The packing begins.

Another weekend, but this one is the last weekend before we leave, so you know how it was spent: I cleaned two bathrooms and started solving the puzzle of my carry-on.

Our plan this trip is to travel as light as possible, which means very careful packing, complicated by the fact we’ll be visiting both the coast (cooler) and the inland (way hotter), and it’s a Muslim country and that means …well, nothing revealing, lots of clothes with vents, and nothing too tight, and not much of them.

Basically, wearing the same thing in lots of pictures, and rinsing stuff out in the room at night. Good thing I’m not an Instagram influencer. They need to change outfits a lot.

How about a couple of pictures? Here’s what was sitting on our backyard fence on Saturday morning.

Perhaps it was admiring the insane coleus, which started off as partners with the impatiens in this pot but started colonizing the area like the damn British empire:

It was that, and watching the country delaminate, of course. A second whistleblower, multiple insane-sundowning-grampa tweetstorms, and in between, I saw some friends.

A weekend, in other words.

Two things of note, one a Monica Hesse column about Hillary:

It would be lovely, just lovely, if instead of being a gutsy woman, Hillary was just a boring president.

It would be lovely if we could look at her as a human instead of a reminder of messy marriages and messy times and the limits of our own forgiveness and the repercussions of letting the perfect be the enemy of the sane.

Every time Hillary Clinton makes another public appearance, she is giving us a gift. The gift is not her mediocre book. The gift is not magnetic wit. The gift is all her complications. The gift is being able to tell her to go away while simultaneously wishing she would never leave.

And this, which was amazingly accurate, in the case of my name, anyway. Nancy is a very fab-’50s name; it’s rare to meet one under 50, unless she’s Asian, because some Asian families love fab-’50s names like Susan and Jane and Wendy.

Time to watch “Succession” and rethink my packing cubes.

Posted at 9:43 pm in Same ol' same ol' |

50 responses to “The packing begins.”

  1. Ann said on October 6, 2019 at 9:59 pm

    I do believe that’s a gorgeous young Cooper’s hawk, no doubt looking for a house sparrow or other tasty snack. They often hang around bird feeders. And that’s indeed a very impressive coleus.

    Eagerly awaiting the Morocco photos.

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  2. susan said on October 6, 2019 at 10:05 pm

    Neat. Sharp-shinned or Cooper’s hawk. Often hard to tell the difference.

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  3. alex said on October 6, 2019 at 10:35 pm

    When I was a kid, Emma and Emily were old hag names. These days they’re considered cool. As are girls named Alex. Thus the correspondence addressed to me in the office as “Ms.” by people who don’t know me.

    Nancy, that bird is sitting next to “wheat celosia,” a plant I used to buy for my balcony in Chicago and just found again this year. It’s not a true celosia, but I forget the genus. Anyway, it was always a great plant for pots where I wanted something with height, and this year it didn’t disappoint. Neither did the “chocolate drop” coleus. Coleus are amazing. I have them coming out of cracks in my driveway sometimes and not sure how they get there.

    The flowers are still going strong here. We mowed down all the spent stuff but the potted flowers are magnificent. We’re going to start hauling them inside in the near future before Jack Frost starts nipping.

    This weekend Harry and I replaced the stick fence that so charmed me when I bought this house 15 years ago this month. (This weekend as a matter of fact.) We built a three-rail fence and painted it in woodsy neutrals and it’s gorgeous and makes a stunning driveway gateway, although I can’t help but shed a tear for the humble element it replaced that was made lovingly with found wood from the premises. I’m half expecting the HOA to come calling about why I didn’t ask permission to build a “fence” never mind that it’s not an enclosure or barrier so much as an accent. I guess I’ll tell them to kiss my faggot ass if they do. I’m loving it and yet it’s a bittersweet moment. What drew me to this property was the simple love and care that the former owners gave to the place and I’d wanted to preserve it forever.

    The old cedar posts were at this point all supported by green gardening stakes screwed into their broken-off bases. We used to go driving around in the country looking for fallen limbs that were straight enough to serve as replacement rails. It was a fun pastime. But after doing some upgrades to the house, we felt it was time to class up the old fence. The new one was made with love and care too. May the next owners cherish it for as long as it lasts and replace it with something worthy when it disintegrates into primoridial ooze.

