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  1. I'm north of Dallas/Plano (husband was promoted to the new HQ in Plano). Born in Green Bay WI, grew up in the NY/NJ area and stayed until I was late twenties. Lived in MA for 16 years and now here in TX. And in 15 years when it's time for Mr. Toast to retire, we are hightailing it out of here. Unless he can get a job in Australia with the same company, but that seems unlikely. We got here in July when there was a spike and now it's completely out of control. I'm not stepping foot in any doctor's office, urgent care or hospital. I don't trust that necessary precautions will be taken, even in a doctor's office because from what I've seen they aren't.
  2. Yeah, I was approached in Target pharmacy by a pharmacy tech offering a flu shot but I also have to get daughter another vaccine. So it's something that would make more sense to find a doctor. But people in TX (and going by the flags I see on my street) are not exactly being careful and I'd rather hole up at home. FFS, a neighbor had a fucking cookie exchange. Indoors. Maskless. WTF?!!!???!?!? I'd rather avoid any public spaces entirely, even for a vaccine. Because yeah, it's that bad. It might calm down enough in January seeing as there are no holidays to at least get the flu vaccine.
  3. I'm in TX too but I'm only 45 so I'm low on the list. But I just did a quick google search and found this: https://www.dshs.state.tx.us/coronavirus/immunize/vaccine.aspx and this: https://www.texastribune.org/2020/12/23/coronavirus-vaccine-texas/ (though that is a bit older). We moved here in July and have been avoiding going out so haven't gotten a primary care physician so we're not going to be notified. We haven't gotten the flu shot either because we used to do that bing bang boom at our PCP around Halloween. And it feels pretty obnoxious to start looking around for doctors while we're in the middle of an uncontrolled pandemic.
  4. Sunday good "news": Kicking off the holiday baking today! Got an oven thermometer last night to make sure the new oven is actually correct. And even got a candy/frying thermometer to measure the temp of the chocolate when making the truffles. We may not be having anyone over for the holiday, but it doesn't mean I'm not making everything I love. Mr. Toast has his standing rib roast in the fridge and he's pseudo-dry aging it, following Alton Brown's instructions. We've done it for years and it is delicious.
  5. We watched the last season of Star Wars: Clone Wars this spring and this sentiment holds true. We knew how it was going to end, but it didn't make the ending any less gutting. Great, but so sad. In some ways, I think knowing how it's going to end allows for creators to explore character and relationships instead of plotting.
  6. Attending live theater. I am so looking forward to seeing a musical on Broadway again. Even a movie in a theater. But sitting in the dark with a group of people as we're transported by the people on stage. God, I miss it. Watching it on TV is not the same at all. The magic is lost.
  7. We never used our fireplace in the old house in MA and actually put an electric fireplace in front of it and then put an entertainment center with a fireplace in front of it. Because we had a mantle, we didn't purchase the one @ginger90 linked but I saw that at Ocean State Job Lot as well as Home Depot. And thought about getting it for my mom but she wasn't interested. I checked Home Depot online and a few on the first page are fireplaces that aren't entertainment centers in many different styles. FWIW, I loved the electric fireplace because I could have the ambiance of a fire without the heat if I chose. And if it was cold and rainy but I didn't want to change the thermostat I could put on the heater. Even though we have a fireplace in the new house and installed gas logs, we kept the electric fireplaces and I still love them.
  8. Oh, @SunnyBeBe, we had a soundbar and it was so great. My husband is a sound snob and in the new house he set up his huge 6 ft tall Martin Logan electrostatic speakers which also sound awesome. (They are over 20 years old and still sound great, but they look similar to the pics, but not exactly the same) But we got just as good sound from the soundbar and if I had my druthers I'd use the sound bar--the sound quality is so good and they don't take up much room and very easy to use. So much better than the tv speakers. So much better.
  9. Echoing @emma675 a big huge thank you to all the poll workers and local election officials. They have done an marvelous and thankless job. I can't imagine those folk in the states still counting how nerve wracking it must be. Despite the small hiccup for me and large hiccup for my son, those poll volunteers were doing their damnedest to make sure we were able to vote.
  10. I like to decorate for Christmas but I don't do it until December. We have had artificial trees so I could do it earlier but I prefer to enjoy November and Thanksgiving before Christmas. My daughter's birthday is Dec 21, so I also would carve out some special time for her, too. I like the lights of Christmas--the spinning angel candles, the tree lights, lighted garlands. It's such a literal dark time of year to have the house cozily lit with warm lighting is something I look forward to. I do a lot of stuff decorating and cooking but I like to do it and it puts me in good cheer so it's not something I resent. I really do it for myself and enjoy it for the 3 weeks that it's up. Mr. Toast is Jewish, though not really practicing and we're more atheists as it is anyway. But, he likes Christmas because he can put his huge-ass model trains around the tree. That and the prime rib and the home made chocolate truffles and rainbow cookies. But the trains need a lot of space to turn and it was always a challenge to fit it in the living room and some years we did without. One of them he got a few years ago that is replica of the Canadian Pacific lighted train. Our living room doesn't really have room and we can't really rearrange. We do have a narrow tree that we should be able to fit in the living room but we are probably going to get another taller perhaps fuller tree and put it in the dining room. The dining room is HUGE in the new house and there is definitely a place where it will fit without having to move anything but a dog bed. And there will be plenty of room still for the table and chairs. *Side note: Mr. Toast has so many trains to store that we asked for some extra flooring in the "attic" above the garage in the home that we chose so he could store his trains. The floorplan we chose had a choice of laundry up or down and we chose down and the builder added shelves to the space where the upstairs laundry would be which was a huge help but he still took up most of the "attic" storage space. It's a lot of trains.
