Wednesday, October 26, 2016

October Challenge -- Day 26

Today's October Daily Prompt: Made you smile today

Cub manager Joe Maddon always makes me smile. Even after a loss.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

October Challenge -- Day 25

Today's October Daily Prompt: Creepy

I wasn't allowed to have one of these, but my oldest friend had one. It was thrilling!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Still hasn't sunk in

I have wanted to see the Cubs in the World Series for my whole life. And now I will.

I can't really believe it.

I woke up this morning and saw it on the news. I checked my cell and saw it had virtually exploded with texts. I got messages on Facebook and email from people I haven't heard from in months/years. I read the warm and welcome messages from folks on this blog. I'm grateful that so many people thought of me when they heard the news.

But I really can't believe it.

It was a beautiful Sunday. Unseasonably warm, sunny and dry under a Cubbie blue sky. Those of us wearing Cubbie gear greeted one another on the street. Stores had W's in the window. I bought my official shirt.

 But I really can't believe it.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Sunday Stealing

Bookish Questions

Get well, Bud!

1. How long did it take you to finish your last book? The book I'm reading now will take me about 60 days to finish. It's an 800-age tome about Paul McCartney and at times it can be slow going because the content -- his mother's death, break up of the Beatles, his father's death, John's murder -- were so painful for him.

2. How many times do you stare at your bookshelves each day? Not that much these days because they're a mess. I had to take all the books off the shelves for the exterminators at the beginning of summer* and I haven't put everything back in proper order yet. It's one my list of things to do.

3. How many Goodreads friends/books do you have? About a dozen friends, about 13 books.

4. Do you ever quote books in public? Yes. But I quote movies more.

5. Do you ever re-read books? Yes. One that springs to mind is Robert B. Parker's Mortal Stakes. I've read it several times and each time I read it I got more out of it. It's superficially a mystery -- who is blackmailing the Boston Red Sox pitching phenomenon? Offer up a mystery set against the backdrop of baseball and of course I'm there. But it's about honor, integrity, and who is strong enough to do what it takes to get the tough job done.

6. Do you judge a book by its cover? I did this book about Sir Paul. I mean, look at him!

7. Do you take pictures of your books before you read them? Ok, you got me. Why on earth would I do this?

8. What are your biggest distractions from reading? Arriving at my stop or having to go back to work. (I like to read on the train or over lunch.)

9. Where is your favorite place to buy books? Amazon is easy. But I also buy lots of books at our annual library book sale and there's an independent bookseller in town that's very good.

10. Do you always have a book with you? Yes.

11. Do you read during breakfast?  A leisurely coffee shop breakfast, just me and my book, is one of my favorite things to do on the weekend.

12. How many hours a day would you say you read? Two.

13. Do you read more or less now than you did, say, 10 years ago? Less.

14. Do you consider yourself a speed reader? No. I don't want to be, either. I like savoring a good book.

15. Do you read in bed? Yes. I've always got magazines or a gossipy biography waiting for me at bedtime. (Brangelina's divorce is sure getting a lot of ink, more even than Kim's robbery. That surprises me. Though it pleases me, too, because I think it's time for our national obsession with the Kardashians to end.)

16. How old were you when you got your first library card? Six

*My building had a problem with bed bugs.

October Challenge -- Day 23

Today's October Daily Prompt: Vampires, zombies and 
monsters, oh my!

From the original Dark Shadows

This is the doomed love affair that had the preteen Gal transfixed. 
She was an orphan -- unloved, no friends or relatives -- who came to Collinsport, Maine, to be the  governess to the scion of the town's leading family. She went from a children's home to a luxurious but distinctly gothic mansion and was soon treated like a member of the family by the wealthy, powerful and distinctly disturbed Collins clan.

One night a mysterious man wearing a cloak and a gaudy ring shows up at the front door. He bears a downright spooky resemblance to the man in the painting in the entryway. The man in the portrait, who wears the same ring, was cousin Barnabas Collins, who disappeared in the late 1700s. The man at the front door also claims to be Barnabas Collins, and says he's been living in London for the past few decades.

The family welcomes their long-lost cousin because, well, who would suspect that that the two Barnabases are one in the same, and he'd been imprisoned for nearly 200 years after being turned into a vampire by a spiteful witch named Angelique?

Barnabas is instantly smitten with sad, solitary but beautiful Victoria. But these two crazy kids are destined for heartache. Because Dark Shadows was, after all, an afternoon soap and on afternoon soaps, all couples must face insurmountable obstacles.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Well, then!

This Cub fan is going to bed happy tonight.


Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Can't Stop the Feeling! (2016)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) This is an upbeat, positive song. Are you feeling upbeat and positive right now? I'm OK. On the one hand, I'm still a little bedeviled by my eye infection and worried about deadlines at work. On the other hand, THE CUBS ARE BACK AT WRIGLEY FIELD FOR TONIGHT'S GAME. So there's that.

2) Justin Timberlake is a good dancer. And why not? In this song, he sings he has "good soul in my feet." Consider your own dancing talent and compose your own lyric: I have ___________ in my feet. I'm hopelessly uncoordinated, so I'll say "cement."

