Weekend!

Back in Colorado Springs, they don’t really have bagels, per se. They have baglish food items that remind one very much of bagels… but they can’t get things just right.

Safeway doesn’t even boil them, I’m pretty sure. They’re like torus-shaped dinner rolls. Einstein’s and Bruegger’s come close, for a chain, but they both fail at the end of the day. Not badly enough to say “I’m never eating there again!” but enough to say “I miss bagels” with every bite.

We went up to Denver to the “Bagel Deli” (you may have seen it on The Food Network) and found that it’s not just that nobody knows how to make them… the altitude changes things. The texture just doesn’t… it’s not a real bagel.

Anyway, THEY HAVE REAL BAGELS OUT HERE.

I’m going to buy a half dozen this weekend along with some sandwich fixin’s.

So… what’s on your docket?

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118 thoughts on “Weekend!

  1. It’s a work weekend. Kid is trying to finish up second term in the next week or two. We’ve both been going pretty hard for the last couple of months. We’re both starting to get summit fever and just want to have this particular period over with.

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  2. Two years ago, I showed “Frankenstein” and “Dracula”, the classics, on the screen outside the house for Halloween, and the yard decorations were a cemetery with a coffin that had the top busted open.

    Last year, I showed “The War of the Worlds” and “Forbidden Planet” and the yard decorations were spaceships attacking the house.

    This year, I’m going to show “Them!” and “Godzilla” and the yard decorations are going to be a cityscape (matchbox-car scale) being attacked by radioactive monsters.

    So, I’m going to be building a cityscape this weekend.

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  3. I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to bagels. Not only do I maintain that you have to boil the bagels but I think the only proper topics are lox and cream cheese. Everything else comes off as not kosher for some reason. I never really grew to accept things like cheese or meats or eggs on bagels.

    This weekend I’m going to Halloween parties on Friday and Saturday, MOMA on Sunday, getting my haircut and doing laundry.

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    • I enjoy lox, but struggle with the amount that most places put on there. For $8, they’ll give you a bagel, cream cheese, and a whole heap of lox. It’s not a bad deal… but I can’t eat a whole heap of lox. A slice or two does it for me. But I don’t want to pay $8 for a slice or two. Some places will meet me halfway… $4 for much less than half the usual serving. Others will not. I avoid the others if lox is what I’m craving.

      Fortunately, I’m much more flexible with my bagelling… toasted with butter, cream cheese with tomato and onion, sausage-egg-and-cheese… all will suffice.

      Growing up, in the shadow of NYC, good bagels and pizza were the norm. I just figured they tasted that good everywhere. Moving to Boston destroyed that fantasy. From 18 to 26, I spent 7 of 9 years in cities that just had terrible pizza and bagels. It almost ruined me. Thankfully, we now live in an area with top notch choices for both. That may soon change, and I may give up good bagels in the pursuit of a better life… though that might be a bit of a fool’s errand.

      To Jaybird, Maryland was one of the spots I lived in with the bad bagels and pizza, but I was in MoCo, just outside the District. I’m glad you are doing better out east. Should you end up in the capital for any reason, I can get you good recs on pizza and bagels (among other things). DC was never and still isn’t really much of a big food city, but it is getting better… especially if you are willing to try new things. Ethiopian, Thai, Indian… mmm.

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      • The pizza outside of New York metro area is atrocious. You can get good gourmet slices in California but finding a decent slice place is like going on a quest. It really shouldn’t be hard to make a good ordinary pizza pie, its not the world’s most intricate recipe, but apparently its impossible.

        The less said about bagels outside of New York and its suburbs, the better.

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      • The only thing more quintessentially New York then having great pizza and bagels is feeling everybody else’s pizza and bagels are lame.

        Of course its true. I dearly remember going to the bagel shop with my parents on Saturday nights to get a big bag of fresh warm bagels. They got the Sunday NY Times and i got a great bagel when we got home. I also got to hold the hot bag of bagels. drooools.

