The parka of misery.

I stepped outside today for a quick dog walk and caught my breath — 12 degrees at sundown. That was better than the morning dog walk — 11 degrees, with a clear sunrise emerging over the lake. That’s the bargain you make with winter; you want a sunny day? You can have your sunny day, but it’s going to cost you. It’s been a cold one so far. I’ve worn the Parka of Misery several times already, and some years, it stays in the closet all season.

The Parka of Misery — North Face, down, suitable for a Fargo winter — is actually quite cozy and hence, not miserable to wear. It’s the external forces that give it its name. If it’s much over 20 degrees, it’s uncomfortable. Which tells you something.

The Parka of Michigan.

Folks, I’m sorta whipped today. Kate and Alan are working on another project — a spaghetti bridge — and we’re all in end-of-the-year mode. Right now all I want to do is watch “Getting On,” my new favorite HBO show. It’s about life on the extended-care nursing ward of a crappy hospital, centering on the nursing station. Basically, I will always watch a smart show about how people work together, the workplace being the great anti-family life we all live. If nothing else, it’s given me the eye-popping sight of watching the woman who played Millie Helper on the old Dick Van Dyke show, simulating a blow job on Harry Dean Stanton, for a subplot about elder sex.

Now there’s a career — from the comic neighbor on a beloved sitcom to a blow job on premium cable.

A Christmas-lights video for your amusement.

The atrocious “Homeland” finale.

Have a good Tuesday.

Posted at 12:30 am in Same ol' same ol' |

77 responses to “The parka of misery.”

  1. Brandon said on December 17, 2013 at 1:01 am

    The only place on this island with temperatures comparable to those you’re now enduring is the upper reaches of Mauna Kea. Perhaps Mauna Loa comes close.

    The atrocious “Homeland” finale.


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  2. Dexter said on December 17, 2013 at 1:02 am

    I have to catch up with “Getting On”; so far I only saw ep 1, the one where the turd was on the chair and a fight broke out, the doc wanted it for her study and the lpn wanted to flush it.

    With last month’s commemoration of JFK’s 50 years in the history books, I saw a lot of clips of Lee “Harold” Oswald, as early reports called Lee Harvey. The first post-assassination interview with Oswald showed him sporting a big bruise around his eye, which Oswald attributed to a “policeman hit me.”
    When Brody was exiting the office building in Iran, where he had just assassinated the head of Iran’s domestic security, he looked remarkably like Oswald looked parading through the Dallas police building 50 years ago. Right down to the bruises on his head…gave me the creeps.

    My parka might be a knock-off brand, “Free Country”, as good as any North Face parka I have seen, and doesn’t everybody have North Face gear except me? I love my “Free Country” parka. But I also only wear it to stave off misery on the cold side of my front door.
    Fucking Lions…Megatron, sure-handed super-star of the world, drops three passes right to him. Detroit Lions, so many times I have tried to disown you, but alas, I cannot…cursed by forces I do not understand, tied against my will to a losing team. 🙁

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  3. Joe K said on December 17, 2013 at 2:23 am

    I know the area pretty good around Memphis, never had a problem,
    Great barb-b-q
    Pilot Joe

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  4. candlepick said on December 17, 2013 at 2:27 am

    Ann Morgan Guilbert was wonderful in “Please Give.” Here’s more about her

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  5. coozledad said on December 17, 2013 at 8:26 am

    I hope I don’t have to go into a home. The ones I delivered mail to were Social Security check farms with foaming peaks o’ Jesus. I’m told the inmate heirarchies are like junior high, with more feces, and the nurses will swap your opiates out with tylenol and give you a nice scalding bath if you whine about it.

    A lot of our Democratic party meetings are held at the Senior Center. It’s more of a day care/activity center built in an old industrial basement. The florescent lights do nothing for the shadow of death. There’s a Thomas Kinkaid on the wall, a corkboard with photographs of the ever diminishing bible study group with the helpful ballpoint captions “passed”, “deceased”, or in one terse gentleman’s case, “deased”.

    They wouldn’t have me. And if they did, I’d be adding captions for the living: “cheesed” “Irate”
    “Still continent”.

    This is not going to be fun.

