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Sunday, February 26, 2017

  • Wednesday, February 22, 2017 4:00 AM
    I ventured to a new McDonald’s the other day. It was lovely, truly lovely, but I didn’t stay. I wanted to sit alone and work from my laptop. Unfortunately, the seating was similar to that which I’ve encountered on my travels to Europe. There are one or two large tables, and only a few booths scattered along the edges. This is great for a family of 15 that would typically be unable to sit together, but it’s hard to imagine a construction crew wanting to lunch with a mom and her passel of kids. Most of us prefer to wallow in our personal space, and enjoy the semi privacy afforded by separate tables. 
    I’m relatively outgoing, and can pretty much start a conversation with any living soul, but I feel uncomfortable seating myself at a table that’s already occupied. When in Rome, I do as the Romans do, but once home, I fall into the safety net of familiarity.
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  • Wednesday, February 15, 2017 4:00 AM
    Over the past year, I have been exploring the world with new eyes. I feel like I am 18 again, standing on the cusp of life, and the possibilities for my future are endless.
    Following that desire to explore and learn is how I came to be standing outside the beautiful Elephant gate of Das Buddhistische Haus; the oldest and largest Buddhist center in Europe.
    It took an hour by train from Berlin, and then a 20-minute taxi ride. As the taxi pulled away into the settling dusk of late afternoon Germany, I cinched my coat, and turned my attention to the large, wooden gate.
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  • Wednesday, February 08, 2017 4:00 AM
    For the first time in over a year and a half, all of my clothes are on hangars, and my shoes are unpacked. Since moving to the new house, which was originally built in 1860, I have been living out of suitcases, boxes, and piles. Apparently, in the mid-1800s, they didn’t have a need for closets. But now, thanks to my handy dad, I have a beautiful walk-in closet all to myself! There are high racks and low racks, cubbies for handbags, and floor to ceiling shelves dedicated solely to my shoe collection.
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  • Wednesday, February 01, 2017 4:00 AM
    Even though I did most of my growing up in Chattanooga, which sits on the southern border of Tennessee, I have never really explored the adjacent state of Georgia. In 1985, I attended my first Barry Manilow concert in Atlanta, and last year, I spent several weekends visiting in Marietta. Other than that, Georgia has never really been on my travel radar. But this past week, a couple of girlfriends and I headed down to the lovely, and haunted, city of Savannah.
    The three of us have known each other since 1983ish when we were in our church’s youth group together. Incidentally, that church was located just across the Tennessee border in Rossville, Georgia, so I guess I have actually been to Georgia a few thousand times. Every Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night for seven years.
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  • Wednesday, January 25, 2017 4:00 AM
    I will soon be changing my last name, so I considered changing my first name, too. I began asking friends and family what they thought of the idea. Nearly everyone was supportive, as I knew they would be, because I am fortunate to have supportive people in my life. But the inevitable question was, “Why?
    I’ve always struggled to connect with my name. I don’t know if it is related to the tone my mother used when she said it, or because it prompted so much teasing by peers. Whatever the reason, I always cringe slightly when I hear it.
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  • Wednesday, January 18, 2017 4:00 AM
    So, I finally celebrated Christmas this past weekend. One of the repercussions of divorce was not having my kids over the holidays. There were moments when it was a bit more emotionally difficult than I expected, but they had a great time with their dad, and I made the most of having time to myself.
    On the plus side, I had three extra weeks to prepare, I hit all the post-holiday sales, and my adult children were able to spend two full nights because they weren’t committed to any other celebrations. Altogether, we were a house party of 10 for 48 hours, and it was wonderful.
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  • Wednesday, January 11, 2017 4:00 AM
    For most of my life, I have been seeking internal peace. The Christian scriptures call it “the peace that passeth understanding.” Growing up in the church, I was taught that it was something one could attain if they were diligent. But no matter how hard I prayed or worked, or how diligently I followed the rules, true inner peace was never to be found.
    Two years ago, on the streets of Berlin, an event took place that was so heinous it jarred my innermost being. In one fell swoop, everything I had ever believed about God, religion, and the life I had been leading was jerked away. A fire and strength I had never known welled up inside of me, propelling me to pack my bags and take the next flight off the continent. Thus began my journey into a world that was truly foreign to me.
    I finally realized that the only path to peace is to discover truth. Lies and falsehoods can temporarily soothe a mind that is desperate for relief from an antagonist, but when you have truth, you can settle the heart and mind on what is real.
    So, over the past 24 months, I have sought the truth about myself, about God, and about the world around me. This led me back to Berlin to face the demons I had tried to leave behind.
