Aging in a new place.

Well, that was a relief. Four days away was just about exactly what I needed, even if the cottage did have wifi and I was able to read the news. Alan told me early on that he didn’t want to hear about our president or anything else emanating out of Washington, and I mostly honored that request.

I didn’t tell him about the French hack. I had a feeling it wouldn’t come to anything, anyway.

It’s weird traveling to northern Michigan these days. Passing through Cadillac, we saw a billboard proclaiming WE LIKE OUR PRESIDENT, DONALD TRUMP. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! It flew by too fast to get a photo, sorry. I used to remember going up north as a series of increasingly deep exhalations, as the air cools and clears and the landscape turns green and rolling. Now I feel like I’m entering enemy territory, with so many towns looking so down on their luck, and the gas station/minimarts, all of which have some version of “family,” “America” or “pride” in their names. It occurs to me that putting “family” in a market name is a way to indicate they sell groceries as well as beer; “party store” is the Michigan jargon for a mostly likka-and-snacks emporium. Still. What’s the other side’s equivalent of the American Pride Family Market? The Diversity Emporium? (Under the name on the sign: “Bathrooms for all!”)

But it was nice to get out of town, where it rained and rained and rained; up north it was dry and sunny, if chilly. We drove over to Frankfort, on the big lake, to see what we could see. We saw Lake Michigan, and we visited a microbrewery/restaurant called Stormcloud, which I bet they’re very glad they didn’t name Stormfront. Had lunch there, and was surprised by the size of the crowd, still a good month before the season really starts. Well, the food was good, and a tabletop sign advertised a spelling bee that very night, open to all. Man, was I tempted, but we took the long way home and spent the evening reading in silence. Alan had an Elizabeth Strout novel, and I found this at the local bookstore:

I’m unfamiliar with Ian Brown, so this is one case where the cover blurbage sold me, and I’m not sorry I read it. Sixty looms for me in November, and I winced at many things between these covers. Currently, I’m ashamed to say, I’m obsessed with examining photos of women around my age and deciding whether I look older or younger. It is a supreme waste of time, un-sisterly and betrays a lack of character, and yet? I cannot stop. Ooh, age spots! She has age spots at 57, on her hands no less, and I am age spot-free at 59! #WINNING. It’s crazy; I never worried about my looks before, because one of the very few advantages of being basically average is, you never really go up or down. Oh, you can have a “makeover” at a cosmetics counter and learn that, for a mere $125 worth of products and 45 minutes every morning with brushes and paints, you can look a little bit better, but really? It’s not worth it. So why am I suddenly noticing these things? Because death is lurking just around the corner, that’s why. One of my old boyfriends recently died of liver cancer, and another has early-onset Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s! For fuck’s sake, these are rattling events. My high-school class is having yet another of our endless reunions this summer, and the last one (40) was full of In Memoriams and moments of silence and all the rest of it. I’m not that old yet, at least in my head. I went surfing last summer, goddamnit.

Brown is refreshingly honest about these and many other insecurities, and the book was a nice diversion. Back to Neil Gaiman next. (Why are people so hot on Neil Gaiman? He’s OK, but I don’t understand the worship, frankly.)

This was the view from the porch:

The Betsie River, sliding on past, like the river of time itself.

Maybe this is why I pay so much attention to the news. To distract myself from my own mortality.

Now the week ahead yawns, with good news from France and the usual fuckery out of Washington. Let’s have a good one.

Posted at 7:03 pm in Same ol' same ol' |

113 responses to “Aging in a new place.”

  1. Deborah said on May 7, 2017 at 7:20 pm

    My friend who moved to Paris with his French husband and their two kids is so relieved. I’m so happy for them, and for us. It would have been even shittier here if it had gone the other way there.

    I’m reading the Jane Jacobs book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities (copyright 1961). And the documentary, Citizen Jane comes to Chicago soon at the Siskel.

    We had a pleasant weekend, a dinner party Saturday night and the best part is my husband did all the cleaning and cooking because of my surgery recovery. Then today we went to the Art Institute to see the last day of the exhibit about the Brazilian artist that my sister-in-law collects. It was cold and windy through the weekend but sunny so it wasn’t so bad.

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  2. brian stouder said on May 7, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    Mortality; indeed.

    Just a few months ago, my brother-in-law keeled over and died (heart-related); just-like-that.

    And he was a year younger than me, and had no symptoms (that I ever heard of) ’til the big event.

    But, waddaya gonna do, eh?

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  3. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 7, 2017 at 7:39 pm

    If you just got done watching Benjamin Ferencz on “60 Minutes,” feeling old won’t be quite the same issue. He’s rocking 97, and still working with vim and vigor “because I know I’m right.”

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  4. Sherri said on May 7, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    I’ve started reading Twitter and Teargas, by Zeynep Tufecki, about protest movements and how social media have impacted them. Her major point is that it is easier to turn out a lot of people for a protest march, for example, without building the organizational infrastructure that such a turnout would have signaled in the past, and looks at the implications of that.

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  5. Dorothy said on May 7, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    My hubby will be 60 on Wednesday; my turn comes at the end of August. I think this will be tougher than 50 was. Then again, we are doing better financially since his aunt died in December; we have a grandchild now and the joy she brings us is endless. Hard to believe she’s only 8 weeks and three days old! My car will be paid off this month and we are talking about moving in two years, just a half hour or so closer to the baby and her parents. And when we do, I’m not going to be working anymore. That is also bring me much joy. But in the meantime I have to dig in – I’m getting a new boss in about 7 weeks and I’m nervous. Here’s hoping I can be all she needs me to be to help her with the transition to this University.

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  6. brian stouder said on May 7, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    I’d always (always, always!) bet on you, Dorothy!

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  7. coozledad said on May 7, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    Neil Gaiman is just not a thing. I tried. Compliant reader and pushover that I am, NO.

