The whirl.

Mercy, you folks must wonder what’s become of me. Honestly, it’s been a week. Nothing bad, but just constant running/driving/cooking/celebrating, to the point I’ve looked longingly at the calendar from time to time and longed for mid-January.

And then, when it finally arrives, I’ll be thinking, that was such a nice Christmas, wasn’t it? Because contradiction, thy name is Nance.

And it was a nice Christmas. If I’m feeling a little carb-bloated, well, I have no one to blame but myself. I got everything I wanted and more. We had a nice celebration here and in Columbus. Kate’s boyfriend came for the holiday — he’s an international student, and with Michigan’s short break, there was no sense in traveling all the way to Santiago for just a few days. We watched “Die Hard” and “Crazy Rich Asians.” We ate tamales on the Eve and had hot chocolate in my old Dutch double-walled milk warmer. Everything was fine.

Then, the next day? BACK TO WORK, GUYS. Although it’s not the usual grind — one of my jobs is dark this week, so it’s still a pretty leisurely pace. Time to think about what happens in January, plan for the year ahead, to the extent it’s possible.

The one-word resolution for 2019: Delete. Delete crap apps from the devices, delete all games, delete as much b.s. as possible from daily life.

We’ll see how that goes.

I’ve been following the comments these past few days, and I’m so grateful to have traveled to Paris with Deborah, to have celebrated with all of you, one way or another. (But especially to have gone to Paris. I mean, I’m sure Chicago was fine, but…) And I’m grateful to have been alive in this remarkable American moment, to watch the president of the United States ask a 7-year-old if she still believed in Santa Claus.

Because man, you couldn’t make that shit up, could you.

A few updates before I turn this over to you guys for the long New Year’s weekend:

Remember Ann, the Mrs. Claus I wrote about for the Santa-school story? She performed for a special audience just before the holidays:

She said she asked Bill if he’d been a good boy, but he didn’t hear her.

And Jerusalem Santa, in the same story? He’s in the WashPost now.

This was depressing, but in a grim-purpose sort of way: What it’s like to work for a not-particularly-exciting-or-prestigious daily newspaper in the age of fake news. A good read.

And with that, I wish you a happy new year, and I’ll see you all in 2019.

Posted at 8:29 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

81 responses to “The whirl.”

  1. alex said on December 27, 2018 at 10:06 pm

    Bill Clinton’s looking skinny as a teen-ager these days. What’s up with that?

    For some added linkage, here’s some unseemliness:

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  2. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 27, 2018 at 11:02 pm

    Bill’s been a vegetarian, maybe even a vegan, for some time — I think since a heart procedure was done on him.

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  3. Dexter Friend said on December 28, 2018 at 2:36 am

    Bill lives mostly on beans since the clean-up heart procedure after the first one left problems. His McDonalds days are long gone.
    We had a great Christmas down just off the Columbus outer belt I-270. Ribs and New York strips on the 24th and a fancy table on the 25th, ham was the meat and every other thing were the sides, 3 pies, peppermint ice cream. Everyone was in a good relaxed mood, and thankful, as cancer invaded the family on several counts…my daughter is in the middle of chemo and in March begins radiation…but when the treatments cease, she will have a 98% chance of no more cancer. Two other members of the clan are battling severe problems with the disease…life goes on. ~ I went retro…my Ironman Triathlon watch is 19 years old and the buttons were frozen in place and so I requested an old fashioned clock-face watch that displays the time and date, minus laps, 12/24 feature, all that stuff. No need. I was gonna swear off K-Cups and toss the Keurig but I could not do it. I still use two regular pots but when I am rushed a Keurig is like a friend who helps get me out the door.

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  4. Deborah said on December 28, 2018 at 6:53 am

    I hate it when this happens, our flight to NM was canceled this morning. After I got up at 4:30am, made coffee, got dressed and then we get the text at 5:30. Crap. Trying to reschedule, my husband has been on the phone for 20 minutes. They’re having a snowstorm in Northern NM. At least our European flights went as scheduled. Always a risk when you travel, especially in the winter.

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  5. Deborah said on December 28, 2018 at 7:38 am

    After being on the phone for an hour, my husband managed to get us on a flight tomorrow at 6:30pm that goes through Phoenix getting us to Albuquerque at midnight, after the last shuttle to Santa Fe. So now we have to figure out how we’re going to get to Santa Fe, 60 miles from the airport.

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  6. David C. said on December 28, 2018 at 8:31 am

    Even a couple days of Santiago summertime sounds better than Upper Midwest gloom. I’ve had it up to here with gloom.

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  7. Connie said on December 28, 2018 at 9:39 am

    We have had a nice quiet Christmas. Christmas afternoon dinner at my 97 year old mother in law”s just an hour or so down the road. Tomorrow to my dad’s on the west side of the state where my Baltimore great nephew’s arrived yesterday. I just enjoy having the days off work and not doing much. Although I am hoping to get to the Henry Ford Museum while the Norman Rockwell Four Freedom paintings are still there, which give me until January 13. So Happy Holidays to you all. I still have a little wrapping to do. I hate wrapping.

