Design by Sawyer Pennington


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The first thing that came to mind was movie tickets, but the truth is it's really all about the popcorn. But recently I did buy something that has made me happy, and I know Black's going to roll her eyes. First my rationalization – I've wanted one for years and the time seemed right since I'm not eating out these days and decided to start experimenting at home with some new recipes. So, what did I buy? A proper Dutch oven. If you're not familiar with them, you can use them on a cooktop and then put it direct into the oven to keep cooking for hours. Bottom line, they're really versatile and suitable for making lots of dishes. I found a great looking cobalt blue one that has a non-stick surface which I immediately tested as I made pulled pork with a brown sugar topping that baked for hours and hours. Can you say "baked on sugar"? When it came time to clean it, I gave it a quick spray, figuring it'd have to soak overnight. Well, one quick rinse later and it was completely, sparkling clean! And that, combined with how good the pulled pork tasted, made me very happy.


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Socks. Yes, socks. I succumbed to an ad for Bombas socks that appeared in one of the newsletters I receive. I needed athletic socks anyway and they claimed they were the most comfortable socks ever and that for every pair it sells, it donates a pair because socks are the most requested item in homeless shelters. But the main reason I bought a few pairs was because I liked how the colorful ones looked – they were "happy colors." After wearing them, I agreed they are the most comfortable socks I have ever worn, which makes my feet happy. Layer in the donated socks, and I can rationalize buying even more.
Design by Sawyer Pennington


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I know that in the scheme of things it's nothing, so I hate to complain, but I'll admit that I miss going to the movies. And I miss the popcorn even more! Yes, I know that some theaters are opened and have COVID precautions in place, but I'm just not ready.

Instead, I've been trying to have "movie night" at home. There's lots of good cable programming available and there always seems to be more shows than I have time to watch. So, I choose one, make it a point to "schedule" it (as if I'm going out to the movies), pop multiple bags of microwave popcorn, and make it clear that no one is to bother me. It's not quite the same, but being wrapped up in my comfy comforter, on my comfortable bed, with hot popcorn isn't a bad second option.


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I am glad you directed this to Red, as I rarely watch movies (in theaters or at home). Although, I am feeling the fallout of Red not being able to hit a "reset" button by escaping to the movies. Now, if you had asked about how the movie industry is adapting to record losses due to the pandemic, I could have gone into detail about its forced creativity. For example, renting out individuals theaters for private events starting at as little as $99 (of course, it is a function of the movie selected).
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Design by Sawyer Pennington


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Initially, by watching my youngest daughter, although 18, acting like a little kid again. She couldn't wait to go out in the snow (although I told her it was more like icy sleet with an inch or two of dusty snow on top) and take photos (for social media, of course). And build what I think was the world's smallest (and cutest) snowman. Her pure joy and excitement made me realize how important it is to see the best in any given situation. (At that point, we still had power although it was heartbreaking to see how many people were already without power, and I knew we might be next.)

The next day, in the middle of the night, we joined the growing number of people (millions!) without power. And although we had done our best to prepare for this possibility, it's still a shock, especially when temperatures are well below freezing. But the funny thing is when I now look back, I don't remember the difficult parts. I remember sitting around a table, dressed as if we were Bernie Sanders at the inauguration, initially playing Trouble and then what became a game of Monopoly that lasted days. (I didn't mention it to Black, figuring I'd get a business analysis of board games.)

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I live in a Houston high-rise that whenever the wind blows, we seem to lose power. So, I was not surprised to find we had lost power at 2 a.m. Monday morning, but I was shocked to see all the snow. And, although I briefly enjoyed the beauty and peacefulness of the blanket of white, knew the fact my condo has huge windows (and no window coverings) meant the temperature would start dropping very quickly. There is a hotel down the street and I was able to get a room, so I counted my blessings. Not because I was able to get a room (by lunchtime, there were none left), but because I had the luxury of being able to escape to a hotel when I knew most people were not as fortunate and had limited, if any, other options.
Design by Sawyer Pennington


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Obviously, this should be directed to Red. But, if my sister asked me this question, my response to her would be … You either let Sawyer play volleyball and take all possible precautions. Or, she does not play. However, why not sit down and have a conversation with her and listen (which is different from hearing) her thoughts before you even voice your own. You love lists. Maybe each of you should independently list all the pros and cons of each decision (play/do not play) and then compare them.


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First, I can totally sympathize with your concerns because "been there, doing that". As Black indicated, my youngest daughter, Sawyer, plays competitive volleyball and would be distraught if she couldn't play, especially as she's a high school senior and this is her last year for both school and club ball. This was one of those times, though, when I tried to put all my emotions aside and do my best impersonation of my sister. In other words, be very logical and pragmatic and weigh the risk/reward, which had to include my daughter's emotional well-being. (Not mine!) The bottom-line is we discussed, and she agreed to, very strict protocols (such as having to wear a mask in our house all the time, no exceptions) because she fully understands all the risks. Not just for her but everyone around her.