Monday, May 23, 2011


By Lois Jamieson
I just found out that May is National Fitness Month. I had to laugh as I thought of my efforts over the years trying to ‘Get in Shape’. For as long as I can remember I have had the image of myself as being a very athletic and agile woman. I just knew I could run faster than the wind, get the ball in the hoop every time, play par golf and win tennis matches. Somehow or other, I have never achieved that level of athleticism. My high school record was not exactly stellar. I played basketball so long ago it was when girls could only play half court. I was a guard and fearless, but I never had the chance to throw for the basket I knew I could make. 
 In my thirties I remember entering a swimming race at a local pool. I confess I talked one of my girlfriends into entering the race knowing I could beat her.  There were only three contestants and I felt confident that I would win the race.  That is, until the third lady walked up to the pool wearing a a racing swimsuit and a Speedo cap. Well, I did come in second. In my forties I took up golf and I don’t even want to discuss that, although I continued looking for a four hole group until late into my seventies. I rode my bike a bit in my fifties until I fell off and I still have a scar on my ankle to prove it. I was in my early seventies when I came to the realization that it was now or never. I simply had to get in shape. If my bank account had expanded as much as my waistline I’d be buying my clothes at Neiman Marcus.
So, I joined a fitness club.
I stepped through the door into a weird world of monstrous metal levers and pulleys, sweating bodies, ear splitting music, grunts, groans and grimaces. I turned and fled. About half way home I gathered up my courage andwent back. After signing up for a guest day I was weighed, measured and recorded. It was then I knew I needed to be there. I was taken to the workout room where everyone seemed to be twenty years old with l9” waists, 36” busts and the whitest teeth I’d ever seen. I didn’t have much time to dwell on that before being strappd to a disagreeable looking pullover machine and instructed in the art of lifting 80 pounds while lying on my back.
After exhausting myself on the machines, I decided a good swim would top off my experience. With that in mind I limped into the dressing room where lockers are provided.  I was told “it’s best to keep things under lock and key.” I must confess I didn’t lock mine. I’m not good with locks and keys and thing like that.  I had this horrifying picture of me. There I was soaking wet, draped in a towel standing in front of my locker, locked out. My clothes, purse, car keys and the combination to the lock were locked in.  Luckily I found a dark corner to squeeze into my size 16 red bathing suit.  I then made a mad dash to the pool. Once there, I bravely pushed off with my famous side stroke. Despite bumping into an indignant gentleman and losing an earring, I managed a lap and a half. After slipping back into my somewhat ripe sweat pants and shirt, I managed to sign my name to a contract, hand over my credit card and make it to my car before collapsing behind the wheel.
My enthusiasm returned by evening, however, and I said to my husband as I took the last bite of my double chocolate marshmallow sundae, “I just know I’m really going to get in shape this time”.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


By Phoebe Maurer

The desert was endless, never bare.
Vegetation, drab in winter,
sprouted blankets of wild color
as heat warmed their roots.
Ugliness grew beautiful.

Lifeless? Snakes slithered
over the dusty earth.
Gophers peered out of their
holes, twitched their noses
and returned to the underground
world. The avian population
twittered and chirped in a language
I needed to understand.

It wasn’t a flat desert.
Forms and monoliths
loomed up creating a
mountainous range of

The symmetry of four peaks
were shaped by nature’s
scalpel when ice melted
and raging waters carved
and gouged a future world
of awesome beauty
that was protected
and cherished.

Dawn banished the darkness of night,
casting a glow upon my chosen
homeland. The sun altered
mountain ranges hourly as it journeyed
towards a picturesque sunset.

Nature’s glory gradually faded
when civilization moved in.
Small pockmarks became massive
rashes, disfiguring the natural
arid beauty, spreading towards the
Mountains with unsightly developments.
Endless rooftops are now
the vision of infinity. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


By Lois Jamieson

Have you ever asked yourself - Who am I? Who is my true self? Perhaps it is time you did.
I often turn to a wonderful little book by Parker J. Palmer. In the book, Mr. Palmer quotes May Sarton who wrote -
“Now I become myself.
It’s taken time, many years and places.
I have been dissolved and shaken,
Worn other people’s faces….”
And then he goes on to say, “What a long time it can take to become the person one has always been!”
I believe I spent my first 79 years trying to find my true self. Perhaps now that I am an octogenarian I will finally solve this puzzle. My life began in 1929 in the midst of the Great Depression, in the small borough of Blawnox, Pennsylvania. I developed into a shy little girl, who found it difficult to speak to adults. Now I am an outgoing fun, party loving, people friendly octogenarian who can hardly wait for the next phase of my life.
I’m a product of my German father and my Irish mother. I have stumbled through a life of broken families, hardship and tragedy. Not unlike many of you, I suspect. I have the good fortune to have a beautiful, happy marriage and two strong, successful, loving children. The gift of a strong faith and a happy spirit has carried me through the bumps and dead-ends of the road.
Where did that shy little girl go and how did I become the person I am now?
The answer, I think, is that the glass is always half full to me. I’m an optimist, but also a realist and basically a very happy person. I find joy in whatever it is I am doing, including my garden, books, family, entertaining friends, and my life in the church and in service to others less fortunate.
Somewhat like a child watching his favorite blankee tossing in the dryer asking, “Mommy, can I have my blankee now?” “No dear, it isn’t finished yet.”
Perhaps I’m not finished yet. I have much more to learn and to experience.
Maybe I will discover more about myself as Phoebe and I write our book. Maybe I won’t.
I darn sure know I will joyfully try to find out who I am and have fun while doing it.
*Let Your Life Speak by Parker J. Palmer

Monday, May 2, 2011


Guest post
By Loys Bolduc

Being an octogenarian isn’t all bad. Sometimes it has its advantages and humorous moments. When asked my age I answer honestly and the person responds, “Oh, you don’t look it.” That sounds pretty nice, even though I might question the person’s eyesight or honesty. No one expects much from an octogenarian. They don’t expect me to run a marathon, go door-door getting pledges for a worthy cause or bake and frost four dozen cupcakes for a church bake sale. Best of all, someone might even get up and give me a seat in the doctor’s crowded waiting room.
There are many bright spots. Last month I celebrated my 87th birthday. I donned a Mardi Gras mask and funky glasses and my teen aged grandkids laughed hysterically. They said “Weird, Grandma, but cool.” In
teen talk I guess that’s a compliment.

There are, of course, the drawbacks. I have difficulty getting around and have to use a cane or walker. I’m grateful that I can still live independently with a little help from my Kids. Actually, I get a lot of help from my kids. My eyesight is better than average and I am able to enjoy the beauties of nature, to see the smiles on my grandkids’ faces and to read a good book. My hearing is a little impaired, but I still hear the early morning call of a mourning dove to its mate. I hear the coyotes howling a hundred yards from my back door. What dialogue I miss on TV probably isn’t anything I need to know anyway.
I thank the Good Lord every day for retaining my mental faculties. I enjoy family and friends. I’ve had a very good life.

The world is far from perfect but I’d like to stay around a bit longer.