Wednesday, August 15, 2018

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 14

Today's happiness: Crayolas. I grew up preferring Crayola Crayons to the generic. I found they moved more smoothly across the page and the color was deeper and more true. When you're a kid, this is important. I no longer color anymore, but some Chicago school child will, and with the Crayolas I dropped in the back-to-school donation box.


Each day in August you are to post about something that makes *you* happy. Pretty simple. And, it doesn't even have to be every day if you don't want it to be. It's a great way to remind ourselves that there are positive things going on in our lives, our communities, and the world.


Tuesday, August 14, 2018

If you don't want to be called "deplorable," try not acting deplorably

I know Trump supporters disliked Hillary Clinton's characterization of them as "deplorable." And yet, they keep supporting a man who behaves deplorably, day in and day out. Most gallingly, they wrap themselves in my Christian faith when they applaud this President.

I'm always all for the separation of Church and State because that is one of the foundations this nation was built on. But now I even more vehemently for it because of the pretzel logic today's Christians use to support Donald Trump.

Yesterday, Donald Trump went to Fort Drum to sign the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act. Yet he refused to refer to the bill by its official name.

Yes, the most powerful man in the free world was petty enough to deny a dying war hero an accolade. By the way, it bears noting that the war John McCain served in and suffered through is one that Donald Trump avoided because of "bone spurs."

Walk me through how this lack of charity, lack of compassion, lack of humility, is in any way Christian.

This President, who wraps himself in his love of "the troops," has never visited a war zone. Barack Obama visited Afghanistan four times. George W Bush went to Iraq and Afghanistan. We're still at war in the same places. Why won't this President go?

Yet Donald Trump proposed cutting benefits for disabled veterans who live alone. That cut was abandoned once veterans groups read the fine print and exposed it. (You can thank those "enemies of the people," a free press, for giving the veterans groups a voice.)

Walk me through how this hypocrisy is any way Christian.

Keep clapping while Donald Trump pimps the troops for photo ops. Cheer while he disses John McCain one last time. Behave as deplorably as you wish. But please, stop blaming faith for your bad behavior.

This reminds me of Charlotte

I once had a total diva cat. She never let me forget that she was descended from Egyptian gods.

This one is for you, Girlfriend.

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 13

Today's happiness: $18.49. I came home and found a rebate check in my mailbox. "Thank you from Phillips Colon Health." It's like finding $5 in your jeans as you're loading the washer. Only better, since I don't really like having to buy probiotics. So this is like getting that bottle for free.


Each day in August you are to post about something that makes *you* happy. Pretty simple. And, it doesn't even have to be every day if you don't want it to be. It's a great way to remind ourselves that there are positive things going on in our lives, our communities, and the world.


Monday, August 13, 2018

Sometimes I really hate myself

This is not my home. You know how you can tell? I don't have a treadmill.

Really, my living room and den are such a mess. My living room mess is perpetual. My den has been in disarray since I had to take all the books off the shelves back in 2016. 2016!

I had left Sunday open to do housework. To make a dent in the mess. And I didn't. You know what I did instead? Nothing.

I have to get the living room decluttered and the bathroom clean by 9:00 AM Tuesday, 8/22. That's when the first of two contractors is coming over to check out the bathroom and give me estimates for renovation.

Then I have to get the den elevated to at least presentable by the time I have the work done in October.

Why is this so hard for me? Cleaning up after oneself is something other people do rather effortlessly.

Sometimes I miss being in therapy. Sometimes I really hate myself.

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 12

Today's happiness: 16 jars of Gerber Turkey baby food. It's the best, easiest way to get Connie her meds. The Viralysis mixes so well and the turkey flavor and scent just appeal to her. Connie is a picky eater, and I spend a great deal of time worrying about our supply.

You think your local CVS has a wide selection of baby items? They don't carry Gerber meats at all. Only larger Walgreen's and Target stores carry it, and they're often out of turkey and only have chicken. (Connie doesn't like chicken.) Last week I went to Mariano's grocery store and they had jar after jar of ham (Connie doesn't like ham) but only one jar of turkey left. I was starting to panic.

