What I Learned This Week: #174

2020 – Monday, December 14 – Sunday, December 20

The Week in the Christmas Spirit: On one of my walks back to work from lunch at home, I passed Ms. Kim, the woman who I buy most of my Street Vibes Newspapers from. Street Vibes is a bi-weekly paper printed by The Homeless Coalition of Greater Cincinnati and sold by homeless, or those in heavily subsidized housing all around the streets of downtown. Today, Ms. Kim, with a big smile, called me over from across the street screaming, “Hey, I’ve been looking for you.” She said she’d been looking for me for a couple days because she had a Christmas present to give me. I kid you not. She does not ever remember my name, but I’ve spent a lot of time chatting with her. She’s takes care of her aging father, and her ex-husband who has a significant heart condition. Often when I buy a paper from her, she turns around and gives it to the kids who hang around her looking for hand outs. And then she turns to me and says, “I just can’t say to to them.”

Ms. Kim lives the Christmas spirit all year long. Ain’t nothing big or bad enough, or Covid-y enough to stop the Christmas spirit. I. Am. Still. Crying.

Honestly, the truest gift I’ve gotten in a long, long while.

The Week in Kale is in Season – Part 1: The greenest thing in the farmer’s stall at Findlay market was kale. That brought me to the NY Times Pressure Cooker Lentil Soup with Sausage. I cut the recipe in half and it was a winner. Simple, and hearty. Beluga lentils gave the soup a great texture. And it was pretty.

The Week in Kale is in Season – Part 2: Half a recipe meant 1/2 a head of kale and lentils were still hanging around the kitchen. I found a Blue Apron recipe for Italian-Style Pork & Lentils, which was very good, even though I totally made it wrong. The dish was supposed to be pork chops on a bed of cooked kale and lentils, then topped with a red pepper caper relish. In my jacked up (not paying attention) version, the relish and the kale and the lentils all came together in one big pot. Maybe their version is good, too. And, I guess Blue Apron’s step-by-step instructions are too complicated for me. Also, wine may have been involved.

The Week in Local Commerce: Homemaker’s Bar is a women-owned bar that is facing the pandemic with as much spirit and outside the box thinking as you could expect during a pandemic. Their outdoor area, new for Covid, is one of the great spots to hang out in during this trying time. They have also made a point of staying community oriented and this week they had a mini craft fair supporting women and minority owned small businesses. Of course I had to take a look. In this week’s “purchase to support a local entrepreneur”, I bought a wonderful, handmade candle by Alexis Nickelle. Pricier than I’m used to paying for candles, the “Grace” candle seems worth it to support owner’s craft and her journey.

The actual commerce was fraught with technical difficulties, all my fault. It is always in the back of mind when I partake in modern commerce, you know, pay apps, that I will get to chatting and forget to hit all the buttons to make the transaction go through. Welp, that’s what happened and my efforts to support this small business looked like a lesson in petty crime. I did email her and we worked it out, but I felt pretty guilty for a couple hours.

This Week in Christmas Time is Here: I bought my yearly Ginger Bread, uh, Jill, a pink-iced “girl” of a gingerbread man. It was fun to unpack the market bag with Jill staring right at me, and fun to cleave her right in half to split with my Mom. Tis the season.

And here’s a Christmas song that is working for me this year. Merry Christmas!

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