Monday, November 17, 2014

Spa Weekend -- Day 2

On Sunday I got my Las Vegas/Key West pedi. "OPI La-Paz-itively Hot." I am happy.

Gratitude Challenge -- Day 17

"Every day for 30 days, celebrate what you're grateful for, corresponding to the theme of the day." 

Day #16 -- Something that makes you smile

My old tub of guts, Joey. He's such a good cat. I love when he curls up next to me, presses himself against me on the futon and purrs. He and I are both contented at those moments.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday Stealing

Taking Stock Meme 

Making: plans for the day

 Cooking: or rather, defrosting, a salmon filet

 Drinking: Slim Fast creamy chocolate shake

 Reading: The Patriarch, a wonderful biography of Joseph P. Kennedy. I will miss this epic book when I finally finish it.

 Wanting: The laundry room to myself this afternoon. Two washers/dryers for 24 apartments. UGH!

 Looking: for my rings. Where did I leave them?

 Wasting: time by farting on the internet

 Wishing: and Hoping

 Enjoying: my Sunday

 Waiting: for Godot

 Liking: my new sweatpants. I bought them last year and put them away, but now that it's a cold day, it's time to put them to use.

 Wondering: what the future will bring

 Loving: this time of year

 Listening: to the news
 Needing: to take a shower

 Smelling: nothing. Not a damn thing.

 Wearing: my pjs

 Following: hundreds of people on Twitter

 Noticing: that my skin is mega dry earlier this year

 Knowing: that this week will be busy at work

 Thinking: that I ought to get off my fat ass and get going

 Feeling: lazy

 Bookmarking: lots of stuff

 Opening: mail. Time to pay my mid-month bills.

 Giggling: over A Hard Day's Night. Just watched it again yesterday and love how funny it is.

Gratitude Challenge -- Day 16

"Every day for 30 days, celebrate what you're grateful for, corresponding to the theme of the day." 

Day #16 -- Something that makes me laugh

My oldest friend has always, always been able to make me laugh. We laugh over stupid stuff, which is often a relief. She's been keeping me amused for half a century. Next week we're going to Vegas together for my birthday, and I'm very grateful that I have her to celebrate with.

Spa Weekend -- Day 1

Yesterday I took myself to a local salon for a massage and facial. I had a coupon, so it was less than $100, including tip. That it wasn't too expensive helped me relax more.

The aesthetician told me my skin was in "very good" shape, which surprised me because that's no way to retail product. But it did make me happy to hear. The masseur was a little too blabby for my taste. I think because he's male and a foreigner (he described himself to me as "an Israeli Jew") he was afraid that I'd be uncomfortable and was trying to put me at ease. I wasn't ill at ease. But it was a good massage.

I literally sang all the way home. (The Boss in my headphones.) I'm grateful that so many people walk up the street talking to their hands free. It probably made me look a little less loony to the cars that passed me. (Very few pedestrians, as it was one of our first really cold days.)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: All About that Bass (2014)

1) This song is body positive. In that spirit: What physical feature would you never change, no matter what? I like my green eyes.

2) The lyrics mention how often the media uses Photoshop to present a more ideal female form. Is Photoshop on your computer? If so, do you know how to use it? No, I don't have it and no, I don't know how to use it.

3) She also sings about Mattel's Barbie doll. According to Toys R Us, this year's best-selling doll is not Barbie but Disney's Elsa. Have you seen Frozen? Haven't seen Frozen yet, but I'm all for a movie that celebrates a good role model for little girls.
4) In the video, Meghan dances merrily around her twin bed with its pink head/footboard. Describe your bed to us. Full sized cherry wood frame in a very messy bedroom.

5) Ms. Trainor began writing songs when she was 11. Would you find it easier to write lyrics or music? Lyrics. I can't read or write music.

6) Meghan recently performed "All About that Bass" on the CMAs with country star Miranda Lambert. Who is your favorite country singer? I recently rediscovered all those old Garth Brooks songs on my iPod, and I'm really enjoying them, so I'll go with him.

7) In September, Meghan had to cancel several concerts because of throat trouble. Are you battling a cold, cough or sore throat this morning? No. And I got a flu shot this year, so hopefully I'll stay healthy!

8) Meghan was born in Nantucket, MA. "Nantucket" is an Algonquian name that means, "faraway island." How did your town get its name/what does it mean? Chicago comes from the Algonquin Indian word for "wild onion," but the spelling is French. Or rather, how French settlers interpreted the Indian word.