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  4. beb said on October 6, 2019 at 11:04 pm

    So cool to find a hawk sitting on your backyard fence. Me, I rejoice seeing a cardinal.

    That’s not entirely true. Early this summer my daughter and I were leaving the house and heard a lot of squawking overhead. Turned out to be a couple of crows driving off a hawk. But they were not much more than 50 feet overhead. So wonderfully close to see.

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  5. Dexter Friend said on October 7, 2019 at 1:13 am

    Viva gutsy travelers. As a cautious oldtimer who was “shook down” by Mexican Federales once years ago, I keep my head on a swivel, but that’s here in my ‘hood. Other day, six parole officers and a few cops were in the shared driveway, asking my parolee asshole neighbor about a ton of stuff which was stolen in the last few days…yeah, the same parolee who I mentioned was moving stuff in the dead of the night for weeks in June. He disappeared shortly after the cops left…maybe they nailed his ass and hauled him back to prison, where that bastard belongs. Anyway, be careful nance and family…

    Morocco Travel Advisory
    Travel Advisory April 2, 2019 Morocco – Level 2:
    Exercise increased caution in Morocco due to terrorism.

    Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Morocco. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities.

    Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

    If you decide to travel to Morocco:

    Stay alert in locations frequented by Westerners.
    Avoid demonstrations and crowds.
    Follow the Department of State on Twitter and Facebook.
    Review the Crime and Safety Report for Morocco.
    U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
    Last Update: Raised to Level 2 due to terrorism after periodic review.

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  6. Deborah said on October 7, 2019 at 5:23 am

    Ah traveling light, I don’t do it any other way. It helps that I basically wear a uniform, not a lot to think about. I carry one small bag with all my clothes in it and a tote for things like books etc. The bag goes in the overhead bin easily and the tote goes under the seat in front of me with plenty of room for my feet. When I travel between Chicago and NM it’s even easier because I keep the same things in both places, I don’t even need the tote because everything fits in my small rolly bag. Packing for two different climates in Morocco, now that’s tricky. My solution would be layers.

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  7. bb in DE said on October 7, 2019 at 5:46 am

    I’ve suspected that whole “my name = my age” thing for years now. Parents thought it was a cool name a year or two before Kavanaugh and stopped thinking that a year or two after Favre, and damn near every one of us is within 6 or 8 years of the rest.

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  8. Joe Kobiela said on October 7, 2019 at 6:02 am

    Packing tip, take old clothes shirts, underwear, socks ect, wear and throw away when dirty, gives you more room for things you buy.
    Pilot Joe

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  9. ROGirl said on October 7, 2019 at 7:15 am

    My niece is in her mid 20s, her name is Emma. I had a lot of aunts. Their names were Sadie, Eva, Polly (changed to Pauline), and Esther on my father’s side. On my mother’s they were Sophie, Sylvia, Beatrice, and my mother was Lucille. My grandmothers were Molly and Rose.

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  10. Connie said on October 7, 2019 at 7:43 am

    Fifties name here as well. All Connies are pretty much my age. Definitely no young ones.

    Working at the library you get a real sense of kid names, as they get their first library cards. I was convinced for a while that all the little girls had names ending in a.

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  11. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 7, 2019 at 8:19 am

    No Jeff at all on any of the charts in the piece, but in the one link, wow — 1961 was the peak and a high one, then crash-bang-boom.

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  12. Julie Robinson said on October 7, 2019 at 8:25 am

    Connie, Susie, Debbie, Nancy, Mary, and, oh yes, Julie. I’ve just named 1/4 of my high school class.

    It was a whirlwind weekend with our lad home, and the weather was glorious for October, and I engaged in zero news, so there’s that.

    Also, when I took said lad to the airport I plunked down all of $93 for 10 days in Orlando come November. Like Deborah I keep clothes at both places so all I’m carrying are my electronics and chargers.

    Our NYC trip featured cut rate plane tickets that didn’t allow carry ons. But the time wasted checking and retrieving a big suitcase made me say never again. I’ll pay a little more to carry on from now on.

