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Have I posted about this before? Not sure.

For the last … maybe year (?), Jim, Peter and I have been competing nightly on the New York Times’ Mini-Crossword. We each subscribe, open the app daily, and zip as fast as our fat fingers will take us through 10 clues — 5 Acrosses and 5 Downs (except on one day — can never remember which — when the puzzle is 7×7).

Typical time to finish one is about a minute or two. Two nights ago, the puzzle took me nearly 15 minutes to solve. That was record. Tonight’s was super easy and only took me 34 seconds. I SHOULD HAVE WON WITH THAT!! But, as I do most nights, I came in third.

I am Amy Brookheimer. Peter is Dan Egan and Jim is himself. Amy and Dan, if you don’t know, were characters in the TV show VEEP.. which all three of us howled over (in reruns, since we never seem to catch TV shows in the same decade in which they’re made).

Thirty-four seconds was probably my best time ever. Super proud (and excited to lord my score over the others), I went right to the leaderboard to see how much I’d beaten Peter and Jim by. And you see the results.

Damn!

Here’s how easy it was:

I think I’d have shaved about 5 seconds off my time if I’d not mistyped “tree” out the gate. As is so often the case, I had to delete a couple of bum characters and retype new ones (the fat fingers thing).

For months and months, Peter consistently beat both Jim and me. In recent months, Jim’s found his rhythm and now gives Peter a bit of a run for his money. But more often than not, Mr. Dan Egan comes out on top (and poor, hapless Amy brings up the rear).

Jesse

July 31, 2021

Susan just sent me a souvenir shot from… was it just last weekend? No… two weekends ago already? In any case… yo y pero. Deck. Upper Echo Lake.

I like Jesse. Jesse’s a very sweet dog.

It’s funny… the idea of having a dog is a bit abstract. Like, it seems like a wonderful idea! What’s not to like, how hard can it be? Peter’s out, dog is in to fill that empty nest. Right? My teeeny little guess is that there is not a dog in our future, at least not our immediate future. I don’t really know why, except maybe the idea of all the work.. house training, behavioral training, the messy messes, the difficulties traveling (like we travel a lot… certainly not these days).

But I gotta say… there is something about a creature.. and most especially a dog. I don’t imagine there’s companionship quite like a dog, and I also imagine the love exchanged is kind of what life is all about, right? Mutual caring, love, respect, loyalty, humor. It’s been probably close to 50 years since I’ve lived with a dog in the house. I actually have little doubt it’d be a life changing and life enriching addition to our household [she thinks out loud].

It’s a lot like the calculation that went into having a kiddo.

Well. Until that day comes.. we spent a couple of days with Susan and Jim’s dog. He was a real sweetheart.

Leave the Rest to Me

July 30, 2021

I just can’t.

[Whine alert.] I don’t wanna write about the most corrupt person ever to occupy the oval office.. but good effing lord. The depth of his corruption never ceases to amaze. I can believe it.. because it’s him… but then… I just can’t even fathom it. And always the question: at what point does the GOP say enough?

Probably at the same moment they accept the covid virus is going to doom their entire state and maybe a mask mandate’s in order?

Not expecting either.

Anyway… same old rant. [Whine over.]

So…

Just so I remember what the quote in the title refers to when I (or someone) reads this blog post weeks (months, years) from now:

When the former president lost the election in November, he set out to discredit vote counting in all the states he lost. He’s still doing it. (He’s such a nauseating pos.) Months (a year? two years) before the election, he was already accusing the dems of cheating (classic projection, for which he’s famous). He was at work feverishly hatching his coup.. knowing there was a good chance he’d lose reelection. Since he lost, he’s been screaming voter fraud every time he opens his disgusting mouth (it truly is a disgusting mouth). He’s been working his base into a frothy, foamy tither, he’s been working the courts, he’s tried to cajole state election officials to reverse election results (just in his race, not the others, which in most cases were won by republicans), and he’s been dragging his every surrogate into the muck (they all know it’s BS but, you know, fear, power). And yesterday evidence came out that he’d been trying to strong arm the US Justice Department into lying about voter fraud.

Pages of notes were obtained from a guy named Richard Donoghue, an official in the Attorney General’s office, that revealed conversations where the loser president suggested, oh so casually, “Just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me.”

As if that wasn’t enough… he thought maybe an insurrection might be his ticket.

Well honestly. So preposterous it doesn’t deserve blog space. But here it is. I can still be stunned by this sad manchild.

Beats me. But here he is…getting to the other side.

I love the “you looking at me?” expression.