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  8. coozledad said on May 7, 2017 at 8:34 pm

    Deborah: Jane’s book cemented the ideas I got from visiting and talking to people who lived in New York in “the hairy years”. I think what most midwesterners and southerners perceive as chaos is NOT MACDONALDS.

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  9. Jim Moehrke said on May 7, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    I don’t remember anything special about turning 60… Our son was in his second year of college, 400 miles away, I was in my third year of forced unemployment, depressed as hell, but living the good life as a kept man/househusband. It wasn’t near as interesting as turning 65 and getting started on Medicare. Now, we are just trying to wait until 70 to start Social Security, unsure if using up savings is balanced by the extra bump in SocSec that waiting brings. Nobody told me we’d have these kind of issues when I was younger.

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  10. nancy said on May 7, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    Glad to hear that, Cooze. The cable adaptation of “American Gods” is getting raves, but I’m just not that into it.

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  11. Snarkworth said on May 7, 2017 at 9:09 pm

    one of the very few advantages of being basically average

    When it comes to appearance, I have long thought that being basically average is the best possible thing. Being unattractive isn’t easy, of course, although most people make a go of it. Those who really have a hard time are the super attractive. I have women friends who you would think would have perfect, beautiful lives, but who struggle with issues of trust and self esteem.

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  12. Deborah said on May 7, 2017 at 9:10 pm

    My husband turns 70 June 1st and I’m 66. For some reason when I was 57 I remember telling someone at work that I was that age. I was very embarrassed to admit that I was that old then. Now when I think about that I just have to laugh. With age comes wisdom.

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  13. basset said on May 7, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    Well, Cooz and I agree on that much anyway… have never been able to get interested in Gaiman either. Actually, we probably agree on a lot more than either of us would admit, it’s just how and how often it’s expressed. I’m probably way behind the rest of you on this, but I have been really enjoying “Once in a Great City.”

    Mrs. B and I met in Cadillac, coming up on forty years ago. She had an apartment over the drugstore on Mitchell Street and I lived over the Montgomery Ward store a couple blocks away… the Cadillac Party Lounge was the hangout for a bunch of folks I worked with, she was in there one night with her friends, I knew one of them and there ya go. $3.99 frog leg dinners and forty-cent Stroh’s, good times.

    That front porch view… I would have been hip deep in that water trying to catch some trout for just about every daylight moment. Dunno if this applies on the Betsie but when I used to fish the Pine over west of Cadillac there were rules on when the commercial guides could be out there, regular folks could fish real early or real late but in the middle the guides and their sports would come floating by, flicking their fly rods back and forth and lifting their noses at us commoners.

    Bad news on the kitty. Nine days in, he has still not come out from behind the dryer and he continues to hiss at us so he’s going back where we got him tomorrow night. Sad to have it happen but he is so wired and miserable that it’ll be best for him.

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  14. nancy said on May 7, 2017 at 9:28 pm

    Think of how many great sex symbols come to their older years single and, often, putting all their emotional energy into animals. Brigitte Bardot is the most obvious one, but there have been others.

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  15. Suzanne said on May 7, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    I have never read Neil Gaiman and wondered if I was missing anything. Guess not.

    My husband & I read the obits every morning in the local paper…and notice how many are younger than us. It’s so strange to be at the age that you start thinking about how many things you will never do again. And there is also the notion of things you thought you’d do someday and are realizing that you never will.

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  16. coozledad said on May 7, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    Basset: we’ve got space for maladptive felines. Nancy has my email. We were wondering who would replace OzzieMoesist, the Hitleriest of all the cats.

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  17. Joe K said on May 7, 2017 at 9:50 pm

    I have known 70+ year old that were young and 40+ that were old, I’ll be 60 in December and really don’t care, my dad was gone at 54.
    Old rugby saying, never let the struggles of life interfere with the pleasure of living, I try to live that everyday, there was another saying, I would rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal labotamy, but I think that was on a coaster at O’Sullivans, anyway my advice pull down your pants and slide on the ice.
    Cheers from Sarasota tonight.
    Pilot Joe

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  18. basset said on May 7, 2017 at 9:56 pm

    I don’t think the prior owner we got this kitty from really wanted to give him up. We’re supposed to meet her tomorrow night and make the return… if that doesn’t work out it’s not all that far to NC from here.

    Age… I’m 61 and my liver is a hundred and twelve. Suzanne, I have been having those same thoughts myself.

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  19. Sherri said on May 7, 2017 at 10:08 pm

    My husband likes Neil Gaiman, but I’ve bounced off American Gods multiple times. We’ve watched the first episode of the TV series, and I’ll watch another, but mostly because the cast is good.

    If I’m going to pick up a science fiction book, I’d rather pick up William Gibson or China Mieville, but I don’t read that much SF these days.

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  20. coozledad said on May 7, 2017 at 10:22 pm

    This song has been haunting me. Phoebe disowned it. I know why, but as orphans go, it’s got hell harmony.

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  21. Deggjr said on May 7, 2017 at 10:22 pm

    I think when crossing 60 ‘if’ becomes ‘when’, even if there are 30+ more years before ‘when’.

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  22. Deborah said on May 7, 2017 at 11:11 pm

    LB loves Gaiman. We listened to Neverwhere read by Gaiman on our last road trip. I was impressed with him more as an actor than an author. It was a great way to pass the time in the car though. He does have quite an imagination.