9) According to the National Weather Service, between rain and snow, winter brings Nantucket the most precipitation it sees all year. How is the weather where you are today? Dry and clear and 15º right now. The mercury is supposed to reach a balmy 25ª this afternoon!

Gratitude Challenge -- Days 14 and 15

"Every day for 30 days, celebrate what you're grateful for, corresponding to the theme of the day." 

Day #14 -- Color
My favorite color is blue. I love blue. My bedroom walls and carpet are blue.  I love wearing blue with blue, especially dark wash denim and a light blue shirt or sweater. My favorite blue of all is PMS 294, the official blue of my beloved Chicago Cubs. Because nothing makes me as happy as baseball. Nothing, except ...

Day #15 -- Music

Music can change my mood in an instant. Certain songs, like "At Seventeen" by Janis Ian or "Save the Best for Last" by Vanessa Williams, must be avoided at all costs. But many, many more songs lift me up. I'm grateful for how reliable and potent and cheap this mood elevator is. This evening, on the el, I listened to a wonderful old Garth Brooks song I haven't thought about ages -- "Papa Loved Mama" -- and I smiled all the way home.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Gratitude Challenge -- Day 13

"Every day for 30 days, celebrate what you're grateful for, corresponding to the theme of the day." 

Day #13 -- Smells
Cinnamon is my favorite scent. It makes me feel warm and happy. One of the reasons why I like autumn so much is that suddenly, cinnamon is everywhere!
I also like lavender, but I admit it's a distant second.

Where's Martha?

Tuesday night, my classic film club screened Hitchcock's Lifeboat. We had a big crowd, which made me happy for Will, our moderator, because he's so enthusiastic about these gettogethers. But two things bothered me:

•  The newbies' response to the film. I was sitting beside four people who I don't recall having met before. They were a mother, her teenaged daughter and two of the daughter's friends. Their laughter really disturbed me. There were moments that Hitchcock included as comic relief from the film's life/death tension, so their giggles here didn't register on my radar. But when they tittered during the chaste, tentative Mary Anderson/Hume Cronyn love story and (worse) the lynching of the Nazi, my skin crawled. I appreciate that the way the Nazi is viewed in this film has changed over time, and our moderator told us that Hitchcock himself believed that when the survivors take arms against him, it was a metaphor for the allies standing up to the Germans. I, on the other hand, thought it showed that when we abandon our American ideals and the rule of law we can be reduced to level of our worst enemies. Ok. That's a debate worth having. BUT in either event, beating the man and throwing him overboard should not be a knee slapper.

•  No Martha. At these meet-ups I've become well acquainted with two new people: Rebecca, the transplanted Southerner who is trying to launch a new phase of her career, and Martha, the Buddhist CTA bus driver. This is the second meet-up in a row that Martha missed. She loves classic Hollywood and hasn't missed a single one of these screenings since I joined more than a year ago. I hope everything is OK. Next month is our annual Christmas party, and I really hope she's there!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Gratitude Challenge -- Day 12

"Every day for 30 days, celebrate what you're grateful for, corresponding to the theme of the day." 

Day #12 -- Texture
This is my Goody hairbrush. I love how it makes my hair look. I love how the bristles feel against my scalp. I love how easy it is to find in my handbag. That's why I have four of them (purse, bathroom, bedroom and coffee table).

I am grateful that if I need a fifth, it's still as nearby as my local Walgreen's.

I'm safe from any threats by a shoe lace

My Joey is starting to feel better. On Tuesday he was his usual big old purr box self, and even played a bit, first swatting at my necklace and then treating my shoe lace like prey.

He just needs time to heal. He's had a rough 10 days, battling a kidney infection, and he has another 10 days of antibiotics to go.

I realize he'll never be young again. I look rambunctious young Connie and vital Reynaldo and understand that Joey is nearing the end of his life journey. But I'm no longer afraid that this infection will be what kills him.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Gratitude Challenge -- Day 11

"Every day for 30 days, celebrate what you're grateful for, corresponding to the theme of the day." 

Day #11 -- Noise

I'm a City Mouse. I like the sounds of traffic and trains and the kids next store playing under my living room window. It makes me feel connected to the rest of the world.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Worried all day

My cat Joey was so low energy, so slow moving that I was afraid he might not make it through the night. He didn't seem to be in any pain. He just didn't seem to he himself.

He was a bit better in the morning. He's only on Day 3 of his antibiotics, with ten more days to go, so I guess this isn't unexpected. But it worried me. And I was worried about him all day.

