Holidays Jewish and holidays not. · Jewy goodness · Keepin' it real · whine and cheese

Day 367: Here it comes…

Passover.

It used to be my favourite holiday. Then, with each passing year of seders filled with people who really just want to stop the talking so we can eat already, my enjoyment of it waned. Now it feels like something to get through, a change that I’m not happy about. Will this be the year I start really enjoying it again?

You know what I say, the key to happiness is lowered standards. So this year I’ve decided that if the kids enjoy the seder and participate in it, that’s good enough for me. Dayenu.

I found a program plan online for a series of puzzles, each of which has an answer that opens a particular kind of lock. There are five locks, and the fifth one opens a container that holds the afikoman. I have all the locks (one directional, one four-letter-word, one four-digit code, one three-digit code, one keyed) and need only to print out the various instructions and cards and so on. Hopefully this keeps the kids engaged.

Then again, kids aren’t usually the problem. It’s generally the jaded adults who want to just “get on with it.” For that problem I haven’t found a solution. I’ve tried compiling my own haggadah (which worked, sort of) or bringing in humorous parodies (those went over like a lead balloon.) Last year after another disappointing seder I downloaded a bunch of seder table games for this year. If only I could find them…

And don’t get me started on Pesach cleaning or turning over my kitchen; we’re terribly under-equipped for Passover, given that my mom has a whole Passover kitchen at her house and we’ve always had the seders there (and then happily taken home the leftovers to eat all week.) I guess it’s time to be a grownup and get my own Pesach cookware, isn’t it?

family fun · Homeschool · Keepin' it real · whine and cheese

Day 366: Why won’t they play with me?

Yesterday evening I did something I’ve never done before. I actually bought a computer game.

We’re a board game family. Not the ones we all grew up with—Monopoly, Sorry, The Game of Life, Trivial Pursuit—but the newer European games. Everytime we learn a new game, I want to play it over and over. It’s a little like how babies and toddlers like to repeat activities until they’ve mastered them. Unfortunately for me, after the first few games nobody wants to play with me anymore.

It happened with Agricola. Then with Terra Mystica, Azul, and Samurai. For the last few weeks I’ve been reduced to outright begging.

“Anybody wanna play Wingspan with me?”

*crickets*

Obviously I needed a new tactic.

“Hey guys, guess what? We’re going to do some ornithology for homeschool today!”

“You mean we’re playing Wingspan, don’t you?” K was on to me. “Abba is the science teacher. I don’t think this is in your department. And we don’t want to play.”

Darn.

Finally—finally!—Mr. December sat down and played Wingspan with me yesterday afternoon (I’m pretty sure it was a pity game, but beggars can’t be choosers.) After two games I was just starting to hit my stride, but he was already all played out. How am I supposed to get better at this game if I only play two games a month? I groused inwardly.

A couple of hours later I found myself googling “where to play Wingspan online?”. When I saw that there was a version on Steam (a gaming platform) that got rave reviews, I decided to buy it. It was cheaper than a movie ticket and I already feel like I’ve gotten my money’s worth; when Mr. December was out with the kids this afternoon I was glued to my desk, laying eggs and foraging for worms and rodents.

Many, many games later I’m finally feeling like I have a decent grasp of the strategy. But it’s a little lonely playing solo. So… anybody wanna play Wingspan with me online? Anybody?

blogging · Keepin' it real · The COVID files · whine and cheese

Day 357: I won’t stop now.

With the exception of (I think) three days, I have posted on this blog every day for almost a year. Even if I wanted to stop (and I don’t think I do,) it would make sense to keep going until day 365 so I can say I did a whole year.

My hands seem to have other ideas. My carpal tunnel syndrome is back with a vengeance and I’m pretty sure I should avoid typing as much as I can. There is dictation software, and I could try to use it, but my desk is on the landing overlooking the living and dining rooms; I’d feel a bit self-conscious knowing that everyone could hear what I’m dictating.

But it would be absolutely ridiculous to stop so short of the one-year mark… so I won’t. Instead I’ll warn you to expect shorter posts for the next week. After that, I’d feel okay about a short hiatus.

Fibro Flares · whine and cheese

Day 348: I broke my own rule.