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  23. Jakash said on May 8, 2017 at 1:39 am

    “Neverwhere” by Gaiman was the Spring 2011 “One Book, One Chicago” selection, wherein the Chicago Public Library promotes, obtains a bunch of copies of, and encourages Chicagoans to read a given book. We dutifully read it, ’cause we’re citizens, dammit!, but suffice it to say, it was not for me. (Nor my wife, for those scoring at home.) I don’t doubt that we may have enjoyed it more as long-car-ride material, though. : )

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  24. David C. said on May 8, 2017 at 6:14 am

    I turn 58 in July, and Mary turns 60 next February. It doesn’t really bother me except all the pre-existing conditions keep popping up that don’t bother me but seem to bother Republicans. Mary is looking forward to 60 if that means the end of her terrible 6-years long experience with menopause.

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  25. alex said on May 8, 2017 at 7:12 am

    Cooz, that song always haunted me too. In fact I was just thinking of it yesterday while driving through a place where I’d first heard it on the car radio back in the spring of 1975.

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  26. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 8, 2017 at 7:23 am

    I like Charles de Lint more than Neil Gaiman, but “de gustibus non est disputandum.”

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  27. Deborah said on May 8, 2017 at 7:53 am

    Gaiman was in Santa Fe a year or so ago, his wife, Amanda Palmer had an animation presentation at the Cocteau theater (owned by George R R Martin). LB went to the event and Gaiman was there too in the audience. LB took a selfie with him, he was very gracious and she was thrilled to pierces.

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  28. Heather said on May 8, 2017 at 9:05 am

    I loved the Sandman comic series, which Gaiman wrote. I’ve tried to pick up his books several times and just can’t get into them.

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  29. Julie Robinson said on May 8, 2017 at 9:06 am

    Doncha’ know that 60 is the new 40? I didn’t experience any angst at all and I’m at a happy place in my life. I confess this has a lot to do with having just retired. But I sure wouldn’t mind a grandchild or two, so I’m a little envious of you, Dorothy.

    After we saw the movie Stardust I tried and failed to read Neil Gaiman, but I respect that there are levels I wasn’t getting. At 40 I would have felt obligated to finish; at 60 I just move on.

    Bless you, Coozledad, for offering to take the kitty. My family adopted a lot of maladaptive felines over the years, when people would drop off their animals in the country. Some would never come inside despite all our efforts. But they knew we would feed them twice a day, and there was a cat door into the garage, where blankets and water also were available.

    Mother wanted to adopt all the cats she saw but I think it was best for her now to just get one. Her experience has been the exact opposite of basset’s, and both she and the cat are thriving. Instant depression cure!

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  30. Deborah said on May 8, 2017 at 9:21 am

    A few words about Macron’s wife: she’s 64, he’s 39, Melania is 47, Trump is 70, nearly the same number of years apart as their spouses but one situation is considered taboo. Why is that? Maybe I’m bringing this up because we watched the end of Harold and Maude last night (we started it a few nights ago). Why is it considered weird for a young man to be attracted to a much older woman, but not considered weird if it’s the other way around?

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  31. nancy said on May 8, 2017 at 9:35 am

    The MRA/evolutionary psychology/ev biologist types would say it’s because younger women are more likely to be fertile.

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  32. Diane said on May 8, 2017 at 9:51 am

    Well, I turned 59 this very day. (I started to type “am turning” and realized, nope, it’s done.) I’m with Deggjr. @21. I find myself thinking weird things like “This might be the last car I own.” Admittedly, it is pretty new and I keep cars a very long time, but still. And I am contemplating a possible job change and thinking “Oh, I am too old to take that on.”

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  33. Icarus said on May 8, 2017 at 9:57 am

    Happy birthday Diane, I turned 48 yesterday, which appears to be on the younger end of the spectrum for this forum. I’m lucky that i have good genes and decent looks; full head of hair with very little grey (sideburns), hardly any wrinkles, can still run though not as fast or as far as a decade ago. I could use to lose 10 lbs (or more) but I’m not in the danger zone for my height.

    While I wish I had meet my wife and started a family sooner, it is what it is. And if I could have, I would have earned/saved more money to retire sooner because working until almost the end of your life sucks. Better to enjoy life while you still have a body and mind that still works (I hope that comes out alright).

    I still have time to write that Great American Novel, right?

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  34. Julie Robinson said on May 8, 2017 at 10:13 am

    Happy Birthday to you both, Diane and Icarus! Of course you still have time.

    I forgot to add that I caught the 60 Minutes piece on Benjamin Ferencz too and inspirational is a tepid word to describe the man. At 27 he was the main prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials and has never stopped working for justice. I can’t find the yiddish word for righteous man but he is that.

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  35. 4dbirds said on May 8, 2017 at 10:13 am

    Happy birthday Diane and Icarus. Yesterday was my ‘little’ sister’s birthday. She turned 57. I am 62. I am planning on working till full retirement age 66 and a couple of months. My job is enjoyable, my commute short and there is no reason to give up this nicely paid job with great benefits. My husband who is a government contractor got caught up in the change of administration and his new assignment for the State Department doesn’t seem to be coming through. He may very well have worked his last day. He turns 62 in November. Perhaps he will take the early retirement. It will be tight but I think we can do it on one income.

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  36. Colleen said on May 8, 2017 at 10:51 am

    I’m turning 50 in August, and not too sure how I feel about it. Another “average” looker, I don’t think I look too bad, though I do feel that I’m looking a little rough of late. But I’m not too wrinkly, have most of my health, not only love but also like my husband, and enjoy my work, so those are all positives.

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  37. susan said on May 8, 2017 at 10:51 am

    Julie @34 – mensch?

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  38. Julie Robinson said on May 8, 2017 at 11:01 am

    Mensch, yes. Thank you.

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  39. Bruce Fields said on May 8, 2017 at 11:19 am

    Neil Gaiman seems very good at what he does. I often like reading fantasy. I’ve never figured out why he doesn’t do it for me.

    If I were going to give him another try, I’d probably try “Sandman” again, but it feels like a hefty investment of effort as comics go.

