jacksons_grave_1866 May 30, 2016

Joan Larsen’s Travel: Sleeping Among the Trees – Vacationing in the World’s Exotic Treehouses

May 25, 2016



by Joan Larsen It was years ago when we first stepped outside our comfort zone while mountain climbing at Jackson Hole, Wyoming – finding ourselves  following a very tempting sign that promised hidden lodging high among the treetops of a forest.  The stairs upward?  Many more than you would believe.  But the experience of sleeping […]

Alice Friedemann Goes South of the Border: Oaxaca, Part 2 – Day of the Dead and Other Adventures

May 24, 2016



By Alice Friedemann Photos by Jeffery B. Kahn Alice Friedemann continues her travel adventures through the Mexican state of Oaxaca.  If you missed Part 1 last month, you can see it at The Magic of Oaxaca. San Francisco has a wild and colorful Day of the Dead parade and altars every year, but it can’t […]

The Unsanitary Swim Diaper: Not in My Pool, Please!

May 23, 2016



Time for Lila’s annual public safety and health announcement:  even the manufacturers don’t claim that “swim diapers” will contain a mess. Memorial Day is fast approaching, and that means the neighborhood pools will soon be opening for business.  As we wrote last year, the whole concept of a diapered child in a communal swimming area […]

Joan Larsen’s Secret Wonders: The Seychelles Islands in the Indian Ocean – A True Corner of Paradise in Our World

May 18, 2016



By Joan Larsen Marooned in the middle of the Indian Ocean lies an almost unknown archipelago of 115 islands – the Seychelles – that have a pristine, tropical beauty that made me feel that our small ship had drifted into a dream world. As a child, literature had called it “as close to the Garden […]

On Single Parenthood

May 16, 2016



It’s not progress. Some time ago, a favorite website ran a feature celebrating single mothers who have helped to change societal attitudes toward single parenting.  Certainly, there was a time when having children out of wedlock carried a definite stigma, divorce was frowned upon, and widows and widowers were objects of pity, and generally expected […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel Stories: Icebound in Antarctica

May 11, 2016



By Joan Larsen In the Ross Sea portion of Antarctica, the large American McMurdo base has been clothed in darkness for six months.  Those “wintering over” spent the time frozen in by the ice until the spring months.  Most of my many journeys to the frozen continent were on the Russian icebreaker, Kapitan Khlebnikov, the […]

Planespotting in an Electronic Age

May 9, 2016



People also laughed fifty years ago when they were told someone would fly over Berlin.  I remember the excitement in the year 1910 when Count Zeppelin first came to Berlin, and now the Berliners scarcely look up when something sails through the air.  Besides the giant airplanes and the planes for fighter pilots, there are […]

Joan Larsen’s Adventures Off America’s Beaten Tracks: On Foot in the Red Rock Country of Utah

May 4, 2016



By Joan Larsen   Reimagine a walk in the park… as we all know that the wonderful feeling we get when we “discover” the incredibly beautiful places in our world that just may take us a few steps off the beaten path — or the paved road.  In the Americas, I have kept the national […]

Transgender Bathroom Laws: Kind of Useless

May 2, 2016



Which bathroom should a transgendered person use, and should the rest of us even care?  Would we even know?  If we don’t know, how can we know if a law is being broken, and how can we be traumatized? There are several variations on this, and Lila’s feelings range from “meh” to  “it’s complicated.” The […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: Flying In – Celebrating Beatrix Potter’s 150th Anniversary in England’s Incomparable Lake District

April 27, 2016



By Joan Larsen   Is there anyone who has actually made it through childhood without falling in love with the tale of Peter Rabbit, the mischievous rabbit who almost gets put in a pie when he’s caught stealing vegetables from Mr. McGregor’s garden? Well, this year – 2016 – marks the year-long  anniversary of author […]

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 […]


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