Life is good

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I haven't told you this, but I'm having a really great summer.

Summer started with the trip to Boston Mark and I took at the end of May/beginning of June, which was awesome. Since then, life has been mostly non-stressful work days and evenings of watching the Euros and drinking rum-based cocktails. We have a new foster dog I adore, everybody is happy and healthy, and life is good. We've been having some financial stress, but all in all, I can't complain.

In other news, my little yellow leather Fossil wallet finally died, so I searched for a replacement for a bit. I don't carry much in my wallet--my driver's license, a couple of credit cards, and whatever cash I have on hand--so I don't need anything big. Finally, after many hours of Etsy searching, I settled on this:

hedgehog wallet

Notice the little pink hedgehog? Kills me. I got it from here. She's got a warthog one, too!

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New Classics

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Over on the future spinster librarian manifesto, there's list up of Entertainment Weekly's 100 "New Classic" films. How many have I seen? They're in bold.

1. Pulp Fiction (1994)
2. The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-03)
3. Titanic (1997)
4. Blue Velvet (1986)
5. Toy Story (1995)
6. Saving Private Ryan (1998 )
7. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
8. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
9. Die Hard (1988 )
10. Moulin Rouge (2001)
11. This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
12. The Matrix (1999)
13. GoodFellas (1990)
14. Crumb (1995)
15. Edward Scissorhands (1990)
16. Boogie Nights (1997)
17. Jerry Maguire (1996)
18. Do the Right Thing (1989)
19. Casino Royale (2006)
20. The Lion King (1994)
21. Schindler's List (1993)
22. Rushmore (1998 )
23. Memento (2001)
24. A Room With a View (1986)
25. Shrek (2001)
26. Hoop Dreams (1994)
27. Aliens (1986)
28. Wings of Desire (1988 )
29. The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
30. When Harry Met Sally... (1989)
31. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
32. Fight Club (1999)
33. The Breakfast Club (1985)
34. Fargo (1996)
35. The Incredibles (2004)
36. Spider-Man 2 (2004)
37. Pretty Woman (1990)
38. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
39. The Sixth Sense (1999)
40. Speed (1994)
41. Dazed and Confused (1993)
42. Clueless (1995)
43. Gladiator (2000)
44. The Player (1992)
45. Rain Man (1988 )
46. Children of Men (2006)
47. Men in Black (1997)
48. Scarface (1983)
49. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
50. The Piano (1993)
51. There Will Be Blood (2007)
52. The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad (1988 )
53. The Truman Show (1998 )
54. Fatal Attraction (1987)
55. Risky Business (1983)
56. The Lives of Others (2006)
57. There's Something About Mary (1998)
58. Ghostbusters (1984)
59. L.A. Confidential (1997)
60. Scream (1996)
61. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
62. sex, lies and videotape (1989)
63. Big (1988)
64. No Country For Old Men (2007)
65. Dirty Dancing (1987)
66. Natural Born Killers (1994)
67. Donnie Brasco (1997)
68. Witness (1985)
69. All About My Mother (1999)
70. Broadcast News (1987)
71. Unforgiven (1992)
72. Thelma & Louise (1991)
73. Office Space (1999)
74. Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
75. Out of Africa (1985)
76. The Departed (2006)
77. Sid and Nancy (1986)
78. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
79. Waiting for Guffman (1996)
80. Michael Clayton (2007)
81. Moonstruck (1987)
82. Lost in Translation (2003)
83. Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987)
84. Sideways (2004)
85. The 40 Year-Old Virgin (2005)
86. Y Tu Mamá También (2002)
87. Swingers (1996)
88. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)
89. Breaking the Waves (1996)
90. Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
91. Back to the Future (1985)
92. Menace II Society (1993)
93. Ed Wood (1994)
94. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
95. In the Mood for Love (2001)
96. Far From Heaven (2002)
97. Glory (1989)
98. The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
99. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
100. South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut (1999)

Yeah. I see a lot of movies.