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  13. Suzanne said on October 7, 2019 at 8:59 am

    The name charts were interesting! I have a kindergarten aged nephew who is named Liam. The year he was born, it was one of the top names so my first thought was that they just ensured he would go through his school years known as Liam W. Our son had 2 Amys and 2 Ryans in his class of 20 some kids in elementary school and I still, 20 years later, refer to them as Amy D or Amy E or Ryan S or Ryan H.
    I know no one named Tammy who is younger than 50.
    I do know a young couple who named their daughter Luella which is my elderly mother’s middle name.
    And, for the record, I dislike the place names that have had some popularity in the recent past-Madison, Brooklyn, Dakota- along with the oddly spelled names-Madisynn, Logyn, and the myriad ways to spell Megan (or Meaghan, Meagynn, Meagan, Megen, you get the picture).

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  14. liss said on October 7, 2019 at 9:45 am

    Your flowers are really gorgeous. Here in Ohio, we’ve had very little rain so the grass is mostly dead as are the flowers too.

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  15. Jeff Borden said on October 7, 2019 at 9:53 am

    Best investment I made was ultra-fast drying underwear. Three pair got me through two weeks in Spain in 2017 and two weeks in Portugal in 2018. Wore every article of clothing twice. Bought super light, super comfortable shoes. Took an old raincoat with zip-in, zip-out lining and a Real Madrid baseball cap, which is like wearing a Yankees hate in the states. I managed to get everything into a weekender bag along with guide books, etc. It felt great to travel light.

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    • nancy said on October 7, 2019 at 10:12 am

      Alan already did that, and is practicing his Ranger Roll, which is apparently some trick to roll your u-trou up so tight you can bounce it on the table. Me, I just bought some workout undies, and will get by with those. Everything else is nylon or modal, etc.

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  16. Connie said on October 7, 2019 at 10:23 am

    Julie, I would add Linda and Jan. There were three Jans in my Sunday School class.

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  17. Deborah said on October 7, 2019 at 10:28 am

    When we went to France in July I bought a pair of lightweight mens runners, size small (they’re sort of like womens yoga pants but looser and they have pockets). I mainly bought them to wear on the plane but I ended up wearing them a lot during the trip because I could wash them in the hotel sink late at night and they’d be fully dry the next morning. You can’t do that with jeans. I bought them at Lulu Lemon, which is overpriced, yes, but these pants are worth every penny. They probably won’t work as well on our trip to France in December because they’re too lightweight for colder weather, but they’ll still be great for the plane ride.

    What are workout undies?

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  18. Sherri said on October 7, 2019 at 11:59 am

    Local politics is hilarious sometimes.

    There is an old white guy in his seventies running for re-election to Redmond City Council, for his fourth term. He’s never had an opponent before now, but this time, he’s opposed by a smart, energetic young woman in hijab, who has raised money and is out there knocking on doors.

    So, the OWG has a problem. He’s the obnoxious contrarian on council, and has never learned that if you want to get things done, you have to work with others. He drives staff crazy, because he berates them in public and pulls stuff off the consent agenda so he can grandstand. But he has no accomplishments he can run on, so he’s trying to run as a candidate against the status quo. What’s fascinating, though, is that he didn’t choose to paint the rest of council as the people blocking the changes that would solve our affordable housing crisis, or the mayor. He chose the planning commission, and me directly.

    It would be bad enough if he were cynically taking advantage of low information voters not knowing that a group of appointed volunteers have no policy setting authority, but I honestly think, from things he’s said over the years, that he doesn’t understand what the planning commission does, despite 12 years in office!

    Needless to say, I’m supporting and helping his opponent.

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  19. Suzanne said on October 7, 2019 at 12:13 pm

    And just for fun, Trump tweeted this today:
    “As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!)…”

    Dear God, we are so screwed.

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  20. Julie Robinson said on October 7, 2019 at 12:35 pm

    His great and unmatched wisdom? Should we laugh or cry?

    Connie: also Pam/Pammy/Pammie.

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  21. Bitter Scribe said on October 7, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    I’m sorry but I can’t get this bit out of my head, from when the Simpsons visited* Morocco:

    Homer: “What a dump! How can Princess Grace live in a place like this?”

