Sunday in the Chapel at St. Charles


It’s a sunny Sunday in September and I really should be outside, rolling around in these last precious remnants of summer, but here I am in the dimly lit, air-conditioned chapel inside St. Charles Hospital… remembering. A wounded, white-haired man in a neck brace and bare feet just wandered past—on the arm of a beautiful young woman. He wonders if he should really be out in public.

“I might be frightening to young children,” he whispers to her. She gently pats his arm.

“You are not frightening,” she says, smiling and rolling her eyes in mock scorn. He shrugs and weakly smiles.

I just wrote in the public prayer journal that lays here, on the wooden podium, next to the trickling water and just under the octagonal skylight. I wrote in the journal that you came home three weeks ago; that I was both weary and grateful; that this place serves as both a respite and a reminder for me. It IS quiet and I feel the peace of this place AND… I remember. I remember the night we came in here, just last month, when you lived here for nine days. I remember you on your knees in prayer, me on my back in Shivasana—right here on this slate tile. You pulled behind you, a three-foot tall stainless and green oxygen tank, cradled and strapped into a compact wheeled dolly, made of metal tubing and fitted with a black plastic handle. You laid it down beside you, before you knelt. With the clear hose curving across your face and around your ears, your eyes gently closed, you head bowed nearly to your chest–you silently spoke your pleas for wellness.

You were heard. You know you were.

Hanging from the center of the octagonal skylight is a linear, stained glass sculpture with an attached s-loop, which holds a constant burning oil lamp. Constant: the presence of The Divine; the goodness of love; the circle of life; and maybe even the human doubts each of us has about our own sufficiency: Am I enough for this?

In this public space I close my eyes and think of you: I breathe in the vibration of life; the gift of our love; the presence of Creation—and all the ways I fear I am not adequate. I feel the ground beneath me, and breathe all the way into stratosphere—for you AND for me—for all of us, that we may each know that yes, we are just a mere speck in space, a tiny blip in time—yet somehow we are also more than enough, that the doubts and the love collide into some beautiful combination and that we DO make a difference.

The day before that night of nocturnal wandering, I sat at the foot of your plastic, squeaky bed, my palm on your calf, and we talked about where you were going to heal, and as we talked I imagined bringing you home with me. I looked into the question lingering in your golden eyes.

“Can I heal at your house?”

“Of course,” was my simple response—an act of faith; an act of love and friendship; …and an act which no matter how long I pondered, I could not know the outcome: I didn’t know if our budding romance, our on-again, off-again soul-friendship could survive every day intimacy, or if it could move forward afterwards. I didn’t know what I’d do or what life would look like. I knew however, that I WAS going to make a place for you to get well—both in my home AND inside of me—regardless of the romantic outcome.

This every day intimacy looks like your oxygen-rich slow healing; your ever-deeper, lung expanding breathing; our long walks around the neighborhood. It looks like cooking and doing dishes and scrubbing the toilet and MY giving in to the next beautiful moment and my tentative belief that I am enough.

Cheers Dove(s), to a beautiful life!


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Meditations on Hope and Hopelessness

Acorns in the Morning_edited-1

Hope: It’s a good thing, right? Necessary even. To have hope, is to not be discouraged, to imagine something better, to be continually improving personally and imagining better days for others, maybe even for our country. Hope sounds noble. What a worthy endeavor—to create hope, to hold a hopeful place for others. That’s all good, right?

The cancer patient believes, as New Age ideals suggest, that he’s going to live. He just has to desire and believe ENOUGH, say his positive aphorism “I’m getting healthier every day” and voila—he’s a magnet for all his desires to be cancer free. He might even be healed, all via his belief and desire and hope. If healing doesn’t happen, we move on to some other route, but only after the battle and hope is “lost.” Hope is the supposed lifeline we spiritual ones cling to. Then, there’s the woman whose husband is lost at sea. The hours turn into days. The days turn into weeks. Still, she has “hope” and that hope proves she’s a good woman and that she loves her husband, right? We’re taught to hope, and that hope is our salvation and that having hope speaks of our goodness, but is that really true?

Some of us want God to save us, or some substance to ease the pain, or someone to tell us it’s going to be alright. Is it possible we cling to hope, to anesthetize ourselves from our life? Buddhist nun Pema Chodron suggests just that, in her classic book “When Things Fall Apart.”