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  8. JodiP said on December 28, 2018 at 10:00 am

    Hmmm, I had written a longish comment, but when I hit submit, it stated I’d already submitted that. Happily, I was able to go back and copy it:

    Glad to see you back! We also had lots of fun, and am glad it’s over. We didn’t have plans for NYE, but friends asked if we wanted to get together. Oh, yes, but we are not hosting. We cooked for both our families this year, plus other dinners with friends. Two college students I met randomly two years ago are coming tonight. I was going to do a new salmon recipe but decided to go easy with risotto with spinach, red bell peppers and pine nuts. I am making a new salad of tangerines and fresh mozarella.

    We have no plans with others the whole weekend. We’ve decided to see the Mary Poppins movie and make pasta for the first time in ages. Hygge all the way.

    I saw Widows last night–great thriller with surprising plot developments, interesting cinematography and an intense performance by Viola Davis.

    Also, for a while, people thought aliens had come to NYC.

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  9. Mark P said on December 28, 2018 at 10:37 am

    This was my first Christmas as the sole surviving member of my family, after my brother died in April. Now just me and my wife. Well, plus some dogs and cats. We ate at Ryan’s buffet. Decent turkey, but dressing made with sweet cornbread, a travesty. Not even good bread pudding. At least my older nephew came for a short visit. As we sat talking I saw my brother, and even a few flashes of my father, gone these 19 years.

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  10. Connie said on December 28, 2018 at 11:42 am

    So Deborah it could be worse. That giant Con Ed transformer that blew up last night and made the sky blue means that the power is out at La Guardia. So how long does it take to drive to New Mexico?

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  11. Heather said on December 28, 2018 at 11:48 am

    That sounds bittersweet, Mark P. The holidays can be tough when they remind you of loss. After 30 years I still really miss my mom at Christmas. She loved it so much and I think of her when I unpack all of our old family ornaments. It makes me sad that all the stories associated with them will die with me and they’ll probably end up in a thrift store, but at least I can enjoy them now.

    I ended up spending the holiday entirely alone but it was great. I made some good meals for myself and drank some great wine, cuddled extensively with the cat, and went for some long walks. It was very restful and restorative–just what I needed.

    Now I’m back at work, sort of. I’m working from home. How does one work again?

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  12. Deborah said on December 28, 2018 at 11:56 am

    So it turns out there is a later shuttle between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, it leaves the airport at 12:30am. Hopefully our flight tomorrow won’t be delayed so we can make that, otherwise we spend the night in a hotel in Albuquerque and take the train to Santa Fe in the morning. I really am not that bummed out by the cancellation of our flight this morning except that I got up so early for nothing. I would have been royally bummed if our international flights had been delayed. I will be taking a nap today, I can feel it coming on already.

    Connie, it takes about 17 or 18 hours to drive to NM. Our Jeep stays in NM and we don’t have a car anymore in Charge.

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  13. Suzanne said on December 28, 2018 at 12:03 pm

    I have a college friend who lives in NYC. She said that transformer blow was wild! No one knew what was going on when the nighttime sky turned very very blue.

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  14. Sherri said on December 28, 2018 at 2:30 pm

    We don’t have any crazy blue skies as a result, but thanks to a huge CenturyLink outage, large chunks of Western WA don’t have 911 service still. A friend of mine works for the 911 service provider for most of the eastside suburbs here, and she’s been doing her job and her boss’s job this month, because he’s been on vacation. This is like the third major thing that has happened during his vacation, so she’s been pretty stressed out!

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  15. JodiP said on December 28, 2018 at 2:43 pm

    Glad to see you back! We also had lots of fun, and am glad it’s over. We didn’t have plans for NYE, but friends asked if we wanted to get together. Oh, yes, but we are not hosting. We cooked for both our families this year, plus other dinners with friends. Two college students I met randomly two years ago are coming tonight. I was going to do a new salmon recipe but decided to go easy with risotto with spinach, red bell peppers and pine nuts. I am making a new salad of tangerines and fresh mozarella.

    We have no plans with others the whole weekend. We’ve decided to see the Mary Poppins movie and make pasta for the first time in ages. Hygge all the way.

    I saw Widows last night–great thriller with surprising plot developments, interesting cinematography and an intense performance by Viola Davis.

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  16. Connie said on December 28, 2018 at 2:45 pm

    Large chunks of the country were without 911 service overnight due to the huge CenturyLink outage. I saw a map in one story and while it was mostly in the western half of the country it included not only Seattle but big chunks of Texas.

    Author John Scalzi live in rural Ohio and has CenturyLink at his home and hates it. But has no other options. He was down as well.

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  17. brian stouder said on December 28, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    re: the Mary Poppins movie


    We caught it at the theater in Logansport, along with extended family, and it capped the Christmas visit very nicely

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  18. Suzanne said on December 28, 2018 at 4:09 pm

    I have a friend who worked for CenturyLink for a short time. She always told be that for anyone who had CenturyLink as their phone provider, it was a freaking miracle if there was a dail tone when they picked up their phone.

