Size 10 revisited.

I don’t want to make a big deal out of this, but as of today I think it’s official: I have successfully lost every pound I gained during my pregnancy, and am back to what I guess you’d call fighting trim. (I’m a welterweight.) I think they tell you that at the OB’s office at your first post-natal visit: “Nine months to gain, 18 years to lose.”

But of course, when I finally dropped the baby, the placenta and all the extra blood I was carrying around, I had 10 to lose. Then it was 15, then 20 — you know the drill. Our culture makes it easy to be fat, my individual psychological profile (“eat your feelings”) makes it even easier, and I can’t even say when the corner was turned and I started taking better care of myself, but just in case you’re in the same place, here are a few things I learned along the way:

** Ninety percent of weight loss is getting your mind right. If your head isn’t in the game, it won’t work. And for me, that basically meant giving up. I stopped thinking in terms of “by this date, I want to weigh that much” and approached it more like an alcoholic: Today, I’m going to take care of myself. Just today, not tomorrow, not next Christmas. You will have many days when you fail at this. But as long as you succeed more often than you fail, the successes will add up. This weight loss was about 30 pounds, but took the better part of two years. There were a lot of failures along the way.

** There’s no way around this, but at some point you will have to become something of a hunger artist. My aim was always to arrive at the next meal hungry but not ravenous, and trust that the smaller portions I slowly grew accustomed to would satisfy me. I’ve mentioned many times that our culture keeps making everything bigger, and nowhere is this more true than in portion size. Restaurants pile our plates high, and we become accustomed to it, and soon this is the model at home, too. You don’t have to eat that much; the restaurant is dealing with economies of scale that don’t apply in your own kitchen. But you have to get comfortable with occasional tummy-rumbles, that’s all there is to it. If you’re hungry at 5 p.m., have a tall glass of water and a few almonds and ask yourself, “Can I put up with this for 90 minutes? Until dinnertime?” I bet you can.

** Exercise is great, but unless you’re training like an Olympic athlete, it’s still the lesser part of the battle. Controlling your eating is. What exercise will do is make your body look much better once the fat goes away. The last time I weighed this much I was a size 12. Now I’m a 10. I think it has to be because of all the weight training and yoga and cycling and swimming. And exercise, besides making you feel better and stronger, can come in handy at other times. A few weeks ago, I was having a bad day, part of a bad week and not the greatest month, either. I was in a mood to destroy some Haagen Dazs, maybe a pizza, maybe both. Scowling at myself in the bathroom mirror, I reached up to brush my hair and something resembling a small mouse scampered under the skin of my arm. Holy shit, it’s a muscle, I thought. And went for a bike ride instead.

** That said, be kind to yourself. Make room in your life for Haagen Dazs and pizza, because both are wonderful. You can have them, just not the whole thing, and not every day. Understand that winter happens, and you may not want to leave the couch for weeks at a time, and that’s OK, as long as you get back into it come spring.

** Finally, go for a walk every day. What MichaelG said about the people of Barcelona is true: Walking, and walking tall and with a nice forward stride, is just the most natural, pleasant, simple physical activity human beings can do. It’s why we stood up from all fours in the first place. It enables us to see the world, smell it, meet the eyes of others, experience the weather, all that stuff. It elevates your heart rate, but not too much. It’s an anti-depressant. Sometimes I pick up a weight at the gym for one reason or another think, “I used to walk around with this all the time. No wonder my feet were always killing me.” I walk a lot more now. For this I have Wendy to thank.

And that’s all I know. I think I’m going to stop losing for a while, see how the maintenance goes, and then reassess in a few more weeks. I feel great, honestly. My knees, the ones the orthopedist said were overdue for replacement a year ago, still hurt, but not as much – I don’t even take ibuprofen. But that’s about it. And I just ate some macaroni and cheese. Just not very much of it.

So, some bloggage?

The Building Detroit program, a city-run ongoing auction of blighted, yet still restorable, houses, has been going on for a while now, and is generally considered a success. Online bidders pay peanuts for places and agree to fix them up within a certain time frame. I encourage you to click the link and explore the variety of places being offered. Detroit boomed in the 1920s, and many of the houses date from that era with its lovely, sturdy architecture, but I’m also struck by the homelier places. There are a couple houses up now that are 700 square feet, maybe 800. Someone raised a family in that house, maybe several families. They stood in line for one bathroom. They never thought they didn’t have enough, even though the house was an ugly box. And there are thousands upon thousands of places like those in Detroit’s 138 square miles. Even if we could figure out a way to turn water into oil, if we could spark a North Dakota-style boom here, people just don’t want to live like that anymore. But remember: The failure of Detroit is due to? Yes, DEMOCRATS.