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  40. Danny said on May 8, 2017 at 11:30 am

    Though I’ve read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy over the years, I’ve never touched Gaiman. I’ve been an avid reader since first grade and in college, I had a minor in English lit which enlightened me somewhat to the finer points of good writing. Suffice it to say that in the two genres of sf/f there is a lot of low hanging fruit and sometimes you have to find satisfaction in other aspects than an author’s facility with language. And I have put books down for poor writing. However there are a few bright spots where good writing can be found. I highly recommend anything by the Scottish author, Iain Banks, who passed away way too early. His “Culture” novels are wonderful. I particularly liked “Excession” and a few others. He also wrote other fiction, non-fiction and a book of poems. His personal favorite, which I’ve not read yet was “The Bridge” of which he said “Definitely the intellectual of the family, it’s the one that went away to University and got a first.”

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  41. Suzanne said on May 8, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    I don’t know about Macron and his wife, but with Melania @ 47 and Trump @ 70, all I see is a creepy, lecherous, lumpy, frumpy old rich man and a gold digger with the kid as insurance.
    But that’s just me…

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  42. chris said on May 8, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    I am turning 60 in December (Christmas Eve). I am constantly comparing myself to other woman (do I look older etc.) Glad to know I’m not the only one

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  43. basset said on May 8, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    This cat situation is really troubling me. Mrs B and I have always been animal people and able to get them to warm up to us sooner or later, but this little guy remains in full out fear biter mode and is not budging at all. He is obviously miserable, gotta fix that.

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  44. Scout said on May 8, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    It’s interesting how many of us are the same age. I turn 60 in October. Several days after that I am getting married to my partner of 18 years. We have an elaborate timeline because once I am over 60 I can still benefit from my higher earner ex-husband’s SS, which I would have forfeited if I’d remarried before the age of 60. (Yes, it’s still a thing.) And once we are married I am covered as a spouse rather than DP on her good corporate insurance and she is able to retire at the age of 62 on 1/2/18. I will work until 66.6; my job is no-stress plus we’ll need my income until she is at full SS age. We had many meetings with our financial planner to get all of this worked out just so. He was my first call on November 9, 2016, because I wanted to make sure we didn’t have to go back to the drawing board.

    Getting older has been mostly enjoyable for me. I’m fine with the age spots, the gray hair (which I dye blonde and sometimes purple) and the realization there is just some heavy lifting I can’t or shouldn’t do anymore. I used my arthritis diagnosis to get my MMJ card, which is a kick. What I do mind is how fast I can gain weight while taking it off takes forever. I don’t think I look my age most days, but every so often I catch a glimpse of my reflection in a window or a mirror and think, who is that old lady?

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  45. Heather said on May 8, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    Is the kitty a former feral? Such cats require a lot of patience (like months or even years). No shame if you’re not up for that–better for the shelter to find a home with someone who’s more prepared to deal with it.

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  46. Suzanne said on May 8, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    “… but every so often I catch a glimpse of my reflection in a window or a mirror and think, who is that old lady?”
    Oh my goodness, yes!

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  47. Deborah said on May 8, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    When I catch an unexpected look at myself in a shop window or a mirror, I know exactly who that old lady is.

    One thing I’ve noticed about aging is how quickly I normalize the changes. When I first notice something new sagging or bagging I’m alarmed but then it doesn’t take long for me to take it in stride and barely notice it. Partly because something else has started sagging/bagging for me to be alarmed about and partly because I just get used to it. As Nora Ephron wrote, “I feel bad about my neck”. For some reason that’s the worst part.

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  48. Rana said on May 8, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    Icarus, you’re ahead of me by one year; I’m 47. Dan, my husband comments here sometimes, and he’s 43. So there are some of us on the younger end. 🙂

    Suzanne, Scout, I’m mostly dealt with that by only looking in reflections. The bathroom here didn’t have a mirror installed and we’ve yet to find one we want there. It’s inconvenient sometimes – we have to make do with hand mirrors – but it’s also sort of nice not staring at my sleep-bleared face every morning.

    Re: Gaiman – I like Gaiman well enough, but only in spots. I liked American Gods a lot, but that may be simply because for me it was a lot of “recognize the thing I’m familiar with!” with regards to mythology and road trips.

    Otherwise… I have to say that I find a lot of his stuff to be perfectly competent but not as amazing as the hype would suggest. I sort of feel like he’s a sci-fi/fantasy writer for readers who don’t read a lot of either, and who thus think slightly creative concepts carried by competent if not astonishing writing is something to be impressed by. If you read a lot in either genre – as I do, and have since childhood – you get a feel for what’s truly outside the box, either in writing or in plot or characters, and Gaiman’s work isn’t really. It’s fine, but I don’t find myself thinking about his books for weeks and years afterward, like some of the genuinely astonishing stuff. (e.g. China Mieville’s the City and the City, or Mary Russell’s The Sparrow.)

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  49. Scout said on May 8, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    bassett, it sounds as if the situation with the kitty is that he can return to his original owner? And if that doesn’t work out cooz will take him? That sounds like a win-win for that poor kitty.

    That reminded me of a something that happened about 10 years ago. A co-worker of my partner had to move and the place they found wouldn’t allow their 13 year old cat, so he asked around at work if anyone could take her or else they’d have to put her down. We already had 6 cats and definitely didn’t want to take this on, but we couldn’t stand the thought of a healthy cat being put down. So we agreed to take her. When we met up with them, they had a whole SUV loaded with her accessories, special bowls and food and treats and a heated bed and her favorite blankets and so on. The wife cried as she handed us the carrier. The whole thing was heartbreaking enough, but when we got her home kitty completely shut down. She hunched in a ball and wouldn’t even look at us, refused to eat and was plainly miserable. It was so sad. And then, two days later the guy from work called and asked if it would be ok if they took her back. It seems they realized they’d made a big mistake and couldn’t live without her. They decided to find somewhere else to move. When we met up with them to hand her and her massive trousseau back to them, as soon as we got out of the car with her and she saw them she came to life and started crying like a baby. Well, all five of us were crying. I’ll never regret taking her for those few days because even though she was miserable, at least they hadn’t done the permanent solution which they would have regretted forever.