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  6. alex said on December 17, 2013 at 8:29 am

    Millie was also Franny’s Granny on “The Nanny.” Perhaps if she’d given more blow jobs in real life she could have had her own sitcom. “Who can turn the world on with her smile?”

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  7. basset said on December 17, 2013 at 8:36 am

    Maybe a senior “Brown Bunny” on pay per view… I expect that would get a specific but loyal audience.

    Joe, I have been through Memphis a bunch of times over the past thirty or so years and I still don’t feel safe more than a block from the Peabody. Don’t like Rendezvous ribs either, too dry.

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  8. Deborah said on December 17, 2013 at 9:15 am

    Coozledad, the day I have to go into a home is the day I off myself.

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  9. coozledad said on December 17, 2013 at 9:26 am

    I’m banking on an abdominal aortic aneurysm. Poor life choices and all that.

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  10. Minnie said on December 17, 2013 at 9:33 am

    They’ll never take me alive.

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  11. brian stouder said on December 17, 2013 at 10:14 am

    We’re all gettin’ older…

    Nonetheless, this story choked me up.

    Texts between a dad and his son, amid our most recent school-shooting

    But he knew something was wrong. He steered the car not toward the Qdoba restaurant where he and a friend had planned to have lunch, but toward his son’s school.

    “Are you ok” he texted. “There are ambulances going to Arapahoe.”

    “I’m fine,” the boy wrote back. “And yeah. We’re in lockdown.”

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  12. Bitter Scribe said on December 17, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Apparently lockdowns have become this generation’s fire drills. Oh well. Who cares if kids are routinely terrorized, as long as Americans have access to all the firepower they want.

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  13. Danny said on December 17, 2013 at 10:31 am

    I still haven’t come up with a good end-game plan, but I have a number of half-assed ones:

    1. Wander off into the wilderness on a final hike… probably something with a smooth path in case I have need of a walker.

    2. Armed with bananas, a cane and a sour disposition, go out in a blaze of glory in a Robin-Hood-style bank robbing spree.

    3. Have someone secure me to a bed with toothpicks in my eyes (ala Clockwork Orange) and a box of Depends for a Gilligan’s Island marathon. Die of sadness that they never escape the island.

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  14. MichaelG said on December 17, 2013 at 10:44 am

    Leopard print, Mary! Lord. The manager of the Santa Monica DMV office is into leopard print. Her office has leopard chotchkies all over the place and she wears leopard print stuff. She’s from Panama. Maybe they have leopards there and she’s homesick.

    No North Face here. Current jackets are by Barbour, Carhartt and Orvis.

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  15. MarkH said on December 17, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Danny, where I live, choice #1 is the obvious one. And at my age it gives me a bit of solace.

    I could have sworn I read Ann Morgan Guilbert’s obit a few years ago. Obviously not.

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  16. mark said on December 17, 2013 at 11:05 am

    I helped my niece throw together a little something for a spaghetti bridge project:

    Just fuckin with ya…..

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  17. Charlotte said on December 17, 2013 at 11:17 am

    We have an older friend in town who was diagnosed last spring with Alzheimers. So far, still living at home, and walking the four blocks to work every day (where the ladies who have always run his shop are just carrying on as usual). A group of friends got organized so someone comes in every day to visit and dispense the meds (as one of them said, the pill box doesn’t work if you can’t remember what day it is). All part of our concerted effort as a community containing many aging single people to look out for one another. We’ll all probably end up in care at some point, but we’re trying to build our own care homes. (My plan is simply to spoil Nina’s 5 kids while telling them explicitly it’s so they’ll come visit me in the home. Lola, who is 9, has told me in all seriousness that I’m coming to live with her when I’m old. Of course, she’s 9 so I’m not holding her to it. Unless I do!)

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  18. Danny said on December 17, 2013 at 11:26 am

    You know, it is not inconceivable that a number of us could live long enough to see elder care relegated to robots. Ironically, they may be able to be more humane in caring for us. If you get a chance, check out this Independent article:

    The embedded videos, particularly of the quadruped robots that look like horses are nothing short of amazing.

    This reminds me of a cute little movie we watched a few months ago, “Robot and Frank.” Frank is an elderly retired jewel thief who is having memory problems and whose daughter (or son can’t remember) buys him a caretaker robot. Frank talks the robot into supporting him in his “preferred activities” for the sake of mental stimulation, of course.