I stopped at a massive grocery store on my way to movie group Saturday night and stocked up. (Yeah, I was approximately 5 minutes late but this is Connie we're talking about.) And Sunday I jus so happened to hit my local Target when they still had turkey on the shelf.

16 jars!


Each day in August you are to post about something that makes *you* happy. Pretty simple. And, it doesn't even have to be every day if you don't want it to be. It's a great way to remind ourselves that there are positive things going on in our lives, our communities, and the world.


Sunday, August 12, 2018

Sunday Stealing

See the Stars Ablaze

1 - You’re in a tattoo parlor about to get inked. What are you getting done? If I were to be convinced to get a tatt, I like this one. It's Sir Paul's signature Hofner bass.

2 - If you could be any character, from any literary work, who would you choose to be?
Jo from Little Women

3 - You’re given $10,000…under one condition: you cannot keep the money for yourself. Who would you give it to?
I'm assuming it's tax free. So, I'd give $1,000 each to:

Napoleon and his humans
• A Key West vet, so my friends Reg and Henry can get their dogs checked out thoroughly
• The Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum, because their current financial crisis is a sin
• My niece, who worries about her college loan
• The local food pantry 
• The animal shelter where I met my cats, Reynaldo and Connie 

Then I'd buy a $1,000 CVS giftcard so my oldest friend can get OTC meds and health/beauty ... but not cigarettes.

The rest would go to a trip to Washington DC with my nephew. That would make him so happy.

And this would all make me very happy!

4 - If you had to go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?
I wouldn't have been as sharp tongued at times.

5 - If you had to delete one year of your life completely, which would it be?
1987 was not a good year for me.

6 - You’re an Action Movie Hero. What’s your weapon of choice and the line you scream when defeating your arch enemy?
My weapon of choice would be the free press, and my battle cry would be, "Print It!" (Take that, Mr. President.)

7 - What is the first curse word that comes to mind?
"Fuck." Though technically speaking, it's a vulgarity and not a curse word. I can be trashy tongued, but I seldom take the Lord's name in vain.

8 - Would you rather be stranded on a desert island with someone you love for ten years or someone you hate for a month? Explain why.
Someone I love for 10 years. Because it's someone I love.

9 - 5 things within touching distance:

My checkbook, the calculator, an envelope of receipts that will eventually go to my accountant, water bottle, and, of course, this computer.

10 - What are you supposed to be doing right now?
Showering. I can't believe I'm still not dressed!

11 - Currently wanting to see anyone?

12 - Would you go against your moral code for money?
I'd like to say "no," but I'm sure at times during my career in advertising I have promoted products or services that I personally would not use. So what exactly are you asking me to do?

13 - What’s more important to you: strength of the body or strength of the mind?

14 - How important you think education is?
I agree with the founder of Faber College:

One of the first scenes of Animal House

15 - If you were the president, what would you do?
I'd try to be the President of all people. I wouldn't demonize everyone but the 35% who steadfastly support me.

Oh yeah, and I wouldn't mock the disabled.

My Day in Dekalb

Dekalb has an old-school confectionary
I spent Friday afternoon and evening in Dekalb, IL. It's a city 65 miles from Chicago, and home to Northern Illinois University. My friend Kathy moved out there last spring.

It's a long train ride away from Chicago, but it was an easy commute. You get on in the city where the line starts and sit there all the way to the end. Fortunately, I had a good book.

Got out there around 3:00 PM. Kathy proudly showed off her apartment. It's spacious -- the entire upstairs of an old house. She has an eat-in kitchen with a pantry, a bedroom with a walk-in closet and a den. Her rent is less than $1000/month, so it fits in her Social Security budget. Her granddaughter lives nearby, which helps keep her busy and connected.

She bought me a beer at a local bar where she knew I could watch the end of the Cub game. Then we went to her favorite candy store, the local library, and The Egyptian Theater. What a great old building that is! It's both architecturally and historically significant.

The Egyptian began in 1929 as an art deco movie palace. It's said to be haunted. Acts from Journey to comedian Lewis Black have performed there. And, in 1959, Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy addressed The Cold War from The Egyptian. Today, it's on the National Registry of Historic Places.
Isn't he impressive?
Then we had a nice Thai dinner and I got back on the train and headed back to civilization.

