Sandhexe or a windsurfing witch

“Every day may not be good… but there’s one good thing in every day!” ~ Alice Morse Earle

onegoodthing week #9

pendant, necklace, hammockRemember how in last week’s #oneGoodThing post I said that there was one more good thing visible in the photo that happened in my life recently? Well, here is its story. But be warned, it is a little long as we both tell it the way we experienced it. First off my version.

It actually all started a few months ago. You know, Christmas and hubby asking if I had a special wish, which I didn’t. But we were talking about rearranging my home office (again) and possibly needing another small cabinet. For a previous birthday David had researched and ordered a handmade one at a local shop and it took a bit longer than anticipated to get it. A matching one would be really great.

So, when David told me that his present wouldn’t make it for Christmas or my birthday, I wasn’t too surprised and Valentine’s is never a big deal for us anyway.

A big deal is our vacation, especially since I was pretty stressed from work and a more than a bit anxious to go windsurfing again due to my injury last year. But we booked and packed and got to the airport – no problem. The airport security is where I should have gotten suspicious. Usually I get picked by security for a ‘special check’ due to all my camera gear. However, this time David’s backpack landed on the ‘please double check track’. Mine was already through and we were standing and waiting for what seemed forever. Security guards were chatting here and there, but nobody seemed interested in checking his backpack. Standing and waiting.

David seemed a little nervous, which I found odd. But even weirder was when all of a sudden he suggested that I should go to the lounge by myself and he would follow. I mean, why was my hubby pushing me away? Why did he want me to leave? We never split up at the airport before. It was very strange. But I didn’t care, we were going on vacation, so I pushed the weird feeling away.

It didn’t take much longer, the culprit was a tube of sunscreen that David insisted on having handy. We got to Bonaire alright, everything was good, until I discovered that I was missing my box of graphite and ink pens. Disaster! I had really wanted to draw. I looked everywhere. Twice. Including David’s security checked backpack. Which is where I stumbled over a wrapped package. Well, let’s just say my thoughts were ‘why the heck would he bring a box of pralines to a hot tropical island? But, who cares – I don’t want chocolate, I want my pens?! But no luck, so off to dinner we went. And imagine this? We forgot to bring the bug spray. So, of course, hubby offered to go back to the room and get it. And not only brought back the bug spray, but also that wrapped package and gave it to me.

Suffice to say, it was a very big surprise. Especially since he had hinted at getting me ‘something’, and me expecting a cabinet…, for Christmas, birthday, Valentine’s Day etc, but it never happened. It just never was ready.

He is pretty good at keeping a secret and surprising me. Hahaha – the waiter in the restaurant even thought it might be a proposal happening. And it sure was equally emotional. Of course, there is an engraving on the front (‘brooms are overrated’ – fyi, the part you hold on to when windsurfing is called ‘boom’) and also on the back (‘may the wind be always at your beam’).

And the good luck charm worked. I went back windsurfing and no injuries to report.

Sandhexe: Another Perspective

Told and photographed by David.

Around last summer I wanted to try to get Claudia a unique gift. I had been getting her things she wanted (e.g. things for her computer, or camera) for the last few birthdays, Christmases, etc. which went over well, but I wanted to do something unique and surprise her. I love surprises. At some point I hit on the idea of an item that fit her nickname “Sandhexe” (* brief explanation below), and started looking for some item of jewelry that would be a beach themed witch. However, after the usual searches for it came up empty, I was temporarily stumped. At some point in the fall I remembered the idea of 3-D printing being used to do custom jewelry, and did a search. I had also become more ambitious with the project, and wanted not just a beach theme, but a witch on a windsurfer (if you’re going to go custom, why not go for something really unique, right?) However a lot of the places that advertised custom jewelry really just took standard pieces and added some engraving, rather than doing a complete one-off piece, and even fewer of these were local.

After a thorough analysis (can there be any other way with me?), I decided on a place in NYC that seemed to fit the bill. I sent them my initial request via their online form, and got a confirmation that they would get back to me in a few days, but weeks went by, and they never did. Phone calls went unanswered. It was now early December so there must have been a Christmas backlog. I was back to square one. I did another, more exhaustive search, and found a place here in NJ that seemed to fit the bill. No online forms, so I called and was initially met with a rather skeptical response. “You want a witch on a windsurfer? Seriously?” But I persevered, and sent a very long email to them with a whole bunch of images of witches, and a whole bunch of images of windsurfers, and a very thorough description of which parts of which ones I liked. After about a week I was contacted by the jewelry designer, who was much more enthusiastic than the salesperson – after working on run-of-the-mill requests, mine was apparently something interesting to work on! He did an initial sketch, which I then modified in Photoshop (e.g. “let’s change the angle of her back leg, and use a hat that looks more like image 6”). Since we were not using the same software, he had to take my modified sketch and convert the changes back into CAD, and we ended up going back and forth with this about five times.

I really wanted this to be a surprise, and was nervous a few times when I had saved images to the hard drive, and Claudia was looking through the files for one of our collaborative projects, but thankfully she missed these images. The other issue was the shop. It was close. Too close. In fact it was so close that it was less than a mile from Claudia’s work and along the same way she drives home, so I had to be careful when I went to the shop – I didn’t want her seeing my car parked out front. I timed my visits carefully.

