Caving in to good pressure for health


I caved in to pressure from well-meaning family and friends to join an exercise class.  They’ve been concerned about my lack of physical activity since I retired.  Sure enough, my not driving to the office three days a week has obliterated most check points for activity.  Most days find me sitting in front of my computer at home, relishing the time with crafting thoughts and ideas into essays and stories for my creative writing projects. And once engrossed, my warm chair becomes my stationary spot.  When not working on the computer, sitting relaxed while listening to music is my usual diversion.  My family and friends shake their heads and say – uh-uh!  Stand, walk and exercise. That nag, though said lovingly, has hounded my nerves.  Thus, I did something about it two days ago.

I went to the YMCA a few blocks from home.  My first time there, so I was curious about that activity center for families and individuals of all ages. Entering the big lobby that looked comfortable and inviting, my initial urge was to sit on one of the thick cushioned chairs and simply look around, and watch people coming in and out.  That I did.  It was most interesting, and mind-opening to say the least.

Read More »

Nature at its best — be awed and thankful

By:  LPJ

The best movie is watching nature at its best. My son-in-law Matt (my daughter Joy’s husband) shared spectacular photos of sunset on Hermosa Beach, Los Angeles, CA — outstanding images of nature showing off magnificence during the sun’s regular routine of slipping off the horizon for the evening’s rest on our side of the planet. No words are sufficient to describe this sacred grandeur that only God can make. So grateful for this unparalleled art on nature’s canvas.

Enjoy the pictures. Imagine yourself in that setting — and let your heart be filled with awesome wonder at the magnanimity and power of our Creator’s glory, beauty and love. — and be thankful.

(Photos by Matt Rosenburg)

Read More »

Goodbye anxiety

By:  LPJ

Anxiety plagued me days before my eye cataract surgery.  My left eye progressed over the years to what the eye doctor called “cloudy”.  The clouds needed to be rid of with a new lens to be implanted. Not a rare case, so I received much encouragement for the procedure from those who had it. Yet, I was anxious.

Details of the pre-op and post-op were well explained, including fasting eight hours before procedure, and the regimen of eye drops to ensure healing. Eye dropping on a rigid schedule for weeks was intimidating, I admit. But nothing really to worry about, right? I was anxious anyway. Would I be able to follow the schedule of every few hours? What if I forget – would that delay the healing of the eye, I wondered.

So, you see, hard to shake off anxiety. What really is it? The equally formidable term is worry.

Read More »

Words, words, words — elusive sometimes


My grandson Eliott recently introduced me to a word game online called Wordle.  Choose random words and see if the letters jive with those of the mystery word.  Initially, it seemed impossible to find the letters to place in  perfect order in the blocks — clues that lead to the right guess.  It was confusing.  It was frustrating. My interest, however, piqued and I got hooked after I guessed the mystery word, with several attempts, of course.  That one correct answer made me want to play some more.

Eliott and I played this during his 2-minute breaks during his piano lessons. All these, at facetime.  Now, every time I facetime with my grandson to watch and listen to his piano practice, I not only look forward to his music performance, but also to the short breaks that might be sufficient time for us to play wordle again and again.

This brings to mind another word game that my husband and I spent numerous hours on, that it felt almost like an addiction many, many years ago – Scrabble.

Read More »

Struggling with the perfect rice boil for sushi-making

I bought the wrong rice for a sushi-making party at home weeks ago.  Our appointed sushi chef, naturally kind and respectful, showed no visible disappointment when I told him that I cooked the sticky rice for the sushis.  He thoughtfully considered as he remarked, sticky rice will make it difficult to manage the rolls.  Nonetheless, he concluded, we’ll use it.  Too late to get the right kind of rice anyway. The guests had arrived.  He was right, the rice stuck to my fingers when I worked on spreading it on the mat and topping it with the fillings.  The stickiness caused the fingers to work awkwardly and with extra care.  More effort expended in the process.  The wonder of it all, the sushis produced tasted superb, regardless. Even with the wrong kind of rice. Of course, our sushi chef brought delectable sushi fillers.  Maybe, that’s why the rolls ended up superb. Though privately I thought, the sticky rice in the rolls tasted marvelous.

