The last week.

Who were you people who didn’t like “The Power of the Dog?” We checked it out over the weekend, and I thought it was pretty great. Such fabulous acting; Jane Campion must run her actors through Subtle Facial Expressions U. before she shoots a single frame. I loved the way the power shifts over the course of the story, I loved the scenery, I loved the way it put me in 1925-era Montana and basically posited: This is what it was like, here.

Otherwise, a weekend. Fuck Joe Manchin and I hope his stupid houseboat sinks. Actually, it wasn’t a shit weekend. We went to a Friday-night party — all vaccinated — but I will still get tested on Wednesday because Covid is running wild here, helped on by irresponsible behavior (like mine, maybe). Saturday was the Eastern Market and its associated pleasures, and Sunday I did a gift exchange with a friend. He has holiday travel plans and is being super cautious, so we tried to find a heated tent, but ended up in the back yard of a Cass Corridor bar. They wouldn’t turn the patio heater on because we were just two people, so we sat there and shivered for one round. It wasn’t all that cold, so it wasn’t terrible, and it wasn’t cold enough to drive us inside. Kate gave us notice yesterday that everyone she knows has Covid now, including someone she worked next to (masked) a few days back, so she’s testing daily and may not make it to Columbus at the end of the week.

It’s beginning to look a lot like a Covid Christmas, in other words. Everywhere I go.

I forgot to mention: While we were sitting on the cold patio? A sizable rat ran from under one section of deck to another. Happy Christmas in Detroit!

It hasn’t been a terrible holiday season, although I have yet to make gingerbread. Maybe tomorrow. But this cloud of doom hovering over all? That I can do without. It’s gonna be another long winter.

Wouldn’t it be nice to get some genuinely nice, happy news one of these days? A certain former president collapsing in a serious health crisis, maybe? Justice running down like water? That would be a present we could all open.

Speaking of presents, the GIF in this tweet makes me so happy:

For those who don’t get it, it’s the last move in the Ohio State marching band’s signature formation, Script Ohio. The i is dotted by a sousaphone player, and it’s considered a great honor to be the i-dotter. It’s really the only thing I’d watch the OSU band to see, but they don’t do it for every game. I feel like I have to start using this GIF in every text message now. Just to, y’know, emphasize things.

And now we’re in the countdown week, i.e. the second-dullest week of the year, unless Trump just lost an election. I realize these offerings have been a little thin of late. It’s not that I’m tired or not into it or whatever. The well simply feels a little dry at the moment. It’ll refill. I just can’t say when. Maybe time for another France picture.

Explanation: The market plaza in Nice had an installation of these poster-size photos, dedicated to local livestock breeds. The explanation placard stated that market forces were flooding meat and dairy markets worldwide with products from a relative handful of bloodlines, which anyone who drives in the Midwest country can see with their own eyes. Dairy cows are almost exclusively Holstein now, the breed which produces the most milk, and selective breeding of championship bloodlines has further increased the amount an average cow can produce. Semen collection, and sales of sperm and frozen embryos, have made some bulls and cows super-parents, with a few having hundreds of thousands of offspring. The dangers of this concentration into a few bloodlines are obvious, but it sure dollars up on the hoof, as they say in the auction ring. Yay, capitalism. This exhibit of less-popular, but beloved, breeds was one of my favorite things to look at as I was gathering provisions for the apartment. Not a great pic (by me), but this bull is so cool:

Posted at 9:44 am in Holiday photos, Same ol' same ol' |

103 responses to “The last week.”

  1. Ann Fisher said on December 20, 2021 at 10:02 am

    I love the cow. I remember driving country roads with my father who knew the breeds and had a soft spot for Jerseys. My Wyoming cousin tells a story of picking up a friend at the airport, 90 miles away, and as they drove north through the pretty desolate cattle country of southwest Wyoming the friend asked “how do they get them all milked?”

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  2. nancy said on December 20, 2021 at 10:23 am

    I did see a lot of that breed, Chianina, out the windows of the train as we traveled south. They’re also the only breed I saw mentioned by name on menus, specifically for steak tartare, so I figure they’re France’s version of black Angus. I love the various dairy breeds, too, especially Jersey and Brown Swiss, but honestly, I never see anything other than Holstein now. An old small-farm dairy producer told me he selected his stock for factors like the richness of the milk, etc., and liked to have a few Jerseys in there to raise the fat content. But the bigger farms get, the less little guys can compete, and his barn was empty by the time I met him in the late ’80s. Big dairy operations are kinda gross, in my experience. I think Jim Harrison said a cow is a machine to turn grass into shit, and that is surely true.

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  3. ROGirl said on December 20, 2021 at 10:26 am

    My brother had been planning to drive down from Toronto to visit, but that was 2 weeks ago. Not gonna happen any time soon now.

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  4. A. Riley said on December 20, 2021 at 10:42 am

    Yeah, f’in virus creeping ever closer. Personally, I’m uneasy about the late Christmas Eve service at church — long-standing custom sees the former-chorister college kids joining with the choir (of whom I am one). Our choir director demands proof of vaccination and masks, and we’re all glad for it — but I’m still uneasy about the visitors from afar singing next to the elderly regulars (like me).

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  5. Heather said on December 20, 2021 at 10:52 am

    Interesting–Chianina cattle have been associated primarily with Tuscany and central Italy for a long time, where they are particularly known for delectable T-bone steaks they serve with lemon and olive oil. I guess they are making inroads elsewhere.