Somehow I think this story about a man rescued from a floating hamster wheel, says everything you need to know about a) runners; and b) people who pull stunts to “raise awareness” of things. But you be the judge.

Big week ahead, and deadlines still have to be met, so expect the usual scantiness.

Posted at 4:03 pm in Detroit life, Same ol' same ol' |

62 responses to “Size 10 revisited.”

  1. Vince said on October 5, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    Way to go, Nance. I knew you looked great when I saw you a few weeks ago. Had no idea I was seeing the pre-motherhood Nancy! I’m setting a similar goal for myself and just came back from a 1 hour 18 minute walk with lots of hills.

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  2. brian stouder said on October 5, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    This is indeed a positively affecting story; we are all capable of more than we know. I think the hooks are all just what Nance said – getting your mind right being truly #1

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  3. Jill said on October 5, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    Congratulations. I think your tips are right on the money. Of course that doesn’t mean I always follow them, but it’s good to be reminded.

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  4. Joe kobiels said on October 5, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    Nothing taste as good as being healthy feels.
    Pilot Joe

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  5. Deborah said on October 5, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    Good for you Nancy. Love the walking

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  6. ROGirl said on October 6, 2014 at 5:23 am

    Kudos on you. It’s all true, it’s hard work, but it’s worth it.

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  7. sg said on October 6, 2014 at 6:59 am

    Thanks for sharing your experiences. You hit it on the nail when you said you lost it slowly.

    I had a complete physical this year, and while the “numbers” weren’t that terrible for my age, it was a wake-up call to cut down on butter, cheese and potato chips.

    Your approach to weight loss is going to make easier to maintain a health weight.

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  8. Heather said on October 6, 2014 at 7:14 am

    This is so great, Nancy. You’ve done a lot of hard work and it sounds like you’ve done the mental work as well!

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  9. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 6, 2014 at 8:03 am

    Congrats, chief. Be well and outlive your enemies!

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  10. Suzanne said on October 6, 2014 at 8:19 am

    I agree with the walking. My daughter was in Europe a few years ago and was amazed at the lack of obesity. But then she noticed that everyone walks everywhere so they are getting that exercise in their daily activities. That and the fact that she rarely ever saw anyone snacking. She ate very well (Italians do love their pasta!) but at mealtimes and almost never in between.

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  11. Peter said on October 6, 2014 at 9:27 am

    Congratulations Nancy! I am very impressed – and envious. I’ll start by putting back that third Reese’s.

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  12. derwood said on October 6, 2014 at 10:34 am

    Kudos! I have been up and down for the past two years. It’s hard but doable. I started walking and biking when I had injuries that prevented me from working out with any type of weight.


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  13. alex said on October 6, 2014 at 10:36 am

    SCOTUS just told Indiana and four other states to go fuck themselves. Time to make my wedding plans!

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  14. brian stouder said on October 6, 2014 at 10:44 am

    I forgot that it was the First Monday in October..!

    Supremely excellent news, indeed.

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  15. Sammy said on October 6, 2014 at 10:53 am

    Huge congrats, Nancy! And, I agree, it’s about the head. Exercise can help, strengthen, and remold what you are, but if you don’t find a way to get the mental space rearranged regarding consumption/quantities, exercise is not enough.

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  16. Kath said on October 6, 2014 at 11:08 am

    Congrats on Indiana Alex! Are you going to race to the court house, or spend some time planning?

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  17. Basset said on October 6, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    It’s not exactly the female post-birth experience but I still have the t-shirt I wore while basset jr. was entering this world close to 25 years ago – after all that walking this summer I can now fit into it again. Size XL, from some bar in Hilton Head.

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  18. Julie Robinson said on October 6, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    Good job, Nance. It’s a lifelong battle here.

    Alex, that’s terrific! Some friends went to the courthouse during the four day window before it was shut down again, and it’s wonderful to know they’re legal now. Among practical implications, they can both get health insurance under the same plan. This is absolutely huge.

    For once I’m not embarrassed to live in Indiana.

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  19. alex said on October 6, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    No race to the courthouse just yet. We have some legal/financial affairs that need to be put in order first. But it’s nice to know we can do it whenever we please.

    I suspect the Supremes are going to let the remaining states defend their marriage laws in the lower courts and won’t intervene unless there’s a ruling substantially at odds with those rendered thus far.

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  20. adrianne said on October 6, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    Way to go, Supremes! A non-decision that’s a decision.

    And kudos to Nance for attaining her svelte profile the old-fashioned way. Inspiring!

