Saturday, March 28, 2015

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Thinking Out Loud (2014)
 
1) This week's featured artist, Ed Sheeran, was discovered by Elton John. Tell us your favorite Elton John song. It's not one of his best known, but I like it. ("I just want to tell you, Honey, I ain't mad, but I don't wanna go on with you like that.")




2) Ed's arms are covered in tattoos, so clearly he doesn't suffer from trypanophobia, or the fear of needles. Do you get nervous when the doctor gives you a shot? It's not one of my favorite things, but it doesn't scare me.

3) One of his tattoos depicts a Heinz Tomato Ketchup label. What condiments are in your kitchen right now?  Barbecue sauce, ketchup, mayo, relish.

4) Spotify named Sheeran the most-streamed artist in the world for 2014. Do you use Spotify? Pandora? I listen to Pandora on occasion.

5) Ed celebrated his success by purchasing a farm near Suffolk, England. Would you prefer to live in a rural, suburban or urban area? I'm a City Mouse.

6) In this song, Ed sings about kissing "under the light of one thousand stars." Were you able to see the stars last night? Or was it it too cloudy or overcast? I know this sounds silly, but it's really dark out there. I don't see any stars at all.

7) Ed is a natural red head, a trait he shares with only about 2% of the population. Does red hair run in your family? My niece has red hair. She got it from her dad's side of the family, but it's in our gene pool now.

 8) One of Clairol's most popular shades is a red (Nice 'n Easy Natural Light Auburn). Have you/would you dye your hair? I have, I do, and will continue to.

9) Random question: Look at the windows in the room you're in. Are they covered in curtains or blinds? Curtains.


And to think I used to make fun of Lolla

It used to be that Lollapalooza meant very specific and non-musical things to me.

1) NO CABS. Unlike Chicago's other awesome outdoor festivals, Lolla attracts lots of out-of-towners. Tourists don't really know their way around and consequently take cabs everywhere. Giving a cabbie an address is easier than trying to find an address on a map and then walk there. This means there are no taxis available for me. This makes me sad, because Lolla is always on the hottest weekend of the year and traversing the city leaves me late and sweaty.

2) Invisibility. Twenty somethings don't seem to see me. When they join me in revolving doors, on escalators, etc., it's as though I'm still alone. I'm irrelevant to them. Has it really been that long since I was hip? Yes.

This year, however, Lollapalooza means something else. Something wonderful.



Every summer, I do something special with my nephew. This year it will be Lolla. I'm already freaking out when thinking of those hot and smelly porta potties. But I'll endure anything for Sir Paul.



Talking Alot

I had a few important conversations this week, and they made me feel better about life.

1) My kid sister. I told her about the comparatively minimal money that the state is holding our mom's name, and she agrees that if I go for it, I should just keep it ... and that we will never, ever mention it to our older sister because no good would come of that. We also agreed that, should my aunt qualify for the funds in our grandmother's name, she deserves it and should just keep it. The State of Illinois makes laying hands on this money -- probably unclaimed insurance payments -- really difficult. I suspect they make us jump through all these hoops to help prevent identity theft. Anyway, we may never see the money. I'm just glad I don't have to worry about it anymore.

2) The New Girl. Her name is Michelle, she replaced The Chocolate Covered Spider and she tries waaaay too hard. But her heart is in the right place, she brings a welcome infusion of enthusiasm, and she's cultivating me. It's nice to be wooed. We spent a good deal of time together at the office, and then grabbed a drink after work Thursday night. My feelings toward her are an interesting combination of optimism (I may actually learn something new about marketing from her) and ache (she's very lonely, living with her mom as she goes through a bad break up). I can foresee her exhausting me -- she's brings a lot of personality and intensity and I'm not sure the work-and-after-work thing is a good idea. But for now, I'm enjoying her transparency and her eagerness to communicate (or even overcommunicate). It's a welcome change after Spidey.



Wednesday, March 25, 2015

THURSDAY THIRTEEN #235




THE TOP THIRTEEN SONGS FOR MARCH 23, 1985

I think of this as my, "30 Years Ago Today" edition. You remember 30 years ago -- when hits were made by FM radio airplay and MTV. 