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      • , my husband and younger sprout did a NYC pizza tour one weekend. Younger sprout came home, and set out to replicate Patsy Grimaldi’s pizza, which he deemed the best of four days of only eating pizza.

        By all accounts, he did a good job. I’d post a picture, if someone would explain how I might do that.

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      • I was probably about 12 when, during a trip to Boston, we happened upon a pizzeria advertising it’s “New York style pizza”.

        “Dad, what do they mean?”
        “Well, not everyone’s pizza is like ours back home.”
        “But… why? Why would they do that?”
        “Beats me.”
        “Well, at least some places make it like home.”
        “No… not really.”

        Worst. Day. Ever.

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  4. Near our old place there was a shop that called itself “The Great Canadian Bagel” or some such thing – maple leaves all over the signage. For a year or two I never bothered to go in, because meh, generic Western Canadian bagel-like object shop, unlikely to particularly approach Montreal bagel standards.

    But when I finally did go in – revelation! It was actually a cleverly camouflaged Ukranian bakery – a few Ukranian flags behind the counter (not visible from outside) staffed by nice middle-aged Ukranian ladies, the display cases full of babka, poppyseed rolls, paska, horikhivnyk, and pyrogies. Sure, there were some bagels at one end of the counter, and I probably tried them once. But oh! the Ukranian pastries!

    Sadly, the place closed not long after I discovered its great secret.

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  5. Oh, and –
    Friday evening, Halloween party at a friend’s place
    Saturday evening my wife dances (maybe with some others from her dance troupe – not sure) and her boyfriend’s band plays at a cafe
    Sunday afternoon, community bike shop shift
    Sunday evening, date to a series of short plays performed in elevators throughout downtown

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    • Saturday evening my wife dances (maybe with some others from her dance troupe – not sure) and her boyfriend’s band plays at a cafe

      your wife’s boyfriend?

      Hmmm. Inquiring minds and all that. Plus I’m a hopeless musician’s widow.

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      • We’re polyamorous. Her boyfriend is also a good friend of mine in his own right.

        My date on Sunday is also with someone other than my wife. Also probably on the weekend agenda: butterflies in the stomach all weekend, because this is a second, arguably perhaps a first date.

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  6. I got a new camera.

    My sweetie’s presenting stuff at an electronic music conference.

    I have a lot of work. Hopefully, I’ll break even on it.

    And on Ravelry, the social network for knitters and crocheters, indie designers have flash-mobbed a giftalong promotion in 24 hours. An absolutely fascinating experiment in mob marketing. I’m participating, can’t wait to see what happens. (This is the time everyone looks for quick gifts to make for the holiday gift-giving season.)

    On the camera, I ended up spending a bit more for a panasonic Lumix DFZ-200; 2.8 through an enormous zoom range, and the ability to select background blur. We will see if it really works.

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    • And I’ve been making lots of bread. I’m working on a post (was waiting on the new camera, so that I could take pictures.)

      I would like to know, for those interested in bread-baking, what kind of tools you have so that I can include you in what I write. So if you’ve got a stand mixer or only do it by hand; a stone for your oven or a dutch oven, stuff like that.

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      • A bread machine’s an awesome tool for mixing up a dough.

        I really like crusty, artisan breads. I mostly bake a combination, a whole wheat biga or sponge that’s fermented overnight to unlock the nutrients in the grain, with a dough made of the biga and white flour for lift.

        Developing gluten properly in the high-protein flours needed for good crust and rise takes effort; it’s not easy to do by hand. So there’s nothing wrong with mechanical help. I spent about six months once, doing it by hand a couple days a week, and it seriously changed my physique; I looked all bulky on the top. (Anyone wanting bigger biceps. . . I recommend this.)

        Problem with a bread machine is small size; and I’d rarely use it to actually bake in.

        Where you are, I’d encourage making a starter; they native yeast, I’ve heard, is tasty.

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      • , I have not been able to establish a good starter here.