    Had my first Covid exposure scare last week and I’m sure it won’t be the last–a friend I had tea with last Sunday tested positive. I did a home test and was negative, no symptoms, and our other friend who was there was also negative. If it were just me, as it usually is, I wouldn’t be quite as freaked out and would probably be a little less inclined to lock down, but now I have to think of the beau and his family, which he is going to see in NYC (oof) in a few days (but they won’t be going out). Meanwhile, I’m thinking of asking my family if we can do home tests the day of Christmas before we get together.

    Also getting extremely bummed out about another winter of outdoor-only get-togethers. Last year it was novel. This year it just sucks.

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  6. Suzanne said on December 20, 2021 at 11:10 am

    Our son is supposed to fly in from out of state at the end of December. I am getting nervous about it. He’s bummed, too, knowing that when he comes to visit, we usually go visit friends and relatives and go out to eat, but now, we won’t likely do any of those things.

    I hate this and hate that people could do more to prevent it but simply don’t bother. I wonder how much of the spread is from people who aren’t anti-vaxxers but think they are being careful when they aren’t. I know a number of them. Vaccinated but going all over the place, shopping, parties, eating out with groups, going to church unmasked, as they tell you how careful they are.

    What I have learned in the past 2 years is that most people don’t give a crap about others and most people don’t think much at all.

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  7. Jenine said on December 20, 2021 at 11:15 am

    Love the cattle portrait. I was just reminiscing about going to a Dairy Queen in Muleshoe, TX, near the New Mexico border. I visited a couple of times when I was a college student traveling between Los Alamos NM and San Antonio. The DQ was notable because they had photos of past prize winning steers on the wall.

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  8. Deborah said on December 20, 2021 at 11:19 am

    We went to social gatherings Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. I’m socialed out. The Saturday night one was the largest with 7 people, the other nights had just 4 or 5 so all relatively small and all of the people vaxxed, boosted and cautious so I’m not too worried. I don’t personally know anyone who has gotten Covid lately although it seems to be floating around alarmingly.

    We try to buy Super Natural dairy items when they’re available, they are the tastiest brand that I’ve found. But their butter doesn’t last as long as others.

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  9. LAMary said on December 20, 2021 at 11:24 am

    Italians get wound up about cattle breeds too. When the variety of cow that produced the milk used to make Reggiano Parmagiano was nearly wiped out by WW2 the only cow deemed worthy of Parmagiano production was the Frisian variety. Not sure if they still only use Frisians. The Stanley Tucci series mentioned the low quality of prosciutto made from Danish pigs.
    Back in my old hometown in NJ (where coincidentally a lot the residents were descendants of Frisian humans) we learned that the best milk came from Golden Guernseys. This was because the local dairy visited elementary schools and told us all about how wonderful their Golden Guernsey cows were.

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  10. Deborah said on December 20, 2021 at 11:37 am

    The brand we like is actually Kalona Super Natural, comes from Kalona, Iowa and we get it at Whole Foods in both Chicago and Santa Fe

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  11. Julie Robinson said on December 20, 2021 at 11:44 am

    A.Riley, I just told my daughter I’m not going to sing for Christmas Eve. I’m just not comfortable being that close to others who are expelling their air, even wearing masks.

    OTOH, even though our son has had two negative tests and no symptoms, my mom leaves the room every time he enters, wearing his mask. He has to wait for his booster because of the exposure. It’s a little tense here.

    The Power of the Dog sounded violent, no?

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  12. Deborah said on December 20, 2021 at 11:45 am

    And since we’re talking about bulls, when I looked up Kalona, IA on Wikipedia I found this “ Kalona was established by the railroad on August 6, 1879. The name was suggested to the railroad by a Mr. Myers, who owned a bull of that name. ”

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  13. Jeff Borden said on December 20, 2021 at 12:35 pm

    We’re traveling to the Cleveland suburbs to spend Christmas with my sister and her husband. They’re boosted and careful, but I must travel through the wilds of northern Indiana and northwestern Ohio, where vaccination levels are what you’d expect in red political areas. The willful recalcitrance of these people continues to piss me off. Those complaining the most about the inconvenience of wearing a mask are the most likely to contribute to the current crisis. Suzanne is correct. We are a nation where the majority is made up of selfish assholes who care only for themselves.

    So, now that the asshole from West Virginny is dooming the Biden Administration, I just can’t wait for the bloodbath in 2022. Anyone for Jockstrap Gym Jordan as Speaker of the House? Think maybe Ted Cruz or Tom Cotton might elbow old Moscow Mitch aside? I pray the coronavirus subsides simply so my wife and I can get the fuck out of this country for a few weeks of normalcy when the loonies take over the asylum.

    I’m generally a fan of the slow burn style of filmmaking and “The Power of the Dog” definitely takes its time to get rolling, but oh, the performances from top to bottom were just outstanding. It seems like forever ago Kirsten Dunst was that bloodthirsty little blond girl vampire alongside Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt, but she’s a really powerful performer. And Benedict Cumberbatch is always fun to watch. The ending was killer, too. Jane Campion is a helluva talent.