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  • Wednesday, January 04, 2017 4:00 AM
    This past week, my adventures included a solo trip to Berlin, Germany, where I rang in 2017 with a million other revelers at the Brandenburg Gate. It ranks as the largest New Year’s Eve celebration in Europe (third largest in the world), and was genuinely one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
    Security was tight due to the recent terrorist attack in Berlin. Roads were blocked off a mile and a half from the gate in every direction. I walked for two solid hours, and went through four security checkpoints before finally making it into the celebration. But it was worth every purse check, every frisking and every blister on my tired feet. 
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  • Wednesday, December 28, 2016 4:00 AM
    I’ve never been particularly fond of New Year’s resolutions. In the past, I always felt like I was setting myself up for failure because it is highly unlikely that I will ever become thin and organized. 
     In more recent years, all of my resolve was directed at simply surviving another year with my sanity intact. But this time around, things are different. Having spent the past 12 months slaying my demons and ending toxic relationships, I am excited about moving forward into the New Year. So, here is my no-fail list of resolutions for 2017. 
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  • Wednesday, December 21, 2016 4:00 AM
    I never lie about my age or my weight. I weigh 165 pounds (give or take a few, depending on my level of emotional eating), and I was born on Dec. 20, 1969. 
    Forty-seven has loomed large in my mind for the past several years. It is the age my mother was when she died. They say that a woman sees her mother most often in her own hands. I have found this to be true. I am surprised how often I catch glimpses of her mannerisms when I’m cooking, helping my children, or talking animatedly. 
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  • Wednesday, December 14, 2016 4:00 AM
    I have recently started a new venture called, “The Great Social Media Selfie Project.” The goal is to obtain a picture of myself with every single one of my Facebook friends. Considering I have nearly 1200 connections across the world, this could take some time. 
    So far, my venture has taken me through a good portion of New England and a few southern states. I have been surprised and delighted to find that my friends are enthused about the project, and are willing to go out of their way to meet me at least long enough to take a selfie. 
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  • Wednesday, November 30, 2016 4:00 AM
    So, I have my first job interview this week. Well, the first one in 20 years anyway. For the past two decades, I have been a stay-at-home mom. But now, the time has come to carve out a new path for myself, and that involves joining the 9 to 5 grind. 
    First, I had to tackle another new endeavor…creating a résumé. I vaguely remember typing up a mock résumé back in high school. In 1987. In an actual typing class with typewriters, not keyboards. The world has changed significantly in the past 30 years, and I’m doing my best to prepare myself. 
    Fortunately, my years of running a business with wasband (the man who was my husband), coupled with my modest writing career, makes fairly impressive credentials. So, I found a résumé template, put it all down on paper, and emailed it to a couple of places.
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  • Wednesday, November 23, 2016 4:00 AM
    “I’m really excited about the Macy’s parade! It’s my favorite part of Thanksgiving!” 
    “Is that here in Thorntown,” my daughter asked. 
    I sat for a moment, trying to comprehend my obvious parenting fail. 
    “No, Thorntown’s entire population doesn’t equal half the number of people in the Macy’s parade. It takes place in New York City. Do you not remember watching it on TV every year?”
    “Remind me.”
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  • Wednesday, November 16, 2016 4:00 AM
    I pictured myself venturing out in public with a red and swollen face, so I waited until I had two days with nothing planned. Finally, the time was right. I pulled the cup of wax from the box, and carefully following the instructions, popped it into the microwave. 
    Waxing facial hair is not high on any woman’s list of things she looks forward to doing, and I have studiously avoided it for years. But at last, I had to concede that my face was starting to resemble that of a teddy bear. 
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  • Wednesday, November 02, 2016 4:00 AM
    I was recently challenged to go through an entire day without apologizing. My first thought was, “I’m sorry, but I can’t do that.”  I’m uncertain if it is my religious upbringing, my Midwestern sensibilities, or simply the fact that I am a woman, but not apologizing for stuff is hard. And I don’t mean apologizing for things you actually did wrong. I mean for little things like existing in the grocery store when other people are shopping. If I pass in front of someone who is studying canned vegetables, I immediately say, “Oh, I’m sorry!” Really, if I have to say anything, it should be, “Excuse me.” Or I could offer a helpful suggestion on brand selection, but I don’t need to regret walking in public space. I have noticed other women have the same problem. At a recent event, when the speaker finished her presentation, the next woman stepped up to the podium, adjusted the mic down, and said, “I’m sorry. I’m not as tall as she is.”

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