Some thoughts at week’s end.

OK, then! Back-to-back 12-hour days, my legs are sore, I feel fat as hell and now, god help me, I’m taking advantage of the next hour or so by watching a Tyler Perry movie on Amazon.

I don’t think I’ve ever watched a Tyler Perry movie. Some people I kinda-sorta knew when the film tax credits were going strong in Michigan now work a lot in Georgia, and they work in Perry’s film factory quite a bit. And a factory it is, pumping out morality plays, but what the hell, it’s a living. The people I know who work on films have a different measure of whether one is any good. Do the checks clear? Then it’s good. Good enough, anyway.

Boy, does this movie suck. Have you ever heard of a simple car accident not bad enough to crinkle a bumper giving a woman “ruptured ovaries?” Yeah, me neither. “Acrimony” — look it up. Even Taraji P. Henson can’t save it.

So now the weekend is approaching. It feels like breaking a tape, but mainly it’s just a matter of making lists of things to do, then doing them, then starting it all again next week.

I hope there will be some reading.

Some things you might be able to read:

I know you’re sick of Roseanne Barr — so am I. Worth reading, anyway.

A friend posted this on her Facebook, and the first comment was, “Nikki Haley can go fuck herself.” Headline: What it’s like living in a country where giving birth costs $60. Second graf:

It started when presidential candidate and longtime Medicare for All advocate Bernie Sanders tweeted that it costs an average of $12,000 to have a baby in the United States, compared to just $60 in Finland — at which point former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley decided to weigh in. “Alright @BernieSanders, you’re not the woman having the baby so I wouldn’t be out there talking about skimping on a woman when it comes to childbirth. Trust me! Nice try though,” she replied, adding, “Health care costs are too high that is true but comparing us to Finland is ridiculous. Ask them how their health care is. You won’t like their answer.”

You know how it went, right? Finnish maternity care is superior in every way, going well beyond the famous baby box. I’m so sick of this bullshit. Nikki Haley can absolutely go fuck herself.

Here’s something I wrote the other day, about a Detroit R&B oddity who died Sunday. Deadline Detroit appreciates the clicks.

(All of the above was written Thursday night. Friday morning addendum below.)

Neil Steinberg, most definitely a top-five blogger, wrote something the other day that kinda chilled me. After a discussion of how things end, with some elegant snatches of poetry, he dropped this:

Honestly, I read the poem and, inspired, thought of posting it here and quitting the blog cold after five years. Here, figure this out, good-bye. Because whatever the world wants, this obviously is not it. Five years is plenty.

Spoiler alert: He decides to go on. But every January I pass the anniversary of this blog, which has been going on since 2001. Not every goddamn day, but most goddamn days until recently, when I shortened it to three days a week and lately it’s coming in at two. Honestly, this has been a tough winter for me, and there have been days, many of them, when I just want to pack it in. This makes me worry that I’m losing some essential edge, some drive; doesn’t a writer write because they have to? I mean, because it’s an urge, not an obligation? If I’m dry, then this is it, right? Retirement, a rocking chair, Social Security and a final wave en route to the grave? My friends are starting to retire, and an amazing number of them (which is to say, two or three) have expressed a desire to never, ever do what they did all their careers. No hobby journalism for them. They’re out, and happy to be out.

It has to end sometime. Steinberg’s been doing this five years, I’ve been at it for 18. Eighteen years when I should have been writing books, right? But so many of the people I know who write books don’t have an audience at all — they’ve dropped their work into a well of sorts, all that work for one or two respectful reviews and then, nothing. At least here I have feedback. And it’s a discipline, and that is very important for writers. Laura Lippman does 1,000 words a day. You can fritter away a lifetime intending to write, but not doing it. It’s a muscle. It needs exercise.

But man, am I tired. And it’s snowing.

