Thursday, June 30, 2011

Life. Men. Women. And Stuff.

I have about one day before the storm. (Not really. The storm is always with us.) 

Still, I find myself with 5 minutes when I don't have to go through letters from 1893.

My childhood house sold far fastest than my sister and I thought was possible. Thousands of fabulous houses have remained on the market for years, with no offers. 

Evidently, cool 60's houses are back in vogue. We got a contract way before we were ready.  

Remember all that moaning I did last winter?  That was actually only about moving INTO the retirement home. That was difficile enough. We thought we'd have a year or more to dig through all the crap. stuff.

More on that later. In the meantime, I am more than 3/4ths crazy. So I came home from 9 hours of eye-straining document-dealing, and decided to download pictures from my abandoned camera for a little escapism.

The ones below came up, and I was surprised that I'd never downloaded them before.

They speak volumes without  a single word.

This is James, with his best friend from school, Maysie.

Can anyone help me interpret the body language here?



Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fire flies.

(robin street myers)

I am getting old now.

Each day,

the flesh gives way

to forces pulling down:

an elemental movement

toward the ground

from which I sprang.

But still,


 a skinny girl, long-browned  with days too spent in sun,



She still sneaks out

sometimes at night--

and in the stillness, dark,

waits quiet

for the magic of the lights.

A breath held tight.

An endless void, it seems.

Then, from the hot dense silence,

glory screams.

A yellow beam

of joy

comes flying from the right:

and blackest night turns




she runs,

that girl who once

and still is me.

Quick captures light,

holds close,

then sets it free.

I am getting old now.

But still

I chase the fiery light

that dances

through the gloom

of blindest night.



(Another 'significant' birthday, another semi-maudlin poem.  Thanks for putting up with me. I know it's not always easy.)

And, by the way, I love my family and my dear friends. I don't deserve you at all!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Just For Fun...

Friends, Family, and Kind Strangers,

Here's a sample of what we've been up to this spring. (Forgot the camera, so all pictures are from a cell phone with no flash unless they look professional.)

Hope you're having a happy summer!

Love, Kim

(Turn your sound off if you’re not in the mood for some Beatles.)

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

You Are What You Eat? Part Two

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, 
but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”
(Matthew 4:4)

Words are like food.

We take them in. Chew on them. Ingest them.

Just as food travels through the digestive system, words travel, too. Through our brains into our hearts.

But unlike the physical substance, which is eliminated by the body, the words we consume remain with us. They take up residency.

And they echo.

They have the power to change who we are.

I’ve realized that I’m becoming a linguistic junk food addict.

Words assault us every waking moment. They scream at us from our TV’s. They blare from the car radio and our Ipods. They glare from the computer screen. They lure from the covers of magazines. They emanate from the yelled conversations of strangers on cell phones.

Many of those verbal morsels contain zero nutritive value.

Some are Twinkies.

Some are hot wings.

Some are just pure poison.

Even excrement.

It’s astonishing what we’ll injest. Or absorb into our systems by osmosis.

But we do have a choice.

Just as I can choose a turkey sandwich on wheat bread over a Whopper with fries and a shake, I can choose which words to consume.

I can injest words that make me healthy, instead of words that make me sick. Words that build up rather than words that tear down. Words that inspire over those that instigate desire.

I can take in rich words that fill me up, instead of those that leave me empty.

I can drink down deep words that refresh me, rather than those that leave me parched and dry.

Sometimes I have to shake myself up and ask…

What are you feeding on today?

Are you devouring juicy tidbits of titillating gossip? Are you crunching on dry bones of negativity? Are you licking sticky sweet cotton candy fluff? Are you quaffing down bitter draughts of envy-inspiring imagery?

Or are you feasting on the Word of God?


“Taste and see that the LORD is good.” (Psalm 34:8)

 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

You Are What You Eat?

"Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es."
(Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.)

Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, “Physiologie du Gout,” 1826

I have less willpower than anyone I know.

