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Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

Learning to Wait

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

“Learn to wait.”

They are words my grandfather is famous for, though I most often heard them from my mother.  “You remember what Granddaddy always says, ‘Learn to wait,’” she would remind us.  In these instances waiting was almost certainly some brand of drudgery.  It was what we had to do on long car trips, in long amusement park ride lines, or in the lead-ups to birthdays or Christmas or the last day of school.  Waiting felt like paying dues – something we had to endure before we could make our way to whatever prize lay in the distance.

I thought about all of this as I listened to the sermon in church this past Sunday.  As many priests do this time of year she reminded us that Advent is a time of waiting.  She commented that for many of us the most commonplace forms of waiting – for tables at restaurants, for meetings to start, for a coffee date to arrive, etc., have recently been supplanted by the most commonplace form of mindless occupation – the smartphone.  I am not here to curse the evils of the iPhone, the digital camera, or the internet.  I believe that by and large they are all significant boons to modern life and that we are better off with them than we were without them.  Nevertheless, the fact remains that simple, undistracted waiting is becoming increasingly unfamiliar to many of us; so much so that I would guess most of us view it with the same intolerance that a five-year-old views the 30-ish days that clutter the path from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

I’m here to turn that thinking on its head.  I say that waiting is a blessing.  I say that waiting is a gift.*

Esperar is the Spanish word for “to wait.”  It is also the Spanish word for “to hope.”  I’m sure I’m not the first person to wax philosphical about this coincidence.  That, however, makes it no less relevant here.  When we hope for something it is because we are facing an unknown.  We must then wait to discover whether or not our hope will come to be.  Does this mean then, that a life without waiting is a life without hope?  I don’t think so.  But I think that for the most part hope is implicit in waiting.  Waiting means expectation.  It means we are looking ahead to something.  It means we have something worth our excitement and anticipation.

This is true in my own life beyond the Christmas season.  We are in the middle of a very long wait in our adoption process.  Referral wait times for Korean placements are currently running ten months.  Every time someone asks me how the adoption process is going I shrug my shoulders and sigh.  “We’re still waiting.”  And yes, the waiting is hard.  But we have a child to wait for.  We are so lucky to be waiting; so lucky to know that at the end of these many months we will have another wonderful little boy in our family.

For adults, December is an easy time of year to view waiting with relief, since many of us have a hard enough time as it is getting everything done before footed pajamas scamper out of bed on Christmas morning.  But muttering to yourself, “Thank goodness I still have a week left before Christmas,” is not the same thing as embracing the wait.

Embracing the wait means that we reflect on what is coming.  We prepare ourselves for it.  Whether we are waiting for the Christ child or a Korean child, when we do it right we are better off for it.

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*I understand that there are exceptions to this.  Waiting for a loved one to come home from a military deployment.  Waiting for the results of a medical test.  This is not the kind of waiting I’m talking about.

Christmas Tree Karma

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

They gave us the wrong tree.

We picked out a tree that was about eight feet tall, very full, and needed a bit of pruning at the top.  When we got home the tree that we saw when we put it up was also about eight feet tall, but was very slim in silhouette, and not especially burdened by a profusion of branches.  (Read: a little on the scrawny side.)  GAP and I looked at each other and jointly decided to make our peace with this tree, mostly because loading it back atop ye olde SUV, carting it back to the tree lot, and having to pick out another tree all over again was really more than we could muster.  “It will look better when it’s trimmed,” we told ourselves.  And for the most part we were right.

This was not our first misadventure with this particular tree lot.  And, truth be told, we’ve had some bad tree karma coming our way for a while.  Frankly, I’m surprised it took nine years for it to make its way back to us.

In 2003 GAP and I were engaged.  He was living with a good friend (we’ll call him Matt) who was also in graduate school.  I was living alone a few miles away in an apartment that I would soon share with Matt’s fiance (we’ll call her Carrie).  The boys’ apartment was huge (and drafty…) with ten-foot ceilings that practically begged for a large tree.  We wanted something that would scrape the ceiling, but in the interest of pinching pennies (I was “underemployed” at the time, and the other three were all living off of student loans) we settled for an eight foot tree.

At the conclusion of our joint trip to the tree lot (run by the local Optimist Club, I should note) Carrie went into the little tent where the cashier’s desk resided.  She told the very cheerful and very old man that we had picked an eight foot tree.  He gave her the price and she wrote him a check.  It wasn’t until we were back at the apartment decorating said tree that we realized we’d ripped the sweet old man off.