I believe 1985 may have been the last year that I was hip. The only one I couldn't sing along to right now is Jagger's "Just Another Night." If you're like me and need a refresher on Mick's solo effort, click here.



1) One More Night -- Phil Collins

2) Material Girl -- Madonna

3)  Lovergirl -- Tenna Marie

4) Too Late for Goodbye -- Julian Lennon

5) High on You -- Survivor

6) Can't Fight this Feeling -- REO

7) Nightshift -- The Commodores

8) Just Another Night -- Mick Jagger

9) Private Dancer -- Tina Turner

10) Missing You -- Diana Ross

11) We Are the World -- USA for Africa

12) Keeping the Faith -- Billy Joel

13)  I'm on Fire -- Bruce Springsteen




Please join us for The NEW THURSDAY THIRTEEN. Click here to play along, and to see other interesting compilations of 13 things.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Nightmares and tummy trouble

Deja teen years! My sleep has been restless and my gastrointestinal tract has been rebellious.

The dreams are all family related. I discovered on the state's website that both my mother and grandmother have unclaimed funds floating about out there. (According to the state treasurer, 1 in 4 Illinoisans does.) My mom's is less than $200, my grandmother's looks to be about $500. I may let my mom's just go. After all, after I dig up all the paperwork and copy everything and go to a notary and mail it, I'll get a check for $150, that I have to split three ways. Which means I'll have to traipse back to the post office. And deal with my older sister, which is reliably unpleasant and always galling. And I will be the one taxed on the $150. Sounds like a lot of work for very little pay off. I had figured my aunt would just pocket my grandmother's money. After all, the lady died nearly 20 years ago. My aunt wondered if I thought she should split the money among my grandmother's 5 heirs (herself, me and my two sisters, and my odious Uncle Jim). I haven't answered her yet because just thinking about this leaves me feeling tense.

Then there's my cousin Rose. You know, the cousin who loves me that I lied to. I don't want Rose staying with me, but I don't like lying and I certainly don't want to hurt her. This is causing me massive stress.

So lately I've been waking up upset, with vague recollections of nightmare family scenarios. Just like when I was in high school.


And, oh, my gut! I started getting heartburn more and more regularly, so instead of taking Pepcid before a "big" or "heavy" meal (does my stomach understand these terms?) I switched to Prevacid. I've been belchy and gassy and last night I was ... worse. Let's just leave it at that. I know it's supposed to take Prevacid up to four days for full effect, and I just started. But I'm so tired of being ruled by tummy troubles. I went through adolescence with IBS, so this feels very high school, as well.

The only teenage irritants I'm missing are zits and The Periodic Table of Elements.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday Stealing

The I Meme. To play along, click here.
I am... feeling lazy.

I want... a burger for lunch. I bet I'll go to Five Guys this afternoon.

I have... cold feet. I'm not reluctant or nervous about anything. My feet are literally cold.

I wish... the country wasn't so divided and hostile.

I hate... sitcom actress Patricia Heaton.

I fear... that my heels won't be smooth in time for sandal season. (I give this an embarrassing amount of thought.)

I hear... Meet the Press on NBC right now. I love Chuck Todd.

I search... for a reason to really get behind Hillary Clinton. I want to enthusiastically support her, but I'm not there yet.

I wonder... why some people are so angry all the time.

I regret... as little as possible. It's a wasted emotion.

I love... The Cubs.

I never... drink coffee.

I ache... when I think of the homeless dogs and cats. Please, everybody, adopt a shelter pet. Don't go to a breeder. Someone will always buy a healthy pet with a big price tag. But you'll save a life if you adopt from a shelter.

I always... watch Morning Joe on weekdays.

I usually... am late for work.

I am not... motivated to do housework.

I dance... badly.

I sing... worse.

I sometimes... wonder why I'm hooked on Farmville 2. What does it trigger in my brain?

I cry... very seldom.

I am not always... as sensitive as I might be.

I lose... umbrellas, ear muffs, sunglasses and mittens.


I am confused... by phenomenal Cub rookie Kris Bryant's contract. Like, maybe he can't play in the majors on Opening Day? Is there some kind of minor league indentured servitude thing going on? Why is this so complicated? Part of why I love baseball is that it's so gloriously easy to follow. Please don't confuse me with this shit.

