At least no trains and tunnels.

I envy those of you who have vivid dreams, funny dreams, the kind with truly David Lynch-ian symbolism and imagery. I hardly ever remember my dreams, and when I do, they involve one of two things, and sometimes both: Houses and water.

In dream symbolism, these are primary colors, no-brainers, the sort of thing Sigmund Freud would delegate to the interns. Houses are oneself, water is…well, it’s usually emotions, but it’s also anything you might find in poetry. I never wake up groggy and think, “What did that mean?” I know as soon as I wake up.

When I was pregnant, I had a recurrent dream of a koi pond. I could see the brightly colored fish moving around just under the surface, with one occasionally breaking the surface long enough for me to catch a glimpse, then diving down again. It was so obvious. I was very disappointed in my unimaginative subconscious.

Here’s my typical house dream: I am living in one, and one day I open an interior door and find…a previously unknown room. Which is actually part of a whole warren of undiscovered rooms, in a variety of states of repair, but usually good, but maybe with outdated decor. In the end, I realize that my house is far bigger than I knew.

Then I wake up.

I am large, I contain multitudes — of rooms.

How was your weekend? I put a couple of 2018 things behind me, and now truly feel ready for the new year. I was going to have a schvitz, but opted to clean a bathroom instead. One makes me feel as good as the other, and the schvitz will be there next weekend, whereas my bathroom needed cleaning now.

The auto show begins tomorrow — it’s already begun, actually — and that means the Charity Preview is Friday, and that means I have to spend a few days thinking about whether it’s OK that my jewelry is silver and my clutch, sorta gold. Weigh in, if you like.

Bloggage: This is a terrible story that will make you hate the pharmaceutical industry even more than you do already:

In the meantime, a portion of the more than 7 million diabetic Americans who take insulin are stuck with debilitating costs. Though most don’t pay the full list price for insulin because of insurance coverage and other rebates, some do, especially those who are uninsured, underinsured or facing a coverage gap through Medicare. “The most vulnerable patients are subsidizing the system,” William Cefalu, the chief scientific, medical and mission officer of the American Diabetes Association, told a Senate committee in May.

At the same hearing, a father from Maine told senators that a 90-day prescription for just one of his son’s insulins would cost him $1,489.46. That’s with his high-deductible insurance. He testified that he has taken to buying the same three-month supply from a Canadian pharmacy for about $300 plus $50 in shipping. (It’s technically illegal to import medication from other countries, but the Food and Drug Administration generally doesn’t prosecute individuals if it’s a short-term supply for personal use.) He is not alone in his dilemma: The website GoFundMe has thousands of posts with people pleading for help to pay for insulin.

This stupid country. A friend just got back to the U.S. after an extended stay in France. He’d needed an ultrasound while he was there, and had to pay out of pocket. “But it’s so much money!” the clinician fretted. Never mind that, he said; he’d pay. The bill was $60. For an $800 procedure in the U.S.

Couch-based entertainment update: Now watching “Killing Eve” (excellent), just finished “Leave No Trace,” which is merely heartbreaking.

Hello 2019, hello auto show. Hello, week. Hope yours is good.

Posted at 9:33 pm in Movies, Same ol' same ol', Television |
 

91 responses to “At least no trains and tunnels.”

  1. basset said on January 13, 2019 at 10:33 pm

    How was my weekend? Well, deer season ended Friday night, and Saturday morning I made sausage.

    Thought about going through my notes and seeing how many times I went out and from there figuring how many miles I drove to hunt (my main spot’s about a 100-mile round trip), then dividing that by the number of deer taken… well, maybe that’s not such a good idea.

    Anyone here familiar with the Crystal River area of Florida? Thinking about taking Mrs. B down to look at the manatees and need to find something else to do in the area or along the way. Went to some kind of tourist website about attractions in Alabama and about number nine or ten was an outlet mall.

    That said, the unclaimed baggage store in Scottsboro, Alabama, is definitely worth a visit… got a pair of 501s with the tags still on em for $10 last time I was there. Makes a nice day trip from Nashville with a stop at the Lodge cast-iron cooking pan factory along the way.

    (I know people who would laugh out loud at that. Be nice.)

    https://www.unclaimedbaggage.com/

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  2. Sherri said on January 13, 2019 at 11:03 pm

    My Nordstrom stylist assures me that it’s just fine to mix silver and gold.

    When I read recently that pharmaceutical companies spent more on stock buybacks than on R&D, I was beyond done with market-based health care. Socialized medicine!

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  3. Joe Kobiela said on January 13, 2019 at 11:14 pm

    My weekend was spent in ground school and the simulator, every six months back to refresher, good part it was in Tampa so I could run in a t-shirt and shorts bad part most the day was inside along with a sadistic sim instructor throwing all kinds of problems at you. Example, no auto pilot, only back up navigation, one engine dead, weather 200ft 1/2 mile, flying the ils into Memphis thru wind shear and 200ft from seeing the runway the working engine catches fire, and no flaps. Fun times. Saw everyone talking about a cheap airline to Europe just remember it’s cheap for a reason, take my advise pay a little more and fly on a legacy line, Delta, United, American, we may disagree on things but I still want you all to be safe, and Bassett try Pensacola or gulf shores Alabama, civil war forts in Alabama Daughfin island and navel aviation museum, top notch and free in Pensacola.
    Cheers from Stuart Florida
    Pilot Joe

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  4. beb said on January 13, 2019 at 11:50 pm

    Tarpin Bay, Fla was nice. Touristy but you can go on a dolphin cruise. We actually saw a couple on our cruise.

    As a type 2 diabetic I face the insulin problem every month. Currently it runs $285/30 days as my co-pay*. Medicare for all would be a great improvement over what we have today but until the “doughnut hole” is fixed it will be a mixed blessing

    * I’m on Medicare and am in the hole.

    But the real robbery is emergency services —
    https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/1/7/18137967/er-bills-zuckerberg-san-francisco-general-hospital

    The moral is that capitalism is organized theft.

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  5. alex said on January 14, 2019 at 6:13 am

    beb, I needed a tube of KY just to read about that ER bill.