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  21. beb said on October 6, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    My guess is that Chief Justice Roberts didn’t want that as part of his legacy. It was easier to ignor the gay than come up with some convoluted, strained explanation why it was OK to ban marriage between two gay people and not ban marriage between people of different races or religions.

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  22. Jolene said on October 6, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    Yes, congrats, Nancy. I need to be on that journey myself. Perhaps your example will inspire me.

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  23. Joe K said on October 6, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Alex@ 19,
    How does a girl group from the 60s, have any legal say on gay Marriage?
    Seriously congratulations it been to long in getting done.
    Pilot Joe

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  24. Sue said on October 6, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    Good. Now Julaine Appling can marry her partner. Or keep up the profitable charade, bless her vicious little heart.

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  25. Bob (not Greene) said on October 6, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    Wow, Sue, I’d not heard of her before. That’s quite the set up.

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  26. Judybusy said on October 6, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    Congratulations, Nancy! Getting in shape is a great feeling.

    Keep us posted Alex, on all the plans. Welcome to the civilized world…..The court’s decision was a very pleasant suprise.

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  27. Sherri said on October 6, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    Dahlia Lithwick had an article about the Supremes and which case they might take a few days ago, and mentioned that they might pass on all of the current cases and wait for a “circuit split”: a situation where two circuit courts had ruled differently. So far, all the circuits have ruled the same way, but the conservative 6th circuit has a case pending and indications are they may rule differently.

    So, excellent news for Alex and those in states who joined the 21st century, but the work isn’t over. There are still states where Alex’s marriage, should he choose to get one, will not be recognized.

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  28. Sue said on October 6, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    BnG@25, isn’t it though. She has the ear of some powerful people in the state, this is just a blip on her radar.

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  29. Bob (not Greene) said on October 6, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    Sue, it’s so transparent it’s almost hilarious. Just goes to show, when people are without principles, they can pretty do whatever they want. That’s what separates the sociopaths from the rest of the world. They just don’t give a fuck.

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  30. brian stouder said on October 6, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    Sue/Bob – that was an interesting article indeed, and I’m calling bullshit on her.

    If she was a lesbian, she’d have to be either deeply in the denial closet, or else she’d re-order her life.

    This looks more like the faux/porno fantasy stuff; a calculated bit of theater on her part.

    Aside from that, still bummed about the ending of the F1 race, yesterday. If it was the 1960’s, I couldn’
    t have been a race fan for long…so I guess I’m spoiled on death defiance as the norm.

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  31. Sue said on October 6, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    BnG, it could be hilarious, but I’m not laughing. She’s best buds with a lot of powerful people in WI, not the least of whom stands a good chance of becoming Wisconsin’s answer to Louis Goemert in November.
    But some have pulled some good snark, anyway:

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  32. David C. said on October 6, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    I wonder if Strip Search Sammy, and Fat Tony had a good manly, man cry in their chambers.

    Sue I’m not laughing either, Grothman will probably be my congress critter.

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  33. Sue said on October 6, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    Yes David C., he’s my State senator now. It will be embarrassing to unleash him on the nation.

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  34. Deborah said on October 6, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    Congratulations Alex, great news, keep us abreast of your plans please.

    Today we started our building project in Abiquiu, phase one. It was exhausting but exciting. The process is so interesting. A big truck made it up the gravel road to our mesa and down our long and winding driveway to our site, it off-loaded a bunch of material using a weird machine called a donkey. I was worried that the truck wouldn’t make it because it’s pretty rough, but no problem. Which means the future trucks should have no problem either. The workers spent the day measuring the site for tomorrow’s excavation with a BobCat. I’m learning so much. I love this but it is exhausting, we did a lot of footwork camouflaging the pile of materials since there’s no shed or anything out there to put it in. Little Bird and I did a good job of hiding it behind piles of twigs and branches, you can’t see it at all from the road. But tomorrow I’m going to remember to bring gloves, my hands are all cut up from dealing with the brambles. We made chili for the workers and heated it up on our fire pit, and we brought a pumpkin spice cake with buttery cream cheese frosting. They seemed happy since they said they mostly just bring cold cuts to their project sites for lunch. Tomorrow we’re bringing sausages and potato salad that we made this evening. Our goal is to keep them happy with food etc so they connect with us and do a great job. These guys are salt of the earth, really nice guys with hearts of gold, so wanting to make them happy isn’t hard.

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  35. MichaelG said on October 7, 2014 at 12:17 am

    Wow, Deborah. You’re the client from heaven.

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  36. Deborah said on October 7, 2014 at 12:37 am

    No these guys are the workers from heaven.