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  14. Mssr. Coffee said on December 20, 2021 at 2:01 pm


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  15. jcburns said on December 20, 2021 at 2:16 pm

    Monsieur Coffee?
    Monseigneur Coffee?
    Messenger Coffee?
    Ms. Senior Coffee?

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  16. Suzanne said on December 20, 2021 at 2:33 pm

    Julie, I wouldn’t call the Power of the Dog violent really but it is rather disturbing in other ways. I need to rewatch it. It’s so psychological and it keeps you off balance, or it did me, that I need to see it again to catch all the nuance. I had to look up the meaning of the ending (and ask about it here) because it was so abrupt that I wasn’t quite sure what happened.

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  17. Sherri said on December 20, 2021 at 2:47 pm

    So, Manchin is opposed to the Child Tax Credit because those lazy, shiftless, irresponsible parents would just spend the money on drugs. Well, given his daughter’s involvement in driving up prices for Epipens, maybe that’s true.

    Such a great government we have, when a man elected by fewer people than live in my county gets to determine policy for everyone based on his ignorant point of view.

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  18. Bitter Scribe said on December 20, 2021 at 2:49 pm

    I hadn’t realized that about cattle—the paucity of bloodlines. That makes sense, in a creepy sort of way.

    You do see it in many other commodities and crops. For instance, some 95% of the bananas grown in the world are Cavendish, because it’s the sturdiest breed with the best ripening window. That’s what makes the world’s banana supply so vulnerable to a disaster, like the blight that is now ravaging bananas in Asia.

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  19. Deborah said on December 20, 2021 at 2:53 pm

    As I said here before I thought The Power of the Dog was fantastic. Jane Campion is a treasure, I’ve enjoyed all of her movies, but The Piano is still the best by far.

    The good news is after tomorrow the days will start getting longer again.

    It has been quite cold in the early morning hours in Abiquiu, yesterday it was 10° and this morning it was 14°. But then during the day the highs are in the upper 40s. It’s pretty bracing getting out of bed when it’s in the low teens with no fire left in the wood burning stove, the fire goes out hours before daybreak. My husband used to get up at 2 or 3 and start one again, but now we just pile blankets on top of the down comforter and cuddle.

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  20. nancy said on December 20, 2021 at 3:08 pm

    Sorry, Heather, I misspoke. The breed we saw a lot of in France was Charolais. They look very similar to this bull — that lighter coloring, very stocky.

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  21. Dexter Friend said on December 20, 2021 at 4:02 pm

    This goddam Manchin is an asshole, a lying fucking oxygen thief. There’s hope the dems will tear apart Build Back Better and try to pass the thing one item at a time, somehow. Manchin caved to big pharma and shit on his own poor people of West Virginia. The fucker had the balls to go on Fox to declare his alliance with the repuggs, the snake. Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan was explaining to Andrea Mitchell at noon today how Manchin was for child care and child tax credits and all sorts of the bill but there was the general feeling from him that the bill was flawed, then time ran out on the show. It makes me sick.
    It was me who trashed “Power of the Dog”. The pondering, the slow moving plot, the lull-to-sleep sound track, the vague references and recurring anthrax angles…geez, I didn’t dig it. I did learn the thing was filmed in New Zealand and there were delays due to the virus, and that Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons are a married couple with a couple kids.

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  22. LAMary said on December 20, 2021 at 4:11 pm

    My social interaction consists talking to the guy across the street. The streets are narrow here on the hill. No sidewalks. He’s an artist and pleasantly weird. My son and his girlfriend come to the house occasionally, vaccinated, boosted, masked. I’d say I’m overly cautious but frankly I wasn’t all that social prepandemic.

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  23. alex said on December 20, 2021 at 6:33 pm

    I don’t know how many bloodlines there are for pork, but a Hungarian breed — the Mangalitsa — was recently brought back from near-extinction and is featured on the menu in finer establishments these days. They have a much fattier constitution than their industrially farmed counterparts and thus much better flavor. Read more here.

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  24. Jeff Gill said on December 20, 2021 at 6:51 pm

    Hey, Nancy, you missed a few!

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  25. basset said on December 21, 2021 at 7:47 am

    A farm I pass pretty often this time of year has a “beef for sale” sign out by the road and a herd of Belted Galloways. Don’t see many of those around here.

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  26. Jenine said on December 21, 2021 at 10:42 am

    @Alex, that’s the wooly pig! I saw pictures several years ago posted by a Euro blogger who was exclaiming over the cuteness of the wooly Hungarian pigs.

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  27. Julie Robinson said on December 21, 2021 at 11:19 am

    Last year we were eating pork this and that just because it was so cheap. D informs me it’s running $7/pound these days, yikes.

    The ancestral Robinson farm in Vermont is now being run by an enthusiastic young couple who farm in the new/old way of grazing their animals using movable fences. They’re raising sheep, chickens, pork, veggies and two adorable children. Being Vermont, they also have maple syrup, run an AirBnb, and this month have been making wreaths from their forest. When we visited the last Robinson owners were old and worn out and were ready to put the farm in a land trust to ensure it couldn’t be developed. I’ve really enjoyed following the new couple on Instagram. Here’s their website, if you fancy ordering from them:

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  28. David C said on December 21, 2021 at 1:21 pm

    Happy Christmas Strike is Over. You can eat Pop-Tarts again. For whatever reason that might be.