I need... to shave my legs.

I should... get off my fat ass, get into the tub and shave aforementioned legs.

I never really considered this before

There's a bar in my neighborhood that serves the very best clam chowder.* My neighbor Sally treated me to a bowl to thank me for helping her out at our condo association meetings. Now in her 40s, she has been deaf and slightly debilitated due to a stroke in her mid 20s. She has trouble following the action in these meetings -- she can't read everyone's lips at once -- and so I sit beside her with my laptop and key in what I hear everyone saying. It's not a big deal in that I type all day every day. It is a big deal, though, because I have to attend more meetings and pay closer attention than I would otherwise.

Anyway, over clam chowder, we found we share a love of our companion animals. Sally then proudly told me about her college-age son, who was a toddler when she lost her hearing. She told me about how much she misses music, especially Christmas carols.

Right now I'm reading a book about Frank Sinatra. To augment it, I'm listening to a lot of Sinatra on my iPod. I wouldn't be reading that biography or enjoying The Voice if I'd lost my hearing in my 20s.

I'd miss Frank.

I'd miss Sir Paul and The Lads.

I'd miss The Boss.

I'd miss Earth, Wind & Fire singing "September." 

I think the ache and longing would be unbearable. I wonder if it isn't easier to be born deaf than to lose one's hearing.


*Chili, too, I'm told, though I don't care for chili.

In praise of smaller bills

Cab drivers hate $20s, and make me feel guilty when I pay with a Jackson. Yet all the ATMs in town dispense are $20s.

Sometimes all I need is $50, not $60. Since all the ATMs in town dispense are $20s, I end up with $60 and that $10 goes unaccounted for -- probably wasted.

That's why I'm so excited about the groovy new ATMs at Chase. You can get $5s, $10s and even singles!

So far the new ATMs are only inside one of my nearby branches, not in the vestibule, so I have to hit it during normal business hours. And their design is a little annoying -- too Jetsons for me. But those are small quibbles.

I will never again have to face cabbie scorn!




Saturday, March 21, 2015

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: It's Not Unusual (1965)

1) In this song, Tom sings that "it's not unusual to go out at any time." Will you be "out and about" this weekend? Yes, but it won't be as glam as all that. I'll be getting my hair done, running errands, maybe go to church ...

2) Before his music career took off, Tom supported himself and his young family by working as a vacuum cleaner salesman. Could the room you're in right now benefit from a thorough cleaning with a vacuum?  This room? Hell, the whole place could use it!

3) You can purchase a verified Tom Jones autograph on eBay for $299 (or the best offer). When you were growing up, did you collect signatures and sayings from your friends? (Autograph book? Yearbook? Cast?)  All I can recall is the yearbook. I may have had an autograph book -- they were all the rage -- but I don't remember it. And I know I never had a cast.

4) At the height of his popularity, female fans would throw their panties onstage at Tom Jones. Sam can't imagine doing this, and not just because she's not that crazy about Tom Jones. She'd be embarrassed because her underwear drawer could use a serious refresh. If you could choose one new article of clothing to add to your wardrobe today, what would it be?  Belts. I need a brown one, a black one (silver buckle) and a navy one. When I'm shopping, I either can't find any I like, or I don't remember I need them until I get home.

5) "Tom Jones" is also the name of character in a famous 18th century novel. Tell us about a character from a book you wish you were friends with in real life.
Jo from Little Women.
 
6) When this song was popular in March 1965, Sarah Jessica Parker of Sex and the City fame was born. Do you share your birthday with anyone famous?
I need a moment ... so Carrie Bradshaw is 50? That calls for a toast! OK, now to answer the question: Jamie Lee Curtis and I were born on the same day in the same year.

7) Also in 1965, when this song was a hit, Americans were riveted by the Gemini space program and children all over the country wanted to be astronauts. Think back to your childhood: When you were in first or second grade, what did you want to be when you grew up? A horse trainer. I have always loved animals and at that point, I ached to live on a ranch. I read a book about a girl who moved to Boulder to learn how to care for horses and she got to ride "under cobalt skies." I had to look up "cobalt." Then I got the Crayola 64 box and there was a cobalt crayon! I took it as a sign that this is what I was meant to do. (I can remember all that, but I can't remember the name of book!)