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  37. Dexter said on October 7, 2014 at 2:21 am

    My post-high school days buddy , “Bud” , was drafted and sent to Germany. He came home on leave and we were sitting drinking coffee in an all-night diner and he told us how the Germans got dressed up nicely and whole families simply walked down rural roads…lots of people, always on Sunday afternoons, many folks just hit the streets to walk.
    Years later I noticed the same phenomena in rural areas of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
    I miss walking like that, as for years I walk with a cane, and walking with a cane is great, lots of people do it, but it’s not the same as freely strolling about sans pain.
    And I’m feeling beat-down, as my healthcare elections arrived yesterday…my supplemental plan (because if you think Medicare is THE answer, you are in for a rude awakening!) has gone up another $200 per month, a real kick in the ass for us.
    On the phone for hours searching insurance alternatives, but since my wife needs to have a really good drug plan, we can’t do any better than what we have been offered. I will start getting my ‘scrips from the VA…so we’ll save a little there. I have put off dealing with the VA and the red tape for years because , well…you know the scandals , but I’ll do it.
    Congratulations indeed nance. You did it! I lost 22 pounds last summer . I had dental appointments , several, and I lost my appetite for food . I’ll take your advice and ease up and lose those pounds once more.

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  38. Julie said on October 7, 2014 at 7:23 am

    Congratulations on hitting this healthy milestone. You’re reversing the trend of women our age, losing the weight instead of letting it creep up and up, which is so easy to do. Your words are so true…it’s mostly about what you put in your mouth, you have to embrace the hunger sometimes, and yes, it really feels great!

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  39. Suzanne said on October 7, 2014 at 8:25 am

    Dexter, that walk that a German goes on is called a Volksmarch. I have relatives who lived in Germany for a time years ago and told me about the Sunday afternoon walks that everybody did. They said the streets were full of walkers! Wouldn’t that be great? Well, maybe not in NE Indiana in January…

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  40. Judybusy said on October 7, 2014 at 8:26 am

    Jeez, Dexter, that’s bad. What a hike.

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  41. brian stouder said on October 7, 2014 at 9:02 am

    Judybusy – at first your “What a hike” remark lost me, inamongst all these volksmarches and walkabouts and so on; and then I realized what you were referencing – and got my morning laugh!

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  42. Jolene said on October 7, 2014 at 10:12 am

    Here’s WaPo’s big weekend article on the Ebola epidemic. Specifically, it focuses on who dropped the ball when and who’s picking it up now. A fancy package with lots of photos, video clips, and diagrams. For instance, there’s a nice diagram that explains how triage and treatment work by showing the physical layout of a treatment center. I assume this is the sort of center the U.S. military will be building.

    A couple more links to stories on treatment that I found interesting below.

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  43. Jolene said on October 7, 2014 at 10:15 am

    Here’s the latest on using the blood of people who have survived Ebola to treat current sufferers.

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  44. LAMary said on October 7, 2014 at 10:16 am

    You can be more elegant and call that volksmarch a Promenade Digestif.

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  45. brian stouder said on October 7, 2014 at 10:19 am

    I was impressed by the Texas public official who Ms Maddow had on her show last night, who has made a point of literally standing with his fellow citizens, who have been directly affected by this ongoing ebola-in-the-US turn of events…and who has become a target of the loony right-wing media noise machine.

    Because fear and condemnation of ‘lesser’ human beings (and hostility toward authorities that don’t tow that line) never gets old, apparently

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  46. Jolene said on October 7, 2014 at 10:22 am

    This article describes the push to produce more ZMapp, the experimental drug, that may be useful in treating Ebola. I could just barely understand the procedures they are using, but found it interesting nonetheless. Am glad somebody else went to grad school in the sciences, as I’d never have been the one to solve problems of this sort.

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  47. Jolene said on October 7, 2014 at 10:37 am

    And now, for something completely different, here’s a story about the remains of a U.S. soldier who was killed on Saipan during WWII being found and returned to his family in Virginia.

    The reporter, who is a WaPo newbie, did a nice job of finding the emotion in a simple lost-and-found story, and the photo at the top, by ace photog Michael S. Williamson, captures the nephew reflecting on his uncle’s long-missing belongings in just the right way–looking for meaning in a few small trinkets from long ago.

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  48. brian stouder said on October 7, 2014 at 10:51 am

    My off-year vote is for: Thread win for Jolene, for the link to the NYT piece on anti-body production using tobacco leaves as the medium.

    Oxy-Rush Limbaugh, who might oughta shut his pie hole when the subject of drug production comes up, has been wheezing and snarling about the “dilemma” that this presents to Democrats – having to embrace the “politically incorrect” tobacco producers for tools with which to fight ebola.