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Tattoo love

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dove tattooNow that the weather is warm I wear sleeveless clothes 90% of the time. This exposes my dove tattoo, which is on my right upper arm. And I forget, during the months the tat is covered by sleeves, how people react to it.

During any given day during which I leave my house, at least one person comments on this tattoo. Like clockwork. It happens all the time. Mostly, people just say they like it. Fairly frequently people, particularly older women, comment on how it is the prettiest tattoo they've ever seen. Sometimes, people recognize it as Picasso and ask me about that. Very rarely, someone recognizes it as a symbol of peace and comments on that. And every time someone notices it, I get a little thrill. I've had it for...three and a half years, I think, and still it excites me that people like it.

I didn't get this tat because it's pretty, though I think it is, and I am still amazed at the great job the tattoo artist did in replicating the brush strokes and line drawing feeling of the original Picasso piece, "Dove with Flowers" (you can see that here). But those things are just bonuses. Unlike my other two tattoos (which are, incidentally, less pretty), this tattoo was intended to be overtly political when I got it. I decided to get it when the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003 (though I didn't actually carry the plan out for a couple of years after that). Picasso started using doves to symbolize a call for peace in his work in 1949, when he created this poster for the World Peace Congress. He later used doves over and over again, including the one I have, Columbe avec Fleurs, which he painted a few years later. When I was searching for an image to put on my body that symbolized my commitment to and prayer for peace, it made sense to use one of these doves. I wear it on my arm, the most visible of my tats because it is that important, that vital.

An internet search turns up a few other folks with Picasso dove tattoos. I found a couple of the same dove I have, as well as quite a few of the simpler doves. I've had a couple of people tell me, upon seeing mine, that they know someone with the same tat. So it's not exactly the world's most original content, but it's not clip art, either.

Lately, I'm thinking about making a similar and complimentary statement on my other upper arm. I want an image that will be true to my politics, but still fit asthetically with what I already have. At some point, I saw a line drawing type thing of two hands holding on to several stems of roses and stalks of wheat. That might work. We'll see.

Anyway, to those who compliment me on my tat, thank you. It was something important to me and I am glad that it catches people's attention.

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Checking in on goals

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So I started this year with a bunch of goals, most of which are boring, but one of which was to read an average of a book a week and watch an average of a movie per week. So 52 books and movies for the year. The year is just about 1/2 over, so how have I done?

A check in at All Consuming shows me I am on track for movie watching, having watched 37 films so far this year.

Goodreads tells me I am not in quite as a good shape for books, having finished only 22 books so far this year (of the 30 I've started).

Best book so far: Tie between The Family Silver: A Memoir of Depression and Inheritance by Sharon O'Brien and Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel.

Best movie so far: Juno

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New addition

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We picked up a new foster dog, Belle, on Saturday morning. The story is a bit long and complicated, but basically she'll be staying with us for a while. She has a few health issues--short term, some allergies and ringworm, and longer term, cherry eye--and she'll need some taking care of before she can be put up for adoption.

The hard part is happening right now--because ringworm is contagious to both us and our other pets, she has to be quarantined until she's no longer contagious (72 hours after we began her treatment, more or less). That means she has to spend any time that we can't supervise her outside in a crate. She's taking it very well--minimal fussing and crying--but it's still a pain. Her house manners show every indication of being very good, so it will be nice when she can be out and about with our dogs and cats (and when we can pet her without fear of contamination).

Once the ringworm has cleared up and she's had a couple of weeks of good food and being taken care of, we'll get her in for a surgical consult for her cherry eye. Hopefully it's fixable. The concern is that her eyelids have been prolapsed for too long already and it won't be reparable. We'll have to wait and see.

So, meet Belle:


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Marriage

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I gotta get something off my chest.

Everyone I know is getting married. Again. This keeps happening--you'd think they'd all be hitched by now and we'd be done with it. I guess some folks are on their second round, though, so maybe it will just be a perpetual cycle. At any rate, I have at least three weddings of close friends and/or family on my agenda in the next year, and counting. So I am thinking, once again, about the "M" word.