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  19. Danny said on December 17, 2013 at 11:27 am

    …second sentence should read “they may be able to be programmed to be more humane”

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  20. Jolene said on December 17, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Brian, that was, indeed, a choke-me-up article. I keep thinking about the young girl who was wounded. Shot in the face, she is now in a coma. Gov. Hickenlooper said that she was an adopted, much-loved child and that her parents were beside themselves. Somehow, just knowing that detail makes the heartbreak worse.

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  21. Dexter said on December 17, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Danny, a local man was so destitute , living in a rundown room above a rundown store on a crappy former business block in a neighboring small town, became absolutely demoralized when his SS check didn’t get to him…direct deposit or mailed to him or whatever…he could not get his money and he is diabetic and had the shakes, as he told me one day. He went into the local post office and said he had a gun and he demanded all the money. They handed over their cash and the dangerous robber, who everybody in the post office knew by name and address, walked to his room and waited. He had no gun, he just allowed himself to be taken to the warm jail where he could eat and get some insulin. At the time he was only 63. The judge gave him just a half-year in the state penal system, and he was back out on the streets with a better system worked out so could make sure his money would get to him. He told me he would have been perfectly happy to have been shot to death at the post office, but as I wrote, he didn’t have a gun at all.
    My uncle is soon to be 88. He drives, he goes to restaurants all the time, he goes to the woods and chain-saws wood , he maintains a fleet of farm vehicles, he mows fields in the summer, blades snow in the winter. He told me “…feet first for me, and you know what that means. I’ll never go to a home.” En punto.

    Deborah, my old friend Bert Wolfe , the WW1 vet I became friends with until his death in a nursing home in Clyde, Ohio in 1981, carried a folded-up plastic bag and a small ball of string hidden in his pockets. He told me when things got too bad, he was going to bag his head and tighten the string around his neck and wait until death. A few weeks elapsed, word came to me that Bert had died, in his sleep, of old age. Yep. Right. Bert Wolfe was 89 years old.

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  22. brian stouder said on December 17, 2013 at 11:50 am

    Jolene, the detail about the young lady that I heard which gripped my heart was that her dad stated ‘she’s not doing well’.

    For dad to say that, the outcome they’re braced for can only be heartbreaking

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  23. LAMary said on December 17, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    My cardigan is the one leopard print item I own. My cat has a leopard print catnip toy if that counts. The Real Housewives of New Jersey all wear animal prints a lot, so I consider the leopard print cardigan something that represents my roots. It’s like a clan tartan but tackier.

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  24. Dexter said on December 17, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    Somebody here is going there soon:

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  25. LAMary said on December 17, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Dexter, that link brings me to a video that starts with an ad featuring a woman sitting on a toilet. I was wondering how you knew someone here was going to need to pee soon.

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  26. DellaDash said on December 17, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    “Getting On” is morbidly hilarious. It’s so close to home, though, I’ve found I’m wary of watching more episodes. Ultimately, I won’t be able to resist, being particularly drawn to any depiction of how professionals handle their decrepit patients. Well, of course…they handle them with a variety of drug cocktails.

    My brothers and sisters are coming to the conclusion that having the mind go first is worse than the alternative. For me, on the front lines, that question is moot. My ongoing concern is how to define and provide ‘quality of life’ for this demented creature I love, formerly known as Mother.

    Physically, I’ve got her in fairly good condition. Three times a week I take her to a ‘gentle exercise’ class at CASI (Center for Active Seniors), where everyone looks out for her (set up her squeeze balls and stretchy cords and 1 lb free weights…and conduct her back to her chair when she forgets where she’s supposed to be), while I retreat to the library with a winter crotchet project and an audiobook. Afterwards, we go to the fitness room where I coach her through an hour’s routine similar to her rehab physical therapy. This is our best quality time together. I don’t mind adjusting the equipment or repeating the instructions each time, even between sets when I have her take deep breaths. And I amuse myself by counting out reps in Spanish, German or Japanese (harking back to Shorinji Kempo days). The highlight of our session is always when she rocks out, flexing her ankles at a freestanding bar, to Glenn Miller’s jazzy “Chattanooga Choo Choo” on my iPhone. She doesn’t insist on wearing a lot of her garments inside-out (because the seams irritate her skin) as much these days, and I like to see her dressed in her track suits and tennis shoes. CASI is surprisingly appealing…a sprawling single-level wood structure, with many paned windows and a wide-planked wooden corridor that circles around a main hall (11 times around make a mile), with quaint outer rooms designated for Wi-Fi, arts and crafts, café, etc.