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  29. brian stouder said on December 21, 2021 at 3:55 pm

    Random recommendation/great ‘late purchase’ gift idea: ALex Trebek’s book – “The Answer Is” – is tremendous!

    Just sayin’

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  30. Dexter Friend said on December 21, 2021 at 4:40 pm

    A one pound roll of frozen ground beef cost me $5.10 a few days ago. That’s the 80-20. There’s no 73-27 anymore.

    My friend George, who spent hours on the lost-Pogo hunt last weekend, left a wrapped present for Pogo today…a GPS tracker. The fee is $17 per month but yer damn-tootin’ I am paying it. Losing my dog was torture…36 hours, happy ending; she was with a neighbor who doesn’t have Facebook but his ex did and he asked her to see…and she did, and I got Pogo back.

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  31. Julie Robinson said on December 21, 2021 at 4:43 pm

    It would probably make my top 10 list, if I ever got around to making one. It turns out Trebek really was the modest and unassuming guy he appeared to be on TV. He was happiest running his pickup down to the hardware store for puttering around the house, and was quietly doing extensive charity work. He planned to narrate the audio version but just wasn’t up to it so he asked Ken Jennings and he sweetly did.

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  32. Scout said on December 21, 2021 at 4:51 pm

    Dexter – so happy Pogo is back safe and sound. The GPS tracker is a great idea, and worth it.

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  33. Deborah said on December 21, 2021 at 4:52 pm

    Lordy, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico is only 4’10”, here she is standing next to a 7′ tall cop

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  34. LAMary said on December 21, 2021 at 6:11 pm

    I buy the organic ground beef 3 pack from Costco all the time. It’s 3 1 1/3 pound packages. Usually it’s about 23 bucks, or five something about pound. Last week I was putting together a delivery order for Costco and it showed that four pound package for 11.13. Ya think I ordered a few? It was either an error or a ridiculous sale. Whatever. My freezer got 16 pounds of ground beef and the son/girlfriend freezer got 8 pounds. 24 pounds for 66.78.
    Alex Trebek was a very good guy. He donated a lot of money for homeless housing and was vocal about where the housing should be located, making sure it was in a place where there was public transportation, access to business and services. No NIMBYism was tolerated by Alex.

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  35. Dorothy said on December 21, 2021 at 8:40 pm

    Breaking my own self-imposed radio silence to mention my next door neighbor, late 30’s, vaxxed and boosted, has Covid. Seems like it’s inevitable that we all get it, isn’t it? I’m back to wearing a mask everywhere now. I had gotten relaxed about it since I too am vaxxed and boosted. Where do I go? Work (have to mask there) and the grocery store. Once in awhile to another store. I have a bag of my sewn masks in my purse at all times. I’m hoping to stave off the inevitable.

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  36. MarK P said on December 21, 2021 at 10:11 pm

    Dexter — Oh, wow! A missing dog really is torture. Not long after I brought my latest dog Zoe home, she ran off — jerked the leash out of my hands — with my other dog, Sam. Sam came home the next day. Zoe showed up after four days. I had already given up hope. The big ol’ idiot has run off a couple of more times, but has only been gone a few hours each time. She’s mostly good about staying near off leash, but given her history, I simply can’t trust her.

    Dorothy, I, too, am wondering whether we will all eventually get Covid. It just isn’t going away like the big orange turd promised. I wonder why? We are triple vaxxed, and I will be first in line if they come up with a new booster. But it seems it’s not going to be enough. They are now advising people to wear N95 masks, I presume because the other types are for the protection of others, but the N95 provides some protection from death cult members.

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  37. Dexter Friend said on December 22, 2021 at 2:02 am

    Isn’t David Thewlis remarkable in how he can really creep it up on a movie set? This new “Landscapers” murder drama streaming on HBO Max showcases both Thewlis and Olivia Colman as the married couple who were involved in the real-life 1998 murders. Really stellar acting and actor placement in re-enactments that reach back in time.

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  38. David C said on December 22, 2021 at 6:06 am

    I’m wondering if I’ve already had Omicron. I had what I thought was a bad cold a couple of weeks ago and took a home test that was negative and I felt better in about five days. I’m not sure if I did something wrong with the test. Now Mary has it and it’s lingered for over a week. She coughs all the time and doing the smallest thing leaves her fatigued. We’re both vaxxed and boosted with J&J and Moderna booster. I wish had gone to the testing center. Mary thinks it’s best for her to just stay home and not go to get tested because she doesn’t want to spread it around. She’s probably right.

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  39. Deborah said on December 22, 2021 at 7:05 am

    I too think it’s inevitable that we’re all going to get omicron Covid eventually, or the next variant. I really don’t want to get it and I especially don’t want LB or my husband to get it. We always wear masks and only go to grocery stores but I’m getting very nervous about that.

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  40. Suzanne said on December 22, 2021 at 9:13 am

    I don’t want Omicron, but I, too, wonder if it’s inevitable. NE Indiana vaccine rates are abysmal with Allen County (Fort Wayne) barely topping 50% and percentages go down from there. I am not enjoying Christmas this year since every interaction seems to me a chance for infection.