    One of the things I do in my job is subpoena payment histories on medical bills to find out the real cost, which is whatever a hospital or other medical provider has accepted in full satisfaction of the bill, usually cents on the dollar. This is how we deflate personal injury claims in Indiana. If you want a big windfall for your little ouchie, you need to go litigate in some other state where evidence of charges but not the amount paid is admissible at trial.

    The house dream, I’ve had it too. It’s done wonders for my real estate value. Too bad I always have to awaken from it. Haven’t been visited by that one for a while, and it’s been a really long time since I had the dream where it’s finals week in college and I just discovered that I enrolled in a class that I never attended and need to cram for it.

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  6. Heather said on January 14, 2019 at 8:01 am

    I’ve frequently had the house dream, and usually it’s such that I knew that the rooms were there but I forgot somehow. Lately I have been dreaming about being frantic and locking doors and windows against potential invaders, which…yeah. Let’s just say I struggle with being vulnerable in all kinds of relationships.

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  7. Suzanne said on January 14, 2019 at 8:54 am

    I don’t really understand stock buybacks. A friend who is a financial planner assures me it’s done by companies because they want to invest in their future but to me, it’s a scheme to get people to sell you their stock at a lower price and then resell them at a higher price, making more money for a few higher ups at the company.
    I guess after 2008, I no longer trust the financial industry. It seems like legalized gambling, basically, and we know, unless it’s a Trump casino, the house always ultimately wins.

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  8. basset said on January 14, 2019 at 9:04 am

    And, Joe, if you get it back on the ground in one piece you’re still in Memphis… no-win situation. I’m not a pilot but I’ve sat in a simulator twice, Learjet at the factory in Wichita and Blackhawk helicopter at Fort Campbell, crashed em both pretty quickly.

    We’ve been to the naval aviation museum in Pensacola twice and it is excellent. We usually stay in Navarre for our beach trips, less built up and touristy than Pensacola and Destin. The army aviation museum in south Alabama is on our way down this time, might try that. I am reminded, though, of our experience at the air force museum in Dayton… we were less than halfway through the exhibits:

    “Bored yet?”

    “Yes.”

    I did get a pic of her standing in the doorway of Nixon’s helicopter making double V signs, though.

    Thinking about doing a wild hog hunt on our trip, there are several options for that not too far from Crystal River. Gotta have something to occupy Mrs. B while I’m in the field, though… there are plenty of fishing and hunting lodges with nice common areas and even spas attached, thought she might get her toenails painted or something but hog hunts are way down at the redneck end of the scale, not gonna happen there.

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  9. Hank Stuever said on January 14, 2019 at 10:05 am

    Cher tells a great story about moving out of a house she owned for many years in Bel Air (I think?) and finding a room she never knew existed. And it wasn’t off the beaten path of this particular house. It was right in the middle of the place. There had been something in front of the door, which she’d assumed was a small closet. She found it hilarious and kind of disturbing.

    You literally lived the dream, I said. (I was interviewing her for a story. Paraphrasing here.)

    What dream? she asked.

    That dream everyone has, I said, where there’s a room in your house that you never knew existed. It’s supposed to signify optimism, possibility, the desire for something new. It really happened to you.

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  10. Joe Kobiela said on January 14, 2019 at 10:21 am

    Heard one story about Cher, probably not true but as she was driving by Mnt Rushmore she mentioned how amazing it was that erosion could carve those faces.
    Pilot Joe

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  11. Sherri said on January 14, 2019 at 10:31 am

    Suzanne, your friend is an example of why I don’t use a financial planner, because that explanation makes no sense. Stock buybacks reduce the amount of capital available for ready investment.

    Here’s how I understand what happens. A corporation has a lot of cash on its books, and no obvious place to invest it, no juicy little company to buy. Too much cash makes the company’s shareholders nervous, because they fear the company will spend it on frivolous things like employee salaries and benefits, which are costs and stockholders like revenues, not costs. So, instead, the company takes some of that cash and buys back some of the stock. That helps keep the stock price up, benefiting the high level employees whose compensation is largely stock-based, and keeps shareholders happy. Since the focus of business these days is all about shareholders, win!

    To no one’s surprise, the recent tax bill that allowed repatriation of foreign profits for US multinationals without having to pay taxes resulted in a few scattered one-off bonuses to workers and a lot of stock buybacks.

    Next time you hear that companies “can’t afford” to pay workers more, or train workers, or whatever, know that it’s not always that they can’t, it’s that they’ve made a choice to use that capital in other ways.

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  12. Suzanne said on January 14, 2019 at 12:27 pm

    Sounds about right, Sherri. The thing with financial planners is that they have a blind spot where the market is concerned. It will always go up eventually and it will always eventually work in your favor. Maybe, maybe not, since we don’t live forever. And I think the bulk of their work is trying to get clients out of paying taxes and trying to maximize the financial planner’s profits. Many of them now are charging fees on top of the commission they already get from what they sell you.

    Ran across this today: https://twitter.com/kurteichenwald/status/1084539186571558914?s=21
    Reminded me again of how many people I attempted to tell this to before the election and almost none would believe me. Although, on a positive note, even my 83 year old always-vote-Republican mother said she now thinks he’s nuts. But would she believe me about this before the election? Of course not.

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  13. Connie said on January 14, 2019 at 1:22 pm

    I rarely remember dreams, but I remember several of those house dreams. Houses with rooms you hadn’t found until after you’ve moved in. All of them interesting. The back side of one of those house included an unexpected canoe rental business on a river.

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  14. LAMary said on January 14, 2019 at 2:15 pm

    I always think that people who say mixing silver and gold is ok are trying to sell me something that doesn’t match my other stuff. Then again, I still think you can’t wear white shoes after labor day, straw hats before Easter, velvet before November (my grandmother’s voice is stuck in my head).

    I used to get a lot of dreams involving being in some crowded place, like the NY subway or in a long line at some store, and realizing I was not wearing pants or a skirt or something covering the bottom half. In my dream I would try to act cool and assume no one would notice. I think that’s a classic. Also the “sitting down to take an exam and realizing I was completely unprepared” dream happens from time to time.

