Welcome to 2024: New Little Habits, New Little Hopes

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

“Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new little habitats, to have new little hopes. It is rather hard work: there is now no smooth road into the future: but we go round, or scramble over the obstacles. We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.

― D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1928)

I let our side down yesterday observing the year’s first holiday. My mind has been chock full, too full to pull out anything cogent. I’m still not certain this essay will make much sense. It may look more like shards of stale cookies shaken out of an overstuffed jar.

Part of the challenge has been all that has happened this past year. There’s too much going on my life right now, an attestation to the craziness of the sandwich generation. Helping adult children establish themselves while helping elderly parents in their final descent can be a bit much. Hats off to all of you who’ve negotiated this stage of life without appearing in handcuffs on local or cable news because damn. I don’t know how you did it.

My sibling who has borne the brunt of caring for my parents has adopted a colorful label for the daily eldercare circus – a fuck show.

“What a fuck show,” they said, pounding their fist into their thigh as they punctuated what they’ve had to do to keep their sanity and avoid going postal. Every day is like a blow; every day requires the distraction of self-administered pain to redirect one’s focus.

When we got together this past month for a download on my parents’ condition and what will happen next, my sibling brought a fifth of a funky flavored vodka they’d recently sampled with their young adult son. My nephew liked it as did his buddies, but at his age they’ll drink almost anything without much discernment.

Sibling pulled out the bottle, asking me to try it and give my opinion. Smirnoff’s Spicy Tamarind Vodka, the bottle read, a bright and colorful design wrapped around the entire bottle. What the hell, I thought. It offered a decent break from the ongoing hours-long discussion about my parents’ version of the Divine Comedy. We arrived at the circle of hell where oddball alcoholic beverages might be welcome.

Welcome, but skeptically so. Tamarind is a popular flavoring used in Central and South America; the festive label’s design reflected Mexican cultural with skulls – a Dia del los Muertos theme.

It was rather fitting, considering the topics we’d been discussing. Illness and death were prominent themes throughout the previous couple of hours, including including a goofy story about a local Catholic priest trying to encourage use of their church’s cemetery over that of another parish.

Bring on the tamarind vodka, by all means.

It was funky – tart, a little tingly, a faintly herbaceous flavor which was both familiar and strange. We both agreed that unlike my nephew this wasn’t something we could drink straight.

“But what the hell do you do with it? I’ve never heard of tamarind before,” sibling asked. I’m more familiar with tamarind as a flavoring in southeast and central Asian foods, but not in any dishes or beverages I’ve prepared.

“What the hell do we have to lose?” I said. “Let me experiment with it.” I threw together a few things and ended up with a highly palatable beverage which lubricated our remaining now-darkly funny download.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you a new cocktail: The Fuck Show.

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, mix:

1 jigger hibiscus syrup
1-2 jiggers hibiscus tea
6 dashes cranberry bitters
1 jigger tamarind vodka

Shake and strain into a martini glass.

For a Fuck Show North, pour the above mixture over a highball glass filled with ice and top with lemon -flavored sparkling water. Stir and serve.

Yes, there’s a Fuck Show North, a complement to Fuck Show South which my sibling handles. My father-in-law is a competitive son of a bitch, one who has refused his entire life to be bested without a fight. There was plenty to discuss about that gentleman’s terminal velocity taking my household with him.

Sibling and I drank several of these newfangled cocktails and managed to laugh our asses off, looking more like those grinning death’s heads on the tamarind vodka bottle.

I raise this fresh cocktail I’ve poured myself as a nightcap to my sibling whose thigh must be permanently bruised from each blow they’ve applied rather than take out their frustration on others.

This icy cold Fuck Show is for you, sib. May 2024 treat us better in spite of the reality that all things tend toward increasing entropy.

We live in hope.

~ ~ ~

Look, we need to be frank with ourselves about the road ahead into 2024. It looks murky as hell.

There will be all kinds of prognostications claiming disaster is imminent on the other side of that murk for Democrats, documented by anecdotes obtained from people in flyover country.

The truth is disaster is certain if you fucking give up, if you buy into bullshit prepared by a failed media ecosystem which exists solely to make a profit and not to serve the public’s best interests or further democracy through which it has prospered.

If you’re going to give up, step aside and get out of the goddamned way.

The truth is far more complex than corporate-owned U.S. media will convey. Major outlets coverage of Trump’s crooked behavior over the course of his lifetime superbly exemplifies their inability to effectively communicate threats to the public and their own interests. You’ve seen here at this site many examples of what they’ve not covered, omitted, or distorted.

George Santos is another example of Big Media’s failings; the man should never have been elected to office but the biggest New York city and state newspaper couldn’t be bothered. Rep. Elise Stefanik should have been and should still be hammered in the media for her support of Santos which legitimized him in the public’s eye.

The rest of the corporate media’s coverage is the same save for a few bright, brave exceptions.

The truth is there will be surprises the corporate media will do a shitty job covering because corporate media is locked into narratives, the same ones they have relied on for decades. Their business model increasingly under pressure by vulture capitalists, they stick to what has worked in the past because it’s predictable.

Dig deeper. Read more broadly. Support smaller local media outlets like The North Shore Leader which covered Santos’ sketchiness The New York Times ignored.

Don’t overlook outlets abroad which had good reputations for thorough and unbiased reporting. In the age of the internet with translation capability at your fingertips, it’s absurd not to look outside of the U.S. news rut for a different perspective.

No matter what you read, act. Make a plan and act. I’ve said it before a number of times here that it can be surprising how little it takes to become a leader – in this country’s political system, they’re the people who show up and do the work. That’s it, that’s all it takes to make change happen. Show up, do the work.

But, but, but…there are no buts. Find a way to show up. Can’t do it physically in person? Then find a way to make calls, emails, send texts, bake and contribute goods for bake sales, whatever.

For Christ’s sake, fucking lick envelopes. I have literally spent days stuffing and sealing envelopes for a Democratic Party club. Just show up, ask what needs to be done, and do it.

We are heading into the toughest part of an existential fight for this democracy. It’s going to be an ugly, messy fuck show. Plan on it — bring gloves, sanitizer, wear safety glasses and masks and good walking shoes. And then do the work to beat back the fascists.

For some of us it really is a matter of life and death – how many women will die due to complications from a pregnancy they couldn’t end? How many trans persons will give up because they are unable to live life as normal human beings with autonomy over their bodies? How many persons will die from COVID this coming year because of right-wing propaganda supported by elected GOP officials? How many futures will be shortened because children today may not get the food, health care, and education they need, their families couldn’t obtain shelter to protect them?

I’ll repeat myself again, having said this after a painful election:

You want to keep your republic? I’ll tell you what I tell my kids: YOU HAVE TO WANT IT BADLY. And then you fucking find a way to make a contribution beyond showing up to vote. Democracy isn’t easy and neither am I.

Let’s fucking go, people. Let’s hit the road and tear into 2024 like we want a viable future badly.

This is an open thread.

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161 replies
  1. EW Moderation Team says:

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    • Danni_02JAN2024_1146h says:

      It’s hard being in the middle of the sandwich, but as it turns out that when you become the top layer, you realize that’s even harder. I recommend the book “Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande. The whole book is excellent, but the second half is moving. It really provides a lot of wisdom on one’s own aging and helping others through the process.

       
      [Welcome to emptywheel. Please choose and use a unique username with a minimum of 8 letters. We are moving to a new minimum standard to support community security **as noted in the first comment of this thread.** Because your username is far too short and common it will be temporarily changed to match the date/time of your first known comment until you have a new compliant username. Thanks. /~Rayne]

      • RipNoLonger says:

        Every book by Atul Gawande is worth reading. I’ll throw in a couple of other Indian heritage authors: Siddhartha Mukherjee (especially “Emperor of All Maladies”) and Abraham Verghese,

    • Alzero53 says:

      Will EW be covering the 14.2 lawsuit over voter disenfranchisement in WI? It seems like a subject that could benefit from a closer look.

  2. Rayne says:

    In re: hibiscus syrup — you can buy it or make your own. I make my own with strong-brewed hibiscus tea, white sugar, vanilla extract, and water.

    Here’s a recipe if you’d like something a little more complex:
    https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/247192/hibiscus-syrup/

    Hibiscus tea is also used as a folk medicine for high blood pressure. I’m not a doctor and can’t tell you this is beneficial, but for my sibling and me wrestling with Fuck Show South and North, a little hibiscus tea can’t hurt.

    • Peterr says:

      The only thing in your drink recipe that we have on hand in our house is the ice.

      We did, however, find a bottle of a blueberry vodka under the tree that we will need to come up with a similar recipe for.

      • bgThenNow says:

        In my experience, vodka is not something so common in the southern latitudes, like Mexico. Bourbon also not really. So the whole vodka tamarind thing paired with the described graphics is suspect, but kudos to Rayne for making um, tamarind-ade or aide from hibiscus, as the case may be. Mother of invention and all that! Hats off to the Fuck Show. Break a leg, as they say.

      • Rayne says:

        Blueberry Lemon Spritzer immediately comes to mind. Blueberry vodka, lemonade, lemon-flavored sparkling water over ice. I may have to get some of that blueberry vodka myself.

        Now that I think about it, I have blueberry tea in my cupboard and blueberry syrup. I guess I’d better start working on another Rayne special concoction, my turn to buy when sibling arrives for the next download.

        • klynn says:

          I’ll up that flavor profile to blueberry-lemon-lavender! You could use cooking lavender syrup or lavender-lemon sugar.

          • Rayne says:

            Gads…I have lavender sugar on my shelf, a gift from my BFF! I also have lavender in my garden, can cut sprigs any time. Why didn’t I think of that?!

            Thanks for the inspiration!

      • Sara McIntire says:

        Blueberry vodka- now that has given me idea. I always have juniper berries on hand, for the making of gin, and I think I will add some to blueberry vodka for a few hours and see how that turns out.