In other news… it was a beautiful sky this morning. I’m appreciating every day that we have blue skies — even if dotted with clouds. We are in the middle of fire season and, so far, we’ve not experienced any smoke from the many Northern California fires that are burning. Interestingly, in what seems like a fine development, all the smoke is blowing north and east… like, all the way to New England east. I’m sorry for them getting our smoke, but I can’t help but think it helps make the case that climate change is having horrifying impacts on everyone and fires are not just the west’s problem.

Anyway… a beautiful sky this morning.. and my favorite shot: right into the sun!

Graphs: Then and Now

July 28, 2021

My kid makes a mean graph. And by mean, I mean colorful. He’s been making graphs now for… well…. about eleven years? (I realize.. this is not a milestone one typically tracks). 


I remember falling in love with his first graph (at least the first graph I can remember seeing), made in his 6th grade science class. It was a graphical representation — a colorful one at that — of what happens when one adds certain substances (in this case milk, baking soda, and salt) to a vessel of vinegar. In Spanish, no less.

This one always cracked me up, because it seemed like more sizzle than steak… like, that’s a lot of color, honey! (Though upon closer inspection.. it’s quite well done.)

 
Eleven years later, he’s still looking at liquids, now measuring their flow patterns. And he’s still doing it colorfully (this time in English).

This time, even with closer inspection, I can’t begin to understand what’s going on here.

But I like his graphs.

Hecko Mecko… Neccos!

July 27, 2021

As a kid, I used to say, “Hecko Mecko” all the time. I think just as a statement of wow!

And today my old standby wow-statement came in handy! Look what’s back in your local candy store (in this case Newsbeat).

I went to Newsbeat to buy a bit of candy… as I do (I confess), and lo.. there behind the licorice (an extensive array of choices, always), near the Haribo collection, were a pair of boxes of Neccos!! The company who had made Neccos since, I guess, 1847 — The New England Confectionery Co. — ended production a few years ago. VERY much to my and Jim’s disappointment! What in the world will we eat at the movies? What will Jim give me as a special add-on to birthday and anniversary gifts? What will Santa stuff in my stocking??

The funny guy behind the counter told me Newsbeat started carrying them again a couple months ago (they didn’t even call to tell me!).

I bought a few rolls of the chocolate ones and off I went in candy heaven.

Tonight I did a little research and found this:

And this…

(Written by Christopher Gavin in the Boston Globe in May of 2020… and maybe, because of the pandemic, got little attention…)

When reports circulated in 2018 that Necco and its famed wafers appeared to be heading to the big candy store in the sky, their most fervent fans stockpiled the iconic candy and readied for the beginning of the end.

But for those Necco survivalists out there chipping away at any remaining stash, there’s now some good news to chew on: Necco Wafers will soon be back.

The beloved candy that once rolled out of the former New England Confectionery Co. factory in Revere is set to make a comeback following a two-year hiatus thanks to the Ohio-based Spangler Candy Company.

“Just when comfort food is experiencing a resurgence, Necco Wafers is back with that very kind of familiar, comfortable feeling we all seem to be craving,” CEO Kirk Vashaw said in a statement. “We are delighted to bring Necco Wafers back into production and to share in their sweet return with fans old and new.”

Spangler has resurrected the wafers, which date back to 1847, after purchasing the Sweethearts and Necco brands in 2018. Necco was put up for auction earlier that year and later closed its doors.

The midwest company says affectionados and sweettooths alike can expect essentially the same product they’d come to love all those years, from the flavors on down to the wax paper wrapper and recognizable logo.

According to Spangler, that means the eight classic flavors will grace store shelves again: lemon, lime, orange, clove, cinnamon, wintergreen, licorice, and chocolate.

If there’s one caveat, it’s this: Spangler says “true Necco Wafers connoisseurs may detect a richer cocoa flavor in the chocolate wafers due to a minor improvement made in the cooking process.”

The wafers are expected to hit major drugstores in June, with other stores carrying them starting in July.

“We know fans have been waiting anxiously for the return of Necco Wafers and anticipate high demand,” Vashaw said. “Our production lines will continue to run as fast as possible to keep stores in-stock.”

So….

All is well in the world.

God. It’s been forever since I’ve blogged. Well over a month, like maybe closer to nearly two! Honestly, this feels just awful. With each passing day, I’ve felt shittier and shittier about it. Mostly because I like it. It grounds me. Without a daily check in on the day I feel a bit untethered.

I’ve been meaning, daily, to get back to it, to feel whole again. Not blogging has been so .. weird. The sorta-guilt’s been killin’ me.