What is hope really? I wonder if hope is simply imagining some future outcome. It seems hope resides in some other time than now, sometime in the future. Hope is somewhere that is not here, but out there. We believe God will save us; and we try to find rest in an imagined future, which we can never know.

We applaud those who never “lose hope” like hope is something that can be misplaced, then later found under a couch cushion, like loose coins that fell from our pockets.

What if being without hope—say, hope-LESS—was the way to enlightenment and being fully in the present moment, which would allow us to be fully engaged with the person in front of us—and be more fully ourselves. What if being without hope added immeasurably to our joy? Sounds crazy, right? It’s not how we normally think of hope. What if embracing the heart breaking truth of: There is no hope, was actually the path to a more starkly beautiful life—a life that actually exists, rather than one simply wished for?

That cancer patient needs to believe he won’t die—and we need to agree with him. The woman with the missing husband needs to believe he will eventually be found—and we nod in agreement with her too. What would happen if we didn’t agree? What if instead of giving a platitudinous pat, and saying “it’ll all work out,” we helped our dear ones explore the present moment and their own unique, sometimes heart breaking experience, in order to live a deeper, more meaningful experience?

Here’s one for you: If we believe that there is nothing but now, as many us say we do—does hope even exist?

We are all going to die—some sooner than later. Some will not be found—not ever. Everything is NOT going to be okay. There is only NOW.

We are all taught at an early age to crave hope, to believe in the doctrine of hope. We were steeped in it, like soggy tea bags in amber colored hot water, by our families, our society and our religion. Add to that “hope” sounds so enlightened, so positive, so loving and kind. We have to have hope, right? Where would we be without hope?

So, one day I “lost hope.” Like a tub of soapy bath water, it all just drained away, and I sat there in the filmy, emptiness, seeing what I really had—which was still a life, I decided—cold and water logged, but life. I shivered and cried. I pounded my fists like a baby. Then, I stood up, rinsed myself off, and… I started laughing—suddenly grateful. I hadn’t really lost anything after all, I thought. Whatever I had, I still had. Whatever I was afraid of losing, was already gone.

It’s different than cancer, right? Different than being lost at sea. Maybe. All of us hold onto “hope,” a hope that things could be other than what they are; a hope that our salvation resides in a future time, when the other person changes; when circumstances shift; when a health condition is cured. When times get tough, is hope really a lifeline we can to cling to, or be saved by?

What if “abandoning hope” is a good thing? What if instead of “losing the battle” we lay down the sword of our own resistance and pick up instead our glasses—to better see what’s really in front of us? What if by refusing to hope, we gain life, and with it we experience more fully whatever arises—the joy and the pain; the coming together and the ripping apart; the delicious and the distasteful. What if in the process, we learn to love it all?

Maybe tuning into experience and the present moment, or the present person, or the present sensation, and abandoning hope might be the way to become the gift we were created to be, or might be the path to experience the life we didn’t even know we were missing.

Maybe there is no hope. Maybe there is only NOW.

Hopeless in Bend… and loving it all,

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A Prayer to a Friend


In my mind’s eye I’m imagining.

I imagine you walking and working in peace, growing stronger every day, finding your voice, refining your focus, and working your way towards you own unique balance. Even though your grateful heart naturally flows with gratitude, which is a major part of your strength and your success, your heart is now opening and curious to another type of abundance: margin and steadiness.

I see you standing ready on resilient legs, bare feet grounded on Mother Earth, while your outstretched hands open to receive from your Higher Power. You’re noticing what is for you and what isn’t. Obsolete ideas and deep-rooted perceptions just fall away, like dried mud from your work boots. Stomp your feet. Take a long-bristled scrub brush and whisk away brown, crusty debris. Look! You’ve come so far. Kick up your clean boots, and notice the new lighter way you’re walking in the world. You are free, sweetheart.

What used to make sense, you’re questioning now, and parts of your life that seemed immovable are starting slowly to dislodge, like a spring thaw has brought a warm and gentle wind through your life. You’re now viewing what’s been obscured from your vision—maybe for a long time. You’re sizing up the situation, pondering, then nodding, saying to yourself, “yeah, I’ve got this.”

