Posted by: Cindy Lamb Sterling | September 16, 2014

Is 3 years a long time?

IS 3 years a long time?  To wait in line for anything – including the latest iPhone 6 – yes.  To write a blog post?  Depends.  Likely not one single person is  interested in what I have to add to the blog clog.   Very likely that my domain name has expired, anyway!

3 years is a long time if WordPress still charges for this service, huh?

Let’s see . . .

Posted by: Cindy Lamb Sterling | August 17, 2011

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

I did NOT:

Appear on America’s Got Talent.

Plant a summer garden and thrill my neighbors and friends with overstuffed sacks of homegrown tomatoes.

Learn to swim.  Again.

Organize my I-photo album which is not so much an album as a series of files (folders?) with only one picture in each.

Host a “Fabulous Fourth!” patio party with loads of friends, food, fun . . . and FIREWORKS!

Think of something – ANYTHING – to do to celebrate  OUR upcoming 35th wedding anniversary.

Surrender my life to full-time Christian service and begin my training for missionary work in Liberia.

Write one interesting word for the last seven weeks.


Get a new knee.

Learn to hate, then endure, then appreciate, then become slightly addicted to physical therapy.

Ride the emotional roller coaster that is post-operative life.  Narcotics (the good, the bad and the ugly), “assistive devices”  including a walker, a potty chair, a CPM (controlled passive motion machine) which was labeled. . . LEGASUS?!,  fragrantly beautiful flowers and thoughtful get well cards, delicious dinners and desserts brought in by friends who were nice enough to listen to my “homebound lady rant” and . . . tears.  Puddles of UGLY CRY NOBODY HAS EVER HURT THIS BAD kind of tears.  I haven’t cried this much since the first time I saw THE WAY WE WERE in 1974.  “You’re girl is lovely, Hubble” would have literally pushed me over the edge during my “recuperation”.   Good thing I couldn’t walk to the edge . . .

My lowest point came on week two of my recovery.  It was a Monday night.  My BFF of 40 years had gone back to Texas and left my husband and me to face the grim reality that I was the WORST PATIENT THAT EVER LIVED.  These are my words, not his.  He just rolled his eyes from time to time and told me to “Bend that knee!  They told you you HAD to BEND THAT KNEE!” as I hobbled, defiant and Chester-from-Gunsmoke like out of earshot.  I hated my husband.  I hated my surgeon most of all.  I hated myself for falling for this whole “young people like yourself are getting joint replacements all the time” line.  Young?! HA!

Fighting back tears with my best I AM FINE! face, I hobbled back into the living room to do my *floor exercises.  (*Not to be confused AT ALL with the graceful gravity-defying movements of young Olympic gymnasts.)  My long-suffering husband helped me to the yoga mat and fluffed the pillow under my weary drug-addled head.   The TV was tuned to NBC Nightly News and Brian Williams’ soothing voice gave me some inexplicable comfort and focus.  (oxycodone, I’m just sayin’ . . .)

My goal was to lift my “injured” left leg off the floor.   Until it was level with my bent right knee and hold it there for 2 – TWO – seconds.  Slowly lower to starting position.  (see attached illustration – Straight Leg Raise)  For the first time since surgery.  Without any assistance.

LSH (Long-Suffering Husband) stood over my pathetic sweaty pajama-clad mass of human despair saying something encouraging and sweet and probably funny to boost my spirits.  But all I heard was Brian Williams reporting “World War Two Hero, Fighter Pilot, Astronaut, U.S. Senator, American Hero . . . John Glenn turns 90 years old today.  And he celebrates his birthday by having knee replacement surgery!”


Oh, wouldn’t that be cool if that were true.  I mean, I DID manage my first-ever Straight Leg Raise later that same week.  And now I’m the Queen of the Straight Leg Raise, 2011 and other delightful *floor exercises.

I was hooked on dope at the time but I’m clean now so I’ll tell you the truth.  When I heard that John Glenn was having the same surgery that I had just had and I quickly imagined how brave and tough and strong he’d be in the days and weeks after?  I cried.  Wailed.  And not lovely Barbra Streisand crying for impossibly handsome Robert Redford crying either.  U G L Y   C R Y I N G.  I told you it was my lowest point.

Flash forward five weeks.  I have found my blog and a bit of my mojo again.  Those horrible “assistive devices” are long gone.  Now I sport a cool cane whose pattern was called “Summer Garden” that I have named Erica.  Erica Cane.  LOL!  My only pain pills are Tylenol and Butterfinger Bites. I still whine and moan a lot because it still hurts and I just had my knee replaced not my character.  I am on medical leave until the end of September.  I miss work and my friends and playing on the floor with my grandkids but that will come.