8) Fifty years ago, the most popular headache reliever was aspirin, and you could buy a bottle of 200 tablets for just $1. Do you have any aspirin in your medicine chest right now?
Nope. Excedrin for garden-variety headaches and prescription-strength Naproxen for migraines.

9) Random question: You've just entered a public restroom. Would you rather find a paper towel dispenser or hot air hand dryer? Paper towels. Those hot air dryers don't ever seem to get my hands dry. My nephew, who did a paper on the hand dryer vs. paper towel question when he was in junior high, maintains the dryers aren't all that hygenic, either. The filters must be changed regularly, not only to enhance performance but to help control bacteria. And one of the reasons why these dryers don't dry so well is that they have clogged filters. Which means ... ew!


Friday, March 20, 2015

"You've got the part, Paul"

There's a scene in the movie HELP! where Paul overacts all over the place. The Lads are riding bicycles in hot pursuit and come upon red footprints painted on pavement. Paul hops off his bike and presses his ear to the ground, pretending the print is speaking to him.

"Passing this way, hot foot, many moons to the temple," he says sagely.

Unimpressed, George says, "You've got the part, Paul."

That's what I feel like saying to Michelle, the woman who has replaced the Chocolate Covered Spider. She's so eager to impress, to make her mark, to make good that she exhausts me.

I appreciate her enthusiasm and her commitment to building a relationship with me. Especially since the Chocolate Covered Spider's MO was so defensive and exclusionary. But I wish she would dial it down. I know about her "hellacious" breakup with a separated-but-still-married man and she mentions being "single and 40" in almost every conversation. I sense she views this as bonding, and I am touched by her loneliness, but it feels more than a little needy and desperate.

Oh well. She's only been with us two weeks. She's smart and shows a great deal of potential. Here's hoping she calms down a bit when she hits her stride.




Wednesday, March 18, 2015

THURSDAY THIRTEEN #234

MY THIRTEEN 
FAVORITE 
MOVIE QUOTES

Here's a list of all-time great movie quotes I stumbled upon while looking up something else. Instead of using it for my TT, I'm composing a list of my own favorites and then seeing if there's an overlap. (BTW, I did this same subject for a TT back in ... gulp ... 2007. I did this one without referring to that one.)

If you're a movie lover, please be sure to include your own favorites in the comments.

1) "Why, she wouldn't harm a fly." Psycho (1960)

2)  "Practically perfect in every way." Mary Poppins (1964)

3)  "KHAN!" Star Trek II, Wrath of Kahn (1982)

4)  "See you, Katie." "See you, Hubbell." The Way We Were (1973) sniffle, sniffle

5) "Yippee kye aye, Mother f****er." Die Hard (1988)

6)  "We rob banks." Bonnie and Clyde (1968)

7)  "I'm sorry, I'm anal." "That's a polite word for what you are." Annie Hall (1977)

8)  "Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?" Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

9)  "Nothing is over until we say it's over! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?" Animal House (1978)

10)  "I''ll make him an offer he can't refuse." The Godfather (1972)

11) "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain." The Wizard of Oz (1939)

12) "Here's looking at you, kid." Casablanca (1942)

13) "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." Gone with the Wind (1939)




Please join us for The NEW THURSDAY THIRTEEN. Click here to play along, and to see other interesting compilations of 13 things.

On the subject of books ...

…which is one of my favorite subjects … and liberated from Kwizgiver.

As seen at Musings From A Bookmammal:

1. Do you have a specific place for reading? I like reading in bed, over lunch or on the train

2. Book mark or random piece of paper? Random piece of paper. In my current book, my place is held by the little piece of purple paper that held the paper napkin around the silverware, from the coffee shop where I had breakfast last Saturday.

