Mazel tov, Salude, Bravo, Congratulations

Sandrashart is closed today and until after Labor Day. My son, Emerson Hart, the lead singer/songwriter of Tonic, is getting married this weekend and we will be closing up shop and celebrating this wonderful occasion with close friends and family.

Puppy Lessons

Sweet Pesto, clueless as to why he always lives up to his name

While walking along the beach the other day with my two rescued pups, Sofi and Pesto (who constantly lives up to his name) I was thinking about life and as individuals how our perception on “just being” varies.

Sofi merrily bounces along in life without a care, along the beach, in the park, everywhere. People just love her because in spite of her bow-legs, pigeon-toes and under-bite (but she does have a gorgeous tail that curls high over her back) Sofi is a clown, loving me, I think, but loyal to no one but herself. I often fear that should I forget to be a good mom, she would easily take up with another who’s pastures seem greener. Sofi’s cheerful independence is catching and it makes me happy to be with her.

Pesto, on the other hand, is like Crazy Glue, I can’t walk, talk, sit or work without his trying to get on my lap, under my feet or stuck to my side. I can’t pick him up without his trying to infect me with every germ he has breeding in his long and slimy tongue. I try to give Pesto the extra love he needs, but his neediness and blatant insecurity makes me weary. In other words, I do love him in spite of himself, but Pesto weighs me down at times.

Sofi’s Lesson: We each are unique packages, not one like another. It is our inner package that shines through with independence and a zest for life that helps make us attractive to others. Having confidence in that difference and realizing that it does truly make us special allows us the freedom to be happy with ourselves and honors the fact that we are comfortable with who we are.

Pesto’s Lesson: Clinging vines belong on wallpaper. Few things are more self destructive than thinking that your happiness depends upon another person, career goal or material object. This behavior invariably produces a “Is that all there is?” emptiness at the end of the rainbow. Realizing that your acceptance of and belief in yourself is primary to how you are perceived by others. You are special and celebrate that!

Leaving The Nest

This is the time of year many graduates are leaving their nests, torn from their mother’s breasts and flying away with wings of their own. Long ago I realized that a mother’s job is not to hold, but to help mould and then to let go. Letting go, that last part, for me was the hardest of the triage in helping nurture my children into young adulthood. Without any manual, I know I have made mistakes along the way, as I am often reminded by my ‘perfect’ children, but my heart was always in the right place and beating in their behalf. As their mother, I have always encouraged their dreams and hopefully, given them strong wings to fly away to their destinies.

I dedicated my first book, Behind The Magic Mirror, to my three children and this is what came from my heart:

My journey began before you came. I didn’t know, part of the way, you were to walk with me.

I traveled unknowingly, seeking roads along the way. Looking for that perfect life. An Eden where we could stay.

Sometimes the way was unclear. We often journeyed in darkness, misguided by my ignorance, complicated by my innocence.

I have taken you places you may never have been had destiny not chosen you to travel along with me.

Your journey will take its own course. And as was meant to be, I will continue along my paths, guided by choices yet unknown to me.

Take my hand and bid farewell. Our paths to touch now and then.

Each journey’s day I feel blessed it was meant to be, part of the way, You were to walk with me.


The Memory Wrecking Ball

Whoosh! A great big recking ball is smashing, smashing my childhood memories. With each giant swing it is right now as I write, taking down Roosevelt Elementary School on LaBelle View in Steubenville, Ohio.  Or at least this growing pile of wreckage is playing havoc, trying to obliterate my time within its rooms.

Whoosh! The dark red brick walls that weathered six feet snow drifts, baking sun and mis-guided baseballs  rebounding  off the impressive structure. Gone.

Whoosh! The wooden floors that always smelled of linseed and Pinesol that always squeaked a chorus of ‘foot’ notes. Gone.

Whoosh! The piercing sound of the siren that let us know we had to fly up the two blocks from home as fast as our legs would allow on those days we lingered too long at breakfast. Gone.

Whoosh! My wooden desk that someone decided to immortalize with his initials “PJ” that always filled with my rubber erasure dust. Gone.

Whoosh! The cement steps we ran down at noon to go home for lunch, my girlfriends peeling off at each house they called home. Mothers would always be there with a hot lunch waiting and a kiss goodbye at the end of the hour. Gone.

Whoosh! The second floor windowsill my friend Donna and I leaned from to wave goodbye to her dad’s cousin, Dean Martin with Jerry Lewis after they visited our school. I so hoped to get discovered and go to Hollywood. Gone.