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  50. Rana said on May 8, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    I will say the biggest upside of getting to my later forties is that I no longer feel like I have to put up with bullshit. I’m both a bit quicker to see it and call it out, and far more able to blow off attempts at guilt trips by random strangers.

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  51. Rana said on May 8, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    Oh, Scout, that poor kitty and her family! I’m glad it all worked out in the end.

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  52. Sherri said on May 8, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    Rana, an enthusiastic me, too! on both The City and the City and The Sparrow. My husband, who’s more of an old-fashioned hard sf fan also loved The City and the City, but I haven’t been able to turn him onto The Sparrow. Ada Palmer’s Too Like the Lightning is another book that still has me thinking.

    I turned 55 a few weeks ago, and I call my 50s my don’t give a fuck phase. My 40s were a challenging time, but I feel like the work I did getting through that has paid off now.

    I’ve started my new meal plan with my trainer. Third day without sugar.

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  53. Scout said on May 8, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    Another thumbs up here for The Sparrow. It’s one of my favorite books ever.

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  54. basset said on May 8, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    We had a similar situation when Mrs B was in the hospital for nearly a month a few years back… after the first couple of weeks we wheeled her out to the hospital driveway and let our golden retriever out of the car on a leash, dog just about broke my arm when she realized who was there.

    I don’t know anything about this cat’s background, got her from a young woman who said she got her from someone else and claimed she was very affectionate. Maybe so, but not with us. Poor beast is suffering, we bees to get her to a place where she feels safe.

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  55. basset said on May 8, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    Need to, I should say.

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  56. brian stouder said on May 8, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    “favorite books ever”….. hmmmm….

    Maybe Shelby Foote’s Civil War trilogy….or Lerone Bennett’s “Forced Into Glory” – an enlighteningly critical look at President Lincoln; or maybe Herndon’s Informants, compiled by Douglas L Wilson and Rodney Davis – a book which is literally 100% footnotes (it consists of all the raw stuff Herndon collected from folks in southern Indiana and all around Illinois, who knew Abe when he was a boy, or a shop-keep, or a lawyer, or an aspiring public official)

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  57. brian stouder said on May 8, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    …one of the few books I’ve read twice, and will almost certainly read again

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  58. BethB from Indiana said on May 8, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    I’m 67, and my husband is 84. I feel that the age difference is not so significant because with my MS and his diabetes, we both are one misfortune away from either assisted living or worse. RIght now, we are holding it together and enjoying life on our own terms. We can’t do as much as we used to, but we are content. Tomorrow, next month, or next year, it may be a different story.

    Scout, your co-worker’s cat story had me in tears at the end. I am so glad that the situation worked out.

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  59. john (not mccain) said on May 8, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    “When I first notice something new sagging or bagging I’m alarmed”

    Me, too. But then I saw an episode of Grace and Frankie where Jane Fonda demonstrated that she has the exact same arm flab I do. If I’m in Jane Fonda territory I figure I must be doing something right.

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  60. beb said on May 8, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    I’m mumbly-seven years old. Oddly, I think I was more upset by my Fortieth birthday than my fiftieth. (or was it fiftieth versus sixtieth?) My memory seems pretty much shot. I’m looking to retiring as soon as my wife turned 62 later this year and qualifies for social security.

    Since I was losing hair early on I’m not as upset with getting old as some of the ladies here. I’ve been dealing with it for a longer time.
    /male privilege

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  61. Bitter Scribe said on May 8, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    The MRA/evolutionary psychology/ev biologist types would say it’s because younger women are more likely to be fertile.

    As far as I can tell, so-called “evolutionary psychology” is a bunch of hifalutin excuses/rationalizations for swinish behavior. “Sorry, dear, I’m hardwired to dump you for 26-year-old Goldie here because she’s fertile.”

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  62. nancy said on May 8, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    …which is why I pay them little to no mind.

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  63. brian stouder said on May 8, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    let me just say, women of all ages are – in my experience, anyway – always more beautiful than they ever think they are.

    And when you think of a train-wreck of a human being like President Trump, women who would aspire to be with people like him are signing on to be trivialized, marginalized, and dehumanized…which may or may not be a fair-trade (if she has a good pre-nup)

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  64. Dorothy said on May 8, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    Rana when I turned 40 (the day Princess Diana died), sometime around then I announced I wasn’t going to take any bullshit from anyone anymore. My daughter, who was 14 at the time, said “Mum, when did you EVER?” She’s right. I guess I just got louder about it.

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  65. Little Bird said on May 8, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    I adore Gaiman. I really want the newest book and I’m beside myself that I can’t watch the Starz series. Everyone has their favorites. He is one of mine.

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  66. Deborah said on May 8, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    Dorothy, I had a similar experience when I turned 40. I finally allowed myself to be shy and an introvert. I had spent so much time trying to be outgoing and I was miserable doing it. I finally said to myself that I was quiet and not interested in being out there. It was a great revelation to me that I could do that for myself.

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  67. Mark P. said on May 8, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    I will be 67 in a few days and my brother will be 70 in September. I can hardly believe it. I remember when he turned 50. I made a card with a drawing of tumbled-down columns, like a Roman ruin. On the front I said “Don’t think of it as a half a century.” On the inside it said, “Think of it as 5 percent of a millennium.” He was not greatly amused.