    A few months ago I had a really vivid dream that was wonderful. First I should say that I really love Santa Fe in the winter. The smells, the snow, everything. During a particularly hot summer in LA, I bought a bottle of shampoo that was stupid expensive but was supposed to smell like Santa Fe. The first time I used it I washed my hair before going to bed. It did smell pretty great. My hair is long and it was wet when I went to bed. Then I had this great dream where I sat up in bed and my hair was glowing white and sparkling with ice crystals and it smelled like winter in Santa Fe. It gave me a feeling of incredible euphoria.
    I carefully ration my use of that shampoo. I don’t want to use it up and not be able try to recreate that experience occasionally.

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  15. Hank Stuever said on January 14, 2019 at 2:34 pm

    Pilot Joe, the story about Cher and Mount Rushmore has truth to it, in that it’s a story Sonny Bono used to tell about her. She also mentioned it in her eulogy for him. One of those too-good-to-check anecdotes.

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  16. Connie said on January 14, 2019 at 3:13 pm

    Remember the expensive bottle of Tabasco sauce? Yesterday a veteran friend of my husband’s fessed up to sending it, as he had a credit to use up. He had already sent us Omaha Steaks for Christmas, so we definitely owe him something.

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  17. Deborah said on January 14, 2019 at 4:38 pm

    Ditto on the House dreams but they’re a little different, they’re usually about the house I grew up in, in Miami. My dad had sold it after he remarried so my dreams are not based in reality at all for many reasons. So the dreams are about me having to sell that house but it has all kinds of additional rooms and even a pool etc. in my dreams it’s always very rundown and shabby and I have to put a lot of sweat equity into it. And I’m always ambivalent about selling it.

    LA Mary, I’m currently in Santa Fe in the winter and the smell is as you say always fantastic this time of year. But early fall is also great with the aromas of roasting green chilis everywhere. Then in the spring there’s the smell of the fruit tree blossoms. I just like the smell of the dirt here, the juniper bushes etc etc etc.

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  18. beb said on January 14, 2019 at 4:49 pm

    I’m fond of absurd idea that seem clever. I think reddit calls them shower thoughts. Anyway I have a compromise that might open the government. The Dem could pass that $5.7 billion wall appropriation but with a stipulation that none of the money can be spent before Feb. 2021. Thus Trump would get his money, but he doesn’t get to spend it.

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  19. LAMary said on January 14, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    Deborah, I agree. All the seasons smell great there. The juniper and pinon and the chilis. I’ve been there in the early fall. That chili smell is wonderful. I swear this shampoo smell was hallucinogenic. I may have some personal experience in that area and the shampoo was better than the last time I went there.

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  20. Julie Robinson said on January 14, 2019 at 5:01 pm

    Agree about financial planners. Even the supposedly independent ones all wanted to sell us something they’d earn commissions on. Our 401K company is non-profit with low expenses, so we decided to stay with them and switch into a targeted retirement fund.

    The diabetes drug increases are criminal. My late sister just about bankrupted herself buying all her diabetes drugs and supplies. After a lifetime of low paid work for the Women, Infants, and Children program, her pension plus social security couldn’t cover her medical costs, and she was drawing down her meager savings. The sad truth is that she only had enough for another year or two at best. It angers me whenever I think about it.

    I never have creative dreams, usually just ones where I’m looking for a bathroom. I’m boring that way.

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  21. Colleen said on January 14, 2019 at 5:12 pm

    I have the house dream now and then. But far more often is the haven’t been to class all semester dream.
    I have seen letters in medical charts regarding settlement of bills. Alex is right…if you can pay them cash right now, you will pay a TINY fraction of what they are billing you for. Of course, a tiny fraction of 6 figures is still a lot more than most of us have lying around…

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  22. Suzanne said on January 14, 2019 at 5:52 pm

    I have often had the house dream but never the I-haven’t-been-to-class dream. I have had dreams that I am flying and many dreams that I show up to work in old, crummy pajamas. Also, I often dream that I need a bathroom but the only toilet available is in the middle of a store or someone’s living room or some other public place, with no curtain or wall or anything like that.

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  23. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 14, 2019 at 7:56 pm

    Preachers have the dream of walking into a room and suddenly they’re supposed to preach, or even do a funeral, and you aren’t prepared, didn’t know, can’t come up with anything to say. Mine was going into a conference space and walking up the aisle, and having someone come up, escort me to the platform and say “they only expect about 30 minutes worth” and walk away, and I turn to face the room thinking “what is this conference about?” In the dream I asked if someone could bring me some water and suddenly we were a crowd walking down the middle of the road outside, the sun setting and the streetlights coming on.

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  24. David C. said on January 14, 2019 at 8:04 pm

    JFC. He’s feeding them like they’re a bunch of eight year olds over for a sleepover. Congratulations on your national championship, have a cold hamburger. I bought it myself.

    https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-clemson-fast-food-wendys-mcdonalds-burger-king-photos-pictures-2019-1

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  25. LAMary said on January 14, 2019 at 9:05 pm

    Room temperature fast food. Mmmm mmmm. I bet he’s hoping there are lots of leftovers.

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  26. Dave said on January 14, 2019 at 9:54 pm

    I’ve never had the house dream but I’ve had the test dream where I’ve never attended a class, never cracked a book, sitting there thinking, why didn’t I go to just one class.

    I’ve dreamed about my job several times since I retired, something along the lines of I’m working and someone is asking me why in the world I’m still working. Once, I dreamed that they had called up every retiree and told them they were going to quit paying us pension until we came back and worked for one solid year. That dream seemed so real that I woke up wondering if they had really called and told me that.

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  27. Suzanne said on January 14, 2019 at 10:04 pm

    Anybody else assuming the food for the Clemson team was chosen because the school is in the South and the majority of the players are black, leading Trump and his team to assume that fast food is what “those people” like to eat?

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  28. basset said on January 14, 2019 at 11:27 pm

    Nothing would surprise me.

    Great meme on Reddit today, too lazy to look it up but essentially it said:

    2016 – FBI investigates Hillary, she must be corrupt
    2019 – FBI investigates me, they must be corrupt

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  29. A. Riley said on January 15, 2019 at 12:34 am

    I haven’t had the house dream, but I have a whole dream geography of Chicago that keeps showing me new dream-neighborhoods. Some are pretty cool, like the ski hill in dream-Evanston that wasn’t covered with snow, it was covered with layers and layers of neatly folded sweaters.