    • elcajon64 says:

      Agua de Jamaica – Was a once a week treat on paydays in school. Paired with a carne asada burrito. The sweet hibiscus stuff did take vodka pretty well. I might cut out a few steps and just head to the bodega.

      • Rayne says:

        That’s what I make, didn’t know it had another name. I buy organic hibiscus blossoms by the pound, use my Instant Pot to brew the tea as strong as I can — 3 tablespoons crushed dried blooms to 1.5l water for 2 minutes on high pressure. I use the same tea to make a syrup. Very good in the summer, especially half-half hibiscus tea to lemonade.

        Shucks, I should add vodka to that. LOL

        • RJames0723 says:

          I first tried hibiscus tea in Egypt more than 30 years ago. There it is called Karkadé. I make it with stevia to cut down on the sugar consumption.

    • fatvegan000 says:

      Studies do show that two cups of strong hibiscus tea every morning (using a total of five tea bags) was as effective in lowering subjects’ blood pressure as a starting dose of Captopril taken twice a day, but without the drug’s side effects.

      It is also high in antioxidants and can inhibit obesity and fat accumulation in human and improve fatty liver. Don’t drink more than a quart a day (!) though, as it’s high in manganese.

      Overview:
      https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/hibiscus-tea

      Video (the topic videos cite the study sources):
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/fat-blocking-benefits-of-hibiscus-tea

      I’m reading Dr. Greger’s new book just out, How Not to Age, and it’s chock full of good information.

      It must be really difficult being the middle of the sandwich, it just shows what a caring person you are.

  3. posaune says:

    New Year Greetings, Rayne. Thank you for this post.

    I’m sorry you are dealing with the sandwich situation stress. That is tough.
    But I like your cocktail!

    I’m determined to work hard for democracy this year. Son-of-Posaune has already signed up to volunteer with a voter registration group. Last election, he personally registered > 250 people. I’ll have to do the at-home email & phone call activism, though. Having heart surgery soon, with rehab to follow. But you can bet I’ll bust my a** working on voter registration when I’m through with that.

    • Rayne says:

      w00t! Good on Son-of-Posaune! Can’t wait to hear how he does this election!

      Hope your surgery and rehab go smoothly, keep us posted on your condition if you’re up for it. We’ll send positive thoughts your way.

    • Little old lady says:

      Best wishes on the surgery. I’m two years out, and it just keeps getting better. Here’s a tip…don’t try to impress on the first day of rehab. That day is the one against which the end point will be measured.

  4. NickBarnes says:

    I use a lot of tamarind paste, mainly in dishes which more-or-less resemble pad thai. I love it, but have never put it in drinks. That might change, thanks to your recipe. I don’t much like hibiscus though, so I might tinker with this and develop a Cambridge Fuck Show.
    My parents died many years ago, after long and debilitating illnesses (one myeloma, one dementia) which finally took them within a few months of each other, aged 70 and 72. It was a blessing when they went and I have made plans to avoid ever placing that sort of burden on my kids. My sister was the most local of the three of us, and bore the brunt for years, but the endless travel and the stress of it all also killed my marriage. I guess I was in a sandwich generation of another sort, as although my children were still young they were also facing very serious health challenges at the time. Yeah, it’s a real fuck show.

    • Rayne says:

      I didn’t take to hibiscus right away but I was determined to try it because it’s loaded with flavonoids and supposed to help with zinc uptake. I realized the flavor profile is similar to cranberries, not just tart but slightly bitter. The vanilla in my syrup softens the edge. I’m going to try using it with chili and citron like low-salt Tajin on glass rim next summer.

      Very sorry for all that you’ve been through. You’re exactly the kind of person I’ve marveled at — you expended so much caring for your family, and yet you managed to keep your shit together. Kudos. I hope we come through this with our shit together, too.

      • NickBarnes says:

        You’re too kind. I definitely and comprehensively lost my shit for a few years in the middle there, and will always bear some pretty deep scars. If there’s a positive lesson for others in my experience, it’s that time passes, some healing takes place, and one’s shit does tend to gradually coalesce, if not in the same shape it formerly had.

        • MaggieNC says:

          Agree with NickBarnes comment about getting it back together though “not in the same shape…[as].. formally”… The beauty Rayne, is the knowledge you and your sibling have made their transition –> one with loving support. Then moving into the longest survivors spots, brings both of you a very different perspective/”shape”…

        • BRUCE F COLE says:

          And cranberries are also a zinc ionophore! My son, a microbiologist/biochemist, recommended zinc supplementing for me at the beginning of covid because I’ve also got gout and I avoid many of the foods that are loaded with zinc. He also rec’d making sure of getting ionophore supplements to go along with it. I’ve skated with covid so far, despite not being particularly religious about masking in crowds. We make extra amounts of low sugar cranberry sauce this time of year, with a moderate amount of maple syrup for sweetness, and I spread it on toast in the morning. Pretty tasty, and low sugar compared to jams and jellies. I’m gonna try the hibiscus tea thing mentioned by fatvegan000 above since I’m borderline hypertensive.

          I am also screwing myself up to dive into getting out the vote this cycle, despite my antipathy for how the Dems have managed the Trump aftermath in a wide array of missteps. I hope the gravity of the situation will prompt the most leftward in our population to vote for Dems despite all that (as in ’16, the leftmost part of the Party is the most disaffected).

          I think of the folks in Ukraine right now and, in comparison, we’re sitting very soft and pretty against a very similar foe, and we’d be suicidal idiots to sit on our hands.

          PS, for those of us with gout, tart cherries and tart cherry juice are an effective treatment. I’ve been able to cheat on my diet somewhat liberally using it, and I’ve never taken allopurinol.

  5. emptywheel says:

    FWIW: there are competing views on whether North Shore floated Santos’ problems only as cover or not.

    That said, the same journalist who almost single-handedly made a local pol pay for her association with the Oath Keepers did a deep dive on Andy Ogles’ resume, who is almost as big a fraud as George Santos.

    https://www.newschannel5.com/news/newschannel-5-investigates/businessman-economist-cop-international-sex-crimes-expert-the-stories-of-congressman-andy-ogles

    I hope that FBI is looking more broadly at this. The Omar Navarro grift bears some similarities to Santos’. It seems like some GOP opponents are, with the assist of big donors, turning running into a profit center.

    https://www.justice.gov/usao-cdca/pr/four-time-congressional-candidate-charged-long-running-misuse-campaign-funds

    • ShallMustMay08 says:

      The Ogles comment here reminds me to lift up Judd Legum’s work as well about the TN Speaker. It was front page in very niche and local paper which in turn raised enough hackles that Cam put up billboards in his (home) district.

      Music is a wonderful way to share (especially in TN) and add/remind some as the legislature and embarrassing GOP go back to (cough) work. Look for the new music that dropped last month – The Ballad of Cameron Sexton.

    • harpie says:

      More about Omar Navarro from Wikipedia:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omar_Navarro

      Omar Navarro (born January 9, 1989) is an American perennial candidate for the seat of California’s 43rd congressional district against longtime Democratic congresswoman Maxine Waters. A member of the Republican Party, Navarro ran unsuccessfully against Waters in 2016, 2018, 2020, and 2022. […]

      Endorsements
      Navarro has had endorsements from Roger Stone, Michael Flynn,[16] Joe Arpaio,[17] Herman Cain, and Alex Jones, among others.[18] He met Flynn in person in February 2018, while in Washington to attend the Conservative Political Action Conference.[19] […]

      There’s a PHOTO of NAVARRO with “advisor” STONE in Florida on 7/5/17.

  6. Peterr says:

    Three words for you all: school board elections.

    These have always been under-the-radar elections, but the forces on the right have been pushing to make them more and more partisan. In a number of state legislatures, there is a push to hold them in the midst of November’s madness, as well as to force candidates to put a letter after their name on the ballot. Book bans, cutting property taxes and other funding sources, so-called “open enrollment” proposals where parents can put their kids in any school district regardless of where they live, proposals to restrict what teachers can teach based solely on a parent’s ignorance of the subject matter, etc.

    If you love teachers and love learning, pay attention to your local school board elections. There are big money folks on the right (both fundy and libertarian types) who are putting their money behind candidates to push things to the right, and they know that a little money goes a long way in local elections.

    Three words, people: school board elections.

    • chocolateislove says:

      This. I watched a county board of commission get taken over by Christian Fascists and then was floored by all of the people who were surprised by what the board set out as their agenda. The people running for office didn’t hide what they wanted to do. It was all right on their campaign pages and in their answers to candidate questions from the local press. That has made me even more diligent in scrutinizing other local elections and who is running in them. My kids have graduated but I’ll be damned if I’m going to screw over the next generation because I can’t be bothered to pay attention.

      • bgThenNow says:

        We just had school board elections in which MFL candidates were a plenty. We dispatched one incumbent who was exposed and kept the others out thanks to early ID and info on them. We also had a run-off City Council election for a district not mine, and into which I inserted myself with a LOT of posting on various platforms to expose a “progressive Democrat” as a shill, supported heavily by a MAGA billionaire and other hard core Rs. The voters figured it out, and we were saved temporarily from a MAGA member of the City Council, who with one more vote would effectively run the city from his Council perch. There is much more on the billionaire (who I have mentioned here before), but I will leave it at that for this.

      • LaMissy! says:

        Here’s how a community in PA responded to RW takeover of their school board. The cherry on the top is the new board’s president being sworn in on a stack of banned books.

        https:// buckscountybeacon.com/2023/12/meet-three-of-the-neighbors-who-united-to-defend-public-education-in-central-bucks-school-district/

        • harpie says:

          The cherry on the top is the new board’s president being sworn in on a stack of banned books.

          YES! This is how it’s done!

    • Rayne says:

      YES. Far too many school boards have been disrupted by folks who don’t even live in or have children in the local school system, so intent they are in remaking K-12 education into their narrow fascist vision. Much of the disruption has been encouraged by big money through think tanks.