It started very innocently—and things that start this way are usually fine—but I got yelled at by someone who had zero evidence behind her claims and was making assumptions up the wazoo; I responded to clarify something and they cranked up the verbal aggression. I left the exchange and blocked that thread, but it was too late: I had broken my cardinal rule of Facebook, which is “Don’t engage, no matter what.” I felt awful emotionally but also physically (Apparently that’s an ADHD thing) and ruminated on it longer that I should have.

(Let’s be clear: I should have ruminated on it for a total of zero minutes. Just in case you were wondering what “longer than I should have” means.)

Mr. December talked me through some of it. I was pretty calm by bedtime, having put it out of my mind… or so I thought. Apparently it was still bothering me. I lay in bed, taking deep cleansing breaths, visualizing beautiful scenery, focusing on relaxing my muscles. It didn’t work quickly, so I kept at it…

For five hours.

My CPAP machine had been running the whole time because (of course) I was planning to actually sleep. It recorded five hours of operation, which meant five hours of me trying to fall asleep and failing. I’ve heard all the advice about how you should get up for a bit and do something, but my body was too tired to get up; only my brain was awake.

Mr. December woke up at five or so in the morning; we talked a bit and snuggled a bit and I eventually fell asleep around six. I woke up for the day at 8:30.

That means last night I got a grand total of… (drumroll, please…) two and a half hours. At most.

When I put it that way, I’m a total badass for still standing upright. My body doesn’t seem to think of it that way, though. Fatigue is one of my biggest fibro flare triggers. That’s why I’m going to go treat myself exceptionally kindly, with a cup of tea and a walk outside in the sunshine, and then let the kids tuck me into bed by 8:00. I hope that after twelve hours of sleep my body and brain will be almost fully functional.

crafty · DIY · Fibro Flares · Keepin' it real · whine and cheese

Day 345: Where did the weekend go?

Maybe it was all the sugar from the Purim treats, followed by the challah and dessert at Shabbat dinner. Maybe it was exhaustion from being woken up 1:00 a.m. on Friday and then having insomnia at 4:30 on Saturday morning. Maybe it was a fibro flare. Whatever it was, it left me achy, groggy, and mentally foggy.

After my 4:30 a.m. wakeup on Saturday I tried my best to be awake with the kids for a while, but I lost the battle with Morpheus around 8:30. I woke up for a couple of hours around noon, then went back to bed until seven. When we got into bed at ten that night, I fell asleep almost instantly.

You’d think that almost a full day and night of sleep would leave me feeling refreshed, wouldn’t you? Well, you’d be wrong. I woke up this morning feeling not much better.

“I don’t know why I’m so tired,” I yawned to Mr. December, hugging him in a bid to be able to sleep for a millisecond or so.

“Me neither,” he said, “I don’t understand how it’s possible to sleep that much. It’s just not normal!”

I’m not generally perturbed by being labelled “not normal”—it’s practically my superpower at this point. As far as I’m concerned, normal is either a myth or boring as heck. But if normal is going to sleep at night and waking up refreshed in the morning, I want a piece of that.

I hate weekends like this because I generally come out of them feeling useless. Doubly so today because Mr. December was teaching the kids evolutionary biology and some chemistry while I puttered around trying to stay awake. Seriously, he’s Superdad. He’s working a full-time job remotely and spending two hours a day homeschooling the kids, then even more hours planning his lessons and looking for new resources. I’m in awe, and very lucky to be married to this guy; but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel pretty useless standing next to him… until something needs fixing, or something has to be made or built or baked. Then I’m a total rockstar.

To keep myself from feeling like the entire weekend was a waste of time, I worked on fixing N’s window shade. It’s a cheap vinyl roller shade to which I had glued some cotton fabric. The glue didn’t last very long, though, and for months it’s looked pretty crappy, with the fabric kind of dangling uselessly from the middle of the roll and the sticky residue on the vinyl shade attracting every dust particle that flew by.

This time I used clear school glue to paste the fabric to the vinyl. That was step one. I hung it back up to dry; tomorrow I’m going to use some slightly diluted glue as a topcoat, the way I’ve done with Mod Podge in the past. Then I just have to turn the edges over and glue them to the back of the shade, and I’ll be that much closer to being able to give you the tour of N’s room.

It’s bedtime and the only thing I’ve achieved this weekend was that darn window shade. I didn’t even do my lesson planning, which means I’m going to have to pull something together in the next five minutes so the board is updated when the kids come downstairs tomorrow. And then I’ll go back to bed, where I haven’t been for a whole five hours.

fame and shame · Jewy goodness · Keepin' it real · whine and cheese

Day 339: No good deed goes unpunished?