    Lisa: “Dad, that’s Monaco.”

    Homer: “D’oh!”

    *This was a nightmare sequence from a Halloween episode, so it never really happened. (Of course, as Bart once pointed out to Comic Book Guy: “None of this stuff ever really happened.”)

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  22. Dorothy said on October 7, 2019 at 1:23 pm

    I had a friend give me that tip about packing old clothes and throwing them away after you wear them before we went on our two week trip. Sounds great in theory but (1) I donate old clothing. Anything hanging in my closet or in a drawer probably still has a lot of life left in it. I did pitch out a few things, but only after I’d worn them 3 times (undies & socks). (2) I needed clothes for two weeks, not one, so we did laundry three times while we were gone. I packed laundry pods that only had powder in them, and brought Bounce sheets, too. I wore jeans three days before I washed them. Anything after that would have been just gross. I thought I’d mind wearing the same shirts multiple times over two weeks but it really didn’t bother me.

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  23. Deborah said on October 7, 2019 at 2:05 pm

    I wear jeans 3 or 4 times before washing all of the time in cooler weather, also shirts multiple times. I don’t consider it gross. I shower every day (except when I’m in Abiquiu) and I change my underclothes daily so I don’t see what the problem is. If it’s hot and I’m sweaty of course I change daily, and heck even a couple of times a day in humid Chicago in the summer.

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  24. Sherri said on October 7, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    I’m with Deborah, I wear jeans three to four times before washing all the time. If it’s so hot that I’d be sweating in jeans, I’m not wearing jeans.

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  25. Dorothy said on October 7, 2019 at 3:02 pm

    If I had a food stain on the jeans, that is what made it gross. Oh and one day I had a pigeon make a deposit that landed on the leg of one pair. Otherwise they were fine. Sorry for not specifying.

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  26. beb said on October 7, 2019 at 3:25 pm

    Speaking of unusual names… I have an Aunt Beulah. I have never heard of anyone else with that name. Except black servants in old movies. I gather it’s a biblical name. Her sister (my mother) was named Naomi. But there’s a name that fell off the chart a long time ago and never made it back.

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  27. Deborah said on October 7, 2019 at 3:44 pm

    My mother had told me when I was a kid that they almost named me Sybil, and I wished they had because I hated being called Debbie. Then much later that movie came out about the woman with multiple personalities and I was kinda glad they didn’t. My sister has a cool name that I was always jealous of, Rosalind and everyone calls her Roz. There were always multiple Debbies in my grade school classes. I turned adamant about being called Deborah, occasionally people call me Deb, which is OK but I prefer Deborah.

    I’ve said this here before that my then husband and I named LB after a river (and city) in Germany. Not that I’ve ever been there but I thought it sounded good with the decidedly German last name. It was meant to be pronounced the German way, it starts with a J but was supposed to be pronounced like a Y, but of course no one ever did that, so we gave up and pronounced it with the anglo J sound. And there are millions of girls with that name her age, but spelled slightly differently.

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  28. Scout said on October 7, 2019 at 4:15 pm

    My name, Jeanne, is not even mentioned in that article. It’s never been a common or popular name I guess, despite the ‘I Dream of’ song and TV show.

    “…in my great and unmatched wisdom,” is gonna be right up there with stable genius. I’m sure he truly believes these things about himself. There’s nothing like the self confidence of a sociopathic narcissist. This twitter thread is a must read on T’s latest foreign policy malpractice.

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  29. David C. said on October 7, 2019 at 6:17 pm

    beb, my dad had an Aunt Beulah. He also had an aunt named Roa. I’ve never heard of anyone else named Roa. Her middle name was Elizabeth and she went by Bet. I don’t know if anyone ever called her Roa even when she was a child. David seems to carry on through the years although I bet there isn’t a class with five Davids like I had pretty much through elementary school.

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  30. susan said on October 7, 2019 at 6:33 pm

    beb, do you remember Beulah the Witch? (Kukla, Fran, & Ollie)

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  31. David C. said on October 7, 2019 at 6:44 pm

    Another one. My grandfather’s middle name was Luthenius. If you Google it, the first one is the uncle he was named for and the second one is my grandfather.

