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Category Archives for Free-for-all

Zhenya's Igloo

As a parent volunteer, I have often tutored kids for whom English is a second language. Such was the case a few years ago when I was working with a young Russian boy who was a student at my children’s elementary school. One day, we were working on adjective/noun constructions. He had written a story about building "a house from snow." I gave him some examples of the preferred English structure.

"If you build a house from brick, you call it a brick house. A house from stone is a stone house. A house from clay is a clay house. Is that clear?”

He nodded, eyes bright with new awareness.

Ahh, the joy of teaching: of shining the light of information into the darkness of ignorance. How much better off would this child be because I, the educated one, had taken time from my all-important schedule to stoop to his level of academic neediness, bringing him this nugget of knowledge? Surely his life was now changed forever because I had shared my gift of teaching with him.

Energized, I pressed on. "Great. So if a house from brick is a brick house and a house from stone is a stone house, what would we call a house from snow?"

He smiled and with great confidence he answered, "Igloo!"

Chocolate Sleaze

Have you noticed all the half-priced candied hearts and discounted chocolates? Ahha. It must be February. February: Valentine’s Day, President’s Day and Dental Health Month! I wonder. Did America’s dentists choose this month because we eat so much chocolate, or because George Washington’s teeth were notoriously unhealthy? The world may never know.

In any case, I’m thinking more about truffles and petit fours than toothbrushes and presidents, how about you? Chocolate. It’s everywhere. No longer content to be confined to the candy shelf, in February, Chocolate struts its stuff on every aisle in every store. It sprawls out over office desks, offering free pleasure to all who will take and eat. Shameless!

So what’s a sweets-freak like me supposed to do when Chocolate starts putting on the moves? Tell you what I want to do. I want to jump headlong into the waiting arms of the tempter: gorgeous, luscious, sweet-talking Chocolate. Chocolate accepts me just the way I am. It doesn’t care if I add a Hershey bar to each hip every hour. It never asks me to limit my portions. Never. Instead, Chocolate says, “Have just a little bit more. It’s okay.” Who could resist?

Meanwhile, there stands Healthy Choices. HC says, “I love you just the way you are too. And I love you too much to let you abuse yourself.”

I don’t want to hear it.

HC persists. “I’ll take long walks with you. I’ll keep you company when you plan your meals and when you do your grocery shopping.”

Chocolate’s melting, looking a little weepy.

HC stands taller. “Come on, let’s grow young together.”

And so we live happily ever after. Occasionally we even enjoy the company of our friend Chocolate, a real sweetie who I like to visit, as long as Healthy Choices comes with me.

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