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Friday, December 02, 2016

  • 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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  • Wednesday, October 26, 2016 4:00 AM
    Recently, I decided to take the long way home and drive past my old house. This was the house I had lived in for 20 autumns. During those 20 years, I watched the trees in the front yard grow and flourish, and each fall season they exploded into vibrant color. I wanted once more to catch a glimpse of their beauty.
    I don’t go that direction often, and the house sold fairly recently, so it is still odd to see a new family living in the place I used to think would be mine until I was old and gray.
    A few years ago, I was driving through the countryside when I realized my route was taking me past three houses that had once been the homes of different couples I’ve known over the years. It was a stark realization that new families lived in those homes because each of the couples had ended their marriage with divorce.
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  • Wednesday, October 19, 2016 4:00 AM
    Typically, I wear a cotton shirt and denim shorts or jeans. For going out, I have “fancier” cotton tops, and jeans in shades other than blue. Or I have a short cotton-blend skirt that, for the past four years, I have been wearing with a denim vest or denim jacket, depending on the season. It’s kind of sad, really. I’m just a constant mish-mosh of cotton and denim. 
    About once a year, I decide to update my wardrobe. I branch out. I buy things that “speak” to me. I whirl and twirl in front of dressing room mirrors, and become giddy at the possibilities. I arrive home, laden with shopping bags full of bright colors, new textures, and hope. 
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  • Wednesday, October 12, 2016 4:00 AM
    For years, I jumped into the fray that surrounds each election. I said a lot of crap that sounded good to me, and those who believed like me, even though I never really educated myself on any of the candidates or topics. 
    Now, I've grown up. I've stopped believing in and supporting things on which I have not educated myself. This is why I don't write about politics. I can't seem to educate myself enough to articulate my opinions in a way that properly expresses my views. 
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  • Tuesday, October 04, 2016 8:47 PM
    Last weekend, I launched a new venture called, “The Great Social Media Selfie Project.” The goal is to obtain a picture with each of my 1,127 Facebook friends. That is a lot of selfies, but it also represents a lot of people that I am privileged to know. 
    I’m a fairly spontaneous traveler, so about Wednesday I decided that on Friday I would fly to New Hampshire, rent a car, then drive back to Indianapolis, meeting Facebook friends along the way. I had never been to most of the New England states, and always wanted to see it in autumn, so the trip itself was fantastic. 
    However, I did not plan very well for the selfie project. Out of nine states, I only managed to get pictures with five people. And technically, one of those was a hitchhiker I became friends with after obtaining the selfie. 
    Of those five that I met, it was wonderful to get a glimpse into their lives outside of social media. Friday night, I had dinner with Mike and Barb, a couple I met a few years ago through the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. They took me to dinner at a local restaurant called Cotton, where I had the most delicious meal of the entire trip. Over sweet potato hash and signature martinis, we caught up on each other’s lives. Afterwards, they showed me around Manchester, pointing out such significant places as the Velcro headquarters, and the building where Mike had his colonoscopy. You just don’t get that kind of real life insight on Facebook. 
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  • Saturday, October 01, 2016 7:55 AM

    This past weekend, our little Midwest town held their annual Festival of the Turning Leaves. I have attended the festival for years, and for a while even served on the planning committee, but I’ve only recently moved into town. Not just into town, but I actually moved onto the very street that gets blocked off for the food court and the performance stage.

    This means that for two days straight, I could sit on my front porch and listen to a musical line up ranging from a Journey cover band to the hilarious parody band called The Electric Amish. It also meant that from 8 a.m. on Saturday until 5 p.m. on Sunday, merely steps from my front door, a vast array of festival foods beckoned.

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  • Wednesday, September 28, 2016 7:41 PM
    Have you ever felt like you aren’t really living the life you were meant to live? Have you stopped dreaming your childhood dreams because you think it’s too late to become a ballerina or live on a ranch? Or maybe you feel that you aren’t living your own life. That your life script wasn’t authored by you. You’re simply following other people’s expectations. Living life, not by your choices, but by circumstances. Everything…your job, your relationships, just happened.
    As a writer, I get to edit, rewrite, and scrap stories altogether if I don’t like them. I write what happens in my life, but, during rewrites, I can take a bad thing, make it funny, describe the characters as being a lot more attractive, or make myself sound wittier, and even ten pounds thinner. 
    In real life, maybe I had a bad meal at a restaurant. But when I write it, I can keep rewriting until it’s not just a bad meal at a restaurant, but it’s a story of life lessons, food I should have had, and in the end, I go home with the handsome chef. Writers have that power. 
    And here is the good news. You have that power, too. We all have the power to rewrite our lives. If you don’t like the way life is going, I’m going to suggest a rewrite. After all, you can create your own happily ever after.
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  • Wednesday, September 14, 2016 4:00 AM
    When I pulled into the parking lot of Toys-R-Us, eight-year-old Hudson Charles excitedly admonished, “Hurry up and park!”
    “I’m trying,” I reassured. 
    Suddenly from the back seat, his little voice boomed, “Cheri! Find us a parking space!”
    “What are you doing?”
    “I’m asking Cheri to find us a parking space.” 
    “Do you mean Siri?”
    Siri is Apple’s voice activated virtual assistant. Hudson’s older siblings use the Siri feature on their iPhones. They simply speak her name into the air, along with their requests, and she magically gives them information ranging from what movies are playing in the area to the phone number for the local pizza joint. She will find their photos, play song requests, and even dial numbers for them. 
    I pondered what it means for an 8-year-old boy to grow up thinking it is normal to shout random demands into the air. Demands shouted at a woman, no less. I can picture how this would have looked during my childhood in the 1970s. Back then, her name would have been Amy or Michelle, or perhaps Sunshine. 
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  • Wednesday, August 31, 2016 4:00 AM

    I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane! I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to go skydiving, so, I finally took the parachute by the straps and made it happen.

    In the days leading up to my jump, everyone asked, “Are you nervous?”

    My answer was always a resounding, “No!”

    That is until, the night before. And it wasn’t that I was nervous for myself, but my twenty-two year old son decided at the last minute to go with me. 
    At first, I was excited about sharing the experience with him, but then it hit me; what kind of mother am I? He and I nearly died when he was born. In fact, they had to do an emergency C-section in order to save both of our lives. And then, somehow, I miraculously managed to get him safely to adulthood without any major injuries.

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  • Ginger talks about . . . waffles?
    Wednesday, August 24, 2016 4:00 AM
    Today is National Waffle Day! It also happens to be the day I would have celebrated my 25th wedding anniversary. After investing so many years in one failed relationship, I am fully evaluating what characteristics I desire in a potential future partner. The more I think about it, the more I realize that a waffle would make a really great spouse. So, in honor of National Waffle Day, I present:
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  • Thursday, June 09, 2016 11:25 PM
    Waitress: “What kind of dressing do you want on your salad?”
    Nine-year-old Phoebe: “Just normal.”
    Waitress: “Do you mean ranch?”
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  • Tuesday, May 24, 2016 1:35 AM
    Exactly a year ago, I filed a petition to dissolve my twenty-four-year marriage.  That’s what the form read across the top, “Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.” The wording seemed kinder and gentler somehow than the word “divorce,” but it still hurt a great deal.
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