  11. I was/still am a picky eater and having a parent that insists on not only cleaning the plate but a good size helping makes childhood hell. I know I vomited at the table at least once. More often it was dry heaves which made the situation worse because obviously I can control my gag reflex and of course I'm just being ridiculous. Needless to say, it's something that I still resent and I don't have a very good relationship with that parent. And he used to tell me that when I have my own kids and my own house I can do what want. Well guess what asshole, I do. It is the hill I would die on for my son who also has that issue and I would point out all the the time that if Mr. Toast wants to have a relationship with his kid to drop the control of what our son eats. He's 18 now, still doesn't eat much and I don't fucking care. And all those parent judgers out there can't fucking bite me. Yes, it is still very much a sore point and it still really pisses me off. I just don't understand the amount of cruelty it takes to watch a child visibly ill and still force them to eat. And then get angry when they vomit it up at the table. I couldn't say it when I was 8 but I can say it now. Fuck you asshole. Fuck you. *ahem* sorry. It's just...yeah...haven't gotten over it. Dreading dinner every single night leaves a mark. Beets taste like dirt and smell awful while cooking. Strangely, I can handle cilantro but both my husband and daughter cannot. Spinach I can handle but kale is a step too far. Why do sweet pickles need to exist when there are dill pickles, I do not understand. Sweet potatoes skeeve me out. Sweet potatoes with marshmallows are nightmare fuel. I have finally gotten to the point where I can handle very teeny tiny onions cooked until they are very, very soft. But crunchy onions? Nope. I can handle leeks though. My husband loves most food (including beets) but the one thing he can't stand that I do enjoy is fish. He will eat sushi, though. I do like most fish. Many times when we were eating at restaurants I would get the fish just because I don't make it at home. Sadly Mr. Toast has celiac disease, so some foods are off the table. Two years ago he had a kidney stone and has to avoid purines which means no meat (chicken, beef, pork, turkey, lamb, fish--no flesh), no spinach, no cauliflower, no mushrooms, no asparagus, no peas and a list of other foods. Well, it's not that he can't eat them, he can eat small amounts of them. But he tries to avoid them as much as possible because kidney stones suck. And as much as it seems that it really limits what one can cook I liken it to writing a sonnet. I can't just free style it but I can still make something amazing.
  12. We weren't going to do anything for Thanksgiving this year because having moved away from family, traveling back for holidays a few months later seems a bit much. Add COVID on top of that and we're good staying home. Friends that are family are still planning to visit for Christmas (so they can avoid a mother, hahaha) but we'll see how bad the "numbers" are. They're in MA where things aren't great but we're in TX where things are really not great. The benefit of moving to a place where we know practically no-one is that we have no temptation to go out anywhere. My son never liked going out to restaurants and now my daughter is really liking just doing take-out and Mr. Toast is bummed about this development. It has made following the recommendation to stay home and avoid gatherings very, very easy.
  13. You get to watch how the Chancellor grooms Anakin. It is horrifying but truly shows how and why Anakin would turn so easily. It's weird, after watching Clone Wars, it's really hard to see the Storm Troopers as bad. That being said, by the time A New Hope rolls around, I have a feeling there aren't many Clones still serving. The only time it feels like a bumbling cop show is when the C3P0 and R2D2 get their own episodes which happens every dang season. And when Jar Jar Binks shows up which happens more than once, too. I will also note that the show is an anthology and not told in a linear fashion. So there is an episode in season 1 (I think) Rookies, about Clones. Later on in the series you'll go back and see their training. When we did a rewatch before the 7th season, we did the chronological order. We did watch when it was on TV, so we also saw the anthology order. They are both good ways to watch the show. The anthology style does not make it hard to follow nor does the chronological make it easier. We started watching this when my son was younger and we feel it is one of the best version of Star Wars. It's not a perfect show, but I don't think Mandalorian would have happened without Clone Wars.
  14. It's misty, cloudy and cool and I am so very thankful. Moving from MA to TX is a change and it's just such a nice return to what feels like fall weather.
  15. We have a balcony in our new house that we have some Halloween lights strung up on. I was joking with Mr. Toast that we should get some PVC pipe and have a chute for candy. I bet the kids would love it. Trick or treating seems ok to me--with masks and it's a quick toss of candy in a bag it seems like the holiday celebration most suited to this pandemic. The parties, haunted houses etc, that's not doable. But trick or treating seems ok. It's a new neighborhood for us but I've seen a few kids and it's a development well-suited for trick or treating, so I'm guessing we'll get quite a few. It's TX in one of the many new neighborhoods built north of Plano/Dallas so homes close together, well-lit and sidewalks.
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