4-gifts November 30, 2016

What Does Electronic Data Have in Common With the Burning of the Library at Alexandria?

November 28, 2016

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The ancient library of Alexandria, Egypt, was charged with collecting the knowledge of the whole world, such as it was in those days.  When Julius Caesar accidentally burned the library during the siege of Alexandria in 48 BC, tens of thousands of volumes went up with it… one of the bigger “oops” moments in history, […]

Joan Larsen Presents: Thanksgiving at the Lake House

November 23, 2016

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end-tgiving

It’s Thanksgiving at the Lake House and the gathering of family is always equated to love overflowing and the feeling of closeness . . .   A warm welcome to our family Thanksgiving!!       The greatest fun is coming early and working together to make decorations for the house   As the children […]

Keeping the Elderly Relevant

November 21, 2016

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Up

Every holiday season, and in some other seasons too, we will make the traditional pilgrimages to our relatives’ homes, and within a couple of days, we are reminded of why we moved out in the first place.  You know what they say:  fish and house guests stink after three days. On this year’s Thanksgiving odyssey […]

Joan Larsen Presents in Photos: The Call of the Wild – the Unknown Story of Jack London Lake in Eastern Russia

November 16, 2016

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By Joan Larsen Among the world’s hidden secrets, the one that has only now been found in the Russian Far East — in the country’s little-known Magadan region – stands out for a unique beauty rarely seen on our Earth.  Its unusual name:  Jack London Lake.  Imagine its waters crystal clear and very cold – […]

Stop the Pussification of America

November 14, 2016

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Parents:  let your kids find their own way in childhood. Let them be disappointed.  Make them strong and confident by letting them do things, not by telling them they are special snowflakes.  The real threat to America is not Trump; it’s the past several decades of helicopter parenting that turns out 20-year-old spoiled, fearful children. […]

Joan Larsen’s Special Places: A Floating World – Breathtaking Images of Antarctica’s Summer

November 9, 2016

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By Joan Larsen I believe I speak for all of us on this planet when I say that – for far too long – we have been stirred daily with a world in turmoil.  .  . a situation not likely to end anytime soon.  We are not the carefree people we once were.  .  . […]

Lauriate Roly Remembers: Cynthia

November 7, 2016

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By Lauriate Roly Would you like to read a story about me?  It’s true and has hardly ever been revealed to anyone. Our newly bought clothes always needed alterations and adjustment, and Mrs. Allen, my mother’s good friend, was a great seamstress and expert on the sewing machine.  An ancient Singer, which she and her […]

Joan Larsen Presents Katrina Kenison: Four Lessons I Learned From Surgery

November 2, 2016

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Hiking-Sunset

Once again, we welcome a rare and wonderful writer, Katrina Kenison.  Each of us can identify with Katrina today and in all our days, as we learn to embrace rather than deny the wealth of experience an ordinary life can hold.  We find her open and honest as she shares her experiences in the bewildering, bewitching journey […]

A Halloween Treat: Robbie Burns’ “Tam O’Shanter”

October 31, 2016

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tam-sally

Perhaps you are familiar with Cutty Sark Scotch Whiskey, with the ship on the label.  You may know that the liquor is named for the Cutty Sark, a clipper built in 1869 for the tea trade, and later used in the wool trade.  She was fast, holding the speed record from Australia to Britain for […]

Joan Larsen Presents: In Photos – Searching for the World’s Most Unusual Trees

October 26, 2016

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By Joan Larsen I admit. . . searching for trees usually is way down the list of things we plan to do in life. Way down. But then – then – I actually spent the night in a nest, a so-called human nest lodged in a tree in Big Sur, California. If you are “into” […]

So You’ve Never Heard of Steampunk?

October 24, 2016

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There was Lila, invited to a Halloween party at the last minute, and not a thing to wear. What to do, what to do… Aha! For Christmas a few years ago, some wonderfully strange friends had given Lila Ebola and Plague. No, no, not the actual diseases; these were somewhat cute, plush, giant microbe toys […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: Living Through a Rogue Wave in the World’s High Arctic

October 19, 2016

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TopLine

By Joan Larsen ee ee Even now, more than a decade later, that wave – a wave coming out of nowhere, heading toward our ship with such incredible speed out of nowhere –will forever remain indelibly in our minds. All of those passengers on our ship that were with me that day were seemingly mesmerized by […]

Our Ex-Feral Cat: Happy to be a Pet

October 17, 2016

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Yesterday, 16 October, was National Feral Cat Day.  I would never have known this if not for some cat interactions around our own house some time ago. It all really started over 20 years ago now, when we rescued two kittens from a rather dismal shelter.  My husband called it “taking them off death row,” […]

Joan Larsen Presents Wayne Ranney: Kingdom of Bhutan – Hike to the Tiger’s Nest Monastery

October 12, 2016

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Paradise.  Eden.  In all of south-east Asia, Bhutan remains the secret sanctuary of sanity and peace.  I have been reluctant to share my secret as, frankly, I have wanted it for myself – and managed to keep it that way for some years.  The beautiful quotation from the master, P.G. Wodehouse, is one I find […]

In Honor of Columbus Day: That Yummy Columbian Exchange

October 10, 2016

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sancocho

When I lived in Europe, I once had the chance to stay in one of the older homes in Zurich.  The keystone above the doorway was engraved with “1402.”  “Oh, was this house built in 1402?”  I asked, impressed with its age.  “No,” came the reply, “It was renovated in 1402.”  Wow!  As I lay […]

Joan Larsen Presents Katrina Kenison: This is 55

October 5, 2016

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“To really value life is to know this:  the best moments are often the ones we might miss altogether if we weren’t paying attention.” Katrina Kenison As we too become immersed in the latest chapters in our lives, there is something so reassuring to know that we are not alone.  And so it is as […]

In Honor of Oktoberfest: Trachtenmoden!

