From the Downhill Slope

The Quick Report – Collage photo’s available at


Time eats my life like a starving man. Since I last wrote a  lengthy status report, we have been to Florida and back–driving through Kansas, stopping in Atlanta both ways to see Grandma Levine, Max and Zach joined us in Florida, Disney at Orlanda was good, but spending time with Max and Zach and seeing long time friend Rob was the best.

Back home now in Colorado. Benjamin is growing. Amy has had to return to work—2 and some days in the office the rest at home. We are the child care givers for the days she works in office and delighted about that.

I continue to work on my novel and am also busy developing  this blog which seems to be replacing my Staying Strong Newsletters.

As any one of us could also be hit by a falling star or some other life ending event at any time, remember to enjoy every minute you are granted and most of all make sure those you love know your heart.

Staying strong and wishing the same for you.  Watch for a posting about our trip through some of the Deserts and Canyons  of Colorado, Utah, Nevada and Arizona.

Love you all.

Katherine, Vaughan, Kat, Kathie, Grannykat, and whatever other name you might know me by.

The Longer Version

Those interested in greater detail, possibly only a few, but I have enjoyed writing this and hope one or two of you will enjoy reading it. The Florida trip was in the middle of March. Cold, but still colder in New York and probably Colorado and at least Florida had no snow blanketing the sand and the palm trees. We hadn’t planned on visiting Disney at Orlando–so much money and as Max is only four it seemed wiser to wait for another year or two and then spend at least a weekend there. Sensible plans, but so many people primed Max by saying, “Going to Florida to see Mickey” and the cold made it seemed something to do before rushing to the beach. So off we went. Well, the three men went, I am not good standing in line and walking, walking, walking, Whisper needed someone with her, and we do need to watch the money.

David had a bit of a shut down in one of the exhibits (drop in blood pressure–scary, but something that has happened enough, that we no longer panic. (Still glad, I wasn’t there). The good news was that meant Disney came up with a wheel chair and being in a wheel chair meant avoiding the long lines. Nice to have some good come from a minor bad.

Whisper and I spent a quiet day at a nature reserve. I read, joined her in watching the birds. I suspect she did spent time remembering the days of her youth when she almost succeeded in catching a bird or two.

From Orlando we drove to Naples and that made for a very long day, but still glad we gave into the pressure, the men had a good time. The stay in Naples was still chilly, but was warm enough in to swim in the hotel pool. The wind at the beach limited our enjoyment there and this ultimately became a limited beach vacation.

So what if it wasn’t Florida hot, the main attraction remained Max and Zach. I am so proud of Zach, he is such a patient father and although we tried to teach that skill, he has surpassed us. Max is a whirlwind, happy, curious and doesn’t need a lot of sleep, but when he sleeps he sleeps. He knows his own mind and can accept “No;” two, very important skills for getting along in the world.

We stayed in Naples for five days and nights. Once again, the men did most of the sightseeing. Whisper is my excuse for making sure I get plenty of quiet time. Have I mentioned, I have a limited tolerance for sightseeing? Anyway, when the men went sightseeing, Whisper and I walked, I did my computer writing and read.

From Naples we moved on to visit our long time real life friend Rob. She lives in Sarasota half time and Rye the remainder of the time. She will probably eventually become a full time Floridian and had a good philosophy about the hot summers there: “It is just as hot and unpleasant during those months up North as it is down here.” She is, right, of course. She has built a lovely home on one of the bays—memory is failing for names.

Max still talks about going back to Rob’s. She so dearly loves children and sharing her world with them that I do hope they can spend time together as he grows. She has already taught him to be a “Birder.” A picture in the At Rob’s House collage shows parrots on a wire that Max pointed out as we grown ups were busy packing the car so Max and Zach would be on time for their flight back home. The world needs as many people as possible to nurture all it’s beauty and that includes the wonders of a growing child. Thank your Rob and Ken.

All too soon, it was back to New York for Max and Zach and Colorado for David, Whisper, and me. We did some wandering around, sightseeing in Kansas mostly. ( I do well sightseeing from a car. In a car you always have a place to sit, you can choose the beaten path or the less traveled road, you can stop, walk and take pictures, you can turn on the heater or the air conditioner, David can listen to the radio , and I can crochet. . (Proof that I am a LOW sometimes and not always a WOW. LOW = Lazy Old Woman; WOW = Wise Old Woman.)