3) In the video, there's dancing in the laundromat. Do you have dirty clothes in the hamper, or are you all caught up with your laundry? I haven't done the week's laundry yet. One load of mixed, one load of darks.

4) There's also dancing in the supermarket. What do you need to pick up at the store? I need sandwich fixings. Specifically bread, eggs for egg salad and maybe a little chicken salad.

5) This song will appear in the upcoming Dreamworks Trolls movie. Some people believe Troll dolls are good luck. Do you have a good luck charm? A few years ago, just before boarding a plane, I saw something shiny on the carpet. Turns out it depicted the Nativity scene. Rather crudely, at that. But I carried it with me and fingered it during takeover and landing. It now flies with me all the time.

6) Justin Timberlake loves to dunk Oreos in milk. Crazy Sam thinks this is all wrong -- the way to eat an Oreo is to twist the two halves apart and lick the cream first. Which method do you prefer, Justin's or Sam's? Depends on if there are people around. By myself, I'll dismantle the Oreo. In public, I just eat it is at comes.

7) Justin admits to some fashion fails. He and Britney Spears wore matching denim outfits that he regrets, and he's sorry he ever tried cornrows. What about you? Can you think of a look you thought was cool at the time, but now it makes you shudder? I used to apply three shades of eyeshadow every morning. I probably looked like a clown. What can I say? It was the 80s.

8) He is a very good golfer. When were you last on the golf course? I went to miniature golfing last summer. I don't recall ever actually being on a golf course.

9) Random question: Think about your romantic involvements. Were you in love with one of them, some of them, or all of them? Most of them. A couple of them I wanted to love, but to be honest, I never really fell.

October Challenge -- Day 22

Today's October Daily Prompt: Outdoors

This is my neighborhood. The part of town where the rich folk live. But still, I can see it and it can be quite lovely in autumn.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Because Heaven is filled with Cub fans

I saw this video this morning and started to cry. And I'm not a crier.

But here's the thing. My dad was an unhappy man. Nothing brought him joy. But he did, in his way, love the Cubs. He was a passionate fan and often tried to get me to keep score old school (Pitcher 1, Catcher 2, First base 3 ...). He took me to my first Cub game. My introduction to the bricks and ivy of The Friendly Confines happened with him.

Both my paternal grandparents were massive Cub fans. Grandpa taught me to appreciate the moments -- a good catch in the outfield, an impressive duel between pitcher and batter -- more than the final score. Grandma looooooved Ryne Sandberg. To her 88th year, she wore Sandberg's jersey every summer. I have that jersey now, and intend to wear it myself if there's a Cub victory parade.

My mom's baby brother, my Uncle Ted, was a Cub fan, too. At the end of his life, when all his energy went to battling the Parkinson's that ravaged his body, he let all his magazine subscriptions lapse except two -- Mad and Vine Line, the official publication of the Cubs. (That really tells you what you need to know about Ted.)

When I was a little girl, I learned to love my heroes in Cubbie blue from these people. I wish there were here to see this team, this manager, this playoff run.

October Challenge -- Day 21

Today's October Daily Prompt: Hot Drinks
A worthy addition to any cup of hot chocolate:

Cubs 8, Dodgers 4

We now lead the series 3-2. We're coming home to The Friendly Confines just one win away from the World Series.

I'm not sure I believe this is really happening. But, oh! How I love it!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

October Challenge -- Day 20

Today's October Daily Prompt: Getting Crafty
OK, I hate doing crafty shit. But I signed up for this Challenge and dammit, I'm going to be a good sport. So here's a craft even I can do:

I won't do it, of course. But I could.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


That's Anthony Rizzo being congratulated on his home run.

Tonight I go to sleep happy.

The word for today is ...


Last night, I could have sworn I had a zit between my nose and my left eye. It's a weird place to get a pimple, yes. But when I winced -- and I winced a lot during Tuesday night's game -- that's what it felt like. I ran to the mirror and saw nothing.

This morning when I woke up, I could actually see a lump when I looked out onto the world. EW! ICK! I looked in the mirror and saw a puffy mass beside my left eye.

This has never happened to me before. My doctor doesn't have office hours on Wednesday, so I went to the walk-in clinic at Walgreens. The nurse practitioner introduced me to the word "blepharitis." In my specific case, it's a lump caused by inflammation of an oil gland in my eye lid. Not that serious, not contagious. Easily treated by drops. The NP is confident that by Thursday night, I'll look better.

I tried not to let this get me down. I mean, yes it's true that 2016 has been a horrible year for me. My health has been problematic. My bathroom is half done and will continue to be so because of more pressing financial concerns. I feel like I'm holding on to my career by my fingernails. And my friends! They have faced everything from car accidents to cancer to death this year! The consistent bright spot in my life these days -- my Cubs -- suddenly aren't shining so bright.

BUT today was unseasonably warm and I enjoyed the walk to and from Walgreens. It was sunny and the leaves are starting to turn and everything was pretty.

I live in a neighborhood where quality healthcare options are within walking distance. I have good insurance so my OOP today -- for an office visit, a flu shot and the prescription eye drops -- was less than $30. Not everyone has it so good.

