The coast.

The week, the month, the year has reached its crescendo — annual review done, story memos done, shopping done. More or less. (Just a few bottles to buy. The Christmas equivalent of phoning it in.)

So now I can relax, work on some longer-term projects, look at the Christmas tree, wrap presents. Coast. Chill. Enjoy.

And drive. A lot. This weekend is the Nall Family Christmas ™ and the Columbus Dispatch Alumni Holiday Party ™, which replaced the booze-soaked Up on the Housetop Party ™ of my era. The Dispatch party is Friday night, and of course I have a training on Friday, in Lansing, which means I’ll be leaving from there. Driving distance between the two state capitals? Four hours and 25 minutes, thanks for asking.

I used to love a long drive. Now it just hurts my back. I recently came to the realization I’m what’s known as an active sedentary person, i.e., someone who exercises for one hour a day, then sits on her ass for the remainder. Not good, but I don’t see an alternative, until I perfect the art of writing-while-walking, and no, I’m not getting a treadmill desk.

I enjoy this time of year, working for Bridge. We go dark for two weeks, which never happens at a daily newspaper. I believe I’ve written before about the torture of the holiday interval in newspapering, which is sort of like anesthesiology — hours of boredom punctuated by seconds of sheer terror. You sit around waiting for a disaster, hoping the pages won’t come up from advertising with more news hole than the canned year-in-review stories can fill, because then you’ll be sent out on a holiday nothingburger, about new year’s preparation or the returns desk at some department store. Those all suck.

The tragedies suck worse — the man who went to midnight mass, missing the fire that broke out and killed his wife and children; the old rummy who robbed a bank, then walked to a nearby bar and waited for arrest, so he could have a warm place to sleep and reliable meals. The underwear bomber was a Christmas Day story. Exploding water mains if it gets real cold, another holiday perennial.

Much better to be off. I clean closets, a deeply satisfying task. I’m also going to find time to watch “Hypernormalisation,” a BBC documentary by Adam Curtis, which is getting insane buzz at the moment, but can only be found on YouTube. I’ll give you a report.

Of course, a lull won’t necessarily arrive this year, as we count down to our nation’s transition. Neil Steinberg referred to these days as being akin the clack-clack-clack of a long climb up the first hill on the world’s most terrifying rollercoaster. I think that’s right.

In North Carolina, they’ll be covering the Calvinball leagues.

In Washington, we’ll be waiting for the first daughter to be first lady, while the woman who would normally fill that role remains separated from her husband in another city. And there’s the new diplomatic corps to look forward to.

Unrelated, except in the what-fresh-horror-is-this file, Lenny Pozner, one of the bereaved parents of Sandy Hook, continues to fight the good fight. What a heartbreaking, infuriating story.

Don’t mean to bum y’all out. I’ll be back after the long weekend.

Posted at 11:32 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

71 responses to “The coast.”

  1. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 15, 2016 at 11:35 am

    I’m rudely reposting this, since it’s coming, too: for all of you who don’t look forward to going to Christmas Eve services, which some of us on the other hand are busily preparing for, even while knowing almost all the things in this piece will happen despite our best efforts to avoid them . . .

    343 chars

  2. Jolene said on December 15, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    Continuing in his role as a fundraiser for causes he does not support, Trump attacked Vanity Fair on Twitter for publishing a scathing review of the restaurant in Trump Tower, prompting a burst of new subscriptions to the magazine. Give it a shot! Only $25 for a two-year subscription. Resistance and indulgence in a single gesture.

    543 chars

  3. alex said on December 15, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    Gotta love VF.

    Here’s some poop on the rug:

    141 chars

  4. susan said on December 15, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    The Qween

    78 chars

  5. Suzanne said on December 15, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    I read the earlier article about Lenny Pozner so I’ll have to take the time to read the follow up. So sad. I cannot grasp these conspiracy people’s harassment of someone like Mr Pozner. If someone want to believe the whole tragedy is made up, OK, but for God’s sake, leave the people involved alone. The conspiracy people are so sure it didn’t happen,so why harangue people for proof? It’s so sick. Just sick.

