Friday, August 26, 2011


Just can't believe how much beautiful KF reminds me of photos of me at or near her age. She's much prettier and photogenic. She's a precious and interesting little girl. I think she might be brilliant.

Today she enjoyed a double-dip, side-by-side watermelon ice cream cone. YUM!

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Alone for awhile this morning, an email from my friend BB got me thinking and then writing about matters of faith and my spiritual journey. That led to the Menlo Park Presbyterian Church website, and a John Ortberg message on Forgiveness from his recent series, Who was This Guy?. I know that this is one subject I'll always need to pursue. Forgiveness is a grace I need to practice over and over again.

For a lot of the past few weeks I've been strung-out with fears, anxiety, and my default catastrofying. (Spellcheck doesn't like that word, but it's real. Very real. I've been there too many times. And, psychologists have written much on catastrophe theory as social response.) I know when I'm doing it, or at least eventually own it, but it's so real when I'm in the middle.

I'm over it now. My perspective is clearer; I just have to make sure I don't go too far in the other direction. For me, that would be grandiosity--such a feeling of well-being that all things are possible, and affordable, doable, and brilliant.

Anyway, my conversation with BB led me to some very favorite verses:

Jeremiah 29:11-13
New International Version (NIV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you Hope and a future.
12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Just included this book in my First Paragraph's blog reviews, and am determined to capture Elizabeth Adler's fine collection of quotes she uses to preface each section of Sailing to Capri and think this blog is the best place for that documentation. Food for thought.

No man is ever rich enough to buy back his past. 

The truth is rarely pure, and never simple.
The Importance of Being Earnest

Many a woman has a past, but I am told that she has at least a dozen and that they all fit.
Lady Windermere's Fan

The Book of Life begins with a man and a woman in a garden. It ends with Revelations.
A Woman of No Importance

All love, all liking, all delight
Lies drowned with us in endless night.

Life is a foreign language: All men mispronounce it.

We seldom confide in those who are better than ourselves.

A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies.
The Picture of Dorian Gray

We owe respect to the living; to the dead we only owe the truth.

Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.
Lady Windermere's Fan

The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.
The Importance of Being Earnest

Monday, August 15, 2011


faineance, faineancy, heaviness, idleness, inactivity, inertia, inertness, languidness, languor, laziness, lethargy, shirking, skiving
British slang: slacking, sloth, sluggishness, torpidity, torpor
English Collins Dictionary - English Definition and Thesaurus

Ran into this word in a recent novel and wondered if it captures that certain state of being I fall into when my world is at rest, I am at rest. Maybe. Can't even get my mind around faineance and faineancy--think they refer to a state of being faint...

Some of these synonyms I like; some insult what I consider to be an O.K. state of being for some periods of time...  I like idleness (not as a habit, but sometimes desired), inertness (the body and soul need a good laid-back time every so often), languidness (a high-class or elegant word that captures my take on indolence), languor (who wouldn't enjoy a dreamlike state once in awhile?), and torpidity/torpor (don't I wish these guys were in my vocabulary. Think I'll toss them out a bit in the next few days and see what reaction I get!)

Thursday, June 30, 2011


Today I heard myself describe my relationship with a friend of 35+ years, "With BR, I don't have to tell the stories, I just have to give the updates."

So, so true. Lifetime and/or long-time friends are a true treasure. Whether you're together on a regular basis, or sporadically, when you do meet you start up again just where you left off. She knows your history, your family dynamics, your successes, your failures, your fears, your joys, your weaknesses and your strengths. Tah-dah! She really knows you and has weathered all the years and changes steadfastly committed to you as a friend.

I remember in my younger years feeling that I needed the perfect friend. Knowing full-well that I am imperfect, I still felt there would be the perfect soulmate. Yeah, yeah... Some think that you can find that with a spouse, but girls need girlfriends.

Somewhere early on, I heard-read that we can't expect perfection in other people, instead we should enjoy the parts of each relationship that work well. We can have many friends with different strengths and weaknesses, interests and opinions. What each of us needs is a mosaic of friends. A mis-matched, cobbled together group of friends that in-the-whole form a thing of beauty. A treasure. Fine art.

So, some of my friends share my faith; some know my extended family. Some friends love to cook-read-travel or talk. Some I get together with weekly or monthly. Some I seldom see or hear from. Yet together, this group of old friends enrich and inform my life.

I know just which friend to call when I need to complain or vent. I know which ones love to celebrate. Various friends can empathize with my joys or my frustrations. I can dial-up just the right friend for just the right conversation. Some friends like to do, some like to talk. Some understand my need for aloneness and some require a constant party.

I love them all. I can take each in small or large doses. But, when the chips are down for one of us, the other is confident that the friend is close by and trustworthy; available and competent to say just the right word, to do just the right deed, or to extend a hand, arm, or shoulder at just the right moment.