    I like to look at the biographical information for the cast and crew when we watch movies with Directv. I am constantly amazed at how young so many of the well-known actors of the past were when they died. Of course, when I was much younger, I didn’t think those ages were “young” but these days …

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  68. mlberry said on May 8, 2017 at 8:24 pm

    Gaiman isn’t a great novelist, but his work in comics and short stories is excellent. My suggestion is to start with “The Doll’s House” collection of “Sandman” and go from there.

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  69. Heather said on May 8, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    I’m 47 too. I’ll be honest and say I was generally considered good-looking, and I sometimes wondered how I’d handle aging. Well, since I always cultivated my personality and intelligence, perhaps it’s easier for me than those who relied mostly on their looks. Although what someone said above about attractive people finding it hard to trust and thus ending up alone, that hit home–but for me, I think that might have more to do with how my father really screwed up the way I handle relationships than how I look. Sometimes I do notice being more invisible, especially since I’m single, but looks don’t have much to do with lasting relationships anyway, and I still hope to find someone else who understands that. Sometimes I think getting older might be a sort of blessing in that arena. And, I keep reminding myself that I am lucky enough to live past the ages that both my mother and grandmother were when they died. That helps keep things in perspective. Aging is normal, and death is the only other option. And like the others here, I definitely find it easier not to give a fuck.

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  70. Dave said on May 8, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    I am 67. I was lucky enough to retire with a full pension at 60, even though I didn’t quit the first day I could, I hung on for an extra eight months. I only did it because our youngest was a senior in college and I was chicken to up and quit. We would have had to live on only my pension until my wife became eligible and she’s 19 months younger than I, so we decided I could work a little longer.

    As we know, some people age much better than others. Just this past weekend, the high school class behind mine had a mini-reunion and someone posted pictures on Facebook. I could name some of them but was shocked to learn who others were, they looked so different than they did. One fellow, who I might have called at least support star handsome, looked awful, I couldn’t begin to name him until I finally messaged someone and asked who he is.

    Neil Gaiman’s name seems to show up everywhere these days. I really have never paid a lot of attention to science fiction so I honestly didn’t know what sort of material he writes.

    Mark P., I do the same thing, I’ve watched a lot of old TV shows and sometimes, just for fun, I’ll check out the cast. So many of them who show up in minor roles on shows like “Have Gun, Will Travel”, for one example, actually had long careers in B movies and the like, and more than one has an extensive education, always funny to read when you see them playing the heavy. Yes, a lot of them never made it to 60, either.

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  71. alex said on May 8, 2017 at 10:16 pm

    I’m 55 and these days almost completely unself-conscious about appearances, which is the best present I ever gave myself, the permission not to care. Then again, maybe it’s because of what anti-hypertensive meds do to the libido.

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  72. basset said on May 8, 2017 at 10:54 pm

    Cat update… still behind the dryer, still hissing at us, still slipping out at night to eat and use the litter box. Owner is out of town and supposed to be back today, now she says Wednesday, if we don’t work it out this week I’ll be seeing Cooz in east Tennessee on Saturday, I think Jonesborough is about halfway for both of us.

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  73. Jerry said on May 9, 2017 at 2:50 am

    My wife and I have both reached 72 and are coming up fast on our Golden Wedding at the end of May.

    I was really lucky as the company I worked for relocated when I was fifty. I had the choice of moving with them or taking early retirement. This was at a time when companies wanted rid of expensive older workers. so I retired at age 51 and then did freelance work for the next 15 years.

    Still in good health apart from the usual aches and pains of getting older and a lack of stamina. But it’s a lot better than the alternative!

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  74. ROGirl said on May 9, 2017 at 5:47 am

    Passed the 60 threshhold last October, I’m healthy and have a decent job. Now I get a discount at the place where I go for massages. Things could be worse.

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  75. Jill said on May 9, 2017 at 6:14 am

    I’m 56 and and pretty much in the “don’t care what others think” phase. Turning 40 was freeing and 50 way more so. It helped that I knew two significantly younger women who were battling cancer at the time I turned 50, which made me think I’d be nuts to feel bad about being my age. They were fighting hard in hopes of getting there themselves.

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  76. Suzanne said on May 9, 2017 at 7:09 am

    Jerry @ 73, the aches and lack of stamina are what have surprised me the most about aging. I get up in the morning and everything just kind of aches. I decide I’m going to get my house clean and shiny, get about half way done and decide to stop because I am too pooped!
    I had a 40th (gasp!) HS class reunion last fall. Mostly the discussion was dealing with aging parents and how work was difficult because we just didn’t give a crap anymore and could not put up with the workplace BS any longer.

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  77. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 9, 2017 at 7:57 am

    Suzanne, sandwich generation issues are one of the biggest topics of ministry discussion we have at the church I’m a part of; how to help find resources, supporting each other in navigating these transitions (car keys, assistance in the home, assisted living), and when & how to tell a 36 year old in the basement that you’re selling the house and getting a condo . . . etc.

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  78. Connie said on May 9, 2017 at 8:56 am

    I’m two years older than Nancy. Birthdays are just not a big deal to me.

    Sparrow, one of my great books of all time. How did the author of one of the great sf novels of all time end up being a western writer? A writer of westerns?

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  79. Andrea said on May 9, 2017 at 8:59 am

    I turned 50 last Friday. It wasn’t so bad… I did get my roots done that day and then was surprised by visits from my two sisters and brother, who came to stay for the weekend. It was a lot of fun and so good to see them. We are scattered all over the country in every time zone, so our opportunities to just hang out are limited.

    And because I didn’t know they were coming, I did not spend the days before cleaning my house and grocery shopping!

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  80. brian stouder said on May 9, 2017 at 9:45 am

    It sounds like a genuinely Happy Birthday, Andrea!

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  81. Sherri said on May 9, 2017 at 10:02 am

    It looks like Sinclair, the very conservative media conglomerate, will soon own two TV stations in the not very conservative Seattle market:

    I don’t watch TV news, though I believe the leading local newscast is still KING-5, though I don’t know since the Gannetification of that station a few years ago. I do know the top anchor was counting down the days until retirement after Gannet bought the station.