“You know, I was really surprised at how cheap our tree was,” Carrie told us.

“Really?” we asked.  “How much was it?”

“Eight dollars and 64 cents,” she said.

“WHAT???”

“Yeah.  I was shocked too, but he asked how tall it was and when I told him eight feet he said, ‘eight-sixty-four.’”

At that point we all did the math and realized what the man meant was, “An eight-foot tree is sixty-four dollars.”  The Optimists, like most other lots charge by the foot.  At eight dollars a foot we had shorted him roughly $56 dollars.  We thought about going back and paying the difference.  Then we looked at our figuratively turned-out pockets and thought again.

In return for our inadvertent stunt we swore loyalty to the Optimists for all future tree purchases.  And we’ve never bought a tree from anyone else.  I think about this story every year.  (It is better if you know Carrie, who is truly one of the kindest and most honorable people I’ve ever known.)  And I thought about it again this year when I told the sweet, old man that we’d selected an eight-foot tree and he said, “Eight-seventy-six.”

I don’t really have a moral to this story.  It’s just a story that I like to tell.  It makes me feel some connection to an otherwise pretty generic tree lot.  And it makes me think of a wonderful time in our lives that we were fortunate to share with some very dear friends who have since moved out of state, and whom we miss very much.  When you get right down to it, I think that’s a lot of what Christmas is supposed to be.  Not so much the ripping off of charitable organizations headed up by senior citizens.  But acknowledgment of all the good in our lives, and fond memories of Christmases past.

Christmas is a happy time for us.  And we are very lucky that it is.

What Really Matters

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

This is a tricky time of year when it comes to the word “meaningful.”  For many of us, Thanksgiving serves as the gateway holiday into a six-week period of major ambivalence.  We think Rockwellian thoughts of hearth, home, and family.  And yet we run down our metaphorical batteries with errands and obligations that make us anything but happy.  We have idealized visions of what this time of year should be, but somehow our very attempts to realize those visions dismantle them, one ironic piece at a time.

What is it about the pursuit of “what really matters” that causes us to sacrifice everything that really matters?  Why, in the name of family and togetherness, do we spend most of December fighting traffic in mall parking lots?  Why, in the name of homemade baked goods, do I sacrifice multiple leisurely evenings with my husband?  Why are we so prone to let the holiday season – which is marketed with rosy cheeks and roaring fires – turn into stress and drudgery?

As we sit down to make our list of New Year’s resolutions at some point during the upcoming month we inevitably take stock of ourselves – strengths and weaknesses alike – and earmark for improvement those things we wish were different.  And while I am a believer in this exercise, I think the timing is a bit inopportune.  On the one hand it allows us to indulge in the holiday season’s guilty pleasures with reckless abandon.  But on the other hand it also enables us to adopt the mindset of “just getting through” the holidays and thereby let them devolve into an empty shell of their actual purpose and potential.

This year I’ve found myself with a rare and unexpected gift – some extra time.  Every December since we were married, GAP and I have thrown a Christmas party.  It has traditionally been the Saturday after GAP’s company party, and usually ends up being the week before Christmas.  But this year everything is shifted up a week, leaving me two full weeks before Christmas but after our party circuit winds down.  When I realized that this was the case I was initially flustered at the short turnaround time, but ultimately embraced it when I realized that two full weeks of decidedly lower-key holiday merriment would follow.

And so, in an effort not to destroy those two weeks of quietude with the side effects of procrastination, I am making some Holiday Resolutions for myself:

  1. I know what I need to get most of my recipients, and will take advantage of that fact by shopping now.
  2. I will shop online as much as possible to prevent unnecessary trips into jungle-caliber malls and shopping centers.  I will consider shipping fees a reasonable price for sanity.
  3. I will wrap presents as I buy them, not in one marathon session on December 23rd.   I will not wrap late at night.  And I will not wrap without a mug of hot chocolate or glass of red wine nearby.  (I love wrapping, but it’s easy for it to become a chore if I procrastinate and don’t take any care in setting a pleasant ambiance.)
  4. I will not worry about mailing holiday cards until after our party has been thrown.
  5. I will not obligate myself to cook 85 different varieties of cookies for coworkers.

