Sunday, February 28, 2021

New Surroundings, New Attitude

It's been quite a while since I last wrote an entry to my blog.   A lot has changed in three and a half years.   I moved to Hawaii for two good reasons -  to start a new job and write more books. 

So now with two new books signed, sealed and delivered (Masquerade Dot Com and The Notes In Her Grandmother's Library)  starting a new job in an industry new to me (aviation industry) has become a dream.  New industry to learn, new people to get to know, new rules in a new state to become familiar with.  One of the most fun parts is the other offices are on different islands, so I've had the opportunity to visit and work on four different islands in just a short length of time. 

Hawaii is not only a beautiful state, but its culture is beyond amazing.  I've learned the importance of respecting Mauna Kea - a mountain on Kona where the natives go to pray.  A consortium of colleges and businesses were approved by the state to build a thirty meter telescope, one of the largest in the world on the top of Mauna Kea.  Thousands upon thousands of Hawaiian natives continue to protest the building of this telescope, so much that they blocked the roads to prevent construction workers from traveling to the mountain to start the actual building of the project.

On the week of my birthday this past July, I paid Mauna Kea a visit.  I didn't understand the hype until my friends and I actually approached the Daniel K. Inouye Highway entry and amidst hundreds of tents and canopy pop-ups there they were in the thousands - Natives, supporters, Ohana and friends, singing, playing music, sharing food, drinks and sharing the history.  I was beyond moved and touched - I initially felt ashamed. I was a looky-loo in a sea of people pained at the disrespect and betrayal of their beloved place of worship. 

But as they welcomed me and my friends, I quietly listened at the passion and the love they shared for Mauna Kea, both its sanctity, its purpose and its history.   Mauna Kea is sacred to the Native Hawaiians and is the zenith of their ancestral ties to creation. The upper regions, Wao Akua, are the realms of the Akua (creator) and the summit is a temple of the Supreme Being in not only Hawaiian culture but also in many histories throughout Polynesia.

I traveled back to Oahu several days after my cultural lesson with love and new respect for this beautiful state that I now call my home.  




I continue to hike the hills of Makapu'u, I enjoy watching the surfers ride sixteen to twenty-foot waves on the North shore, I watch in fascination the wind-surfers on Kailua beach while I dig my toes in the soft white sands.  

I've found an amazing church to worship, and fell into place as I participate in volunteer projects to feed the homeless, pass out blankets and design and sew costumes for our plays.  I'm very happy here and currently at work on another novel.   

On March 5th, 2021 my brand new website will go live.  When you have a moment, please visit at www.robyngant.com  and leave a comment - is it user friendly?  Easy to navigate?  Interesting?  Please let me know!   

As always, thank you for your visit.  You'll be hearing from me again soon!    

Robyn Gant



Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Overdue Library Book

On Saturday mid-morning, I was running the typical weekend  errands (cleaners, shoe repair man, grocery store) and as I was passing the library I remembered that I had an overdue book in the back seat (don't judge me, Yes I still check out books from the library).

I made a sharp right, pulled into the parking lot and hesitantly climbed out of the car. I'd been immediately transported back to my Pomona days when an overdue book meant a fine, no more books until you paid that fine as well as a stern look from the librarian or clerk, shaming me to be more timely.

It had been years, but I didn't want that look again. I started to drop it off in the book drop box, but then I looked around at the parking lot. There were only three cars there. I first became sad, and then angry as I thought about the new generation of parents who were more than likely depriving their children of the privilege of the age old institution of the library: perusing through hundreds of bookshelves, the musty smell of a used book, the bridges to other worlds and of course the responsibility of securing a library card.

I lamented as I slowly walked up the steps. The wind was blowing my hair in my face as I became critical of the world in those short moments - digital games, book downloads, the internet and hundreds of available channels on cable TV that have stolen precious time and moments from a building that housed history, references, novels, religion and music.

I became angry and I quickened my pace, suddenly eager to share with the desk clerk my heartfelt sentiments as a fellow bibliophile. And as I reached the door I saw the sign - The library is closed on Saturdays.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Breast Cancer Awareness


As we close out Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I decided to post some reflections and a personal experience.  At first I was reluctant to share this because I don’t want sympathy, and I don’t want anyone staring at my chest when they run into me (ha ha) but the importance of getting checked regularly and consistently outweighs all modesty.  

This past August I made my annual trek to my favorite trip of the year, Houseboat on Lake Mead.  Sitting shotgun with one of my best buds, Jan, we agreed to cut the trip short so we could return home earlier than usual for more parties and events during the Labor Day weekend. 