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  19. basset said on December 28, 2018 at 4:31 pm

    Back from northern Michigan… 1422 miles round trip, counting a trip into town from Caberfae to get dinner vegetables and more wine. Couple inches of snow just after we got there on the 24th, 14 degrees on Christmas morning, that drive gets harder every time though.

    So of course I got up at four this morning and drove an hour out to the woods as we play out the string on deer season, didn’t see a one.

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  20. Colleen said on December 28, 2018 at 5:35 pm

    No NYE plans for us. After two years in Florida, we truly have no friends. Not being church goers, and only nodding acquaintances with neighbors makes for a rather friendless existence. To top it off, we both work from home. I used to go into the office, so at least I had that interaction, but they switched our department to being remote a few months ago. Good thing Steve and I really like each other, despite being married.
    We had a nice holiday. My sister and her husband came from San Francisco, and she and I made Christmas dinner at my parents’ house. My dad made prime rib that was to die for, and my vanilla brioche bread pudding was pretty amazing, if I do say so. (Thanks, Ina Garten).
    So now I must get back to healthier eating before Tiny Trainer plants one of her sneakers in my backside. She’s already got me doing split squats and sumo deadlifts. Who knows what new challenge she will devise if I don’t get on the ball…
    Happy 2019 to all. I look forward to the interesting and intelligent discussions sure to come at the nn.c tavern.

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  21. Dexter Friend said on December 28, 2018 at 6:27 pm

    I know 2 people who live in Astoria and they didn’t know what to think when that damn thing blew up all to hell…I also have an old high school friend who is in Brooklyn with her daughters and there were a lot of questions for ConEd I hear. ~ We all love YouTube I assume; I post way too many tunes on Facebook, but I have been doing that for 13 years now and today I found the coolest one I have ever posted. If you ever liked or loved John Prine’s art, you will be moved by this, I guarantee you will be:

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  22. Dexter Friend said on December 28, 2018 at 6:32 pm (audio included…NYC blue-sky transformer 138,000 volt explosion)

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  23. Julie Robinson said on December 28, 2018 at 7:41 pm

    LAMary gave us some primo snark on Melania at the end of the last thread, but Mary, how did you overlook the Donald? The jacket he wore in Iraq was not, shall we say, a large man’s friend. He looked like a sickly green version of the Stay-Puf man from Ghostbusters. As in, the same size.

    All snark aside, I loved the new Mary Poppins. Was it as great as the original? How could it be. I decided to just enjoy it without nitpicking.

    Yesterday we went on a boat tour of the lakes around tony Winter Park, Florida. It seemed like a low-key, fun little trip, good when you’re traveling with an 86 year old.

    But I’ve learned that my tolerance for the wretched excess of the wealthy has diminished. After the third or fourth 28,000 square foot house, I was no longer enjoying myself. To make it worse, the pilot made both racist and sexist comments. After he leeringly suggested that a woman doing yoga onshore could ride his boat anytime, I said there goes your tip. Out loud. He may not have heard me over the motor, but others did, and I caught a few head nods from other women.

    Today was much better, with a leisurely stroll through the Leu Botanical Gardens. Flowers, flowers, flowers; Mom and I were blissed out.

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  24. Deborah said on December 28, 2018 at 7:47 pm

    Today has been a weird day of limbo, since our flight to NM this morning was canceled. All of my errands to do in Chicago had been accomplished on the days before the flight was scheduled, so I really had nothing to do today. I spent a lot of time on Netflix while having an uneasy feeling of being unproductive since I had scheduled a lot of things to do in New Mexico. So as I said, the overall feeling today has been limbo.

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  25. basset said on December 28, 2018 at 9:42 pm

    Dexter, that’s the real stuff right there. Prine is the man.

    Maybe thirty years ago I was truck shopping in Nashville and walking around the GMC dealer’s lot downtown looking at window stickers when I realized the other guy there doing the same thing was… John Prine. Don’t know if he bought one or not, I got a Nissan.

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  26. Joe Kobiela said on December 28, 2018 at 9:43 pm

    Dexter friend,
    Thanks so much for the John Prine, the guy is a genius song writer to bad most people have no idea who he is.
    Pilot Joe

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  27. ROGirl said on December 29, 2018 at 7:06 am

    John Prine is an old favorite of mine, back to the Steve Goodman days.

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  28. Deborah said on December 29, 2018 at 10:47 am

    I was reading about the Malaysian financial scandal (1MDB or whatever it’s called) this morning and the article mentioned that the corrupt former prime minister’s wife held up a flight from a Hong Kong shopping trip because she had so much luggage it took extra time to load. That reminded me of an incident when we were in London the week before last, we went back to our hotel after an outing and the entire vestibule was loaded up with luggage (must have been 30 or more pieces of luggage) and more was being taken out of a black van. We could barely get past. There were 3 black men standing nearby, 2 of them nattily dressed young men and and older gentlemen. The hotel staff were highly apologetic to us about the obstruction at the entrance, said there was a delegation from Africa in town and a few were staying there. It looked like they were going to be there for months. There were also lots of blue plastic IKEA bags full of food among the luggage. A day or 2 later on the tiny (typical European) elevator, the older gentleman got on and he reeked of cooking odors, we surmised that he was the cook for the 2 young guys or something like that. They might have been royalty, who knows?

