Category Archives: holidays

Hole in My Heart

Although I think of myself as flexible and resilient most of the time, there are some changes that I just don’t like. My friends and loved ones moving away is right up there in the “I hate this” stratosphere.

Lori and Tom live 2 doors up from me. I knew right away when I moved onto the block 29 years ago that they would be good friends.  They championed me when I was divorcing wasband #2, supported me during the adoption process.  Lori is a rubber stamping buddy of mine, we share reading as a passion and I’ve been drawn into one of her favorite charities, Mission Haiti.  Tom more often than not does my snowblowing and now that they are moving to an apartment in Chicago, he is even giving me the snowblower.  YA had a ton of hand-me-downs from their 2 daughters (which really helped my finances back then) and we did a lot of activities together when the kids were all younger, including Supper with Santa, trick-or-treating and many backyard neighborhood get-togethers.  They are two of the kindest, most generous people I know.

This move to Chicago has been coming for a while. They actually rented the apartment a year ago but a health crisis kept them here until now.  Their oldest is in Cincinnati with the only grandchild, Lori’s work has offices in Chicago and Tom does programming work from home, so the Windy City seemed like a good next step for them.

But it doesn’t make me happy, even if it’s good for them. I know how to use e-mail and texting and even skype, but it isn’t the same as just running a couple of houses up.  So on Friday I have a chunk of time blocked on my calendar that says “cry on the sidewalk” as I fully intend to go home to wave them off as they depart Minneapolis.

Who would you have move closer (or back)?

Good Fortune

Fortune cookies, while a fun novelty, don’t always register for me. Most of the time that YA and I have Chinese food, it is at home, delivered by our favorite place, Fresh Wok.   YA loves cream cheese wontons, which I consider dessert; this combined with the fact that the fortune cookies are always at the bottom of the bag, they are usually overlooked until after we’re full.

I have some good friends who are moving this week, so this past weekend, I took Chinese take-out over to them so they would have one night when they didn’t have to cook. I decided to make it an early Chinese New Year party so brought lucky money envelopes, red paper plates/cups, the works.  When I was setting things out, the fortune cookies were actually on the top of the bag so I put them each of our place settings.

Here is what mine said:

“Because of your melodic nature, the moonlight never misses an appointment.”

Lovely, although in terms of it being a fortune, all I can figure is I’d better keep being melodic or the moonlight will miss an appointment?

What fortune would YOU like to crack open?

I Like What I Like

In 2019 YA and her boyfriend discovered Roti, a Mediterranean fast food place that opened in late 2018 in Edina. It’s a lot like Chipotle, where you choose your base, then your protein, then your add-ons as you go down the line.  Since I rarely go out to eat for lunch (and when I do, I never go far), I didn’t even know it existed until YA suggested that I should include Roti on the list of possible giftcards that Santa could put in her stocking.

It turns out to be fairly close to my office so I went to help Santa with his list a bit before the holidays. In getting a giftcard for YA and one for BF, I qualified for a $5 off card for myself.  Since I had to run an errand yesterday that took me close to Southdale, I decided it would be a good time to try Roti and get a good deal in the bargain.  Since I hate to stand around trying to figure out how the menu works in a new place (with impatient folks behind me), I decided to look on line before heating over.  The menu described how the process works and all the options, including a yummy looking flat bread pizza with hummus, veggies and feta cheese.  Right up my alley.

Imagine my surprise when I got to Roti and the veggie flatbread pizza wasn’t listed on the menu board. When I asked about it, a couple of employees looked at me like I had frogs crawling out of my ears.  The manager piped up and said that it had been discontinued.  Obviously not in the hour since I had seen it online, but I had a feeling that sentiment wasn’t going to get me anywhere.  Instead I did what works best in these situations; I stood there looking up silently and forlornly at the menu board.  Eventually the manager said “but we can go ahead and make one for you anyway” and proceeded to confirm what I wanted on the flatbread.  (All of the ingredients were right there, but I figured that commenting on why they would discontinue something that they clearly could easily make would not help.)

While I was waiting, it occurred to me that I have a couple of favorites at other places that have been discontinued and I still ask for them.  Jamba Juice will still make me an Orange Appeal and Davanni’s will still do their Four Cheese Hot Hoagie for me if I ask.  I assume most people just let these things go and order off the menu, but I don’t always want to try something new.  I just want what I want.

Faced with new options are you adventuresome or do you like what you like?

Going Forward in Life

I know from discussions on previous New Year’s Days that we are not a big resolution group. Around our house, New Year’s Day is traditionally the day we take down the tree, put away the ornaments and other decorations and generally straighten and clean up.  It feels like a fresh start after the big holiday season so it’s easy to understand how folks can spend time taking stock and deciding how they’d like to go forward in life.

No particular ways I’d like to go forward, although I will note that 2019 was an abysmal year for keeping up communications with the people in my life. Not sure why, it wasn’t more busy than usual, but in looking back I realize that I did more responding and less reaching out.  So maybe I’d like to change that.  If this is a resolution, then so be it.

If there are resolutions in my past that I managed to keep, I can’t remember. I assume that most of my former resolutions remained as resolutions and not life changes. This means I don’t have a game plan based on past experience for making a change.  I guess I’ll just have to wing it.

Have you had any spectacular resolution failures? Or success?

Planning Ahead

Now that Christmas Day is over, husband and Daughter and I started talking about a trip next December to Austria.  Daughter has lots of exciting ideas and brings up infinite possibilities. Husband is dour, and says he just wants to be away from the US and all the holiday hysteria the week of the 25th, while Daughter wants to be gone in early December.  Prague is a must, as is Hallestadt, Austria.  I just don’t want to be rushed and stressed. We will spend the next couple of months debating and discussing, and then we will consult with a travel agent. Planning ahead sometimes isn’t easy with a bunch of opinionated people.

How do you and your family plan ahead? How do your plans work out?

Lefse and Weltschmerz

Our son sent me a text earlier this week along with this photo:

“This is how low I’ve had to stoop to mimic your lefse”.

“It tastes like mediocrity and sadness. As if some underappreciated Norse lady made it sacrificing quality for quantity. It causes me great Weltschmerz”.

I am sure that there are many people who gladly eat Mrs. Olson’s potato lefse and really like it.  My son is pretty spoiled. I am making lefse today and bringing several packages with me in my suitcase to Brookings on Monday.

I understand his Weltschmerz, his world weariness and melancholy, especially now that  Christmas is over and the new year looms ahead with all its uncertainty. I combat it with baking and catnaps.

Where is your Weltschmerz meter at these days? What causes your Weltschmerz? How do you  cope with the inadequacy and imperfection of this world?



Favorite Meals

Our daughter is home and is relishing being spoiled and waited on. She works hard as an intensive in-home family therapist in Tacoma  and is really burned out right now.  She doesn’t like sea food,  which is unfortunate  given how close she lives  to the sea,  and has been craving beef.  She and I are planning favorite meals for her while she is home.  Roast beef, garlic mashed potatoes, turkey chipotle chowder, and pasta with this special tomato sauce I make are her requests. It is good to have her here.

What were your favorite meals at home?  What didn’t you like?  What special meals does  your  family request?