Happy Belated Birthday, John Glenn!   And bend that knee, sir, bend that KNEE!

Posted by: Cindy Lamb Sterling | June 28, 2011

Dear Readers,

Dear Readers,

I owe you a letter.  Or three . . .

1) Thank-You Note:

Your support and interest and encouragement in my first three weeks of blogging have been a gift!  Thank you, every one of you, for the comments, emails, subscriptions and advice.  

I love writing again and I’m so glad to have found a new home.  Getting to know the place, but the neighborhood is really nice.  

With appreciation, Cindy

2) Letter of Apology:

From what I’ve learned in 3 weeks, a GOOD blogger is a CONSISTENT blogger.   I can see now that twice a week would be a solid, do-able goal.  Ambitious, perhaps, but reasonable.

 And yet?  I’ve come to this “lightbulb moment” on the tenth day since my last post!   Oops.  

Alright, maybe once a week is a solid, do-able goal, etc.  I plan to be more faithful and consistent.   There are a LOT of great blogs to read and I don’t want to waste your time.   I am truly sorry and appreciate your patience.

Cindy Lamb Sterling

3) Blank Card: (insert your own image here – some choices?  Birds are BIG now.  Anything with brown in the design . . . brown and pink, brown and robin’s egg blue, brown and lemongrass . . .) Open the card and read my adorably illegible scrawl:

       Be my friend, okay?  I started blogging and didn’t take into account how much time would be involved and well, I had this trip to California planned months before I got the urge to blog so that threw me way off (though I have a great draft I started on the plane, it’s still not ready to post . . .) and well, now I’m having surgery in the morning (no, it’s not THAT serious, but I do get to spend a few nights in the hospital . . . wait, maybe it IS serious!?!?) and well, anyway, I’m more nervous and scattered than I thought I’d be and I don’t have a decent post ready!?!   Forgive me???   You’re the best! Love ya, mean it!  

xoxo Cin

P.S. to all of the above:   I have a sneaking suspicion that a new blogger is only allowed ONE of these lazy self-indulgent last-minute posts in a lifetime.   Fair enough.  And though it’s entirely too early to cash in on that deal?  I’m going for it.   Heck, the surgeon might be having an off-day and it’s Nurse!  Code Blue!?  Then I’ll become “the blogger with so much unrealized potential who left us all too soon . . .”

Or not?

Aloha, HulaGirl65

Posted by: Cindy Lamb Sterling | June 18, 2011

Snapshot Daddy

I’ve rarely attached myself to “things”.    Oh, I have my Nannie’s 1930s rocking chair and a small painting of a mysterious little boy from my mother’s antique shop.  Both mementos have been with me in every home of my adult life.  And with one exception, I am absolutely fine with the impermanence of most things.

I really, truly wish I had more pictures.  More photos of my family, my friends, the houses and churches and schools . . .  images and evidence of the setting and characters of my childhood.   Snapshots would prove it all happened.  Once upon a time there was a beautiful mommy and a strong daddy and they loved their rascally son so much they had another child to make their fun-loving family complete.   See the adorable toddler?  That’s me, honest!  See how tall and handsome my daddy is in this one?!  I know, I know . . .oh, thanks, that’s sweet of you to say . . .

But, two things conspired against a more complete family album:

1)  My mother was a military wife.  With each transfer, somehow or other there was a mix-up, a box (or 3 or 4)  always seemed to get “lost in the move”  and oh, well, they’re just things, kiddo!   Fresh shart, chin up!  Let’s not dwell on what we can’t fix!   She travelled light because she had to.  Plus, it suited her lean and clean approach to life.

2)  After Hawaii, after 1965, after everything changed . . .my mother, my brother and I gradually let go of most of what was left of our family souvenirs.   At 13, I decoupaged pictures of the Beatles, the Monkees and peace symbols – and my family photos – in a crazy collage.  My artwork covered every inch of a huge cable spool that I used as a bedside table.  Groovy, baby!   My brother was 20, drifting down a darker path and somehow in the haze of the summer of love he let our family movies slip down the rabbit hole.

But I have always been lucky (blessed, actually) and miraculously managed to hold on to a few photos, small snippets of evidence that my family and my childhood really and truly happened.