As with any goal, I don’t know how successful I will be.  But experience has shown me that I’ll come much closer to my ideal by the mere act of identifying goals.  I want this Christmas season to leave me room for what really matters.

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This post was originally published in November of 2010.  With Thanksgiving falling early this year I have the same extra week between our annual holiday party and actual Christmas.  So this post is ringing as true to me today as it did two years ago and I thought it worth reposting.

Five Dollar Post: Components of a Holiday Weekend

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

For many people a three-day weekend is a perfect opportunity to skip town and do something exciting or relaxing for a few days.  We frequently take long weekends to visit family or friends.  But this year we spent Memorial Day weekend at home, and it was one of our best.  What made it so great?  I’ll tell you:

  • Two meals cooked outside
  • One trip to the farmer’s market yielding cherries, watermelon, tomatoes, asparagus, and a couple of early peaches
  • Multiple loads of laundry done
  • A craft started and finished (yes, I did a craft!!!)
  • A lunch at an old-timey soda fountain complete with ice cream sundaes for all of us (That tiny one on the left was “The World’s Smallest Hot Fudge Sundae” for IEP)
  • The gas grill all cleaned up and ready to go for the summer season
  • Two flower beds planted
  • Two mornings of sleeping in until 7:30 or 8:00 because GAP is such a rock star and got up with the boys
  • One very early but sweet morning with my boys while GAP slept in
  • A sermon filled with blog fodder (stay tuned for Thursday’s post)
  • A church picnic following the service, complete with farm animals to pet and a bouncy castle to jump in
  • A new window box of herbs purchased, hung, planted, and ready to keep me in caprese salad and orange mint drink all summer long
  • Two dogs bathed
  • Many laughs shared with my husband and my boys

It was one of the most productive, satisfying, and enjoyable weekends I’ve had in a long time.  It left me very little time for blog writing, so I’m afraid this is all I have to offer you today.  I hope that you also had a wonderful holiday weekend.

Resolved – Part 3

Monday, January 23rd, 2012
Maternity leave is officially over.  (Woe is me.)  Friday was my first day back at work so starting today I am back in the blogging saddle.  I realize that discussion of resolutions is so three weeks ago, but back around New Year’s Day I was busy recovering from the holidays and relishing the last few weeks of my time at home with the boys.  So here I am, on January 23rd, documenting my goals for this year.
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Before I launch straight into the laundry list I feel compelled to wax philosophical about resolutions in general.  I’ve documented my resolutions here on this blog for the past two years (2010 is here, and 2011 is here) with wildly differing results.  In 2010 I was a resolution rock star.  I set reasonable goals for myself and lived up to them all.  Last year I was plagued by hubris from 2010′s successes, set pretty aggressive goals, and by April found myself in the face of abject failure.  (I will offer the caveat that pregnancy had a pretty big hand in unraveling my resolutions.)
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Nevertheless, I am back here in this space offering my goals for the new year.  In spite of last year’s disappointment I still contend that goals are worth having, even if they aren’t always met.  I am a work in progress.  I am not complete.  I can be better.  I can do better.  I always have room for improvement.  And so, one year after another, I will sit down and identify the things I’d like to work on.  For if I don’t identify these things to myself (and I am a person who benefits considerably from the accountability of making goals public) then how can I expect for any of them to change.
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With that, in 2012 I plan to:
  1. Be more thoughtful.  This is something that I used to be very good at as a kid and in my teens and early twenties.  Then when I was 27 I took a job that required me to travel three to four days each week.  At the same time I enrolled in an MBA program that was almost exclusively night classes.  My bandwidth was at capacity.  As soon as I finished my MBA I got pregnant with IEP and with motherhood my spare time continued to diminish.  And one of the things that has been negatively impacted by all of these other obligations is my thoughtfulness toward other people.  So, this year I want to do more that falls into this category.  I want to make small but thoughtful gestures that let other people know that I care about them. 
  2. Read more.  I’ve been veryspecific about my reading goals in past years.  In 2010 it was to read more nonfiction and I knocked it out of the park.  Last year it was to read classic works of fiction I’d never read and I struck out majorly, not making it through a single classic.  (Again, I blame pregnancy.  I’d get into bed at 9:30 and facing a choice between sleep and Tolstoy, sleep won every time.)  So this year my goal is to read, period.  I’d like to work some classics into the mix, specifically A Tale of Two Cities. But I’d also like to mix in some modern fiction (perhaps the second and third titles in the Stieg Larsson trilogy), and some nonfiction (Moneyball and Kitchen Confidential are on the docket).  I’d like to average more than a book a month, and am shooting for at least 15 total.
  3. Get out of my workout rut.  I spend way too much time on the elliptical machine.  I usually run about one day a week.  And I do weights three days a week, rotating between arms, legs, and core.  But that’s not enough variety.  I would like to work swimming and rowing into my regular workout routine, as well as shaking up things in my strength training routine.
  4. Learn to use Photoshop.  I got Photoshop Elements for Christmas a year ago.  I can use it for some basic exposure corrections and cropping, but it is capable of much more than I know how to do.  I’d like to learn to create layers and use opacity, to download and run actions, and figure out what other key features I’m overlooking.
  5. Send birthday cards.  This is a repeat from last year.  This is such an easy thing to do, and I’m woefully bad about it.  It dovetails with being more thoughtful, but this is a very specific thing that I want to do a better job of.  This shouldn’t be a difficult one.
  6. Grow an herb garden.  Another 2011 repeat.  I was in the midst of first trimester misery (that’s the last time I play the pregnancy card, I promise) when it should have been planted, and by the time I got my head above water again we were about to leave on vacation and by the time we got home it was really too hot for seedlings to survive.  This year I’m committed.  I will grow parsley, chives, basil, and thyme.