Whoosh! Gone are the memories of leaving the blue collar steel town, filled with smoke from the mills that covered the tall statue of General Von Steuben in front of the court house.

Whoosh! Whoosh! Just as easy as that. Gone.


Tuesdays Are For Traveling

By the time the dog days of August roll around, I start thinking of the change of seasons and cooler climates. So put on your warmest gloves, down coat and pull your hat way, way down over your ears and come to the Antarctic with me. And just in case you are wondering what the ‘red stuff’ is in some photos, it is krill droppings from the Antarctic penguins.

So now, get back to your Pina Colada and find shade somewhere.

How Sweet It Is!

 Grandchildren at times can be both joy and the backside of heaven!

I hate to admit it, but I have finally reached middle age, or to be more honest, I am just on the edge of the  cliff from being ‘old’ at least in my grandchildren’s eyes. And who sees clearer than a bunch of  pre-schoolers with virgin honesty that has not yet been corrupted by watching us adults? No one I have yet to meet in my travels, anyway.

For most of my adult life I have been writing about life around me as I see it. First as a CBS affiliate  anchorperson and then as an author. And for several years now I have been writing about everyday living and how to make the most of it.

I am at my happiest when I am with my family or when I am creating. As much as I enjoy being in the public arena, entertaining, lecturing and helping other people, I was born a very introspective person. For some reason I have not always been able to comfortably share my own deepest thoughts and feelings, even with my closest friends and family.

Perhaps that is why writing so comfortable for me. What I feel, what I think becomes a fountain when put on paper. As a young girl with an older brother who was always off on his own with his friends, I learned to use my creativity to entertain myself. Being able to put my thoughts and feelings down has always been joyful to me.

During the 12 hour ride from New Jersey to Lexington, Kentucky this weekend I learned a new meaning for ‘sweet’ from my 18 year-old  grandson. To me “sweet’ has always meant the stuff that packed the pounds onto my hips, the taste of root beer or the look on my little girls’ faces when they wanted something from me. But today it seems that ‘sweet’ has replaced ‘cool’ in hip teenage vernacular.

So when I think of aging gracefully, if there is such a thing, I say ‘sweet’.  I told him about the comedian Jackie Gleason’s famous line as his character Ralph in The Honeymooners, “How sweet it is!” To me that always meant things were darn good. So maybe this current tweaking of the meaning of ‘sweet’ is not too far from Ralph’s gleeful proclamations years ago when life was rockin’ with Alice.

All of this thought pattern continued when in Lexington I picked up at the local Barnes & Noble a copy of Dr. Andrew Weil’s book, “Healthy Aging.” According to Dr. Weil we all begin aging from the time of birth. (Whoa! Isn’t that a depressing thought!)

He quotes the words of an Eastern philosopher, “The sun at noon is the sun declining; the person born is the person dying.” 

Aging is really not reversible. But on the positive side, his message is clear. At any age it is important to learn how to live in appropriate ways in order to maximize health and happiness. That really should be an essential goal for all of us.



Lexington Here We Come

Our house was always haven to all creatures great and small, thanks to my middle child. A duck (Duddles) I raised on Romper Room from an egg. Dogs by the score. Ponies and horses. Cats found in sewer drains. Mallard ducklings without a mother. Fertile rabbits, hamsters, gerbils and a parrot named Pickles that she got from her third grade teacher. Her life became our way of life for years and I honestly miss that. So once in awhile I have to travel to Lexington, Kentucky to get my four-legged fix.

Sofi and I are closing the doors and going to the bluegrass and stone fences of Lexington to see my two and four-legged family. So, now if you are hankering to smell the green grass, horse manure and acres and acres of fencing along the winding roads of Stephen Foster’s (actually he was born in Pennsylvania)
“My Old Kentucky Home” then grab your backpack and come along with us.

Horses, ducks, bunnies, cats and Finn, Sofi and I are on our way!

Tuesdays Are For Traveling

Touching the “good luck” door in the Forbidden City to solidify that my wishes come true

The Forbidden City was the Chinese Imperial Palace from the Ming Dynasty. For five hundred years it served as the home of the Emperor and is located in the center of Beijing. I wore my best walking shoes for the steps, long walks, and hours of walking throughout the ancient walled city. The buildings, architectures and carvings were exquisite.

Hello Kitty…Goodbye Kitty.