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  32. Jessica Weissman said on October 7, 2019 at 8:35 pm

    Jessica was the most popular name for girls in the US 30 years ago. I am 67, and my parents were being very original when they named me. Didn’t meet another one until I was close to 30.

    When I was just 60 I attended a phone meeting with all the regional heads of a Federal agency component. They were named Linda and Debbie and Susan and Karen and Barbara and another Barbara, plus one Naomi as an outlier. Sounded just like my elementary school classes. Regional component head was evidently where competent lucky women in their early 60s landed.

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  33. Suzanne said on October 7, 2019 at 9:02 pm

    The mom of a friend of mine from elementary school was named Thurley. Only one I have ever encountered.

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  34. Joe Kobiela said on October 7, 2019 at 9:09 pm

    My mom’s name was Oretta, born 1930
    Pilot Joe

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  35. Dave said on October 7, 2019 at 9:48 pm

    One great-grandmother was named Emma, another was Florence, my paternal grandmother was Ella, neither Ella or Emma names you heard until recent times, when they seem to have become massively popular. I have a cousin named Ellen, named for our grandmother, more or less, except my aunt just couldn’t name her Ella, she said she just couldn’t do it, this in 1950. My mother was Mary, not a name you run across much, my mother-in-law was June, don’t hear much of that, although our son says if the new baby is a girl, her middle name will be June. The new grandchild, which they didn’t want to know the sex of in advance, is due any day now.

    My wife is Alice, you seldom ever hear that name, I don’t think it’s coming back. Our daughter is Emily, we liked the name, we had no idea it was becoming popular about the time she was born (1982) until later on, when she got to school.

    My sisters are April and Virginia, April because Dad really liked that name and Virginia for our other grandmother, but she’s always been Ginny.

    I graduated with two other David’s, we went all through small school Pickerington together, I don’t think David is much used today.

    I did have a great-aunt named Lulu, I can’t imagine naming anyone Lulu, then or now.

    I did know a Beulah when I was young, she was probably born sometime around 1915 or so, she was a white lady.

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  36. LAMary said on October 7, 2019 at 10:26 pm

    Recruiting people in health care lets you meet lots of Mildreds and Eunices and Dorothys. I think old school names are still around in the Philippines and in some Latin American countries.

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  37. Deborah said on October 7, 2019 at 10:34 pm

    On my Dad’s side his mother was Margaret, always called Maggie, my mother’s mother was Matilda always called Tillie. My mother was Hildegarde, called Hilda. My dad was Clarence, called Bus, short for Buster because his dad was Clarence too. We almost named LB Eloise after one of my dad’s sisters, but only if she was born with red hair. LB was bald as a bowling ball until she was 3, and then she had reddish colored hair, but we’d already named her something else, obviously.

    Tomorrow we go to NM, up at the crack of dawn to get to Midway.

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  38. basset said on October 7, 2019 at 10:39 pm

    My nephew’s wife might be 25 and her name is… Gertrude. She claims to have never eaten fast food.

    Meanwhile, deer season is coming up – actually it’s already here for bow hunters, I’m not one – and this is some interesting seasonal reading;

    I know a lot of that stuff at the end is just trackback clutter, not sure where to cut it off though.

    Mrs. B and I are just back from a weekend in St. Louis, and of course on the way home we had to stop in Metropolis, Illinois so I could pose her in front of the big Superman statue on the courthouse square.

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  39. beb said on October 7, 2019 at 11:55 pm

    Suzanne @30: I have only the vaguest memory of Kookla, Fran and Ollie. Not sure I ever watched it, and no memory of a Witch Beulah.

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  40. Sherri said on October 8, 2019 at 12:11 am

    Everything after the question mark can safely be cut off.

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  41. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 8, 2019 at 7:01 am

    I can’t stand it when people pull stuff off the consent agenda; we’ve got one of those on the county mental health and recovery board.

    My mother was named Dora Rose in 1935, she dumped the Dora upon marriage, had been going by Rose for years — it was a grandmother’s name, but there was a radio show about “Dumb Dora” when she was a kid, and that was that. My late mother-in-law in 1927 was named Elnora, but went by Nory her whole life.