Every healthy habit I possess came out of an unhealthy one. Or became a necessity because of a health calamity.

Eating reasonably well, protecting my skin, exercising… were all, in a manner of speaking, forced upon me. And I am grateful that they were. These habits have improved my quality of life.

Our bodies are vehicles for our souls. We’ve got to drive these cars until we trade them in for new ones on the other side. Mine’s been through a few wrecks. Like my little blue sports car, it’s covered with dings and dents and scrapes and scratches.

But I’ve been told that it’s a temple. So I look upon taking care of myself as Temple Maintenance. Being a good steward of what’s been entrusted to me.

It’s hard to think of our bodies as gifts, isn’t it? Too many of us view our bodies as Enemy Number One. We compare, compare, compare. And hate.

Some hate their surplus; some their deficit. You might hate your ample thighs, while I hate my skinny legs. You might hate your flat chest, while I might hate my… (nevermind. We’ll go into that later.)

I am working to change my thinking on this. After you’ve had some health issues, the double chin (or cottage cheese, or saddlebags or whatever) doesn’t seem like quite as big an issue.

I bring all this to the table to explain my philosophy on all areas of “Temple Maintenance.” I would describe it as Reasonable Care. I am not a purist. I will never be an exercise addict. Some nights I go to bed without washing my face. I still whip through Wendy’s drive-thru and grab a Junior Bacon Cheeseburger once in a while when I’m having a blood sugar thing. Eat ice cream out of the carton on occasion.

But I try to bless my body more than I curse it. I think my ratio is up to around 85% building up, 15% tearing down. 85% discipline, 15% indulgence. But I’m trying to get it up to 90%-10%. I think you’ve got to have the freedom to indulge every now and then, or it becomes a bondage.

During the past three years of blogging I’ve alluded to health problems, but avoided going into details. Several things have made me think that it’s time to share some of that story. But it’s so boring to talk about your health. Especially once you’re better. You just want to get on with your life.

For now, I’ll start by sharing a minor episode that led to my interest in Reasonably Healthy Eating.

I was a newly-wed, straight out of college, teaching at a private high school in Palm Beach. In college, of course, there had been no such thing as healthy eating or drinking. Those habits continued into my 20’s. We crammed junk food (mainly sweets) in the teacher’s lounge, and downed massive amounts of bitter coffee to fuel ourselves through the long, challenging days of dealing with sassy rich kids.

But then I started having “strange spells.” I would feel fine one minute, then start shaking like a leaf. I’d get violently dizzy. Feel completely drained and exhausted. Finally, I started blacking out at the blackboard.

I went to see the family doctor, who administered a lengthy glucose tolerance test. At the end of the test, the nurse told me I was a few points (mg/dL) away from going into a coma. (The oral test is no longer used because it triggered such violent symptoms in people with reactive hypoglycemia.)

The doctor, a traditional Emory-trained physician, told me I needed to eat a lot of steak. And start running. And drink orange juice quickly if I started to faint. He was concerned about my family history of diabetes, as hypoglycemia often switches gears.

One of my new friends in Palm Beach was into the health food movement, which began gaining momentum during the mid-70’s. Most citizens of our Fast Food Nation still thought it was all a bunch of baloney back then. My friend took me to funky new restaurants where we ate a lot of sprouts and stuff, trying to convince me that if I ate only organic vegetarian, whole grain, and nuts, I’d be cured.

I wanted to be well. I tried the doctor’s advice. I tried my friend’s advice. Neither was perfect.

So I combined the two, along with what I researched on my own.

And I have eaten that way ever since… (85% of the time.)

The basics:

I eat 5 times a day. Whenever I am the slightest bit hungry.
I eat tons of protein.
Lots of veggies, fruits, and greens
Only whole grains.
And I do eat dairy… yogurt and cheese, mainly.
Very little sugar.
I take a number of vitamins and nutritional supplements.