      Rational folks willing to run for school board who genuinely believe in the value of rich, diverse libraries and adequate funding for resources deserve our help.

      Don’t forget county commission seats, depending on where one lives because they may play a role in budget allocations for schools and other services which support K-12 education — like the public library.

    • Matt Foley says:

      School boards, county commissioners, row officers, etc. The MAGAs are trying to take over locally. Not if I can help it. I simply will not risk voting for a Repub no matter how normal or nuanced they might pretend to be in order to get elected. We are long past the point of debating policy differences between parties; this is now about reality vs. lies. I’d rather have gridlock than let the MAGAs take over.

      Christofascists first came on my radar in 2005 with Kitzmiller v. Dover (teach intelligent design aka creationism in school). Judge Jones shot them down which gave me hope they’d see reason. Boy, was I wrong.

    • posaune says:

      Years ago, Karl Rove pursued school board elections as a key way to build his party. Says something when that was Karl Rove’s technique.

    • LaMissy! says:

      School board elections have historically been a stepping stone for under-represented groups to gain a foothold in public office. The entry of big money players into these elections is an effective way to both block small money folks and implement a radical agenda.

      While you’re at it, support public education, which has been under attack for the past 25 years now. First we had the Billionaire Boys like Bill Gates, Eli Broad and the Waltons claim expertise in education in order to get some of that sweet public money and market their products and mindsets under the banner of reform. Now the right is using “failing public schools” as a cudgel to beat teachers and claim they are groomers who must be fired summarily for allowing children to read banned books. In truth, 90% of Americans attend public schools and we have the world’s largest economy. The lie about our schools goes back to Reagan and the publication of “A Nation at Risk”. Here’s a good look at that report, 40 years on:

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2023/04/26/how-nationatrisk-report-hurt-public-schools/

      Neither national party has championed public schools; most recently, Obama’s choice of the wholly unqualified Arne Duncan to lead the Department of Education, followed by charter champion John White, and succeeded by the execrable xtian privatizer Besty DeVos. Biden’s Miguel Cardona is, at best, ineffectual.

      Why does the right ceaselessly attack public schools? Because they are a cornerstone of democracy open to all; a crossroads of populations which otherwise seldom mix; where everyone has rights, regardless of gender, income, home language, disability or sexual identification. Now, they are jockeying to get a case in front of the Supremes which would mandate public funds go to religious schools. In Oklahoma, the state’s charter board has approved the creation of St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Virtual School, which would be the nation’s first religious school entirely funded by taxpayers. And the legal team representing the board? Why, the Alliance Defending Freedom.

      Adam Laats at The New Republic has a good summary here:

      https:// newrepublic.com/article/177640/satanic-temple-after-school-club-blame-clarence-thomas

      Obviously, the public schools have their failings, but as Joni says, “You don’t know what you got til it’s gone”.

  7. MsJennyMD says:

    Thanks Rayne. Caretaking is a challenge. I took care of my mother for 6 months before she passed, it was grueling. I have a great deal of understanding and compassion for caretakers.

    “There are only four kinds of people in this world: those who have been a caregiver, those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need a caregiver.”
    Rosalynn Carter

    • SteveBev says:

      Thank you for your wise words. I became a full time live in carer for my mother in 2016 and then throughout the period she lived with dementia until she passed away a few months ago. We had to isolate and shield for very large parts of the pandemic. I confess to being at a loss without her.
      I am incredibly grateful to this site (contributors and commenters) for its intellectual rigour, providing insight and challenge to its readers – stimuli I have greatly needed as my world compressed.

  8. PeteT0323 says:

    I rather like the “shards of stale cookies shaken out of an overstuffed jar”.

    And you haven’t let anyone – well I should speak for myself – down.

    Went through my third fuck show late last year and all I can say is I do not relish my wife or children having me become the subject of a future fuck show.

    New Year. Let’s start out with that and make sure we add the Happy along the way.

    Pete

  9. ExRacerX says:

    Great post, Rayne. The point of your post is similar to the one Otis Gibbs (Nashville musician with a vlog I subscribe to) made in his NYE post, recounting a convo with his high school guidance counselor, who had told him, “You can do anything you want.” That sounded like bullshit to Otis, but looking back on it 40 years later, he’s adopted a revised take on it: “We can do more than we think we can.”

    Happy New Year, everyone—let’s do a little more in ’24!

    Re: the cocktails: Having run out of OJ for Mimosas, my wife & I invented the Pomsecco on NYD:

    Pour Prosecco into champagne glass, add 2 tbsp. pomegranate juice—voila!

    Clink, then drink.

    • Rayne says:

      Oh my, I wish I’d thought of that pomsecco! We had a pink prosecco with our Christmas dinner, would have been even better with a little sweet-tart pomegranate. Thanks for that tip!

      We can all of us definitely do more than we think we can. I’ve asked my kids “How badly do you want it?” because the only thing which has ever really held me back from a goal has been my personal commitment to making it happen. When fully committed, I often been surprised at what I could do. It’s an amazing rush.

  10. rosalind says:

    Wishing you continued strength, Rayne. I barely survived helping my parents through their end years as my siblings opted out of any heavy lifting while throwing their guilt onto me. Ah, family dynamics.

    On a very positive note: I don’t say which PacificNW town I live in for privacy, but we have a new daily online paper (with a weekly printed version) that has transformed our local political coverage and increased civic engagement bigtime. They interview all the candidates, ask them questions from readers, and give space in the letters section for informative debate on many of our contentious issues. They’re doing in depth reporting on all sorts of regional problems. They’ve even prompted our local hollowed out McClatchy paper to up its game a bit. It IS possible to create a new publication that deals in facts, not fears.

  11. boatgeek says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. Our caregiving has been far less Fuck Show-ish, but mainly because we were fortunate that our kids launched reasonably independently and our parents have not needed a huge amount of care. [knocks wood]

    For readers who (like me) live in blue parts of blue states, there are still lots of ways to get involved in swing states. You can probably find a postcarding group near you, phone banks are national, and some Planned Parenthood Action groups include both red and blue states to better direct volunteers and money to places where it matters.

    • Rayne says:

      My kids haven’t required too much help, but there are always bumps in the road for which parents are the best first responders. I’m their dog sitter for example, when the kennel is booked up; I guess this is training for the grandkids ahead. None of us expected my youngest to graduate from university in the middle of a pandemic, either, which kind of put a crimp in many plans. But I’d be more available to the kids if at least one of the parents had done a better job of planning and communicating. This is the lone upside: my spouse and I now have a better idea what our personal limits are when the day comes we need help with daily living activities.

      SwingLeft and Indivisible are a couple other organizations supporting candidates on the left which also have opportunities to help remotely.

      • boatgeek says:

        I hear you on graduation. Our eldest graduated in June 2020, right into the teeth of COVID. The good news was that he was able to recalibrate, go back to school for a certificate and find a job that he liked a lot better than his original college major would have directed him to. My wife being my uncle’s executor gave us an awful lot of insight into how to structure our own wills. There’s just so much opportunity for hurt feelings, especially when people aren’t at their best.

        One more: your local Democratic party operation may have a sister district setup where they supply/receive help from someplace else in the country.

    • boatgeek says:

      One one more. The caregiver who’s close often doesn’t get the recognition that the caregiver that’s far away does. I got a lot more credit for sweeping in from across the country for four days to add mobility improvements to my dad’s house than my brother gets for being there Every. Single. Weekend. Similar things have happened with our friends, where the local caregiver gets shat upon (sometimes literally), and the far away one is the golden child. Or, in the other direction, the far away ones think that the local one is unduly influencing the elder they are caring for, particularly in matters of estate planning.

      I don’t think there’s a fix, just maybe it’s helpful to know that others go through the same thing? And if you’re the far away golden child, make sure to talk up the contributions of your local caregiver.

      • Matt___B says:

        There’s every variation upon a theme under the sun that happens in these situations. In mine, my sister and I were the “local” caregivers and my older brother showed up 2-3x a year (over a 4-year period) to offer a little bit of help – so not so “golden”. My mother was living in a hybrid independent/assisted living faciity that although technically “local”, was not an easy drive for either my sister or myself – because we lived in Los Angeles and my mom’s place was located in the San Fernando valley, which meant way too much time spent navigating through traffic on the 405 freeway. Add to that because I was self-employed and had a flexible schedule and my sister had a commuting job, I wound up doing the lion’s share of doctor appointments and 3 a.m. ER visits (way too many of those!). So logistics and family dynamics often result in an unequal division of labor (and the emotions that arise from that). I can honestly say it was the most challenging time of my life, but what you learn in the end is to just do what’s necessary and don’t make unnecessary dramas out of things that are simply out of your control which only makes things worse than they need to be. Took me about 2 1/2 years of the 4 to finally wise up to that, but maturity and sanity-preservation seemed to arrive hand-in-hand after a while…

        • Knowatall says:

          Your description echoes mine (minus my brother’s fatal brain cancer). In the end, we do what we think is moral, and then ignore the external criticism and try to minimize the internal guilt (only those who try feel guilt).

  12. bgThenNow says:

    I too wish to thank you Rayne, for these kinds of posts that reflect our realities so well. I was a caregiver for my parents for some years, and it is a big job, emotionally and in all other ways. Fortunately financial duress was not an additional burden for me in that role, but I commuted 200 miles every weekend for a couple of years, and looking back live with my shortcomings.

    I am currently the caregiver for a sibling who hates me. I am doing the care now through people I hire so I have little contact after attending doctor appointments for more than 30 years and serving as driver for 20. A Fuck Show is what it is.

    Best to everyone in this year. Of course I am a door knocker and do other election related things. Door knocking is my favorite thing. I do have to listen to some of my friends who are so angry at the Democrats, Biden, and other federal electeds who refuse to call for a cease fire, another Fuck Show. It is absurd. I know and have some of the same critiques, but honestly, I am not giving up in the face of fascism.