And there we have it.  I’m trying to harken back to 2010′s list a bit by choosing goals that are attainable, but still challenging.  I think this list meets those criteria.  I will be back with bigger thoughts on Wednesday, but wanted to get these resolutions into the archives before any more time passed.  I enjoyed my time off from blogging, but I’m also looking forward to getting back into the swing of thinking Ten Dollar Thoughts.  I hope you’ll join me.

A Christmas Story

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

The story below came to me in a Christmas letter from a dear family friend.  This story is a true one from her childhood.  She wrote it down for her own children about 15 years ago.  She tries to share it with new people each year and this year included it in her holiday mailing.

It was early December in 1942 in a little copper mining town in Southern Arizona when my dad sat my little brother and me down tot ell us there would be very little money for Christmas gifts that year.

Our mom and dad had come to Arizona from Arkansas because friends from their hometown sent word that jobs were plentiful in the underground copper mines.  That wasn’t the case in depression era Arkansas.  So my mom and dad boarded a train that brought them to this mountain community, and my dad did indeed find work in the copper mines the very first day.  But what he really wanted was to work in the accounting offices of Phelps Dodge Mining Company and applied for every opening.  Each time he was passed over by someone with a college degree.  He finally convinced Phelps Dodge to give him a chance. He offers dot work for 30 days for free and at the end of that time if they didn’t like his work, he’d go back in the mines.

Daddy began his trial run in the accounting offices on December 1st – and there would be no paycheck that month.  He was understandably concerned about how he could provide for his young family that Christmas.

My brother and I assured him he didn’t have to worry about us.  We’d written to Santa and we knew Santa would come through.  My brother had asked for an Army Jeep – one you could sit in and drive – with a big silver star on the side.  This was World War II every day we went outside and played War.  And I wanted a doll with long blonde hair and a black net dress trimmed in pink ribbon – exactly like the one my mother wore to her meetings of the Order of the Eastern Star.

Easter Star was my Mother’s big night out.  Once a month, Mama would don this beautiful gown and my brother and Dad and I would diet on our front porch on the side of the Bisbee mountain and watch my mother until we lost her from view.

I can see her still as she was then – a beautiful young woman, sweeping down the side of the mountain in that glorious dress.  She had made her dress.  Mama was a wonderful seamstress and since Christmas was coming she was at her Singer sewing machine constantly, crafting gifts for family and friends.  My brother and I “helped.”  He worked the pedal and I would turn the wheel that drove the needle as Mama guided the fabric.

My dad was busy getting ready for Christmas as well.  He and a friend were meeting in the friend’s garage most evenings working on some book shelves that would be a surprise for our mother.  My brother and I were sworn to secrecy.