3. Can you just stop anywhere in a book or do you have to stop at the end of a chapter? I can drop and pick up anywhere.

4. Do you eat or drink when reading? Yes

5. Music or TV on when reading? Yes

6. One book at a time or several? I sometimes have two going at once, but I try to make them different genres.

7. Reading at home or elsewhere? I read more elsewhere than at home.

8. Read out loud or silently? Silently.

9. Do you read ahead or skip pages? I do this. Especially in biographies. I've been known to peruse the index in search of "the good parts."

10. Breaking the spine or keeping it like new? A little of each. I try to take care of my books, but I do enjoy them, and that can entail wearing them in a little.

11. Do you write in your books? No, no, never, never, uh-uh-uh.

12. Who are you tagging? Anyone who wants to play.



WWW.WEDNESDAY

This meme is no more. And yet I persist in answering the three questions it asked each week. Stubborn, ain't I?

• What are you currently reading? Frank: The Voice by James Kaplan. A biography of Sinatra I bought at the annual library book sale and am just now getting around to. I like considering this my way of celebrating Ol' Blue Eyes' centennial. (His 100th birthday is this December.)

It took me a while to land on this book. After I finished Wake, I tried a mystery - All Shots by Susan Conant - but I just couldn't get into it. I just didn't like the characters, so I gave it away. Then I tried a fictionalized biography of the Bronte sisters. I just couldn't lose myself in it. That one I put aside for later.

Then I stumbled upon Frank. Almost literally. It's about 800 pages and hardcover and I left it in the middle of the room when I was sorting through my books. I'm glad I did. Kaplan writes well - rather terse and with fast pacing - and his style fits the subject. And oh! What a subject! Sinatra's life was as outsized as his talent.
 
• What did you recently finish reading? Wake by Anna Hope. A well-written but very sad, very intense book about three women living in London and dealing with the aftermath of WWI. It takes a while for us to discover how their lives are connected, but when we finally get it, it's very effecting. Part of what makes this book so painful to read is that we know these women - sister, lover and mother, respectively - will still be alive and still trying to heal when WWII breaks out and hits much closer to home.

• What will you read next? Whatever it is, it'll be probably be from my own private library. Maybe I'll revisit a book from long ago, like The Cracker Factory by Joyce Rebeta-Burditt. Or maybe it will be one that's been untouched, like Frank. At any rate, I'm enjoying the books I find in my den.

Monday, March 16, 2015

OK, so I lied

My Cousin Rose is coming to Chicago around Memorial Day. For reasons I've explained before -- and won't again just now because they make me sad -- I don't want her to stay with me.

I feel immensely guilty about this. I know my cousin loves me. And, when I was a teenager, she was literally my salvation. Hearts as good as hers are very special and must be handled with care.

But after four hours with her, I can't wait to get away from her. She's that negative about everything, and that negativity upsets me so much. I can't have her for the weekend in my home.

So I lied. I told her my oldest friend from California is coming in (she's not) to deliver her daughter to her ex-husband for a summer visit, and to attend an old neighbor's anniversary party. Then I told her my friends from the Keys are also coming in (they aren't) for the first time since 2004 for a convention and are extending their stay so we can have a reunion.

I joked that I've never been as popular in my whole life as I'm going to be around Memorial Day 2015. I told Rose that I'd love to spend an afternoon or evening with her, that I look forward to it (I do). And if we're all flexible and patient, I'm sure I'll be able to spend the time with her she and I deserve as well as with everyone else who will be in Chicagoland that weekend.

I feel sick about lying to her. I do. But I'd have an ulcer if I was dreading her visit for more than a month.

And so I did it. I chose to protect my stomach lining and protect her feelings at the same time.




These are a few of my favorite things

Find out more here

 Blue jeans, denim shorts, a bright pink t-shirt, sunglasses, white socks, a belt and Clinique Repairware Laser Focus Wrinkle Correcting Eye Cream. That's what I bought at 15% to 25% at Carson's yesterday as part of The Goodwill Sale.

If you have a Carson's (or Yonkers or Boston Store) nearby, you should head on over before the 28th. Every article of clothing/home fashions you donate gets you a coupon for 15%-25% off almost anything in the store. (Even cosmetics/skincare/fragrances, which are seldom part of coupon promotions.) The store turns all your cast offs over to the local Goodwill for resale.

