Kick Some Ass

When I had surgery my grandson gave me a get well card. All it said was kick some ass. It was an inspiring message and I tried to be a kick ass patient during my recovery. I think it worked. Kicking ass isn’t just about being an action star in a violent movie. It’s about being a leader, a voice, an organizer and and example. Go kick some ass.

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My Favorite Candy

Last night I ate a Mozartkugel, a Austrian/German confection I’d never heard of before. Someone brought it to book club for the discussion of “The Afterlife of Stars.” It set me to thinking about favorite candy that I’ve loved. Chocolate has always been the favorite, changing over the years from gooey sweetness like Mounds bars to the darkest of dark chocolates I love now. Now I happily down the 85% cocoa bars that I would have found bitter as a younger person.

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Holiday Food

It’s funny how many kinds of holiday food I loved in my childhood haven’t made it to the table in the present. I know why – my children didn’t like the same things, so I didn’t fix them. I long for mincemeat pit and cinnamon apples, pea salad and stuffed celery. The one thing we can all agree on, ripe olives, disappear so fast you’d think they were zapped by a ray gun. Food is part of the holiday experience, but having family around is more important to me.

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Talk to Me

When my babies were tiny I wished they would talk to me so I’d know what they were crying about. When they were teens I wished they would talk to me so I could help them through the perils of high school. Now they are grown and they talk to me about all the other things that adults talk about: overwork, horrifying political events, worries over their kids, being stretched to the limit. I didn’t manage to raise them to have a better life than mine, which makes me sad.

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Mashed Potatoes

I don’t know how that particular recipe for mashed potatoes became the centerpiece of holiday meals. It’s been that way for several years. Everyone loves those potatoes and looks forward to them more than the pie or any other goodies at holidays. I could say it is the  cream cheese and sour cream that get beaten into the mix, but it’s more than that. It’s about something special just for family. The . . .

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The Shirt

It’s a plaid Pendleton wool shirt that used to belong to my dad. If I wear it long enough to get it warmed up, I can smell my dad’s sweat. I don’t do that very often, just when I really miss him and know his smell will make me feel closer to him. I have other things of his – his pocket knife, a carved duck – but they don’t carry a scent like that shirt. It takes me back to . . .

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The Dance

The mambo is popular in my exercise class, but the dance I learned early and used all my life for every kind of music imaginable is the two step. Not the country-western two step they do in Texas dance halls. The two step that is two steps one way and one step back. It works for swing, rock, even techno dancing. You know that old saw about how the world would be a happy place if every child was given a ukulele at birth? Well, I add that every child should be taught to do the two step as soon as they are steady on their feet.

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Old Fashioned

Do you remember how to do things the old fashioned way? What if you were in a place like Puerto Rico and had no electricity? Ignore all the rest of their problems like water and impassable roads and no medicine. Just imagine doing without electricity.

I could make a fire and cook over it. I have a fireplace in my house so it could help keep me warm. I have a few candles, not many, to keep the dark away.

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The Cookbook

It was 60 years old, that cookbook. You know, the one with the red checkered cover like a tablecloth. The pages were falling out of the binder. Some pages were greasy with use, others were untouched. I found what I wanted in the section on pancakes and waffles. Yes, exactly what I remembered – mama’s pancakes. I pulled a big bowl . . .

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Life Changing

In my long lifetime I’ve been through many life changing events. An early one I recall was missing the school bus at age 6. I remember running after it yelling, but it went on without me. I don’t think I’ve been late to anything since then.

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