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  30. Andrea said on January 15, 2019 at 1:01 am

    Just got back to my hotel from the Inaugural Ball for Governor Pritzker. Maroon 5 played. I was about 3 yards away from Adam Levine. That man is unbelievably attractive. I felt a little creepy drooling over him, because I thought maybe I was old enough to be his mom, but then Wikipedia (which is 18 itself!) told me he is only 13 years younger than me, so I felt less like a cougar. And then the light changed, and I could see glints of gray in his stubble. It added both to the relief and the attraction.

    My feet are killing me, but this was a good day. I cried through the beginning of the inauguration itself. The sudden rush of tears surprised me, but I know I have a lot of trauma from the chaos and destruction wrought by our last Governor. Perhaps the tears were cleansing. Juliana Stratton’s speech as Lt. Gov. was amazing and moving. She told the story of her family descended from slaves, to the present day — her family history was tucked into the Bible on which she swore her oath of office. She has a big future ahead of her in the Democratic Party.

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  31. Dexter Friend said on January 15, 2019 at 2:24 am

    The only reason insulin costs for my wife have not ruined us is that as a disabled veteran I get all my meds and inhalers at no cost from the V.A. She has Medicare and also the supplemental coverage for the 20% gap, plus Part B , and still I make countless trips to the pharmacy for her drugs, and insulin costs prevent us from hardly ever doing nice things like a steakhouse dinner. Of course, she isn’t on just one type, but two types. We have joined the club. I brush off my dreams usually, but several were and are recurring. As a child I’d dream of falling through the sky, never landing, just flying at breakneck, tumbling speed. When I quit tobacco, I’d constantly dream I had fucked up, only to wake and realize I was still off the cigs. When I quit alcohol 7 years later, for 7 more years I dreamed all sorts of scenarios how I had gone off on a toot…at first, I’d wake shaking and sweating, convinced for 30 seconds I had taken back the booze…then…wake. Nothing. In 2000 those dreams ceased forever, or so far. Now, lately, I have been having night sleep dreams of finding an old pickup truck in a barn. and taking it back in time to have my first mechanic, Earl, restore it completely, with a brand new engine also. For sure, if we didn’t have to shell out these hundreds per month on her insulin, I’d have my big-boy-toy, an old restored pickup truck, by now. But…I have vanity in check, I have priorities, and I don’t need a truck, but she needs that insulin. I do have a bit of resentment which crowds out some of my general gratitude, as I fucking hate those price-gouging insulin marketeers .

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  32. bb in DE said on January 15, 2019 at 8:55 am

    I had those “it’s finals and I’ve never been to this class” dreams for years. Then I started teaching, and the dream morphed into one where it’s finals and (you guessed it) the students are all piling into the room, I have no exam ready, and I’m not even sure what material we covered this semester. Clearly, the I-gotta-get-my-act-together dream is a hard one for me to shake, no matter which side of the big desk I’m sitting on.

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  33. Julie Robinson said on January 15, 2019 at 9:09 am

    Ooh, bb, I never thought about that from the teacher’s perspective! What great insight.

    Nancy, I have watched some video from the Clemson Tigers visit to the White House, and have the answer to your mixing silver and gold dilemma. The carefully wrapped foodstuffs were presented elegantly on silver trays, while above them candles burned brightly in *tasteful* gold candelabra. Really tasteful. Like, the most tasteful you’ve ever seen. No one ever had such tasteful candelabra.

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  34. Deborah said on January 15, 2019 at 9:34 am

    My husband had a phone conversation with his daughter and things are much improved I’m happy to say. She is getting help and hopefully things will get back to normal.

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  35. JodiP said on January 15, 2019 at 11:17 am

    Deborah, I thought of you and that situation last week when I listened to an NPR program about family estrangement. It is painful and complicated. I am so glad things are getting better for you and your husband’s daughter.

    My wife has funny, strange dreams from time to time, and I love hearing them. My dreams are mostly about frustration and anxiety that things aren’t working out. It’s weird, because I’m pretty organized and things I can control rarely go sideways.

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  36. Snarkworth said on January 15, 2019 at 1:48 pm

    When I was an editor, we had to cut stories on deadline and make them fit. Then I’d go home and dream that we goofed and left a front-page story several inches too long. Every copy of the paper had a little strip of extra text hanging off the bottom.

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  37. beb said on January 15, 2019 at 2:31 pm

    I don’t have recurring dreams like those mentioned here. But whatever dream I have usually leaves me full of paranoia, uncertainty and mostly dread. I don’t care to dream anymore.

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  38. Dorothy said on January 15, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    Oh Deborah that is such good news! I’m gladder than glad for your husband but especially for his daughter and HER daughter.

    Okay this is not about dreams but it is funny and took place in bed YEARS ago. My husband was crowding me, monopolizing the covers, and I tried to nudge him to move over. He was pretty deeply asleep. I whispered “Babe… BABE! Move over!” He kept his eyes shut but said “I can’t – I need to make room for the refrigerator.” I blinked a couple of times, but thought “Okay I can play this game.” Then I asked him “What about the stove?” and he responded “Shhhhhhh” then rolled over. Still cracks me up to this day!

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  39. Julie Robinson said on January 15, 2019 at 5:27 pm

    Hahahaha Dorothy! You obviously learned the rule of parenting toddlers and applied it to Mike: distract and redirect. Then distract and redirect again.

    Deborah, I hope it works out. That daughter doesn’t deserve to be abandoned.

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  40. Colleen said on January 15, 2019 at 5:33 pm

    I used to have radio anxiety dreams, where I had to go on the air, but the studio was in a busy room and no one would be quiet. Or I had to go on and had no material to go on with. Many of my radio colleagues had similar experiences.

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  41. Jolene said on January 15, 2019 at 9:24 pm

    Hi Everyone:

    I’ve been reading, but have just gotten together the energy to post again. Reposting an entry that I posted on Facebook earlier today to explain why:

    **************
    Hi Folks: I’m here with a bit of free medical advice. If you experience a knot of pain in your lower right abdomen, go immediately to your doctor, urgent care center, or emergency room. Your efforts to eliminate the pain by restricting food, administering OTC remedies, ensuring hydration, or whatever else you dream up will do no good. You are only subjecting yourself to the indignities the human digestive system can produce. You very likely have appendicitis and will need an appendectomy. If you have the surgery before the appendix ruptures, you will likely be able to go home the next day. If the appendix ruptures, you will have to stay in the hospital longer so that you can be administered IV antibiotics. This is what I have learned so far in 2019. I’m hoping for more entertaining experiences as the year goes on.