    409 chars

  6. Sherri said on December 15, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    I’ve been saying for some time that the Tea Party provided a template for taking over a party and changing government. Some former Congressional aides have turned that template into a doc for liberals and progressives:

    Now I’m off to celebrate Bill of Rights Day by recruiting new ACLU members!

    390 chars

  7. Dexter said on December 15, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    Stuff I previously ignored but being a captive audience to , had to absorb: Kellyanne Conway is 49, an age where many women are beginning grandmotherhood. Conway has 4 “babies” at home. So when the Trump team that’s already signed on with DJT pleaded with Conway to come run the show at 1600, Conway looked at the numbers offered and didn’t even negotiate, because since she is getting credit for delivering Trump, she is a “hot item”.
    Conway apparently is saying she now wants to “spend time with the family” (and those babies) , and she cannot sully about Washington anyway, dressed in rags as that’s all she could afford on a measly $175,000 salary.
    So, home with the 4 babies.
    Right. She actually is being recruited for gigs which will pay her many millions per annum. At that point I arrived at my destination and exited the car. I don’t know what these cash-cow jobs are that she is being offered…anybody? Damned if I am going to look stuff up about that snake-head woman.

    992 chars

  8. Scout said on December 15, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    Everyone must be out Holiday shopping today. For anyone hanging out here, here’s a link y’all might enjoy.

    172 chars

  9. Charlotte said on December 15, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    Jeff @1 — great SNL video — but they missed my favorites like the year my brother and his best friend stamped out a flaming poinsettia on the altar (while wearing polyester altar boy robes), or the year I came home from graduate school, and got roped into being the VIRGIN MARY at the pageant. I was 26, and, um, certainly no longer qualified. Joseph was about 14. My entire family came to see if the church would burst into flames (might have done if we’d been at the real/not hippie parish church, but at the girls Catholic school chapel of hippie lefties, apparently we were safe.

    585 chars

  10. Julie Robinson ch said on December 15, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    We had some good laughs at the Christmas Eve video too, though I’m happy to say our pastor leaves the chanting to those who can, like moi. But they forgot the dripping wax from those who dip their lighted candles to the next person despite EVERYONE BEING TOLD to only dip the unlit candle. And correspondingly, the ushers gripping their fire extinguishers like Uzis. Not to mention the once-a-year crowd who applaud after the special music. And…oh, I could go on and on.

    472 chars

  11. Jolene said on December 15, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    Dexter, what I’ve heard is that Conway may lead an organization to build and maintain grass roots support for Trump’s legislative efforts. Such an organization would, for instance, pressure Democratic senators in red states to undermine filibusters that could delay or derail whatever legislation Trump, McConnell, and Ryan are trying to pass. And, as she said just today, they’d be trying to increase the size of their Congressional majorities in 2018. Also, she’d presumably have lots of opportunities to consult for other campaigns in 2018 and even for consumer product companies, now that she can claim to have her finger on the pulse of a big chunk of the public.

    668 chars

  12. Suzanne said on December 15, 2016 at 7:16 pm

    That SNL Christmas mass. Hilarious!!

    36 chars

  13. Sherri said on December 15, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    This NYTimes article purports to show that the jobs gains of the economy have gone disproportionately to non-whites, throwing around a lot of numbers. Kevin Drum shows the danger in writing about numbers while innumerate.

    442 chars

  14. Sherri said on December 15, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    Bird and fish team up to cut off power to some Seattle residents.

    203 chars

  15. Sue said on December 15, 2016 at 10:01 pm

    Julie Robinson – my whole congregation claps at special music, always. It makes me uncomfortable. But then, being raised Catholic, I’m still not used to what often seems overly casual, almost secular behavior in church, and I’ve been out of the One True for 40 years. For instance, I’ve never gotten used to the Protestant habit of chatting and visiting around before church instead of kneeling in quiet contemplation and prayer.
    Or at least pretending to.

