20 juin, 2018 – Lost Language Arts. Dying arts, a piece of the past that can be shared in love, received with intrigue and recalled nostalgically.

Lost Arts –

Substitute teaching this year was an eye opening experience.  To say things have changed is the understatement of the YEAR!

However…ah hello…where did cursive go?

What Happened To Shorthand & Cursive – 

Cursive, it’s gone.  It seems to have died the same slow death dealt to shorthand.  Dead, like shorthand.  Gone, quietly and unceremoniously.

I remember when shorthand was retired from the public school system in the early 80’s (at least where I went to school).  Poor ole girl – she fought a tough battle, but ultimately lost.  I’m sure there are people who continue to learn to use shorthand to some extent, but gone are the days of steno pads, and shorthand drills.

I however, still recall those glory days.  A product of the 60’s, I was so excited to get to High School in the fall of 1979 and  have my shorthand book issued to me.  Hysterically, basically the same book that my mother had used some 20 years earlier.

Photo of my mom’s book from about 1963 –

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Mom’s Book – 1960’s

Being the language freak I am (note, I did not say language guru), I was and am still amazed and intrigued by shorthand which, I consider a language.  There were a couple of methods if I recall – Pittman used in the UK and Gregg used in the US.

According to the internet, there are countries that teach shorthand for those students / professions that might find it useful.  And I’m sure there are some careers / professionals that do or would find it an advantageous and useful tool.  However, if you asked someone under 40 what shorthand is / was they would be hard pressed to respond.

Cool stuff that shorthand / sometimes call stenography.  I thought of it (shorthand) as a code.  I imagined myself a WWII code breaker, transmitting and deciphering secret war time messages.  I can still write I love you – see below.

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I Love You

Cursive An Endangered Species –

“You wrote your name in cursive, who taught you that?”  I asked.  “My grandma,” the 4th grader responded.  “Great job buddy!”  I enthusiastically replied.  

As a substitute, I’ve learned not to write my name on the whiteboard (not to be confused with a blackboard) in cursive, because the students can not read it if I do.

Just a few short years ago my children were taught and learned to write in cursive, I remember hearing rumors of it’s decline, but really paid it no mind.  It’ll never happened I thought to myself.  But now as my grandchildren have entered school I realize, it’s pretty much a done deal.  It’s gone!

I understand the rhetoric.  Just like I understood the all to similar rhetoric when shorthand was enjoying her final days.  Yet – it still saddens me.  MY grandchildren WILL NEVER KNOW HOW TO WRITE CURSIVE.  It’s up to me to pass this on.  If I don’t – it’ll be too late…

There’s So Much To Learn These Days – 

There’s so much for children to learn these days – I don’t even know where the educators would find time in the school day to plug cursive back in to.  I’m not even sure of the actual status of cursive (state to state), but I’m pretty sure it’s not part of today’s standards in my state.  An internet search will leave you unsure and you’ll find it a very heated and debated subject.

I’ve been so impressed with today’s teachers and students.  The teachers teach some amazing concepts.  And the students absorb these concepts at an incredible rate.  Far more advanced at a given age than I remember being.

Today’s standards are just that – today’s standards.  They are for the NOW.  They are relevant and solid and I have faith in the education system I witnessed this year.

Vintage Themes And Remembering That Change Is Progress – 

As much as I like vintage, I’m a big advocate for change.  Believing that change is progress and always proclaiming publicly – change is growth – change is progress.

I keep in my pocket a picture of the past a memory of long, long last.

There are things that can and should be shared and cared for and passed on in our lifetime.  Recipes, prayers, memories, trinkets, skills, quilts, and last but not least, cursive and shorthand.

Like the cold war, the typewriter and the film camera, cursive and shorthand are memories I have.  Memories, that my children and grandchildren don’t have.  And like the memories of my parents (the draft, Elvis, and the 57 Chevy) and of my grandparents (the great depression, the jitterbug, and WWII), each set subjective.  They are relevant only to OUR unique time here on earth.