    Because, of course, everything can be reduced to evil/blinkered DemoCRATs versus godly, magnificent, and utterly inerrant rightwing cranks

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  49. Sue said on October 7, 2014 at 10:54 am

    Dexter, we saw that with my in-laws, as my father-in-law deteriorated. Holy gods that supplemental insurance is high, and has got to be a ‘choose between peace of mind and eating’ thing for a lot of people.
    Another thing that seems to be happening (at least in the far north Chicago suburbs, but I’ll bet elsewhere too) is fewer docs taking Medicare patients, even with supplemental insurance. My in-laws were losing doctors at a pretty fair clip for awhile. I guess when you’ve got dense population centers you can pick and choose the patients with the best insurance and still keep a full (very full) caseload.

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  50. brian stouder said on October 7, 2014 at 11:42 am

    Well, the Formula One driver (Jules Bianchi) injured in the pre-typhoon rain in Japan this past weekend isn’t dead, but this diagnosis of ‘diffuse axonal injury’ seems to indicate he is gone.

    DAI, which refers to extensive lesions in white matter tracts, is one of the major causes of unconsciousness and persistent vegetative state after head trauma. It occurs in about half of all cases of severe head trauma. The outcome is frequently coma, with over 90% of patients with severe DAI never regaining consciousness. Those who do wake up often remain significantly impaired.

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  51. Bob (not Greene) said on October 7, 2014 at 11:43 am

    Brian, I wrote about a similar case to the one Jolene linked to. This one involves a Marine who was killed at the Battle of Tarawa. He was actually officially declared KIA and buried on the island. But in the years following the battle, graves were dug up and moved around and bodies, like this guy’s, got lost.

    Here’s a couple of stories I did about this, if you’re interested:

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  52. brian stouder said on October 7, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    Thanks, BobnG

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  53. Kim Ellis said on October 7, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    Ah, the evening constitutional! My Dad never ate dinner without taking one. If I wasn’t so leery about walking around in the evening, I would bring it back. I don’t think my uber-friendly frenchy would be much of a protector.

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  54. LAMary said on October 7, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    My dog team is uber friendly but they look big and mean so it works. Max is about 140 pounds and 32 inches at the shoulder. He’s afraid of cats and the low battery sound the smoke detector makes. He manages to look really scary, though.

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  55. Jolene said on October 7, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    Of possible interest: Chris Hayes of All In on MSNBC is spending part of his show every night this week (8 PM EDT) dealing with issues surrounding the mining, shipping, and burning of coal.

    Climate scientists tell us that, to minimize climate change, we should simply stop using coal, but it is (or has been) both cheap and plentiful compared to other kinds of fuel. It seems unlikely that it will disappear from use anytime soon, especially in India and China, which, along with us, are the biggest producers if greenhouse gases. And, to the extent that we achieve reductions in the use if coal, we destroy the livelihoods of the people who work in that industry. So, there are a lot of issues–economic, environmental, technical, and social–to consider.

    I’m not sure how good this series will be, but, if you’re interested in the topic, it may be worth a look. The clips from last night’s show are at

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  56. brian stouder said on October 7, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    Chris Hayes is frequently interesting, and then sometimes not. They should move Lawrence’s show earlier, and move Hayes later, and then I’d be a happy camper

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  57. Deborah said on October 7, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    I like Chris Hayes a lot, his energy and enthusiasm is impressive and his vocabulary is extensive. ODonnell on the other hand leaves me cold. Different strokes for different folks, eh Brian?

    Well today, only the second day of construction and we had a clinker of a worker. The excavater turned out to be a little creepy and he charged me for a full 12 hours of estimated time when he only worked 8. I had to give him a check before he left. I’m going to have to have a conversation with the contractor about it and it breaks my heart because the contractor is a really sweet guy.

    Tomorrow Little Bird goes under the knife. We have to be there at 8:45am which is better than we thought. We’re not, of course, expecting any complications but poor Little Bird is really nervous tonight. Hoping for the best.

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  58. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 7, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    Deborah, blessings with you all, contractor and surgeon and Little Bird alike.

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  59. Jolene said on October 7, 2014 at 10:20 pm

    Yes, best wishes to you and Little Bird, Deborah. Hope the surgery goes well and the recovery is not too onerous.

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  60. Little Bird said on October 7, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    Thanks guys! We figure whatever sleep I lose tonight to nerves, I’ll make up for with the anesthesia and then the painkillers that will follow.

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  61. Jill said on October 7, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    Good luck, Little Bird. I hope the day turns out to be an easy one for you and Deborah.

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  62. MichaelG said on October 7, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    My thoughts are with you, Little Bird. Smiles too.

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