I love this sale because 1) it forces me to part with shit and 2) it alleviates guilt when I indulge in a little retail therapy and 3) it helps someone get a job. Goodwill does good work, and it does it well.

She's baaaack!


I missed you. Glad you're back in my comments!



Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sunday Stealing

The One Thing Meme

One Thing ..... 

 that makes you smile: My old tomcat, Joey. He's such a happy, loving old soul.

that makes you cry: The Way We Were. "You'll never find anyone as good for you as I am, to believe in you as much as I do or to love you as much." Oh, Katie! You're far too good for him!
"See you, Katie." "See you, Hubbell."

that you love to do on the weekends: Nothing much, which is important because it gives my internal batteries a chance to replenish

that you do for only yourself: Long, lazy baths

that you have in your underwear drawer that's NOT underwear: There isn't anything

that you do before going to sleep: Take off my jewelry

that you do within the first 15 minutes after waking: Void my bladder, she said delicately

that's in your purse: My wallet

that you actually LIKE to clean: My George Foreman grill. It goes from ooky to shiny so fast I feel as though I've really accomplished something.


that you DETEST cleaning: Everything else

that other people would find odd about you: I don't drive. As I've written on this blog before, if I met someone new and told him, "I don't drive and I keep human heads in my freezer," I suspect he would say, "You don't drive?"

that you would buy if I handed you a $100 bill: New sunglasses. I don't need them, but I want new sunglasses to celebrate the new season. If you gave me the $100, then I could make the purchase without guilt.

that you feel you HAVE to do before you die: Nuh-uh. You aren't going to trick me into making a bucket list. I'm afraid if I complete "thing I have to do before I die," then I have to die.



Saturday, March 14, 2015

The smiles returning to the faces

It was a pleasure to walk around outside today. I wore a t-shirt, jeans and my Cubs jacket. NO BOOTS! The sky was pale blue, the clouds were fluffy and white, and everyone I passed seemed happy. Especially the competing Girl Scouts, selling cookies on either side of the street. They were so cute I was tempted to buy a box from both of them, but they are $4/box and I'm trying to economize.

On days like this I feel sorry for those who have warm weather all year around. Do they get a lift from these first glorious spring days, the way we here in Chicagoland do?


Saturday 9

To play along, click here

1) In honor of St. Patrick's Day (this coming Tuesday), we're featuring one of Ireland's most successful exports, U2. What else is Ireland famous for? Whiskey

2) The Dublin studio where U2 recorded this song (and all of Achtung, Baby) is
now a music store called Claddagh Records. U2 pilgrims from all over the world travel to the spot (Celia Street, Dublin 2). If we were to visit your neighborhood, are there any landmarks you could direct us to? Like the bridge over the Seine, where lovers used to write their names on padlocks and attach them to the rail before tossing the key into the river, people have been declaring their love by writing their names on locks and attaching them to the viaduct under the el tracks. It's a romantic way to dress up an inherently unattractive structure and it makes me happy every day as I pass it on my commute.


 3) Lead singer Bono is rarely seen without his trademark sunglasses because he suffers from glaucoma. How is your vision? 20/20? I'm dreadfully nearsighted and my eyes are sensitive to natural light.

4) Bono and wife Alison were married in 1982 and are still together today. Who is the longest-married couple you know?  My friend Mindy and her hubs have been together just about that long. They have been through a lot together -- they've lost parents, had a difficult time conceiving, gone through career ups and downs, raised their sons -- but they're still going strong. I know it sounds rather every day, but when you think about what it takes to share all that, I think it's heroic and touching.

5) When Bono inducted Frank Sinatra into the Grammy Hall of Fame, he applauded the older man's "swagger." Do you think you have swagger? I can. When I know what I'm doing.

6) Bono has been honored by world leaders, including President Obama and Nelson Mandela and the Pope, for his philanthropy. Here's your turn to brag: tell us something you have received praise for recently. My boss actually liked one of my creative concepts.That wouldn't normally be such a big deal -- coming up with these ideas is my job, after all -- except that he did one, too. Usually when he has a dog in the race, he doesn't care for any other concepts. So I was proud.

7) Clearly Bono is the most famous member of U2. Who else is in the band? Edge. Or does he prefer The Edge? I don't know.

