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Photo by AltEsc Protography on Unsplash

There are things that I love, and experiences that I enjoy and I would like to share them. As most of my list are free or cheap, my list of “indulgences” differs from every other celebrity’s list on the Interwebs.

I love a warm seat on the sofa after husband/child/cat/dog vacate the spot. Pre-warmed seats on the sofa are a pleasure — a surprising comfort, and the pinnacle of relaxation that begins immediately as I snuggle down in them.

Fresh baked bread and peeled oranges. This is the advice realtors give to home sellers, because those two smells are so delicious/homey/comforting. I would add vanilla scent to it, because it’s such a warm, cozy scent — this is another reason people bake cookies or burn vanilla-scented candles to help sell their houses. …


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Photo by Brian Lundquist on Unsplash

A lot of days I am content. I hold my tongue (unless I’m hangry, then all bets are off). I think of the consequences to my words and my actions. I enjoy my life, and I am acutely aware of my privilege — my gratitude cup runneth over.

But there are other days…

I have, and always had, a bit of an issue with anger. Even as a child, I could get very angry. As an example, when I was three years old, my great aunt came to visit, and I attacked her with a flurry of little fists. Neither I nor my parents remember why, but they recall the incident. To be clear, I was not angry all the time. I could also be a happy-go-lucky, playful girl. How I met one of my best friends, and indirectly my husband to be was because of my anger. I was in high school, and I angrily slammed a locker and cursed in Russian. My now sister-in-law asked, “What language is that?” As I got older, learning karate helped a great deal with venting my anger in a controlled way. …


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Photo by Arno Senoner on Unsplash

I am not the most feminine of women. I was a tomboy as a child, and still prefer practicing karate to ballroom dancing. But I do have two feminine indulgences — perfumes and purses.

I love many fragrances, preferring flowers (think lily-of-the-valley or lilac) to fruity, spicy ones. And the real perfume-y ones, like Bijan, are my all-time favorites. But perfumes are easy to buy, easy to shop for. Spray on paper (or wrist) and see how it works with your body chemistry. And buy it.

However, purses are a different matter. My husband knows me very well. About 20 years ago, not quite 10 years into our marriage, Jeff bought me a very fancy Dooney & Bourke messenger bag. I used it a lot in the first few years I had it. I still have it — although I almost never use it. It’s a beautiful, brown leather bag, but it is not a purse. It is a business bag, to hold a computer with a notepad, an ideal gift for a writer. …


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Photo by Shot by Cerqueira on Unsplash

My problem, … well …. one of my problems, has been the fact that I don’t believe that the universe is always for us. I believe that the universe is random and chaotic, and that it doesn’t give any fig, a flip, or a rat’s ass for the likes of us. Nor do I think it is bribable by prayer and wishes. …


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Today, I mourn for more than the life prior to COVID-19. Today I mourn for my country, for our democracy, for the death of so much decency.

Today, we (and the rest of the world) watched a mob incited by an actual President of United States of America, storm the Capitol Building to try to prevent a legal count of electoral votes by Congress. Luckily, the electoral votes were saved, the mob turned away with minimal injury or bloodshed, and the democratic process continues as I write this.

This travesty, this attack on the very heart of the constitutional democracy, filled me with dread, with anger and indignation and more — it filled me with shame. Right now, I am ashamed to be an American citizen, ashamed of the Republican party. …


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My husband and his sister were wondering about the coming year. “Is it the year of the platypus or the year of the lobster?” asked Jeff.

“It’s the year of the tardigrade,” declared Amy.

“You’re both wrong,” I said. “It is the year of the quokka.”

With apologies to the Chinese zodiac, and the actual Year of the Ox (which starts on the eve of February 11), this spirited discussion was won by me. Because there are few things cuter than a quokka.

Quokkas were voted “World’s Happiest Animals” simply because that’s how they look. They look like they are always smiling, and they are ridiculously adorable. They are Australian marsupials, about the size of a house cat, and they are as inquisitive as they are cute. …


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My children, Riva & Sam, frying latkes.

Hanukkah is now over. And Christmas is finished, too. But it’s never a wrong time to learn to make my award-winning potato latkes (that’s potato pancakes, for those not in the tribe). All right, they haven’t actually won any awards, but my family loves them, I love them, and they have won tons of accolades from family and friends. And that’s all that matters. To me.

But first, a disclaimer: my mother’s latkes are my most beloved latkes. My mom is a purist — it’s potatoes, a little egg, salt and a little flour, very old school. These are the latkes I grew up with, and the latkes that bring me happiness when I see them, and utter bliss when I taste them. After my mom fries her latkes, she puts them into the Dutch oven, where they are warmed until dinner time, and they become super soft. And then, when I eat them with a dollop of sour cream, it is like eating potato perfection, as they glide down my throat. I don’t even have to chew — although I do, reluctantly, simply not to appear like an untamed animal. Eating my mom’s latkes, I generally limit myself to a human portion. However, given my druthers, I would eat, and eat, and then eat a little bit more, until they cart me away on a stretcher. Or I explode like the scene in Monty Python. …


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Photo by Edge2Edge Media on Unsplash

I don’t know why I like the orange color so much. I would certainly never wear orange — as a brunette with a purple streak in my hair, orange makes me look ghastly and underbaked. Yet I truly like looking at shades of orange, from pinkish orange to deeper terracotta to the blaze orange of the Denver Broncos uniform. The fact that I like a color one shade lighter than brown makes me feel boring. Doesn’t change my preference — but now I think I actually like shades of brown, too.

But orange is not my favorite color, that honor belongs to green, Kelly green, to be exact. But that’s my favorite color today. Tomorrow, it might become a shade of blue that takes this top spot. Who knows? But, I do know what will not be my favorite. One color I’m not particularly fond of is yellow — not light, not medium, and not dark mustard. Although there are shades of soft, buttery cream colors I do appreciate — like old, thick linen paper, these are more akin to white, and cream and ivory colors do tickle my fancy. …


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Snow, glorious snow! So cold and so fluffy. That’s all I got, I’m too busy being euphoric. Watching the remnants of brown leaves shiver in the wind and beginnings of light snow delights me. I’m watching a squirrel go by on the backyard fence — the dogs haven’t seen it yet, so I am spared the frantic barking and the speedy exodus through the doggie door.

I thought that squirrels hibernated in the winter? This requires research — let’s see what Google says. All right, I’m enlightened now: squirrels do not hibernate during winter because their body temperature stays fairly constant throughout the year. …


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Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

When I was about 10 years old, I cooked corn on the cob, for the very first time. I added plenty of salt, and also, a load of sugar. Needless to say, it tasted pretty gross. It took me years to try corn again, even longer to get to the point of liking it.

First impressions are important. There is a Russian saying, roughly translated, states, “When meeting someone, they are judged by clothing. When they’re leaving, they’re judged by how they behaved.” So much for “judging the book by its cover.” …

About

Elena Tucker

Writer and storyteller, immigrant, wife, mom, knitter, collector of jokes, lover of cheap, sweet wine.

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