Finally the preparations ended and it was Christmas.  And when my brother and I walked into the living room that Christmas morning, it was just as we had known it would be.  There beneath a sparkling tree was a little wooden Army Jeep with a big silver star on the side that my brother could sit in and drive.  And right next to it was the most beautiful doll in the world.  She had long blonde hair and a black net dress trimmed in pink ribbon, exactly like my mother’s dress.

It was a magical morning, and at one point my brother magnanimously offered to let me take my doll for a ride in his Jeep.  So I gathered my doll and we settled into the little Jeep.  I put my hands on the steering wheel – and froze.  I knew that steering wheel.  It was unmistakably the wheel form my mother’s Singer sewing machine.  I sat there stunned.  It wasn’t too great a leap to put this together with my dad’s carpentry project and realize our dad and his friend had built more than a bookshelf – they had built the little Jeep.

But that didn’t explain my doll – and I so wanted Santa to have had a hand in that.  I thought I knew how to find out, so I marched into my parents’ bedroom and opened the closet door.  To my great relief, there, hanging where it had always hung, was my mother’s black net dress.  But something was different.  The pink ribbon was gone and it had become a short dress.  It was then that I knew how my doll’s dress had come to be.

I also knew what it had cost my mother.  In that place and at that time – and perhaps still – you couldn’t attend a meeting of the Eastern Star in a short dress.  This had been her only long one.

I try to share this story with someone every Christmas, for two reasons:

  1. It’s my way of honoring two wonderful parents who tried so valiantly to preserve the magic of a Christmas morning for their small children.
  2. It is a personal reminder to me of the profound truth I learned – that the most previous gifts are born of sacrifice.  These gifts need no wrapping paper.  They come wrapped – in love.

I was very moved by this story, that I thought I would share it here as well.  I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season, in whatever way you celebrate it.  With that, I will be on a blogging vacation for the rest of the year.  I’ll be back sometime after January 1st with my thoughts and plans for the New Year.

Scenes from Maternity Leave – Week 6

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011


After sitting naked in our house for more than a week, our tree is finally trimmed.

Scenes from Maternity Leave – Week 5

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Last year IEP was given this terrific children’s nativity set.  At two years old he was still a bit too young to have any understanding of what it meant.  This year, as a three-year-old, he is beginning to learn about the Christmas story.

After seeing how he had arranged them I asked what the kings were doing.  He plainly told me that they were waiting for their turn to see Jesus.  (I think Santa-visiting protocol was probably an influencer here.)

Then when I asked why the animals were off by themselves on the windowsill he told me, “Barn all full.  Animals going for a walk.”  … Makes sense to me!

Scenes from an Easter Weekend

Monday, April 25th, 2011

Holiday weekends usually mean family gatherings.  And for us, family gatherings frequently mean road trips.  But for whatever reason, we tend to stay put at Easter.  It’s the one holiday we always celebrate at home.  I have fond memories of my Easters as a child.  Dyeing and hunting eggs.  Hot Cross Buns.  Lamb with mint sauce.  And new dresses that were always a little too optimistic for warm weather in mid March.

Since we got married GAP and I have recreated elements of those Easters each year.  We have always had lamb.  And since IEP came on the scene we have incorporated some of the more kid-oriented elements of the holiday.  As an adult you gain newfound appreciation for all the effort your parents put forth when you were a kid: holidays are a ton of work!  Nevertheless, I always find that they’re worth it.

Starting on Friday I began my Easter prep work.  It was a weekend-long affair and today I’m feeling spent.  So rather than wax philosophic about the resurrection, I thought I’d share with you a few photos from our weekend.

Artichoke aftermath.

Egg Dyeing 101: How to use the dipper.

Egg Dyeing 201: Just use your hands, Dad!

Future egg salad.

The makings of an Easter egg hunt.

Enjoying their spoils.

It was a long weekend, but I loved every minute of it.  I hope your weekend (whether or not it was a holiday weekend for you) was equally lovely.  I’ll be back on Wednesday with my next round of thoughts.

Hot Cross Buns

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

My mother made Hot Cross Buns on every Good Friday of my childhood.  And while I have lovely memories of coming home from school to find a fresh batch on the kitchen counter (sometimes with extra frosting left in the bowl!) my favorite Hot Cross Bun memory comes from my adulthood, and from China.  This story is not meant to be thought-provoking or challenging in any way.  Rather it is a cherished moment of my life that I felt inspired to share. 

If you’re not familiar with Hot Cross Buns, you can learn a quick bit about them here.