I’m not quitting. And I’m not fishing for encouragement. I’m just giving you an update on why I’ve been scarce here. The blog will go on, but one day it won’t. (I’ve actually added a short letter to our estate paperwork, bequeathing the contents of this blog, all XX years of blather, comments, links, dustups, changes, all of it – to J.C. Burns, who can do with it whatever he likes. That’s assuming he outlives me. I hope he does.)

What a merry ending, eh? I am off to the gym, to re-sore my legs. Have a great weekend, all. I will be back. Promise.

Posted at 9:33 am in Current events, Housekeeping |

36 responses to “Some thoughts at week’s end.”

  1. Deborah said on March 22, 2019 at 9:55 am

    Eighteen years! That’s a lot of discipline. You had me worried there for a minute, glad you’ve decided to keep it up.

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  2. Sherri said on March 22, 2019 at 10:10 am

    I love this little community, and appreciate that Nancy hosts it and I appreciate her writing. I also know that everything has a lifetime. Eventually, this will end, and I will miss it.

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  3. Joe Kobiela said on March 22, 2019 at 10:57 am

    Take a trip to Florida and see what happens to some not all retirees, was in Sarasota Wednesday and looked around at dinner, yikes! Keep moving it’s good for your body, keep writing its good for your mind, never give up, never surrender.
    Pilot Joe

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  4. Sherri said on March 22, 2019 at 11:07 am

    Anand Giridharadas calls the tech elite rebel-kings, people with power who think they are still the outsiders fighting the Man. It strikes me that Roseanne is similar; when she was nobody, the scattershot nature of her shtick was one thing, because she was often punching up. But then she actually became powerful, and doesn’t understand that now, something is different. She complains that she’s always been like this, and blames the left, but she has changed. Not what she does, but who she is, and the relative power she holds.

    It’s not a question of whether she is personally racist or misogynist. The impact of her actions and words is the issue, and she doesn’t seem to get that.

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  5. FDChief said on March 22, 2019 at 11:39 am

    Long-form blogging is a tough gig to do well. It’s the “anti-novel”; instead of a small body of (if done well) finely-crafted work it’s an insatiable succession of hasty thoughts, sudden inspirations, and random stream-of-consciousness posts that have to combine timeliness with some modicum of timeless durability. And cat videos.

    It’s one of these things that takes a hell of a lot of effort to avoid recycling ideas and finding new content…not to mention interesting, entertaining, and thoughtful content. And, I think, unless you’re really, REALLY committed to making it work, at some point you hit a wall, either suddenly or gradually, and find you just have nothing to say.

    You’ve already had a hell of a good run! No shame in hangin’ ‘em up after 18 years…

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  6. Julie Robinson said on March 22, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    Blame it on winter. Winter that seems to hang on longer every year. Winter that entices you with a day in the middle 60’s, then goes right back to crap. Winter that will give you a sunny day, but no warmth. Winter that leaves everything in shades of brown. Winter that leaves you with ennui.

    At least, that’s how I feel.

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  7. john (not mccain) said on March 22, 2019 at 12:34 pm

    “[Roseanne] will … serve on a panel with spoon-bending illusionist Uri Geller…”

    Is there a swanky German word for “fitting end”?

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  8. nancy said on March 22, 2019 at 1:30 pm

    I think Roseanne is quite obviously mentally ill. I know she’s said so before, but someone needs to take responsibility for her, someone who isn’t tied to her financially. Her children seem to be trying, bless ’em, but it’s not working. The entertainment business is so weird, divided as it is between the management/money people, who must be relatively sane, and the artists, who so often aren’t.

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  9. LAMary said on March 22, 2019 at 1:39 pm

    I never got Roseanne’s popularity. There must be some popular culture gene that I don’t have. I know people who really liked the original show but I didn’t find anything about it very interesting. It’s on a long list of stuff I don’t get. Mariah Carey, pumpkin spice frappucinos, The Bachelor, Disneyland, selfies…

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  10. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 22, 2019 at 1:50 pm

    Non-clinical input: she’s bipolar, poorly managed, with a hint of borderline personality disorder. Of course, I’d flip that diagnosis for the Current Occupant.