Imagine my joy when I got home this evening and the old boy greeted me at the door. His appetite is good, though he doesn't want treats. He is affectionate, though he has a hard time leaping up on the furniture when he wants a cuddle.

As my vet told me, the important thing is that we "knock out" that kidney infection. If the amoxicillin makes him feel a little crappy before it makes him feel better, so be it.

I just wish the path to feeling better was smoother.

Gratitude Challenge -- Day 10

"Every day for 30 days, celebrate what you're grateful for, corresponding to the theme of the day." 

Day #10 -- Quiet

I require alone time. I know this comes as a surprise to people who know me casually, because when I'm out and about in public among the masses I can be a chatterbox. But I need peace and quiet to recharge, to feel refreshed and sharp and ready to face the world.

That's why I'm grateful I live alone.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Sunday Stealing

The Blue Meme 

26) Are you happy with the person you've become? For the most part.

27) What's a sound you hate; sound you love? I hate, HATE the sound of cardboard against cardboard, like when someone assembles a moving box. That completely creeps me out. I love the sound of a cat's purr.

28) What's your biggest "what if"? Oh, they're all of a romantic nature. What if I'd worked harder on that relationship, what if I'd bailed out of this one sooner?

29) Do you believe in ghosts? Not really. Not the Caspar the Friendly Ghost kind.

30) How about aliens? Intellectually, yes. It's hubris to think we're the only living beings in the universe. But emotionally, I can't get my mind around them.

31) What is the single best decision you have made in your life so far? Maybe buying this place.

32) What's the worst place you have ever been to? I didn't enjoy the little lake my family went to every summer when I was growing up. BORING! And no air conditioning.

33) Can insanity bring on more creativity? John Lennon used to say, "Genius is pain." Maybe there's something to that. Perhaps one has to be uncomfortable, unconventional and maybe a little crazy to be truly creative.

34) Most attractive actor of your opposite gender? I have always been more than a little in love with Bruce Willis. I know he's bald and not classically handsome. But I'm attracted to the attitude and the talent and the daring career choices. (And the line of his back, the way his shoulders run down into his waist and then butt. He's put together rather nicely.)

35) To you, what is the meaning of life? To borrow from John again, "Love is all you need."

36) Define "Art." The diminutive of Arthur

37) Do you believe in luck? Yes

38) In your opinion, what makes a great relationship? Respect and laughter

39) What's a song that always makes you happy when you hear it

40) Where were you yesterday? I went to the movies. Saw Birdman. (Psst! I think it's overrated.)

41) What's the worst injury you've ever had? In September 2012, I had surgery, which entailed two grown men putting their hands inside of me and removing some of my organs. Hopefully that's as bad as it'll ever be for me.

42) Do you have any obsessions right now? Always! Right now, pre-1965 America.

43) What's up? I'm working on my Nanowrimo novel. If I haven't been a good blog buddy this month, that's why.

44) Ever had a rumor spread about you? Lots of them.

45) Do you believe in real magic? No
46) Do you ever hold grudges against people who have done you wrong? Good goobies, yes!

47) What's your favorite (non-pet) animal? The okapi. They are the neatest animal ever.

48) What is your secret weapon to get people to like you? I don't have one. Maybe that's why not everyone likes me! But I think those who do like me, do so because I'm rather "one-size-fits-all." I'm always the same me.

49) Where is your best friend? At his house

50) What do you think is Satan's last name? I don't believe in Satan or Hell. I'm sorry.

Gratitude Challenge -- Days 8 and 9

"Every day for 30 days, celebrate what you're grateful for, corresponding to the theme of the day." 

Day #8 -- Family/Friends

Florida. My Cousin Rose (mother's side of the family and Aunt Jo (my father's kid sister) both live down there, and they have both been among my staunchest supporters, always there when I need them. My friend in the Keys is also very loving. I am grateful that, when life gets me down, I can try to see myself through Floridian eyes.

Day #9 -- Technology

My favorite technological advancement is still electricity. I'm grateful for the boiler in the basement that gives us hot water, and the window fan and a/c that keep me comfortable. Even in this world of wi/fi, we need to charge our devices. Yes, I'm grateful for electricity.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? (1932)

1) Bing Crosby wants a dime for food. Adjusted for inflation, 10¢ in 1932 is now worth $1.69. Can you think of anything you could buy at the grocery story with $1.69? The neat round spaghetti you can eat with a spoon -- oh, oh, Spaghetti-ohs!

