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On faith

Ah, this one is tough. Not that I shy away from difficult conversations, but religion is… a minefield, to say the least. It touches to our histories, our families, our traditions, our personal experiences – good and bad – and just talking about it can change the sweetest person you know into a rabid dog. Like politics, it’s often painted in black and white. You’re either with us or against us and there’s no inbetween.

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On love, marriage and reality

Someone asked me recently if I could write down a few tips for a new couple – they asked this of several people who’d been married/in long-term relationships for a while (read: old(er) people like, well, me, apparently) and I thought I could make an article out of it.

Keep in mind that these tips are things that I’ve find useful in my own life and/or have observed in other couples that seem to do well. Also keep in mind that I’m a woman so those might be biased, but the husband nodded along in that quiet way of his when I told him what I’d written down, which means he agrees!

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Better is the enemy of good… or how not to be perfect

This week the always excellent Amber from The Fairly Local Family (formerly TheFairlyLocalVegan, which is important to mention) explained why she won’t call herself vegan anymore. She’s been relentlessly attacked since she published a video on her channel in which she bought a pair of second-hand shoes for her oldest kid. What’s the matter, you think? Well, those shoes were leather sandals. Her (very sound, might I say) reasoning was that she couldn’t find any vegan option second-hand, her kid needed sandals, those shoes were second-hand and durable and would be worn by her other kids.

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Minimalist, low-waste lifestyle

On how to ace no-gift Christmas

I love Christmas. Yule time is a great time. The promise of more light to come, the cycle of life, all that. The lights on the tree. The good, homemade food and the (hopefully fight-less) meals with extented family.

What I do not love is all the gift-giving obligation. It’s nice for children to discover some gifts under the tree (some, I said. Not fifty, that’s ridiculous), but we adults? Come on. Most of us have too much stuff already and will have no use for half of the things we’re given. We feel like we have to buy everyone a gift and, frankly, it ruins the weeks before the holidays for me with headaches and stressful runs in crowded and overheated stores.

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On responsibility and wanting to change people

I don’t like conflict. I never have. I have awful memories of Sunday afternoons spent at my grandmother’s, where she would say the most hurtful things she could think of and my parents would finally blow up, and my brother and I would try to swallow pieces of cake through our tears. It was all part of a well-known scenario, and I hated every damn second of it. My grandmother had a shit ton of unresolved issues, and my mixed memories of her probably have played a part in shaping the way I deal with conflict.

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On social media

“I am never going to look back on my life, or on my year, and think, I wish that I had spent more time online.” Genevieve Sadleir

I have no idea who Genevieve is (if you do know, please leave a comment), but she’s obviously a very smart and insightful woman, and I think she’s got it quite right.

Since writing this post on virtual clutter, I’ve gone further and deleted my Twitter account entirely. It was way too time-consuming, and I disliked both the content (or most of it, between echo chambers and shouting matches there were a few interesting exchanges) and how it made me feel and behave. I felt increasingly sarcastic and bitter, and my optimism and faith in humanity were dwindling. I decided to quit after two weeks of reflection.

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On tangerine candles and family traditions

My father has always made tangerine candles around Christmas time. He learned how to make them from his own father, simply with sunflower oil (a cheap and common oil here in France) and tangerine peels.

There was something magical about them for me as a child. The way my father carefully carved the tangerine. The way its tiny flame would glow through the fine peel, casting orange tinted light on our the dinner table. The way it smelled, sweet and tart. Now I make them too, and my children love them just as I do.

It takes some work to get them right…

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Very careful carving!

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