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home : columnists : ginger truitt February 26, 2015

Cupid and his practical jokes
As I sit here eating my way through my second bag of Conversation Hearts, trying to ignore the fact that there are 60 calories per serving, and 34 servings in a bag, I reflect back on what made this Valentine's Day so "special." What exactly brought me to this lowly state of sugar binging?

Hubby and I don't have a great Valentine's history. Out of 26 (or is it 27 now?), years since he became my Valentine, we have had probably three good ones. Actually, make that two. I forgot about that year there was a rat in our dinner.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015
The story behind Vietnamese Cookies
On Sunday, I had the privilege of attending a High Tea with cosmetic's magnate Estee Lauder.

Technically, it was an actress portraying Lauder, but it was a fascinating presentation. Five courses were served with the tea and I got to wear my Sunday best. The six hour, round-trip drive was spent chatting non-stop with a dear friend. It was a perfectly lovely way to spend the day.

The event was put on by Greater Midwest Foodways, an organization dedicated to celebrating, exploring and preserving unique food traditions and their cultural in contexts in the American Midwest. There were several baked goods up for auction, each one with an interesting back story. It got me to thinking about all of the recipes that have been handed down through the generations in my own family.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015
If we were all California Girls
During these cold winter months, I often find myself singing along to songs about warm weather destinations; Blue Hawaii, Carolina in the Morning, and of course the entire Beach Boys' collection. I love the Beach Boys, and know most of their songs by heart, but occasionally I get sidetracked pondering the shallow lyrics.

I'd say "California Girls" ranks up there with Elvis' "Big Hunk O' Love," and anything by the Brady Bunch kids, as one of the top three, most shallow songs ever written. The Beach Boys are boasting that they've traveled the world, lusting after every type of girl. And even though they enjoy doing ungodly things with these girls, they can't wait to get back to the states, back to the cutest girls in the world.

As a matter of fact, they wish we all could be California girls. Why? Do they really think we'd want them if we were? I've seen pictures of those boys in their black shoes, white socks, and high-water pants. I'm guessing only a California girl would put up with a freaky wardrobe like that.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015
Ginger finds authentic (sort-of) flavors
Thanks to my in-laws' kind willingness to babysit for a week, I was able to visit hubby in Berlin sans kids. I had never been apart from them for more than three days, so leaving was a bit of a struggle. They cried, I cried, and we counted the number of bedtimes until I would be home again.

But once I got on the plane, it was like, "Kids? What kids?"

Three days into the trip, hubby asked, "How are the children doing?"

"Um, I assume they're doing okay."

"Haven't you talked to them?"

"No. I kind of forgot to call."

Truth is, I was busy enjoying all the things that I can't enjoy with children; museums, cafes, romantic dinners in candlelit restaurants. Kids? What kids?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Private tours in the Holy Land
While working in Germany this week, I decided to make the most of the weather by taking a little stroll. Temps are in the 40s, but compared to the frigid temperatures I left in Indiana, Berlin is a tropical paradise.

I found myself seated on a little bench, watching as locals hurriedly pressed past hordes of tourists who were taking their time reading maps, perusing guide books, and posing for photo ops. I was lost in thought, pondering the idea that I am not a local, but I no longer fall in the tourist category. Apparently, the handsome, young man who appeared suddenly in front of me didn't think I looked like a tourist either.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Just about time for the power to fail
Seven-year-old Hudson hugged his daddy goodbye and exclaimed, "This is the day the power goes out!"

Indeed, every year as hubby begins his January travel schedule, our household experiences weather related trauma. He manages to escape the frigid temps just in the nick of time.

Last January, I dropped him at the airport, where he headed to Jamaica for a month.

A month!

Did I mention he went to sunny Jamaica for the entire month?

Anyhoo, everything was in good working order when we left for the airport, but upon arriving home two hours later, I found that our pipes had frozen and the furnace stopped working. It's as if the entire house sinks into the same cold, dysfunction that I experience when he is gone.

I set about thawing the pipes, and following his phone instructions on furnace repair. I was feeling pretty good about my accomplishments when the power went out.