    At home, I’ve finally got the cute upright freezer I bought from Sears and installed out on the deck, stocked full of low sodium, gluten-free, dairy-free Tupperware-freezer-to-microwave-portioned homecooked meals. Becoming the food police has cut out a myriad of chronic minor complaints, like itching and hacking up phlegm and a belly that bloats up like a pufferfish.

    That I’m able to cast my attention out to a wider perspective, catch up on what nancy and you guys have to say, as well as actually post something this extensive; is indicative of a major breakthrough. Until a week ago, I’ve been submerged in a frantic effort to keep my head above water while coping with the daily trauma of my Mother being ravaged by wave after wave of fevered delusions…none of which can be dismissed or ignored. My being here simply does not alleviate her through-the-roof anxiety. Some of the time she realizes I’m here and taking care of things, but even when she isn’t calling my siblings and the bank with suspicions that I’m stealing her money, or threatening to call the police if I drive the car (the keys have to always be hidden well, or she’ll find them while I’m sleeping)…her endless OCD loops, or weepy self-loathing episodes, or disastrous (if comical) attempts to be helpful are exhausting. And she’s so obviously suffering. So where’s the quality of life?

    I’ve been so adamant about NOT sedating her into docility…(visions of my drooling zombie of an over-medicated grandma, before I got her weaned, still makes me shudder)…that anyone foolish enough to suggest it to me has gotten a bite taken out of their head. Yet I respect and adore Mom’s (and now my) doctor; who is female, from India, sympathetic to my low-med-tolerance policy, and who pretty much overrode my objections and prescribed a minimal dosage of a serotonin reuptake inhibitor, half of which makes a tiny green dot that gets lost in the daily pill and vitamin brigade. Ay yai yai…what a difference it makes! She’s still functional, but the drama is dialed way down. And who am I, an ex-Rasta-queen who no longer indulges, to begrudge my Über-pure mother a designer-pharma blunt for her adled, deteriorating brain?

    Sorry to carry on so…but not. I take my therapy where I can get it. Time to ‘layer up’ (aided by Nike sneakerboots and Uggs shearling gloves), and get out onto the lifeline of the Duck Creek Recreational Trail, which cuts 17 miles through the Quad Cities on this side of the river. Pilot Joe mentioned the excellent network of paths and trails to be found in Iowa. Just so! There’s fresh air to breath, and subtle beauty to be found cutting a swath through this vast desert of Midwestern blandness; as well as mental and physical resuscitation.

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  27. Brandon said on December 17, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    Right now all I want to do is watch “Getting On,” my new favorite HBO show. It’s about life on the extended-care nursing ward of a crappy hospital, centering on the nursing station. Basically, I will always watch a smart show about how people work together, the workplace being the great anti-family life we all live. If nothing else, it’s given me the eye-popping sight of watching the woman who played Millie Helper on the old Dick Van Dyke show, simulating a blow job on Harry Dean Stanton, for a subplot about elder sex.

    Another buzzy show I don’t ever plan to watch.

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  28. Prospero said on December 17, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    How the fuck is Scott Brown running against Jeanne Shaheene in Neh Hwmpsh when Elizabeth Warren kicked his ass a year ago in Massachusetts? Money changes verything, buying government, bimbo by bimbo.

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  29. Dexter said on December 17, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    LA Mary: A sensitive chap like me just knows these things. 🙂
    When I played it, the pre-song video was Ron Burgundy selling Durango SUVs.

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  30. paddyo' said on December 17, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    I’ve been away from here for a while and so don’t know if this already has been shared. If so, ignore — if new, enjoy (or ridicule, or anything in between). It seemed apropos for today’s cold-Detroit theme: Freestyle skicrobats do Motown’s ruins, linked today at Grist.

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  31. Jolene said on December 17, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    Della, you will certainly get extra stars in your crown in heaven. To deliver that level of care day after day, while keeping your own sanity intact, is no small thing. Your mother is lucky to have you.