What I didn’t share with the sushi chef and guests was that earlier in the day before they arrived, I tried four times to boil the rice to find the perfect consistency.  Used different amounts of water for the boil.  I decided, the best result was with the fourth try.  Did my persistence pay off?  Hmmm …

Read More »

A fun Saturday enjoyed vicariously

It’s an awesomely lovely Saturday, and I’m not out enjoying the California sun. Not a bit bothered by this, because as I write this blog, from my mezzanine, I am happily looking through the large window above my patio glass doors and observe normal but interesting activities in front of my front lawn – pedestrians leisurely walking and pausing in the shade of the towering trees outside; cyclists with family members, chatting abandonly as they maneuver their bikes on the street sparse of cars driving by; the regular trek of a dog owner only this time, the dog is without a mask; the sweet elderly couple ambling carefully on the pedestrian lane.  And yes, the delicate-stemmed yellow daisy bushes across the street just lazily dancing with the light breeze.  Oh, what a glorious day – and I’m definitely enjoying it from indoors.

But wait – I check Facebook postings from my son and daughter to see what they’re up to at this moment.  My vicarious enjoyment of the day continues.  There’s more to take pleasure in.  I delight in beautiful pictures of Laguna Beach/LA, and starkly attractive photos of San Carlos Beach at Monterey. I am in for a big treat!

Jackson sitting contentedly at Laguna Beach/LA, CA

Burt enjoying his first kayaking experience at Monterey, CA.

Read More »

I got pwned – what did I learn?

Pwn, pronounced as “pone” means to “utterly defeat an opponent, especially in video games”, according to Wikipedia. Webster defines pwn as “to have power or mastery over someone. The word is also used to describe “the act of gaining illegal access to something.”

Recently, I blogged the disturbing experience of being scammed. When I related the ugly story to my daughter, she said, “Mom, you got pwned”. Only then did I know such a word exists, and it lives right in my scam story. It’s been a few days since the sad experience. I am getting over the personal shame of allowing myself to be victimized, and I exposed this in last week’s blog that bared naked my vulnerability. Writing it was an astute challenge, but I did anyway. If exposing my weakness could warn, or better still, save at least one other person from hideous scams, then relating my story is well worth the struggle.

After the “mea culpa”, what has come next, you might ask. For this reason, I am writing this sequel to my scam story –- the self-examination and soul searching for lessons learned.

Let’s talk about lessons.
Read More »

I was scammed – humiliating and painful, but spiritually humbling

I was scammed today! Not smart enough to detect the deceit. Not alert enough to stop the scamming process. Too trustingly foolish. Though not a pleasant story to tell, I am sharing this in hopes that this won’t happen to you.

This morning, I received notification from an email address that included the words, asking me to confirm my order of Samsung Smart TV and cell phone totaling $4,600+, for shipment to Massachusetts. I did not make the order, so emotions immediately peaked. The same email said that if that was not my order, I should call the Fraud Production Team no. 1-888-343-2253. I followed a crazy impulse without checking anything, and called that number. Not aware at that time — I was calling the scammer’s number!

Hair-pulling craziness … but I didn’t know then.  Pure nuts!
Read More »

A pat on the back for my cooking talent, at times elusive

I ask myself why I don’t engage in cooking my favorites often anymore. For one, my children are grown and married and living away from home. I would have loved to cook for my grandson, but he, my son and his wife are an hour’s drive away. My husband had gone to the beyond two years ago. He loved the few cuisines that I mastered, though he really was the master chef at home. He had such talent, creative skill and speed in cooking, he never failed to amaze me. Cooking was not his profession; it was a hobby and a passion.  The man of the house often was the toast of the party, and I was very proud of him. Adding here, that I always cleaned up plenty after him. Small pay for the gourmet dishes laid out on the table. So, cook for myself? Hmmm … not much motivation there. Unless there’s a party to prepare for at home … or a potluck to contribute to … or, I’m craving my own favorites, like now.

Read More »

Mayon, the sleeping beauty is roused – what prince kissed her?