In spite of it all, you’re embracing all that life is and moving forward: The big wisdom of no way out. We have grown beyond the need for simple comfort and survival—a way out. Instead we reach for the truth of our existence. We begin to know why we’re here, on THIS earth, in THIS place, with THESE particular beautiful and complicated souls. With open-eyed acceptance, we see all there is to see, in our immediate world, those around us and in ourselves, and again we nod, “yeah, I’ve got this.” In this life, we rejoice and we grieve. We love and we let go. Sometimes we even momentarily turn away, then with brave hearts, we boldly take another look—we humbly view with unwavering directness whatever presents, and know we’ve got what it takes and then simply move forward into inspired action. And, so it is.

To looking anyway. To deep creativity. To inspired action.

Love, Kathryn

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Chop Wood, Carry Water

Zion 2010 159

The slider is open and the yellow-white sun is warming my back and a soft breeze gently rustles my dark, rumpled, half-pinned hair. Sarah’s still asleep in her bed, mouth open, arm flopped over her face. Birds chirp and flutter in the junipers outside my living room window. The big white refrigerator clackety-hums, like it’s not quite as young as it used to be. Cars and planes whoosh and sing their engine noises, like their drivers really do have somewhere they need to be. Maybe they do.

Today, I am looking towards content, and fully into the grateful territory. I have all I need. I have all the kombucha and kimchee I desire. All my body’s parts seems to be in working order. I am as free, as anyone I know. I am loved by a couple of super choice people, and I completely dig them right back. And, here it is: I have been granted THIS day. THIS day seems to matter. Do you ever think, yeah, today is THE day?

I think there’s a discovery to be made… somewhere around here. I know it. All I have to do is find it. First, I have to put on my big girl pants, pat my brave and faltering heart and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Keep earning my stay. Keep tying down those un-tethered, flapping in the wind, ends of… whatever they are ends of. Keep mapping it out. Keep learning. And, keep an eagle eye out, scanning the horizon for what is actually for me.

I think it was the Buddha who said: Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. So, whether it was the Buddha or not, and while I’ve got my eagle eyes scanning the horizon, I will keep getting it ‘going on’ over here–getting the wood stacked for the winter, which I know will come, and hand over hand, drawing up clear, cold water up from my deep, pure well.

Wood and Water,
Love and Lettuce,

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First Kisses


First Kisses

Suzy Nobless’s dad was a famous shoe designer. We were in the seventh grade, when she and her little brother and her mom and her dad moved into Sabrina Epperly’s old house by Pine lake. The lake radiated tranquil beauty, but at that end, the muck and mud left a kid wondering, what is in this foot sucking ooze anyway? Soft. Too soft. The deep slime held pointy sticks and sharp rocks, which laid in wait, under the brown slime, ready to jab a kid’s instep or scrape an ankle. When we were bored enough to venture in, we imagined we were walking in the all the excrement pouring from pipes from quaint old houses, plumbed before codes disallowed such things, so for us: muck = poop.

That particular sunny day, Suzy and her new boyfriend Steve Storey and I decided to walk home from school. We went to Pine Lake Middle School, and when the last bell rang, we decided it was too nice to ride the stuffy old, yellow school bus home, with its blowing diesel, grinding gears and old lunch smells. I had just met Suzy, but I knew Steve when he and his family moved to Pine Lake the year before. We had been in Mr. Valenta’s sixth-grade class together. He’d always been so understanding when I’d shared my boy trouble with him, explaining how I’d been roped into saying I’d go steady with David Hassinger, you know how Doug is, I had told Steve. Steve had nodded, like he knew just what I meant.

“You want to stop at Sadler’s for ice cream sandwiches?” Steve asked, shifting his back pack on his shoulders.

“I spent the last of my money at the school store,” Suzy replied, glancing quickly over at Steve, smiling sweet and coy, like some Southern belle.

“Yeah, me too,” I added.

“That’s okay, my treat today,” Steve smiled at Suzy. So we got our ice cream and Steve sprung for Suzy’s favorite gum, some bright green apple-flavored stuff that blew the biggest bubbles ever. Suzy slapped my arm, signaling me to what how big she could blow.

“That’s the biggest one I’ve ever seen,” Steve shook his head in amazement, like he himself was blown away, just like the gum.