2) This song was originally released as a 78 rpm record. Have you ever seen a 78? Yes. My uncle had some.

3) In 1932, Jean Harlow was Hollywood's glamor queen. Who do you think sets the standard for glamor today? Kim Kardashian (God help us)

4) One of 1932's best selling books was Agatha Christie's Peril at End House. She remains popular today. Are you familiar with her work? Yes. I love And Then There Were None, Poirot and Mrs. Marple.

5) This week's featured artist, Bing Crosby, worked as a caddy when he was 12 and continued to enjoy time on the golf course his entire life. What type of exercise do you do most often? Exercise bike

6) Bing had twin sons, Dennis and Philip. Many people believe that the propensity for twins is hereditary. Are there twins in your family? Nope

7) Bing's daughter, Mary Crosby, has her own place in TV history. Do you know why? She shot JR

8) In the mid 1970s, Crosby and his family did commercials for Minute Maid. Do you have any orange juice in your refrigerator? Yes, but I think it's passed the expiration date.

9) Now for something completely random: Do you like beef jerky? Ew. No, thank you.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Nothing but good news

What a good day this has been!

It started with a trip to the doctor's office. I've lost 10 lbs since April. Yea! My doctor seems to think everything is fine, except maybe my cholesterol (which we're trying to control) and a touch of acid reflux. Considering my age, this is not out of the ordinary. In all, I seem healthy. The results of my blood work will be back early next week.

I celebrated by taking myself out to breakfast. Then I did some of my weekend errands on Friday, which felt very luxurious.

I came home to a message from the vet. News on my Joey! He, too, had blood work done, his on Thursday. The vet was cautious and frank with me. He was sure it wasn't liver failure, but he couldn't rule out diabetes or cancer, which are common in overweight cats of Joey's advanced years. Turns out the news is not that dire, after all. He has a kidney infection. Not kidney failure, just an infection. His life is not in danger.

My vet enlisted the services of a pharmacist that specializes in veterinary compounding. Thanks to his wizardry, the amoxicillin tastes like beef and was easier to get down Joey. He should be nearly good as new by the time I leave for Vegas in two weeks.

I'm so grateful for all that I've written above that this will serve as my Gratitude Challenge post.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Gratitude Challenge -- Day 5

"Every day for 30 days, celebrate what you're grateful for, corresponding to the theme of the day." 

Day #5 -- Transportation

Every workday I take the CTA Green Line at least once. That's when I find myself in the middle of the biggest melting pot imaginable. It's not unusual to see a woman clutching a Michael Kors bag on her lap seated next to a homeless with his belongings in a grocery bag and a half-smoked cigarette tucked behind his ear. I'm grateful for the el not only because it's convenient, but it helps me stay grounded and connected to my neighborhood.

Gratitude Challege -- Day 4

"Every day for 30 days, celebrate what you're grateful for, corresponding to the theme of the day." 

Day #3 -- Something I Do Every Day

Listen to my shower radio. Singing tunelessly with an oldie I thought I'd forgotten while I wash my hair makes me happy. I'm grateful that something so small can lift my mood. This morning it was Todd Rundgren's "I Saw the Light."

Poor Joey

My big old tomcat is feeling poorly again. He's still a big purr box with me, but he has no interest in playing with the other two cats. He's visited his water bowl (a good sign) but only wants to eat treats. He's even rejected the baby food and Feline a/d I heated (to make it extra smelly for him). Because he's not eating, he hasn't left much in the litter box for me to inspect. I can tell when I lift him that he's lost weight.

We're going to the vet together on Thursday morning. I hope that it's something easy to diagnose and simple to treat, like bad teeth. I'm fearing the worst, though. I sense him fading away from me.

He's a very good boy. He's never naughty. In our nearly two decades together, I can't recall a single moment when I've disciplined him. He has almost no temper. Throughout her long feline life here, my diva girlcat Charlotte slapped him every day, for no reason beyond not liking the cut of his gib, but he never one responded in kind. It's not in him. He wants nothing more from life than a patch of sun to sleep in.

Joey was named for Joey Tribbiani, Matt LeBlanc's character on Friends, a show that had its finale ten years ago. When I brought him home from the shelter, Bill Clinton reeling from his own mid-term elections.

As I hold him close to me, I admire his wonderful heart and hope he's not hurting.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Dona Nobis Pacem

Every year, November 4 is the day we blog for peace. This year, November 4 is Election Day. I don't think it's a coincidence. Instead I'm sure it's the universe's way of reminding us that one of the most important things we can do is cast a ballot.