    • Rayne says:

      I hear you about the mileage — so, so much mileage. Spouse will have to spend ~600 miles on the road tomorrow just for a single consult with a specialist for his dad tomorrow. So badly wish we had light rail here because the amount of time on the road could be used more productively and safely.

      Very sorry to hear you have your own Fuck Show. It can be so damned painful.

      WRT the angry Dems voters, I have wondered how many have paid close attention to the media. I feel there’s more going on with White House and State Dept but it’s presented so flatly that it makes no dent on public consciousness.

  13. JVOJVOJVO says:

    Thanks, Rayne, I look forward to drinking the Fuck Show – instead of witnessing it!
    I was in Louisville early December and had Smirnoff’s Taramind in a screwdriver – it was very unique and very delicious imho! Keep it in mind for when you don’t have time to make a Fuck Show!

  14. pH unbalanced says:

    The caretaking never stops — good job on dealing with it and the stress. In the last year we have both moved my mother-in-law out here from California (and into assisted living, but with 6 months in our house first) and graduated my youngest from university. But more than that, we’ve owned our house for 10 years and for over half that time we have had a family member move in with us to help get them back on their feet — running the gamut from health issues to financial issues to addiction. With my youngest moving out this week I was joking with my wife about who might be living in the spare room next as we’re just about out of family members.

    As a transwoman in a red town, I struggle to get formally involved. I feel like my best task is to make social connections with people who I don’t necessarily agree with politically, but have hobbies in common with, so that they will see me as a human being, and maybe defuse some of the trans hate organically. (It helps that I was raised in the South so I can speak fundamentalist when I have to, even though I don’t practice.) It works small scale — no idea if it works on a large enough scale to matter, but I’m in a swing state where every vote counts, so maybe.

  15. Sussex Trafalgar says:

    Well said! Love your piece!

    Caregiving is the most difficult and demanding job in the world, bar none. If the caregiver is not careful, he or she will suffer mentally and physically and risk dying sooner than the person or persons they are trying to help.

    Make sure you take quality time for yourself so you can recharge your batteries.

  16. TobiasBaskin says:

    Related to the opening quote, I would like to put in a plug for a Substack/newsletter put out by Jessica Craven called Chop Wood Carry Water (link: https://chopwoodcarrywaterdailyactions.substack.com). The name reflects those simple, doable things that together make important and necessary action. She posts daily a list of things you can do (phone calls about specific legislation, with scripts, places needing envelopes licked, phones to be called, postcards to be sent, etc.). If daily is too much (!) you can adopt one of several swing states and get a weekly list curated to that state. I have no personal or financial connection, just wanting to spread the word about an excellent resource.

    Here’s to 2024 living up to our happy wishes!

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks for the link. Very sorry to say that I won’t be frequenting any Substack sites.

      Substack says it will not remove or demonetize Nazi content
      Substack co-founder Hamish McKenzie’s plan to ‘strip bad ideas of their power’ is to profit from disseminating them as widely as possible.
      https://www.theverge.com/2023/12/21/24011232/substack-nazi-moderation-demonetization-hamish-mckenzie

      There are other platforms besides Substack which don’t amplify Nazis. That’s the entire point, isn’t it? To beat the rising Nazis?

      Ugh. Why didn’t people see this coming when Substack paid the Local Area Substacker so much $$ in spite of their problematic writing?

      • RipNoLonger says:

        Oh, no. I wasn’t aware of this problem – thanks for bringing it up.

        Heather Cox Richardson, Joyce Vance, and Timothy Snyder (among others) are some of my favorite writers on substack.

        We also need to worry about different media outlets (TheVerge as an example) having its own agenda.

        • Rayne says:

          Sure, go ahead and vet every news outlet as one should. But I’ll point out here that The Verge called out Substack in no unclear terms — they could only have been more clear about their point if they had noted that platforms which rely on Nazis for their business model are Nazi businesses.

          I’m also going to point out the byline on that piece in The Verge:

          by Richard Lawler, a senior editor following news across tech, culture, policy, and entertainment. He joined The Verge in 2021 after several years covering news at Engadget.

          They didn’t throw a lightweight at this. However Lawler’s got a problem: he hasn’t left the former bird app, remaining there like far too many journalists, news outlets, and BIPOC.

      • Purple Martin says:

        In case you didn’t see it, the best commentary I’ve read on it was from Substacker Ken White (Popehat). Dated Dec 21 and titled:
        Substack Has A Nazi Opportunity
        Dealing With Nazis, Or Not, Can Be A Brand. Substack’s Monetizing It.”

        Not going to add the link; search on the above will find it. Only part I’m going to quote is the ending:

        Previously I was thinking of monetizing this newsletter. A primary barrier was putting in the work to post much more regularly — at least 1.5 times a week, I think – to make it plausibly worthwhile. This episode is another significant strike against deciding to do so here, or staying here. The platform is convenient, easy to use, effective, and has a good interface and has a lot of content I like. I suspect there are going to be shitty things about any platform and that any platform will have content I hate. But I’m unhappy with this, and I’m rethinking my plans.

        • Rayne says:

          Can’t help shake my damned head at this stuff.

          You’re soaking in a solution right here. It’s called WordPress and it’s worked for decades now. Even has a newsletter feature.

          The one who really disappointed me today is Thomas Zimmer, wrote a big long thread on Mastodon about Substack’s Nazi Problem, ultimately choosing to do nothing about his presence on Substack until an “alternative emerges that is truly viable.”

          Uh, hello, it’s called WordPress and look, it’s in the fediverse, federates with his existing Mastodon presence. *face palm*

  17. -mamake- says:

    I’m sorry for the Fuck Show, Rayne, but love your fortitude and pluck. I do believe these demanding situations reveal strengths we never thought we had.
    Spouse and I cared for three of our parents in their last years. My folks required the most intense focus as I am an only child and they each had serious health conditions. My MIL had four children so her care was shared relatively fairly (with exception that the daughters of course took on more than the sons).

    The last passing was in 2006-07 so we’ve been out of the intense workload and depletion for quite some time.

    In the years since I’ve been working on getting things in place to make it easier for our offspring. To this end I cannot recommend strongly enough a fantastic 8-week course (on Zoom) called Thoughtful Exit Planning. My SIL and I participated in fall of 2022. Sue Mackey has a very robust training and background. She provides a binder full of resources and covers _everything_ from organizing practical info (passwords, bank & financial accounts etc) to legacy letters to loved ones to different methods of disposal of ones remains.

    I stalled on completing my forms (there are 15 sections to the binder), but will take the course again to get my rear in gear.

    Seriously folks, this was the best course I’ve ever attended. Sue is warm, and engaging, a great communicator and will find out if she doesn’t know. She also does one on one consults, IIRC.

    Hope I did the link correctly, put one space in. Please fix if not.

    https://www.outoftheboxendoflifeplanning.com/exit-planning

    [FYI – link fixed, works fine. Thanks for sharing! /~Rayne]

    • -mamake- says:

      Wanted to add a bit about the other kind of end of life care. In the early 1990’s I had eight close deaths in my life, including a suicide. I became involved with caring for loved ones at home, post death.
      I’m deeply influenced by Buddhism in early years and later as an adult studied more intently, especially around post death practices (that for me were very soothing and healing). Through these deaths and others that came after I learned about at home hospice care, and caring for the body before it is taken away. Because of bodily violations that one of my dear relatives endured, it felt very important to me that their body not be handled by strangers. Much more to say about all of this because it is a huge subject. Just touching on it.

      Just like birth, death and dying is a very intimate experience so I feel a bit vulnerable sharing this. But I’ve found over the years in speaking about it some people are relieved to learn there are other ways of doing death, and many of my students felt similar relief that the practices they conducted were known and ‘named’ in my classes. Sometimes things like this are hidden because of lack of understanding. Not here though. Just saying.

      • RipNoLonger says:

        Wonderful posts, ~mamake~, thank you. I think I’m mainly done with being a caretaker and want to be less of a burden as I move on – good lessons.

  18. P J Evans says:

    Thanks, Rayne!

    From the FDL days:

    Whiskey Tango-Foxtrot
    1 1/2 oz rye whiskey
    1/2 oz Aguardiente Cristal
    1/2 tsp bar syrup
    Three dashes of orange bitters
    Juice of one tangelo
    Combine ingredients and pour over crushed ice. Garnish with mango.

    • Rayne says:

      Huh. I’d forgotten that recipe. Wonder how it’d taste with the tamarind vodka substituted for the Aguardiente Cristal and cranberry bitters for the orange bitters?

      It’d be a Whiskey Tango Fuck Show!

      Thanks, P J!

      • P J Evans says:

        I’m still waiting for the occasion to bring out the Hammer of Justice. (Yeah, I have that recipe, too.)

  19. -mamake- says:

    Sorry, one more reply here. I know there are a ton of lists/resources out there
    regarding self care. But anyone caring for others needs many ways to integrate self care into their lives.

    It just so happens that Guardian UK posted a list generated by readers – 100 tiny changes…most very easy to do in a few minutes. Ex: ‘smile upon waking’ no matter what thoughts/dreams may be plaguing you. Easy-peasy.

    https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2024/jan/01/100-tiny-changes-to-transform-your-life-from-the-one-minute-rule-to-pyjama-yoga

  20. Onwatch45 says:

    All this commenting…but, this is the relevant, important part: You want to keep your republic? I’ll tell you what I tell my kids: YOU HAVE TO WANT IT BADLY. And then you fucking find a way to make a contribution beyond showing up to vote. Democracy isn’t easy and neither am I. Let’s fucking go, people. Let’s hit the road and tear into 2024 like we want a viable future badly.

  21. klynn says:

    Rayne,
    Sandwich time is no picnic. Please know you are kept in my thoughts daily.