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  82. nancy said on May 9, 2017 at 10:10 am

    I’ll be updating later today, but before I do, I want to state on the record that if this cat transfer between Basset and Cooze happens, I want pictures. Of everybody, including the cat.

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  83. Deborah said on May 9, 2017 at 10:11 am

    Me too. Cat pictures all around.

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  84. Dorothy said on May 9, 2017 at 10:18 am

    Andrea that sounds pretty much like a perfect birthday! I’d love it if family showed up unexpectedly. I have 9 sibs and we too are spread out all over the eastern part of the country. I see some more frequently than others. I’ll miss our family reunion this month because my son’s best friend is getting married, and they asked my husband and I to watch the baby during the wedding and reception (and we were surprised to be invited!). So truth be told, I’d rather be with the baby than siblings. But having both together would be the best! Olivia will meet her great grandma in early July when we see Mum for her 95th birthday. Three of my sibs will be there, too.

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  85. Dorothy said on May 9, 2017 at 10:19 am

    Me three! (I must have been reading the last dozen comments or so and typing my comment @ 84 when Nancy posted that at 82!)

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  86. Julie Robinson said on May 9, 2017 at 10:31 am

    Kitty pictures! We want kitty pictures! In the interim, I’ve sent Nancy some of my mom’s new cat, Flower.

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  87. Maggie said on May 9, 2017 at 11:44 am

    Oh, Nancy, your post brought back memories. My maternal grandparents used to rent a cottage up at Fife Lake in northern Michigan during the summers. I remember swimming, lying on the dock on warm nights, looking up at the stars. I was reading my brother’s Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Barsoom series, and I kept trying to will myself to Mars. Once my grandma and my sibs and I took rowboat out and went fishing. My grandma caught a big pike, so big it dragged us around the lake before we hauled it in. (It is a fish story.) My job was scaling it. We ate it for supper and it was mostly tiny bones and one of my loose front teeth came out during dinner. One of the less pleasant memories was when I got leeches all over my legs by wading near a mucky part of the shoreline, and my dad decided to use his WWII tactical recollection of removing them by burning them off with a lit cigarette. (Turns out salt water would have done the trick. Ouch.)

    Now I’m 65 and I’m okay with that. I just have to keep remembering not to be surprised at stuff because after all, I’ve never been this old before. Having certain aches and pains doesn’t necessarily mean I’ve been injured, it just means that nothing works quite as well as when I was in my 30s – those were the best years for me, physically. I’ve got some gray in my hair, but not nearly as much as I had anticipated.

    One of the many things I’ve noticed about getting old is that I can talk to men much more easily now. (I’ve always had close women friends.) Especially younger men: it’s like they know that I know that they know that I know neither of us is ever going to ask the other person out. It’s been interesting, and freeing.

    Another vote for “The Sparrow”, and also for Russell’s book “A Thread of Grace”.

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  88. basset said on May 9, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    Well, Cooz hasn’t said he’ll do it yet, and the cat is still supposed to go back to his previous owner, so the handoff is a long shot. I do have one bad pic of the cat, taken by poking my phone down behind a bookcase he was hiding in, and I will send that to our Proprietress. Black cat in black shelves in the dark, tough conditions.

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  89. Jakash said on May 9, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    Not being a “cat person,” I’ve always heard about how cat photos and videos rule the internet, but have never paid attention. (Okay, I’ve seen a couple of the most ubiquitous, I suppose.) But the comments here over the last few posts have really been the first I’ve seen so many cat fanciers demonstrating their devotion. Uh, I still don’t get it, but it’s illuminating!

    And, while I don’t doubt this will be scorned by most, if not all, as a deeply unpopular, Grinchish attitude, I gotta say I’m just marveling at the idea that 2 seemingly grumpy, contrarian men of a certain age (a description that applies to me, as well!) are even considering driving hundreds of miles for the sake of a random cat that neither of them knew anything about 2 weeks ago. Not that there’s anything wrong with it!, and it’s quite obviously none of my business. ; ) I’m actually hesitant to post this outrageous observation — I feel almost like I’d be disdained less if I said what a fine fellow that Steve Bannon is…

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  90. Deborah said on May 9, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    No Jakash, you’re not the only one who has thought that. I find it adorable.

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  91. Deborah said on May 9, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    To clarify what I think is adorable, that two highly opinionated (a good thing) grown men who don’t know each other except through Nancy’s blog would go to lengths for a little bitty kitten.

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  92. Scout said on May 9, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    I agree with Jakash and Deborah. I think this whole kitty thing is amazing and wonderful. Of course… I’m a crazy old cat lady, so there’s that.

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  93. Connie said on May 9, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    Dogs. Only dogs. I’ll pet your cat while I’m at your house. THat’s about all.

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  94. Suzanne said on May 9, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    After Sally Yates’ testimony re: Flynn yesterday, and Shepherd Smith’s recent coming out announcement, I couldn’t resist taking a peek at the Fox News site. Top story?
    North Korea insults: Pyongyang’s putdowns target Obama, Clinton, Kerry

    Among the revelations is that the NK regime has called Obama a“juvenile delinquent,” “clown” and a “dirty fellow.” and the Hillary Clinton was “by no means intelligent” and a “funny lady.”

    But whatever, Fox. Whatever.

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  95. Sherri said on May 9, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    Murray will no longer seek re-election. Not really a surprise; there are now 4 people who have claimed sexual abuse, and there had to have been pressure on Murray by his supporters to back out so they could run a better candidate against McGinn, the previous mayor. Quite a fall.