    462 chars

  16. basset said on December 15, 2016 at 10:04 pm

    Taking a break from writing the few Christmas cards I make myself do, right at the last minute. Two to the cousins I never see who are the only blood relatives I have left, a few more to people I worked/went to school with, four or five more to old neighbors who never answer but the cards don’t come back… try that after a trip to the local upscale mall, holiday music and Maseratis displayed in the hallways, that’ll put you in a sunny disposition right there.

    465 chars

  17. Jolene said on December 15, 2016 at 10:49 pm

    Ta-Nehisi Coates on Charlie Rose tonight. Will be talking about his new article in The Atlantic, which Nancy linked to yesterday.

    Here’s the link again:

    239 chars

  18. Sherri said on December 16, 2016 at 1:48 am

    “Partisan rift.” The North Carolina legislature is effectively undoing the election, but the NYTimes can’t cure itself of both-siderism.

    236 chars

  19. Dexter said on December 16, 2016 at 1:56 am

    Thanks Jolene.

    14 chars

  20. ROGirl said on December 16, 2016 at 4:57 am

    This was on the list of top books of the year in the NYT. New books about Hitler apparently can still bring new insights to the record.

    213 chars

  21. Suzanne said on December 16, 2016 at 7:18 am

    Sue @ 15, I’m Protestant but I am bothered by that pre-service yuk-yak too. Some very loudly. I see very little self-reflection or contemplation at my own church. Protestantism is veering more and more rapidly into country clubism; you join so you can be in the right group and can look down your nose at those poor unenlightened schmucks who aren’t in the club. And God, far too often, is seen as your life’s micro-manager to ensure a good outcome for you. If your outcome is bad, you must not be listening hard enough.

    520 chars

  22. brian stouder said on December 16, 2016 at 11:24 am

    ROGirl – thanks for the thought-provoking book review on Hitler.

    I think the rule against invoking Hitler’s name in any internet discussion should be repealed and replaced with lots of invocation of that name, and those times.

    Afterall, we’re talking about human beings, and what we’re susceptible to, and that has never really changed.

    Rachel Maddow had a guy on last night who wrote a book on the Exxon-Mobile guy, and his oil empire.

    One interesting takeaway – which we all kind of know, but which I hadn’t really thought about – was the worldview of global concerns like Exxon-Mobile (et al); a very Star Trekkie “Non-interference” notion where the most horrible human beings can be dealt with, so long as we don’t interfere with the way they do things (other than pumping traincar loads of cash into their regimes, that is!)

    But if the US is a ‘world leader’ – then Rule #1 is: LEAD

    Even if only by default, Trump and his minions will lead us, somewhere

    977 chars

  23. basset said on December 16, 2016 at 11:51 am

    This seems pretty trivial after all of our conversation on Big, Important Issues… but I’m coming up on a day and a half of not grazing on any of the sweets which get sent to my workplace at this time of year. I’ll admit to fruit and exactly four plain Ritz crackers, nobody’s perfect.

    287 chars

  24. brian stouder said on December 16, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    bassett – you’re a better man than I am!

    I try and keep things to a minimum, but yesterday there were some kind of a mish-mash of all sorts of cookies, including ones with carmels and busted up pretzels mixed into the cookies….and those were gooooood! (went back for seconds!)

    281 chars

  25. Judybusy said on December 16, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    Way to go Basset! Myself, I ate one of the donuts a co-worker so thoughtfully provided the office this morning.

    111 chars

  26. Bitter Scribe said on December 16, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    I wonder how many of the idiots who howled about “the expense to taxpayers” of Obama’s mother-in-law living in the White House so she could care for her grandchildren will care about the expenses caused by Melania staying in New York.

    234 chars

  27. Jakash said on December 16, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    The other day Nancy linked to a frank Neil Steinberg piece about Chicago area atheist Rob Sherman, who just died in a plane crash, which ended with a LOL story. In the first comment, Dexter wondered about where he got the money to pursue his endeavors. Not that this is a pressing issue, but Eric Zorn (source of the funny story in Steinberg’s blog post, BTW), having followed Sherman for years, wrote his own frank column about him for the paper.