“Stunning,” I said looking from Suzy to Steve. So we teased and meandered, and we playfully shoved and laughed our way down the two lane road, that wound its way around the lake. The sun was warm for April and fruit trees bloomed. Each twist in the road brought a new smell and we got quiet for a short while, ebbing and flowing, in and out of ease and awkwardness, as kids on the verge, do. Just before the road wound sharply to the left, a grouping of alders stood with roots soaked in mud and decaying leaves. We breathed in the sweet, earthy odor as we passed.

“I kind of like that smell,” I said absently, sleepy from the ice cream.

“Me too,” Steve nodded. “I don’t know why. It’s kind of a rot and dirt smell… kind of good in my nose.”

“Ewe. You guys are gross,” Suzy let out as she looked into the stand of trees. Steve and I shrugged. We continued past the Hamm’s house, both my dad’s friend Jerry and his brother Bob lived down that drive. I’d met Bob’s daughter Karen, when she invited me over to play when we were in Kindergarten. Karen had yelled at me to come in when I knocked on the front door that day. There was a lot of barking, big barking behind the door, but I opened it as directed anyway. A gigantic pointy-eared Doberman jumped and landed his paws on my shoulders and her cat attached itself to my thigh, before she could get to the door. I looked down their driveway, as I walked with Steve and Suzy, and I wondered how Karen was. She never seemed like a girl who’d be happy any day soon.

Steve looked at Suzy as we neared her house. He often looked like he had something up his sleeve, so I ignored his sideways glances at Suzy, and she seemed genuinely oblivious to all his in-drawn breaths, where he looked like he ready to say something then thought better of it.

We came to a rock. Steve simply plopped himself right down on it.

“I need a kiss,” he declared smiling at Suzy. Her eyes widened and her face reddened, and she didn’t say anything for a moment.

“I don’t know how,” she finally breathed, then looked to me for help. I just shrugged. “Show me how Kathy.” Right then it was time for my eyes to go wide and my face to redden. I shook my head.

“Eh…” I stammered. I had kissed a boy before, but it hadn’t gotten good reviews. Kurt Holtzingner had run into my face outside my parent’s bathroom in the summer following the sixth grade. He had looked perturbed and he instructed me to open my mouth when kissing. Humiliated I obeyed and we tried another kiss. He went home and never called me again, though I was relieved because he wasn’t even nice, I also felt inadequate in the way twelve year-olds sometimes do. After that I practiced with my friend Sabrina and on the bathroom mirror at home, so I’d be ready for my next kiss.

So, that day I looked at Suzy, with her pleading eyes. I knew I wasn’t any sort of expert, but I also didn’t want to look lame.

“He’s your boyfriend Suze.”

“I won’t be mad, I promise.” I let out a big breath. I know I’m going to regret this, I thought.

“Well,” I start, “you make sure he’s looking at you, that he’s paying attention. You don’t want to waste your kisses on some dope who can’t even look you in the eye.”

“Yeah. Okay.” We both look at Steve, who’s just smiling and waiting. What’s next? I pondered.

“Well, you move closer to him,” I stepped closer to Steve, making both he and I redden. Suzy nodded. I looked at my scuffed keds and knew I had to keep going.

“Well, you just kinda kiss,” I stammered, then continued, “You know? Right?” I was aware of Steve now, but not looking at him anymore. I thought he was kind of cute, especially since he’d gotten taller than me. I’d hoped, for a while, maybe he thought I was kind of cool too.

“So, just kiss him already, Kathy,” she blurted, then paused. “I’ll watch. You guys teach me, yeah?” she rattled off in rapid succession. I ventured a glance over at Steve, who was smiling. Then he shrugged all neutral, like guys do whether they’re twelve or forty. I swear its part of the male DNA to know when to be quiet, a sort of self-preserving mechanism or something. Good ole Steve, Mr. Switzerland over there, just sat on a rock with two girls, grinning and waiting.

Then we heard an older male voice boom into the cooling air of early spring.

“Suzy, come in for dinner,” the voice called. She shrugged her apology and off she jaunted down her driveway, waving without even looking back.

“Wait,” Steve called, seeing his grasp on the moment, slipping away like a wiggling, slick fish.

“Um,” Suzy turned and smiled, “see you guys tomorrow… in geometry,” then added, “Bye.” Steve rose and we walked to the end of Suzy’s driveway. I turned and he pointed the way to my house.