        I’m giving it one last time; this time with a dry starter. The wet start out okay, but always go to slime after about 2 months, it looses it’s power to loft. Friends who bake here have had the same outcome. I think it’s the predominant natives, which take over whatever’s in the flour or an imported starter. I think I’d have to import strains and use them every day to have consistently good bread; and I don’t have that kind of need for bread.

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      • I bake pretty simply – just a big steel mixing bowl for kneading, and some ceramic loaf pans. I homebrew, so I sometimes use the lees from a bottle or two of beer as the yeast starter.

        I like to leave the bread to rise in the oven overnight, get up an hour early, turn the oven on, go back to bed, and get up later for fresh bread for breakfast

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      • They’re the standard rectangular shape.

        I like them pretty well. I find it easier to burn the bottom of something in a metal pan than a ceramic one.

        Only downside with them compared to metal ones, is I can’t get the loaves out as quickly – I have to let them sit a few minutes, till the steam from the loaf softens the crust a little so it lets go of the pan easily. Well, that and the thick sides mean they don’t stack down small, which might be an issue if cupboard space was at a premium.

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      • Interesting. I pretty much cook free-form loaves on a stone, and I proof them on parchment on a rimless baking sheet, slide them onto the stone, add ice to a pre-heated enameled cast-iron pan, and bake on the sheet. Very little mess to clean up, but I can’t let ’em rise overnight that way. I do my slow ferment the night before.

        I wonder if you’re losing your crust to the pan because of that ferment; which was always my concern. I’ll read about it; I think I’ve got a terra cotta pot I can experiment with that might have similar result. Do you remember what your pan instructions said about soaking the pan first? Have you tried that? (Don’t if the instructions recommended against it.)

        Do you have a baking stone, aka pizza stone?

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      • zic,
        I use a convection oven, so I hardly need a stone…
        Got a Kitchenaid stand mixer,
        and a bread machine (now not circular!).

        The bread machine makes a decent crust.

        My problem is being able to eat the bread in time.

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      • I have a KitchenAid mixer I use around once per week to make two loaves of bread. I bought a cast iron dutch oven to make the famous no-knead bread once and found out we like regular sandwich loaves better than the artisinal breads. That’s what we are used to after all.

        Somehow the idea of getting a bread maker never occurred to me. I’m happy with mixing in the KitchenAid and baking in the oven though. I do admit the idea of just dumping in the ingredients and getting a real loaf of bread at the end is appealing.

        I don’t know why other people say they have trouble with their loaves keeping. If I add as much oil as the recipe calls for, the loaves stay fresh for me.

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      • It’s pretty stunning thus far.

        I could take passable images inside at night with incandescent light, hand held. Using it out in my back yard yesterday, I found it easy to manipulate controls, and amazing control over focal/depth-of-field settings.

        It’s ‘faults’ are lack of wifi and GPS. But I’d probably not avail myself of either; so I’m happy not to pay for those features.

        Probably the bigger ‘fault’ is that the manual. The paper manual is tiny, and basically just identifes the parts and how to safely set the camera up to start taking pictures. It doesn’t even include instructions on how to download to a computer.

        The real flaw is the manual is 1) poorly written (meaning it explains controls, but not in the context of what that means for controlling the camera,) and 2) it’s on a CD, so not of much use while you’re out in the field.

        The camera’s too new to have its own how-to book yet; so I’m taking bets with myself on if I’ll find I’ve mastered it enough not to bother when one’s purchased or impatiently awaiting such a book’s publication.

        Some reviews have also panned the case, which is plastic; but I’m pretty happy with it. I have enough disability in my hands that weight matters; a DSLR with interchangeable lenses pushes my comfort level and increases potential of unnecessary camera shake. It has a tripod mount fitting, a hot shoe for connected flash (plus a built-in flash I haven’t tried yet), and an external mic jack.

        I’m not sure I’d recommend this to anyone as a pure point-and-shoot; pretty expensive for that use, though functionally you could probably just put it on automatic and never think about anything but zooming and focus. Some basic knowledge of photography, and the potential you want to get out of any shot seems required to justify the price.