    The hardest of my sandwiched life hit during covid with no home-care assistance available.

    Please take care.

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks, klynn, I know you and a few of our other earliest community members have been dealing with the pointy end of the sandwich generation stick. This pandemic has made everything related to health care so much worse, so much more challenging.

      Appreciate your support as always, glad you could drop in.

      • klynn says:

        I imagine being in this period of Quiet Pandemic is even more difficult. No protocols being used to protect our loved ones, is mind numbing.

        Wish I was close enough to deliver a potpie or pot of soup and homemade sourdough.

        • Rayne says:

          I’ve been doing a lot of baking as stress relief, in part because my spouse has been doing a lot of shopping as his own stress relief. The adventure this week is what to do with a gallon of milk I hadn’t expected but spouse found on sale? I guess I’m making milk-dough cinnamon rolls and focaccia — trade you both for some soup!

  22. Molly Pitcher says:

    Rayne, You are an exceptional person whose opinion I value, whose range of knowledge and experience is impressive and who has a big heart as evidenced by how much you care. We are all lucky to benefit from your perspective.

    It is going to be a bumpy ride for all of us this year, but I intend to think of it as a roller coaster. I will do everything I possibly can to bring it smoothly into the end of next December.

    I am rooting for you and would buy you a cocktail if I could.

    • Rayne says:

      Aw shucks, Molly, I’m just like a lot of community members here. We’re all of us aging, share the common experience of trying to get by and help friends and family navigate the same path at the same time. Only thing separating me from anyone else living the sandwich generation experience is that I have access to this bully pulpit. But thanks for the kind words.

      Roller coaster it will be, lots of excruciatingly slow-to-reach highs, nauseating lows, shocking wends from one side to the other. Let’s do that cocktail at the end because we’re going to need it.

  23. Alan Charbonneau says:

    For the first time in my life (I’m 70 next month), I am getting involved politically. In the past I only wrote checks, but I’ve decided to join the Lincoln Project’s ‘The Union”. Whatever your feelings about the Lincoln Project, I think they understand the stakes Democracy faces better than a lot of Dems. YMMV
    https://jointheunion.us/

  24. AlaskaReader says:

    Any suggestion to join with Republicans is inherently self defeating.

    Any Republican who has not summarily renounced their membership in the Republican Party has no redeeming value whatsoever.

    The ringleaders of the Lincoln Project built the foundation Trump sits atop

    Join with Republicans and the result will be giving the nod to the same fascist policies with a different leader.

    • Rayne says:

      Let’s focus the energy. All one need do is find a way to support voters on the left — help them identify candidates on the left, help them register to vote, help them get to the polls. That’s it.

  25. morganism says:

    ( the virus is spreading, lets call IS14 !)
    Lawsuit seeks to remove Scott Perry from Pennsylvania ballot using 14th amendment

    (WHTM) – A lawsuit has been filed in Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court to remove Republican U.S. House Representative Scott Perry from the 2024 ballot due to the 14th Amendment’s insurrection clause.

    The lawsuit, which was filed on January 2 by Harrisburg-area activist and former congressional candidate Gene Stilp, calls for Pennsylvania’s Secretary of State Al Schmidt to remove Perry from the ballot ahead of the spring’s 10th Congressional District primary.
    (snip)
    The lawsuit alleges Perry helped push conspiracy theories that the 2020 election was stolen and advanced efforts to replace the Attorney General with a Trump loyalist.

    “Scott Perry was a leading proponent of using the January 6, 2021 Congressional presidential election certification process to disrupt the transfer of presidential administration from Trump to Biden,” says the lawsuit, sighting the FBI’s seizure of Perry’s cellphone records and other accusations made against Perry following the January 6 attack.

    The lawsuit also requests a referral of “information of any possible criminal activity by Scott Perry or any other party discovered in this case to the Pennsylvania Attorney General for prosecution.”

    https://www.abc27.com/pennsylvania-politics/lawsuit-seeks-to-remove-scott-perry-from-pennsylvania-ballot-using-14th-amendment/

    The full lawsuit can be read below.

    https://html.scribdassets.com/7hm6pqr4owbupm2j/images/1-b6bf4b43d5.jpg

  26. tje.esq@23 says:

    “….funky – tart, a little tingly, a faintly herbaceous. . .both familiar and strange.”

    not liking my birth name, Tamarind is the spice I named myself after. Now that it’s a vodka, not sure what to think.

    Just waking to the exclusive reporting by Rolling Stone of the 2024 Trump Fuck show — his plan to make his DC criminal trial into the shit show that his New York civil trial was.
    https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/trump-plot-to-turn-jan-6-trial-into-maga-freak-show-1234938951/

    “….both familiar and strange” is Trump working for a mistrial…another way to guarantee no criminal conviction before the 2024 election.

    • Rayne says:

      Thinking now of a former co-worker at a manufacturing facility who was our onsite security manager. Colorful character who wore his hair in a brushcut, donned the old school grey safety glass frames, with a pot belly overhang. He was a part-time wrestling coach for a small local high school, proud of his boys both his own and his team. He called the sport “wrasslin'” and when used in any sentence the word overtook everything else. “Ma’ boys are WRASSLIN’ tonight at home!”

      This is what I picture inside Trump’s head — WWE-style promotion, in which he is WRASSLIN’ with the federal goverment. He’s going to WRASSL’ Pelosi, WRASSL’ the special counsel, WRASSL’ the Deep State (picture a big dark wrestler like WWE’s The Undertaker but looking rather fed-ish).

      Shit. This is a post, isn’t it. I should make myself a fresh, cold Fuck Show and finish writing this.

      • Molly Pitcher says:

        That ‘potbelly overhang’ has a ‘medical’ name. It is called Dunlops Disease; his belly dun lopped over his belt buckle.

        My son just read an IG meme to me, “If gas prices continue to go down, Chevron will have to let go of 200 members of Congress”.

        • BRUCE F COLE says:

          LOfuckingL!

          There have been a lot of good jokes in this post, but that IG meme is one of the best! And the Dunlop one is pretty good too!

      • tje.esq@23 says:

        or, if you’re in a MANLY wrasslin mood, a shot up straight. You know, to confirm you, indeed, don’t have the constitution of your nephew.

        or — third option —

        your mixed concoction above, in concert with the top 500 Rolling Stone playlist — a little further down the home page.

        A little music to nurse with that cocktail.

    • tje.esq@23 says:

      don’t lick the envelopes if you’ve got issues with gluten. But, as noted above, local door knocking is indeed a rewarding experience — especially in those rare moments you pull off a dark horse win. (Go Georgia, 2020/1 and 2022/3 and Ala US Senate Dec 2017!)

      BUT PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE volunteer for “phone bank” efforts for out-of-your-state national candidates’ get out the vote efforts (“GOTV”). Go to campaign webpage, look for the “volunteer” link and see if GOTV is anywhere on the page. You usually sign up for 2 hour shifts. It’s easiest if you have a laptop, plus phone or tablet, plus headset with mic, but having only a smartphone works fine.

      The software/app you use, which is usually one of two, and very similar to the door knocking app, gives you the phone number and name, and a good script which you can rephrase in your own words. You’ll be shocked how well the software predicts voters who will support your candidate*. . . you just have to encourage them to, or verify they already did, go vote. . .sometimes getting real specific about a transportation method to get them there.

      There are also ballot cure “GOTV-type” calling efforts that you can phone bank for too. They work very similar to the GOTV. If laws remain the same, you can do this for Colorado, Arizona, and Georgia, at least. If you did GOTV, the campaign will automatically contact you for ballot-cure calling. If not, but want to help, just Duck-Duck-Go (search) for “help voters cure their ballots” and the state/race.

      * in the last cycle, in calling for US Senate candidates in Fla, NC, Ga, Wisc, and Az, and US House seats in Va, and Calif swing districts, I only ever had one phone number (for Luria in Va), not be a correctly predicted voter. He had already voted he told me, for the other candidate.

      When that happens, you relay those (and other feedback) to the campaign so it can adjust its models and look for trends. For example, the party operations will use your feedback to judge if they need to support a different race that’s a little closer and where the last couple of days could indeed be the difference maker (e.g., in the last 5 days, while working on Demmings in Fla, we were encouraged to switch to the US Senate races in NC and Wisc for the last 4 days. I regret helping only with NC at that point, and the House races, seeing how close the Wisc US Senate race was).

      • bgThenNow says:

        Yes, I did some of that calling to cure ballots. It was rewarding, especially because people did not know they needed to act nor how easy was. Some of my calls were in Boebert’s district, but I also called for other campaigns. She won by less than 550 votes.

        • tje.esq@23 says:

          So good to hear!

          Some of the voters needing to cure don’t check their snail-mail (US mail boxes) daily and have forgotten how they directed their elections office to contact them for cure. Your phone call might be the only time they’ve been reminded to check their mailbox (or spam folder of their email account — on ALL THEIR EMAIL accounts if they can’t recall which one they asked to be contacted on), so the work you’ve done helping ballot-curing efforts is VITAL!

          It’s also rewarding to help someone with something that truly matters to them; they earnestly want their vote to count and didn’t mean to make the small mistake that got their ballot rejected (e.g., letting signature drift a little below the line where it can’t be captured to be matched). So, they are earnestly greatful to receive your phone call (the opposite of the reaction you’re used to when it’s only your teenagers that you phone call with some frequency!)

          It felt like we ran out of time in Colo-3. The five-hundred-fifty vote margin really shows how important this work is!

          • Rayne says:

            The problem with snail mail is that it requires a physical address throughout the duration of an election term at a minimum. It was the key to MIGOP’s attempted “voter foreclosure” in 2008, when so many people lost their homes.

            We have never fully investigated this angle as wholly manufactured, and I don’t mean just the local county party apparatus’s intent to cage voters by way of foreclosure lists. Eliot Spitzer’s warning about subprime mortgages should have caused lawmakers to take action, especially when 49-50 states’ attorneys general all agreed this was a problem. But we all know what happened next and the economic Jenga which followed had a very long tail.