Here is the part where I put in the disclaimer: If you are my friend or family member and you are married or planning to be, you may want to stop reading here. If you don't, you may end up feeling hurt or insulted. I am, completely and honestly, sorry about that. I will, as I've likely already told you, do all I can to support your decision to get/be married. If you want me to put on an ugly dress and be in your wedding, I'm there. I'll even throw you a shower. But none of that is going to change my essential feelings about the decision you're making, and those feelings are what I'm going writing about here, on my soapbox, so read at your own risk.

Now. About marriage.

Marriage in the U.S. is a fundamentally discriminatory institution. Clearly, it discriminates against anyone not in a male-female relationship, but that's just a part of it. It also discriminates against anyone who is unlucky enough not to have someone to marry, or anyone who chooses not to participate. It elevates one set of citizens over another by virtue of their personal relationships and how they choose to legally codify those relationships. This is never going to be OK with me. While it's not by any means my only problem with marriage, it's the top of the list, and it's the one that makes me feel fine about making the following analogy:

When you choose to participate in a legal heterosexual marriage, you are, in essence, choosing to drink from the "white only" fountain. You may not have put that fountain there, you may not agree with its existence, you may do whatever else you can personally and politically to open it to people of all colors but you are still partaking in it. You are buying into an inherently discriminatory system, and by participating in it you are helping, in the slightest way, to keep that discrimination alive and kicking. You may have any number of personal and financial reasons to have made that choice, and some of those reasons may be very sensible, but the bottom line does not change. That isn't OK with me. For me, watching my friends and family make that decision isn't something that feels celebratory. I can be and often am nothing but happy for friends and family members who have found wonderful partners and want to build a life with those partners--but that happiness does not extend to their choosing to participate in legal marriage.

I honestly don't believe that the small number of us who choose not to marry for this reason (or for this among other reasons) are doing anything particularly effective to protest in favor of same-sex marriage. That's really not the point. Even if my getting married doesn't make the slightest difference in eradicating this particular discrimination, I am still committed to not being married. I want no part of an institution built on treating women as chattel, an institution built on "legitimizing" children, or an institution wherein rights and privileges are based on personal or sexual partnerships. And it's not just a "this is my personal preference, you do what you like" type of thing. I think it's morally wrong.

This clearly isn't some sort of deal breaker between my friends and I--if I didn't have married friends, at this point, I'd have few friends at all. Just as I am sure there are decisions I make with which the people who are important in my life disagree, this is a decision that most of the people in my life are making/have made with which I disagree. The difference that I can see is that it's a decision for which most of society will laud you. When you get married, or announce you are going to, you expect congratulations, presents, parties, etc. That makes sense. And it might make it even more insulting when someone among your friends (like, say, me) isn't excited for you, and doesn't say congratulations. Like I said before, I am not going to try to convince anyone I know not to get married. My friends and family members are, by and large, grown ups with their own decision-making processes and I have to respect the decisions they come to. But I am also not going to pretend I'm OK with it, because I'm not, and the more time passes, the less OK with it I get. This is, increasingly, the hill I am willing to die on.

So. There it is. A few of my thoughts on marriage. There are more, but on the slight possibility I still have friends left, I'm going to stop here.

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Women's library II

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OK, next step. These are the books from the man's list that I'd put on the woman's list as well:

1. The Republic by Plato
2. Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
3. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
4. Walden by Henry David Thoreau
5. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
6. The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
7. Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes
8. The Politics by Aristotle
9. Hamlet by Shakespeare
10. A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway
11. The Stranger by Albert Camus
12. The Bible
13. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Broadly, these are a collection of books that I'd identify as being about human nature, the roots of human governance, and morality, and I'd think they would have a place on an essential reading list regardless of gender.

I'm sure there are a couple from that other list that I've left out that I shouldn't have. Readers? Any books on the previous list you'd like to argue for including on our 100 must-reads for women?