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  29. susan said on December 29, 2018 at 11:06 am

    They might have been royalty, who knows? = thieves & plunderers of public assets

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  30. Alan Stamm said on December 29, 2018 at 11:38 am

    If I did resolutions, I’d resolve to try to avoid making you regret putting Nance in play. But I’d surely fail anyhow, so why pretend?

    Happy New Year, Nancy.

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  31. Deborah said on December 29, 2018 at 3:39 pm

    Another limbo day waiting until we can leave for Midway for our flight to NM. Killed some time watching a movie on Netflix called Certain Women with a good cast, Laura Dern, Michelle Williams and Kristin Stewart etc. it was filmed in and around Livingston, MT which made me think of our road trip in the summer, and meeting Charlotte. I liked the movie, but I can see that it’s probably a movie a lot of people wouldn’t like.

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  32. LAMary said on December 29, 2018 at 5:04 pm

    Julie, I skipped the Donald’s jacket because I think they must give those fugly jackets to whatever president comes to visit. I’m pretty sure I saw Bush in one of those.

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  33. alex said on December 29, 2018 at 5:10 pm

    Just came back from my mom’s surprise 90th birthday party. It went off splendidly. It also made me realize I’m more senescent than she is. Lately my word-finding abilities are for shit.

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  34. Suzanne said on December 29, 2018 at 5:20 pm

    I have the same problem, Alex. I can’t remember peoples’ name anymore for anything, but it comes and goes. It freaks me out when it’s someone I know super well and all the sudden can’t remember their name. And I reword sentences more than I want to admit because I can’t think of a word.
    The aging process is uglier than I suspected it would be.

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  35. Dorothy said on December 29, 2018 at 5:23 pm

    I love reading everyone’s tales of how they spent Christmas! And Colleen we are in the same boat. Five years we’ve lived here and we really don’t socialize here very much. We have fun when we go to parties or stage shows involving faculty musicians or students from my department. Maybe it’s the age gap and existing long time friendships that seem to present barriers to us forming friendships that would extend to going out to dinner or a movie with others with similar interests. I’ve learned to live with it, having moved four times since 2002. But it still kind of stings sometimes. I’m glad Mike and I get along so well.

    Anyone else seen Bodyguard on Netflix? We really liked all the twists and turns. Homecoming on Prime was intriguing as well. We want to see Mary Poppins next. Vice was rather bracing; Mary Queen of Scots was good but not great; The Favourite had great acting but the plot was not what we thought it was going to be. Glad I saw it but I was aiming for some laughs. There weren’t many.

    You will laugh at this. My daughter just sent the link because she copy edited it:

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  36. David C. said on December 29, 2018 at 6:10 pm

    I’ve never been able to remember names. I can fake my way around it when I’m alone. When Mary is with me and I meet someone I’ve worked with for over ten years and I want to introduce them I sometimes end up embarrassing myself. It’s part of my dyslexia, so I tell them that. But I still feel awful for not remembering.

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  37. Deborah said on December 29, 2018 at 6:31 pm

    Remembering names started being a problem for me about 10 years ago. I was still working so I tried all kinds of mnemonic devices and notes to myself, or I just avoided saying names when I said hello etc. it worked most of the time.

    We’re at Midway where we have unfortunately been informed that our flight is delayed 45 mins which probably means we’ll miss our Phoenix connection or the last shuttle to Santa Fe. We’ll either be spending the night in Phoenix or Albuquerque. If we make the last shuttle to Santa Fe we arrive there at about 2am and then we have to try and get a Lyft to our apt or we walk 3/4 of a mile on snow and ice. So no fun either way. Traveling in winter can be a pain, but this hasn’t happened to us for a while so we were due.

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  38. David C. said on December 29, 2018 at 6:53 pm

    I always figured all memory tricks just made things harder. You have to remember the trick and the name. It just doubles the effort. My aunt was at some shindig and met a guy whose last name was Nabors. She related it to Jim Nabors. On their way home, my uncle asked her why she kept calling the guy Gomer.

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  39. Deborah said on December 29, 2018 at 7:38 pm

    David C, when I was in 7th grade I had to learn the capitols of Eastern European cities for a social studies course. I came up with some mnemonic devices to remember them. Fast forward many, many decades later when somebody (higher up) asked what the Capitol of Bulgaria was and I immediately piped up Sophia. I had associated it with Sophia Loren who was popular when I was in 7th grade, she had “bulges”. I was astounded that I remembered that lo those many years later. I remembered Bucharest for Romania, because of the R, and Budapest for Hungary because no R. Those are the only ones I remember though.

    Our flight has now been delayed an hour so there’s no doubt we’ll miss our connection unless a miracle happens.