“I’ll walk you home,” he said. “That’s what any gentleman would do, right? …and I’ll even pay attention,” he added wryly. We glanced briefly at each other and walked through the blueberry bog, jumping across puddles in the trail, teetering across an old, thick, slick board which spanned the trickle that emptied into the lake. Quietly we made our way down the road in the fading light and in short order arrived at the end my driveway.

We talked about nothing I can remember. It started to get dark. He swung his hand towards me, but fell short of a touch.

“Good night, see you Monday,” and off he went.

“Night,” I smiled and turned and ambled down the zip of green, flanked by gray gravel. I hopped up the concrete steps of our house. I looked out into the air, across the Szuba’s yard, and through a stand of trees and blackberry bushes, and just caught the last glance of Steve moving from foot to foot as he found his way down the road, back to his house.

“See you Monday,” I shrugged and smiled.

A toast, Beauties, to learning to kiss. To kissing it all. To kissing boys. To kissing girls. To kissing children and puppies. To kissing ardently, both love and life.


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Cooking Humbow and Remembering Home


For Melvin


Pronounced in Chinese: huang ran da wu, which means “suddenly see the light or suddenly realize what has happened.”

My nine year-old daughter Sarah and I, on occasion, make humbow. She thinks they are the greatest thing since Jewish Challah, the sweet, egg-rich bread I make on Christmas.

So, we make humbow.

Chinese Humbow.

1. A few cups of white flour—the Chinese like it bleached—utterly consistent.
2. A couple of teaspoons of dry yeast, to leaven.
3. Some granulated sugar, to touch the heart.
4. A dash of salt, for balance and auspicious travel.
5. A splash of sesame oil, because everything is better with sesame. Sesame seeds are considered good luck for the Chinese.
6. And some warm water, both for dissolving the yeast and for making the dough.
7. Pork filling stewed in a soy reduction-barbeque sauce, made ahead of time.

First proof the yeast: liquefy in a quarter cup of warm water and a teaspoon of sugar. When the yeast reveals its vitality with frothy bubbles and a yeasty fragrance, add in the wet and dry ingredients and mix well.

Then knead on a floured board. To knead use flat palms and flatten and roll the gluten-elastic dough, until smooth and springy. If there are children present “pat its bottom” and give it a smooch—like it’s a baby.

Then let rise. This is where I sing “Let it rise. Let it rise” to the Beatles melody “Let it Be” which isn’t very Chinese, but my daughter even at nine understands The Beatles.

Here I take the opportunity to fashion a little science/biology lesson: I tell my nine year-old the yeast eats up the sugar and “farts out” carbon dioxide, which makes it big and airy. She giggles at the idea of the yeast “farting” in our bread.

We smoosh out palm-sized rounds and plop sweet saucy pork into the center of each flattened disk of dough, bring up the edges, pinch them closed and cup them into nice rounded forms.

After a rising, we sit the little morsels in a bamboo steamer. Humidity saturates the air and runs down the windows, as we steam batch after batch.

Humbow, on the way back home.

Be Very Well.

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Going Out to a Healthy Lunch in Bend, Oregon? Salud!


Looking for a delicious, healthy, unique dining experience right here in Bend? We were looking, and found it: Salud, a raw foods lunch spot, lives right on Franklin, towards town, next to Brook Resources.

My nine year-old daughter and I were scoping out the downtown’s offerings for a little snack while we were waiting for Les Schwab Tires to finish changing out our winter studs for some more kind-to-the-road all season tires.

“Ha! Salud,” I pointed to the restaurant, then glanced down at my little walking companion. “Let’s try it.” She’s always game, so in we went. I vacillated between the falafel wrap and the tacos – all raw, wrapped in delicious, dark green leaves. I could have chosen from a myriad of salads and wraps and desserts, all loaded with nuts, veggies, greens and seeds. I chose the falafel and was pleasantly surprised at the rich and satisfying experience. Sarah had the fruit pie. (She’d eaten her healthy breakfast just an hour before.) Her chosen fruit laden slice sat on a crust fashioned of nuts and dates. The next layer, a nut cream. She smiled quietly and nodded when I asked her if she liked it. No words from the nine year-old = very good.

Give it a try!

Be Very Well,

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Finding the Way Home


I need to find my way home again. To remember.