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  11. Julie Robinson said on March 22, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    Roseanne had one good joke–that she’d start cleaning when they came out with a riding vacuum–and that wasn’t enough to build a career on, but thus is the state of popular culture.

    I’m with you, Mary. Except for Stephen Colbert, there isn’t a single television show that I’m interested in. PBS runs a few things here and there, but they all come from England, so I don’t think they count.

    Our kids live in Orlando, and I’ve been to Disney/Universal exactly…zero times. We did them when they were little, and even then I didn’t get the appeal. Standing in endless lines in the heat, not for me. Disney keeps raising their prices so that you can now pay $159/day for the most popular times. Our daughter spends a fair amount of time there, since whenever friends come to town that’s where they want to meet. She says there’s a lot of forced gaiety of the “I spent a fortune, so you will have fun, dammit” variety.

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  12. Suzanne said on March 22, 2019 at 3:11 pm

    Had me worried for a minute that the blog was going and I felt sad. I just discovered it a few years ago when I was trying to refresh my memory on the Goeglein incident and I have learned so much! So, hooray on continuing, at least for now. I always wanted to write but I lack the discipline. I lack discipline in most areas of my life. I should be exercising now, but here I am instead.

    LAMary, we would be friends if we actually met. I don’t understand the popularity either, of the things you mention @ 9. Same with you, Julie. I have never had any interest in going to Disney World. Our children often remind us that they are unique among their friends because we never took them there.

    This is scathing, written by Rick Wilson, a GOP operative who despises Trump:

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  13. jcburns said on March 22, 2019 at 5:21 pm

    Man, what an inheritance! The gerunds alone should fetch thousands on the black market. But yeah, Nancy, outlive you? If that’s the case, folks should market greasy cheeseburgers and Tab mixed with root beer as a life extension formula.

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  14. Charlotte said on March 22, 2019 at 5:47 pm

    And the Mueller report has been delivered to William Barr. But will we ever see it?

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  15. Deborah said on March 22, 2019 at 6:02 pm

    The Mueller report has been finished!

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  16. LAMary said on March 22, 2019 at 7:07 pm

    My kids have been to Disneyland a couple of times either with friends whose parents let the kid choose one friend to take along for their birthday or with the local recreation center day camp in the summer. Since I live near the rec center and I share stuff like never used craft supplies, toys and games and the like the rec directors used to take my kids along on field trips. The zoo was good, so was the beach. Disney and Universal Studios not so much. My kids actually didn’t like Disney at all. Of course my referring to the Disney company as Mauschwitz didn’t help much.

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  17. LAMary said on March 22, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    Speaking of funny lines. Two things I’ve heard on Big Bang Theory reruns over the years still make me laugh whenever I think of them. Since my younger son laughs at them too I feel validated. The first one is this exchange: the main characters are talking about rabbits. One says, “I always thought rabbits look like they are trying to talk.” The didactic character says, “did you know that rabbits are the only animals whose testicles are in front of their penises?” Another character says, “maybe that’s what they are trying to talk about.”
    Next one is: Nerdy character is meeting with the retired cop father of his fiancée. Retired cop is looking at a scrapbook of crime scenes. He shows it to the nerdy guy, who is uncomfortable looking at the photo. Retired cop says, “guess how many bodies are in that picture.” Nerd doesn’t know. Cop says, “it’s a trick question. The answer is a fraction.”

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  18. Deborah said on March 22, 2019 at 7:40 pm

    I have never been excited about going to Disneyland except when I was a kid. I remember watching The Wonderful World of Disney on our B&W TV yearning to go there. When LB was 5, we went to Disney in Orlando after being in Miami seeing my dad. It was in the summer and ungodly hot, all LB wanted to do was go back to the motel and play in the pool. My sister on the other hand was all about taking her family to Disney World, she talked about it all the time. My dad and his wife liked to go too, they went about once a year, I never could understand why.