(Incidentally, looking over this list, I have read all or most of 12/13 of these books. Can you guess which one I've never cracked?)

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Geeking out on the footie

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So, if you aren't a football (non-American) geek and aren't partnered with one, you may not know that the Euro 2008 tournament is underway. However, it's the rage at my house, and I'm, as always, drawn in. So much so, in fact, that after having watched each team play once (or watched highlights in some cases), I'm going to bore you with my predictions for the rest of the tournament. I know--first math, now sports? What is this blog coming to?

I can't find a suitable bracket anywhere that includes the group stages, which isn't surprising given the way things are laid out, so this is gonna have to be done in text.

What has happened so far

To catch you up, these are the groups:

Group A: Portugal, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Turkey
Group B: Austria, Croatia, Germany, Poland
Group C: France, Italy, The Netherlands, Romania
Group D: Greece, Spain, Russia, Sweden

In the first round of games, the following happened:
Group A: Czech Republic beat Switzerland 1-0; Portugal beat Turkey 2-0
Group B: Croatia beat Austria 1-0; Germany beat Poland 2-0
Group C: Romania and France tied 0-0; The Netherlands beat Italy 3-0
Group D: Spain beat Russia 4-1; Sweden beat Greece 2-0

The second round of games started yesterday, with the following:
Group A: Portugal beat the Czech Republic 3-1; Turkey beat Switzerland 2-1

From here on out, I'm predicting.

Remaining second round predictions:
Group B: Germany beats Croatia, Poland beats/ties Austria (today)
Group C: Italy beats Romania, The Netherlands beats France (6/13)
Group D: Spain beats Sweden, Russia beats Greece (6/14)

Third round predictions:
Group A: Portugal beats Switzerland; Czech Republic beats Turkey (6/15)
Group B: Poland beats Croatia; Germany beats Austria (6/16)
Group C: The Netherlands beats Romania, France beats/ties Italy (6/17)
Group D: Spain beats Greece; Russia beats/ties Sweden (6/18)

Then we're out of the groups and into quarterfinals. If my above predictions come true, then on 6/19, Portugal (Winner Group A) plays Poland (Runner-up Group B). Portugal will win.

On 6/20, Germany (Winner Group B) plays Czech Republic (Runner-up Group A). Germany will win.

On 6/21, The Netherlands (Winner Group C) plays Russia (Runner-up Group D). The Netherlands will win.

On 6/22, Spain (Winner Group D) plays France (Runner-up Group C). Spain will win.

Next round, semifinals. Portugal will defeat Germany and Spain will defeat the Netherlands.

Finally, I see Portugal and Spain in the final match, and I see Spain winning it all.

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Woman's library?

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My friend Jenny sent me a link a few days ago to this blog post, "100 Must-Read Books: The Essential Man's Library." Challengingly, she wrote, "care to try a female version?"

Oh do I.

But, to begin, let's have a look the books that post lists as "the top 100 books that have shaped the lives of individual men while also helping define broader cultural ideas of what it means to be a man."

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
1984 by George Orwell
The Republic by Plato
Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Call of the Wild by Jack London
The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris
Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss
Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac
The Iliad and Odyssey of Homer
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Walden by Henry David Thoreau
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
The Master and Margarita by by Mikhail Bulgakov
Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
Another Roadside Attraction by Tom Robbins
White Noise by Don Delillo
Ulysses by James Joyce
The Young Man's Guide by William Alcott
Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy
Seek: Reports from the Edges of America & Beyond by Denis Johnson
Crime And Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse
The Book of Deeds of Arms and of Chivalry by Christine De Pizan
The Art of Warfare by Sun Tzu
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
The Rough Riders by Theodore Roosevelt
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes
The Thin Red Line by James Jones
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Politics by Aristotle
First Edition of the The Boy Scout Handbook
Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand
Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
The Crisis by Winston Churchill
The Naked and The Dead by Norman Mailer
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Beyond Good and Evil by Freidrich Nietzsche
The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
Essential Manners for Men by Peter Post
Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly
Hamlet by Shakespeare
The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn
A Separate Peace by John Knowles
A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway
The Stranger by Albert Camus
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Dafoe
The Pearl by John Steinbeck
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco
The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux
Fear and Trembling by Soren Kierkegaard
Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose
Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
American Boys' Handy Book
Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
King Solomon's Mines by H. Rider Haggard
The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky
A River Runs Through It by Norman F. Maclean
The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells
Malcolm X: The Autobiography
Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
All Quiet on The Western Front by Erich Maria Remarq
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans by Plutarch
The Strenuous Life by Theodore Roosevelt
The Bible
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn and Hal Iggulden
The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
The Histories by Herodotus
From Here to Eternity by James Jones
The Frontier in American History by Frederick Jackson Turner
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig
Self Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson

