home-Windermere April 27, 2016

Dear Aggressively Hypersensitive Victims, Shaming Others Does Not Help Your Cause

April 25, 2016



I’m tired of aggressively hypersensitive victims acting as if the whole world has to stop and change the way they live, laugh, and relate. Saturday Night Live is not exactly known as a bastion of gentle humor.  It is crass and stupid and cutting and spot-on and hilarious and fun.  So, it should not have surprised […]

Joan Larsen Introduces Katrina Kenison: Expectations

April 20, 2016



It gives us so much pleasure to once again introduce the well-known author Katrina Kenison – who has set the bar so high with her latest book Magical Journey . . . in reflecting what others – well into their 50s as she is- are also experiencing.  We often keep these new thoughts to ourselves, wondering if we […]

Need a Place to Live in Idaho? Break In, Write Yourself a Lease, and The Homeowners Have to Accept It

April 18, 2016



This comes under the “we are a nation of idiots” category. I’m getting pretty tired of lawyers and courts failing to uphold common sense just because we don’t have a detailed, specific, nitpicky written law for every imaginable, conceivable, remotely possible thing that could ever arise. Imagine this:  you are a homeowner.  You do one […]

Alice Friedemann Goes South of the Border: The Magic of Oaxaca, Mexico

April 13, 2016


Photo by Jeffery B. Kahn 2015

By Alice Friedemann I’ve wanted to go to Oaxaca, Mexico for over 40 years – ever since a college roommate came back from an archaeology dig with the most gorgeous rugs and carved wooden animals I’ve ever seen.  Flying in in the dead of winter this year, seeing this beautiful warm city with amazing native […]

Tax Time: Why So Complicated?

April 11, 2016



Tax preparation shouldn’t be a choice between paying a “professional” or losing a couple of days of your life every April. Most people grouse about the high cost of taxes (and how the government spends the taxpayer’s hard-earned dollars).  Another big gripe, though, is how complicated they are. “Just use some software,” was the helpful […]

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Joan Larsen’s Travel: High Adventure in a Very Thin Country

April 6, 2016



By Joan Larsen As we enter mid-life and then a bit beyond, I believe we all look forward to what we want “the rest of our lives” to be.  Our children are on their own, vacation times are longer — but we want to make each moment count now.  Our own country is our “comfort zone” […]

Another Misleading Internet Meme

April 4, 2016



I’m getting tired of seeing certain Internet memes like this one making the rounds.  Golly, life is so hard and unfair these days.  A 40-hour-a-week job just doesn’t support us anymore.  You know what?  Life IS unfair, but this is not why.  This is something you can actually fix, if you want to.  Yes, there was […]

Joan Larsen’s Incredible Adventure: Caught in a Country’s Revolution

March 30, 2016



By Joan Larsen   Looking back – not that far back really – I must have felt as we all do as we look at life ahead:  someday, someday, I was going to capture my dream.   A life of travel back then was not in the cards. . . but once my little family was […]

Easter Pondering: I Don’t Understand God as Martyr

March 28, 2016



I readily confess that I am agnostic in the true Greek sense of the word, “not knowing.”  Thus I shall remain, I suspect, because I just can’t get my head around many articles of faith.  This, despite a Catholic-school upbringing and scholarly study of the Bible. With Easter just past, my mind once again ponders […]

The Gift of Nina

March 23, 2016



By Joan Larsen Death is a part of life.  We must accept that.  .  . and do.  We find that the joys jointly shared will become the emotions that will remain with us forever.  Nina remains in my heart.  . and always will. My thoughts leap out.  I find it rare to find a woman — […]

Easter Special: The Art of Ukrainian Pysanky

March 21, 2016



Tired of the same old boring Easter Eggs?  Check out the art of Ukrainian Pysanky at Ann Morasch’s site, LearnPysanky.com.  This is the best website I have yet seen explaining how to make these elaborate decorations, with a great FAQ section for all of your questions. Pysanky are not like our boring, yet generally edible, […]

Joan Larsen’s Hidden Secrets of Our World: Exploring Unknown Wonders In the Heart of Siberia’s North

March 16, 2016



By Joan Larsen A place so remote – in the very heart of Siberia – that only now have the first pictures – beyond beautiful – been shot.   So far, there has been no funding allotment to allow explorers to find their way in and explore these remarkable buttes (that you see above) on foot. […]

Lauriate Roly Remembers: They Laughed When I Sat Down to Play

March 14, 2016



I don’t know how I learned to play the piano. It’s such a ridiculous history that I’m having trouble writing about it.  But, ridiculous as it may be, I’m going to try to tell you, as clearly as I, in my senior of senior years, may relate the story and attempt to put all the fatuous […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: Secret Places in Our World… An Island Called Bird

March 9, 2016



By Joan Larsen A faraway island at the very bottom of the world –far off Antarctica – was destined to have a singular impact on my heart and mind forever.  On any map, it would remain a dot.  A small dot.  Eight of us bobbed in the sea in a small Zodiac raft as the sandy […]

Stupid Tuesday and the Voter’s Quandary

March 7, 2016



Hubby and Lila went to the polls on Super Tuesday.   It felt more like Stupid Tuesday. You know, during general elections, there is a scrum of activity that assaults your eyes and ears all the way up to the “no campaigning beyond this point” sign:   posters, campaign workers, pamphlets and last-second slogans urging you on […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: The Wonder of Journey’s End – Easter Island