The Truth Of The Matter Is –

Things change, they evolve, they fade.  Many traditions, arts, languages, customs, ways etc… are lost to progress or simply to time.

It’s understandable, but none the less sad.

Cursive is to today’s elementary school student what shorthand was to me.

It’s not rocket science and saving it will not end world hunger.  It’s a dying art, a piece of the past that can be shared in love, received with intrigue and recalled nostalgically.

I hope you enjoyed this look back – I know I did.

Pass something on!

Suz

16 juin, 2018. Feliz cumpleaños! LET GO. Living Alive. Where you go and what you do, may only make sense to you. To Dream – Rêver…

Rappelez-vous quand – 

Remember the time, we just LET GO.

In a few weeks we will set out to just LET GO, we have no plans – just a northern destination.  We are excited at what will be.  We will however, plan to bring sunscreen and bug spray.

Otherwise, we plan to LET GO.  Even though we have no plans, ironically, we do have plans to just LET GO.  

We plan to head north – to Quebec and speak French.  HOW EXCITED am I to speak French?  You have no idea.

No itinerary, just a destination.

And of course we plan to enjoy what we enjoy most – EACH OTHER!

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Remember the time we stumbled onto this….

Because of you I live a life in which I hope it last –

A cause de toi je vis une vie dans laquelle j’espere qu’ell durera.

Bonjour mes amies.  Comment ca va?  C’est juin. Ou est le mois de mai?  C’est fini.  Et maintenat l’ete est presque la.  Presque…

Live Alive – 

I want to live ALIVE.  I want to feel alive.  I love the newness of life, I love firsts.  I thrive on first days at work and truly enjoy meeting people for the first time.  Oddly enough, I even enjoy job interviews.

I described this oddity in my “Jack of all trade-ness, master of none-ness” blog:  July 14, 2017. Can I learn French AND simultaneously Train for a 50 mile ultra marathon? Oui! Bien sûr, Pourquoi pas?  

I noted how I dabble, rather than master.  And, I’m super cool with this.  However, I do admire those with longevity, whether it be career or hobby.  Yet for me, just call me JACK or JACQUES.  

To Dream / Rêver  

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I dream of here…

I’m a dreamer.  And I often remind myself to stop dreaming and just live.  Stop planning and just be.

Over planning can sometimes cause me to spin in place – where nothing gets done.  Hence the LET GO theme of our vacation. 

I try to live my dreams into life, into being.  And frequently, I do.  BUT what if we just lived life – for the mystery of it.  What if we just let the IT (life) be.

What if we stopped thinking about what’s around the corner, and we just turned the corner.

Avez-vous un rêve?  J’en ai beaucoup.  De quoi rêver-vous?

S’il vous plait dires-moi.

P.S.

Aujourd’hui, c’est l’anniversaire de mon ami. Joyeux anniversaire, Mon ami têtu. July 19, 2017. What’s a French word for Stubborn? Tête de mule. A secret running tale.

If you see this post, Feliz cumpleaños

I hope you have a wonderful, healthy year.  Thank you for being my WE.  I can always count on you.  Looking forward to our half marathon in September.

Suz

 

 

 

 

Mai 24, 2018. A Moroccan tajine finds a new home in KY. RUNNING with JOY at 52. Keeping the half marathon under 2 hours. BIGGEST medal on earth! GEIST Half Marathon Review.

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The gift of the tajine

Warning:  I use the word JOY a lot in this post.  As it perfectly describes my friends and my weekend run.

The gift of the tajine –

I watched as my two friends (one lives in Morocco and one lives in Paris) prepared our noon meal in my Kentucky kitchen in MY new tajine, hand carried all the way from Morocco.  I  watched as they carefully cleaned and chopped the fresh ingredients, all with JOY.  As they laughed and smiled, I was transported to Morocco.

The aromas – out of this world!