    On the list of things I owe my mother, one is that as she and my dad debated naming their first born, he leaned towards naming me for his father, who had just died. My mom said “no way, hon” and held her ground, going with Jeff to where Dad finally agreed.

    Grandpa was named Harry Amos on his birth in 1890. Apparently no one snickered in the Nineteenth Century. I, on the other hand, would have grown up to be a boxer, I suspect.

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  42. Deborah said on October 8, 2019 at 8:36 am

    Basset, what did you end up doing in St. Louis?

    I’m at Midway waiting to board. Because the balloon races are going on in Albuquerque this is gonna be a full flight.

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  43. Sherri said on October 8, 2019 at 10:24 am

    We’ve got two right now on council who like to pull stuff off the consent agenda, and it’s because they dislike the mayor (we have a strong mayor system) and can’t get anybody else to agree with them. So they pull stuff of the consent agenda to grandstand and try to embarrass the mayor.

    The OWG who’s up for council this year came up to me after a candidate forum and tried to explain my own FB post to me. You can imagine how well that was received.

    The other council member who pulls stuff off the consent agenda is running for mayor. I’m working for his opponent.

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  44. basset said on October 8, 2019 at 11:37 am

    Deborah, we went to Grant’s Farm, which woulda been a lot better if we had a small child with us… and you can’t get the $25 tour of the Clydesdale barns if you just show up, have to reserve a spot online a week or so in advance. Two free beers on the way out, though.
    Went to the zoo, which looked end of season tired and half closed with extra charges to enter some of the exhibits… Rick Wakeman concert at the Sheldon… ate at Bartolino’s South on Lindbergh, which was just outstanding, and a place on the Hill which was less so. Didn’t think so many of the Hill restaurants would be closed on Sunday. Confusing interstates and lots of construction.
    Pretty good trip overall with some ups and downs.

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  45. Deborah said on October 8, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    In NM again. Before we left a month ago we took our Abiquiu cabin futons in for reconditioning and new covers at the same place we bought them a couple of years ago. Still at the airport waiting for the shuttle to take us to Santa Fe. I called the futon place and they’re telling us the work isn’t done and won’t be ready until Thursday. My husband gave them a piece of his mind because we told them we would pick them up on the 8th, today. Now we have nothing to sleep on in the cabin. We are pissed. They had a whole month and for some reason they waited until past time to get them ready. So now we have to stay in Santa Fe until we get the futons. At least we have the apartment to stay there.

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  46. Dexter Friend said on October 8, 2019 at 4:24 pm

    Bassett, I have known about Superman/Metropolis for decades and promised myself to go see it when I ever got within a few miles of it…so far, never came close. Stop by for a tip of your cap for me towards Jimmy and Rosalynn who are building 21 homes in Nashville this week. Jimmy said they have 5,000 volunteers so far in Nashville! ~ A P.S.A. : I got the senior flu shot last week and had only slight discomfort for 36 hours. Still, all sorts of ideas about horrible consequences of the flu shot abound in the public eye. I skipped flu shots for several years, then when I realized I was being a dumb ass I have been getting them for 6 years now. I damn-nearly died of the flu in December, 1999. So there’s that….

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  47. LAMary said on October 8, 2019 at 9:23 pm

    I saw an ad for a sale on pants at Lululemon. Lots of fast drying fabrics and not tight fitting stuff. It’s on

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  48. basset said on October 9, 2019 at 9:15 am

    John Lennon’s birthday today… suppose I should slap Mrs. B or overload on acid in his memory. Also his son Sean’s birthday, and Mama Basset’s.

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  49. Julie Robinson said on October 9, 2019 at 9:36 am

    The latest Nobel went to developers of lithiom-ion batteries, magic supplier of power to everything we love, and end up throwing away.

    Anyone here have a pair of AirPods? It turns out the batteries aren’t replaceable, and Apple really, really just wants you to buy a new pair, at $159. We, and our environment, pay dearly for our teeny-tiny devices.

    Contrast that to my mom’s flip phone, which wasn’t holding a charge after five years. We spent all of $6.59 for a new one, which I will slip in for her. I hardly want to go back to a flip phone, but they do carry a lower environmental profile.

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