That being said, I think I'm open to new friends. Not all positions are filled. If life is about growing and changing (and it certainly is!), then I can see that I am in the need of more friends for this continuing journey.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


At what point does self-awareness (which I believe to be a most positive attribute) diverge from the more negative self-consciousness?

I spend a bit of time with some folks who are not in the least self-aware. They move through life propelled by habit, duty, and/or bad feelings. Some are angry; some confused. Most often, I find people who lack much self-awareness to have slidden into depression or at the very least negative thinking, speaking, living.

Life is just too dang short to live it mad or sad.

Being self-aware, I believe, means that you know who you are and accept what you must, and do your best with what you've got. Change what you can and then thank God for the rest. Be willing to take responsibility for your life, your days, hours, and minutes. Make small choices today that build a foundation to support your future plans, hopes, and dreams.

Start looking the part. Begin acting the part. Whether this means a new wardrobe, makeup, or visage. Hold your head up high, smile with confidence. Today begin to be the person you want to be. When I'm down or sliding toward depression, I tell myself: Walk like a duck, talk like a duck, and pretty soon you'll be a duck. Act the part and soon your feelings will line up with your being and you'll feel more in control. Any depression I've experienced comes through situations of responsibility with no control. I can control my own reaction to my feelings. When things feel out of control, I take control of myself.

Make choices that reflect well on yourself. Read, listen, think. Speak less. Again, read. Turn off the music once in awhile and let your mind wander, or leave it on if music inspires deep and positive thinking. Pray. Be still. Listen closely to birdsong and nature. Become aware of the white noise in your life and take steps to make it a positive influence. Get rid of jarring, energy draining disturbances. Live more quietly. Run around less. Be satisfied with lingering and get in touch with your true emotions. Feel anger. Experience passion. Enjoy art. It's everywhere in things large and small. Celebrate the variety and variances in each day. Notice the moments. Don't rush to fill the void.

If you're prone toward self-consciousness--those thoughts of what others see-think-feel about you--stop yourself. You can only ever control yourself. If how you are and what you are doing are wholesome and right, then forget about what others think or say. Be the best you, striving to be a better you. Let the chips fall. Ignore the negativity. If what you are doing, saying is wrong then mend your ways. If your conscience before God is clear, then forget about it. Live a vivacious and centered life. Don't waste an ounce of energy on self-conscious thoughts or behaviors.

As someone smarter than me said, KNOW THYSELF. Get better or get on with it. Seize the day

Friday, April 22, 2011

RESURRECTION DOUBT (The healthy kind...)

Our son forwarded this link to us, and I love it!

This Sunday millions of Christians will raise their voices to share in the ancient Easter acclamation, "Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed!"

But what if you don't believe in resurrection, or at least aren't sure? Perhaps you've been attending church for years but feel a little left out, even guilty, on Easter morning as you wonder whether Christ was really raised from the dead. Or maybe you don't often go to church but are willing to concede a "spiritual" meaning as you attend Easter service with your in-laws. Or perhaps you flat out think resurrection is fantasy, something that just couldn't happen.

If any of these conditions describes you, it turns out you're in good company, as there is a significant feature of each of the gospel stories about the first Easter morning that often gets left out of church services and sermons. Namely, when the heavenly messengers first announced the news of Jesus' resurrection, no one said, "Praise God" or "Hallelujah," let alone, "I knew it -- just like he said!" That's right -- not a single one of Jesus' disciples at first believed the report of his resurrection. In one story the women flee the tomb in terror and silence, and in another when the women do muster the courage to tell what they've seen the men dismiss their testimony as "a crazy story." In all four gospel accounts, it appears that the natural response to word of the resurrection is doubt, fear, and bewilderment.
How come?

I'd suggest two reasons. First, I suspect that the evangelists recognized that the resurrection is, quite literally, incredible -- that is, not believable. As Matt Rosano wrote earlier this week, resurrection isn't simply a claim that Jesus' body was resuscitated; it's the claim that God entered human history and created a new reality all together. Which, quite frankly, can be frightening. After all, if the dead don't stay dead, what can you count on? Resurrection, seen this way, breaks all the rules, and while most of us might admit that the old rules aren't perfect -- and sometimes are downright awful -- at least we know them. Further, resurrection inherently threatens the powers-that-be. Think about it: empires, then and now, exist by the fear that they can take away life. When one of their "victims" goes and comes back, well, the whole power-through-fear enterprise is suddenly suspect.

Second, I think we have glamorized -- and thereby misunderstood -- the nature of religious faith. While some religious leaders may thunder that perfect faith conquers all doubt, biblical authors believed that faith and doubt are actually woven closer together than we might imagine. Doubt, questions, even downright skepticism -- these aren't the opposite of faith, but an essential ingredient. Faith, after all, isn't knowledge; rather, faith is "the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" (Hebrews: 11:1).