    I am also becoming more and more skeptical that anyone will be held accountable for Jan 6. They’ve had a year. We could see with our own eyes that it happened and yet, other than some random lunatics that participated, the organizers are all free. Some FOX idiot publicly called for the assassination of Fauci and he still has a job. Merrick Garland is proving himself to be Mueller Jr, slow, methodical, and useless. I started reading this yesterday and was listening to an episode of Gaslit Nation on my way to work and it’s becoming more and more clear that we are not dealing with one wannabe autocrat in Trump, but part of a transnational web of autocratic mobsters with money and power and who are out for blood. Meanwhile, the US press and the voting public think it’s business as usual with the normal cycles of Dems or Republicans in charge. It isn’t.

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  41. LAMary said on December 22, 2021 at 10:36 am

    I had a dog, a mutt, named Sophie who would do anything to escape. She tunneled under the fence, she chewed the fence slats, she went out a window. She was a pain in the ass. She came back around 11 pm one night when my son was an infant and my ex was out of town. She clearly had been attacked viciously.There were gashes and torn skin everywhere on her face and body. My neighbor, the nicest guy in the world, came with me and the baby and the bloody dog to the emergency vet clinic. 1300 dollars later she was stitched back together. I had a good sized bag of ointments and pills for her. She didn’t learn from that experience. She kept escaping but she never got that beat up again.

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  42. Heather said on December 22, 2021 at 11:56 am

    Felt headachy and had a scratchy throat yesterday (although between stress and allergy shots, those aren’t unusual symptoms), so I went and got a test–rapid was negative, waiting for the PCR. There was a steady flow of people coming into the walk-in place, which is right around the corner from me, but I only had to wait about 10 minutes. It does feel inevitable that we’ll all get it, unless you literally never leave the house. I just hope I don’t end up with long-term effects.

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  43. basset said on December 22, 2021 at 12:28 pm

    We had a coonhound, Walker and blue tick cross, who would take off by herself at night to chase the trash pandas. She usually came home by morning, but one day she didn’t… farmer nearby called us five days later and said he’d found her hanging in one of his fences by a back foot, still alive, had tried to jump over and didn’t quite make it.

    Vet took that foot off at the hock, she recovered and went back to fighting coons on 3 1/2 legs.

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  44. Julie Robinson said on December 22, 2021 at 12:33 pm

    A month ago four of us passed a cold around, and now I wonder if it was Omicron. We’re all boosted and didn’t have temps or lower back pain or lose taste/smell, which as I read are the ways you can tell the difference. Still, for each of us it hung on longer than expected and I wonder if we should have been tested. The irony is that the person who was exposed to a positive Covid person never got the cold. Who knows?

    Our gathering plans are still up in the air though one has cancelled. A couple of family members are supposed to fly in Dec 31 and I’m wondering if they’ll come after all. Most of us wouldn’t be that sad.

    basset, how horrible. I’m filled with all kinds of sadness thinking about that poor dog hanging from the fence.

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  45. tajalli said on December 22, 2021 at 3:14 pm

    Hopefully, the ongoing COVID variants will become progressively less debilitating, although only The Shadow knows for sure. I’ve gone back to wearing a mask in the halls of my apartment complex, never stopped wearing inside stores etc, and still walk for exercise outdoors without one, although I carry one for emergencies.

    Got rather whomped by my Moderna booster, glad it was half-strength, under the weather for a week with a histamine reaction and joint pain including pelvic girdle, so at least I know my immune system is working.

    Suppposely, the T-lymphocytes that develop further down the line after exposure are less specific for the original and Delta variant and are thought to give some protection against Omicron.

    A bit of humor .

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  46. Deborah said on December 22, 2021 at 3:23 pm

    Basset, glad there was an ok ending to that story. Sorry the poor dog lost half a leg, better than it could have been.

    My white amaryllis has bloomed, about a week now and it has a second bud that’s blooming now. The red one will hopefully bloom on Christmas, it’s really close now. I’m going to do this every year, this was the first time I’ve ever tried it.

    LB and I made toffee bar cookies this morning, we usually make sugar cookies and peanut butter blossoms too but this year, this seems like enough.

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  47. brian stouder said on December 22, 2021 at 4:22 pm

    If you go back enough years (more than 40! I must be gettin’ old!), I was a confirmed dog-person.

    Why would anyone want a snooty cat?/Cats aren’t fun!/Dogs do what you tell ’em to do! etc etc etc

    ….but for the past several decades, I’ve been a kitty-cat person all the way!

    Our two kitties (Cleo and Winnie) are part of the family, and one of ’em (Cleo) has a lot of puppydog in her (she actually begs for food, if you’re eating in her presence)

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  48. Suzanne said on December 22, 2021 at 6:18 pm

    I need to bring a dessert to a small Christmas gathering. I want to take a cake but am having trouble deciding what kind. I am open to suggestions.

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  49. Dorothy said on December 22, 2021 at 6:37 pm

    Suzanne a nice chocolate cake variation:

    Someone made this for a gathering at my parents’ home years ago and it’s really easy and delicious. I would not use any vegetable oil if the mix calls for it – the moisture from the dates covered with boiling water (then cooled) is sufficient, along with however many eggs are called for on the box mix. No frosting required – the chocolate chips on top make a nice kind of coating.

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  50. LAMary said on December 22, 2021 at 7:45 pm

    The Joy of Baking lemon pound cake recipe doubled for a bundt pan is always a hit. Very tangy and if you’ve got an interesting bundt pan it looks great with powdered sugar.

