Liz Wolfe | receiving
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I just threw away $75 in Borders gift cards. Before ultimately admitting defeat, I had confidently gone to barnesandnoble.com to redeem them. I recalled that B&N had taken over when Borders had gone out of business, so I assumed that they would accept my gift cards. Boy, was I wrong. Annoyed, but still determined, I did some internet research to see if anyone would accept them, or if I was in fact out of luck. The only results that seemed to surface were accounts of people who were also looking to redeem their cards, and the answer was always the same: NO. In the midst of my research, I chanced upon an article published on a financial advice site that was encouraging people to redeem their cards back when Borders was initially going out of business. The article was written in 2009. Really? I had had those gift cards on my desk for more than three years?

I woke up yesterday angry at America. Angry at the world! And angry at my kids. Someone ate the Reese’s peanut butter cup right off my dresser, the one that I’d been saving, the one, truth be told, I took without asking right out of my son’s Halloween candy stash. Found the wrappers in the trash can, right within view, no hiding that. When confronted, neither my son nor daughter admitted to having eaten it. Could my husband, who is out of town, have eaten it? Nope, he texts me. Back to the kids. My son did his “I’m lying but pretending not to be” shrug, twice, and I shrugged it right back at him. He also claimed to have completed all his homework on Election Day – back to that in a minute – on his day off. Nope. Lying again. I looked straight at him and said, “I don’t understand why saying you didn’t eat a candy bar that I know you ate is worth defending.” At no point, however, did I admit that I had taken it right from the stash strewn over his floor. So that technically it was his. I was waiting for him to admit it first. Which being 13 he was not likely to do.

"He didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it." Clarence Budington Kelland I saw this quote posted on Facebook on Father’s day. It reminded me of my father right away. He is a simple man, low maintenance, you might say, never wanted much more for himself or for us than to be happy, whatever that looked like. Although he did do some telling us how to live, actually, but the advice was always stemming from his love and care for us.

I ended 2013 uncharacteristically grumpy. I felt on the brink of tears or anger for much of the last couple of weeks of the year, without really being able to identify why. I found it depressing to look back at the year, knowing I didn’t accomplish all I wanted to, finding small solace in the few milestones that I could recollect. I’m not quite sure where I think I should be by now, but my feeling of dissatisfaction lingered and made me an unpleasant person to be around.

A hot topic in the news these days is why the “1%” have such a disproportionately large amount of accumulated wealth in comparison to other 99%. Perhaps you’ve seen the video that went viral (almost 7 million views to date) that demonstrates this with impressive graphics and mind-boggling statistics.

When I anticipated motherhood, I only pictured two phases of their childhood – baby through Kindergarten, and when they were off to college. Somehow I never visualized the gangly stage that my son is in during his 7th grade year. While he doesn’t seem to eat very much, he’s still growing at a rapid rate, and has almost reached my height.

Growing up, my father, two sisters, and I took many road trips to visit relatives for summer vacations. I remember spending long hours in the car reading, singing, playing or just looking out the window as the cornfields went by. Because of these fond memories, I looked forward to having children of my own, packing up, and hitting the road on some adventures. One husband and two children later, I have had a few fun road trips with them, though they don’t quite look as I imagined them to be. For one thing, while my children are avid readers, they expect that on a trip of any length that they will be watching DVDs. As a result, not a lot of scenery watching happens. Also, it occurs to me that perhaps they are not quite as enamored with the journey as the ultimate destination.