Writing a half-century ago, J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings and a devout Roman Catholic, conceded that resurrection seemed like a fantasy, by its very nature almost too good to be true. For that very reason, Tolkien continued, he believed it must be true, as the story we live in needs a better ending than the one we've crafted. Similarly, W.H. Auden once penned, "Nothing can save us that is possible. We who must die demand a miracle."

So perhaps all the questions common at this time of year about whether the resurrection really happened and how, while understandable, are nevertheless a bit misplaced. Perhaps the question instead might be, "Does this ending make sense to you? Does word of God's love overcoming hate, of life conquering death, give you hope?"

Whatever your answer, know that you are welcome at the Easter feast, where confidence and mystery, faith and doubt, are mingled together. After all, if the original disciples had a hard time taking it in, I don't think there's anything wrong with a few skeptics -- and maybe more than a few! -- gathering to hear and share in the story being told. And, who knows, when the worship leader cries out, "Christ is risen!" you may be surprised by how you respond.

Blessed Easter!

David Lose
Author, Making Sense of Scripture
via The Huffington Post

Sunday, April 17, 2011


I hate writing. I love having written.
Dorothy Parker

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Most girls growing up in the 50s and 60s learned early to stuff their feelings, hurts, bruises, individuality, curiosity, independence, and energies. Boys were expected to declaim their needs and opinions. They were encouraged to speak and to act freely. After all, "Boys will be boys." Girls were to be quiet, submissive, and to sit with knees together and hands folded in their laps while boys could run wild and free.

Stand tall, throw your arms out wide, and take a flying leap. Those days are over. We've come a long way, baby!

It's okay to be a late bloomer, just bloom! Break out of that pod that's constraining you. BREATHE! Wake up! Smile; giggle; laugh out loud! Who cares who hears? Live your life. You only get one.

Dare to say what you want or need. Venture out of your normal sphere. Visit a strange city all by yourself. Fly to a foreign country and just listen, just listen and closely observe. Do not speak except to say Pardon with a smile. Maybe just learn two phrases, Please and Thank you. If you are very good with language, learn Good day; Good evening; Thank you very much.

Oh, you should also learn that Toilet is not a crude word. It is simply a word that says clearly where you want to go and what you need.

Think about that... How freeing it will be to go somewhere and to confidently, even stridently, exclaim, Toilet! For once in your life you can ask for what you need without subordinating your needs and wants to anyone or anything.


Trust me, there's no place in the world except the USA where anyone thinks that's a crude expression.

When you get what you need, stop and take note... I asked; I received. I got what I needed. Now try it again.

Cafe, Chai! With creme!

Hotel! Penzion!

You're bi-lingual; tri-lingual. You have skills that navigate the world. Bloom freely. Bodaciously!

Then, after you have practiced saying what you want and need, go home. Stand tall; say what you need and want--all the time. Yes, all the time. People who know what they want and need are admired. Remember all those little boys being little boys? No one told them they weren't important; that their needs and wants were not valid or necessary.

Ask and you shall receive. Say what you mean and ask for what you need/want.

Now, that's a big girl.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


What A Friend We Have In Jesus

What a friend we have in Jesus,
all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
all because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged;
take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful
who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden,
cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge;
take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In his arms he'll take and shield thee;
thou wilt find a solace there.

Blessed Savior,
Thou hast promised
Thou wilt all our burdens bear

May we ever, Lord, be bringing
all to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright unclouded
there will be no need for prayer
Rapture, praise and endless worship
will be our sweet portion there.

Words: Jo­seph M. Scriv­en, 1855. Scriv­en wrote this hymn to com­fort his mo­ther, who was across the sea from him in Ire­land. It was orig­in­al­ly pub­lished anon­y­mous­ly, and Scriv­en did not re­ceive full cred­it for al­most 30 years.

Music: Erie, Charles C. Con­verse, 1868 (MI­DI, score). In World War I, the tune was paired with the words to “When This Bloody War is Over.”

There was a lot wrong about my childhood, but taking us to church and teaching us to love Jesus was one of the very right and best things my parents did, with tons of help from my grandparents.
Daily, I am comforted by lines of Bible verses or lyrics of old hymns that I learned as a child. I am forever thankful for the instilling of God's words and the poetry of the old saints. Osmosis, repetition, rote learning... It all worked.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


It's the dark blue Granger tobacco tin. A hugely defining remnant from the 1950s. Grandpa Korta's woodworking shop was cluttered with Granger tobacco tins. He stored all sorts of sizes and shapes of fasteners and stuff in those cans. A generous and gregarious man, he still would wince and remonstrate and hurry to move us away from his treasures. Oh so tempting with their tight-fitted lids with a centered bulbous handle.