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  40. Little Bird said on December 29, 2018 at 11:54 pm

    Deborah was able to board the first plane (there was some question about that happening at the last minute)! I don’t know yet if she has been able to make the connecting flight yet. But it’s possible that she’ll make it here tonight instead of some time tomorrow!

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  41. Deborah said on December 30, 2018 at 2:57 am

    Hard to believe we’re on the shuttle from ABQ to Santa Fe. Everything was delayed so it miraculously worked out. Now I have to try and get a Lyft from where the shuttle drops us off to the apartment at 2am. It’s about 10° in Santa Fe right now with ice and snow so I’m not crazy about walking 3/4 of a mile.

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  42. Deborah said on December 30, 2018 at 10:25 am

    Well people, we had to walk to the apartment from the shuttle stop and boy howdy I’m never doing anything like that again. It was 9°, icy as fuck and dark. Next time traveling in the winter if timing gets all screwed up into the wee hours we take a limo from the airport directly to the apartment, I don’t care how much it costs.

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  43. brian stouder said on December 30, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    Deborah – good to hear that you and yours are back at home. I’ve only travelled by air a handful of times; generally – I’m all for car trips (much more to see, including unforeseen treasures); but that doesn’t work if one is going to see another continent!

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  44. Heather said on December 30, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    I also notice the memory thing. A couple of weeks ago I also had my first real experience of brain fog, which was scary as hell. I suspect it was due to bad anxiety, or possibly perimenopause? It felt like my brain was full of cotton, just like they say.

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  45. LAMary said on December 30, 2018 at 3:14 pm

    The junior Donald went to Mar-a-Lago with the soon to be ex. It looks like they forgot to pack jammies for the kids and the poor tykes slept in their clothes.

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  46. Deborah said on December 30, 2018 at 5:28 pm

    I’ve been continuing to read the lastest (and last) tome by Karl Ove Knausgaard in the My Struggle series, he elaborates on Hitler’s middle phase after going in depth into his early phase. It’s remarkable how one can draw parallels with what is going on in this country (and the world) now and what happened then. Let’s hope that it is curtailed before it falls into a similar end phase.

    The ski people in northern NM must be ecstatic there has been so much snow this year so far and more to come the next few days. The roads are hazardous though. Creepy crawly driving is the only way to get around on the side streets.

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  47. LAMary said on December 30, 2018 at 7:53 pm

    It’s got worse with age, but I’ve always been bad with names. I’ll remember all sorts of details about a person but not their name. I recognized a woman in a store in Beverly Hills in the late 80s. I asked her if she had fixed me up with her brother John on a date in 1971 in Philadelphia. I told her my name and how I knew her, other than going out to eat with her brother John in Germantown (once). I also asked her if she sang a Cat Stevens song for her year end project for a class called Art 5. Yes to all of the above and she told me her name.

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  48. Suzanne said on December 30, 2018 at 10:08 pm

    Yes, LAMary, yes! I see someone and can know all about their life, what car they drive, how many kids and where they live, what the spouse does, how we know each other, etc. can I remember the name? Nope!

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  49. Deborah said on December 30, 2018 at 11:15 pm

    So true LA Mary about remembering the details and not the name. My sister in law who is a decade older than me told me that names are the first thing to go, I’m going to have to read up on neurobiology now to learn why that is.

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  50. Sherri said on December 30, 2018 at 11:59 pm

    I thought I’d do a list of my favorite media consumed over 2018. Like many, I struggle to read books these days; trump world just makes it so hard to maintain focus. I don’t make it to many movies, either. So TV series and podcasts make up the bulk of my media consumption, and here’s what I liked, in no particular order.

    -Killing Eve. Started watching this just because it starred Sandra Oh, and loved it from the first episode.
    -Counterpart. JK Simmons, and an interesting premise.
    -The Americans. The two greatest TV marriages were Philip and Elizabeth, and Coach and Tami from Friday Night Lights.
    -Serial. This season, in a Cleveland court house, was the best yet.
    -The Dream. About MLM.
    -Dr Death. Dallas neurosurgeon criminally incompetent, yet keeps moving from hospital to hospital.
    -The Good Fight. I don’t subscribe to the stupid CBS All Access, but I bought this show. Love Christine Baranski, and Audra McDonald joined the cast this season. You could also binge the show during the free 7 day trial, or just pay for a month and drop the subscription.
    -Succession. This one grew on me.
    -Bosch. I thought this was the best season. This show doesn’t get buzz, but there’s something to be said for show that know what they do and do it well.

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  51. David C. said on December 31, 2018 at 6:13 am

    I’m so relieved that I’m not the only one who has difficulty with names. Sometimes it’s hard to believe I’m not the only one.

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  52. Deborah said on December 31, 2018 at 7:36 am

    Sherri, what’s MLM?

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  53. basset said on December 31, 2018 at 8:16 am

    Someone who knows more about cooking than me, help me out here… is “steak Diane” pronounced “die-ann” or “dee-yon” or maybe some other way?

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  54. David C. said on December 31, 2018 at 8:28 am

    Deborah, MLM is multi-level marketing. ScAmway, Mary Kay, Avon, Herbalife, etc.