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  32. LAMary said on December 17, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    My nineteen year old son fell off his bike last Monday and broke his wrist, specifically the distal ends of the radius AND the ulna. Not just one of them. This meant a trip to the ER, a trip to the orthopedist, a trip to the CT scan unit, another trip to the orthopedist, and then a day in the outpatient surgery department of the hospital where I work. He’s got pins and screws now. Luckily, three out of five of the medical things mentioned above happened where I work, so I didn’t have to take any days off.
    So when my son was out of surgery and then out of the recovery room, he was put in a cubicle with a bed and a TV in the short stay department. The nurse called me and said I could come see him. I walked into his cubicle and he was looking a little loopy and watching TV. He said: “Mom, my favorite show is on.” So I walk around to his angle and see he’s watching the lactation education video on the in house education channel. He’s watching a woman with large breasts using two breast pumps at a time. He was very interested. So we keep watching and not much is happening other than the bottles attached to the breast pumps are filling up. He was vacillationg between thinking it was cool and thinking it was weird, but smiling in any case. Then he spotted a nurse headed in our direction, so he hits the remote and puts on high school football highlights and answers all her nurse questions (do you need to urinate? are you in pain?) He’s recovering nicely.

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  33. velvet goldmine said on December 17, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    I notice that Vulture had two different takes on the Homeland season finale, which is not surprising. I found it quite moving, but then again I haven’t had the problems with the season that many others have. The only time I really cringed all season came two episodes ago when Brody was yelling “No, you’re wrong Carrie!” and it felt incredibly corny. It doesn’t help that it became a showpiece of the Previouslies.

    Overall, though, I found it absolutely devastating to watch Carrie run out of hope, and for Brody to prepare for death.

    I am still suspicious about this “the baby’s perfect” ultrasound line. Come on, that baby probably has two heads by now.

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  34. MarkH said on December 17, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    VERY entertaining story, LAMary. A speedy recovery to your son!

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  35. MichaelG said on December 17, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    Mary, I think your sons have a pretty cool mother.

    Tomorrow is your big day, Nance? Good luck. It’ll be a piece of cake.

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  36. Sherri said on December 17, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    No need for parkas of misery here, though North Face does make the perfect jacket for Seattle, just warm enough and water resistant enough, and you see it everywhere. But instead of frigid temperatures, the Stephen King fog is back, or as another friend calls it, the Dementor fog. It’s really piling on to take away what little light we have this time of year by enshrouding us in fog. (Sunrise was at 7:52 am, sunset at 4:17 pm; I’m ready for the solstice now.)

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  37. LAMary said on December 17, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    Michael, I think my sons are a hoot.

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  38. MarkH said on December 17, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    Pros @28 — The same way Hillary Clinton did in New York whre she never lived, and the same way Liz Cheney wants to inflict herself on us here in Wyoming where she barely lived years ago: ’cause we CAN; ’cause we SAY SO.

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  39. Dexter said on December 17, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    Only a few more minutes to wait to hear the good news…you see, I am about to hit the MegaGaZillions! 🙂

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  40. Dexter said on December 18, 2013 at 12:43 am

    Re: #39: shitdamnhell…:(

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  41. Deborah said on December 18, 2013 at 5:27 am

    Good luck on your eye surgery today, Nancy. I will be thinking about you.

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  42. Dexter said on December 18, 2013 at 6:06 am

    Best wishes towards a rapid recovery. Rest well. Night driving is right around the corner.

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  43. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 18, 2013 at 6:40 am

    Healing mercies to you and your surgical team; be well, and tweet us when you can.

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  44. nancy said on December 18, 2013 at 7:05 am

    Thanks, everyone. I’m outta here in a few minutes, and expect to need no miracles, only generally accepted surgical competence. Just walked Wendy and the setting moon was behind a scrim of very light clouds. I look forward to seeing it without the blue halo it’s had for some time now.

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  45. Basset said on December 18, 2013 at 7:22 am

    What he said…

    Cabela’s parka here, too warm in Nashville to need it right now though… 50s so far this week, low 60s by Friday.

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  46. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 18, 2013 at 8:07 am

    Praying for competence!