    From which: “He was wealthy. … When he was most active in fighting skirmishes against religiously presumptive public officials, Sherman was modestly employed in a variety of odd jobs and supported mostly by his wife. But in 2007 he inherited what he described as “‘more money than I can ever spend.'”

    Interestingly (to me, at least!), the funny story as told by the actual source is not nearly as funny as Steinberg’s version. Largely because of the constraints of writing for publication in the Tribune, as opposed to writing for one’s own blog.


    1035 chars

  28. Jakash said on December 16, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    Don’t know why that Trib link isn’t highlighted, but it seems to work when copied and pasted. That’ll teach me to use a shortied version, d’oh!

    Yeah, good for you, Basset! There are years where I manage to avoid the dreaded holiday weight gain. I’m tryin’, but early returns would seem to indicate that this won’t be one of those years, alas…

    350 chars

  29. Jolene said on December 16, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    FYI: President Obama is holding a press conference at 2:15 EST today. Likely to be lots of questions about Russia.

    He’s leaving for Hawaii this afternoon. Hard to imagine how different this vacation will be than if the election had turned out differently.

    259 chars

  30. alex said on December 16, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    I wonder how many of the idiots who howled about “the expense to taxpayers” of Obama’s mother-in-law living in the White House so she could care for her grandchildren will care about the expenses caused by Melania staying in New York.

    About the same as the number of Religious Right bluenoses who give a damn about Trump saying he wanted to fuck his own daughter.

    379 chars

  31. Connie said on December 16, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    Jakash, for the link to be highlighted it needs the http:// part added to the beginning of the link. Let’s try it.

    139 chars

  32. Jakash said on December 16, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    Why, that worked! Thanks, Connie!

    34 chars

  33. Dexter said on December 17, 2016 at 2:29 am

    My vow to keep holiday treats to a minimum backfired…I was driving home after walking the dog in a field at about 5:00 PM , drove up to the the window at the local Tim Horton’s for coffee and two crullers. I had gone to the lodge at lunch time for the Christmas turkey and ham festive dinner, had my plate at the table, and received a panicky call to get home immediately. A squirrel had found a way to access the garage and then the bastard chewed through some insulation and found a way into the house…the cat and dogs were going crazy and Mrs. Dexter was going berserk. My house is 96 years old…I hope my patchwork repair I performed fixed this problem… no more procrastination…later today I’ll go to the farm store and buy a live squirrel trap. That lovely turkey and ham dinner and that great salad plate I had made at the buffet? All of it except a small piece of turkey and a sliver of ham…to the garbage can…and of course, I personally did not see the goddam squirrel. And that’s how I came to be eating Tim Horton’s at 5:00 PM…starvin’.

    1067 chars

  34. alex said on December 17, 2016 at 8:42 am

    Theres bothsiderism, then there’s… I don’t know what you call this. From the Washington Post:

    Trump tries to calm his ‘vicious, violent, screaming’ supporters

    As the president-elect spoke in Orlando, his supporters repeated their anti-Hillary Clinton chants of “Lock her up!” But if Trump loved hearing their plea, he did not say so.

    This constitutes trying to calm them? By what stretch of the imagination? One could just as easily construe his inaction as a tacit endorsement of the chants. If a journalist is going to invent a story about what’s going on inside Donald Trump’s brain, why not consider the obvious one — that he’s in no position to admit that he can’t deliver on his promise.

    720 chars

  35. susan said on December 17, 2016 at 10:26 am

    Dexter @33 – Squirrels had eaten a large hole in the soffit of my brother’s house, and had gained entry into his attic. You could hear them scurrying around up there, which was really disconcerting. But the squirrels had to be gone before he could hire someone to patch up that huge hole, so that they wouldn’t be trapped in the house. Of course, when he spoke with various exterminators…well, he did not want to use poisons; or traps, not even a live trap, as he did not want to keep going up and down that attic ladder and then very carefully negotiating the joists and insulation without stepping through the ceiling.