And so, a couple of days before Father’s Day I can curl up in my Nannie’s rocking chair, smile at the painting of that mysterious little boy and show you one of my family pictures.

See?  It’s a grainy, slighty torn snapshot of my father and his little girl on the beach, probably California, I can’t be sure of that now.  But I can tell you his name was Wilmer Asbury Lamb, Jr. – affectionately called Bill by everyone in the world except his kids – Greg and me.  Because we were special.  We got to call him Daddy.  Honest, we did!

Posted by: Cindy Lamb Sterling | June 13, 2011

Blogging Shoes

Just after Labor Day, 1964, I needed only three things to get ready for fourth grade at Pohakea Elementary School.  I laid each item out with great care on my chenille bedspread to admire, scrutinize and double-check:

1) Beach Boys lunchbox.  Daddy got it brand new at the Pearl Harbor PX.  “Little Surfer Girl”?  You bet.

2) Sleeveless blouse and short set, made by my mom, of course.  Sky blue Hawaiian print with creamy white plumeria blossoms scattered on the fabric . . .very cute.  Freshly hemmed, freshly ironed.

3) New pair of zoris.   Zoris (rhymes with “stories)  were my school shoes, play shoes, running down the block to the beach shoes, go everywhere (except to church) shoes.  (I knew that “mainland” girls wore brown mary janes with white socks as they skipped their way to the little red schoolhouse in my reading books.)  But I was an “island” girl.  And these were my “back-to-school” zoris.  The velvet thong that swished between my toes was softly padded and black as lava rock.  The tatami mat insoles were clean and stiffly smooth and smelled like fresh straw.

As long as these things lay on my bed the night before?  Anything was possible in the fourth grade. Tomorrow morning would be the first day of my best year ever!

Now, so many years later, in Tennessee I have a different ritual.  I don’t really feel ready to write unless I’m wearing my Red Hula Girl Tennis Shoes by Rocket Dog.  Maybe it’s the tiny hula girls smiling up at me. Maybe it’s the yellow letters spelling out ALOHA . . . but I’m more confident and more excited and more at home when my feet are snug inside My Blogging Shoes.

I’ve confessed my writing quirk.  I wonder . . . is there a faded bathrobe you must pull on before you can open your laptop?   Or does the coffee mug your son made at art camp absolutely have to rest at the upper right hand corner of your desk before you even think about writing?  Are the Beach Boys blaring in the background as you boogie to work?

Double-check your list.   After all, tomorrow actually could be the first day of your best year ever!

Posted by: Cindy Lamb Sterling | June 11, 2011

“I simply remember my favorite things . . .”

“and then I don’t FEEEEEL so BA AA AA AA AAAD!”  sang Maria and the Von Trapp children collapsed in a happy heap on her downy bed.

Yes, I adore The Sound of Music.  And the movie was released in 1965.   The year my life changed forever.

Whenever I discover these little connections it makes me smile.   I’m not quite ready to write about  “my 1965” with more clarity, but for today?  I’ll sing of  “girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes”.   And yes, Fraulein Maria, I DO feel better!

Here are a few of my favorite things . . .  (expect this list to grow over time, so please check back often!)


Stephanie is a friend, but that is not the reason I recommend her writing.  If you enjoy sharp satire (without the mean bite) and inspirational ideas (with no added sugar) you will be delighted to discover Stephanie’s insightful, funny, and thought-provoking voice.

Karla is a long-time friend who is also a rare talent.  Rare because she makes everything she does – from cooking to parenting to writing  – seem effortless.  It’s not.  Karla studies and prays and ponders and writes and re-writes and edits and . . . you get it.  She works hard.  And the results are worth your time.


Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White is my favorite novel written for children.  As someone who truly loves and knows “kiddie lit”, that’s saying something.  I am hardly alone in my regard for Mr. White’s elegant style, pitch-perfect characters and deceptively simple plot.   But the reason I love this book is simple:  Charlotte and Wilbur showed me what lifelong friendship should be.  Ages 8 – 12

Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems is a flawless read-aloud picture book for kids.   You want to experience true joy?  Share this book with a wiggly bunch of 6 year olds and wait for the magic.  Count on belly laughs when Trixie says “Aggle Flaggle Klabble!” .  Watch for very real concern over Knuffle Bunny’s fate at the laundromat.  The discovery of the inside joke is a powerful moment for a young child.  You won’t want to miss it.  Ages 4-8.

