Hope is a thing with feathers . . . Emily Dickinson

Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul                       And sings the tune without the words                                                              And never stops at all.                                                                                                And sweetest in the gale is heard;                                                                              And sore must be the storm                                                                                      That could abash the little bird                                                                                   That kept so many warm.                                                                                           I’ve heard it in the chillest land                                                                                  And on the strangest sea.                                                                                              Yet never, in extremity,                                                                                                   It asked a crumb of me

~Emily Dickinson

My favorite bird by a long shot is the blue bird.  They visit me often in my yard pecking bugs from the garden or hopping into the bird bath for a quick rinse.  When my mother was alive, she loved the blue birds and at the end when she could barely speak she pointed at them from her bed which overlooked the garden to let me know that she knew they were there and saying hello.  Now whenever I see a blue bird I am convinced Mother sent them from heaven as a harbinger of hope and  to say a quick hello to her daughter.

One person’s theory on the meaning of the poem.  “Emily Dickinson describes hope as a bird with feathers that perches in the soul.  Where it sings without words or pause.  The song of hope sounds even in the Gale and in the coldest places.  She says that she hears the bird of hope “in the chillest land” and “on the strangest Sea” but it never leaves her alone and it never asks for a crumb of her, even in the worst conditions,”

So next time you see a little bird saying hello, think of it as a harbinger of hope reminding you of the constant singing in your soul.

Theater is alive and well in Carmel CA! Sister Act at Pac Rep

Not only do we have ballet in Carmel, but we have wonderful theater – New York has nothing on us!  Pacific Repertory theater – affectionally known as Pac Rep– has many fine offerings throughout the year.

Last Thursday my husband and I saw “Sister Act” and it was fabulous!  This  is musical based on the 1992 hit movie that starred Whoopi Goldberg.  It was adapted for theater and made into an amazing musical that played in London and Broadway and all over the country including Carmel.  The lead was an equity actress from New York with the rest of the cast filled by excellent local actors.  What great talent we have on the Monterey Peninsula!

Left Lavonne Rae Andrews, Mother Superior and Right Jalene Goodwin, the lead playing Deloris Van Cartier

It’s interesting to read their bios.  Many of them have other careers like Bri Slama, who teaches 5th graders at Spreckels Elementary School and Seaneen Scott Sullinger who played Sister Mary Patrick.  She’s a neonatal nurse at Community Hospital.  They all seem to find time to fulfill their passion though!

Left, Bri Slama, Sister Mary Robert Right, Laavonne Rae Andrews, Mother Superior

Unfortunately, last night was the last night for Sister Act, but there will be many more wonderful plays and musicals coming up including a wonderful holiday show.  So if you are planning a night out soon – don’t forget to check out what’s at Pac Rep.  It is located at the Golden Bough Theater on Monte Verde and 9th.

Thinking about moving to Carmel after the first of the year?  Give me a call and let’s chat!  Susan Clark, Alain Pinel Realtors.

All I Want for Christmas . . is the Smuin Christmas Ballet

The 2016 Smuin Christmas Ballet in Carmel-by-the-Sea

The Smuin Dancers seem to fly through the air!

For me the beginning of the holidays starts with my husband and I going to the Smuin Ballet at the Sunset Center every year.

Susan Clark and hubby, Allan Freidson
The Sunset Center deck out for Christmas

Now previously my husband had never gone to a ballet and if I had approached him and said, “Let’s go to the ballet,” he would have looked at me like I was crazy and gone back to watching the football game.  I think it was about 5 years ago when I heard about the Smuin Ballet coming to town with a special Christmas program and I knew I would need to be a little cagey to get my hubby to come along.


I gave him a call and said I’d like for him to go to a dance with me.  The other end of the phone was silent and then I followed it up with, “Remember it’s my birthday!”.  He said OK (how could he refuse on my birthday!) and I think I told him the morning of that we were actually going to go watch other people dance.  Long story short, he actually really liked it.  Particularly, Act 2.


ACT I Classical Christmas is what most of us think of as ballet.  However ACT 2 Cool Christmas is full of fun acts with wonderful dance numbers including some jazz and tap and Irish dancing thrown in.


One really fun and favorite dance number is to “Santa Baby” sung to the Eartha Kitt recording. The singer drags a long boa onto the stage and she is offered all kinds of worldly goods as the song lyrics indicate.  In honor of the boa – everyone was asked to wear a boa to the performance.  Thus, the red boa below gracing my neck!


I have to admit though, my very favorite is the Christmas in New Orleans number seen below.  It’s just so clever and I love the music by Louis Armstrong.

Christmas in New Orleans
Christmas in New Orleans

The grand finale is White Christmas with snow drifting down onto the stage and  into the audience and the dancers jubilantly dancing and playing in the snow.

White Christmas
White Christmas

So that’s it — my holiday season has started!  Now we’ve picked out our Christmas tree . . .

Picking out the Noble Fir Christmas tree in Carmel.
Picking out the Noble Fir Christmas tree in Carmel (tree to my right was the winner)!

and trimmed it. This was a team effort.

Susan trimming tree - the truth is she did the "heavy lifting" on the trimming.
Susan trimming tree – the truth is she did the “heavy lifting” on the trimming.
Allan helped!
Allan helped!

And voila!

Finished tree. I decided this year to go with less is more. The tree itself was so beautiful I went easy on the ornaments.
Finished tree. I decided this year to go with less is more. The tree itself was so beautiful I went easy on the ornaments.

And so our holiday season has started.  I have decided not to be in a frenzy this year.  I want to sit back and enjoy the holiday season by getting together with good friends, enjoying being with my wonderful husband, enjoying all the decorations, singing carols, getting in touch with my spiritual side, and just enjoy being.

All my best holiday wishes to you to experience love, joy, peace, happiness, and good health in this holiday season.  Enjoy your friends and family and hold them close.  All my best!