First, to be clear, I have not read all of these books (as I am not man enough). By my count, I've read 40 of them, seen the film versions of four more, and have at least a passing knowledge of about half of the remainder. Maybe that makes me like half man? Anyway, my confessed ignorance aside, some thoughts:

1. Of the 100 books on this list, 3 are written by women, and one of those women is Ayn Rand. Seriously.
2. This particularly disturbing because in reality, most of these books aren't about "being a man," they are about being a human being. This will become clear when you see how much duplication there is between this list and my list of must-reads for women.
3. Could this list possibly be any less original? Or repeat itself any more? There really are writers other than Steinbeck, Vonnegut, Joyce, and Dostoevsky.
4. The obsession with Teddy Roosevelt freaks me out.
5. Some of these have to be a joke. The Dangerous Book for Boys? Essential Manners for Men?

So yeah, basically, I think there are a few keepers on this list that everyone should read, and maybe a few I really don't understand since I am not sufficiently manly, but mainly, it sucks.

Can I do better? Stay tuned to find out...

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The real cost of driving

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I am going to do math on my blog today. This will likely never happen again, so feel special.

Everybody knows gas is expensive, and that driving in general is often not the cheapest means of transport. There is a great blog post here, though, that tells you how to figure out just how expensive driving is for you. It's an exercise worth going through, so I'm going to do it here.

As the linked post mentions, I am only going to count gas, maintenance, tires, and depreciation in my calculation of per-mile costs, considering insurance, taxes, license and registration, and finance charges as costs of owning a vehicle, whether I drive it or not. I'm doing it this way on the assumption that having a car is necessary, but a lot of trips I make in it aren't.

My beginning numbers:
Our car is a 2006 Honda Element. It gets about 20 mpg in the city, where most of our driving takes place. We put about 7,000 miles a year on it. Current Blue Book Value is $17,225.

Step 1: Calculate depreciation.
$17,225 (current value) - $16,530 (estimated value with 7,000 more miles) / 7,000 (annula mileage = $.10/mile depreciation

Step 2: Calculate gas cost.
Gas here is currently an average of $3.79/gallon. We get about 20 mpg. That means gas costs for us are about $0.19/mile.

Step 3: Calculate maintenance and tires.
Here I am using AAA estimates of 4.67 cents per mile for maintenance and and .85 cents per mile for tires.

Step 4: Add it up.
$0.10/mile depreciation + $0.19/mile gas + $0.05 mile/maintenance + $0.01/mile tires = $0.35/mile total cost of driving.

So what does that mean? How much does it cost me to make non-necessary trips? Here are some examples:

Commute: Our daily commute is 7.2 miles each way, or 14.4 miles round trip (not including parking garage time). That's $5.04 a day commuting cost, or $25.20/week.

Target: If I go to the nearby Target from my house, it's 1.8 miles each way, 3.24 round trip. That's a $1.13 trip.

Goodwill: If I go the the bins from my house, it's 6.5 miles each way, or 13 miles total. $4.55 each trip. If I go to the other location from work, it's 4.7 miles each way (again not including parking garage), 9.4 total, for a $3.29 trip.

Well. That was an eye-opener.