Skipping details on how I ended up on a mechanical bull that weekend, I ended up in the emergency room with a miniscule tear to a leg ligament.  The nurse assigned to me fussed a bit as she reviewed my medical history – there was no recent record of a mammogram.   I laughed it off and told her I was too busy and that I was headed to a barbecue, with crutches. 

I remember her raising one eyebrow at me and saying, ‘My screen is flashing.  Get off my screen and go downstairs and get a mammogram.  It will take fifteen minutes.’   Like a little bad ass kid who has to go inside while his friends are still playing outside, I stomped as well as I could and headed down to radiology. 

Thirty minutes later I was home free to run the streets for the rest of the weekend.  So when I received a call several days later requesting another mammogram, it didn’t faze me in the least.  There was no medical history of anyone in my family with breast cancer, and besides, I exercised regularly, drank only bottled water, was very conscious of my intake of certain types of meat and occasionally ate like a vegetarian (my mindset).

A couple of days later I received another call. “Nothing to worry about,” said the nurse on the other line.  “Just a routine biopsy to check out a couple of abnormal cells.  There’s an 85% chance its nothing – probably just calcium buildup.” 

Now I felt just a tinge of nervousness. I arrived at my appointment and for the first time the possibility began to run through my head that I could be diagnosed.  I shook it off, went in for my procedure and went about my business.

So when I received the call a couple of days later that the abnormal cells were cancer cells, I felt sucker punched and stunned.  I also felt ashamed of myself that I was so na├»ve to think that a clean family history and occasionally vegging out would save me from the C word. 

I was diagnosed with a Stage 0 in situ carcinoma.  That means it was sitting in one place and there was the likelihood that it had not yet spread because it had been detected so early.

Two weeks ago, with a massive amount of prayers circulating (and my direct prayer to God asking for healing) I underwent surgery to remove the cancer cells.  Last week the surgeon informed me that there were no other cancer cells in the surrounding tissue they removed. My prayers and the fervent prayers of the saints were answered.  I may still have to undergo radiation and I’ve got to take meds, but I’m cancer free. I was overwhelmed with the support and love from my daughters, family members and friends and I share this story simply to communicate that it doesn’t matter what your history is, one in ten women are susceptible to breast cancer.

I encourage every female to get regular check-ups.  If you don’t have insurance, Google free mammograms in your area.  Please don’t think that because you are generally healthy, run, jog, ride your bike, ski, white water raft, climb mountains, eat like a vegetarian and have no history that you are not prone.  I mean, you are a super woman, no doubt, but breast cancer does not discriminate.   Get checked out. Annually. Please.

Love,

Robyn




Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Lighter Side of Christmas - A 2014 Christmas Story

I was visiting my nine-year old grandson one cold and overcast December Saturday. Delighted to see me, he gave me a warm hug and immediately displayed his newest app on his smart phone - a Santa meter. He held it up to my face and explained, "The Santa meter decides whether you've been naughty or nice." As he pushed the meter activation button, my eyes became wide with anticipation. We both watched as the meter needle swung to the naughty side, bounced and then suddenly became very still. Then the app crashed. He looked at me, confused, and then he cried out, "You broke it!" I smiled and nodded as he ran away. Cuz that's how I roll Santa. The End

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Happy Veteran's Day

Happy Veteran's Day! I had the honor of hearing Mike Ehredt speak today. A touching and honorable story. He ran a marathon every day for 81 days and placed a flag at each mile he ran with a war veteran's name attached to the flag. http://youtu.be/GJokaiyJNVA