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  42. Jolene said on January 15, 2019 at 9:27 pm

    And here’s another repost. Hope it’s appearing in time to catch Julie and other Hamilton fans.

    **************
    Fans of Hamilton know that the show is now being presented in Puerto Rico, with Lin-Manuel Miranda again starring–all to raise money for various arts projects and other kinds of rebuilding and restoration on the island. Tonight, Jimmy Fallon is broadcasting The Tonight Show from there as a way to promote the attractions of Puerto Rico and highlight its continuing needs. Likely to be fun. Check it out on NBC at 11:30 PM or set your DVR.

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  43. alex said on January 15, 2019 at 10:43 pm

    Jolene, so sorry to hear 2019’s gotten off to such a bad start. I will heed that advice. Can’t stay up for the late nite shows though. Taking my car in for a timing belt tomorrow and gotta stay primed for what’s been the biggest inundation of urgent work I’ve ever seen in all of my years. It’s like Lucy and Ethel at the chocolate factory only they’re charging way more for my work product. Wish it were only a dream.

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  44. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 15, 2019 at 11:08 pm

    Blessings to all but especially Jolene; lots of healing needed out there. Glad to hear Deborah’s husband is finding some of it with his daughter.

    Alex, principals are wanting giant stacks of charges filed *right now* on kids we didn’t get referrals for in December; not sure what’s up, but it just feels like a punitive spirit is at work out there . . . wonder what or who could be stirring that kind of pot?

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  45. Connie said on January 16, 2019 at 7:08 am

    When I saw that Kirsten Gillibrand had announced for President 2020, my first thought was “only if Al Franken is your VP candidate.”

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  46. Jeff Borden said on January 16, 2019 at 7:18 am

    In the same spirit as Jolene above, I’m also addressing a medical issue.

    My wife is in the hospital after suffering a stroke. The precursor to this event looked exactly like the flu: dizziness, nausea, vomiting, hot flashes followed by chills. Only when her speech was horribly slurred and her right side was number did we realize she was having a stroke. A Chicago Fire Department rescue squad whisked her to the nearest ER and she is now recovering. With luck, she will soon be released. Damage was confined to her cerebellum, but that means issues with balance.

    One other thing: Her stroke likely was caused by undiagnosed atrial fibrillation. The neurologist believes the poor blood flow led to creation of a clot, which broke off and ended up in her brain. We’re lucky it did not kill or cripple her. A standard EKG apparently does NOT show afib.

    We are doing fine. We anticipate a pretty full recovery. I’m not looking for sympathy or attention. But in this flu season, beware. There might be a stroke hiding behind all those symptoms.

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  47. Deborah said on January 16, 2019 at 8:09 am

    Holy cow, Jeff B, so sorry to hear that, hope your wife heals quickly, but also good to know how it can happen. My dad and his parents all had strokes so they run in my family.

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  48. Deborah said on January 16, 2019 at 8:16 am

    What I had to eat yesterday, a typical travel day:

    A half of a snickers bar I found in my bag leftover from the flight out to NM

    Two scoops of pralines n’ cream ice cream at the Albuquerque airport

    A bag of pretzels on the first leg of the flight

    Two more scoops of pralines n’ cream ice cream at the Dallas airport (Love Field, it was Southwest)

    An olive in the martini my husband made back at our place in Chicago

    That was nutritious.

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  49. Julie Robinson said on January 16, 2019 at 8:59 am

    Jeff, my best wishes to you and your wife as you face this new future together. I’m wondering how you know you have atrial fibrillation if an EKG doesn’t diagnose it. Strokes run in my family too, along with heart attacks, so I need to find this information.

    And Jolene, I hope you are well on the road to recovery now after a very scary episode. Thank you for thinking of me and the other Lin-Manuel fans. I knew about it but I can’t stay up that late anymore; I figure it’ll be posted later today.

    I’m fretting about the weather right now. One of my aunts died, and her service is Saturday west of Chicago. So if we go we’ll be traveling right through the heaviest band of predicted snow. Plus my mom isn’t feeling well so I both hate to take her and hate to leave her here alone. But it will be a cousin reunion, including the new cousin who I haven’t met yet. Damn winter.

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  50. JodiP said on January 16, 2019 at 9:16 am

    Jeff B, scary stuff. I hope the prediction for a full recovery comes true! Julie, I wish you safe travels.

    Jolene, I hope I can watch Jimmy Fallon online. We are very fond of PR, and are leaving Saturday for Vieques.

    Crabby: working from home this a.m., and the social service program I use to create all of my work for the day isn’t functioning. I can do literally nothing. Well, off to do dishes, then take off to bring my mom to an ortho appt. I guess we are missing the storm. Sunny skies, a bit nippy, but I just got the coolest sunglasses, so am excited to wear them. It’s the small pleasures, people, the small pleasures!

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  51. Julie Robinson said on January 16, 2019 at 10:07 am

    Jodi, I love the sunglasses, and agree about small pleasures. For me that means any day I need to wear sunglasses.

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  52. Deborah said on January 16, 2019 at 10:45 am

    Jodi, I agree those are cool sunglasses. I wear sunglasses a lot, as I get older my eyes are more sensitive to light and they have the added benefit of hiding bags.

    We’re only in Chicago until this afternoon, we’re going up to Uncle J’s place until Friday, this will be every week from Weds – Fri as before. Sometimes I skip a week but my husband goes every week. I really would like to stay in one place for a while, I’m travel weary.

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  53. Jenin said on January 16, 2019 at 11:27 am

    @ A. Riley #29
    I *love* the image of the ski hill covered in layers of sweaters. That’s a wonderful surreal dream invention.

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  54. Dorothy said on January 16, 2019 at 12:53 pm

    Thanks for the information, Jeff Borden – I had no idea those symptoms could be indicators of a stroke. You’ve done a good service for all of Nancy’s readers. I sure hope Mrs B will be back to herself very quickly with minimal disruption to her and your routines. So scary!