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  55. JodiP said on December 31, 2018 at 9:24 am

    I do OK with names, mostly because I do the mnenomics thing and use the person’s name during the conversation. There have been times when I’m nervous/excited, and I immediately forget the person’s name! I just let them know I’m terribly sorry, but if they could tell me their name again…

    I have a hard time recognizing some people until I’ve met them 3 or 4 times. And if they change their hair or glasses in the meantime…I really use those cues to imprint people in my brain. There are two nurses here at the county that I am very careful not to use their names because they look so alike to me.

    Mary Poppins Returns was perfect in every way! We felt like giddy 6 year olds afterwards. It was solid candy floss—great casting, acting, costumes.

    Sherri, I am also a huge Bosch fan. The music, the production values, the way they’ve worked with the plots from the books are stellar.

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  56. David C. said on December 31, 2018 at 9:54 am

    Maybe that’s why I have a hard time with names. I was traumatized because a my dad and a bunch of his friends were into Dale Carnegie. The your name is the most important thing to you crap got on my nerves. “Hello, David. How are you, David? Isn’t the weather nice, David? How’s school going, David? Seen any good movies, David?” That’s just the first two minutes. After a while I’m JFC I haven’t forgotten I’m David and my name isn’t the most important thing to me. Therefore, I use people’s names sparingly, if at all. Maybe I need to do a slight course correction and use their names once in a while.

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  57. Julie Robinson said on December 31, 2018 at 10:41 am

    Both of us are horrible with names and always have been, but I have a very circular memory like Mary mentions. I’ll remember what was happening in our lives, what we talked about, and maybe even what they were wearing. Their name, not so much.

    Sherri, I did read a lot of books last year, mostly via audio books. But I realized that most of them were depressing, so I’m not sure how edifying they were. I need to get better at decoding the vocabulary critics use, kind of like real estate lingo.

    The problem is I don’t enjoy most light reading like Nora Roberts or James Patterson or even John Grisham, because the plots are all the same.

    My favorite books this year were My Squirrel Days by Ellie Kemper and the tweet book Lin-Manuel Miranda did. Both of them were cute and funny, but too short.

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  58. JodiP said on December 31, 2018 at 11:42 am

    David C., I definitely don’t overuse the name–mostly just to confirm at the end and to say goodbye! That DC sh*t would be sooo annoying. When clients use my name a lot in a conversation, I assume they’re trying to snow me. Yep, it happens.

    Julie, Rita Moreno read the audio for the Sonia Sotomayor autobiography, which I found wonderful.

    I am listening to the Daily’s podcast about Trump’s $ per recommendation by Nancy via FB. I am learning a lot: he’s been lying for years, dad propped him up via loans. They also colluded to increase stock prices so Fred could buy low and sell high. I am also grateful for the speed-up function on podcasts, because some hosts/reporters speak so slowly and dramatically with lots of pauses.

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  59. Suzanne said on December 31, 2018 at 11:58 am

    I second the recommendation of the audio version of Sonia Sotomayor’s memoir. It’s wonderful!

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  60. Julie Robinson said on December 31, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    The Sotomayor book was a favorite a couple of years ago and Rita Moreno was wonderful. She’s always wonderful.

    My eyes are so crummy that if I can’t find an audio or large print book I generally skip it. I save my eyestrain time for the newspaper. I got an Orlando library card so I could use their digital services, since our library never has enough copies and you have to wait forever.

    Heading home tomorrow. I can haz a sad.

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  61. Sherri said on December 31, 2018 at 2:49 pm

    The reading I did manage this year tended to be light. I read the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy, and saw the movie, and enjoyed them. I just finished a couple of fantasy books by Naomi Novik, Uprooted and Spinning Silver, which were pretty good. I also read Mary Robinette Kowal’s Lady Astronaut novels, which were good enough. Probably the best book I read this year was The Alice Network, by Kate Quinn, a novel about a network of female WW1 spies.

    I want to read, but haven’t been able to yet, So You Want To Talk About Race, Winners Take All, and Good and Mad.

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  62. Deborah said on December 31, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    We are finally out at our cabin in Abiquiu. If all had gone well with our flights to NM we would have been here Saturday morning. It’s snowy and beautiful here, the wood burning stove has been cranked up, it will take a while for everything to warm up. LB baked us some bread and made chili for us to have our here. My brother in law who lives in Seattle sent us a Christmas gift of a bunch of smoked salmon and we keep canned soups and beans out here so we’re all set. Not hard to keep everything cold out under the stairs in coolers this time of year.

    The low tomorrow night will be 7°, that’s about as cold as it’s ever been while we’ve been out here. We may move our futons down to the main floor from the sleeping loft so we can keep loading the stove through the night. Otherwise it means going up and down the stairs through the night and the stairs are basically outside.

    My husband does that name repeating thing when he’s on business calls, when I called him out on it he claims he’s not aware he’s doing it.

