How do athletes become top-notch? Is it just natural ability and coordination? Is it luck? Is it the ability to concentrate? Certainly it must be a bit of all three. I am not a qualified resource as to how athletes become adroit at their sport, but I do have some ideas about the sacrifice it can take to get to the top. Many kids in high school dream of making it into the NFL or the NBA. It is their dream and incentive to excel. When someone does achieve the pros, it is definitely reason to cheer and applaud. Some would say that all one needs to excel is drive. I would strongly disagree with that opinion as not all who have the drive to succeed actually make it to the pros. What prevents their making it? First of all, it depends on breaks and being at the right place at the right time. Secondly, it means staying healthy and free from injuries that can derail a career. Finally, there’s one reason that needs mentioning because it is frequently misleading. The culprit is the idea that “practice makes perfect.” That saying sounds good, but there is a flaw that can cause failure. Practice doesn’t make perfect; only perfect practice makes perfect. If you practice without adjusting and raising the bar, you can be doomed to failure or mediocrity. I will confess that I taught myself to play the organ, and I taught myself using incorrect methods. I am grateful that I can play the organ and make it sound rather good. However, no amount of practice using the methods I use will ever allow me to become a concert organist.
I love our church. It is a church that receives all, regardless of their ethic background, their sexual preferences, their religious beliefs. It is a radically accepting church that teaches the love of God for all people. Those who know that I am a gay man know that I attend King of Peace, MCC, regularly with my partner. Last Sunday, we had “straight” friends drive over from Orlando just to attend church with us. I was concerned about their getting there in time for the 10:00 am service, but they walked in ten minutes early. The pressure to come over had come primarily from our friend Judy who has a gay son. It is she who has pressed me for information about the church when we have been together. Her response to the church and the sermon were as enthusiastic as they could possibly have been. It was indeed a beautiful worship service: a wonderful sermon by our lady minister; a variety of music and musicians, and a beautiful Communion service at the end of the service. I was proud to have these friends joining comfortably with us in our place of worship. Thank you, Linda, Mike, Judy and Jack.
February 17, 2017, was one hell of a morning. Dimitris woke me at 5:48, 48 minutes past my usual get-up time. That was okay as I always say, when I over-sleep, that I must have needed it. As I was trying to get my journaling done, Dimitris came into the computer room, ranting because Aegean Airlines did not want to give us flight miles for our hotel in Honolulu. I asked him to calm down and let me finish my journaling, which he did…sort of. He then decided to call Aegean. When he picked up the phone, there was no dial tone. Again, I asked him to calm down. In the meantime, I unplugged the modem and, when it re-connected, we again had a dial tone. Just about that time, the clothes dryer began bumping like crazy and sounded as though it was going into orbit. Dimitris finally remedied the dryer problem. I then headed to the car for my drive to the Y. When I pushed the car door opener, nothing happened. The electronic door opener was dead. I returned to the house, tracking in a large amount of dirt, after giving up on remembering how to un-zip the built-in non-battery key. After several efforts, I remembered the little slot on the side of the opener. Sure enough, the non-battery key then allowed me to open the car door, but inside the car I got a message saying it did not detect the key (because the battery was not sending out signals). When I put the non-battery key into the ignition, the car started so I headed to the Y where I drove around and around without finding a parking place. I’m back home and exhausted. It is 8:42 am.
I try my best to stay away from politics in this blog. However, when politics is the main topic of the day, it is difficult not to express an opinion. I just read a Yahoo headline stating that President Trump has slammed “un-American intelligence leaks.” I too have spoken out against leaks many times. However, this reference is to leaks which have opened the door to the public’s learning what was going on with the Trump team during the campaign season. What is remarkable is how much Trump is reacting to these leaks negatively whereas he praised Julius Assange when he used Wikileaks to weaken the candidacy of Hillary Clinton by hacking into the Democratic National Committee’s website. Since Trump’s election, I have sought to find ways to support him and his administration. However, the chaos that has occurred since his presidency began less than a month ago has made supporting him very difficult.
And now for the rest of the story: Yes, the hotel was a mess. However, the island of Oahu was incredibly scenic, tropical, manicured, and fascinating. We signed up with the Waikiki Trolley Company which meant we could ride for the week on any of their five tour lines: the red line, the green line, the blue line, the purple line and the pink line. Each line went to different sites with the pink line being an on-off line which made a circle around Honolulu with pickups and drop offs every ten minutes. During our touring, we took a multitude of pictures. Certainly the most outstanding stop was at the USS Arizona memorial at Pearl Harbor. There, we were privileged to meet two survivors of the 1941 bombing who were graciously allowing pictures to be made with them. Our big disappointment was not getting to other islands, but that gives us reason to return. One thing that I missed was what I always think of as symbolizing Hawaii: the BIG waves. I learned that they are only to be seen on the north coast, and we did not get there.
When we landed in Honolulu, the ride from the airport to our hotel on Ala Moana was unimpressive. However, when we arrived in the Waikiki area of downtown Honolulu, our vistas confirmed that this city on this island is a place of remarkable beauty. Our plans were to stay for nine days, seeing as much of the island as possible. When we checked into the hotel, we faced our first disappointment. We had paid ahead for our reservation, and the hotel was not as it was pictured in the advertisement. To begin with, our room was not ready when we checked in although we were told it was. Because the bed hadn’t been made, we saw the unmade mattress on the bed which called up images of bed bugs. “Mr. Meticulous,” my partner, was not happy. During our stay, the hotel sold our room to another couple who were given the magnetic key and tried to get into our room. Fortunately, we were there, and the door latch was in place. On the morning of the next to last day, we had no hot water when we showered. Needless to say, we were ready to leave at the end of our stay and praised the beauty of Oahu but complained loudly about our hotel accommodations.
This morning, Dimitris and I are being transported to the airport by our friend, Eido. We transport him to the airport when necessary, and he reciprocates with us. We are headed to the island of Oahu for approximately nine days. Getting ready for a trip is always a challenge for me. For Dimitris, it is excitement only. Thank goodness, he makes all of the airline and hotel/motel arrangements. For this trip, we are using travel miles and paying almost nothing for the flight. Of course, when we return, there is a to-do list for things such as: Dimitris must take the driving test for a state driver’s license, I must work on our income tax, and we must think about purchasing shade-tolerant grass seeds for the front yard. I am posting this blog before we leave for the airport where we will board a Delta airliner later this morning and fly to Hawaii via Los Angeles. I will next be blogging on February 13th, just after we return from the trip. This is our first trip to the 50th state. Aloha