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  51. Suzanne said on December 22, 2021 at 7:53 pm

    This actually looks really good:

    Not figgy pudding exactly but tasty!

    Or this one:

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  52. susan said on December 22, 2021 at 8:13 pm

    Suzanne – I made this French apple cake earlier this fall, and boy was that delicious. And, better yet, easy. I’m making it again for an xmas eve small (4 of us) gathering, it was such a hit. I’d cut the sugar down to maybe ½ cup; it was awfully sweet because the apples were sweet. I’m also adding chopped walnuts. Also, I don’t bother peeling apples.

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  53. Suzanne said on December 22, 2021 at 8:15 pm

    I have made that apple cake and it is excellent! I hadn’t considered that. Yet.

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  54. Suzanne said on December 22, 2021 at 8:47 pm

    And then there is this!

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  55. Deborah said on December 22, 2021 at 10:33 pm

    We watched “Spencer” tonight. Quite a feat for Kristen Stewart.

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  56. Dexter Friend said on December 23, 2021 at 2:59 am

    I don’t seek out Hallmark movies because of the bland content and the commercials, but I saw “When Love is not Enough” was available I watched it. It is the story of Lois Smith, the founder of Alanon and wife of Bill W.
    Barry Pepper was cast as Bill Wilson and Winona Ryder as Lois. Ryder did a good job portraying Lois; Pepper seemed really out of his wheelhouse. The constant ads drove me nuts. Most of the film focussed on the years in the 1920s and 30s . I suppose many young women watching this film today would scream at the screen for Lois to leave that damn drunken husband. I have read every book and article I could get my eyeballs on about the founding and continuation of Alcoholics Anonymous and Alanon, and for a basic outline of what Lois went through, I give this movie a go-for-it.

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  57. David C said on December 23, 2021 at 9:15 am

    TFG was interviewed by RW nut Candice Owens and said all three vaccines were “very, very good”. Wingnuttia, especially anti-vax wingnuttia is having a fit. In this case, read the comments.

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  58. Deborah said on December 23, 2021 at 10:46 am

    “Wingnuttia” that’s a great term David C, they live in a different universe. I read a piece in New York Magazine this morning about three people who went to DC on Jan 6 and had their lives turned upside down. I’m trying to feel compassion, they got sucked in and made a horrible choice and now they’re experiencing accountability for it (although one of them lost her life). Sorry I didn’t think to copy a link when I read it, and now the paywall won’t let me get back to it to get one.

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  59. LAMary said on December 23, 2021 at 11:23 am

    I just shared that NY Magazine story on Facebook. Here’s a link as well but I can’t swear to it working. NY Magazine is very protective of its content.

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  60. ROGirl said on December 23, 2021 at 11:24 am

    A cousin of mine calls it Dumbfuckistan.

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  61. LAMary said on December 23, 2021 at 11:52 am

    My racist cop nephew and his racist son who is not a cop are big Candice Owens fans. They believe that proves they are not racists.

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  62. susan said on December 23, 2021 at 12:13 pm

    Tengrain calls some of them folks, collectively, Possum Holler. But he has regional epithets, such as the Terrible Sandpeople [or Kingdom] of Arizonastan.

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  63. LAMary said on December 23, 2021 at 12:41 pm

    The NY Magazine article about Joan Didion is worth reading. I shared it on facebook but couldn’t copy the link to share here.
    It’s the story about the two word sentence by Joan Didion.

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  64. Suzanne said on December 23, 2021 at 12:45 pm

    I was able to read the New York Mag article. I am trying to feel sympathy for these people but can’t, especially the guy who threatened to kill his kids if they turned him in. I still have trouble understanding how people get sucked into this crazy conspiracy stuff; how, at some point, their rational brain doesn’t take over and put on the brakes. But it doesn’t.

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  65. Deborah said on December 23, 2021 at 1:09 pm

    Oh no Joan Didion died. I think I’ve read everything she had written. Loved her. RIP.

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  66. LAMary said on December 23, 2021 at 1:18 pm

    The White Album, Play It As It Lays and The Year of Magical Thinking are books I’ve reread a few times. The White Album especially.

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  67. Suzanne said on December 23, 2021 at 1:30 pm

    The Year of Magical Thinking is hands down one of the best books I have ever read.

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  68. LAMary said on December 23, 2021 at 1:57 pm

    I forgot Slouching Towards Bethlehem. I gave my copy to my son. I’ll have to ask him about it over Christmas dinner.

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  69. Julie Robinson said on December 23, 2021 at 3:43 pm

    My favorite is The Year of Magical Thinking for its brutally honest take on grief, but I need to reread some of her other books too. I hadn’t known that she had had Parkinson’s. What a crying shame.

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  70. Deborah said on December 23, 2021 at 4:45 pm

    I reread The White Album this past summer and her last book, Let Me Tell You What I Meant. Blue Nights was one of my favorites too. Her novels were ok, but I liked her essays best.

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  71. Deborah said on December 23, 2021 at 9:52 pm

    We watched the Joan Didion, Netflix documentary again tonight, The Center Will Not Hold, produced by her nephew Griffin Dunne. The third time for me and I always cry.

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  72. Suzanne said on December 23, 2021 at 10:03 pm

    Good God, it’s even worse than I thought.

    I hope these parents go away for the rest of their lives.

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  73. alex said on December 24, 2021 at 7:39 am

    Has anyone else been “issued” a credit card by Citibank without asking for one?