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  55. Jolene said on January 16, 2019 at 3:05 pm

    Thanks for the good wishes. Fortunately, once an appendicitis diagnosis is made, the treatment is straightforward and effective, and I’m pretty much recovered now.

    For me, the most challenging part of an episode such as I’ve just gone through is that I am on my own here. The medical community is awesome, from EMTs to surgeons to visiting nurses. But moment-to-moment help of the sort that family members typically provide is unavailable. So, at nearly 70, I am thinking about the long run. Move nearer family? Move to a different kind of housing? Not sure yet what the solution will be.

    Jeff B., my best wishes to your wife. I hope she will make a complete recovery.

    Fallon in Puerto Rico was just OK. Not much connection to Hamilton. Mainly an effort to encourage tourism to support the island’s economic recovery.

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  56. Deborah said on January 16, 2019 at 3:23 pm

    Jolene, I realize there’s a cost involved but there are a number of services in most cities now that offer in-home care on a short term or long term basis. We’ve been looking into something for uncle J so I’ve been seeing lots of options. Some are actually apps, I don’t know how that works exactly because we’ve been looking for long term solutions.

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  57. Julie Robinson said on January 16, 2019 at 3:46 pm

    Jolene, if you don’t have a support system there and you get along with family, I’d encourage you to move near them. We’ve been through this with both my sister and my mom. We tried to care for them through a patchwork of their friends, paid caregivers and frequent trips, and there were just too many gaps. It was a huge strain, not that it isn’t even in the same town. Caregivers or even cleaners need to know their work will be checked on frequently. Friends are great but have their own families and priorities, and may move or die themselves.

    After my sister moved to Orlando my kids were there to help her whenever she needed it, and just to have more social interaction. The same is true with my mom moving here, especially since she needed to stop driving. The quality of their lives was much improved in every way.

    Of course those things wouldn’t be true for everyone or every situation. I offer this as my .02 from my own experience.

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  58. Sherri said on January 16, 2019 at 3:54 pm

    My mother has atrial fibrillation, and her mother had it too. My grandmother died from a stroke suffered in the hospital awaiting surgery for a broken hip, surgery delayed because of her atrial fibrillation. One of the challenges with afib is the standard treatment is to take blood thinners to prevent strokes, but you have to come off of them for surgery.

    Both my mother and grandmother were diagnosed after episodes of a racing heart that wouldn’t settle down.

    JeffB, best wishes to you and your wife.

    Jolene, glad you’ve made it through okay.

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  59. Scout said on January 16, 2019 at 5:04 pm

    My parents moved to AZ to be near me and my daughters (their grandchildren) three years ago. They were and are still in fairly decent health (they are now 80 and 86) but they knew they were soon going to need more help than what they could count on from friends and non-immediate family they still had in PA. We all have so much greater peace of mind knowing that no matter what arises, we are close by and can help.

    So glad you’re on the mend now, Jolene. JeffB, thank you for sharing your wife’s ordeal. I’m happy that she is doing better now too.

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  60. David C. said on January 16, 2019 at 6:20 pm

    This seems to be the week for health crises. We got a call today that Mary’s mom had a heart attack. We don’t know anything beyond that. Just this past weekend Mary was wondering if we should find a way to move back to Michigan so we can be closer. I may have to see if I can telecommute at work.

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  61. Sherri said on January 16, 2019 at 6:50 pm

    Jolene, glad you’re recovering.
    JeffB and David C, best wishes for you and your families.

    My mother has afib, and her mother had it as well, and died of a stroke after an afib attack. She was in her 80s, fell and broke her hip, had an afib attack in the hospital (not her first), so they postponed surgery, then the morning of surgery, suffered a massive stroke. So far, I haven’t had any signs of afib.

    It is challenging to care for an aging parent remotely. We managed it with my MIL with lots of travel and the knowledge that the time was limited, because she was terminal in a pretty predictable way with ALS. We were lucky to find good 24/7 care to come into her house. They were caring and competent and communicated well with us. We had to call on friends and family for a couple of instances, but couldn’t ask much of them because they were all older, too. Eventually, because my FIL’s health took a sudden dive, his daughter had to move in with them, and now just lives with him.

    It’s a hard decision though. My parents aren’t interested in moving. I live on the other side of the country. My brother lives about 150 miles away, so at least there’s that. But mostly, I’ll be looking at throwing money at the problem and doing the best I can with that.

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  62. COLLEEN said on January 16, 2019 at 8:33 pm

    My mom has afib as well. She is on blood thinners. When she got her flu shot she ended up with a huge bruise thanks to the meds. She has had a few instances that have put her in the hospital and has even had to have electroconversion to get back into rhythm.
    I won’t lie, one of the reasons for the move to Florida was that it put me closer to my parents. Thankfully they are in pretty good shape, and have all their marbles, but they ain’t getting any younger.

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  63. Deborah said on January 16, 2019 at 10:39 pm

    I meant to comment on this yesterday when we were traveling. We had no problems getting through TSA pre, the line was a little longer from what I could tell in the regular TSA line. ABQ is not a big airport and it’s usually not that busy especially this time of year, the off season. When I went through I thanked the TSA folks for working without pay, they seemed appreciative that I mentioned anything. If I had to guess I’d say they were mostly Hispanic.

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  64. Dexter Friend said on January 17, 2019 at 4:07 am

    Deborah, I only fly a few times in say, a five year timespan, but when I do I always go straight to a store after I clear TSA and buy a bag of trail mix. If I get sudden low blood sugar, that takes care of it, and if I would happen to be stuck on the ground waiting to disembark for a long period, I’d be covered. Now I read some airport snack-stores have taken all peanut products off the shelves and are confiscating anything remotely connected with peanuts at TSA checkpoints…too many kids and some adults get really ill around just the slight hint of peanut fumes in planes…is this something you may have noticed, as you fly constantly?

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  65. Dexter Friend said on January 17, 2019 at 4:07 am

    Deborah, I only fly a few times in say, a five year timespan, but when I do I always go straight to a store after I clear TSA and buy a bag of trail mix. If I get sudden low blood sugar, that takes care of it, and if I would happen to be stuck on the ground waiting to disembark for a long period, I’d be covered. Now I read some airport snack-stores have taken all peanut products off the shelves and are confiscating anything remotely connected with peanuts at TSA checkpoints…too many kids and some adults get really ill around just the slight hint of peanut fumes in planes…is this something you may have noticed, as you fly constantly?

