A Year to Remember

“This is a year to forget!” he wrote in his message.  When I first read it I laughed.  Rick with his perfect mix of humor and compassion had nailed it.  The saying “when it rains it pours” has come to mind often in the last year.  Between my health and my kid’s it’s been a physically and emotionally challenging year to say the least. When his message arrived, it was four weeks post-op and life without my gallbladder wasn’t going so well. Gone were the problems I’d struggled with before,

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Turtle Soup

I sat down winded.  I’d rushed to get to youth group Wednesday and needed to catch my breath.  The kids were lining up to get their dinner so I had a minute to collect myself before I had to be sociable.  The dinner I’d inhaled at home felt like dead weight in my stomach. It must have shown because the minute she sat down, Chloe the group’s most inquisitive member said, “Does your stomach hurt Kären?” Chloe would never lean over and ask me anything quietly so now all eyes

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See What You Want To See

As I started to walk past her she motioned with her head toward the floor.  Her eyes locked on all the change.  She knew I would stop and pick it up. It was quite a bit—a dime and several pennies. “How many is that now?” she asked. “A little over 23,000.” “You’re kidding me?” “Nope.” Then it started.  A rant from Stephanie I’d never heard before.  In the few years she’s worked at our neighborhood store I’ve gotten to know her enough to be on familiar terms. I know what

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Noticed

It was a comment that stuck in my head like a song you hear at the grocery store—one you’d never play at home like the theme song for Titanic.  Near, far, wherever you are you can’t get it out of your head. We were eating dinner and one of the boys asked me what I’d done that day.  “Clean the house,” I said. “Nice,” they replied in unison. It was a rote response.  They weren’t saying it looked nice.  It was simply an acknowledgment that I’d spoken.  Shaking my head

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Less Is More

Leaning against the brick wall of our hotel, the woman’s blonde hair was matted and her brown face weathered and worn.  She barely raised her weary eyes to us as we passed by and mumbled, “Can you spare any change?”  On her lap was a handwritten cardboard sign that said she had cancer. My husband and I had just arrived for a much-needed getaway in the Gaslamp District of downtown San Diego.  Downtown was a stark contrast of glistening luxury hotels and high-rise office buildings and rough, dirty transients roaming

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Tall As a Tulip

When the President said, “All in all, this has been a tough week,” in our nation I couldn’t have agreed more.  Every headline was awful—bombings, manhunts, explosions, and Congress waffling on gun control.  Man’s free will in a variety of ways, shapes, and forms at its ugliest.  It was sickening. Desperate for something cheery I stopped at the store to buy some flowers.  Fresh cut anything in a vase makes me smile.  Flowers are my best comfort food—aromatherapy minus the calories. When I asked the florist what she had that

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Normal Schnormal

She stood up and put her hand out to shake mine.  I hadn’t realized our meeting was in the plan so I quickly tried to hide my surprise. “Hello, I’m Chantell,” she said.  “It’s nice to meet you.” “It’s nice to meet you too,” I said. The lights dimmed and we both sat down with Chase between us.  Now I knew why he’d wanted to see his school’s play.  He’d made a date with his girlfriend. The curtain went up and I tried to focus on the play, but that

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Stranded One

I heard it hit the ground as I was stepping out of my car.  It was the penny I’d found a hundred miles earlier that had fallen out of my pocket.  A woman at the Starbucks in Vail had dropped it and couldn’t be bothered in her sky high heels to pick it up.  Apparently she had no fear of slipping on the ice outside in those shoes, but a misstep in line for espresso would have been too much.  Her indifference was amusing. I was still snickering about it when

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Cutting Corners

I’ve been talking about getting new skis for a long time now but stepping off the curb to make such a big purchase has been hard.  I’m not convinced new equipment will improve things and I’m one of those folks that secretly laugh at the perfectly outfitted person who can barely get off the lift.  My skiing has improved though and since it’s one of the few sports where I can still keep up with my kids the investment seems worthy. So off I went last week to the experts

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Oh Christmas Tree

Last Christmas when I pulled out the decorations I swore I wouldn’t buy any more.  Somehow over the previous twenty-five years I’d acquired more than a department store would need.  That’s probably an overstatement, but it’s safe to say my collection had grown to the point it was time to downsize. This added a lot of time to the decorating effort then, but that investment paid off this year.  After Thanksgiving when it was time to break out the boxes I had the halls decked in record time.  Nothing even

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