And the JOY they shared in preparing this meal – amazing.  From turmeric to saffron, my kitchen was alive.

The gift of the tajine made me feel so special.  What a sweet and thoughtful gift.  Hand carried and delivered with love.  These moments are the moments that make my life rich and full.

Here’s to one of the best meals I’ve had in my life And here’s to good friends who live life with JOY filled hearts – CHEERS!

Running with JOY and keeping the pace at 52.

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Ginormous Medal

Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall, Ninety-nine bottles of beer…  My go-to running song.  I sing to distract my self from the distance.

Although I love to feel the miles, running 13.1 miles does takes a while.  And keeping it under 2 hours has been my mission.  I’ve completed numerous half marathons over the last 10 years, and only two have been over 2 hours.  The first and second were 2:05 and 2:02, since then I’ve been able to stay under 2 hours.  The fastest in 2013 at 1:53 and the latest, this past weekend at 1:58.

Having not run a half marathon in 18 months, I was afraid and anxious to take on last weekend’s race.  I was afraid of the distance / pace ratio, and I was afraid of what the last 18 months of age might have dealt me.

Not only have I aged (luckily as the alternative is…not aging), in 2016 and 2017 I took on the ultra run.  I ran a marathon, a 60K and a 50 Miler.  I also completed a half ironman (70.3 miles – swim, bike, and run).  These longer distances presented new challenges – but the challenges did not include speed.

Returning to shorter distance this year, I found myself with questions.  Could I maintain, a 9 minute per mile or less pace for 13.1 miles?  Could I still run fast (my fast, not your fast)?  And why is staying under 2 hours so important to me?

As I ran the Geist half marathon, I found myself running with JOY.  I simply ran and I felt good.  No aches and pains.  No knee pain for the first time in several years.  I was however – cognizant the entire time of the pace I needed to maintain in order to meet MY goal.

I stayed in the mile and I truly enjoyed each mile.  When I reached mile 11, I knew I was going to come in under 2 hours and I was SO relieved.

The course was hilly and I love hills.  None of the hills were horrible, and each hill climb was followed by a downhill.  Sweet rewards.

Why is staying under 2 hours important to me.  Is there really a difference in running a 1:59:59 versus a 2:00:00?  I have no profound answers, I just know that I feel better when I stay under 2 hours.

I’m not setting any land speed records.  For me, it’s just what motivates me – it’s what keeps me running.

I also can’t run a sub 1:50 (YET), goals people – we all need goals.

My current goal is to simply run each half marathon under 2 hours.

Does it matter?  Nope.  And what happens when I eventually go over 2 hours?  Life will go on.  C’est la vie.  

BIGGEST MEDAL EVER – Geist Half Marathon

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As I crossed the finish line and the sweet girl handed me the finishers medal, I hoped I wouldn’t fall over from the weight of the medal.  This medal is HUGE.  If you are into hardware – this is your medal.  It can also be used to serve tapas (small Spanish dishes, served at bars).  This medal is my all time favorite.  It’s pretty, it’s sparkly and  the back can double as a mirror (according to my grandaughter).

The Geist half marathon in Fishers, Indiana was simply amazing.  The course was beautiful as was the weather.  The logistics were well thought out and the volunteers were top-notch.  I rarely do a half marathon twice – this one, I look forward to doing again.

I met an angel at mile 11.  Thank you to the runner who ran the last 2 miles with me.  I know we helped each other meet our goals and that’s what the running community is all about.

For all I know you were a real angel sent to save my day.  If so, job well done.  If not, congrats on meeting your goal!  I however, prefer to remember you as an angel.  More fun this way!

Mon Amie –

Your visit brought JOY to my life and house.  Your laughter, kindness, and child like heart have taught me much.  You live life with such happiness.  I admire you.  And I seek to imitate you – as the highest form of compliment.

Your family is beautiful.  Your love for each other radiates.  YOU are always welcome.

Thank you for your patience as I spoke French.  And thank you for several new phrases – I’m looking forward to using them in France.