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  63. Deborah said on December 31, 2018 at 3:36 pm

    High points of 2018:
    -Spending the summer in Abiquiu
    -Our road trip up into Utah, Wyoming and Montana
    -The Dems winning the house
    – London and Paris trip

    Favorite book read in 2018:
    My Struggle vol 6 by Karl Ove Knausgaard

    Favorite Movie watched in 2018:
    Certain Women (also most current so maybe not accurate)

    Favorite meal in 2018:
    Bibendum in London (again, same for 2017)

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  64. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 31, 2018 at 3:49 pm

    Deborah, I don’t believe you. I don’t believe it is snowy and beautiful in the Greater Abiquiu metroplex. You will have to post photos to convince me. That’s the only way I can be sure it’s snowy and beautiful there.

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  65. brian stouder said on December 31, 2018 at 3:55 pm

    For Christmas, I got Michelle Obama’s* book, amongst a few others, and I’m saving her ’til we roll into springtime (I figure her book will raise my spirits as the 2020 presidential primary contests take off).

    Just finished a surprisingly good Grant biography**, which was almost medicinal, as 2018 rolls to a close – as it spent a chapter or two focused on the literally existential challenges our nation faced when the Civil War ended and the United States had to redefine itself, while our president (Andy Johnson) was completely out of his depth and truly unfit to face the challenges of the times.

    In the meanwhile, Woodward’s Trump tome – “Fear” – has pulled me in, after spending a year on the end table, beckoning me.


    **American Ulysses, a tremendous review of which is here:

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  66. Julie Robinson said on December 31, 2018 at 4:21 pm

    Fear just came in on Overdrive but I haven’t started listening yet, guess I don’t really want to. I got Alec Baldwin’s Trump parody book and found I couldn’t get through that. Crazy Rich Asians is ready for listening, maybe that will be next.

    I did read The Alice Network but as good as it was I found it depressing too. I’m currently listening to Eric Idle’s memoir and am quite enjoying it. He’s had an amazing life and career, and is appropriately thankful.

    The overarching theme for me is I need some lighter reading to counter the negativity in the world, and by world I mean Trump and the Republicans.

    Still in the library queue for Becoming.

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  67. alex said on December 31, 2018 at 4:29 pm

    Basset, I’ve always heard Steak Diane pronounced just as it looks. And now that you’ve mentioned it, I’m jonesing.

    Might be the perfect New Year’s Day meal.

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  68. Deborah said on December 31, 2018 at 4:34 pm

    Jeff Tmmo, believe me it’s as snowy as I’ve ever seen it here. I will take photos and post to FB shortly. One year, maybe 15 years ago it snowed 12” on NYE day, we were staying at the Abiquiu inn, they invited all of the guests to the restaurant for an impromptu party because we had no power, all candlelit, it was fun, that’s as much snow as we have now, maybe more and more to come through Weds. the highways are fine though so far.

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  69. Charlotte said on December 31, 2018 at 4:56 pm

    I’m with you on the Delete Nancy … deleted FB in November after a ridiculous weird episode with an old friend that made clear the toxic nature of that interface. Still on Twitter and IG — Twitter for lefty politics (and copyeditors!) and IG for dog walk and knitting pictures.
    One word resolution this year is Persevere. I’m looking at a table covered in memoir fragments, and a white board with what looks like a plausible structure. On the other hand, this book has defeated me at least twice before, so who knows? Persevere. As the Dalai Lama says: make positive action for the good.

    Happy New Year to all — here we go again, once more around the sun …

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  70. Dexter Friend said on December 31, 2018 at 5:28 pm

    The area I live in has seemingly been protected , generally speaking, by mostly Lake Michigan and Lake Erie, as L.Michigan acts like a barricade for awful snow and even the drenching rains others got lately. Until today, as it’s our turn for the rains. Even so, we are only going to get soaked for another 6 hours or so, then get blasted with 50+ mile per hour winds all night. A couple years ago tornadoes roared north of us in Michigan all summer long, headed for Detroit, and we got nothing. Today is the first real “weather day” we have had since a couple days late last spring. ~ The next book for me is a present from our daughter in Miami, which she bought down in the Keys: “The fast-paced and gripping true account of the extraordinary construction and spectacular demise of the Key West Railroad—one of the greatest engineering feats ever undertaken, destroyed in one fell swoop by the strongest storm ever to hit U.S. shores. ” — “Last Train to Paradise” by Les Standiford —Henry Flagler was quite an entrepreneur.

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  71. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 31, 2018 at 10:38 pm

    Come, children, gather round my knee;
    Something is about to be.

    Tonight’s December Thirty-First,
    Something is about to burst.

    The clock is crouching, dark and small,
    Like a time bomb in the hall.

    Hark! It’s midnight, children dear.
    Duck! Here comes another year.

    ~ Ogden Nash

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  72. basset said on December 31, 2018 at 11:45 pm

    OK, everyone, who’s gonna be your “first foot” this Hogmanay?

    Mama B. apparently saw this ritual when she was a child temporarily living in Scotland during WW2… didn’t like the Scots though, said they were cold and unfriendly.