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  66. Deborah said on January 17, 2019 at 5:50 am

    Dexter, Southwest has discontinued distribution of those little peanut packages on flights because of allergies. One time I I was on a flight before they started the no peanut policy and a flight attendant announced that a passenger had requested no peanuts for anyone on board because of his/her allergies. I felt bad for that anonymous passenger because a lot of people were grumbling about it. I hadn’t noticed peanuts being removed from airport stores though. At Midway there’s a Nuts on Clark store, come to think of it. I usually don’t fly as much as I did the month of December, because of an unexpected trip to St. Louis, then to London and after that NM for the holidays. When I worked I averaged about 2 business trips a month. My husband on the other hand usually traveled for business 3 times a week, that was hard on him. He had a gazillion frequent flier points though, which we used to go to Europe a lot.

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  67. Jolene said on January 17, 2019 at 9:14 am

    Is there an explanation as to why we hear so much about peanut allergies these days? I swear I was 65 years old before I ever heard of anyone having such an allergy. Now, they seem to be common and, potentially, deadly.

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  68. Deborah said on January 17, 2019 at 10:25 am

    I remember first hearing about peanut allergies when Carter was president, it was an article about Carter’s having a peanut farm and it wasn’t positive about Carter in general. But I had never heard of it before that.

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  69. Heather said on January 17, 2019 at 11:04 am

    Jolene, the peanut/nut allergies are a bit of a mystery. There are hypotheses about kids not being exposed to enough pathogens because they aren’t allowed to play in the dirt, environmental causes, our food supply…who knows. My nephew has nut allergies and no one in our family or on his mom’s have ever had them.

    So sorry to hear about all the health issues people and their loved ones are facing and sending good vibes across the country for fast healing.

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  70. Julie Robinson said on January 17, 2019 at 11:05 am

    There are theories that we do too much cleaning these days and so kids aren’t exposed to normal dirt to develop immunities. I think all our chemicals and plastic use aren’t helping. Who knows?

    The airlines I fly don’t offer even pretzels or water without charge so I just sherpa my own. It amazes me when I hear people complaining about how much these cost on the plane or at the airport. Um, what did they expect? I’m also amazed when people bring nothing to read, listen to, or watch, and then bitch about long waits and being bored. Flying is all about waiting, so charge up your phone and be prepared.

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  71. Jeff Borden said on January 17, 2019 at 11:44 am

    Thanks for all the good wishes, folks. My wife was released from the hospital last night and was finally able to sleep in our own bed. And she just had a shower and a shampoo for the first time in a week.

    She’ll be on a cocktail of four drugs including blood thinners moving forward, but we are both extremely grateful. Strokes can kill, cripple and destroy. We got off lucky.

    Keep your loved ones close. I’ve just been reminded of the fragility of our existence.

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  72. Deborah said on January 17, 2019 at 11:55 am

    Julie, I too am astounded how many people fly with nothing to help pass the time. I can’t imagine flying without a good book. When we flew to London and back I watched a bunch of movies, some made me cry and that was embarrassing. What I find irritating is people who don’t provide things for their kids to do on the plane. I used to buy inexpensive little toys and small books days before flying with LB when she was little, I’d wrap them and during the flight I’d give her a new one every 20 minutes or so. It worked like a charm.

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  73. Deborah said on January 17, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    I’m bored at uncle J’s, he and my
    Husband are at meetings and I have nothing to do, I forgot to bring the book I’m currently reading and there are no books here, so I’m stuck on my phone most of the day. Uncle J has housekeepers and care takers who do everything that needs doing. I need to learn how to knit.

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  74. Dorothy said on January 17, 2019 at 12:03 pm

    peanut allergies:

    https://robynobrien.com/food-allergies-the-hidden-truth-about-peanuts/

    My granddaughter has a reaction to peanut butter that the doctor does not really call an allergy right now, but she is not eating it. It upsets her stomach and she gets sick. She was tested about a year ago and I think they are waiting another several months before they try her eating it again to see if her reaction stays the same.

    And remember this story?

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/27/world/europe/uk-takeaway-allergy-death.html

    Deborah use your phone to access YouTube and watch some videos on knitting! It might help you decide if you really want to learn. Wish I lived near you – it would be fun to give you some lessons. I used to think I would not be able to teach anyone to knit but at my guild a couple years ago, the President sat someone new down beside me and asked me to teach her. It worked out well! She’s a knitting fiend now and thanks me all the time, which is so delightful. Crochet is a little easier but the patterns for knitting are so much better.

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  75. Julie Robinson said on January 17, 2019 at 12:12 pm

    How about downloading a book on your phone or tablet, Deborah? Or an audiobook? I’m currently listening to Endurance, by Scott Kelly. He’s the astronaut who spent a year in space, but it’s about so much more than that. He was a hardscrabble, screw-up kid who remade himself after reading The Right Stuff. I’m enjoying it more than most of the books I’ve read lately.

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  76. JodiP said on January 17, 2019 at 12:18 pm

    We usually pack our own snacks and meals for longer domestic flights. We’re taking SW to Puerto Rico on Saturday, and we’ll be sure to pack something. I’m able to sit and read for hours, so flying is a treat for me, as I don’t get distracted by my phone. At home, I have begun leaving it in another room when I read and that’s helped a ton.

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  77. Dorothy said on January 17, 2019 at 12:55 pm

    I posted about an hour ago and it had two links in it. I don’t see it yet. I thought using two links was okay, but more than that meant the comment had to be reviewed first.

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  78. Deborah said on January 17, 2019 at 1:06 pm

    Good idea Julie, I finished reading the NYT from end to end, uncle J gets that delivered. There’s a beautiful pictorial section on the women of the 116th Congress, the cover of that has a stunning full page photo of my senator Tammy Duckworth.

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  79. Dorothy said on January 17, 2019 at 2:07 pm

    Maybe I messed up the previous post and didn’t post it. Here goes about peanut allergies:

    https://robynobrien.com/food-allergies-the-hidden-truth-about-peanuts/

    And remember this sad story? https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/27/world/europe/uk-takeaway-allergy-death.html

    Deborah I wish I could help you learn to knit. Maybe you could use your phone to look at YouTube videos on how to knit – that could get you started!

