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In a word, no. Because I don't think giving my daughters gifts for Christmas qualifies me as "Santa". But since I can't just answer a question with one word, I'll tell you a recent "Santa" story. I was shopping for my younger daughter and the item I wanted was on a top shelf that, being slight of stature (translation: I'm short) it was impossible for me to reach. I looked around and saw not only a tall man but he was double masked, so asked him if he could help. He was happy to do so and when he handed me the item, I said, "Thank you, Santa!" His eyes lit up, he smiled broadly (yes, even under two masks I could see the "twinkle in his eyes") and he said how from the time he had his first job he always saved money to buy Christmas presents for his family and they started calling him their Santa. So, if bringing happiness and showing appreciation to people qualifies, I suspect many people were "Santa" last week, whether they realized it or not.


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Sarcastic answer: No, I work too hard to stay a size 2 to ever eat cookies every place I go. (I do not even like cookies.)

"Real" answer: I believe Santa represents someone who is generous and just wants to help others – whether giving gifts, showing appreciation, or spreading joy and peace. He does not do it for the recognition, he does it because he believes it makes the world a better place. Imagine if all of us did a little Santa-ing all year round.
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I really needed time to think about this as there were so many images that immediately came to mind. So, at the risk of Black saying that I "cheated", I went online to see if I could narrow it down. But here's the funny thing. The one that I first thought about, and keep thinking about, I couldn't find. I saw it "live" when watching the inaugural concert and the image was only on for a few seconds. But that was long enough to know that, for me, it was incredibly special. It was Vice President Harris leaning her head on her husband's shoulder, watching the amazing fireworks, with the Lincoln Memorial in the background. It was a simple shot, caught fleetingly by the camera; an unposed, spontaneous image that reminded me of one that you'd snap at a family gathering. But seeing our first female Vice President, who clearly has a warm and loving relationship with her spouse, with Lincoln "watching on" showing the history of the moment, just made it all come together in a single image. Will it "technically" become iconic? Probably not, especially since I can't even find it online. But will it always stay in mind as a memory of the inauguration? Absolutely.


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That's Red. The straight-A student that, although she had the answer, wanted to first do some homework. I, on the other hand, knew my answer immediately. Interestingly, it was a very similar image, but for very different reasons. It was President Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden watching fireworks from the balcony of their new home – the White House. Besides it obviously representing a new beginning for the presidency, the fireworks were the grand finale of an evening of celebration that was for and about us – "We the people." And, then I noticed that she was wearing a wrist courage. It reminded me of a simpler and more thoughtful time – one filled with grace and small courtesies. Maybe this is a new beginning in more ways than one …
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Design by Sawyer Pennington


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Mixed. I'm scared because of everything that's happening in the Capitol right now. I'm excited because no matter the political party, it's incredible that we'll have a woman Vice President and what that means for all the girls in this country. And I'm thrilled that my daughters will see that. I'm full of pride because it shows that in America democracy is bigger than any one person or group. Finally, as someone that loves history, it does sadden me that it won't be a traditional inauguration, filled with traditions and peaceful transfer of power but I suspect that President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris are more focused on what they're going to do once inaugurated.


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Having an elaborate wedding does not mean you will have a successful marriage, any more so than eloping means your marriage will fail. The real work starts after the ceremony, and is a function of your commitment to uphold the solemn promises made during the ceremony. This inauguration will go down in history for many reasons and the fact its theme is "America United" is both heartbreaking and inspirational. But, as Americans, it is our responsibility to do everything within our power to help heal the country and work toward finding common ground so we can come together.
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.