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  73. LAMary said on January 1, 2019 at 12:16 am

    I own my snark and admit to loving Princess Margaret stories, so I bought the book Ninety Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret. The author actually had maybe forty two glimpses and he padded those to make a book. Ever since I learned that Private Eye magazine used to refer to her as “tired and emotional” at parties I’ve been seeking quality Princess Margaret shade.

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  74. bb in DE said on January 1, 2019 at 7:54 am

    Okay, that was straight up awesome. (By way of prologue, did I mention that the Mrs. sought and got a transfer last spring from her school in the Ramstein area to the one in Wiesbaden? Moving from there to here is how we spent our first week back in country, in August.) One highlight of our new digs here is that we’re on top of the last hill headed out of town to the NNW, so we have a sweeping vista of a nice big section of town below us. It’s maybe 2 miles from our house to the top of the hill directly south of us, and I’d guess 5 miles separate the farthest point one can see east to the same horizon point west. When the previous tenants gave us a tour the 1st time we looked at it, they even said, “It’s a great view of the New Year’s eve fireworks.” We figured they must have a li’l city display, maybe shot off near the big church in the altstadt (old, touristy section of town) or from the Kurhaus, a cultural center/ casino/ everyone’s-favorite-place-to-wed stately old building downtown. Fast forward to last night: townfolk started firing off random fireworks about 8, which was fun for a few minutes but we were able to pull ourselves away for snacks and other downstairs amusements. It started picking up around 11 and by 11:40 the fireworks were so loud and frequent that we couldn’t ignore the clamor. We looked out to discover it wasn’t a city *sponsored* display; buying and firing off a ridiculous amount of fireworks is just how the residents of Wiesbaden ring in the new year. By 11:50 we decided our view from the upstairs balcony was too obstructed by trees and neighbors’ houses to do the display justice, so we climbed the ladder to our roof. For at least 20 minutes, 10 on either side of midnight, the entire valley was one giant, continuous fireworks display, and because we were so elevated–on the roof of a 2-story house on top of the last hill in town–the whole shootin’ match was below us. The better half and I agreed it was the coolest fireworks display either of us have ever seen, and it was a completely spontaneous event to ring in the nothing-special-about-it 2019 new year (which means the locals do this every flippin’ year!)

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  75. Suzanne said on January 1, 2019 at 9:46 am

    Basset @72, I know someone who lived in Scotland for a year or so, probably about 10 years ago. He also said the Scottish people were kind of crabby and unpleasant. Of course, if the weather is gray and damp like it has been this fall, I completely understand.

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  76. basset said on January 1, 2019 at 10:28 am

    Never been there myself, but it’s on my bucket list. Mama B and her sister and mother lived there for awhile during WW2, Grandpa B was in the Royal Navy and on shore duty at Rosyth. The kids could have been evacuated to Canada but Grandma B refused to send them.

    And this happened around the same time… great example of how the Daily Mail can pump up a lead:

    Alex, we’re gonna try that steak dish tonight with venison, will report back.

    LAMary, so would you recommend that book?

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  77. Julie Robinson said on January 1, 2019 at 11:37 am

    I found the PM book a little trippy but worth the read. The book along with the Netflix series helped me understand her and the untenable life she had.

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  78. Deborah said on January 1, 2019 at 2:18 pm

    Happy New Year! It snowed another 2” last night on top of what was already there. My husband wouldn’t listen to me yesterday morning when I said we needed to bring more wood to Abiquiu because it’s so cold we have to keep the wood burning stove stoked all the time. Of course we used up a lot of the wood we brought and would not have enough to last long enough. Plus it’s so snowy, not good for gathering dead piñon wood that’s all over the land after the bark beetle fiasco. So we headed back to Santa Fe to bring back more wood from our wood pile there. I had to bite my tongue not to say “I told you so”.

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  79. beb said on January 1, 2019 at 2:34 pm

    It seems like it’s time for Nancy to put up a new post. I thought I’d encourage that by writing something here. That always seems to trigger anticipate a new thread….

    Saw this on Buzzfeed this morning. It was the most interesting, diverting and non-political thing I’ve seen in a while. So I had to share:
    18 famous movie scenes with and without the special effects. As they say about one scene, it’s must have been hard to keep a straight face acting in some of those scenes.

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  80. Sherri said on January 1, 2019 at 5:07 pm

    Getting ready to watch The Granddaddy of Them All, and hoping that UW can send Urban Meyer out a loser, no offense to any tOSU fans here. No college football coach is a hero, but Chris Peterson >Urban Meyer.

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  81. alex said on January 1, 2019 at 8:07 pm

    Well, Basset, it looks like I’ll be first up with a Steak Diane report.

    I’ll have to remember to use less salt next time. Other than that, I think this one’s a keeper. Easy to prepare and good enough for company. I used filet of beef from Kroger, pounded it thin, got a good sear while keeping it rare. I also used E&J brandy and liked the sweetness it gave the sauce. I’d been using Martell cognac recently in other dishes and didn’t think it contributed much to the flavor.

    I could even see doing mushrooms in Diane sauce as a side dish.

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