Remember my rant about not wanting to use Amazon but being fed up with the subpar online shopping experience with Canadian companies? And remember how I called out Canadian Tire specifically?

(I hope you remember. It was just last week.)

It just got worse: apparently Canadian Tire now owns Party City. The once-functional Party City website has migrated to the same system used by all Canadian Tire companies.

I was trying to find somewhere to buy packaging for our mishloach manot and I hit on Party City, which is nearby and offers curbside pickup. I even knew exactly what I wanted and put it into my cart quickly and went to check out. The page started loading… and kept loading… loading… loading…

I barbecued our dinner, ate with everyone, cleaned up, and came back to the computer. Still loading…

Maybe I should hit refresh, I thought. Maybe it timed out and if I reload the whole thing it’ll work?

Nope. Dream on.

I even tried using an incognito browser window, just in case there was some problem with cookies or some other kind of cached information (almost sounds like I know what that means, doesn’t it?). I got this:

Image description: screenshot of the Party City website. There’s a pop-up window that reads, “Sorry, there is a problem. We are currently experiencing system difficulties and cannot process your request at this time. We are working hard to resolve the issue. Please try again later.”

If this was the first such issue I’d had with this platform, I’d shrug and try again tomorrow. But I’ve had this kind of problem many times with Canadian Tire. Do they not know that their system is terrible? Or do they just not care? Plenty of other companies seem to have reasonable e-commerce systems, so what’s the problem here?

Amazon’s terrible ethics and business practices are worse, in the long run, than a frustrating online shopping experience, so I’ll probably keep trying to buy this stuff from Party City even though I’ve already wasted at least half an hour on what should have been a five-minute transaction at most. It sure feels like no good deed goes unpunished, doesn’t it?

Fibro Flares · Keepin' it real · whine and cheese

Day 336: Not as planned.

Unsurprisingly (to me,) I woke up in a full fibro flare this morning. Not only did everything hurt, but my brain felt foggy. Mr. December taught the kids all morning while I tried to be functional. I attempted to sign E into her online class, but I had forgotten that it was in a different Zoom room today because the physical school was closed due to a water main break. Long story short, she missed the first ten minutes of her class.

At 12:45 my phone rang.

“Hi, it’s the orthodontist’s office. Is K on her way?”

“Um, our appointment is at 2:45… isn’t it?” I asked weakly.

“No, we had changed it to 12:30. I spoke to K on Wednesday and she said you said it was fine.”

Now that she mentioned it, I remembered a conversation to that effect. I had been elbow deep in art supplies and didn’t remember to change the time in my phone’s calendar.

“So… can you come now?” the receptionist’s voice brought me back to the present.

What else could we do? I rushed K out of the house—but not before my alarm rang to remind me that E had another online class, so I detoured to my desk to log her in—and realized that our car was still buried under a whole lot of snow. Thank goodness R and N had decided to shovel the driveway earlier rather than later. I got K to the appointment. She went in while I waited outside in the car (we’re still in lockdown, remember?) with the heater on.

Guess what happened next? Oh, go on. Guess! I’ll wait.

My battery died. The car’s battery, I mean. So I phoned the auto club and asked for a boost (I keep my own booster cables in my car but the cars parked nearby didn’t have drivers in them, so that was useless.) The lovely man with the Qu├ębecois accent answered and assured me that the towing company would text me directly to say when they would be coming.

I sat and waited. The car started to get cold and my muscles started to tighten with the dropping temperature. The text arrived.

It was all in French. Now, I understand a fair bit of French, but I wasn’t absolutely sure I was understanding this message. Could they really be saying that they’d be coming to help me in two hours and ten minutes? Surely not. Maybe they were saying they’d be there by 2:10?

It was the former, confirmed the guy at the auto club when I called back to check. He suggested that I could call a towing company myself and then submit the expense for reimbursement. “It’s usually fastest that way,” he said.

By this point K was done with her appointment and had rejoined me in the car. “Maybe we could watch something on your phone to pass the time,” she suggested. I obliged, opening up Netflix to watch The Good Place.

After a moment I mused out loud, “I wonder if there’s a garage nearby. Maybe I could ask them to just come over and help me?”