Traveling across Kansas filled me with admiration for two things. First, the pioneers and the farmers. What a hike and no air conditioner, no motels, no rest stops, no modern medicine. And what a hard life the ranchers and farmers of the plains had during the early days of our country.

We were stopped once on a lonely stretch and could only see one house and its barn way off in the distance. We had recently passed some iron cut outs of Indians set high on a hill—we were traveling the Trail of Tears. I thought of the plight of the Indians and also of being a wife with young children whose husband was far off on the range, Imagine being so isolated and then seeing on a distant hill a group of strangers heading towards you. Any strangers would create some sort of uncertainty. The uncertainty must have turned to fear during the time our First Nation brothers felt more and more oppressed by the growing number of strangers in the midst.

Wonder if there will ever be a time when the idea of our land becomes land for all to live in safety and peace. Sometimes, it is hard to stay hopeful, we must keep hopes in our hears or we will stop working to open paths to peace.

Secondly, on a less serious note, I have to admire our car. It is an old Toyota Camray. She is too old to be recalled, but so far faithful and easier on the gas than other most older cars and some of the newer ones. We drive for many reasons. First and foremost we don’t want to leave Whisper behind. Then with not having to pay to board her we usually save money or at least it equals out. We hope to continue to see USA from our Camray. I am hoping we can take a trip back East come mid-fall. My 55th High School Reunion is being planned for the beginning of October. On that trip I want to take a more northerly route. Hoping the Camray will last and we do plan to keep her until she stops cold and can’t be revived.

Daniel, Amy, and Benjamin update. We planned our trip hoping Ben would be over the hill for newborn crying and keeping in mind that Amy had to go back to work in April. Thereafter, Granpaw and Grannykat won’t have a lot of free time for long trips together. Amy headed back to work the first week in April and like so many grandparents, we are now our grandson’s child care provider. Amy is working at the office a bit more than she expected; she works at home the other days.

My respect for all the single parents raising children flew off the meter again. My heart cries for those who have to work at another job—parenting is the equal of two full time jobs—with no or little support. I marvel that more babies aren’t abused. Being a parent should be recognized for the job it is. Most of you know my rants on that. Neither mothers and fathers are properly supported, children are not seen as our most precious resource. Grrrrrrrr.

Anyway, I am grateful we can be here, that both Amy and Dan want us here and that we are healthy enough to really help. Glad there are the two of us. Once upon a time children were raised by lots of folk, don’t want all the old days back, but wish families weren’t so spread apart. Our only sorrow about having moved west is that we aren’t near Zach and Max. The pictures show how Ben is growing and how even on the not so calm days, we have the best of all child rearing jobs.

That is the main news. We have found connections, David is politically active—some of you will be pleased to hear he is a Tea Party Man, others dismayed. I remain the bleeding heart liberal of the family, and find myself more and more distressed at the dividing of the country into labels that only inflame. The media makes money off dissension and even the best seem to have forgotten the ethic of not bending the facts. Do you remember the six W’s that were to form the basis of news reporting?

1. Who? Who was involved? And I also want to know who is paying or gaining from the reporting.
2. What? What happened (what’s the story)?
3. When? When did it take place?
4. Where? Where did it take place?
5. Why? Why did it happen?
6. How? How did it happen?

Add to that the fact, that the why is always open to speculation and the how relies on eye witnesses—who see what they want and remember less. I am distressed and saddened. Part of my mission on Face book is to try and be a bridge between dissenting points of view. Bridges get walked on, but we do need to form alliances instead of widening the gap between.

Sadly both sides are guilty of ranting, name calling and distortion. We voted for unity and cooperation and now the split seems wider than ever. Unless unity and cooperation become somehow more profitable than dissension, I think the media will always side with dissension. So we the people have to read critically and work for unity.

Enough of my political ranting other than to say, I find my hope in the youth, the growing power of women and the internet. Much of what you read or watch on the internet is shaped by opinion and not hard factually supported information, but still enough facts get through to fuel my hope we will keep moving toward a just world. Far more people are doing good these days than are doing bad: We just have to figure out how to work together to contain the harm some would do.