October 3, 2016

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This weekend marks the final days of Oktoberfest 2016.  Who hasn’t heard of this annual German festival, with its beer and bratwurst, its oom-pah bands and fest tents, its dirndl-clad women and lederhosen-clad men performing traditional Bavarian dances? When we were in Germany, we never did go to the “big Oktoberfest” in Munich.  What many folks […]

A Personal Story From Joan Larsen: Remembering Steve Jobs

September 28, 2016

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By Joan Larsen Moments in life – usually small moments, totally unexpected – are the ones remembered forever.  It was the very late 1970s, at a gathering in one of the beautiful small villages that dot the gorgeous peninsula running south from San Francisco to San Jose, that I met Steve Jobs.  The name then […]

Language Barriers and Customer Service

September 26, 2016

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Would you expect to be able to move to a foreign country where you don’t speak the language, and be hired for any kind of job where you have to interact with customers on any level?  This is an enduring mystery to me.  Not to mention, kind of frightening to contemplate.  I can get by […]

Joan Larsen’s Life Stories: The Aftermath – Love Letters from a Scammer

September 21, 2016

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By Joan Larsen All of us deserve to have happy endings in life.  For my own “adopted” daughter, Diane — a mother with children just out of the nest — the door had been opened for her . . . a new chapter in life seemed to hold great promise. She was older now, more […]

No, We Are NOT All Getting Taller or Growing Bigger Feet

September 19, 2016

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Hey manufacturers: remember that there are plenty of us still around who haven’t grown much in the last several decades. Lila is a mere five feet tall with size 5 feet, a situation that has not changed since… oh, probably about age 13 or so. So when headlines trumpet that we are getting taller, or […]

Joan Larsen Presents Eileen Rockefeller: The Rewards of Labor in Beauty

September 14, 2016

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In this week following Labor Day, we are delighted to welcome writer-author Eileen Rockefeller to join us.  Her words are always deep – and deeply felt… and this week is no exception.  We too believe that spending time in the natural world tends to help wash away our worries and concerns.  It can wipe clean […]

I Never Wanted to Be a Mommy

September 12, 2016

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Adoption

I ran across this really excellent article by Jessica Valenti in The Atlantic:  “Not Wanting Kids Is Entirely Normal.”  Thank you, thank you, thank you Ms. Valenti.  Everyone needs to read this.  It exposes the dirty, secret truth about parenting:  there are a lot of mothers out there who regret becoming parents, who didn’t know […]

Joan Larsen’s Caribbean Adventures: Touching Down on the World’s Shortest Landing Strip

September 7, 2016

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By Joan Larsen Some things in our world never seem to change.  That tiny volcanic island of Saba, only 5 square miles in size and actually hidden in the vast Caribbean, lies only a beautiful 20-minute plane ride from the wondrous isle of St. Martin – but still remains caught in another time. For years, […]

Lauriate Roly Remembers: The Big… Balloon?… In the Sky

September 5, 2016

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Lauriate Roly recalls a strange phenomenon. By Lauriate Roly In 1952 I lived in the Town of Mount Royal, a sub-division of Montreal. I had just left home at about 8 o’clock in the morning for my drive to work. It was a lovely clear warm day. I drove a convertible in those days and […]

Joan Larsen’s Quest: North America’s Ultimate Escape – The Uncharted Wonders of the Bugaboos of British Columbia

August 31, 2016

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By Joan Larsen In the uncertain world that we find ourselves living in today, we find that we long for a change of scene – and yes, escape – a bit more often than we once did.  But travel can be costly.  .  .  and the last thing we want to do is arrive at […]

All I Need to Know, I Learned From Comics: Baltimore Comic-Con This Weekend!

August 29, 2016

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This weekend, for anyone who can make it, is the Baltimore Comic-Con! Hubby and I were fortunate enough to attend the event a couple of years back.  It was apparently an enormous success and drew the largest crowds seen in… maybe the whole history of the event, at least up to that point.  The line, for […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: Walks on the Wild Side – Exploring America’s Zion National Park

August 24, 2016

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Home-Zion

By Joan Larsen The summer of 2016 . . . and a day to remember forever.  Monsoon rains with high winds from Arizona had travelled northward, flooding all in that direction.  Waterfalls never seen before poured from the Grand Canyon’s rim, turning the Colorado River at its base a muddy red.  Seasoned rafters on the […]

Off to College? Choose Your Major Wisely

August 22, 2016

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Education

Okay, kids, it’s back to school time, and some of you are heading off to college.  Soon you will be faced with the decision of what to study.  Before you go prancing forth with some naive notion of “following your dreams,” be sure of some things: 1)  There are actually jobs to be had in […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: Living With Giraffes

August 17, 2016

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By Joan Larsen Enchanting. . . and as you glide up to Kenya’s Giraffe Manor, you will find that your breath is actually taken away by the sight of a stunning estate – made of bricks from long ago — with beautiful vines covering it. But your eye is actually caught by a bevy of […]