Think peace when you vote. When you have a choice, support the candidate who will bring us closer to commonsense background checks and a ban on assault weapons.

Remember the words of Notre Dame's Rev. Theordore Hesburgh: "Voting is a sacred sacrament." Make yourself heard for peace today!

 Go here to find out more about Blog4Peace.

Gratitude Challenge -- Day 3

"Every day for 30 days, celebrate what you're grateful for, corresponding to the theme of the day." 

Day #3 --Something You See Every Day

There's a big old tree outside my livingroom window and it's rather dear to me. I love watching the branches move on windy days, seeing the leaves bud, grow, color and disappear throughout the year, and checking out the squirrels and birds that call it home.

Gratitude Challenge -- Day 2

"Every day for 30 days, celebrate what you're grateful for, corresponding to the theme of the day."

Day #2 -- Nature

Today the sun was out and the sidewalks were clear. I love autumn days like this. I was happy to be out in it, walking across town to Village Hall to early vote.

Nature also makes me think of the cats. When I look at the three of them, I see life. Connie, age 2, is a young adult, lively and spirited. Reynaldo is 10, middle aged, still healthy and (frighteningly) savvy. And Joey is 18, creaky and tired but his purr is still full throated. I am blessed by all three of their tiny, furry souls.

Happy to stand in line

Yesterday was the last day of early voting in my neighborhood, and I'm happy to report there was a line. At 2:00 on a sunny Sunday afternoon! Yea!

It's difficult to describe just how hostile and ugly our gubernatorial race has become. Remember, this is Chicago, where politics is a contact sport under the best circumstances. Post George Ryan, post Blago, these are not the best circumstances. I mean, the state is broke, the joblessness rate is sky high, guns are a plague and both parties have been revealed as corrupt.* And these two candidates, Pat Quinn and Bruce Rauner, really seem to dislike each other.

But it's important. It matters. As both a moral and practical matter, everyone should be informed, everyone should vote. That's why I was so heartened to see citizens willing to weigh through the sludge and cast their ballots.

I voted for Pat Quinn. I'm not a big fan, and it was a decision I didn't come to easily. But for all his problems (and he has many), he's one-size-fits-all. His opponent, Bruce Rauner, sounds like a smart businessman and might make wise fiscal decisions, but he's pro-choice/pro-marriage equality up here in liberal Cook County, but more of a typical RWNJ when he's addressing groups in more conservative downstate IL. So I went with Quinn. It'll be close. I wonder if we'll know who our governor is by Wednesday morning.

*After reading that sentence, I wonder why anyone wants to be Illinois governor.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Sunday Stealing

The Music Meme

1. Which bands/artist do you own the most albums by? If I add up Beatle and solo work, Sir Paul. I love him, you know.

2. What was the last song you listened to? I don't remember the specific song, but it was on my Dusty Springfield playlist.

 3. What’s in your CD player right now? Nothing.

 4. What was the last show you attended? Streisand, two years ago. I grew up on her. She was everything I wanted and needed her to be.

 5. What was the greatest show you’ve ever been to? Paul McCartney within the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field. My favorite human on the planet performing in my favorite place on the planet.

 6. What’s the worst show you’ve ever been to? Nothing springs to mind. Which is nice.

 7. What’s the most musically involved you have ever been? I don't understand this question.

 8. What show are you looking forward to? Later this month, on my birthday, I'm seeing Donny and Marie at the Flamingo in Vegas. I'm going with my oldest friend, who loved Donny when she was 12, so it will be great fun.

 9. What is your favorite band shirt? I work out in a Springsteen tour shirt.

 10. What musician would you like to hang out with for a day? Brooooooooce. I love how he lives his life, how he balances his social conscience with joie de vivre.

 11. Who is one musician or group you wish would make a comeback? Hmmmm ... the performers I miss (Amy Winehouse, John Lennon) are dead and can't come back.

 12. Who is one band/artist you’ve never seen live but always wanted to? Elvis and Frank. They're both dead so I'll never see them. But I wish I had.

 13. What was your last musical “phase” before you wisened up? 70s bubblegum.

 14. How many music related videos/DVDs do you own? That would require counting and I'm sorry, I'm simply not doing that today.

 15. How many concerts/shows have you been to, total? That would require counting and I'm sorry, I'm simply not doing that today.

 16. What’s your “guilty pleasure” that you hate to admit to liking? Don't judge me.

 17. What is your favorite movie soundtrack?  My Best Friend's Wedding