*I try not to eat a carb without a protein. For instance, if I eat a cracker, it’s always with cheese, peanut butter, or hummus.

If I skip that mid-afternoon snack, I still get shaky and mean.

I’ve eaten this way for more than 30 years. Sure wish I’d written a book about it in the 80’s and made as much money as the South Beach guy. I guess he thinks he made it up.

Oh well.

The point is, it turned out to be a ‘Backdoor Blessing’ that I got sick when I did and learned how to eat Reasonably Healthy for life. (Man, this sounds like an infomercial!) Only I’m not asking for your money.

I’m just sharing what has helped me. If it helps you, use it; if not, please forgive the waste of your time. I’m sure many of you eat far healthier than this.

Although it’s way too hot down South now for soup, I’ll still share that recipe non-recipe for friends enduring June Gloom in California. (High in the 60’s??)

Super Antioxidant Soup:

Large bag of frozen skinless chicken tenders
Large carton of reduced-fat chicken broth
½ sweet onion, chopped
½ cup raw lentils
2 large cans of diced tomatoes
bag of baby carrots
some sliced celery, if you like it

Frozen box or small bag of:
Sweet yellow corn
Baby lima beans or butter peas
Chopped spinach

Jane’s Crazy Mixed-Up Salt
Fresh ground pepper
Pinch garlic salt
Your imagination

Okay. Here’s the deal. I don’t exactly cook with recipes most of the time. I think that takes the creativity out of it. Of course, there are plenty of misses the free-lance way, but you always learn from your mistakes.

So, everything is just an estimate. Do what YOU like with it. Hate okra? Leave it out! Love parsnips? Throw them in! (Ugh.)

Start with a huge soup pot. If you’re going to make it, you might as well freeze some for a rainy day. Spray a little Pam in the bottom.

Dump the chicken in, and cover with broth. Add ½ sweet onion, chopped coarsely. Bring to a boil, then simmer until chicken is tender. (Often, I do this part the night before, then refrigerate, and finish making the soup the next day.

Skim yuck off the top if you want to. Break apart chicken with a fork. (It will continue to shred as it cooks more.)

Add bag of baby carrots, celery if you like, and lentils, which have been rinsed.
Cover, bring back to a boil, then simmer for around 20 minutes.

Add all other ingredients, more liquid (chicken broth, tomato juice, or water), and lots of seasoning. (We’re not afraid of salt in the South. A little won’t kill you unless you have serious hyper-tension.) Stir gently every so often and cook until all veggies are tender. It gets better with age, but you will need to continue adding more liquid. Look upon it as a soup concentrate.

This lasts for days, and then you can freeze the rest. It is virtually fat-free, protein-rich, fiber-rich, and filling. Serve it with a good chunk of whole-grain artisanal bread. (I get it "home-made" at Ralph’s in LA; Publix in GA.) If you need something more filling, do it with a yummy cheese melt. Dill havarti on whole grain, mmmmm.

They’ve proven that Grandma’s chicken soup is good for more than the soul, as chicken is a natural antibiotic. This version also cleans you out and fills you up with lots of other good vitamins and nutrients. It will bless your bones!

Our bodies, our minds, and our spirits are so interconnected, that when we bless one part, we bless the whole.

A votre santé!


Thanks to each of you who wrote and encouraged me to branch out more. I was so happy to meet some more readers! I wish I could write you all back individually.

There will be more like this in days ahead. I love the quote The Mom shared from Buechner: "All of life is sacramental."

If we could just see it so.



Thursday, June 16, 2011


Not a real post… just a couple of questions and an observation.

First of all, the Technology Queen can’t figure out what’s going on with the font sizes. I’m doing what I’ve always done… writing in Word, then copy/pasting into Blogger… but ever since I switched to Google Chrome, we’ve got two different sizes going on. Also, half the time it says "HTML Not Allowed." Anybody smart got a clue as to what’s going on? 

Second: I promised back on In the Meantime that the new blog (Margery) would contain more variety… be both deeper and more shallow.