I was 26 years old.  I was less than a month away from my wedding.  I was in Shanghai in the middle of a two-week business trip to my company’s Japan and China offices.  So things in my life were pretty calm at the time.  Right.

I’d spent the first week of the trip in Japan.  Sushi, tempura, industry trade show – all the usual suspects.  The second week took us to Shanghai for a 5-day training session with our Pac Rim distributors.  We were staying at the St. Regis hotel which was then, and is still, the most mind-bogglingly luxurious hotel I’ve ever stayed in.  I had a personal butler assigned to me at check-in.  The room was huge and stunning; the bathroom even more so.  Every time I left my room – even if it was just to run down to the hotel gym for a quick workout – someone came in and refolded the towels, tidied my toiletries, smoothed the duvet, and tucked under the corners of the toilet paper.  And every afternoon around 2:00 a snack was delivered to my room on a silver tray.  It was usually a pastry of some kind.  Something delectable that made me slide to the floor and want to never return home.  (What wedding?  GAP once lived in China.  Surely I could find a back-up version of him running around somewhere, right?)

I spent each day in a hotel ballroom, giving presentations on the key selling points of my company’s products, changes to the competitive landscape, and pricing and discount structures.  I’d eaten all of the local fare that was served and had, for the most part, been delighted by how much I loved it.  Cuttlefish, jellyfish, whole roasted fish, seaweed salad, etc.  Business dinners each evening featured dishes that rotated among the traditional menus of our distributors’ home countries – Thai, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, and Malaysia.  I was lost in an international smorgasbord.   

I’d gone sight-seeing with a colleague one afternoon and eaten dumplings purchased from a street vendor that have never been matched by any I’ve eaten since.  The bread was fried crisp on the outside and chewy underneath.  The broth inside was rich, salty, and surprisingly hot.  It dripped all the way down my forearms and I actually licked some of it off.  The bite of pork in the middle was tender and fatty and melted on my tongue.  I was in a food nirvana.   

I was also reaching a saturation point of visual stimulation.  Ancient gardens, Confucian temples, giant Buddhas everywhere.  My colleague and I had a personal local tour guide for two days who took us into nooks and crannies of her city that we’d never have found (or braved) on our own.  I was absorbing the culture around me like a parched sponge.  I had moments of homesickness, but for the most part I’d been able to separate myself from the impending wedding and gotten lost in the world around me.  And so it was that when Good Friday rolled around at the end of my trip I was barely aware of it.

That day our business agenda reached its scheduled afternoon break.  I returned to my room upstairs where I looked forward to slipping out of my heels, collapsing onto the fluffy bed, and delicately tearing into whatever scone, éclair, or other confection might be awaiting me.  I opened the door, walked into that now-familiar and serene retreat of a room, and stopped cold.  There, on the silver tray, was a porcelain plate with two Hot Cross Buns. 

They were beautiful.  Golden dough glazed with egg whites and studded with raisins.  Iced by hand with careful, but not perfect, crosses.  I was so touched by the gesture that I almost couldn’t bring myself to eat them.  But I did.  They lacked the delicate crumb and subtle sweetness of my mother’s, but it was irrelevant.  I was as far away from home – geographically, culturally, metaphorically – as I’d ever been.  And yet a hallmark of my childhood sat before me on a silver tray.

I still don’t know the answers to all the questions that spun through my head as I ate my Hot Cross Buns.  How did they know these tiny details of Christian culinary heritage?  Did they know I was a Christian?  Did everyone in the hotel get Hot Cross Buns for their snack that day?  Or was it just for the Westerners whom they thought might enjoy a taste of home.  Did they have any idea how their thoughtfulness would strike deep to the heart of me?

Since I’d left home after college I’d never made Hot Cross Buns of my own.  I guess I didn’t realize what meaning they held for me.  But in that moment I became keenly aware of their significance; significance to which I’d been heretofore oblivious.  The next year I made my first batch of Hot Cross Buns.  Neither did they measure up to my mother’s, but they were good.  And they were mine.  And it felt good to take my traditions into my own hands.  I have plenty of time to perfect my technique.

I haven’t made them every year.  But I will make them this year.  I think IEP would like them very much.  And I want his memories of them to be as ingrained as my own.

*This post was originally published on Good Friday last year.  I loved it then and thought it worth recycling this year.