It was a sleeping beauty then – in December 2017 when I was on tour with my relatives in Legazpi, Albay of the Bicol Region some 330 kilometers south of Manila, Philippines.  Mayon Volcano, as in my other past visits, hid her face behind low cottony clouds. She is said to be bashful. My opinion is she’s veritably private, what with streams of visitors from various parts of the country and the world, eager to see her, waiting for the cloud cover to lift so they can view her alluring face.

Romantic legends tout Mayon as a timid maiden known as Maganda (meaning beautiful). Maganda captivates numerous suitors that lie frustrated on her slopes, because the elusive lady is imperious and difficult to please. And when she concedes to occasional outbursts, suiters scramble down her slopes away from the fuming maiden. Almost untouchable, but imperial in a mysterious way – poised proudly with a perfect cone magnificently pointed to the sky, and graceful slopes shaped by eruptions of the past, the latest of which was in 2013, and then now. And now, what audacious, impertinent prince kissed her that she is roused?

Read More »

Broccoli to balance the comfort food

My doctor won’t agree  – comfort food medicates my stress.  But hey, I’m not so bad.  On a scale of 1 to 10, I’m likely 8 on narrowing the gap between choosing food that’s good for me vs. less healthy comfort food.  That’s definitely leaps of  improvement from what it was when I was decades or more years younger.  The redemptive part is, when I pig out on comfort food, I make it up with pots of nourishing food.  Then I reckon I’m forgiven.

Read More »

Look at Ms. Daisy now

For over four decades, my husband drove Ms Daisy. I was Ms. Daisy, happy to get from point A to point B without the knack for learning or knowing directions. He liked driving and rendered me this service as one of the perks of love. I graciously accepted and enjoyed being the sitting queen.

When he passed nearly two years ago, I intensely grieved over the loss of my love — and sorely missed my driver. I had to re-learn driving skills and confidence, thanks to my son’s thoughtful gesture of enrolling me in driving school. Now, Ms. Daisy drives, and more, I’ve learned to gas up the car, steer up to car wash lines, and go to auto service shops whenever a warning light pops up on my dashboard. I relish the thought that an ability has been added to my list of “can do’s”.

Read More »

An unplanned meaningful deed in the car shop

Still about my visit in that car shop — what was I thinking! Did I assume that car repairs always ended in a good car wash? Honestly, I did. Wasn’t it that way in early days? I told the customer service guy that I’d get back my car after the car wash following the repair. He looked at me strangely like I was from another planet. Quite respectfully, however, he said, “Ma’am, it’s not done anymore. Maybe many, many years ago, that was part of our service, though I don’t recall when that stopped.” Oh no, that wasn’t my intent – reveal that I came from the ancient world. Of course, I was dismayed. I wanted to save a trip to the regular car wash.

However, what I got from that repair shop as I spilled out my car woes was remarkable customer service — a respectful listener, a sympathetic look, efficient response, accurate diagnosis, and quick recording on the computer. “Needs oil change and a checkup,” he advised. “OK, I’ll wait,” I said.

Read More »

A surprise visit from a chatty intruder

A brown little bird whizzed by my ear and flew into my home as I opened the patio door to reach for the broom standing in the corner. A surprise and unexpected visit from a winged intruder I quickly named Tweet-Tweet was, for the first three minutes, a playful flurry that I enjoyed. When that novelty wore off, anxiety settled in. How could I make Tweet-Tweet fly out the open door! With no thought of catching it, I just wanted to shoo it away, out the open door. It read my mind if it had any brain at all. I decided, yes, definitely with a brain in its tiny pointed head. It expertly avoided me, often with exultant chirp-chirps that teased and irritated. No, that’s not all correct, Tweet-Tweet amused me, too. Strangely, I found myself chatting back with a lilting chirp-chirp version of my own that aimed to top Tweet-Tweet’s. When I did, Tweet-Tweet stopped fleeting back and forth, alighted on a ledge far above my reach, and ogled at me with its round black eyes like I was a friend, or plain crazy. Then it resumed circling the living room with such graceful elegance and no qualms, no shame, like it was master of the house. For one fleeting moment, I considered keeping it for a house pet. Quickly I abandoned that ridiculous thought when it fluttered about my head in taunting fashion.

Read More »