I wrote:

“I must warn you that this new baby is different from its predecessors.

My hopes are that it will be simultaneously more profound and more profane; both more poetic and more prosaic.

More mundane and mystical…

trivial and extraordinary.

Because life is all of these things.

Hmmm. Don’t think I’ve lived up to that promise. Real life keeps getting in the way.

So here’s the question: Is anyone out there interested in more “trivia”?

For instance, I almost posted the recipe for my ‘Super Antioxidant Soup’ the other day, but decided against it. The reason? I guess because I’ve gotten so much feedback about the more spiritually-oriented/inspirational posts, I feel something of an obligation a commitment to keep to that agenda and only write about matters pertaining to faith.

But, as I said on Meantime, life is a mixture. And we all gotta eat. And dress. And live in houses. And stuff like that.

I’d really appreciate the input of my readers on this. Do you come here mostly for spiritual inspiration? Would you feel disappointed if you needed a shot-in-the arm of faith, but got a soup recipe instead?

Or is there room for both?

Let’s have a show of hands.

(I’m going to save the observation for next time.  Too wordy, as always. And my little house guest just woke up.)

Thanks so much!

Wait... just looked at the Preview, and it's all back to the original font size. Blogger is messing with my head again. Arrrrrgggghhhh.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Shameless Name-Dropping

We’d talked about a Major Cruise to places I’ve always wanted to go.

It didn’t work out.

So, instead, we went on a “Stay-cation” to celebrate our 35th anniversary.

Does it need any further explanation?

A Stay-cation is where you stay in town, but treat it as a holiday. You’re a tourist in your own hometown.

(Or your adopted one.)

We checked into a famous old hotel 15 minutes away from our west-coast abode.

15 minutes, but Light Years away.

The Forties?  Fifties? Hollywood’s Golden Era?

I’m not sure.

All I know is that it was a planet away from Culver City, 2011.

 My husband is really sweet about surprises.

Our suite was completely incredible. 

Champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries. Pink marble garden tub with an enviable view of arriving celebs.

If you judge us harshly for this little extravagance, remember this:

It was 35 years.

(And not always a picnic in Central Park.)

But we made it to this milestone.

Worth celebrating in a major way.

And we did.

We walked past John Cusack leaving the pool.

That night, we went to Spago for dinner. Don Rickles was at the table next to us with his extended family. (An efficient manager defended them as I walked past to the Ladies Room, forming a Human barricade. I thought, huffily, I’m one of the few people in this place old enough to even know who that is. And I wasn’t going to speak, anyway.)

At the hotel the next morning, Quentin Tarantino and entourage had breakfast at a nearby table. He looked like he’d rolled out of bed and put his clothes from the night before back on. But they were whooping it up over there.

Saturday night, our girls (sacrificially) pooled their very limited resources to hire a limo to pick us up for dinner at Mozzo in Hollywood.  James so charmed the Grey’s Anatomy star at the table next to us that she insisted that it must be our 5th anniversary, not our 35th.  (Celeb Stalking Tip: I think Middle Child had thrown Woody’s hat under the chair of the star in question, so he had a reason to roam over there and be adorable. Sometimes we pretend to be cool, but we’re actually quite shameless.)

The next morning, my husband had a breakfast business meeting at the hotel. I ate yogurt in the room, got my stuff together, and waited in the lobby for Middle Child to pick us up for church.

And waited and waited.

And waited.

My husband emerged from the restaurant. We waited by the valet for over 30 minutes. Finally, I went back inside the lobby to sit down.

Fuming, imagining all the great LA-talent praise music we were missing at church, I stared at the passersby.

Three adorable boys ran by, chased by a young, athletic father in a backwards-facing baseball cap.

He was followed by a striking woman in a long, flowing black dress, obviously very pregnant. Hair in a severe bun. Gigantic sunglasses covering much of her face; no discernible makeup.

Delayed reaction. Seconds pass.