            This country really needs to revive U.S. Postal Service banking which would help those persons who are most vulnerable to homelessness and are discouraged from commercial banking by fees. Adding a basic message service to this offering might also help if the messages were from federal/state/local governments only.

  27. dimmsdale says:

    Just want to add my thanks to you, Rayne, for your always essential posts, and my thanks also to what I’ve come to regard as the EW corps de ballet, not so much the headliners (although I feel immensely lucky to partake of y’all’s wisdom) but the regular commenters here as well, who have made my knowledge and humanity much richer.

    I went through the sandwich phase some time ago (including the 400-mile round trips), and I’d recommend checking the geriatric social work departments of any good nearby teaching hospital; my caregiver burdens were immeasurably lightened by participating in a caregivers’ group run out of one such facility. (Don’t know whether COVID laid waste to those kinds of things, but hopefully they’re up & running again.) As we know, solitarily bearing caregiver burdens is tough, and especially so when “family dynamics” add to the uglies, and sharing empathic solutions (or just listening) in a supportive setting was a godsend to me.

    So thanks to you, Rayne, and best wishes to everyone here for the BEST possible outcomes in 2024.

  28. morganism says:

    Rayne, some milk ideas.

    Japanese milk bread , and slow cooker french meat braising. The milk will coagulate, but it will release the fats and solids, and the lactose tenderizes too. Milk bread and moon cakes is a fab cookbook.

    You could also make some mozzarella if its full fat.

    For those just starting to contemplate being a caregiver, the book on stroke and spine injury is a good science based look at what you’re going to have to think about, and deal with.

    Getting your brain and body back. Berk

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks for the suggestion re: Japanese milk bread but the tangzhong only requires a couple tablespoons of milk and the rest of the dough only a half cup for a 1-lb loaf. I’ve got half a gallon to use, will make the focaccia which calls for 2 cups each batch; the cinnamon rolls calls for 1 cup. That’s 5 of 8 cups right there, should just make 3 batches of focaccia and 2 cinnamon rolls and call it done. LOL

      For the record my sandwich situation is up against two different cancers and a dementia case which worsened rapidly after an exposure to COVID — spine and stroke info won’t help us much. Wear your masks, people, because that will help nearly everyone including the mask wearer.

    • gertibird says:

      Love Japanese milk bread. It’s really soft and fluffy and easy to make, but Rayne is right it only takes a few tablespoons of milk.

  29. WilliamOckham says:

    While we’re on the subject of the 14th amendment. I’ve become a little bit obsessed with the idea of “The 14th, Section III, it’s not just about Trump”. Everyone who previously swore an oath to the constitution and was actively involved in Trump’s insurrection ought to face the consequences. It’s obvious that the political class in this country would prefer that this issue go away. The primary responsibility for enforcing respect for the Constitution in this regard belongs to Congress. Seriously, just ask [any internet search engine about] Victor Berger.

    Unfortunately, our senators and representatives of both parties have failed miserably in this duty. So, defending the Constitution against oath breakers has been given over to ordinary citizens, Secretaries of State, and the courts. It’s an enormous task.

    Does anyone know if there is a site tracking all the oath breakers? Because I’m thinking about making one and I prefer to help out rather than duplicate someone else’s work.

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      A suit was just filed in Pennsylvania to prevent Scott Perry from being on the ballot based on the 14th A, sec 3.

      “The seven-page lawsuit asks Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court to declare that Perry engaged in insurrectionist activity and cannot hold public office under the Constitution’s insurrection clause. The lawsuit by activist Gene Stilp names Perry and Pennsylvania’s secretary of state, Al Schmidt.”

      https://apnews.com/article/scott-perry-election-lawsuit-trump-jan-6-eecb31cae4ee3bb74d529e8513264bdb

    • harpie says:

      Hi WO,
      Capitol Hunters has a page called Congressional Insurrection Scores. S/he references it in the WOW! thread that starts here:

      https://nitter.net/capitolhunters/status/1740750073309573155
      Dec 29, 2023 · 3:02 PM UTC

      Seems like everyone’s talking about the 1860s Civil War now. Was Jan 6 an insurrection? Let’s check where officials most tied to the Jan 6 came from (state AGs, US Reps and Senators). No surprise: it’s mostly the heart of the Confederacy, states that seceded before April 1861. 1/ [screenshot] [THREAD]

  30. harpie says:

    I’ve been trying to respond here all day…but am just not getting there,
    so I’ll just say THANKS, for sharing, Rayne.
    I appreciate and depend on the entire Emptywheel Community very much.
    love,
    harpie

  31. Molly Pitcher says:

    From Dr Tran: ” According to the latest CDC Covid-19 wastewater data, we are currently in the second biggest surge of the pandemic. It will peak in the next week, with -2 million infections per day. During this surge, 100 million people total (1 in 3 people in the US) will likely get Covid.”

  32. Shredgar says:

    The tamarind vodka would be the appropriate liquor to flambé an Asian meal when trying to impress on a dinner date. The fuck sauté!
    Happy new year!

  33. harpie says:

    RAYNE, it seems to be happening again on the 1/1/24 Ziegler post:

    [username removed]:
    January 2, 2024 at 6:48 pm

    [FYI – I’ve removed questionable posts and tinkered backend to prevent more of the same. Feel free to ping me by email if you see any and I don’t appear to be around in comments. Thanks for letting me know! /~Rayne 8:40 pm ET]

  34. Purple Martin says:

    My father died at 61 of his second heart attack, and my mother at 67 after a relatively brief illness. My father-in-law died at 81, and my mother-in-law 15 years later at 95, both with severe progressive Alzheimer’s dementia over the last 5-10 years of their lives. Most of that time we were living far away during our 21 Air Force years and weren’t called on to do much, so other than Mrs. Purple’s guilt feelings, didn’t feel the full impact many of you have or are experiencing.

    I still miss my mother and father…they died too soon. But after watching my in-laws, I now understand how incredibly lucky they—and I—were.

    Turning 70 next month, I’ve lived nine years longer than my dad. In another eleven, I’ll be my father-in-law’s age when he died. And before I lose rationality, before I lose the ability to choose, before I lose what makes me, my decision is to do what I can to make sure I go gently into that good night (I’m not the raging type).

    Context: retiring a few years ago, we moved from Colorado to Washington, a day’s drive from our Idaho families. We chose Washington partly for its generally less intrusive state government, which unlike Idaho’s has rational, pragmatic laws on things like private personal behavior…including end-of-life care.

    Washington’s Aid in Dying laws are pretty good (though not great). I’ve discussed my attorney-reviewed Advance Directive and associated Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) conditions with my doctor. They’re in my medical records and in a neon folder block-labeled EMT on the side of my fridge. My children each have a copy and are fully aware of my decisions. Pragmatically hard-headed older son, not Mrs. Purple, is designated with my health decision power of attorney (because, frankly, it’s one of the very few things with which I can’t quite trust her word. She doesn’t argue the point).

    I urge everyone who wants to control their own end of life decisions to do the same. Most importantly, decide who to trust with your healthcare power of attorney—without that, if you are unable to communicate a final decision, it will likely be made by your loudest close relative.

    Took me a while to do all that, not because it’s particularly hard to do but because it’s just plain hard to think about. But when I finally had it all done, I felt nothing but a peaceful relief. The hardest part of making that happen, was just getting it started. If you’ve thought that but haven’t started yet, when will you?

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks for the prod about Advance Directives and end of life planning. IIRC during the first year of the pandemic I’d written about this topic but I’m too tired to look for whatever I wrote then. I’ve had to share this info again recently with some family and friends because of some of the challenges we’ve faced recently.

      Wills — provided as overviews; disregard this being aimed at older people because even younger people need them.

      https://www.aarp.org/retirement/planning-for-retirement/info-2020/how-to-write-wills-estate-plans.html

      https://www.aarp.org/money/investing/info-2023/top-facts-about-writing-a-will.html

      Health care POA/Advance Directive — the U of M doc is most informative, IMO but parts may be too Michigan-centric. Here are few extra options to read through if you need something to make it easier to understand. Again, disregard references to older persons because young people need them; a hospital may require one on admittance.

      https://www.fivewishes.org/for-myself/ <<-- fairly simple approach to health care directives, could use as a conversation guide on this topic https://www.aarp.org/caregiving/financial-legal/free-printable-advance-directives/ << links to each state https://www.med.umich.edu/1libr/AdvanceDirectives/ADbooklet.pdf <<-- good overview and checklist https://www.caringinfo.org/wp-content/uploads/Michigan.pdf <<-- link from AARP above brings you to this site

      I’ve had a health care POA for 30 years, was required during pre-admission before I had my eldest child. Kids know where the paperwork is and how to get at it. Now I need to prod them to make sure they have the same prepared for themselves; not like we’re living in a pandemic killing 1000 people in this country every week or anything.

    • Chetnolian says:

      While you are right to do the planning, I did, please, please don’t assume you are going into decline at 70. I have 10 years of experience of post-70 life and trust me it can be great. Not least I have fun bothering the folks at Emptywheel, especially Bmaz. So far, so good, though of course I know it could all go downhill, or indeed stop, tomorrow. But I never assume that. That way lies despair.

      • Rayne says:

        Planning is simply being a responsible adult. You cannot predict when you may be involved in an accident, and in the age of pandemic, when you may run into a bug stronger than you which may incapacitate you. We buy insurance at all stages of our lives because we can’t predict what happens; planning for legal representation and final disposition is just another form of insurance.

        An acquaintance lost their spouse who wiped out on a Harley Davidson on a cross-country trip. She had a mess on her hands because he left no paperwork and he had young adult children who disliked her and each other. He was in his early 60s. Life happens. So does death. Her life was seriously messed up because he failed to plan during his life.