We haven’t even covered music, movies, books for adults, television, poets, painters, musicals, singers, colors, shoes, flavors of Blue Bell Ice Cream . . .endless possibilities!

What are a few of YOUR favorite things?  I would really love to know . . . even if you can’t stand The Sound of Music.

Posted by: Cindy Lamb Sterling | June 3, 2011

Lost in CyberSpace

A mere 24 hours ago I hit PUBLISH and whoosh!  Off into cyberspace flew my first-ever blog.  Or was it a post?  I still prefer “essay” or “column” which is exactly my problem.  In my mind I had instantly become the new Judith Viorst meets Erma Bombeck meets Carrie Bradshaw meets Anne LaMott!  In truth?  I had no idea what I was doing.

To be clear,  it WAS a really-super-fun-OMG-thanks sooo much-you’re very sweet to say so-kinda day.  There were comments, subscriptions and posts . . . oh my!  I got just enough encouragement to bolster my already delusional ego.  What should I wear to the awards show?  And where would I put my BLOGGIE?

Then I asked for advice.

Three friends – who are writers and bloggers  -quickly responded to my breezy request for “a few tips” on this exciting new chapter in my fabulously artistic life.  Three smart, kind, thoughtful, well-informed friends offered me the following advice:

1) Stephanie encouraged me to “keep writing, precious”.  Will do, Steph!

2) Travis wrote a somewhat lengthier comment that was both philosophical and funny.  Plus, he had “links” to other “blogs” he thought would give me some perspective and get the feel of what this cyberworld is like.  I literally laughed out loud – is that LLOL? – while reading .  Dang, she’s good, I thought.   And look at her website/webpage/webdealie.   Looks awesome . . . hmm . . . ooh, that’s really smart, I see what she’s doing there.  Wow, and thanks, Travis.

3) Karla sent me several informative links to professional bloggers (say what?).  She wrote of templates and time-management, of voice and visual elements, of cabbages and kings.   Everything I needed to know was right there!   How smart am I to have such smart friends?   The printer was spitting out one of the professional to-do-lists as I read these 5 words:   “. . . before you launch your blog.”

Ruh-roh, Rastro.

Perhaps my visual element would not be a stock photo if I had asked for advice FIRST!?!  And I’m 99% sure my adorable profile pic would be right side up if only I had . . . okay, fine, I get it . . good grief!

After an always appropriate glass of  Real Coke with Crushed Ice (accept no substitutes) and a short nap curled up on the couch with Mollydog, things were better.  I felt just as foolish, but a bit more philosophical about the countless mistakes I had made on Blogging: Day One.

So, I’m a ditzy, dreamy, klutzy, leap before I look, lah de dah kinda girl who’s feeling a little bit lost in the brave new wilderness of our CyberGalaxy.  But oh, the stars are soooo sparkly  . . .

I’m not the only one out here, right?

Posted by: Cindy Lamb Sterling | June 2, 2011

Me, Upside Down

My very first post or blog or essay or theme paper . . . so excited!  So many ideas!  What tone should I take?  What topic to tackle to grab the first of my soon-to-be-thousands of readers?  The choices were endless, the ideas and dreams the personal stories that would enrich and enlighten  oh so many lives . . . where to begin?

Paid my 25 bucks to be part of WordPress – and keep some of my privacy intact. Read some (not all) of the terms and FAQs and managed to get through domains and URLs and even RSS feeds with only minor loss of grey matter.

Finally.  All set to write!  Writers write, right?  But wait, how about a profile pic . . . someone ominously named GRAVATAR wanted me to add a simple photo and I’d be good to go.  Well, sure, why not?   My readers would soon crave an actual photograph of hulagirl65.  Flew outside (the light was fading)  took about 3 dozen candids with my IPhone.  With tortoise shell glasses?  Without?  Laughing at some of my imaginary guests, looking pensively off toward the hillside, or smoldering and mysterious enough to keep my male readers enchanted but not so sexy as to put off my loyal female followers.   I  found one that caught my elusive yet approachable essence.   Click, drag, select . . .wait, select, delete, what?

As you can see, I am upside down.  Honestly.   I’ve tried about a zillion different ways to crop and rotate and re-send this adorable picture of myself glancing coyly at the dead weeds on my patio pavers.  But you can’t appreciate any of that because the photograph is UPSIDE DOWN!!


P.S. My first “piece” should have been a reflection on my joy and fear at the prospect of bifocal contact lenses.  Actually, just one lens.  But that’s another topic for another day.    Maybe by then, I’ll be right side up.