Delayed reaction. Neurons fire.


That’s someone very famous.

Someone I’ve seen at the Royal Wedding.

I walk back down the gangway to Valet Service and pretend to be irritated to my husband. I poke hard him in the back as I ask him if he’s heard from the late Middle Child.

He’s clueless.

Surreptitiously, I watch.

The beautiful boys are rowdy, busy.

(Not really. Now that I know one personally, I realize they were just being boys.)

The cute young Dad makes them get in the car and say goodbye to their mom. (“Mum.”)

She doesn’t look happy.

He comes back and kisses her tenderly on the lips. Whispers something in her ear.

And catches me looking.

But doesn’t seem angry that I’m gawking. Gives me a tiny half-smile. An acknowledgement. I look away quickly.

Not a pap in sight. Just us and them. And the valets at a respectful distance.

My husband pokes me in the back as the husband helps his very preggers wife into a separate SUV. “Look at that tat,” he whispers.

On the back of the young man’s neck is a cross, surrounded by angels’ wings.


Middle Child was blown away when we told her whom she’d just missed.

“Man, that’s the best sighting next to Brangelina.”


We made it to church just in time for the sermon.

After my weekend of pretending to be on “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” God must have thought I needed a quick reality check. Right between the eyes.

The congregation read the scripture together outloud.

Romans 12:

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves…

Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited…”
 At no time in the history of the world has there been such a frenzied Cult of Celebrity. Unless you move to the Amazon, it’s difficult to avoid.
It’s easy to buy into the hype that surrounds the air-brushed images of modern idols.
And come away feeling diminished. Less-than. Lacking.
As the pastor said that morning, we may find ourselves “valuing things that are passing away instead of living for the eternal things that God has called us to.”
Maybe we subconsciously believe that others who are more talented or beautiful or athletic or wealthy or famous are of more value than we are.
But, as the scripture passage points out, each ‘member of the body’ is equally as important as the next.
Different, but equal. Unique. Special. Vital.
As Dr. Brewer reminded us: “You have a purpose that nobody else on earth can fill. God has a hole in his heart just for you.
God loves diversity. He created it. 
The last thing He wants you to be like is anyone else.
But we try. We try to look like the people on the magazine covers, buy what the people on TV buy. Wear what everybody in our peer group wears. Conform to (what we believe is) the norm.
Too often, Christians try to squeeze themselves into a mold of outward perfection. We think we’re supposed to look alike, act alike, talk alike.
God doesn’t want that. It’s monotonous. Boring. Stupid, actually.
He sees us as we are. He understands us in a way that no human being ever will. He knows full well that we’re not perfect.
In the Romans 12 passage, Paul reminds us not to “hyper-value” ourselves, but to acknowledge that God can use us in spite of our imperfections. And to be willing to let Him. He needs every one of us.
Sometimes I feel like I’m not very effective. I don’t accomplish much, contribute much. I’m not as valuable as some.
Thoughts such as those tend to shut you down, cause a type of paralysis. Draw you into yourself.
But whether from selfishness or insecurity, living for yourself alone leads to spiritual death.
“And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.” (Rev. 2:17)
 God alone knows your essential essence. Your true name.
And I bet He drops it all the time.
“There goes (Beautiful Name) who persevered with joy when her husband left her for another woman.”
“Oh, look, there’s (Beautiful Name) who daily fights a tough battle against addiction.”
“There’s my dear child, (Beautiful Name), who still trusts Me, though he’s lost everything he ever wanted in life.”
“I see my sweetheart, (Beautiful Name), who clings to faith in the midst of her fight with depression and insecurity.”
“There’s (Your Beautiful Name) who allows me to use her suffering for the good of others.”
The celebrities of heaven.  
And the angels might just whip out their phone cams and preserve our images for eternity.  


"Remember, dear brothers and sister, that few of you were wise in the world's eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world consider foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God." 
(I Corinthians 1: 26-29)