March 2, 2016



By Joan Larsen A dream had played in my head since childhood.  Books of the time tantalized me with the stories of what I was soon to read was ‘the most isolated inhabited island on our earth.’   I knew even then that I must set foot on Easter Island.  But it was well over half […]

Joan Larsen on Getting Older… and Becoming the President of Our Country

February 29, 2016



By Joan Larsen   You know . . . while we don’t like to admit it, I think we all – well, once we are 55 or so – think about age more than a little.  There is so much emphasis on youth now  (way too much if truth be told) and most of us […]

Joan Larsen Walks on the Wild Side… The World’s Most Spectacular Footbridges

February 24, 2016



by Joan Larsen First things first:  nobody has fallen off this scary looking bridge.  .  . and it is the only way to get to the other side as you are here to climb Mt. Nimbus – that gorgeous peak rising like a point just ahead.  The Canadian Rockies – in the western part of […]

Amy Berman, Thriving for More Than 5 Years With Terminal Cancer

February 22, 2016



It has been more than five years since Amy Berman was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer, which is always fatal.  Even with aggressive treatment, only 11%-20% of patients make it as far as she has.  But Amy did not opt for aggressive treatment; quite the opposite.   As she wrote just this past November, “… […]

Joan Larsen’s Secret Wonders: The Lofty World Above Zermatt

February 17, 2016



By Joan Larsen Is it really possible to fall in love with a mountainous landscape so incredibly beautiful, with people so wonderfully warm and caring that we found ourselves pulled into this world – the wondrous world of Switzerland and Zermatt – again and again throughout our married lives? After a lifetime of travel, we […]

Can We Just Get Back to Smiling Normally for Pictures?

February 15, 2016


Lila is swamped with a consulting project, believe it or not.  Meanwhile, enjoy this repeat rant from February of 2014! Is personal dignity in photographs mortally wounded?  First it was the weird fake gang-like hand signs (or signs that have crass sexual meanings); then it was the ridiculous kissy-face expression which has spawned numerous references […]

Joan Larsen’s Quest for the World’s Most Remote Islands: Close Calls on Sub-Antarctic Enderby

February 10, 2016



By Joan Larsen   Lying between New Zealand and Antarctica, a series of rugged and remote islands sit like silent sentinels in the harshest seas on Earth, those of the Great Southern Ocean.  Centuries ago, people gave up trying to live on them, surrendering them to their animal counterparts who learned to survive on them.  […]

On the Death of Beautiful Handwriting

February 8, 2016


My Great-Grandfather's hand.

Handwriting is made beautiful by who the writers are to us:  parents, lovers, ancestors.  It is a very real, personal, physical link across miles and across generations.  The death of cursive handwriting deprives us of more than we realize. Just recently, a cousin asked for the family to correspond with her adult son, who was […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel Stories: Cavorting With Hippos in Africa

February 3, 2016



By Joan Larsen By the time our very small plane had landed on a remote airstrip in the African country of Botswana, I felt I had researched every bird and animal we even had a sliver of a chance of seeing. However, it always seemed that the zoo hippos, heads peeking out of water, had […]

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Beware the Machine-Compiled Dictionary

February 1, 2016



Yes, I am talking about YOU, Dictionary.com! Language is a tricky thing.  Some years ago, I stood in a bookstore alongside my Russian friend.  We spotted some pretty well-respected brand-name dictionaries of slang and idioms for the Russian language.  As a student of the language, I was immediately interested.  I pulled on off the shelf, […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: Hawaii’s Paradise: The Island of Kauai

January 27, 2016



By Joan Larsen   Make the world go away . . . and I know I reflect you, and probably most others – in feeling that LIFE – yes, life in big letters – has to be better than it had been lately. It has to. We are all drowning in the ever-changing news cycles […]

This Conservative Meme Got It All Wrong on Reproductive Rights and Responsibilities

January 25, 2016



Fact-based critical thinking is seriously wounded in this country. So… one of my rather conservative friends… a very religious and avidly pro-life individual… shared the below meme, from a Facebook page called “Right Wing News.” A quick scroll through the posts on that page pretty much confirm that it is rabidly uber-conservative, sometimes nonsensically so. […]

Joan Larsen Writes: Live Life to the Fullest – A Room of Our Own

January 20, 2016



By Joan Larsen So often, we do not have time to smell the roses, do we?  Sometimes, it feels as if we have just run a marathon  .  .  . and yet there is still more to do.  Perhaps I am prejudiced, but women are responsible for so many things in our world of today.  […]

Victim of Terrorism? Sue Your County and Get Rich!

January 18, 2016



A widow’s lawsuit seeking $58 million from San Bernardino County for her husband’s death in a terrorist attack is unreasonable, cynical, and greedy.   If one can believe the headlines, San Bernardino County has a lot to answer for. Correctional officers torturing prisoners. Improper strip searches of inmates. Sexual misconduct with prisoners. The sometimes fatal […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: Journey to the Far North – Home to the Polar Bear

January 13, 2016



By Joan Larsen   It was to be a journey to the far north – the lands far above Norway that are the stepping stones to the North Pole – an island group called Spitsbergen on our world’s far edges. There is only a tiny window in summer when the ice opens up enough to […]


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