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  96. Heather said on May 9, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    The power of cats! I am a member of a Facebook group for the “cat man of Aleppo,” a former ambulance driver in Syria who is now running a cat shelter there. It’s very touching. He helps dogs and kids too. But yeah, the internet is basically for cat videos and porn.

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  97. Dorothy said on May 9, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    These days I might happily pass along my cat of nearly 8 years, the I’ll-piss-or-poop-anywhere-I-please Lucy. It’s difficult to keep loving a cat that you have to clean up after. The vet said she’s reacting to creatures she sees outside. We have a cat or two that slink around our house and she can see them and/or smell them. So she leaves these warning shots, and it’s about to make me strangle her.

    In June 2008 my husband drove from Knox County OH to meet up with our former next door neighbor Carlos (who lived in Simpsonville, SC) so we could adopt their big dog, 2 year old Husky. They met somewhere in Kentucky, halfway for both drivers. Carlos and family were moving to California and none of their friends in SC wanted him. This week we are nursing Husk along because he has a tumor on his spleen, and his eating habits are becoming more scarce, and we can tell he’s in discomfort. We have an appointment on Friday to say good bye to him, at 2:00. He has been a grand, beautiful, loyal and happy dog. Quiet and stoic and he was always happiest right after he took a dump! Mike nicknamed him “The Coroner” when we lived in Mt. Vernon because when they’d come across a dead animal on the road, Husk took great interest in it, and the expression on his face seemed to say he was concluding what the cause of death was. (Usually a set of tires but once in awhile it was a mystery). We will be dogless for awhile because we have the grandgirl now, and we like to spend a lot of time with her when we visit. Makes for a long day when we go to see her because it’s an hour drive each way. Who knows if we’ll cave in and get another dog soon? I’m trying to be the sensible one. Anyway, I’m melancholy as hell knowing we have to say good bye to him. It was only 5 months ago yesterday that we lost Augie.

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  98. Deborah said on May 9, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    Oh Dorothy, so sad, I’m so sorry. Really hard to have happen so soon after your other dog. I had never heard about cats doing that when they see other animals, that’s a new one to me.

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  99. Julie Robinson said on May 9, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    Dorothy, I’m tearing up. It’s just unfair, two furbabies in such a short time. Sending you all the virtual hugs I can.

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  100. Judybusy said on May 9, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    Dorothy, I am so sorry to hear about your dog. What a sweet adoption story! I just know you and the hubby were wonderful companions.

    Cooz and Basset, thank you for being so kind. I hope you do get pictures of the whole thing to us! It is also my hope that some of the word slinging will be diminished once you meet in person. I think you have far more in common in terms of values than you suspect.

    Done with work for the day. A friend is coming over for dinner, so I’ll get started now on the pad thai. (worked from home this p.m.) Then we’ll settle in and watch a couple episodes of Bosch on Amazon.

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  101. Deborah said on May 9, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    Scout just posted something on FB about Comey being fired and I’ve been looking for more info about it on-line. It’s so late breaking, there’s not much out there yet.

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  102. alex said on May 9, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    It’s twoo, it’s twoo:

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  103. basset said on May 9, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    Judybusy, nobody’s said this is gonna happen yet.

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  104. Suzanne said on May 9, 2017 at 6:37 pm

    Comey must have said something in that hearing that the Trumpster didn’t like.

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  105. alex said on May 9, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    Or Trump’s dumb enough to believe he can rig the FBI investigation of his Russia ties by appointing someone else.

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  106. basset said on May 9, 2017 at 7:46 pm

    We have these window blinds, don’t know what they’re called but they’re horizontally pleated cloth and they fold up when you lift the bottom edge. While we were asleep last night or out of the house today, the cat tried to climb them and did some damage. Just hissed at me again, too, and yowled while I was dropping treats to him. This can’t last.

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  107. Scout said on May 9, 2017 at 8:13 pm

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  108. Dorothy said on May 9, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    I think you have Roman shades, basset. I have them in my house. Draperies are not my thing. I like the cleanness of shades and no drapes.

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  109. coozledad said on May 9, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    The FBI was preparing to issue subpoenas for a grand jury investigation. Trump, Sessions, Pence, McConnell, Nunes- all compromised. All should be in jail right this minute.

    Everyone should have seen this coming the minute the Republicans started wrapping themselves in the flag and pining for segregation. Ethnic nationalism has turned out to be the perfect lever for the Russians to take over yet another nation of dumbfucks.

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  110. Deborah said on May 9, 2017 at 9:38 pm

    I’m at the symphony, its intermission and I just had to check out the Trump/Comey developments. It’s so, so obvious that this has NOTHING to do with the Clinton stuff as they’re trying to say and EVERYTHING to do with the Russia investigation. They will probably fool some of the people but my god this is blatant. Unbelievable.

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  111. Sherri said on May 9, 2017 at 10:11 pm

    Giuliani? The reanimated corpse of Robert Bork? Will the Senate even bother to hold hearings on a successor, or will Mitch McConnell just declare that we know the outcome, why vote?

    At least my truancy board meeting went better than I had hoped. One family had completely turned things around 180 degrees, kid hadn’t missed a class, grades were salvaged enough for him to be eligible to play baseball, and family situation was stabilizing. I thought this family had a good chance of success, but they really knocked it out of the park. The other family, which I was pretty pessimistic about, made more progress than I thought they would. Kid still isn’t attending school, but he did get a job and was more engaged in the process this time. Mom, on the other hand, seemed less engaged, and they didn’t meet most of the commitments. Still, that the kid was actually asking questions made me feel a lot better about possibilities for him finding a way to turn things around.

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  112. Rana said on May 9, 2017 at 11:14 pm

    Oh, Dorothy. I’m so sorry to hear about your pup.

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  113. Diane said on May 9, 2017 at 11:59 pm

    Meanwhile, don’t look at that man behind the curtain coming with a CBO score.

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