I'm sending this photo to my sisters. I'm unleashing ribbons and waves of nostalgia and childhood memories.

Friday, January 7, 2011


I've always felt fat, even when I wasn't. My earliest fat memory was being in elementary school, in the toilet stall, wondering why there was a roll of fat on the inside of each bent knee... I was way too young to have been so fat aware--especially because that was long before the culture (pre-Twiggy) determined that bones+flesh=normal body weight.

So, by 7 or 8 years old I was embarrassed by my weight.

Now, I realize that I couldn't have been fat; just a typical 8 year old plumping up to sprout up. I believe that my body-consciousness/fat embarrassment launched me into a lifetime of yo-yo dieting. I know that I many times eat for comfort, and then diet at length. I've just about shot my metabolism after a lifetime of serial dieting.

Oh, I'm a good dieter. When I get started (and sometimes have many false starts) I am an all-or-nothing girl. In high school it was the fashion to stop eating, except for hard boiled eggs or some such nonsense. Sophomore or junior year I very successfully dieted, but then of course spiraled upwards again.

Let me state: I was never obese. I was never fat. I was just a bit plump. Yet, from my school years into adulthood weight-consciousness has been one of my most compelling worries.

I was on a bad track for awhile in my 20s. I was gaining 5+ pounds a year and eventually reached a weight that I have yet to ever attain again (until recently). A young woman at my work had mysteriously dropped big pounds and looked like an entirely different girl, so I asked, "How?" She'd joined Weight Watchers (her mother was a lifetime member), so I joined that week. This would have been 1977, so I was all of 27/28 years old.

I lost 9-3/4 lbs the first week. Yep! 9-3/4 lbs. It was a miracle. In three weeks I'd lost 15 lbs. Eventually, I lost 40 lbs. (At this point CA and I took our first trip to Hawaii and I remember being clueless as to how many calories there are in macadamia nuts--203 per ounce (10-12 nuts). Still, I didn't gain on the trip.) My goal loss would have been 42-1/2 lbs., but for some reason I stopped just a couple of pounds short and didn't do Maintenance. Still, I kept it off--fluctuating a few pounds either direction--for two years and then I had my second child.

I returned to WW when JE was a few months old, but between having two kids, working full time, etc., going to meetings soon fell by the wayside. I did lose my baby weight, but then began my 30s and decades of yo-yo dieting. Somewhere along the way I returned to WW and eventually reclaimed my goal weight and followed through Maintenance to become a Lifetime Member.

As I said, I was a successful dieter, but many  every times as soon as I attained my longed-for weight I would start baking and eating and snacking again. Deprivation is also a great motivator. For many years I stayed away from WW, trying lots of methods, and never actually getting my weight up as high as it had been in 1977.

I'd never been consistent with exercise until a bad back drove me in 1986 to begin stretching exercises, and eventually speed walking. My family hates Jane Fonda after years of listening to her videotape Light Aerobics as I worked out in our family room. After 5 or 6 years of Jane, I slid into the habit of just speed walking on the nature trail near our home. I'd walk 3-1/2 miles every morning before work--no matter the weather.

Then, in 1998 we took our second trip to Hawaii and I learned a bit of Yoga at the fitness center at the Marriott on Kalapaki Bay. A gorgeous place to learn Yoga. We'd practice on the deck overlooking the Bay and the Pacific Ocean. Bliss. It was a year or so later before I got up the nerve to get a punch card and begin taking Yoga at Health Bridge. I kept up the speed walking--a great stress reliever, and attended 2 to 3 hours of Yoga practice each week for many years.

When we moved to this house in 2001 I continued my exercise as before, though eventually I started walking at HB because the padded track was easier on my plantar fasciitis. The yo-yo dieting slowed down a bit because menopause slammed my metabolism and I just didn't lose weight like I always had. So, I eventually (2 to 3 years ago) topped my 1977 weight and decided I didn't care... I'm retired and a grandma.

But, we travel a lot and I don't like most photos of myself. A year ago I began a vigorous working-out schedule, which I've continued--scheduling walking dates with friends to keep me accountable. I walk either before or after a Yoga class, so that I've no excuses. Still, I lost no weight.

This Fall my long-time friend and past WW buddy successfully lost 15 lbs. at WW, and by late Fall I'd decided I could lose weight, too, but I waited to join until we returned from our Europe trip and got through Christmas.

We'll see how it goes. So far, so good. I'm very optimistic. I'd become bored with meal planning and dining out options prior to our trip, and knew that having a more structured food life would end run some of that frustration. I'm eating well, and enjoying my food. I've lost a few pounds, and plan to stick it out.

50+ years after that little girl decided she was fat.