    In his research on the problem, he read about using a strobe light for chasing out squirrels. Here, for example. So, he decided to give that a try. Hired an electrician to wire in an outlet up in the attic, with a wall switch below the attic entry, so he had the ability to turn it on or off, in case he needed it some other time. He left the strobe on for a few days or a week (can’t remember how long), but within a day or two…the scampering had disappeared above the ceiling. Damn, if that didn’t work just swell! If you’d like, I could find out what brand he used.

    1290 chars

  36. beb said on December 17, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    I keep thinking that if the mainstream media really wants to make amends for the shameless bootlicking they did for Trump during the election they could well begin by blacklisting Kellyanne Conway. She lies worse than Trump and babbles to such an extent that one never knows when or if she’s answered question. Of course mostly she never answers questions.

    356 chars

  37. Sherri said on December 17, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    When someone says “These Trump voters can’t be racist because they voted for Obama”, am I the only one who hears “Some of my best friends are black”?

    149 chars

  38. susan said on December 17, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    I’m actually on speaking terms with a few Republicans.

    54 chars

  39. alex said on December 17, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    Today I’d like to give a shout-out to one of my favorite companies. I love their products. I’ve been a loyal customer since I lived in Chicago and first visited their Oak Park store many years ago. Now I make sure to hit their location in Indianapolis any time I go there. And I’m sending their gift packages to friends and family this year.

    As many of you know, I love cooking, and it’s one of the first things I turned to in order to relieve tension after the awful election this year. On my way to their store that weekend, I encountered a moonbat dancing in the street with a big sign taunting “crybabies” who lost the election and it was such a grotesque specter I can’t get it out of my mind.

    What I was surprised to learn today is that Penzey’s is a very conscientious and principled company that took a courageous public stand following the election. In a season otherwise filled with dreadful news, what I read on their Facebook page just made my day:

    Be sure and check out their open letter to America’s CEOs. And if you ever get a chance, visit one of their stores. It’s always a pleasant experience. And by all means, if you are looking for some great gift ideas, you can’t go wrong with Penzey’s and there’s still plenty of time to get stuff shipped.

    There. My good deed for the day. Now I’m going to do some menu planning around my various new seasonings that I’ve been wanting to try.

    1510 chars

  40. beb said on December 17, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    via fivethirtyeight via nakedcapitalism via boingboing comes a report of police related killings in the United States as issued by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. It places annual police killings at between 1000-1500 per year. It validates private databases which has also reached that number. The BJS report includes a map of the US showing rates of police caused deaths per million citizens. Check out your state and be thankful you don’t live somewhere else.

    (As Boingboing notes the fate of the Bureau of Justice Statistics is in doubt with the coming Trump Administration. Like a lot of government generated data there’s a vital need to export this data somewhere where Trump can’t get to it.)

    703 chars

  41. David C. said on December 17, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    If you’re ever in Milwaukee Alex, don’t miss Penzey’s store/distribution center. It must be the best smelling warehouse in the world.

    133 chars

  42. Sherri said on December 17, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    Last month, I mentioned here that the sign for the local mosque had been damaged. The sign was restored last week, with a big ceremony including city leaders and other clergy and faith leaders. Last night, the sign was damaged again. This time, at least, it appears the police have a lead.

    At least it’s only vandalism so far.

    330 chars

  43. Little Bird said on December 17, 2016 at 8:09 pm

    The Spice House, while is an offshoot of Penzey’s isn’t actually part of the same company. They operate separately. I asked the folks who work at the SH once. There’s a shop here in Santa Fe that is also an offshoot of Penzey’s, but a separate company. I think the offshoots are children from the family, but I’m not sure.

    325 chars

  44. Suzanne said on December 17, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    I’ve been to Penzy’s in Indianapolis a few times and wished there was one closer. A friend of mine who is an excellent cook swears by their cinnamon.