Thanks to google maps and the lovely man at the nearby auto repair shop (who doesn’t offer this service but came out to help me anyway) we were on our way home twenty minutes later. Of course, I had to leave the car running for half an hour to charge the battery, so I just sat there in the driveway for a while. By the time I got inside I was tired, achy, and thoroughly fed up. It was close to 3:00 and I couldn’t focus on any one thing for too long, so I was obviously not going to teach anyone anything today. Instead I did the only thing I could do: I took a two-hour nap. It was definitely a better use of two hours than waiting in a cold car for a boost from the towing company…not that it’s much of a contest.

el cheapo · family fun · Homeschool · mental health · The COVID files · whine and cheese

Day 332: The Impossible Dream

I’ve developed a new internet addiction: Air BnB.

Ever since we started homeschooling, Mr. December and I have been enthralled by the possibility of worldschooling—travelling the world for months at a time and homeschooling along the way. Inspired by the bloggers of Millenial Revolution, one of whom used to be Mr. December’s coworker, we’ve been turned on to the idea that there are parts of the world that are safe and way cheaper to live in than Toronto, while letting the kids experience a totally new culture.

The current “stay at home” order has definitely exacerbated my wanderlust. As I type this, it’s minus ten degrees celsius and snowing. It’s probably normal to want to get away from this weather even without a pandemic. Of course, it’s basically impossible right now. Except…

“Honey, look at this!” I call to Mr. December. “Looks like Croatia is still open to tourists! Look at those gorgeous beaches! And we could rent this four-bedroom villa by the beach for $2100 a month! How crazy is that?”

Four bedroom home near the Dalmatian coast in Croatia. What’s not to like?

Thailand and Bali aren’t open to tourists right now, but I took a look at rentals for those places, too. In Bali I found this insanely cool house with four bedrooms. These people must be kindred spirits: their kids have a jungle-themed bedroom with a gorgeous wall mural and cargo nets for climbing and relaxing; there’s a pool outside with a waterslide; there’s even a trampoline. I think we’ve found our people… for less than $3500 a month. I wonder if they’d be open to a house swap? I bet their kids would love our attic.

Pics of a home in Bali; Gorgeously landscaped pool with a concrete waterslide that looks like it’s part of the stone wall, jungle themed kids’ room… looks like we’ve found a family as crazy as we are.

In Thailand I focused my search on Chiang Mai, a city in the north with a large population of worldschoolers and other expats. Even when I narrowed the search to “4+ bedrooms, wifi, swimming pool, under $3000 a month” there were still eighteen places to choose from. The one that caught my eye just happens to have the same house number as ours, which is just kinda neat.

A single-family home in Chiang Mai, Thailand; private swimming pool; a garden.

We’ve done the math and the research: we could probably rent out our house (perhaps to a doctor from overseas who’s doing a residency at one of the downtown Toronto hospitals) for $6000 to $8000 per month for six months. Any of the places I discussed in this post are at most half that expensive, which means that we could even come out ahead, financially speaking—not that finances are the most compelling reason to worldschool. Not by a long shot.

Look, I know this isn’t going to happen for a long time. They just extended the “stay at home” order here and the government has announced dire projections for a third wave of COVID if we open up too early. Even if I was completely immune to the open scorn we’d surely endure by travelling when the government has asked us not to (Mr. December is immune, but I don’t think I am,) I’d still be a bit leery of travelling right now. And if we were going to travel with the kids, my first choice would be Israel, which is leading the world in immunizations. But Israel is still closed to tourists, and I fear that when they open it will be to tourists who’ve been immunized. If that ends up being the case, we as Canadians will be screwed: our government has been ridiculously slow in procuring vaccines and getting them to the populace.

In the meantime, I can fantasize. It might be one of the only things keeping me even a little bit sane. If not for the tantalizing hope of future travel, I’d spend my days ruminating on the fact that we’re doomed to spend the next year or so in our little box, separated from friends and family, going nowhere and doing nothing. In the face of that probably reality, who wouldn’t fantasize?

blogging · waxing philosophical · whine and cheese

Day 327: What do you mean, “Patriarchy”?

I awoke this morning to numerous suggestions of clothing retailers that make women’s clothing with useful pockets; I also had a message waiting for me from a close friend who took issue with my use of the word “patriarchy” and also contended that it’s not society’s fault that I value different things than most women.