        But I’ve been doing semi-serious photography for many years, though I’m not a ‘pro’; I’ve had shows (of film photography) in Newbury St. galleries and done my shoots for most of the acts of journalism I’ve committed; I do my own fashion shots for my design business, and this camera seems ‘just right’ for that level of skill, without stepping up to heavier, gear-intensive loads that I couldn’t manage as easily.

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      • >wifi and GPS

        I think it’s almost better to be missing that. You want the manufacturer to be spending your your money on the lens and sensor.

        Another way to think about it is that the actual picture that you get looks exactly the same whether wifi and GPS are on it or not. Right?

        Regarding the manual, I think camera manuals in general seem to be pretty awful. A guy like Thom Hogan, for example makes a living off of selling actually good, usable manuals for Nikon cameras since the ones that come with their cameras are awful.

        My approach has really just been to figure out how to run Aperture and Priority modes and then fiddle with the settings for other stuff like white balance, ISO, and setting a minimum shutter speed. And that’s actually it. I can’t think of any other settings I have wanted.

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  7. Finishing up some paperwork for Haiti, and reading a book on the country’s history. Buying a tablet (given that they cost the same as a high-end e-reader, I’m leaning toward’s Google’s Nexus, or a similar tablet by Acer). And hopefully getting the change to watch some DVDs of Firefly from the library.

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    • What book are you reading on Haiti’s history? Paradise Lost by Phillipe Girarde isn’t that good. He skips many periods of Haiti’s history to focus on the most important events and his explanations for Haiti’s problems aren’t really that rigorous. Haiti:The Aftershocks of History by Laurent Dubois is much more comprehensive history of Haiti after independence, he covered the colonial period and the war for independence in an earlier book.

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      • I’m reading Laurent Dubois’ Haiti: The Aftershocks of History

        I’ve just finished Jonathan Katz’s The Big Truck That Went By: How The World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster. It’s excellent, both as a personal account and as an examination of the problems with the disaster response (many of which are systemic and affect disaster responses anywhere in the third world), and very well-written – as befits a reporter for the Associated Press.

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      • I considered an iPad Mini, but it’s expensive considering the purposes I want one for (mainly for reading books and watching some downloaded films and tv shows). It seems more like a replacement for my laptop (minus MS Office) than a supplement to it.

        I’m leaning towards the Google Nexus 7 by Acer, which I can get for under $200. I preferred an e-reader due to the better screen and longer battery life, but the selection in Canada is really poor (the Nook looks great, but you can only get one if you have a credit card with a US address; we’ve only got Kobo and Sony).

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      • And yes, I’m going to Haiti (with Mennonite Central Committee). I leave on November 4th. I’ll have a few weeks of homestay to get acculturated and start learning the language (Kreyol – derived from a mix of pidgin French, African languages, and some other languages), and then I’ll be working in Désarmes, ~40km north of Port-au-Prince in the Artibonite Valley. I’m reporting on MCC’s projects and results, including maintaining a results database, and hopefully assisting with capacity-building for their local partner organizations re: reporting, monitoring and evaluation.

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      • Are you Mennonite? My mom was, General Conference. I never was, officially, but it affected my thinking a lot, so I still have a great fondness for anabaptism in general. Have a good trip. Sounds like good work.

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      • Yes, I’m Mennonite. My church has gotten regular updates on MCC’s work ever since I was a kid, and the idea of working for them has been something of my dream job. I didn’t really think I’d actually ever do it.

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      • Thanks!

        Oh, and Tod, I broke down and got the iPad Mini. I didn’t want to be dealing with issues of whether or not my tablet would interact with my laptop.

        *shakes fist at Apple and their lack of intercompatibility*

        They’ve got a captive market, and they know it.