That night, the kids and I slept on an air mattress in front of the fireplace. At 2 a.m., I was awakened by a phone call from the Brown County police department. My eldest daughter's car was found crashed into a tree. It was about this time that I noticed the air mattress had deflated and I had actually been sleeping on the cold floor.

The next few hours were a flurry of phone calls. Thankfully, everyone was okay, but I was definitely feeling hubby's absence.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Sinking into childhood fears
It's so weird. Never once have I encountered quicksand. As a child, I was certain that if I didn't carefully avoid it throughout my life, it would be my ultimate demise. I would lie awake at night, thinking hard, imagining the scenario, figuring, planning, plotting my survival. If only there were a sturdy vine hanging nearby, I could grab hold of it and pull myself to safety. But most likely, I would just slowly, slowly sink; the sand eventually filling my mouth, covering my nostrils, the top of my head going under with a final blip and bubble. If only I could avoid being sucked into the miry grit whenever I found myself stumbling through the jungle. But alas, the pull of quicksand is too mighty, and all would be lost.

Remarkably, I've also never had lockjaw. And I haven't even been all that careful about it. I've stepped on a number of rusty nails, driving them into the sole of my foot. I have scraped myself on old fencing, and sliced my leg open on a car bumper so corroded it made Rusty Collins look like a blonde. And yet, I can still freely open and close my mouth at will. You'd think at some point my parents would have eased my concerns by telling me about the miracles of the tetanus shot. But really, what is childhood without a healthy dose of unreasonable fear?

Having grown up in a good Christian home, I had a wonderfully fearful and fretful childhood. What born again 9-year-old doesn't lay in bed at night, worrying about burning in a hell fire that never shall be quenched, and where the worm never dies? I can't tell you how many nights my mother sat on the edge of the bed with her Bible, trying to convince me I was not going to hell.

"You said the prayer," she would console.

"But what if I didn't say the right words? What if I didn't mean it enough? What if I don't really believe in God? What if the rapture happens and I get left behind?" I would cry.

"Just have faith," she smiled reassuringly.

Piled on top of hellfire, brimstone, and a horrid lack of faith, we were treated to additional terrors each week in Sunday school. Tales of people covered in boils, rivers running with blood, and pestilence. Why does a small child even need to know the word "pestilence?"

But probably my biggest fear was the Russians. They weren't some abstract idea that I needed faith to believe in. Russians were real, and they hated me not only because I was American, but because of my Christianity. I had nightmares about them coming into church and forcing me to choose between denouncing Jesus or watching as my entire family was beheaded.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Fighting back the noogies of time
Another year has come to a close. It happens so quickly anymore. Year after year passes like an older brother who can't walk by without frogging your thigh or putting you in a headlock. Time itself isn't painful, but the swiftness with which it passes leaves me feeling like I just encountered a vicious older sibling. And I'm left wondering, "What did I do to deserve that?"
Thursday, January 1, 2015
Truitt's mid-life letter to Santer
Dear Santa,

Typically, my letters start with, "I have been a very good girl," but this year, not so much. I've been wearing my skirts a little shorter, tipping the rum bottle a bit more, and gallivanting about at all hours of the night. But honestly, why does one have to be either naughty or nice? Why can't one be nice most of the time with only occasional spurts of naughtiness? Do you claim to have never been naughty? Not even during your midlife crisis? I guess this would have been around 1128 AD, so your crisis might have manifested itself a bit differently than mine.

I turned 45 last week, and I've realized time is short, and I need to grab every opportunity with gusto. Make up for lost time. Use the last remaining vestiges of youth, sometimes for good, and sometimes for the oh-so-good, if you know what I mean. Wink-wink!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Truitt is mumpsimus - so she says
I tried to hold onto what I knew to be absolute truth, but the hardcore facts were staring me in the face. I pride myself on my vast knowledge of Barry Manilow lyrics. I became a fan more than 30 years ago, at an age when my hearing was intact, and my thirst for pop culture knowledge was at its strongest. So, I was a bit surprised when someone stated that "dictuend" is not a word.

"Oh, yes it is," I argued. "It means to dictate or orchestrate."

"Use it in a sentence," they challenged.

"The lyrics to my all-time favorite Barry Manilow song are, 'You're my song, music to my dictuend, I'll play you over and over again.'"

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

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