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  47. beb said on December 18, 2013 at 8:37 am

    Speaking of Christmas tree lights, this past weekend the family went to see the Wayne County Light show. For you out-of-towners Detroit resides in Wayne county. There’s a road that snakes alongside the Huron River (?) what is popular with commutors because its an east-west route with no stoplights. But is frequently closed due to flooding because its near to a river… For the holidays the county sets out a variety of lights – snowflakes, christmas trees, Santa driving a truck and so on. It’s always fun and each year they’re always something new, or old things arranged differently. They charge a small fee to drive through this miles long display.

    In years past they had formed a Christmas tree by stringing lights from a flagpole but this year they added a computer controller to the lights. Each bulb appeared to be individually controlled, and their were multiple colored lights on each strand. So the tree could display one color, or another, or cycle through waves of color, or look like a volcano of erupting lights, or have a serpentine wave of lights, and more. We stopped and watched the display for fifteen minutes or more. It was beautiful.

    Another fun thing they did at the light show was add a new tunnel of lights, but this one headlined “time tunnel” and on the other side were bunches of Christmas dinosaurs.

    Best wishes to Nancy and her eyes. I thought of anything sharp coming close to my eyes gives me the heebie-jeebies

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  48. brian stouder said on December 18, 2013 at 9:05 am

    Just for the record, LA Mary at #32 won this thread – lock, stock and barrel!

    And indeed, it is an interesting and highly complimentary reflection on Mary’s parental relationship with her son, that he reacted the way he did when the nurse came into the area, as opposed to mom.

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  49. Julie Robinson said on December 18, 2013 at 9:24 am

    Her tacky clan tartan at #23 was also a strong contender.

    Two surgeries to pray about today, Nancy’s and my sister’s. This is the icky one where they take the dead big toe and parts of three more. She wanted to show me when I was there last week. No thank you very much.

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  50. Minnie said on December 18, 2013 at 9:32 am

    Nancy, you’ll be pleased at how distinct color becomes after surgery. Life gets brighter when you don’t have to squint against the glare.

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  51. brian stouder said on December 18, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Julie – here’s wishing you and yours all the best.

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  52. MarkH said on December 18, 2013 at 10:37 am

    I know you’re in surgery already, Nancy, but here’s hoping for the best of outcomes. And all the best to your sister, Julie. I may have missed this, but based on your description, sounds like she is a diabetic?

    And, DellaDash – VERY compelling story from you @26. Thoughts and prayers to you and your siblings as you deal with what we know any of us could be going through.

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  53. Julie Robinson said on December 18, 2013 at 10:48 am

    Yes, it’s the damn diabetes. Lots of nasty complications.

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  54. coozledad said on December 18, 2013 at 11:11 am

    Republicans are pretty much auctioning off state tax dollars here to give them to the “Jesus rode a dinosaur” set, and they’re embedding, just like the Bush clan did because they know that Pat McCrory and Art Pope’s public fellatio has armpit-fucked them out of a second term governorship.

    When this Ofay homeschool generation comes of age, it’ll be a major feeder for prison systems and Republican precinct chairs.

    If you’re going to North Carolina
    Be sure to smear some feces in your hair
    If you’re going to Carolina
    You’re gonna meet some Jesus humpers there.

    For those who live in Carolina
    Summertime is when the puddin’ flies
    out the ass of Carolina
    obese morons sucking on moon pies

    Chik-fil-A and potaters, turned to mulch by vibrators
    People in movement
    There’s a whole generation with an old explanation
    god made us from mud, isn’t it good?

    For those who come to Carolina
    Be sure to bring some military mace
    If you come to Carolina
    Baptist creeps will wave it in your face.

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  55. Sherri said on December 18, 2013 at 11:31 am

    Prayers for good recoveries for Nancy, Julie’s sister, LAMary’s son, and DellaDash’s ongoing sanity. DellaDash, I’m in awe. I couldn’t do what you’re doing, and the thought that my mother might expect me to gives me the heebie-jeebies at 2 am sometimes.

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  56. LAMary said on December 18, 2013 at 11:38 am

    Good thoughts being sent your way for a speedy and smooth recovery from the surgery. Whenever I hear about eye surgery I regret seeing Le Chien Andalou. Damn that Salvador Dali.

    Della Dash, you are a very good daughter.