    As part of a promotional offer some time ago, they sent me a card with the option of activating it. Now I get statements, privacy notices and other communications “regarding my account ending in 2133,” as if I actually had an account.

    If someone were to hack this “account” I doubt I’d have any liability but it’s disconcerting and annoying all the same getting gaslit by a fucking bank.

    We’re going shopping shortly — with cash — for last-minute items. Tonight we’re having Christmas Eve dinner at home with a big Ossian ham that was a gift from my partner’s employer. Tomorrow eggs Benedict and bloody Marys (“Christmas morning BMs”) with friends. The rest of the weekend cooking with leftover ham.

    Wishing you all safe travels and joyous celebrations.

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  74. David C said on December 24, 2021 at 8:22 am

    Hardly a week goes by when I don’t get a letter from Citi, BofA, or both with a generous 21.99% APR credit card for me to shred. They’ve never signed me up without my approval though. I’ll stick with my credit union’s 7.99% card even though I pay it off every month so the rate doesn’t matter.

    “I have always thought of Christmas time as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.”

    ― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

    A Merry Christmas to all my fellow passengers to the grave.

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  75. Deborah said on December 24, 2021 at 8:46 am

    Happy Christmas Eve to all, this is the day we do our celebrating, with a special meal and gift opening in the evening. We have pared way back on the gifts over the years, we all don’t really need anything except good health and happiness. My family always did the Christmas Eve gift opening after attending the children’s Christmas program at church, one year I got to perform as Mary, I was usually an angel. My husband’s family always did Christmas morning, we have a DVD made from home movies that show a giant tree with zillions of presents under it and lots of aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents having dinner together. Because of all that hoopla then my husband is bah humbug about it now.

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  76. ROGirl said on December 24, 2021 at 10:21 am

    This still makes me laugh, C. Dickens notwithstanding.

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  77. Deborah said on December 24, 2021 at 1:23 pm

    It’s raining in Santa Fe today, it’s predicted to be drizzling all day which is a great Christmas gift for Northern NM, much in need of moisture and the drizzling kind is the best, it soaks in. It’s snowing up in the mountains so the skiers should be happy and it will be beautiful tomorrow when we go back out to Abiquiu. The temp is 43 but we have a fire going because of the dampness.

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  78. Scout said on December 24, 2021 at 2:31 pm

    Merry Christmas Nallers from rainy Phoenix. Hope everyone has a lovely holiday however you celebrate, or don’t celebrate. You give me so much reading pleasure all year long.

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  79. Julie Robinson said on December 24, 2021 at 2:56 pm

    Sunny and 77° in Orlando, which is perfect to me. Have just been reading about all the cancelled flights and I sincerely hope no one is stuck at an airport. Blessings of the season to all.

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  80. LAMary said on December 24, 2021 at 3:43 pm

    Phoenix and Santa Fe have the weather LA had yesterday and last night. I think we’ve had more rain in the last two weeks than we had all last year. Two good soaking rains so far. The sky is very bright blue with perfect white clouds right now but more rain is coming tomorrow.
    Lasagna and that French apple cake tomorrow with one son and his girlfriend.

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  81. LAMary said on December 24, 2021 at 5:02 pm

    Just watched White Christmas. Tom and Lorenzo have made that a much better movie for me.

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  82. LAMary said on December 24, 2021 at 5:11 pm

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  83. David C said on December 24, 2021 at 5:16 pm

    We watched Holiday Inn last night. Damn that’s one racist POS movie. The library had the DVD on the Christmas movie display and we thought why not. We generally like old movies. Now we wonder why.

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  84. LAMary said on December 24, 2021 at 5:30 pm

    I haven’t seen Holiday Inn in years but I remember it as pretty much the same movie as White Christmas.

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  85. Julie Robinson said on December 24, 2021 at 5:46 pm

    They even used the same set. Worked so well the first time, why not repeat it? I can never watch White Christmas without remembering the TLo comments. Some of their best work.

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  86. Suzanne said on December 24, 2021 at 6:36 pm

    Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and whatever else to you all! I enjoy your virtual company.
    May your days be merry and bright!

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  87. tajalli said on December 24, 2021 at 7:45 pm

    I don’t follow sports, but I’m a huge fan of the weather. We’ve been having rain and more rain in the SF Bay area so we’re now at ~70% of the total year’s normal (July – July) with 3-4 months left of our rainy season. Our reservoirs are so low we could probably accommodate 3 years worth so I’m almost hoarse from cheering.

    Happy Whatever to Everyone and hoping we all pull through 2022 in good shape.

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  88. Sherri said on December 24, 2021 at 9:18 pm

    Well, our Christmas plans have shifted thanks to a positive Covid test (not ours, fortunately), so instead of gathering with another family, we’re just going to do a food exchange and dine separately like we did last year. It’s been raining off and on today, but will transition to snow sometime tomorrow, and then we go into the icebox with highs in the 20s for several days. We’re all prepared to just cozy up in the house for a while, so a little snow will make things less gray!

    Happy Holidays, all!

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  89. Jeff Gill said on December 25, 2021 at 12:47 am

    For all of us here who grew up in the Chicagoland area during the 1960s, during Garfield Goose, this segment always meant Christmas was very near indeed:

    Joy of the day to you all.