8) On St. Patrick's Day, will you wear green? I may. The weather this time of year is very changeable. If I can wear a lighter weight blouse, I'll be in green.

9) Will you enjoy a glass of green beer or maybe a Shamrock Shake from McDonald's? Now that I don't see happening.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

THURSDAY THIRTEEN #233

 
THIRTEEN THINGS ABOUT JOEY

1) Joey is my very big, very old tomcat. He is the gentlest, most loving soul (human or feline) to ever grace my home.

2) He is between 18 and 20 years old. That makes him, in human terms, between 85 and (gulp) 100 years old.

3) In 1999, I got him from the local animal shelter, where all the best furry family members can be found. He was left in a box on the shelter doorstep with a note saying his name was "Jeffrey," and that his humans could no longer afford to keep him.

4) My friend Kathleen's son and daughter helped me choose him from a room full of cat candidates. I remember how cute they were, how seriously they took this important task. Those kids are now in college and grad school.

5) For all that his former family anonymously gave him up, it's also clear that they loved him. For this cat has no fear of people. To him, all new humans are just friends he hasn't met yet.

6) I changed his name to Joey after Joey Tribbiani, Matt LeBlanc's character on Friends. I know my Joey is not especially bright but he is loving and lovable and I'm sure that if he could talk, he'd greet all guests with, "How 'ya doin'?"

7) His favorite activities include sleeping on the floor with the sun shining on his white belly, sleeping next to me on the couch, and sleeping on my bed with his head buried between the pillows. If sleeping was an Olympic event, we would bring home the Gold every time.

8) He needs help jumping onto the bed now, which makes me sad because it reminds me that he's old and our time together is short.

9) His favorite food is Friskies Indoor with Garden Greens.
His favorite treat is Temptations, particularly Creamy Dairy, though he's not picky. To give you an idea of how not picky he is when it comes to eating, here he is beside my girlcat Connie. Now she is very small, but still, Joey is a massive old boy. (PS Whenever I see this picture I'm reminded of how much I hate my kitchen floor.)

10) He's not so big on playing anymore, but he can be convinced to join me in the occasional game of laser tag and he keeps us all safe from attack by shoelaces.

11) In his younger days, he was quite a boxer, mixing it up first with my late cat, Billy, and more recently with the Beige Bomber, Reynaldo. But he gets impatient with that sport now, and after a few swats in Rey's direction, he's done.

12) He purrs all the time because he's usually very, very happy. He doesn't meow often, but when he does it sounds like a gurgle because he's also purring.

13) You wish you knew him. He's quite a guy.




Please join us for The NEW THURSDAY THIRTEEN. Click here to play along, and to see other interesting compilations of 13 things.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Still thinking about Still Alice



I saw Still Alice over a week ago and it's still haunting me. The tragedy of a vibrant, intelligent woman descending into Alzheimer's, and Julianne Moore's virtuoso performance, had a serious impact on this old gal.

I keep thinking about my late uncle, whom I loved a great deal. He was handsome and athletic and proud of what his body could do -- he was an excellent shot, could run marathons, downhill skied, and was a lion with the ladies. Then Parkinson's Disease captured him and he lost it all. First he had trouble with his eyes and blinked incessantly. Then his arms would spasm. Eventually it was impossible for him to control his back and spine so he couldn't sit in a chair. Finally he had trouble making himself swallow. He died in his sleep the night before the doctors were going to surgically insert a feeding tube.

I'd say it was painful to watch, except that reeks of self pity when I think of how he struggled.

The Alice of the movie had the equal but opposite predicament. Her body stayed lean and strong but her mind slipped away.

Which is worse? To be awake and aware but lose your body? Or to feel your mind slipping away?

I wish my uncle was here. For countless reasons. I want to know his reaction to Still Alice. I want to thank him for all the magic he brought to my life. And I want to tell him I love him. I'm not sure ever did. I have been thinking about it a lot, and I don't recall ever saying those three words to him.

My home sits by the train tracks. Since I saw Still Alice, I've seen two different freight trains carrying John Deere tractors. My uncle collected John Deere memorabilia. I take it as a sign that he knows I'm thinking of him.

That he knows and he understands.