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  57. brian stouder said on December 18, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    Cooz – anymore the issue that strikes closes to home, for me, is the actual assault on public education by an odd array of charlatans (thinking of Michelle Rhee) and misguided know-it-alls (thinking of Bill Gates, et al).

    My #1 complaint – and practically the only complaint I have – with President Obama is that he is effectively on the wrong side of this fight.

    Just yesterday I heard Oxy-Rush doing free-association hallucinations about “the good old days” when the US didn’t HAVE public schools, and all the rest…and yet we STILL ROSE to GREATNESS – etc etc, blah blah blah.

    True enough, the no school/home school “good ol’ days” did still produce the towering genius Abraham Lincoln….but those times also produced (literally) legions of people that thought it was perfectly legitimate to raise up an army and fight for the destruction of the United States.

    Come to think of it, Uncle Rush would no doubt applaud and cheer-lead for that, nowadays, too

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  58. Jenine said on December 18, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    You go, Della! I was so happy to read at the end about you heading out to the trail. I can imagine the solace that movement and the outdoors can be. Glad that the pressure has lightened.

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  59. Scout said on December 18, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    Thinking of you today, Nancy.

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  60. jcburns said on December 18, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    I got an unrelated email from Nancy that seems to indicate that she has survived the procedure, sense of humor intact.

    I am trying to compare experiencing school lockdowns with my generation’s duck-and-cover drills that “protected” us from a threat from halfway around the world, as opposed to a disturbed person down the hall.

    Man, we HAVE to get some serious mental health infrastructure in place once again for these sad byproducts of our age and culture.

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  61. Dexter said on December 18, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    “They Say Love Hurts”…NY Post, prepare to LYAO.

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  62. Brandon said on December 18, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    They probably rationalize it by saying they paid taxes all these years, supporting a public-school system they didn’t believe in, and now they’re getting a pittance back for their homeschooling efforts.

    Charter schools: In Hawaii, charter schools have been a major force in preserving and perpetuating Hawaiian language. A small public K-12 school in Laupahoehoe was on the verge of being closed by the DOE for low enrollment, but was converted to a charter a few years ago.


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  63. Jolene said on December 18, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    Good Lord. Bad enough that this couple damaged the wall trying to have sex. Must try go on TV and talk about it?

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  64. Prospero said on December 18, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    Megatron is still getting used to a QB that can throw Dexter. Not much resemblance between Stafford and Little Joey Hamilton.

    Today’s the anniversary of the releas of Ornette Coleman’s Change of the Century. Tied for second on sax with Illinois Jacquette, all time, with an absolutely killer combo on this record. One of the greatest jazz albums ever. Actually, Ornette is probably No. 1 ever on alto sax.

    It seems to me that the promoters of the home and Christian School movements are the same dumbasses that want to ditch USPS in favor of private enterprise. Think they’ll bitch when they rid us of the socialist pox of USPS and there isn’t anybody to make deliveries for FedEx and UPS any more and service declines while they raise the cost of delivering a letter to about $12. No matter how you look at it, 50 cents to get my Christmas card to Massachusetts is a stunningly good deal, and the alleged financial problems of the Postal Service were created by whackjob members of Congress. Apparently the teabangers don’t like Ben Franklin because of his rampant anti-colonialism.

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  65. Jolene said on December 18, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    Am looking for some ideas for books to give my two of my nieces for Christmas. (Already have my nephew and the other niece figured out.) Perhaps one of you librarians or, simply, someone who is closer to almost grown up girs than I am might have some ideas.

    One niece is a senior who is an excellent basketball player and also a very good student with, I think, fairly vague career goals, though I’ve heard rumblings about law. The other is a junior with interests in the performing arts. She’s been in various productions and has taken voice and dance lessons, though her mother says she doesn’t think a performance career is in the offing.

    The athlete lives in ND and has grown up in a very traditional family. The arts person, who lives in Seattle, is the child of divorced parents with progressive politics.

    Usually, I have ideas about what I’d like them to have, but, at the moment, there’s nothing in my forebrain on this topic. Any suggestion? Ideas don’t have to be related to the interests I’ve mentioned.

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  66. Prospero said on December 18, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    Brandon @62: Preserving the Hawai’ian language is an excellent thing. Spoken Hawai’ian is the most musical language on earth. Absolutely gorgeous. Teaching kids that the world is 5000 or so years old and Jesus preferred English saddles on his dinos is ignorant as hell. That’s what charter schools on the mainland do.