Funnily, but not surprisingly, not a soul has noticed, nor said anything about it. Which confirms for me that my, uh, readership is not a readership at all. This is a-ok with me! I promise. Recall, I threatened a while back (well, hardly a threat) that I was going to take my blog offline. I don’t write this blog for the, uh, readership. I do this solely for me.. and a teeny tiny piece of a reason is for future Peter. I am hell bent on uploading photos and shaping — no, sharing — a narrative that gives him a glimpse of his life, his parents, the community from whence he came… because I know, on some level, that it will be meaningful to him at some point. Everyone’s life should be memorialized somehow.. no? And if it’s my job to do that for Peter, it’s a job I relish with all my heart (and neuroses).

I also have a bit of the document-sickness. My need to document everything is one of my most prized neuroses. That will be the subject of a later blog post. (One day, about a month ago, I made a list of all the things in life I document. A list.. isn’t that rich? I am an incorrigible list maker. Lists are my biggest crutch in life. All I can say about that is: could be worse. But the list, oh my god, was so long and hilarious (to me). I am a true documenting weirdo.)

Anyway. My plan is to resume daily posting. And, as I can, Ima gonna backfill lost days. Because, again: me. Documenting Weirdo.

Starting easy (though, wow, I’ve got a lot to say.. it’s been a full and crazy couple months here and thereabouts)… here goes:

~~

This past weekend, Jim and I uplifted and caged our tomatoes. About two months late, so it was a gawdawful job. By the end, Jim’s hands were stained dark green (and smelled oh so earthy) and I was a sweaty mess (this, after I told Jim I did NOT want to cage tomatoes at 5pm on a 100+ degree afternoon in the direct, unshaded sunlight of our highly reflective patio AFTER I’d already worked out and showered. (We both got what seem like tomato rashes on our arms.. though that’s faded now.) But we did it then anyway. Jim said I didn’t need to help. But I did (need to). It was def a two-person job.

We lost a lot of tomatoes along the way, cut off huge limbs full of future tomatoes, and may be smothering what remains. But… they look a bit better and we now have passage between the raised beds (so overgrown the tomato bushes had become!). We left some limbs uncaged, too… which is fine; they are spilling over parts of the beds that face the back fence, or are very out of the way, so are free to grow at will.

Some pics:

Four tomato plants — two cherries and two normal sized (early girl and beefsteak, I believe). You have to look hard to see the cages, but they are there. Some spillover shall be tolerated!

Is that crazy?

They sort of freak me out… like living inside the Jack and Beanstalk fairy tale. The whole garden sorta scares me in that regard. But that’s a blog post for another day.

It’s As…

July 6, 2021

…. good as it looks.

First non-cherry tomato from our garden. I forget what this variety is.. maybe a beefsteak tomato. It packed a lot of flavor.

Tonight for dinner: tomato, zucchini, chard, a pear, and some pita bread w/ hummus leftover from Sunday’s appetizer. My kinda summer dinner.

A few days ago, while hiking in/out of Wood Lake, I came upon the crooked little tree on the left. I liked it! Thought it was kinda plucky, making its own way in the world, plotting its own course.

Yesterday, on the way to Sunday brunch at Bernardo’s, Jim and I passed the tree on the right… it’s located at the corner of 3rd and University. Same size, same bends in its trunk. It looks like it’s been shaped and/or pruned in some sort of bonsai way… check out the way those needles drape! Not sure what’s going on here, but I like this tree, too.

For The People

June 29, 2021

Felt good to be vaccinated, among vaccinated fellow activists, rallying at a federal building, advocating for the people.

Literally for the people: We were showing up to Senator Padilla’s office in Sacramento in support of the For the People Act — S1 in the Senate and HR-1 in the House.

Those recalcitrant republicans in the Senate, led by politics-before-democracy asshole Mitch McConnell, filibustered the bill before it could even be debated. Not even debated. Which I’ve already ranted about.

It was nice to be out on a lovely morning, in the State’s capital, blissfully among like-minded patriots, humanitarians and democracy lovers. And while it was fun, it also felt urgent: time’s running out on this one and I can’t see enough pressure applied to enough Senators to pull this thing out of the trash heap. We’ll see.

Some pics, some mine, some Sue’s (the good ones):

I’m not sure this is everybody.. about 50 folks here, from Indivisible Yolo, Sac and Colusa (but I think there were more like 100).

Some of the Davis folks. Another dozen of our peeps, at least, showed up.

This is a Sac Indivisible person (Harue) introducing Senator Padilla’s Sac field office staffer (Roberto):

Some signs get right to the point:

Our Steve was among those who made comments:

We did a little bit of this, when not listening to speeches: