up.  Develop your character, your goals, your ideals and your views.  Keep moving up.


Opportunity Awaits

Japanese Garden steps and door

Secret Door

Whats behind closed doors?

Every door we open, every step we take, every decision we make is a risk we take.

Although the door in this picture looks gloomy and unsure, there’s the ray of sunlight that brings a ray of hope with it.

“Every door brings a new opportunity”

Even when entering your home, office, friends home, etc…. you have a choice of how you enter it, how you relate to those behind the door that may great you.

  • Chose to be happy = you feel awesome thus spreading your attitude to all others in the room
  • Chose to be accepting of others = brings joy to you and all others
  • Chose to be successful = be proud
  • Chose to love = you will beam with joy encouraging others to love
  • Chose to be grumpy = be alone and isolated because you make it hard to be around you
  • Chose to fail = by not working towards success you are choosing to fail
  • Chose to hate = become miserable and alone

Take opening every door as a new opportunity to bring a smile, to be a better person, to love and accept the gifts the other side of the door offers.



Go Around

I have been intrigued by photography for many years.

Japanese Garden walk way

“Go Around”

Not until a few years back, when I realized that my artistic creativity goes beyond music, that’s when I realized that I can also incorporate my creativity into photography.

Taking photos of people, getting them to enjoy being photographed is a challenge that I enjoy taking….always with great success.

Soon, I started seeing things through my eye as if it was a camera lens.  Ideas started popping up and natural photography took a new path. I started seeing life lessons in the way nature moved, developed, grew and blossomed.

The other day I took a trip to a Japanese garden and started shooting.  I came upon this path way and as I looked through to the end of the path, I spotted a tree and a large rock. The first thing that I though of was a lesson I want to share with you.

When you are traveling through life and there is something or someone in your way of completing your task or getting to your goal, just go around the obstacle, you are not a tree, YOU CAN MOVE. 

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