I first used the word “patriarchy” facetiously when explaining to K the history of women’s clothing and how it affected our pockets (or lack thereof) today. But as I explained it, I realized that I wasn’t wrong… but “patriarchy” is a word loaded with a lot of things I did not mean.

I think some clarification would be helpful.

My theory, in a big nutshell:

The value we place on women’s appearance is a natural result of women’s role in a patriarchal society, and these beliefs persist even as women’s rights and privileges have expanded. The fashion industry, therefore, is still generally more concerned with the appearance of clothes than with their utility (form over function, in other words) and so are many (if not most) women. I’m not saying that designers or clothing manufacturers are trying to keep women down; I’m saying that they (and we) have inherited certain beliefs about women’s clothing that stem from a social construct made necessary by societal rules in centuries past, and these beliefs inform both the work of fashion designers and the buying habits of female consumers.

“What do you mean, ‘patriarchal society’?”

By “patriarchal” I mean that men hold primary power and predominate in privilege, property, and politics. You might feel that it’s no longer the case in this day and age—don’t women own houses, vote, have careers, and control their fertility? Yes, in some countries they do. But even in countries where women are pretty much equal to men, these things are relatively new developments: up until 1974, American women who applied for their own credit card would be asked to have a man co-sign the application. Until 1993, spousal rape couldn’t be prosecuted in many states. This is not ancient history, folks. In 1993 I was thirteen years old—and I’m no elderly pensioner.

(If you’re wondering why a Canadian blogger is writing about American law, wonder no more: I’m a bit lazy and U.S. information is easier to come by.)

But I digress (sort of.) You want to know what this has to do with pockets, right?

A very short, very selective, very Eurocentric history of fashion

In yesterday’s blog post, I briefly mentioned the idea that women didn’t need to carry money because money was the man’s concern. Perhaps this was an upper-class phenomenon; a few years ago, my research led me to conclude that servants and working-class women had pockets in their clothes. Nevertheless, fashion is, and always has been, dictated by the upper classes.

(Did you know that women’s shirts button on the opposite side of men’s? This is a holdover from the days when upper-class women would have maids to dress them. The buttons are placed for a right-handed assistant’s convenience.)

So upper class women’s clothing was (still is, really) designed to show their figures to best advantage, and full pockets would disturb that line. But why did that concern dominate?

Why value form over function?

Let’s be blunt: in the not-too-distant past, a woman relied on her father or her husband for financial support and social protection. To lack a male protector mean a lifetime on the fringes of society, and economic uncertainty if not outright poverty. In that light, it was imperative to attract a husband. And what did husbands want? Beautiful wives. (Why? There are theories that physical beauty and symmetrical features are good proxies for fertility, but I haven’t gone down that rabbit hole yet.) The most beautiful women would be most sought-after, and would therefore probably end up marrying the richest, most powerful men. Or, in the case of my ancestors in some Polish shtetl, the most beautiful girl would marry the most brilliant Torah scholar.

When you think about it that way, that being beautiful was a matter of survival, it’s a bit easier to understand how we got to the point of women wearing clothes that “look good” even though the clothes are highly impractical and even uncomfortable. Most women’s pants pockets are too small to hold a phone, wallet, or anything else that might break the “line” of the silhouette. And that’s if the pants have pockets to begin with: many have fake pockets that are stitched on for appearance.

But if that’s in the past, why don’t clothing manufacturers make more practical clothes now?

Well, because beliefs change slowly. If even a hundred years ago women still had to trade on their beauty to be assured financial stability and social standing, that means my grandmothers were raised by mothers who lived, courted, and married in that social reality. Their adulthoods weren’t much different, and even my mother came of age before women could sign their own credit card application or attend an Ivy League university. While it’s true that she also came of age at the same time as feminism was gathering steam, it would have been hard to discard all the lessons learned at the knee of her mother and aunties about how a girl should look. Now here we are, in my generation, and even though we understand much of this, we still can’t completely shake the feeling that our physical appearance is still the primary way women are judged nowadays.