Monday, September 15, 2014

A 'Whale' of a Proposal

Beautiful Love story of how my new son-in-law proposed to my youngest daughter. "After dating Liz for just a short while, I realized that she was "the one". A year later, the next big question was, how do I propose to her? Then one day, the idea came to me. Last year, Liz and I attempted to go to Shedd Aquarium but due to the long line we decided to leave. So, I decided that would be the perfect setting for the proposal. Furthermore, Liz’s younger sister would be in town for spring break and that would be the perfect cover for my plan! This time, I would buy our tickets online to avoid the crowds. While online, I discovered that Shedd Aquqarium created a very special way to propose. I was delighted with this new idea and the plot thickened. On Friday, April 5, I dropped off the ring to the event coordinator at the aquarium and she placed it in a black waterproof box. On Saturday, Jacil, Liz, and I headed to the aquarium. Liz had no idea what was about to happen. As it turns out, neither did I. About an hour after we arrived, the power in the whole aquarium went out! The employees started telling everyone they had to evacuate the building. As you can imagine my mind was racing. I thought my plans were ruined and more importantly, they still had the ring! However, I kept calm and jumped into action. I went to guest services, explained the situation and they made special arrangements so that we could proceed as planned. Liz didn’t know what was going on. She thought that I was doing all of this because Jacil was in town. After I spoke with a representative, an employee led us downstairs and backstage to get ready for our Beluga whale experience. Guided by a Shedd trainer, we learned all about beluga whales as we waded in the waters of the Grainger Beluga Encounter Habitat. We spent time feeding, and petting the whale. The whale could even play fetch. The trainer threw out a Frisbee and the whale brought it back. Remember that black water proof box from earlier? Well, the trainer then threw that into the water. This time, the whale brought it to Liz! She opened it and was completely surprised by the ring box inside. She said yes, gave me this hug which I thought was going to break my ribs, and then smiled for the camera." Witnessed by 250 guests, Demetrius and Elizabeth (Liz) were happily married in a beautiful wedding ceremony in Riverside, California. They are making their home in Dallas, Texas where Dr. Anderson is opening a chiropractic and wellness office.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Saying Goodbye to 'Uncle'

Though it usually isn’t spoken, allowed, repeated very often and denied if confronted, most people from large families usually have that one favorite aunt or uncle they worshipped and loved just a tad bit more than the others. What was it about that favorite aunt or uncle? Maybe they loved to cook and always had a spread when the family came to visit. It could have been the uncle that always pulled out his wallet and pushed some money into your hand or pocket along with a smile and the comment, ‘get yourself a little something.’ Then there was the relative that always had the no-nonsense advice – and a tall-tale to back it up. I had an uncle like that. He was my father’s oldest brother, and though he had kids who were old enough to be my parents, he played with us so much we thought of him as a big brother. We affectionately and simply called him ‘Uncle’ for as long as I can remember, and I was a teenager before I knew his real first name. I think some of my fondest memories of Uncle were the stories he told. I never knew if he was making them up, or if he was telling the truth, but I was always fascinated, as he was an amazing storyteller. Some of them bordered on the scandalous to a certain degree: “I used to be in love with my father’s brother’s wife. She was only five years older than me,” he confessed one day when I found a newspaper clipping on a history website that dated back to the 1940’s and told a story of her accidental death at the age of 30. Some were over-the-top lies that had us laughing for years after we heard the stories: He was in the hospital recovering from a heart attack once, and there was only one television. Trying to make him smile, I said, ‘Uncle – there is only one TV. If your roommate wants to watch channel 5 and you want to watch channel 7, what are you gonna do?’ He raised his eyebrows and said, “We’re gonna watch channel 7. You know that’s why I got shot, right? I was whipping someone’s ass in a bar because he changed the channel on the TV.” I said, “Uncle, I thought you had a heart attack?” He paused, raised his eyebrows again and laughed. “Oh, yeah, well, after I whipped his behind, I had a heart attack.” Though he didn’t drink, he hung out on the street corners of south Los Angeles along with a variety of colorful characters: winos, gamblers and the neighborhood postman, giving them all a taste of his philosophy on life: “Do what you want to do – and do what makes you happy.” At 82 years old, I could pick up the phone, call him in the middle of the night and we would talk for hours. If I drove out for a visit, we’d go to the cemetery and visit the graves of our ancestors, and I’d really be in for a treat then, because he always had a new story to tell me about one of them, something he had never told me before or something he made up. Last summer one of my best friends and I drove to L.A. for the day and decided to stop by his house and say hi. He immediately began to fuss at us, saying we were too pretty to be running the streets of Los Angeles alone. “Where are your men?” He said. “Do they know you are out here by yourselves?” A humorous Mack Daddy, he called me several times and left messages on my voice mail to tell my girlfriend ‘She Sho Was Pretty – Tell Her I said Hey.” I guess it was the way he said it that makes me smile to this day – a tinge of a southern accent, a soulful drawl, sexy but not creepy. I think it’s so cool to remember someone this way. Uncle passed away in his sleep on February 3, 2014. I had my initial cry, but I also thought about the awesome times we had and the stories he told. I don’t even care whether or not they were true or fictitious. I think I just love the fact that he took the time to make them up, just to make me smile. Good night Uncle Willie Gant. I’ll see you in the morning.

New Surroundings, New Attitude

It's been quite a while since I last wrote an entry to my blog.   A lot has changed in three and a half years.   I moved to Hawaii for t...