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    • I picked up a Nexus 10 used from a local electronics reseller. The 7 is beautiful (and cheaper), but I wanted the bigger screen. My buddy has one of the Acer tablets, and frankly I don’t like their hardware as compared to a Google or Apple product. The Acer tabs feel a bit flimsy when compard to the other two. Google’se-reader is an app called “Google Play Books” and it’s ok, I guess. I don’treally have any experience with other e-readers. My wife has one ofthe newer iPads with the Retina display and it’s pretty nice (like almost everything Apple makes), but you’ll pay extra for it (again, like almosteverything Apple makes).

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  8. ‘Rents are in town, da domani. I have an Italian mother, so, umm… enough said, I suppose (especially when you consider that I’m 30-something and unmarried… with an Italian mother).

    I assume we’ll eat a lot of Tex Mex, Central Texas BBQ, and anything trendy in Austin, which, since it’s Austin, means everything.

    Sunday’s my son’s birthday (hence the parents), so we’ll be celebratin’ with cake and stuff. Should be fun.

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      • Tod, I don’t even want to think about it!

        Glyph, I think to start there will be a no music at all rule. Are we still considering dubstep music (kidding; no dubstep!)?

        zic, yeah, he’s been pretty independent for a while now. Sometimes he makes me dinner. Then I ask, “So, what were you going to ask me for?”

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      • I will make the pitch for small liberal arts colleges with Division III sports.

        Then again, I was looking for schools without a strong sports culture and really liked the Division III status.

        Small classes, taught by professors instead of TAs, beautiful scenery, you get to be part of a small and very dedicated to community, and all that.

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      • Well there’s Reed in Portland. I don’t believe they have any sport teams however. They used to have a football team that played in the local church league but they got thrown out for a mock crucifixion at half time.

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      • We will definitely look at small schools. He has some learning issues (he copes with them well now, but elementary school was a struggle for him at times) that mean small class sizes are ideal.

        My sister went to a small school in Ohio called Wittenberg, and she’s been lobbying for it for a couple years now.

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      • I know some people who went to Mills. It has a bit of an interesting reputation in the Bay Area. The attendees are often seen as being too precocious by half though the same could be said for my alma mater.

        I was interested in Reed but my parents nixed anything that was farther west than Oberlin and north than Colby. I ended up getting into my first choice school though, so I ended up two hours north from home. This was a great distance. Easy enough to get home if needed (and all on trains and subway) but far enough to maintain good distance.

        The east coast ones are worth checking out if she liked Mills. Amherst is a nice college town and Smith, Mount Holyoke, Amherst, are great schools. Though Portland (presuming you mean Oregon) is probably more fun and is a great little city as well*. And I would say check out Vassar because I have to plug my alma mater.

        *My New Yorker bias still dominates and I think of Portland as small but almost everything is small compared to New York.

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      • There is nothing wrong with Swathmore. I didn’t apply but it is a fine school. There are lots of colleges I could mention in this category: Grinnel, Bates, Bowdoin, Colby, Kenyon, Oberlin, McCalester, The Claremont Colleges, Occidental, Hamilton, Bard (too hippie and small for my tastes), Hampshire, Whitman, etc.

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      • ND,

        The East is not on our daughter’s radar screen nor ours, even though there are so many more small colleges there. Daughter was born in Oregon, spent a summer in SoCal with grandparents, and wants to go west, west, west. And since Johanna and I hope to retire west, we’re going to encourage our kids to head that direction (and hope for the best).

        Curiously, just this morning Johanna showed me this quiz, which reinforced for us that we belong out there.

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      • Chris–there’s lots of sun east of the Cascades.

        Cascadian–Reed’s on the list, as are Lewis and Clark and Linfield in the PDX area, and Willamette a little ways south, and U. Puget Sound in Tacoma. I don’t remember Pomona being mentioned, and it’s so far east it might as well be in Massachusetts. After all, as they say in L.A., there’s no civilization east of the 5.