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  19. Brian stouder said on March 22, 2019 at 8:07 pm

    Well, I found Nancy’s post reassuring (!) and also kind of validating. This past week included my birthday, and although my new number doesn’t end with a zero, it’s getting on up there! Aside from that, I liked Disney/Daytona/and the trek down and back (years ago) – with other interesting stops. A non-sequitur is that my sons and I are planning to visit Detroit/Belle Isle for the Indy Car race this summer, and if there’s a must-see thing thereabouts (say, a little-known museum, or some such), let me know

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  20. LAMary said on March 22, 2019 at 8:12 pm

    Angemessener abschluss = fitting end.

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  21. lLinda said on March 22, 2019 at 8:15 pm

    I totally get the desire to retire. After 33 years as a public librarian I hung it up, and was not tempted to do the part time subbing many others do.

    I was tired, and was happy to hand off my work to talented younger people who will do great things with the projects while they are young enough to enjoy being in charge of them. No need in frustrating younger people by hanging on too long.

    People were shocked, but six months after retirement, after enjoying the summer in the garden I always wanted, I was diagnosed with cancer. If I had hung on to the job and missed that summer, I would be furious with myself. Tomorrow is guaranteed to nobody.

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  22. Joe Kobiela said on March 22, 2019 at 9:12 pm

    Try the Detroit history museum downtown great display of Motown and the music industry, downstairs is a full size replica of some of Detroit streets from the turn of the century. Grocery store dr office ect.
    Pilot Joe

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  23. Colleen said on March 22, 2019 at 9:38 pm

    I will admit that since moving to Florida two years ago, my depression has improved immensely. And winter is bearable, with sun and green, not gray and brown. For me, it’s the sun. Even on rainy days, the sun shines at some point. That said, I wouldn’t mind visiting the northern climes during the month of May, to enjoy the lilacs and things coming back to life.

    Don’t get Disney. I went once, when I was in college, and it was ok. But definitely not worth the current price of admission to me.

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  24. Deborah said on March 23, 2019 at 10:24 am

    Oh great, my husband is waiting at Midway for his flight back to NM, it’s delayed 50 mins because the Albuquerque airport is experiencing a power failure. So America’s infrastructure is falling apart and we’re building a wall.

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  25. alex said on March 23, 2019 at 10:46 am

    Have you ever heard of a simple car accident not bad enough to crinkle a bumper giving a woman “ruptured ovaries?”

    In my job, which involves investigating insurance claims, I just saw a minor auto accident case where the claimant alleged causation of her farts suddenly smelling bad. A claim for allegedly ruptured ovaries might not pass the smell test in this business either, but it wouldn’t strike me as all that unusual.

    I have to give mad props to the Farmer’s Insurance ad campaign “We’ve Seen a Thing or Two.” They most certainly have, and it’s a shame they’re featuring only the most sensational claims and not the most laughably frivolous.

    As for Mauschwitz, I enjoyed my first visit in 1973 when it first opened in Orlando. We practically had the place all to ourselves and it was dirt cheap. But my brother and I agreed that the most fun we had on that trip was on the Tilt-a-Whirl, which is pretty much a standard carnival ride, only Disney styled theirs as “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” and the cars were designed to look like giant teacups. I’ve been there a few times subsequently over the years, including after Epcot opened, and decided it was a middle-class ripoff and I was tired of being had.

    I’m glad we still have this forum here. I tried my hand at long-form blogging for a few years but after leaving the stimulating big city of Chicago for the hinterlands, I found I had a whole lot less to talk about and stopped exercising the writing muscle and it has gone to flab. Because of my work, my writing has become very yeomanlike and less free-wheeling, and I wish I had more time for just having fun with it. But reading is the next best thing and in this community there’s never a shortage of worthy recommendations.

