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Convictions, I think they call 'em

September 4, 2007

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. First show of the season, and at the state fair to boot. I was so happy I said to heck with cooking and ran out to the deli for some roast beef sandwiches and potato salad and coleslaw and got it all on plates and handed out just in time for Mr. Keillor singing that little opening tune about his sweet, sweet old someone comin' through that door, the one I usually miss because I'm trying to get the laundry put away or Mr. Sundberg is hollering from the basement, "Show's on!" and I holler back, "I know, I'm in the kitchen with the radio on!" and he hollers up, "What was that?" and I holler, "I know it's on!" and he hollers, "That's what I was tryin' to tell ya!"

Well, whatever. I heard it all this time around, and just loved it. I kept saying to the kids, A whole new year of the show, what do you know about that. I even got a few tears going here and there, but it wasn't just Patty Griffin and Jearlyn and all those songs. No, this time around I was feeling a bit introspective. I've got a birthday this week that turns something of a corner and I'm not handling it as well as I'd hoped. Not that I'm getting up there, mind you. I certainly haven't peaked, but I'm no spring chicken and when I get up off the couch it takes a bit more effort than it used to.

Everything takes a bit more effort as I get older, which isn't such a bad thing. Not so much physical effort, as I find I have to be organized and maintain focus on what's important and what doesn't matter much. People are what really matter. Some of you have taken the time to write to me, for which I'm grateful and somewhat at a loss. With everything going on I try to answer your questions here as opposed to sending along something with a stamp, though I save every letter just in case I break a leg or find myself in quarantine. Anyway, a sweet letter came along last week from a young woman named Nikki who has two kids (8 and 11, a bit younger than my own), and lives somewhere out in Maine and who also has a birthday this month. She asked if I'm a Virgo and I am, and that may indeed account for what Nikki calls our "similar approaches to life."

Well, of course that got me thinking about how I go about things. I don't know a heck of a lot, but I'm pretty sure about what I do know. Convictions, I think they call 'em. And for what it's worth, I'll throw 'em at ya. It's good to have something to think about with autumn on its way.

  1. You can ask until the cows come home what it is you're here for, and no one — not God, not your mother, and not a bunch of tea leaves — is going to tell you. You've got to get going and figure it out.
  2. Life is pretty much unfair if you choose to look at it that way. So choose otherwise.
  3. You're basically on your own. If you don't like it that way, find some company.
  4. There really is nothing to be afraid of. Seems to me if you can imagine it, you can handle it. And what you can't imagine, well, no point in giving it much attention. Save your energy. You're going to be surprised sooner or later.
  5. Everything you own should have a purpose or meaning. If it doesn't, give it to someone for whom it will have purpose or meaning. Or recycle it. Or have a bonfire.
  6. When in doubt, ask yourself if what you're about to do makes sense. If it doesn't, don't do it. If it does, double-check with what your gut is telling you. Because your gut is almost always right.
  7. Be exactly who you are. Because you can't do your life right if you aren't you. Take my word for it.

The kids are off to school this week, and after you finish doing your celebration dance in the living room, mix up a batch of this snack mix. I've doubled the recipe for you, since the original amount just didn't cut it. It doesn't take long to throw together, and the kids will think you're the best cook in the world.

Caramel Snack Mix

12 cups Crispix cereal
6 cups Chex Multi-bran cereal (or try the wheat)
3 cups peanuts (pecans work, too)
4 sticks of butter
2 cups brown sugar

Combine cereal and nuts in bowl. Set aside.
Melt butter and brown sugar in saucepan. Bring to a boil, turn heat down a bit and
continue to boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Pour sauce over cereal mix and stir gently.
Pour mixture onto a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet covered with lightly greased foil.

Bake at 325 degrees for 8 minutes.
Stir, and bake for another 8 minutes.
Remove from oven and stir again.
Cool. Store in an airtight container.

Caution: Do not open airtight container if you are alone in the house, or if you're the only up and it's somewhere near midnight.

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