    149 chars

  45. Dexter said on December 18, 2016 at 3:01 am

    susan #35…thanks for the advice. I just have to sort out a best approach. I am leaning towards just hiring an expert…no damn way am I going to go up into that attic. Last time was to remove raccoons, thirty years ago. Talk about a mess! We had to re-plaster the ceiling over the dining room. Just under the insurance deductible of course. Those were the days if I needed a few hundo I’d just sign up for a double shift on a Sunday and there ya go.
    This Viceland Network show “Payday” is revealing…a segment showed an oil sands worker up in Fort McNurray, Alberta. Things were booming until the oil price collapse hit the local economy hard. The ones that had seniority made from $140,000 to $250,000 per year…a regular house cost from between $500K to $700K. The cost of living was staggering. Then the fires of 2016 came…some people were left with nothing but a tract of flat ashes; some felt thjey had to leave, some stayed on.

    950 chars

  46. alex said on December 18, 2016 at 10:13 am

    Penzey’s has a chili powder called Chili 9000 that has become my new favorite and has some cinnamon notes. I purchase a lot of it, as well as Telicherry black peppercorns, Spanish smoked paprika and Hungarian sweet paprika. One thing I’ve learned — I think it was from a Mark Bittman column — is that spices and seasonings offer up the best flavor when you expose them to heat and fat during the sautéing process rather than throwing them in at the end.

    Today making a big pot of chili and also a roasted chicken recipe with smoked paprika. Comfort food for the coldest night of the year.

    596 chars

  47. Kirk said on December 18, 2016 at 10:30 am

    I’ll be throwing together a pot of chili in a little while here myself.

    71 chars

  48. susan said on December 18, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    A sobering interview with Gary Kasparov (the chess champion and Russian pro-democracy advocate). This, “Putin’s Meddling,” is from Jacob Weisberg’s wonderful podcast, “Trumpcast.”

    370 chars

  49. alex said on December 18, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    Just had today’s chili for lunch. Letting it simmer for a few hours more, but I couldn’t wait. This time I made it with poblanos and added a 12-ounce bottle of Anchor Porter and used black beans and fire-roasted whole tomatoes. I like to do it up differently every time.

    That Trumpcast sure is scary.

    303 chars

  50. Deborah said on December 18, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    Here’s LB’s chili recipe, 1 large yellow onion chopped (largish pieces), sweat in bacon grease, add 1lb of ground beef and 1lb ground pork, brown. Add chopped (finely) either Serrano or jalapeño peppers (to taste), chili powder (1/4 cup), cumin, pequin, salsa base, cayenne, smoked yellow cayenne, coriander, jalapeño powder (all of these in varying amounts to taste). Add a large can of whole peeled tomatoes, and a small can of diced tomatoes with green chilies (Ro-tel). Add at least 6 oz of beer then Equal parts black beans and kidney beans. Simmer until it tastes great. It’s always better after the first meal put in the fridge or freeze leftovers, then the next time you have it it’s even better.

    707 chars

  51. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 18, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    Throw some cinnamon in, he suggested.

    37 chars

  52. susan said on December 18, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    I have a question about what must be basic chili knowledge, but has confused me for decades: What exactly is “chili powder”? I always thought “chili (or chilli) powder” consisted of a mix of those spices you listed, Deborah–cumin, pequin, cayenne, coriander, maybe oregano, maybe some cinnamon and/or allspice, black pepper, jalapeño, maybe paprika. And after adding “chili powder” you add all the same stuff individually? What IS chili powder?

    446 chars

  53. Sherri said on December 18, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    Extreme economic anxiety unleashed:

    181 chars

  54. susan said on December 18, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    Jeff, adding cinnamon makes it “Cincinnati” style chili, which has its origins in the early Cincinnati chili parlor proprietors/cooks who were Greek.

    149 chars

  55. Little Bird said on December 18, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    The base chili powder is the solid brownish colored stuff. I tend to add a lot of locally sourced chili powders on top of the basic base. And fresh chili peppers as well.