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  26. Beth Backus said on March 23, 2019 at 3:36 pm

    I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: this blog is my lifeline to sanity. I get behind occasionally (but always catch up), and I hardly ever comment, but refer to the blog and various comments constantly. My friends and family probably get tired of me commenting on something Nancy wrote about on the “Michigan blog” (my way of identifying this place to others), or referring to the various comments you all write.

    I’ve never met any of you, and probably never will, but I consider you friends because we often think alike and you validate what I believe, too. I feel so lucky that I found years ago when I linked onto a Laura Lippman article or blog entry after reading one of her books, and that led me here, and I was hooked.

    Nancy, take hiatuses as needed, drop down to once a week if necessary, but keep blogging if you can. We all need you.

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  27. beb said on March 23, 2019 at 4:33 pm

    I’ve thought about starting a blog then realized that after a year, or maybe only after a month I’d be tired of it and go away. Sticking to something for 5 years or eighteen is pretty dam good.

    I read this morning that another cop was acquitted of shooting an unarmed black man. And elsewhere a cop was shot which sitting in his vehicle. It seems like one causes the other but like the chicken and the egg there no clue which begat which. But it’s got to stop.

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  28. Deborah said on March 23, 2019 at 7:54 pm

    My husband arrived in NM late, but not as late as expected. He’s exhausted, first we had our road trip to AZ, then he made a whirlwind trip to have a meeting with Uncle J’s lawyer in his town in northern IL. Things are closing in on being finalized with his estranged 3rd wife.

    If anyone wants a good deal on a ranch in AZ let me know. uncle J paid $1.5 million on his place there in 2000 or maybe a little before, he bought it from the founder of Emily’s List. Since then he built a 2 bedroom guest casita on the property and many improvements and the whole 145 acre plot has been appraised at $1.1 million now, and we know he’ll end up taking a lot less. A neighbor nearby, a tech zillionaire bought some land in the same development and built a $13 million mansion that looks like a Walmart. The couple got divorced and the place was on the market for $750,000. I have no idea if it even ever sold. So property values around there have plummeted.

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  29. Dexter Friend said on March 24, 2019 at 1:28 am

    I obviously know nothing of journalism from a creative view; I know it must take great talent to create and maintain readership. My old US Army pal, retired now 4 years, had been working on a movie script for 25 years, finally had it exactly right for him, and began sending it off to producers and directors and studio personnel through an agent he hired. The theme was the ASU, the American Servicemen’s Union, a creation of the late Andrew Stapp in the late 1960’s in the stockade at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. My friend was also a war resister, fighting orders for Vietnam by opting for court martial and prison. That movement was a helluva lot bigger that the press ever let the public know. Those guys really raised hell with the brass. Stapp’s book, “Up Against the Brass” is a fascinating read…probably long out of print but available used on Amazon. I met Stapp a few times in NYC over the years when I visited Greg after the war. Anyway, no interest at all from the movie industry so Greg is now re-purposing his script into a novel and he’s gonna try that route. He wrote some short stories and submitted them to all the paying publishing houses, years ago…never got a nibble; still, he perseveres. He’s 71 now so I hope he gets his project in gear.
    My older brother, who I wrote about here a few times, did use his Ball State Masters in Journalism to teach high school kids in The Calumet Region for a few years, and always tried to land a newspaper column , but no dice. Not like nance’s “Telling Tales”, in “the afternoon paper” in FWA, which was must-buy-a- News and Sentinel when it was column day. Yeah, for those who have forgotten, The News-Sentinel was called “the news and sentinel” by just goddam-nearly everybody, except we sophistos. Ha. 🙂

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  30. ROGirl said on March 24, 2019 at 10:03 am

    I watched the documentary about Elizabeth Holmes. The first time her voice is heard it sounds like she’s a medium channeling a spirit from beyond — maybe it’s Steve Jobs. That and all the powerful, old white males who she got to sign on to her scheme. I’m sure being a young, attractive blue-eyed blonde didn’t hurt in that department. The whole thing came across like a cult.