My brain was exhausted from speaking French, but in just a few days I improved so much.  Conversation is the key – I hope we have many more.

Until we meet again – on the trails in Morocco or in the streets of Paris.  I will practice LIVING.  I will seek out new trails, paths, streets and adventures.  I will focus on JOYFULL living and I will learn to use my tajine as a way to recall our time together.

À bientôt,

Suz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mars 6, 2018. Mot de la semaine or Word of the week: Seul / Seule / Alone. Et finalement… Je parle!

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Bonjour mes amis.  Je suis seule mais…pas seule.  Parce que nous sommes ensemble pour toujours dans notre cœurs. 

Interesting take on some time alone:

The last two weeks saw me alone.  Seul / seule – as my husband spent time in France with his Mother.

I had a list of things to do, but I managed to avoid all of them.

I realized that after 33 years together – I don’t do seul / seule very well.

Now, don’t get me wrong the first half of our lives together we spent many days, weeks, and months apart – once a whole year.  But for the last 15 years we have been constant companions.

I knew it would be hard to be alone, but I was most surprised at how I really didn’t know where or how to start the day.

I’m sure that after a few more weeks on my own, I’d fall into a better routine.  But, I seriously feel I wasted the last two weeks.  I took a few days to visit my own mother,  yet even there I found myself waiting for the next phone call.

As a couple we have fallen into a wonderful space.  I do these things and he does those things.  Together it all gets done.  I call these things “pink and blue jobs.”  Pink for girl jobs and blue for boy jobs.

Garbage is a blue job, coffee is a blue job.  Laundry and grocery shopping are pink jobs.  When I look at the division of “our” things, I realize just how traditional we might be labeled.  I also realize there are more blue jobs.

The one thing I did do the last two weeks was think.  I thought a lot and I really think I should make the coffee more often.  A little humor stirs within me, because we both know that won’t happen.  However, I now know how to make coffee.  Will I tell anyone?  Probably not.

Albeit traditional, it works for us.  I missed us / nous.  And I look forward to being us / nous again.

We can be “I’s” and still be “us”.  So intertwined with love.  You are the peace I sought.  You are the sweet relax at the end of the day.

As long as we are always reaching for the “us” before the “I’s”, we will be fine.

Et finalement, How’s that French coming?

Tres bien.

Last week, I had the opportunity to speak French.  You would not believe how well I spoke.  AND my accent was even complimented!  VRAIMENT!

I now know for sure – immersion is the key to language learning.

I just ADORE the French language.  Not sure where all of this will lead, but I so enjoy the process.

What do you see for you and me:

Mon Amour

I see us in France.

I see us drinking the wine and tasting the sea.

Je vois toi et je vois moi.  Je vois nous ensemble – juste toi et moi.

Suz

Janvier 20, 2018. Dans ma tête, je suis! Mais, dans le miroir… In my head, I am! But, in the mirror… AND a good example from across the pond.

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Dans Ma tête 

Dans ma tête:  I’m BRISK, I’m active, I’m fast, and energetic.  I’m young, I’m limber, I’m awake.

Dans ma tête – I’m all these things.

In the mirror:  I’m slow, I’m idle, I’m listless, and tired.  I’m old, I’m stiff, I’m always falling asleep.

In the mirror – I’m all these things.

Je Suis Qui ?

Je suis moi! 

Je suis BRISK et actif, et rapide. 

Je suis aussi – fatigué… PARFOIS.  

Je suis qui?  Je suis moi.

C’est moi!

Mais, Je ne suis pas une vieille dame

Je suis jeune! Je suis jeune! JE CRIE!  Dans ma tête je suis jeune.

Pourquoi pas je dis.  Pourquoi pas!

Parce que tout est dans la tête – n’est-ce pas!

Mais, bien sûr! 

Supplémentaire – Elle est une bonne exemple (She is a good example)

When I think of how I want to be when I get old (older).  I think of her.