      • Purple Martin says:

        I mentioned my Dad died at 61 of his second heart attack—at 70, my last nine years have felt like playing on House Money! Guess my main point was to not pretend it can’t “indeed stop, tomorrow.” Between Mrs. Purple and I, it’s actuarily likely she will be the one living with the consequences. As Rayne related, it would be near criminal selfishness to ignore that.

        Life surprised me by turning out better than I once could realistically expect. Worked all over the world, was mentored by and learned much from others, mentored others who are helping society advance today. I write a little and read a lot. I walk to my home course for frequent disc golf, either comfortably solo or with the joy of family and friends. I get lost in music and sing with others. I tell my grandchildren stories and we play with young Corgi Fergus (who takes his child-herding duties seriously).

        During a half-century in love, Mrs. Purple and I helped three children grow to adulthood. They’re all better people than I and there’s no legacy I’d prefer. Getting rich was never a goal and I’m not, but I’m satisfied, content in a way that I once thought impossible.

        I want to live another 30 years, watch my grandchildren grow up, travel some, sing more, write more, read a lot more, and (another Rayne point) do what I can to nudge societal progress along. Still, not being the raging type, I will go gently into that good night before I lose the ability to choose.

        That will be either before my Advance Directive becomes relevant (as with my parents), under care of ethical medical professionals following my Advance Directive (including its dementia provisions) or, if necessary, somewhat earlier to avoid actions that would only extend dying. I won’t leave it to luck, and I wish our society approached death in a way that I didn’t have to say that.

        Given a choice between the fates of my father or my mother-in-law, well, another 20 good years would not offset the final 10. Were those my only choices, dying during the last decade would have been the lesser of two sorrows.

        “Gladly I lived and gladly die, and I lay me down with a will” …
        “With nothing on my lips but Hallelujah.”

  35. Harry Eagar says:

    There are plenty of people who have no bottom slice to the sandwich. Not my personal situation but some of my best friends are heading into their 80s facing that.

    Damfino what to do about it.

    Note to those currently in middle of sandwich: Be thoughtful about where you retire if you have little or no lower slice. I worked on Maui for 30 years and gradually became aware of a hidden, though common, situation:

    Healthy, vigorous, prosperous 65-year-olds retire to Maui (Costa del Bravo etc.). 20 years pass, as have most of their friends. They themselves begin to decline. There is a whole cottage industry of scam artists feasting on these lonely, isolated people.

    I first became aware of this when a friend who managed condos had clients, a couple from Germany, who died in their 80s within a month of each other. They had willed their condo to the humane society but made no other arrangements.

    My friend, out of the goodness of his heart and for a commission on the condo sale, tried to manage it, but it was a nightmare. The closest relative he could find was a cousin in Poland.

    There were several subsequent but worse examples, including ones in which spouses were scammed out of houses and one in which I am persuaded (but could not prove) involved murdering an heir to a $70 million fortune.

    • Rayne says:

      Every adult should consider not only appointing a health care advocate through a health care POA/advance directive, but nominating a conservator and/or guardian in case of incapacitation. Laws regarding conservators and guardians differ from state to state; they should check their state’s laws and go from there. Many states provide ample guidance online and template documents.

      Overview of legal representation for adults: https://www.aarp.org/caregiving/financial-legal/info-2021/choosing-a-legal-representative.html

      No idea what retiree emigres should do with regard to legal representation in their final location, but at a minimum they should do the research before they leave their former home country. It’s simply irresponsible not to do this.

  36. rockfarmer says:

    Thank you and happy new year to this extraordinary community. I’m a several-year EW reader and a somewhat recent financial supporter. Cartoonist, homesteader, blue dot in a far-northern Michigan sea of red. This is my first post. I’m so grateful for the incredibly important work that Marcy, Rayne, bmaz, Ed W. and the rest of the EW team do. And for the community of supporters and commenters. You’ve educated me and saved my sanity over the past handful of years. I’m a recovering alcoholic, so the drink recipes I skip over, but the sandwich situation – my wife and I are THERE. A lost adult child at home here with us and an increasingly dementia-wracked step-parent insisting on staying in her home 30 miles away. So good to know we’re not alone. Your stories brought me to tears. I’m filled with gratitude.

    • Rayne says:

      Welcome to emptywheel’s commentariat! Thanks for your kind words, your support, and your continued leadership.

      I feel your pain about the great white north, sure is red up there north of a line between Clare and Bay City in lower peninsula, with a few exceptions like TC and Marquette. Makes finding relief when you need it as a sandwich generation member a little more frustrating, but we’ll be here for you.

      • rockfarmer says:

        Thank you, Rayne! My wife and I actually live in the Upper Peninsula, not all that far from Marquette, where we raised our family. I forgot to mention in my earlier post that I have been very active with VoteForward over the years. I love writing letters to voters in swing states, or in areas with upcoming, closely contested elections. The letters briefly explain why voting is important to me, and provide information to each recipient, specific to where they live, about how to register, how to vote, or to become more active themselves.

        • Rayne says:

          LOL You’re close to the blue island in the UP, eh? You’ll find me during summer vacationing near Marquette County roads 510 and 550.

          Thanks for your work with VoteForward, good to know.

          • rockfarmer says:

            Ah, small world! We have many friends who live out along or near CRs 510 and 550. And if your summer wanderings happen to take you east to County Alger, we’d love to have you drop by our farm for lemonade and a tour.

            • Rayne says:

              I drive through Alger County every year on the way to MQT. I’ll try to plan ahead for a stop this next summer!

          • ExRacerX says:

            We’ve got TWO Yewpers here now? Place is going to hell.

            /s

            Welcome, rockfarmer. Kidding aside, my wife and her family are Yewpers, too!

            • rockfarmer says:

              Hi, ExRacerX! I’ll never be a Yewper (born in Iowa City, IA)… But I married one, and both kids are certified. I’m certifiable, but not in that particular category.

  37. chocolateislove says:

    2023 was not kind to the Chocolate household. And the current political climate is not helping with regards to my stress levels. I keep thinking “how are we here again? AGAIN?”. The silver lining, I suppose, is that I have been rage donating — focusing my anger on the political rather than the personal so I don’t hurt the other people I love.

    I have 2 goals for this year. First, look for more Get Out the Vote/Groups fighting voter suppression to donate to. I’m especially looking for state organizations. The second is postcard writing/phone calls. The second is very much out of my comfort zone. I don’t want to bother anyone but if it works, then it’s worth doing. It helps that I recently realized that the recipient of the call or postcard doesn’t know me. I am just a random person. And I don’t generally care what strangers think of me.

    I am not sandwiched, yet. But it’s coming. It is, quite literally, just a matter of time. Some parents have their end of life decisions made and important info distributed. Others, not so much. And it’s a reminder that Mr. Chocolate and I need to update our wills/directives.

  38. Henry the Horse says:

    I think the loss/corporatization of local media is very sad. I used to work for a paper called the Michigan Voice that unearthed LOTS of stories that “big box” media would never cover.

    This gives me a great appreciation for this site, and others like it. BTW, our founder got his start by winning a seat on his local school board as a senior in high school.

    All the best for the New Year, and as a Michigan boy I will have a Fuck Show North please.

    • Rayne says:

      The Michigan Voice — the outlet formerly known as The Flint Voice. Yeah. ;-)

      One tall icy Fuck Show North coming right up!

  39. Rugger_9 says:

    OT, and not good news. It would appear that terrorists had hit the 4-year memorial procession for Suleimani and managed to kill 100 or so and hundreds wounded. Nothing justifies this kind of thing, and of course the Iranians are blaming Israel and the USA. However, neither nation does mass targeting like this (exemplified by what Israel did in Lebanon this week with the otherwise unhelpful strike on Hamas’ leader) but it is entirely something done routinely by the ISIS or Al-Qaeda (and Sadrists, etc.) groups.

    So if not the US or Israel, whodunnit? No one is taking responsibility as of this writing, but my speculation is that this is going to be tied to the Saudis in some way. While that may seem farfetched, the Wahhabi Sunnis like MBS that run the kingdom have been enemies of the Shiites that run Iran (make no mistake, the Guardian Council of the mullahs run everything there) plus the Iranians are ramping up their active support for the Houthis in Yemen on the kingdom’s doorstep. Trouble in the Middle East also means higher oil prices. Speaking of Defendant-1’s takeout of the Iranian general, I have to wonder if it was part of Jared’s pro quo for the 2 billion quid.

    On KCBS, I note that Leon Panetta steered very clear of even mentioning the Saudis and it could be that this is internal warfare but I have my doubts that the Iranians would do this to themselves. What is certain is that the Iranians will go after someone for this, and Panetta’s view is that he hoped they would do their research first.

  40. BRUCE F COLE says:

    I’ll add my belated thanks down here, Rayne, for your fine New Year’s goading-to-action-despite-personal-encumberments post! I hope we can create a true groundswell this Fall. and that it will result in the fall of American fascism in our era.

  41. Error Prone says:

    As a caregiver you never do everything right, and you cannot change what was selfish. Politically, more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamed of in your philosophy. All four of the Republican Reps in Minnesota have come out in favor of Trump, it’s on today’s web searching. Looking at 2028 if I get there, Ted Cruz. This round he’s sitting on his Senate seat as if hatching an egg. This year I hit 80 and am still ambulatory and cogent and glad I am not having to live in Gaza.

    My district rep is Tom Emmer, before that, Michele Bachmann. It is all a drama that ends when you do. I understand and laud those finding a campaign to assist. I do not have it in me. I have the lesser evil view toward all the Presidential elections I have voted. And I voted all once I reached voting age. And voted Dem. I see Rudy now and what he is facing. While he in clear basic terms earned it, he’s my age and taking a hit would not sit well with me, so on that level, he got deep pocketed by the law firm pro bono against him, twenty discovery motions while on the ropes, I can sympathize. He is as human and open to suffering as I am. Francis spoke critically of the weapons industry and I agree. It is a paycheck and retirement for many. While we are the only nation to have nuked anybody.