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  31. Deborah said on March 24, 2019 at 11:12 am

    While Holmes’s voice is weirdly low, it doesn’t sound fake to me. I had an aunt with a very low voice, if you heard her on the phone and had never met her you’d swear she was a man. Her sisters, my other aunts had lowish voices too. My voice is on the low side (especially singing) and my sister’s voice is lower than mine. I think it’d be awfully hard to fake a voice over a long period of time. I know people fake accents for various reasons. Some people however, just have a propensity to pick up accents when they’re around people with them. LB was like that as a kid, if she was around people who had them. When she was around her step grandmother LB started to mimic her Boston accent. For many years LB thought it was Gawgee Pawgee who kissed the girls and made them cry.

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  32. Mark P said on March 24, 2019 at 11:27 am

    The Language Log blog ( ) has a post called “Policing women’ voices” that refers to Holmes’ supposed lowering of her speaking register. I have recommended Language Log before, and I recommend it again to anyone who uses language. Sometimes the posts are about regular use of language, sometimes about Chinese language, and sometimes about pretty abstruse subjects, but I always check it every day.

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  33. Julie Robinson said on March 24, 2019 at 1:32 pm

    Those who work in radio & TV use different voices for real life and on the air. Asking Dad to talk in his radio voice was an endless source of amusement for me as a little girl. There’s no reason you couldn’t train yourself to use that voice all the time. Certainly a lot of southerners have learned to drop their accents since they are taken more seriously without them. I had an on-air and phone timbre that I used when I was at the radio reading service.

    We did something kind of neat yesterday at our church; we held a Fix-it Fair. We had volunteers available for simple repairs on bikes, jewelry, knife sharpening, electronics, household items, and the like. I stitched up a lot of seams, mended holes, and even sewed on a button for someone who didn’t have either thread or needle*. It was really fun and everyone was very appreciative, and we kept all that stuff out of landfills.

    *This seems incomprehensible to me since I have an entire room full of sewing and crafting supplies! I couldn’t exist without taking a creative break from the world.

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  34. Dorothy said on March 24, 2019 at 1:48 pm

    I’m with you, Julie. In fact just 10 minutes ago I said to my husband “Should I go out and rake awhile or go up and work in my sewing room?” I don’t know why I wasted my breath. We both knew what the answer would be!

    I started making a new quilt last week that will probably be just a wall hanging. It’s a Drunkard’s Path block. Yesterday in Columbus I went to a new (to me) quilt store and bought some fat quarters to add to the piece. I washed the new fabrics and now need to go iron them, and then cut out more circles. I’ll be up there at least two hours easily!

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  35. JodiP said on March 24, 2019 at 5:32 pm

    After getting walloped with snow in February, it’s suddenly almost all melted in the past 10 days. I just ordered some flower seeds–in the nick of time; I usually start them April 1st. It’s been in the 40s for a good week and everyone is so happy!

    I know when I retire I won’t be doing anything social work-related. last week, I went to a short retirement presentation that was part of a larger social services conference. It was all about retiring to something, not from something. The presenter talked a lot about continuing to build purpose and meaning in your life. I already think about that a lot, even though (fingers crossed the economy doesn’t completely tank) I’m still about 8 years out.

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  36. Deborah said on March 24, 2019 at 6:21 pm

    We are back in Abiquiu after being away for 10 days. A beautiful sunshiny day, but windy.

    My husband is developing a theory about Republicans making a desperate grab to hold on to power, particularly in the senate, with the end to the Mueller probe. My husband thinks it’s too convenient that it closed down shortly after Barr was confirmed and Rosenstein stuck around a little longer too. There seem to be lots of loose ends as well. It will be interesting to see if the democratic house can investigate effectively.

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