        My employer is part of a consortium of small colleges that offer tuition exchange (if the school your kid applies to decides they’re worthy of receiving that benefit), so that plays a big role in shaping the set she’s looking at, as does having a D3 swim team. Pomona might be on the list, I just don’t know. The nice thing about Mills is that they also give free room and board, which almost nobody does, because, well, that’s just stupid crazy.

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    • 16 was my favorite of the even-numbered years. Abstract thinking, strong opinions, still value hearing from elders. Also able to care for themselves, somewhat. Good time to take up serious cooking, too. And, if he isn’t already, to learn to do his own laundry. 100% necessary skill, that.

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      • , I hate tripping. Seriously. And I’m a wild-child of the 1970’s.

        I have nearly constant ocular migraine; everything already looks like I’m tripping, almost all the time. Sometimes, it’s beautiful beyond belief. And it makes driving, lighting, etc. difficult.

        And yes, I know. That explains a lot.

        I suffer frequent brain inflammation. I used to write professionally, I no longer can, at least with any confidence that I will meet my deadline.

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      • , it’s been better than thirty years since I dropped an A-bomb. The seventies were quite the time, heh? And so… innocent, in hindsight. Before AIDS, mandatory drug tests, crackheads, methheads, etc.

        Those migraines sound awful. My wife used to get almost constant headaches. One unexpected result of her brush with cancer and subsequent hysterectomy was that her headaches apart from an occasional stress (read: motherhood) induced one disappeared. Turns out they were hormone related.

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      • , for women, migraine frequently are hormonal. Mine used to be, now, I’m too old for all of that. But mine are also due to trauma; and the damage that triggers migraine doesn’t get any better as I get older, though my ability to manage things continues to improve.

        It often seems like a simpler time. I didn’t need an ID to open a bank account. I could go across the street from my school at lunch time and buy a pack of butts for $.50, conveniently the same amount lunch cost. The clothes were just beginning to turn into plastic.

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      • Yeah, , my sweetie got slammed into menopause at warp speed. Which reminds me that her surgery was just about two years ago (need to check the date on that). So far cancer-free (big yay!). What do you think, little celebration in order?

        Is there any kind of… I dunno, protocol that applies? Would you count from the surgery, end of chemo?

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      • , if it were me, I’d count from discovery.

        That fucks with your head; that’s when you take the scary-dark fork off the path you’d been walking so carefree.

        She’s very blessed to have you by her side on that path, however it forks. I imagine you’re blessed, too.

        That makes me happy.

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      • , “fucks with your head” indeed. Her mother passed when she was five y/o at almost exactly the same age from cervical cancer. She put on this almost preturnatural game face, mostly for the sake of our seven y/o, I guess. But I could tell she was screaming scared shitless inside.

        I shaved my head in solidarity when hers started falling out from chemo. Full Heisenberg ;) She’s decided she likes it better than my natural balding gray so I’ve kept it. Sorta cold in the winter, though. :)

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      • My husband shaves his head. I make him cool hats to wear. Since he performs a lot, people see him. Many times now, total strangers have come up to us and started asking about a gig they saw; they recognized the hat.

        And we both love that.

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    • Hey Jonathan, I’ve discovered your neck of the woods is a good one old button collections. Particularly two-holed buttons, about 1/2″, big holes that look too big for the button, yellowed color. They’re turned whale bone. More shiney, plastic looking ones are vegetable ivory from the ’50’s.

      I’m always in search of them, just in case you know someone with an old button jar or who frequents junk shops. I’d be inclined to barter. I knit nice stuff.

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  9. Mmm, gluten free jalapeno-cheese bagels in Ashland, OR… I miss college.

    Oh yeah, Halloween parties and the like. Saturday night is not child friendly, and I do plan on consuming a large quantity of jello shots and pumpkin flavored cocktails. (I know, it’s a weird combo of offerings at the party, but I’m not hosting.) Junior and I can be found at the pumpkin patch on Sunday, followed by decorating the outside of our home, of course. I’ve already stocked up on fruit snacks and pretzels for the big day! Most popular house on the block? Ours! OK, not most popular, but not least popular either.

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