I closed my eyes and I was on the boat again—the boat my family motored around the Sound in, when I was a teenager. In that memory I am probably about sixteen, the oldest of three. My youngest brother Mark snores softly beside me, in the queen-sized stateroom, aka cozy-cubby-under-the-stairs. Mom and Dad are asleep in the v-berth. My brother Al, he’s on the tarp covered aft deck. He doesn’t know it, Dad certainly doesn’t know it, but Al’s the lucky one, up there with the morning’s natural light shining on him, and fresh salt air wafting in from the leaks between the snaps of the vinyl tarp. Here, in Mark’s and my little den, I hear the water of Puget Sound lapping at the side of the fiberglass hull. I feel the gentle side to side rocking, which makes some people nauseous, but just lulls me into a satisfied state. We’re likely moored at Roche Harbor on San Juan Island, or maybe Westbeach on Orcas. It doesn’t matter. Here I am, held by the boat, surrounded by my family, rocked like a baby, in the bobbing waves of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

This I remember.

Be Very Well.

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Learning to Sleep Again

Kathryn at Crater Lake 2013
Sleep is the slimming, happy making, fountain of youth sort of activity. And, for some of us, it’s easily disrupted.

I’ve written about getting good sleep before, but what didn’t occur to me was how sideways I could get and not know that sleep deprivation was the culprit. I knew I hadn’t slept well in a while, but I was getting SOME sleep. It all started with the Flu a month or so ago, then I just kept feeling bad. I thought it was some secondary issue. You know how I figured this out? One night I went to bed feeling vaguely crappy and I didn’t wake up until the morning and I woke feeling decidedly happy!

Some of my symptoms:

Depressed, flat, tired, and yes – seriously whiney
Irritable, aggressive
Unable to concentrate
Emotional, weepy
Weight gain
Old and negative

Some ways I make sure I sleep well:

Eat 4 – 5 small meals of protein and veggies with just a little quality grain like quinoa or millet and add some quality fat like avocado.
Ridiculously reduce sugar, caffeine, alcohol and refined foods.
Before bed, take a hot bath in the evening.
Drink a relaxing herbal tea before bed with herbs like mugwart, skullcap, valerian, chamomile.
Get vigorous outdoor exercise. I love to cycle.
Do vigorous yoga in the morning.
Practice gentle yoga in the evening.
Meditate to relax and stem obsessive thinking.
Journal with honesty and candor.
Take responsibility for your part.
Stay well hydrated until an hour an a half before bed.
Use self hypnosis with positive suggestions.
Kick your child out of your bed, no matter how cute she is.
A friend of mine swears making love is the answer.
Reduce stress: make those hard decisions and let go.
And, you got it: Love like crazy!

Sweetest dreams dear ones!
Love, Kathryn

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Holiday Traditions that Satisfy

2013-08-09 15.24.26

We: my friend Lauren, her mom Leanne and I, and all our children, were sitting at the dinner table at Awbry Glen last night, enjoying our Grateful Feast. We looked out at the mountains, and ate with delighted sighs and descriptions of the delicious variety of beautiful food, we each chose to bring back to the table. “Did you try the salmon cakes?” Leanne asked. “I love braised turkey legs,” Lauren said. “Mama, I want a chocolate covered strawberry,” little three year-old Maesha lamented, eyeing my daughter Sarah’s plate. Ellis suggested maybe next year we could include another boy, since he was the only one at the table. Sarah, not to be outdone thought one more girl would made the mix even better.

As we adults glanced around the room, we wondered about the other lucky souls celebrating in the dining room. We wondered: How do people decide to go out to dinner on Thanksgiving? We rolled around the idea of traditions: we pondered celebrating the inherited versions learned as children; then we thought about how some of us find ourselves going through burdensome motions that no longer hold meaning; then we came up with the idea of creating new traditions, possibly like going out to a buffet on Thanksgiving.

I do love to cook. So does Lauren. I love the party at my house, and she’s a community making goddess. And, I actually totally dig leftovers and do that crazy stuff like make turkey vegetable soup, and deep dish pot pie with flaky homemade crust.

Who knows what we’ll do next year? Buffets are such fun, maybe this is our new tradition. Maybe turkey pot pie and mountains of stuffing can be the new president’s day celebration.

Be Very Well. (And Very Free to choose your own traditions.)

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