Supply and demand (or lack thereof)

My dear friend whose message prompted this blog post was confident that clothing companies would sell clothes with pockets if women actually would buy them, and the fact that they don’t implies that I value clothing differently from most women. That’s probably true. But because of the history I mentioned above, among other factors, most women will still value looking good over feeling comfortable. Sure, we’ll complain about how the high heels hurt our feet or how painfully tight Spanx are, but it’s still important to have that particular leg shape and a slender midsection, so we’ll just suck it up and complain to each other in the ladies’ room.

It’s not just the women, either. Men will also say in one breath that high heels are stupid, and in the next they’ll admire a particularly shapely leg that is only that shape because, well, high heels. Mr. December might hate being constantly asked to carry my stuff in his pockets, but I see the appreciation on his face when I wear my tight jeans instead of something more practical. He, too, is living with the legacy of patriarchy that once declared loudly (and now whispers) that beauty is the most important attribute a woman can have.

I believe that’s why there’s so much demand for women’s clothing that lacks useful pockets in order to be sleek and accentuate the female form. Nobody is “at fault” here—it’s simply the legacy of our history.

Okay, so what’s your point?

I guess my point is that, as Yuval Noah Harari pointed out in his book Homo Deus, precedent and history affect our current beliefs and choices far more than we think. In his book he used the example of monoculture lawns, but I think his argument applies to the pockets-in-women’s-clothing issue too.

Am I telling people that women should stop caring about looking good and that we should all walk around wearing cargo pants? No. Absolutely not. But if we know that these beliefs are actually products of ages past, rather than some universal truth, we can decide whether we want to pass them on to the next generation. And we can start making things better for this generation, too, maybe even by demanding usable pockets in women’s clothing.

Keepin' it real · mental health · whine and cheese

Day 326: Pockets, Proportions, and the Patriarchy

“Oh geez, where the heck is my phone?”

“That’s the third time you’ve lost it today. Why don’t you just keep it in your pocket?” Mr. December asks.

“Because my pants don’t have real pockets!” I shot back.

“Then why did you buy them?”

“Because women’s pants NEVER have good pockets!!!”

“That’s stupid,” Mr. December said, “I’d never buy a pair of pants without pockets.”

I huffed, “That’s like saying you’d never buy clothes that didn’t fit your body properly. You can only buy it if it exists.”

“Eema,” K put in, “Why don’t women’s clothes have proper pockets?”

“One word, kiddo,” I answer. “The patriarchy.”


I’m hardly the first person to complain about a lack of pockets in women’s clothing. Heck, I’m probably not even among the first thousand complainers. But us women don’t need our own pockets because it’s the man’s job to carry the money, right? Not to mention the fact that if we put our stuff in our pants pockets, it would ruin the beautiful line of our bodies that is so important to the male gaze. As I said above, it’s the patriarchy’s fault I don’t have pockets.

I don’t remember the exact search term I used, but I found my way to a site called—get this—Pocketocracy. They have a list of retailers and designers that make women’s clothing with real pockets (defined as pockets that can hold stuff like a phone or a wallet.) This was exactly what I wanted! The unexpected pleasant surprise was that a good number of these sites also offer their products in a wide variety of sizes (I think they might max out at a 7XL) or even custom-make the clothing for your measurements.

Wait! You might be thinking. Clothes that actually fit your body no matter its size? Such a thing has never been done! It has, actually, since mass-produced clothing is a relatively new concept; a hundred and fifty years ago most people’s clothes were custom-made to each person’s proportions. Sadly, though, these days we’re generally limited to what designers and retailers want to sell us. Too bad what they want to sell us extends beyond clothing to the idea that if our bodies don’t look good in their clothes, we are somehow lacking.

I’ve decided I’m not buying it anymore. Not buying the clothing, and not buying the implicit body-shaming that comes with it. That’s my justification for spending two hours this afternoon on eShakti.com ogling dresses with pockets.

It was seriously fun because aside from the pockets and the custom-sized aspect, the design of the dresses can be altered. I spent some time changing a scoop neck to a boat neck, making sleeves longer and shorter, and raising and lowering the hem. Their customization tool shows you exactly what that dress would look like with, say, inset cap sleeves, a split jewel neckline, and a just-below-the-knee skirt. It was so much fun that even E stopped complaining about boredom and started redesigning dresses.

It seems a bit too good to be true; a dress that fits me properly, with my favourite neckline and hemline, and pockets, all for less than eighty dollars! Mr. December thinks I should go ahead and order one to see if it’s as good as I think it will be. So, readers, which one should I get?