I think of how she appreciates the years and looks back on the smiles, the lessons, and the tears – but never the fears.

How she aims to share it with us all and hopes we never fall.

She is always by our side – there’s just a big ole lake – l’Atlantique, it’s so wide.

I want her grace and courage, her strength and drive.

Today, I run because I can

I run to feel the air so deep within my breath – beneath.

Suz

 

 

 

Janvier 16, 2018. Mot de la semaine or Word of the week: Fort, Forte / Strong.

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Sometimes things come out of the blue.  They don’t care for the plans you have or the dreams you dream.  They just want you.

This thing can’t have you!

It can’t have you – you are stronger than this thing.  It has no idea what it is up against.  Mon amie – tu est très forte.

Le mot de la semaine est FORT / FORTE.

Mon amie est très jolie and très gentille – ELLE est forte aussi!  

Elle s’appelle Coco.  J’aime beaucoup Coco.  Elle parles anglais avec moi and français avec tout le monde. 

Tu es forte Coco.  Tu es très forte.  Elle est à femme forte.  

My friend Coco is one of the strongest women I know.

She is strong and fierce like the winter wind.

She won’t let this stop her.  She will fight for herself.  She will fight for her children and grand children.

She will fight for her life!

Knowing we are here and she is there is the hard part.

As you start your journey this week, please know we love you!

Be strong as you PAUSE momentarily to get well.

Have FAITH that you will get well.

And KNOW that you are loved.

J’aime beaucoup mon amie Coco!

Love Suz

 

 

 

Décembre 1, 2017. Leaving this space to fill another. Dots on a line. And moving forward with new French themes.

IMG_4445.JPGBonjour!  C’est un nouveau mois et je commence un nouveau chapitre de ma vie!

Leaving this space –

My life thus far has been broken up into segments of time I call – dots; little pockets of places and time on a line.

Each dot or space of time on the line is a significant point in my life.  Births, graduations, marriages, deaths, moves, relationships, jobs etc…

The line includes places I’ve lived, worked, visited.  All chronologically recorded.  It’s quite simple – this line.  And just like everyone’s line, there is an end that we can’t see.  But we continue along the line with faith.

Soon I’ll be leaving a dot that I’ve occupied for 10 years.  A space that’s been very good to me, professionally and personally.

And I don’t yet have another dot to occupy.

Like a scene from a science-fiction movie, I can see the space – the dot on the line that I’ve rested at for the last ten years slowly filling itself in.

Gradually, the big fat sharpie of life gently colors in the dot, signifying that one space of time is closing and another should begin.

Another dot waiting to emerge –

I can see in the distance, the new dot forming – it starts with an arc over the line.  It’s an excited little arc of energy, full of potential, adventure and experiences.

It’s up to me if I chose to roll with this arc of what if.  But why now?  This space is good.  I’m content.  It’s simple enough.  So why am I leaving it?  And why do I feel so strongly that I need to move on?

I have no idea.  Do I thrive on change?  Is it time to learn something new, slow down or mix it up?  Is this the time to count my blessings, to smell those roses?

Whatever it is, I’m walking through the door.  I always do.  I’m going to make it a great dot.  I’m going to live like it’s the last dot YET, I hope I have many more.

We never know how long our dots will last.  Some find fullness in many dots, some find it in one big dot.  On the time line in my head, I have several more arcs waiting like the sun on the horizon at sunrise – peeping eagerly and excitedly for their turn.

Trust.

New French themes –

2017 saw me enhancing my French language skills and running a 50 mile ultra marathon.

2018 will see me continuing to enhance my French language skills and contintinuig to run – possibly a 100 K AND drum roll please…I hope to host a French exchange student.

I’ve wanted to do this for years, but never had the time.  This year, I’ll have the time.

We live in a beautiful area of the U.S., close to several larger cities and intersting Amercian attractions.  I’m excited to host a student and share our amazing America.

Suz