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Remember my Oscar Movie project? Well, I am still working on it, albeit slowly. I'm keeping track here. So far I can say that the following movies were better than I expected them to be:


  • A Beautiful Mind

  • Braveheart

  • Titanic

And these were worse than I'd expected:


  • The Departed

  • Unforgiven

I have The English Patient sitting patiently on top of my DVD player, where it has been for at least six weeks. I just can't get into the idea of watching it.

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Good morning homesick

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Alicia at Posie Gets Cozy pays photographic and written tribute to one of my favorite places on Earth, the Portland Farmer's Market. Go there and read it, then feel, as I do, jealous that she lives there and you don't.

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Cocoa butter PSA

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Comparison shopping for cocoa butter or
Cocoa butter price comparison
(for those Googling)

So shopping online for cocoa butter is probably not something you find yourself doing often, unless you are like me (or are me) and make a lot of gooey bath products that require large quantities of it. That being said, even if you are me, comparison shopping for the bet cocoa butter bargain is not something you want to ever have to devote an hour or more to again. Wouldn't it have been nice, you say to yourself, if someone on The Internets had handily provided this information so I would not have had to seek it out?

And so I give you the best price options I've found. Please note that I am not vouching for any of these companies, just telling you much it costs. Prices often go down if you order more, but for the purposes of comparison, I am sticking with a one-pound purchase.

If organic cocoa butter is your thing, the best price I've found is $11.44/lb at Nature's Flavors. Shipping and handling on this is $8.03 via FedEx Ground (which is, incidentally, why you want to buy more than a pound at once). Mountain Rose Herbs has organic cocoa butter for $12/lb, which is a pretty negligible difference, but their shipping price (via "UPS/Fed Ex Gound") is $8.77 for that order.

If you need your cocoa butter to be organic AND deodorized, the best price I can find is $14.99/lb at Skincare Naturals. It's a Canadian Company, though, so the shipping is going to set you back $11-$12 for that, depending on what part of the US you live in. Glory Bee Foods has organic deodorized cocoa butter for $19.70/lb, which is quite a bit more, but shipping is also significantly less, running from $6.50-$9.25 depending on how far you live from their Oregon headquarters.

If you don't care about organic, this stuff gets a lot cheaper (imagine!). The cheapest I found was $4.00/lb at Paw Made Soap Company in Michigan. That's a sale price, but it's only down from $4.40/lb, so it's still the cheapest when not on sale. Priority mail shipping is $7.20, but when I tried to to a mock check-out, it changed my shipping to $1, so I'm really not sure.

Finally, if non-organic but deodorized is your deal, I think your best bet is $7.00/lb at Soapies Supplies. Delivery via FedEx Ground is $4.84. Another good possibility is Glory Bee Foods (mentioned above), who sell the non-organic deodorized for $7.75/lb and ship as cheaply as possible.

There. Probably more than you wanted to know, but hopefully helpful to someone at some point. If you did Google this up and it was useful, leave me a comment and let me know?

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Now back to your regularly scheduled whining

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OK. I'm back from my trip, which was mostly lovely. My friends are good, having grown into incredible adults while I wasn't paying attention, Boston was most hospitable and graced us with beautiful weather, and we had one of my Top 5 Best Dinners Ever (go here).

However.

My allergies were bad before leaving for Boston. They progressed to worse when I hit the combination of Boston pollen and dusty/moldy basement apartment (mostly the former, I think). Then, in our last 24 hours, I got MUCH worse, including a last night spent mostly tossing, turning, and sitting up to breathe better. On the flight home, which would have otherwise been lovely (go JetBlue, with your direct less-than four-hour flight and your in-seat televisions!), I was a fever-riddled sinus-clogged mess. Seriously, I sat in my seat and quaked. It was awful.

A trip to the urgent care later (as my primary care doctor could once again not be bothered to see me and thus is no longer my primary care doctor) I have an antibiotic, an inhaler, and a Neti pot. To go with my sinus infection, ear infection, and "bronchial spasms."

Have I mentioned recently how much I sometimes truly and utterly despise being me?

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