We have so much to learn

I grieve this morning for my country, my home state of Minnesota, and the city of St. Paul in the aftermath of yesterday’s shootings. I grieve for the families and friends of those involved, and this morning especially for our children.

May there be peace for the sweet four year old daughter of Philandro Castile’s girlfriend who witnessed the violence from the back seat of a car.

May there be peace for the children and tight knit community of J.J Hill Montissori who adored the late Mr. Castile, a cafeteria supervisor.

May there be peace for all children in this country who seek to understand the fireworks of violence that continue to explode before them. And strength for their parents tasked with helping them make sense of it all.

I too work with young children in a Minnesota school. As I pack up my peanut butter and jelly sandwich to join the children in our summer program today, I’m including a spoonful of strength I read from a mission statement for James J. Hill Montissori School:

“To nurture and empower individuals to become lifelong learners, skilled peacemakers, and problem solvers.”

I’ll be keeping those words handy in my pocket this morning.

Perhaps we all should.

It seems we have so much more to learn in this country.

And so much more to teach as well.


These are a few of my favorite things…

It’s November and Oprah Winfrey just came out with her annual list of favorite things.

And so have I.

Mine’s a soupy Minnesota hot dish version, but this hearty list is practically guaranteed to keep you warm at 30 below, with just a 20 dollar bill.

You betcha.

And the list trades in those extra big dollar signs, for smaller dollar and second-hand stores.


Number one on my season’s list are the blazing neon red snow pants I found over at the local thrift store.

They’re sure to be a beacon in any blizzard, especially with the extra 30 pounds they’ll add to any physique.

And that blazing red color is a perfect match for Halls cherry cough drops, number two on my list this year. No holiday stocking is complete with out a bag of these chest clearing candies competing with the odor of traditional peppermint canes.

And how about a pair of blizzard tested boots made north of the border in Canada? They’re number 3 on the list. These second-hand store gems, with thick tire track soles, are sure to give you a heartier grip on snow banks than any pair made in tropical Taiwan.

And speaking of hearty, the fine citizens down the road in Hopkins made number 4 on the list with their ‘rich and hearty’ Italian Sausage soup sold over at the market.

Oh to feel rich at just $1.00 a can!

And to treat yourself for all those snow shoveling sessions this winter, consider picking up one of those dinner plate sized donuts I also found in Hopkins. This heavy delicacy weighed in at number 5 on my list.

For just $.89 cents, you’ll surely be replenishing any protein needs with the peanut butter chips floating on top of that icy glaze.

In the arts and crafts category, I selected a 350 pack of red cotton swabs for number 6 on my list this year. You and your friends can play with the plethora of Pinterest project ideas till purple pansies return in spring.

Cotton swab sheep ornaments, anyone?

Since my cat broke a bottle of make up this week, for number 7 I’ve selected a non breakable replacement tube from the dollar store titled “Sassy + Chic”.

Sounds like a winner to me, and the cat purred in agreement just hearing the name.

I also consulted with my mini dog pack to weigh in on Oprah’s pick of $39.00 faux fur jackets before I finalized my selection for number 8 on my list

The pups were underwhelmed with the jackets and fashionista look, instead unaminously voting for rawhides.

They figured their flying collective dog hair was already enough to keep an extra chi or doxie warm this winter.

As a self appointed Francophile, number 9 practically waltzed from the shelf into my basket at the dollar store.

Wow! A French luxury item for only a buck, “Doigts de Dame.”

The English translation is lady fingers.

Though turning over the package, I saw the company is actually Canadian and the treats are made in Spain. But hey, we can dream ‘April in Paris’ as we munch to keep warm in January.

Oooh la la!

For the 10th and last item on my list of favorite things, I thought I’d revert to my Midwestern sensibility and select something all merry makers and bargin shoppers should never be without.

One new carton of Ibruprofen.

In fact, I’ll open the bottle and take one now.

All the excitement’s got me dreaming of a long winter’s nap.

And that may just be my most favorite thing of all.