    172 chars

  56. Deborah said on December 18, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    Cincinati style chili also sometimes has sugar, and some people even add chocolate. Susan you’re probably right that chili powder also has that other stuff already in it, but that doesn’t stop us from adding more stuff too.

    We spent a few days at the Abiquiu cabin and survived some unpleasant weather. Winds like crazy, sustained 22 mph and gusts about 35. Rain, snow, and down to 17 last night. It was still comfy in the cabin although all of our wood got wet. It took my husband an hour to get the wood burning stove lit after that and then he went to Lowes in the nearest town and bought some bagged wood to get us over the hump. We feel like some city slickers learning how to survive, but it’s fun. Last night we went to a party at the library in the village of Abiquiu, lots of local people that we got to meet and visit with, good food, music, dancing. Good times. Going back to Abiquiu Tuesday morning and then coming back to Santa Fe Christmas Eve.

    961 chars

  57. Joe K said on December 18, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    She was a great housekeeper,
    When ever she divorced a man she kept his house.
    Rip. Zsa,Zsa.
    Pilot Joe

    104 chars

  58. alex said on December 18, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    Before her death, Francesca reportedly said, “My mother wanted to be a princess, so she married an evil queen.” (regarding Zsa Zsa’s final husband)

    250 chars

  59. Dorothy said on December 19, 2016 at 10:11 am

    Sometimes I think we own one of each spice Penzey’s makes, we have so many bottles of their stuff in our kitchen. Suzanne there are several varieties of cinnamon – we have some Chinese and Vietnamese versions, plus i think an Indonesian bottle. My husband loves to cook and we stop at Penzey’s in Pittsburgh frequently, and there’s a shop in Columbus (that’s closer to us than Pittsburgh!)

    Speaking of Pittsburgh, there was a fire in an apartment building around 5 AM last Friday. One person died and several other were hospitalized for smoke inhalation. It happens to be the building where my 94 year old mom lives. This is a first for our family, having someone go through a fire in their dwelling. Seeing a screen shot from the noon news of my mom on a stretcher (sitting up and smiling) just about killed me. Thank goodness she’s okay and is safely ensconced at a hotel. My sister is putting it on her credit card and we’re all pitching in. She got it for a week. I have no idea where she’s going when the week runs out. Mum spent the first two nights at my niece’s house on the couch. At the hotel my sister Louise is with her. Mum lives on the second floor and the fire was on the 7th. Here’s hoping the building will be ready for her to move back in the day after Christmas. But I’m not holding my breath. My sister who got the hotel room said she tried the Red Cross several times on Friday but never reached a human being. Anyone have any experience with the Red Cross after a fire?

    1506 chars

  60. brian stouder said on December 19, 2016 at 11:34 am

    Dorothy – Heavens to Betsy!

    I’m very glad that your mom is OK; certainly logistics and all the rest will be a challenge, but it starts from a good place.

    I’d have guessed that the apartment would have some sort of insurance – and maybe mom does too?

    When our water-pipe catastrophe struck last year, Pam utilized her excellent ExCell spreadsheet skills and worked with the State Farm people quite effectively…

    421 chars

  61. Judybusy said on December 19, 2016 at 11:50 am

    Oh, Dorothy, so glad you mom is OK! That’s scary.

    49 chars

  62. Julie Robinson said on December 19, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    Dorothy, how scary, and I’m really glad she’s okay. When my sister’s place had a fire the Red Cross was terrific. I think they have her 10 days at a hotel, a clean-up kit, and some amazing soap to take the smoky smell out of clothing and even the walls.

    It doesn’t sound like the local RC is quite up to that level if they aren’t even returning calls. I’m not sure how my sis got hooked up with them. Maybe the local fire department has a chaplain or someone else who knows a number of someone there who answers their phone.

    528 chars

  63. Dave said on December 19, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    That is scary, Dorothy, so glad that your mother was able to be safely evacuated.