It's true my home isn't how I'd like it to be -- it's fall so the drain flies have returned to my kitchen like the swallows return to Capistrano -- but my home is where my cats and my books are. And so my home makes me happy.

And Nancy was so sweet. She's definitely pulled ahead in the competition to be my new best friend. I checked in on Facebook from the clinic. Not in a "woe is me" way. In a "can you believe this shit" way. Her first response was, "Oh, no! Do you need anything?" How thoughtful is that!

I want this

I don't know why this means so much to me, exactly. I mean, I love my guys, win or lose. But I've been rather scared and sad all day. Some of it is health related, some is worry about work, but most of it is this.

I want this year to be the year. I really do. Will I be a Cub fan in 2017, one way or the other? Of course! You might as well ask me if I'll still walk upright and continue to use my thumbs.

But I want this.

That hurt

I won't lie: I couldn't stand watching last night's game. Six-to-fucking-nothing. Against Jake! The once indomitable Jake Arrieta got hammered. And Big Rizz! His slump causes me almost physical pain because he's such a great kid: a cancer survivor who gives back to the community and plays with such joie de vivre.

As the game started to get away, I moved to the den, began organizing the mess and listened on the radio. I thought being productive and hearing Pat Hughes call the game would life my mood.

It didn't.

This did, though. I love Joe Maddon. He's right, you know. It's a best-of-seven series. We're down 2-1, but we can even it up tonight. Go, Cubs, go!

October Challenge -- Day 19

Today's October Daily Prompt: Happy Mail

I still like writing and receiving postcards from the road. I just recently received one like this from Pelplin. My cousin Rose beat it back from Poland, but no matter. I was happy to see it in my mailbox.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

October Challenge -- Day 18

Today's October Daily Prompt: Current Favorite

My current favorite Cub is our manager, Joe Maddon. I wish I could take him with me everywhere I go.

Monday, October 17, 2016

October Challenge -- Day 17

Today's October Daily Prompt: Fall outfit of the day

Not very autumnal today: Jeans, t-shirts and sandals. We're gonna be unseasonably warm.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

"I love you, Gal"

I talk and write and post a lot. I can be very blabby. Sometimes I forget that people retain what I say. I've often discussed how Melanie Hamilton Wilkes is my role model. I want to be kind and selfless. I try to see the best in people. But then, sometimes at the worst possible times, my inner Scarlett bursts forth.

My former secretary, Amy, moved to Philly years ago. Early this morning, she IM'd me with a photo of Scarlett in the red dress. "This is how I feel today," she wrote. "I have to walk into a room where everyone hates me. Like you said, I want to be Melly but I end up like Scarlett." She wrote about how she had to address a community group that wasn't necessarily receptive to what she had to say. She'd made some tough choices on behalf of her synagogue that not everyone agreed with.

I reminded her that while it's easy to dismiss Scarlett as a heartless bitch, she did hold Tara together against all odds and keep her family warm, dry and fed. And Amy saved the building her religious community worships in.

"Thank you," she responded. "I love you, Gal."

This made me so happy. I effortlessly had a positive influence on someone else. How very Melly of me!

Sunday Stealing

To play along, click here  

26.) Favorite kids name? Depends on the last name it's going with.

27.) Do you speak any other languages? No

28.) Do you use Twitter? Yes

29.) Do you go onto YouTube? Yes

30.) Do you play Angry Birds? I have

31.) Do you like Angry Birds? Sure

32.) Do you like Hello Kitty? Not especially

33.) Have you ever cried because you were so happy? Yes

34.) Who would you like to see in concert? I'm going to change the question a bit and answer that I wish I could see Lin-Manuel Miranda in Hamilton. Here he was before the play was even staged. So imaginative and smart.

35.) Can you swim well? Well, it's the sport I'm best at.

36.) Ever won a contest? Yes.

37.) Ever won a giveaway? Yes.

38.) Do you get a full 8 hours of sleep every night? Not usually. This could be why I'm so often tired.

39.) What tea do you like? Hot. I don't like iced tea.

40.) What coffee do you like? Ew! Ick! I don't like coffee at all.

41.) Do you shop at Walmart? Seldom

42.) Do you shop at Target? More often than Walmart

43.) What do you order at Second Cup? Nothing because I've never heard of it

45.) Do you like homemade meals? No. I hate the idea of someone fussing over me like that. I'd rather we meet at a restaurant and split the bill.

46.) Do you like homemade baked goods? Yes

47.) Do you shop online? Doesn't everyone these days?

48.) Name 3 stores online stores you would like to shop at: Amazon, Overstock and Hanes

49.) What holiday don't you like? I don't like Mother's/Father's Day anymore, since all my parents and grandparents are gone.

50.) What do you eat more of when you're sick?  I suppose saltines are good for you no matter what ails you.

October Challenge -- Day 16

But it's hard when you're scared

Today's October Daily Prompt: Something Scary

Air travel freaking terrifies me. Who is this pilot man? Why am I trusting him with my life? I know, I know ... this being an October challenge I probably should answer "Dracula" or "goblins" or give some other Halloweeny reply. But flights are what really scares me.