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  • When Christmas gets real
    12/7/2019 On Sunday afternoon, I bought a new Christmas tree. I’d like to say we spent the day at the tree farm, trudging across the acres, waiting expectantly for the perfect tree to wave his branches and say, “Here I am! Choose me!”
  • 11/26/2019 Thankfulness is watching the sun rise on a crisp, fall day. 
    Thankfulness is ending the day knowing you can be proud of what you’ve accomplished. 
    Thankfulness is when you follow your instinct instead of conventional wisdom, and everything happens exactly as you knew it would. 
    Thankfulness is knowing you are not only okay alone, but that you are thriving on your own. 
    Thankfulness is when, after five years of thriving on your own, the person who has been dancing along the edges of your daydreams actually shows up. 
    Thankfulness is having someone come alongside you and say, “I know you can do this, but I’d like to help.”
    Thankfulness is a friend with carpentry skills.
  • 11/16/2019 Due to my budding interest in Buddhism, on Saturday morning, I dragged the kids and my significant other to a documentary on Plum Village. The monastery in the south of France was founded by Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist Monk exiled from his home country of Vietnam. I’m drawn to the peace he called for and the practice of mindfulness that he teaches. 
    Afterward, we had lunch at Bru Burger, did a little Christmas shopping for my grandpup, and hit Amelia’s bakery for bread and cookies. 
    At that point, I was ready to go home, but my other asked if I’d like to shop at an international grocery store. I wasn’t certain I was up to it, but we forged ahead. 
    Upon stepping inside, 13-year-old daughter commented, “I feel like I’m in Germany.”
    We picked up a couple of produce items, paused to look at giant fish laid out on ice, and examined the packaged pig parts you don’t typically find in the grocery stores we frequent. 
  • 11/1/2019 In the early 1900s, my great-great grandfather, McKeever Germain, owned a restaurant in the Indianapolis area. My mommaw (his granddaughter) used to tell stories about how all the men gathered for breakfast that “Mack” cooked in a HUGE cast iron skillet. To illustrate the size, she would hold her arms out as though embracing a large beach ball.
    I have thought about that skillet for years. Mommaw said he would make sausage gravy for biscuits, then use it to fry eggs and more than a pound of bacon at a time. It was perfect for flapjacks, sausages, potatoes, and all manner of foods from his German heritage.
    My aunt ended up with Grandpa’s skillet, and I’ve not been able to successfully bribe her out of it. Finally, it occurred to me that I could buy my own. So, I did just that. Thanks to a pit stop on my travels through Tennessee, I am the proud owner of a beautiful 15” cast iron skillet. I’d like to get the 17-inch, but I need to do some weight training and arm strengthening first. 
    In my thirty years of adulthood, I have never enjoyed cooking as much as I do now. In fact, I can solidly state that I never truly enjoyed cooking. It was a task that I performed simply because I held the traditional role of wife and mother. But it didn’t come naturally to me, and I had a very hard time planning family pleasing menus on a tight budget. The dishes I learned to cook while growing up with a frugal mother (liver and onions, baked SPAM, and tuna noodle casserole), were not well-received.
  • 10/26/2019 My dad was the primary bread winner for our family. When I was a child, he ran his own construction company while also pursuing a degree. My mom worked part-time jobs to help pay the bills, but primarily she took care of the household. 
    When I married, at the age of 21, I held a full-time job. When our baby was born, it became my heart’s desire to be a stay-at-home mom, so my husband sought a better paying job. There were a few years when I worked part-time to help make ends meet, but eventually my dream became reality. 
    I share this history so you will understand my perspective when I say, there are things about the patriarchy and traditional gender roles that I rail against, but I have also come to recognize that it positioned me in a place of privilege. Even though finances were tight, and I worked hard raising children and running a business from the kitchen table, I’ve never felt the weight of being a sole bread winner. 
    As a child, I was sensitive to our financial struggles, but never doubted that dad would provide the things we needed. It was simply a given. I had the same childlike confidence in my husband. 
  • 10/12/2019 It’s not a good time to be a grandmother. Of my employees, four have recently had grandmothers who were rushed to the ER, and three had grandmas who passed away. One person had three or four grandmothers who died in a six-week period. 
    Having had a very close relationship to my own grandmother, I used to be sympathetic to these early morning calls. But now, I just feel sorry for the grandmas who, assuming they even exist, are repeatedly used as an excuse. 
  • 9/28/2019  I felt privileged to be an onlooker when he handed her the wedding band; a delicate, gold ring with intricate detail along the edges. As he gently laid it in her palm, she began to cry. 
     “Where did you find it?” her voice broke. 
     “Behind the cabinet, just like you always said.” 
      Slipping it onto her finger, she clasped both hands to her chest and let the tears flow. 
      His tears flowed, too. 
  • 9/7/2019 I just polished off a bowl of vegetable soup with a side of rye bread. As I popped the last bit of crust into my mouth, I had a flashback to Vilnius, Lithuania, where I was privileged to travel for two autumns in a row. There is nothing in the world like Lithuanian dark rye bread. I had some form of rye at every meal, and firmly associate it with crisp, autumn air.
  • 6/3/2019 Today, I decided to take the long way home, and drive past my old house. The house I had lived in for twenty years. 

    During those two decades, I watched the trees in the front yard grow and flourish. I wanted once more to catch a glimpse of their beauty. 

    It is still odd to see a new family living in the place that I used to think would be mine until I was old and gray. 

    A few years ago, I was driving through the countryside when I realized my route was taking me past three houses that had once been the homes of couples I’d known. It was a stark realization that new families lived in those homes because each of the marriages ended in divorce.

    By the time I got to the third house, I was so overcome with emotion that I pulled off the road and cried. 
  • 5/2/2019 In 1985, my high school principal folded the petition I had painstakingly written on behalf of my class, and tucked it into the inner pocket of his suit coat. “I’m surprised a girl with such a pretty face could write something like this,” he coolly stated. 
    Maybe that’s why even though I rarely feel compelled to sign a petition, I do pay special attention to those written by students. 
    This past week, I came across a petition regarding a prom dress code that had been instituted by a local high school. Not only did I sign it, I donated to the student’s cause.  
    I try to always encourage others to use their voice, whether or not I agree with their opinion. In this case, I fully agreed. In fact, had I written the petition, it would have included much more than the forbidden footwear. Requiring neckties, suits, tuxedos, etc, seems a bit over the top, not to mention an expense many cannot afford. 
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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

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