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  80. beb said on January 17, 2019 at 2:20 pm

    I heard that it won’t be until air travel becomes imposssible do to sick-ins by TSA / Air Traffic Controllers that the government shut-down ends. Because nobody cares that 800,000 are living without any income, or that they grocery store depending on their purchases aren’t getting any money, causing them to lay-off people. And so on. But stop CEOs, VIPs and Conservative commentators from flying and holy hell will be unleashed. Worse… worse will be if TSA workers stop coming in and people board planes without being inspected and nothing happens. Yes, what if people discover that the TSA is a big waste of time and money without providing one iota of safety.

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  81. beb said on January 17, 2019 at 2:43 pm

    I was on Huffpost when I saw this article
    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/jim-bachor-pothole-art-donald-trump_us_5c3df361e4b0922a21d8c602
    Scrolling down I found a lot of his other pothole art mosaics. He’s an incredible artist with installations in Finland, Chicago, New York and Detroit’s Eastern Market(!!!). Like Banksy’s graffi these need to be cut out of their locations and installed in museums.

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  82. Julie Robinson said on January 17, 2019 at 2:59 pm

    My son calls the TSA airport theatre. But seriously, a cousin is an air traffic controller, and he’s trying to resurrect his music career to bring some cash in. He says we need to be concerned about all the fatigued controllers, who, like him, are moonlighting to support themselves and their families. They aren’t bringing their A game to the tower. Gulp.

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  83. Colleen said on January 17, 2019 at 5:32 pm

    I am more worried about the ATC folks being subpar than TSA. I may be in the minority, but I don’t think having TSA scrutinizing my c-pap machine is making us safer. Airport theater is a good description. They are there to make us think we are safer.

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  84. alex said on January 17, 2019 at 10:08 pm

    I’m more worried about the food inspection theater (i.e., the players behind the scrim who rubber-stamp romaine a la fecale even when they’re supposedly on duty). That was quite an eye-opener about peanuts upthread, especially when you consider that some people are too constitutionally weak to even be in the same room with them. I guess all us boomers who got hardened to PCBs and lead and DDT and agent orange don’t get bothered by it particularly, but even so I’m never buying Peter Pan or Jiff again.

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  85. susan said on January 17, 2019 at 11:17 pm

    Arrgggh. The anti-vaxxers were all over the comments in the article that Dorothy posted @79, Food Allergies: The Hidden Truth About Peanuts. Also, the author did not include any references or links to back up the stuff she was saying.

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  86. Deborah said on January 17, 2019 at 11:25 pm

    Dorothy, I have often thought that I wish you could teach me to knit. I’m always so impressed with your industriousness, you knit, and quilt and work full time, plus have pets, act
    in plays etc etc. I don’t know how you
    do it.

    I usually don’t buy organic peanut butter because it tastes awful but after reading that link I think I’ll stay clear of peanut butter all together. We usually like to snack on redskin peanuts but have noticed lately that they’re really hard to find. We usually get our nuts at Trader Joe’s, they call them Valencia peanuts, other places call them Spanish peanuts, they’ve virtually disappeared as far as I can tell.

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  87. LAMary said on January 18, 2019 at 12:25 am

    You know when someone here introduced us all to Zipits? Those things that you can use to get funk out of a clogged drain? I couldn’t find mine today and my bathroom sink was draining slowly. The bathroom sink funk is not the same as bathtub funk. Usually there are not many of my long hairs in there. But with men shaving in that bathroom the combo of whiskers and soap scum and toothpaste clogs the drain. So, unable to locate the Zipit, I was looking around the bathroom for something to poke down the drain. I found a pump from a hand soap bottle. I stuck it down the drain to at least poke a hole in the clog and I noticed some of the icky stuff went into the straw like thing on the pump. I pumped the pump and drain funk came out of the spout. I wiped it out of the sink and pumped some more. More whiskers and soap and icky stuff. I felt like I had discovered a new planet or something. My drain is draining.

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  88. Dexter Friend said on January 18, 2019 at 2:40 am

    For years I have been driving past Biggby’s Coffee shoppes and never have stopped in. I used to enjoy the coffee houses in Ann Arbor when I went there all the time for basketball and football games, and I found a few places I like in Columbus too, but since I retired in 2002 , I don’t go to them. So today I saw the drive-thru was open, no waiting, and at the Defiance, Ohio Biggby’s, I had a cafe-au-lait. $3.89 for a small, which was about a buck and a quarter less than what I thought it would be. Ah, that frothed milk…perfect. Bellisimo!

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  89. Suzanne said on January 18, 2019 at 9:23 am

    I flew last week and I was more nervous than I have been in years. It’s not just the TSA but the air traffic controllers who are working for free. I told almost every TSA agent that I appreciated their service. I think they make things a bit safer. It’s not perfect, but if nothing else, it makes me feel better.
    I am simply aghast every day anymore. What will it take to wake people up? I mean there is this: https://twitter.com/truefactsstated/status/1086016726846844928?s=21
    And Cohen’s latest revelations.

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  90. Sherri said on January 18, 2019 at 9:31 am

    I think we’ve moved beyond the question of whether trump committed a felony; it’s obvious he’s committed multiple felonies. The question is, how much did Pence know and when? Ditto for McConnell. Have they participated in an ongoing coverup of criminal activity? Is the media brave enough to even ask those questions?

    Why is McConnell still protecting trump by refusing to hold a vote on the shutdown?

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  91. Julie Robinson said on January 18, 2019 at 9:43 am

    Could Cohen finally bring him down? Pleaseohpleaseohplease. And then there is Rudy-every-time-I-open-my-mouth-I-dig-a-deeper-hole-Giuliani. After his latest appearance I started to wonder if he needs to be evaluated for early dementia.

    I’m flying in a couple of weeks and I may be nervous about it for the first time ever.

    LAMary, I love your resourcefulness! It’s those small victories that really makes us feel good, isn’t it?

    We cancelled our hotel reservations and had to break the news to my cousins that we aren’t coming to the memorial. Did I already say damn winter?

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