My life update. I am happy in the west. I miss my back east friends and as mentioned the closer proximity to Max and Zach. I would probably be much less happy without all my email, Facebook and other internet connections. I feel connected to many old friends and have found many new ones.

I am continuing to write, which brings me to for those of you who were subscribers to my Staying Strong News Letter. You may have thought it dead, AND currently it seems to survive only on the life support system of my mind. Actually Staying Strong seems to be morphing into an Emotional Fitness Training, Inc. blog. I have been blogging for a bit now, but not making an effort to go for the big time public and mostly facebook friends get to see what I am doing. Right now I am learning the ins and outs of becoming a blogger. Hopefully, within the next few months I will try to expand my readers.

Also hoping those of you with a computer can visit and see if you care to subscribe. I think, subscribing means you are notified by email of all posts. I am hoping you can just subscribe to notified of only the post topics that interest you. Not sure about that yet and will let you know when I find out. I don’t usually subscribe to blogs, but keep a few favorites on my book marked list and dip in and out of them. Needless to say that is what I think works best as without some control, one could spend all day on the computers. Ask David, we both seem to spend more and more time sitting and writing.

Here is what you will find on the blog. Something called Pages. These are like small web pages and don’t change unless I change them and people can’t comment on these. I have used the pages mainly to introduce a bit about Emotional Fitness Training for those not in the know. The home page which is where the more typical blog type posts appear. On the home page you will also find a How Are You Doing Rating Scale, links to some games to play—Laugh and Play are Emotional fitness exercises; you will also find links to a number of charities—giving is another EFTI exercise; finally, there are quotes to get you thinking about what matters.

Finally, on the home page, you will find a list of what are called Categories. (Pages and Categories are names I can’t change—they are designations of the Word Press blog server.) Categories are what most blogs call post topics.
My post topics include: A Laugh–I try to post a laugh or two; News and views consisting mainly of links to various articles about staying physically and emotionally healthy: Stories and Poems of Strength—what inspires me that others are doing and that I hope others will find inspiring; From the Down Hill Slope—probably what comes closest to the old Staying Strong Newsletters and includes my personal journaling through a status up date about aging, at then at least a paragraph of what I call “ Deeper Thoughts,” and finally, a Staying Strong tip. Currently there are two other special interest categories: Parenting and Therapy Thoughts, both areas I like to think I have some expertise on and that interest me. Comments are allowed and welcome on all posts.

Whether or not anyone else reads the blog—I hope some do; researching for it and writing it helps me stay strong.

And yes, toward that end, I am still working on my novel—the more I write, the longer it gets and the more new characters beg to be born, and the more I have to research as it is a historical novel—set during the 5th Century which was a time the Roman Empire was dying, but it’s off spring the Roman Church was busy stamping out dissent. So Pagans and Christians are fighting it out world wide. Islam has yet to raise its head, but in terms of blood and gore, the P&Cs didn’t need any help. Most of the bloodshed, as always, was driven by strong leaders who were also power hungry and used every weapon at their disposal to gain as much control of others and the world as they could. All seems fair in the war for power. I believe with all my heart that is changing, but not fast enough. Ranting again.

Physically, I am troubled by hearing loss, and the aches and pains that come with aging. At a certain age when you creak up and out of bed and don’t have any new pains, you know to be very thankful. As some of you know I continue to have some chronic health problems that could send me on my way tomorrow or twenty years from now. They are under control, thanks to modern medicine and good health coverage. Love Kaiser, Permanente. Thought I had found one of the best places for care in New York, but KP surpasses it. Should be the model for the country

Congratulations to all who read this far. Proud of you and touched that you cared. As any one of us could also be hit by a falling star or some other life ending event at any time, remember to enjoy every minute you are granted and most of all make sure those you love know your heart.

Staying strong and wishing the same for you.

Katherine, Kathie, Vaughan, whatever you know me by.


  1. This is all great. So happy that you continue to do the things that you love and enjoy and you have the family close to share it with. I absolutely love the line
    ….. “As any one of us could also be hit by a falling star or some other life ending event at any time, remember to enjoy every minute you are granted and most of all make sure those you love know your heart.”
    I will definitely steal this quote with tribute to you of course.
    Thanks for the lessons.

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