    My grandparents home burnt to the ground in 1950, they lost everything and, since the house had been a family home for three generations, at least, there were many family heirlooms and pictures that went with it. My aunt recently told me that she learned that day not to get too attached to things because one day it could just disappear, as she was describing some of the things that her mother, my grandmother, valued that were lost.

    Hope that our hostess’ travels went well, when I read about the weather in Ohio, I wonder how all the driving went.

    640 chars

  64. Dorothy said on December 19, 2016 at 3:00 pm

    Driving Saturday morning (and likely Friday night) in Ohio was really treacherous in places, Dave. On Saturday we drove to Columbus from Dayton around 10:15 AM and the further north we went the more the temp dropped, and the more we saw the aftermath of some sliding accidents. Tractor trailer in the middle of the median/grassy area on I-71. I hope Nancy and fam didn’t have any problems.

    My daughter drove to New York from Norfolk on Friday, leaving much earlier than they planned due to the weather. They got a hotel in Rye, parked in a lot near the train and took the train into the city. They have a nice Airbnb in Chelsea for three nights. She just texted that John Lithgow was right behind them at the museum with two grandkids this morning at the coat check! She said he’s much taller than she imagined.

    821 chars

  65. brian stouder said on December 19, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    I can attest that US-20 to Bryan (enroute to Pioneer, Ohio) was good on the way into the Buckeye state, and then increasingly bad on the way back out (hence to I-69 and home) on Saturday). Pam kept us on track, and made sure we were rolling for home by 4 pm, so we missed the worst of it, but only just.

    Meanwhile, today is turning out to be a pretty terrible day, between the Russian ambassador in Turkey, and then this – in Berlin:

    And the ride hasn’t really even begun, yet…

    623 chars

  66. Jolene said on December 19, 2016 at 3:18 pm


    3 chars

  67. Jolene said on December 19, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    That glitch above is what happens when you’re carrying your iPad around the house with the cover open.

    FYI: Somebody thought it would be a good idea to rank every Bruce Springsteen song, all 314 of them.

    The PBS NewsHour is presenting a two-part interview with Springsteen, beginning tonight. The interview is prompted, I’m sure, by the publication of his new memoir, Born to Run, which has gotten lots of good reviews. Might be a good Christmas present for Springsteen fans.

    In sadder news, the death toll in Berlin is now at nine, with many injured.

    781 chars

  68. Deborah said on December 19, 2016 at 4:10 pm


    Chicago had a bad weekend with weather and shootings.

    Is there any news yet about how many faithless electors there are. I hate that term because in this election they are faithful electors.

    205 chars

  69. Kirk said on December 19, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    Nancy made it to Columbus (and our Friday-night party) just fine.

    65 chars

  70. Deborah said on December 19, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    We’re baking some no knead bread that one of LB’s friends told her about. I hope it turns out better than my kneaded bread, every time I make bread it’s more like cake than bread. It tastes ok but doesn’t have air bubbles in it. I only bake bread in NM, so maybe it has something to do with the altitude (7,200 in Santa Fe). But I’ve gotten a lot of advice from people who live here and it hasn’t made a difference yet. This bread we’re making today gets baked in a Dutch oven.

    LB has been getting all kinds of medical procedures done since the election. She had surgery on the back of her head a week or so ago. The amount of hair they had to shave was minimal and it wasn’t nearly as big a deal as the last two surgeries she had, but since it occurred on her head it was more painful. She has more surgery on Jan 4, on her belly and side, and lots of tests involving all kinds of things. Her Drs and her case worker are super helpful in getting her approved for as much as they can before it all comes to a crashing halt. She’s even filled out the forms for getting medical marijuana, which was my husband’s idea for helping her cope with stress that exacerbates her condition. Her Dr thinks she has an excellent chance of being approved. We’ll see.

    1254 chars

  71. Sherri said on December 19, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    Uber refuses to remove its autonomous vehicles from the streets of San Francisco and refuses to get a permit. They also knew about a problem concerning bike interactions when they put the cars in the streets.

    In Seattle, Uber is running ads fighting unionization:

    481 chars