    I have taped to the bedroom doorjamb the two fortunes put by someone at the fortune cookie bakery into one cookie that found me. “Depart not from the path which fate has you assigned.” and “There is yet time enough for you to take a different path.” Free will and preordination in one cookie. Things happen; and with such a pairing going into fortune cookies, who can you trust? I have declined to use the numbers on the reverse sides to buy lottery tickets. It is cold outside but I have to go out and fill the bird feeder. They have eaten it to almost empty. Perhaps simplemindedness is its own reward.

    • Rayne says:

      Free will or preordination in one cookie…what if they were one and the same?

      Many people believe the word “karma” means fate; what befalls you is karmic, cosmic retribution. Except karma doesn’t mean that, it means you receive the consequences of your actions which isn’t preordination per se. Consequences are a matter of choice; you get everything that comes with making a choice. FAFO, as the kids say. Fuck around is a choice, find out is the ensuing karma resulting from that choice.

      Your genetics, epigenetics, environment can all shape your choices. These are the factors of preordination, ex. if you were born without or have lost your sense of smell, you’re going to have a tough time as a chef. But you have choice, the power of agency, to find a way to make this limitation work or to take that different path. The choice sets karma in motion. You get what you choose.

      What do you choose? Perhaps simplemindedness is a temporary refuge, but without mindfulness you’ll be at the whim of unthinking choice.

        • Rayne says:

          It’s very political as well. If we approach democracy in a simpleminded fashion, unthinkingly vote every election, what are we choosing? If we are active in democracy, helping recruit candidates, fundraise, do all the other work necessary to help them or their party succeed, what are we choosing? We more likely to get what we desire and need through the latter than the former.

          Makes me think of this quote: “A lot of people are afraid to say what they want. That’s why they don’t get what they want.” — Madonna

          If you can’t articulate it, sometimes you’ll get what you want by going after it, by making choices in that direction. Choose mindfully.

  42. earthworm says:

    before this much appreciated thread times out:
    i want to add to the taking care of the dreary end-of-life matters. how about also making sure your recipe notes and genealogy notes are in order?
    sounds old-fuddyduddyish, i know, but food and family are a large piece of the fabric of culture.
    these have always traditionally been the province of women (and i might add, a really grounding piece), although this is not necessarily, exclusively so.
    make sure your kids, extended family, and descendants can replicate those moments, few or many, where the comfort of love and family may have shone brightly. and know their antecedants — it is such an amazing aspect of the american story.

    • -mamake- says:

      Another fuddyduddy here. I have loved ones who have done this very thing, a DIY binder (some invested more in final product than others), with recipe, photos and narrative. Origin story, funny or touching family moments areound the creation of dish, whose favorite it was etc.
      Definitely on my retirement to-do list.

      Again, will recommend the Thoughtful End of Life Planning course I posted a link to upthread. These kind of legacy items were discussed in that course giving me lots of ideas. Got some great ideas from the others in the class too – all kinds of creative types there.

    • Rayne says:

      Ditto the family heirlooms like quilts and other handmade objects which have undocumented provenance.

      My MIL had aphasia as she slipped into progressive supranuclear palsy and faded away from us. The aphasia came very early followed by increasing inability to write. If I had known then what was going to come I would have asked all the questions so she could take her time and answer them as her condition permitted. But she was misdiagnosed which delayed both treatment and family understanding of her limitations. Now I have a bunch of material handed down without provenance — my FIL has helped some, but as you said much of this fell to women though it shouldn’t have. We’ll have gaping holes with only objects left once he passes.

      The recipes I have already scanned and typed as plain text. I’ve been watching for a open source database which isn’t too cumbersome and can be loaded on a flash drive so that I can hand off all of to each grandchild and great-grandchild. Ditto for the family photos — scanned and waiting. My kids know what to do if I’m hit by a bus.

  43. Henry the Horse says:

    Thanks for the drink, and you got me, I did work for the Flint Voice :) those were early days. Activism was/is in our blood!!!

    Will be stumping mightily for Slotnik and a new replacement for Dan Kildee.

    I cared for my older sister as a teenager and it was just horrible, and then years later my mom. I feel for ALL who take on these burdens.

    On a cheerful note, my Aunt used to drink something for the holidays she called Keir? Spelling is iffy but it’s a shot of Blackberry brandy in a glass of Asti…sounds strange but it goes down rather easily.

    All things must pass.

    • Rayne says:

      Kristen McDonald Rivet threw her name in the hat for Kildee’s seat. I supported her for her current position in state senate MI-35, going to support her for MI-08. District is rated an R+1 because of the rural vote but I think Rivet can pull it off with organized labor support.

      Your aunt’s cocktail is called kir, a cocktail which used to be known as a blanc-cassis. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kir_(cocktail)) Originally made with black currant liqueur but blackberry brandy works just fine. Blackberry brandy brings back childhood memories when we cared for my great-grandmother. She’d stay for 6-12 weeks on a rotating basis with kids and grandkids until she finally was in need of a more permanent assisted living situation. When she stayed with us my mom would coach me on what to do before 8:00 p.m. each night (mom worked 2nd shift then as a nurse): I was to fix Grandma’s nightly tonic and give it to her when she settled into the armchair to watch TV and say her rosary. A rocks glass, my child’s sized handful of ice cubes, a jigger of blackberry brandy, and 7Up to top it off. Stir a bit and give to Grandma who’d sip it and mutter her Hail Marys while watching that big stud James Arness on Gunsmoke. She’d go to bed at 9:00 p.m. and sleep like a baby.

      If only my mom was as easy to settle now in her dotage.

  44. KittyRehn says:

    Gotta say, I wouldn’t mind a good Fuck Show North. I discovered my own kickass holiday beverage a couple weeks ago. Brew some cinnamon rooibos chai/chai tea of your choice in milk (I used half milk half water), sweeten to taste with brown sugar, and then add some pecan praline whiskey. Simple, but absolutely killer. It would be a great thing to make in a batch.

    On a more serious note, thank you for really hammering home how important the grunt work is. The little things really do add up. Elections aren’t won (or lost!) on the backs of leadership alone.

    • Rayne says:

      Oof…pecan praline whiskey and chai sounds delish! While I usually drink their green tea version, I think the whiskey would be better with Stash brand black tea chai. I might add a couple more pinches of freshly ground cardamom and black pepper. Will try this with the coming weekend!

      Leadership *is* doing the little things, showing up time after time and doing those little things. It still blows me away years later that it was that simple.

      • Yogarhythms says:

        Rayne,
        You and your siblings are world’s best for caring for your aged parents. I want to recommend American Geriatrics Society’s 2023 AGS Beers Criteria®️ for listing of medications that will definitely prolong any humans final journey with love and ensuing fuck show. As humans age there is an exit door on your path. However thanks to the AGS Beers Criteria some people spend years and decades waiting to reach the exit because of low to midlevel pain and worry. Enter the Beers criteria, some of the most effective medications are removed from geriatric patients unless and until there has been a hospice diagnosis. A hospice diagnosis is not a death sentence. It is an acknowledgement of patient’s life goal, changing, from curative to comfort. Sometimes requesting a hospice referral from your parents, step parents, medical provider will allow a new set of eyes to examine patient and medical history and ask the hard questions a out one’s life goals around the kitchen table with family.

  45. kspin_27FEB2019_0916h says:

    I know this may be a controversial question for you US peeps, but as one of many people observing what’s going on in your country, from afar, do you ever question whether a system that has facilitated Mitch McConnell being elected to the US Senate, for 38 consecutive years, may be flawed?
     
     
    [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please choose and use a unique username with a minimum of 8 letters. We are moving to a new minimum standard to support community security. Because your username is far too short it will be temporarily changed to match the date/time of your first known comment until you have a new compliant username. Once you pick a new site standard compliant name, please use it on every comment; you currently have three different usernames (kspin, Kspin, K-spin). Thanks. /~Rayne]

  46. Lisa in NC says:

    Rayne, my deepest sympathies on the fuckshow… Wishing strength and cope for all of you as you navigate this terrain.
    A friend compiled a fantastic brain dump of resources and things she learned through her mother’s final decline and eventual death. I’m sure most of it is information you’ve already figured out on your own, but wanted to share in case there might be a few bits in here that could ease the path in some way for you and your sibling…
    https://www.harihareswara.net/posts/2023/eldercare-family-caretaking-end-of-life-logistics-learned/

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks very much for sharing that resource, Lisa, much appreciated. Good to see you here in emptywheel.

  47. ShallMustMay08 says:

    My heart goes out to those who need the care from families and those whose families and friends who do the care.

    I am late to the comments and resisted at first but circling back to add … death can come at us fast and I can only add that I recommend to folks in my real life two things that I can pass on. Find out/learn about your local hospice and how they work with services offered. My understanding is each local (state and county) can be different. My experience was wonderful though healthcare didn’t recommend (in retrospect I understand). But most important for me personally -and this may be selfish- I regret I followed my fathers wish and didn’t give him the full dosage of medication recommended. I listened to him vs them and rightly so (he was a silver sneaker guy 3 months prior) but we all knew there was no recovery and yet we didn’t know how quick it would be. When the meds wear off, they wear off fast. In the end we only had six days from signing off to no ambulatory care (no one wanted anyway) to the beautiful singer with a guitar who performed by his bedside his favorite hymns the day he passed.

    Call ahead to know how they can help everyone involved. Life comes at us fast.

    Nice post and I hope best for all.

  48. Honeybee says:

    My thoughts are with you going into the presidential election year with that level of stress. Caretaking can be full-time, consuming effort: emotionally, practically, in spirits sagging from strain. I have some idea because after a two and a half year battle with cancer, my husband died in 2023. Trying to get moving again. Courage to you.

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