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  90. Dexter Friend said on December 25, 2021 at 1:46 am

    I really was going to try sleeping so I could leave for Columbus at 5:30 AM in time to see my granddaughter open her presents. Vanessa said forget that, as the child will be up way before dawn ripping wrapping paper. Now they want me there at noon, an easy 8:30 departure in the Honda Odyssey, all gassed up and ready to roll through the rain.
    I watched the entire Mass from The Basilica in Washington, D.C.,on TV, a presentation I watched last year as well. It’s a beautiful thing for this old Methodist as a youth, turned smart-ass atheist as a young teen, and now a live and let live slacker.
    So have yourself a merry little Christmas Day.

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  91. Jerry said on December 25, 2021 at 2:58 am

    Happy Christmas to you all from England.

    Don’t know what the weather is like as I haven’t ventured from my bed yet. No Christmas in our house as I have tested positive and am self-isolating. That’s two Christmases messed up by COVID.

    Still, Happy Christmas and “God bless us, everyone”.

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  92. David C said on December 25, 2021 at 4:42 pm

    It was sunny and 42 degrees today so I got my bike down and went for a ride. I know I never rode my bike on Christmas Day.

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  93. Joe Kobiela said on December 25, 2021 at 7:20 pm

    1982 it was 65 in northern Indiana on Christmas in 1983 it was -17, ran in shorts and a light jacket this morning, really didn’t need the jacket. Clear and 39 now.
    Hot tub time!!
    Pilot Joe

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  94. Suzanne said on December 25, 2021 at 8:00 pm

    Pilot Joe, I remember that! In 1982, we lived in the same city as our families and had a 10 minute drive for Christmas celebrations. The next year, we drove several hours in that sub-zero weather with the choke frozen on the car so we nearly ran out of gas on good old Highway 30 across Indiana. Found an open gas station as we cruised into Ft Wayne on fumes, and I nearly kissed the attendant I was so happy.

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  95. Jim said on December 25, 2021 at 8:32 pm

    Yeah, 1983 is burned in my memory. Brought my newborn son home from the hospital Oct. 28. Warm the day before, very cold then. Sat outside on the porch on Kensington on Halloween in freezing temps so trick or treaters wouldn’t force us to open the door. Just kept getting colder from there.

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  96. Julie Robinson said on December 25, 2021 at 8:49 pm

    Back in ’82 we played croquet on Christmas day in the sun. Today we played Triominoes on the lanai. We ate there too, in absolutely perfect weather. Our Christmas miracle was Grandma agreeing to be in the same room as covid exposed grandson. Two weeks and two negative tests and she was finally comfortable around him.

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  97. David C said on December 26, 2021 at 5:54 am

    Oh yes, Christmas 1982 was one for the books. There had been a snowstorm a week before so there was plenty of snow left on the ground. We went to my grandmother’s house and my cousins and I had a snowball fight in our shirtsleeves.

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  98. jcburns said on December 26, 2021 at 10:47 am

    Julie, you say “grandma agreeing to be in the same room as covid exposed grandson” as if it has anything to do with “agreeing”…”agreeing” to be in the same space as an infectious disease that can kill you is, well, kinda suicidal. Especially when you’re older. It implies that everyone else was saying “c’mon, grandma, it’s fine, it’s OK”…when it absolutely is not. Or am I missing something?

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  99. Julie Robinson said on December 26, 2021 at 1:24 pm

    He was exposed two weeks ago, tested negative twice, and got his booster. She had originally said another week, which is longer than medical professionals advise. No family has been more careful and protective of our eldster, I promise. He was wearing a mask anytime he left his room, even though she wasn’t nearby.

    He was at a gathering of six friends, all vaccinated. The friend had no symptoms but was told a coworker had tested positive so got himself tested. I won’t ask him not to have a social life, which is what grandma would prefer.

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  100. jcburns said on December 26, 2021 at 1:47 pm

    Just kinda sounds like harsh judgement on the elderly person in a situation where anyone—you, his friends, and so on—was at risk.

    “I won’t ask him not to have a social life, which is what grandma would prefer.” —I mean, come on.

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  101. Deborah said on December 26, 2021 at 2:49 pm

    This article was in the WaPo I think yesterday but I’m in Abiquiu and I forgot my reading glasses in Santa Fe, I had to buy some ugly glasses at the dollar store this morning so I can read again, Abiquiu is in Rio Arriba County where the judge is located and Espanola, the town mentioned extensively for having huge addiction problems is about 20 miles from our cabin. Espanola has the most beautiful surrounding landscape but the town itself is dismal and filled with political corruption. I’ve mentioned it here before as being the armpit of the world. I’ve been to the Tierra Amarilla courthouse where the judge in the article resides, it’s the county seat and has (or had?) a charming coffee shop nearby.

    Meanwhile we’re having horrific winds again, 35mph with gusts up to 55. But the temps are in the 40s. Once again I’m fixated on weather, I’m a huge fan too.

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  102. LAMary said on December 26, 2021 at 3:33 pm

    Made the French apple cake yesterday. It was excellent. The lasagna was very good too and the salad, red lettuce and dandelion greens with good olive oil, salt and red wine vinegar was a good palate cleanser post lasagna. My son liked his book about smells and his girlfriend like her box of reasonably priced but very nice skin care stuff from Mario Badescu. A good time was had by all.

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