Time was also slipping by. I had initially thought that maybe I could give it to her for Christmas, and if it’s late, it will work for her birthday. But by now, even Valentine’s Day had passed. However, the perfect opportunity had presented itself – our annual vacation in Bonaire! I would just have to find some way of getting it there without her knowing. This could be a problem; I couldn’t pack it in the suitcase since she was sure to see it either packing or unpacking. Since I was usually responsible for packing all of our electronic stuff in my backpack, this seemed the safest place. I wrapped the box up in some inconspicuous brown paper, and placed it next to my laptop without her noticing.

The next morning at the airport, however; horror! My backpack was kicked out of the security screening for a special inspection. Did they notice the pendant and think it looked like a Chinese throwing star perhaps? Would they ask me to take everything out? Would the brown paper look suspicious? I was starting to sweat. I tried to laugh it off “Dear, you are usually the one with the special inspection because of your camera, but today it’s me. Isn’t that funny.” I had no idea what they would want to look at, and the TSA guy who was doing the special inspections was busy with another piece of luggage. The minutes seemed to drag on. My pulse raced. “Say, dear, this looks like it will take a while. Why don’t you go to the lounge and relax a little. No need for you to stand around waiting.” And of course, my ever supportive spouse said “No problem, I’m in no hurry. I’ll stay here with you, dear.” It took them a good 10 minutes to get to my backpack with my blood pressure steadily increasing. By now I was sweating bullets.

“Is this yours?” said the TSA guy.


He poked around in one of the side pockets. Thank heavens. It didn’t seem to be the ‘take everything out of your backpack’ type of search.

As he pulled a tube of sunscreen out of the side pocket, I felt a wave of relief wash over me. “There is a limit of 3 oz,” he said.

I didn’t care if I had to throw it away, but as I was usually so careful to check these things, I responded “I thought it was 3 oz, let me check.” A check of the label proved me right, and a few moments later we were back on our way again.

We arrived in Bonaire and were almost finished unpacking. I had been careful to put my backpack to the side of our room, and had taken out everything I thought Claudia might want so that she would have no reason to look in it… but I had scarcely turned my head in the other direction when…

“Dear, I just can’t find my pens anywhere, let me check in your backpack.”

“Don’t worry about it, dear, I can…” but it was too late. She was already fishing around in the main compartment. “Say, what’s this?” she asked, pulling the brown paper package out.

I was thunderstruck. What should I say? “Oh, that’s nothing important. Say where did you last remember seeing your pens?” It was the best I could come up with spontaneously. And it was terrible. If I were in a spy film, they would have been torturing me for more information at this point. But thank heavens Claudia was more preoccupied with finding her pens than with an uninteresting small brown package. I wanted to give it to her at dinner, and decided that the first night would be the best – who knows if my luck would hold further.

And the rest as they say, is history. Claudia got her special good luck charm that very night.

And that’s it. That’s the story of my very good thing(s). Below are a couple of close ups of the pendant. If you ever are in need of a fully custom made piece of jewelry, I am sure David will be happy to give you the name of the shop.

I hope you enjoyed the story written from both our perspectives. It certainly brings smiles back on our faces.

Have a great week!

Claudia & David


(*) in case you are curious about my nickname ‘Sandhexe’ – it is German and the literal translation is ‘sand witch’. Some years ago, I started making ‘sandwiches’ for when we went on a drive or lunch etc. etc. and David really, really liked them. And as you know we are always speaking German, English and Denglish, so it wasn’t long that the term ‘Sandhexe’ made its appearance. ‘Sand’ = ‘sand’ and ‘Hexe’ = ‘witch’ – my nickname was born.

#onegoodthing is a collaboration between Susi of Bocafrau and Leslie aka RoryBore of Ink Interrupted and myself. Together we are hosting this weekly link up to remind ourselves of and surround us with some positive thoughts. We invite you to join us and link your blog posts, flickr or instagram photos below and if you are on twitter, or instagram for that matter, don’t forget to tag your tweets with #onegoodthing.

[Tweet “The Monday #linkup party #OneGoodThing – spreading lots of positive words, starting every Sunday night with @RoryBore @Bocafrau”]


windsurfing, witch, pendant

windsurfing, witch, pendant


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9 thoughts on “Sandhexe or a windsurfing witch”

  1. That really is an amazing gift. Definitely unique. I’m happy it kept you safe and from injury. 🙂 I also liked reading both of your perspectives. Have a great week!

  2. Oh, it’s cool!
    What a great story, and getting to hear both points of view. That pesky sunscreen was a big problem!
    I love stories like this. I love surprises. I need to do one for Cassidy.

    • Hah – the sunscreen! It almost ruined everything 😀 In retrospective it really is funny. And I still remember that very weird feeling of David wanting to get rid of me – a first! Surprises are fun. I hope you get to surprise Cassidy (and tell us about it).

  3. I LOVE IT!!! And I LOVE LOVE this story. You guys!!! You are so special – doing this kind of thing for one another. So amazing.

    I should let Left Brain take over one day and tell the story of how he managed to get my engagement ring to Cuba without me knowing!

    You are both brave men. 🙂


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