    In what version of sexual pleasure does the 440 pounder get on top? And I’m assuming she became nauseated after taking down the wall with her noggin, not nauseous. Why can’t people get that straight? I mean, I don’t expect anything from the New York Post, but simple English as she is spoke doesn’t seem like too much to ask.

    Jolene: I just finished reading How I Live Now, by Meg Rosoff to make sure it was OK for my niece. Very good book, and it’s for real YA, a science fictiony romance about a smart 16 year old girl faced with a world at war. The best athletically themed book I’ve read in years is Running the Rift, by Naomi Benaron. It’s serious too, being set in Rwanda during the ethnic cleansing. Both of these books are superb YA fiction, although I don’t think that was Ms. Benaron’s intention with Running the Rift.

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  67. Scout said on December 18, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    Jolene, all my grandkids, ages 12-15, are getting gift cards this year. They’ll be thrilled.

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  68. coozledad said on December 18, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    Jolene: This is by no means a recommendation, but I’ve got a two-volume set of Oswald Spengler’s “Decline of the West” one or both of them could use to weigh things down or read aloud to unsuitable men.

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  69. Jolene said on December 18, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    Scout, I’m giving each of them two checks–one for themselves, one to give to a cause they support. But I wanted to give something that was sort of “from my mind to theirs” as well. Of course, given that aspiration, you’d think I’d have an actual idea in mind. Truth is, I haven’t thought about it much yet, but thought I’d plumb the hive mind, while I’m thinking.

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  70. Jolene said on December 18, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    I like the idea of something to help them fend off unsuitable men, Cooz. They’re both attractive young women and are bound to attract lots.

    Am thinking about Great Expectations, which contains one of my favorite phrases in literature (What larks, Pip! What larks!). Dickens is so much fun, but I’m afraid they’ll be put off by the tonnage.

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  71. brian stouder said on December 18, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    Our 15 year old was assigned to read Of Mice and Men just a week ago, and wasn’t expecting much; and was happy to see the thinness of it.

    She cut right through it, though, and it made her cry at the end.

    Life is funny, in general

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  72. Dorothy said on December 18, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Jolene my niece Janet who owns Avid Bookshop in Athens GA would probably have some excellent suggestions. I’m on my phone at the moment so I can’t add. Link, but Googling the bookstore should get you their web address.

    Nancy I have been thinking of you and sending positive vibes all day. I hope you are home mending by now! And Mary that was a fabulous story about your son. I have parallel stories of a sort from when my son broke his wrist 12.5 years ago on his 16th birthday. He was overly concerned (heavy morphine influence) about being able to keep his boxers on during surgery. We still kid him about it.

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  73. Scout said on December 18, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    Jolene – I absolutely adore the two checks idea. I think I’m going to have to adopt it for next year! Part of our Christmas gift to our kids and their families is to adopt a family for whom we shop so they can have an enjoyable Christmas, something the kids themselves helped to come up with. But I think they’d get a lot out of making a personal decision with a check like that.

    Dorothy’s suggestion to call her niece in Athens to get reading recommendations is a good one too!

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  74. Jolene said on December 18, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    Scout, another thing I’ve done in the past is to give money to an organization that, in turn, allows “my kids” to choose specific projects to support. Two such organizations are Donors Choose, which provides money to teachers to support special projects in their classrooms, and Kiva, which provides microloans to entrepreneurs in developing countries.

    The kids seemed more enthusiastic about Donors Choose than Kiva, Easier to identify with, I guess, but the advantage of Kiva is that the money can be recycled. Once a loan is repaid, they can ake new loans to new people.

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  75. Sherri said on December 18, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    Jolene, the basketball player might like In These Girls, Hope is a Muscle, by Madeleine Blaise, which is about a high school girls basketball team. It’s one of my favorite basketball books.

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  76. Jolene said on December 18, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    Good suggestion, Sherri. Will give it a look. Thanks much.

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  77. CrisisMaven said on June 19, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    Don’t despair – there’s always global warming to rely on. No one ever buys new winter clothes. They are going to become just a little more threadbare each year in sync with the rising temperatures each year. Only who doesn’t believe needs to freeze.

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