It was a nice visit. We got along well. I deflected any questions about John's health or anything too personal about his life. The Gal-John-Kathy "triangle" is tiresome. Part of why we got along so well is that I avoided that pitfall.

I was happy to support Kathy in this new, retired stage in her life. It meant a great deal to her that I made the trip, and you know what? It was really a rather small thing to do. 8 hours and $50. I should be more thoughtful about similar supportive things I can do for my friends.

It also made me feel a little better about my own retirement. A bit more peaceful about my own finances. When the time comes, I could live like Kathy. I told her that, and it seemed to please her.

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 11

Today's happiness: "My Tribe." Saturday night, I went to see Stage Door with my movie group. I had a great time. Of course.

I could credit Hepburn's dynamic personality or Ginger Rogers' sass or how happy I was to see Gail Patrick, my favorite classic character actress. But that's not what made last night special.

I was watching it on a big screen with others who loved it like I did. It's this feeling of belonging that makes me hope I can pull off a trip to the TCM Film Festival in 2019.


Each day in August you are to post about something that makes *you* happy. Pretty simple. And, it doesn't even have to be every day if you don't want it to be. It's a great way to remind ourselves that there are positive things going on in our lives, our communities, and the world.


Saturday, August 11, 2018

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: The Nanny (1993)

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

1) This week's song is the theme from a sitcom that originally aired from 1993 to 1999. Were you a fan? No. I couldn't stand it. But the theme song brings back happy memories. About 15 years ago, I stayed with my oldest friend for a few days. She was recuperating from an outpatient medical procedure and I was helping her with her school-age kids. Because I was there to help, she was able to sit upright in her bed, watching episode after episode of The Nanny in reruns, laughing aloud. I'm pleased I could give her that.

2) The song tells us that Fran once worked in a bridal shop. Have you ever worked in a retail setting? Not since high school.

3) The kids in the Sheffield household appreciate their nanny's "joie de vivre," which is defined as "exuberant enjoyment of life." Are you feeling joie de vivre this morning? I'm OK.

4) "The Nanny" is the colorful one, the one who wears red when everyone else wears tan. What color do you think you look best in? Green. I should wear it more.

5) The TV show, The Nanny, was the brainchild of actress Fran Drescher. She got the idea while visiting her an old friend in London. Her friend's pre-teen daughter enjoyed having Fran as a confidante and shopping buddy. Do you enjoy shopping as a leisure activity? Or would you prefer to just dash into a store, grab what you need, and get out and go home? Depends on what we're shopping for.

6) The friend Fran was visiting in London was Twiggy, who was the world's most famous model in the 1960s. Name another famous model. The Hadid Sisters, Gigi and Bella. I see they do runway shows, cosmetic ads, magazine covers .... They seem to be everywhere!

7) The Nanny: The Complete Series is available on DVD on Amazon. It consists of 19 discs and takes 55 hours to watch, start to finish. What TV show have you recently binge watched? I watched an entire season of the Amazon Prime series, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, over two days. It was just 8 episodes. Does that count as bingeing?

8) The Nanny theme was sung by Liz Callaway. Her father, the late John Callway, was a long-time Chicago newscaster. Have you, or has a loved one, ever been on TV? I was in a crowd shot at Chicago campaign HQ the night Bill Clinton was elected in 1992. My mom saw it and was proud.

9) Random question -- Which of these adjectives comes closest to describing you: sexy, sophisticated or down-to-earth? Down to earth. I'm afraid if I was anymore down to earth, I'd be subterranean. 

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 10

Today's happiness: Mary Janes. I have always loved these candies. When I was a wee gal, my older sister would trade me hers at Halloween and make fun of me. "Nobody wants those!" I do! I do!

Friday, I visited my friend Kathy in her new home in Dekalb, IL. There's a charming, old-school candy story called The Confectionery. Guess what was in the very first candy jars I saw when I entered. She bought me three (and some two pieces of fancy chocolate and a cinnamon stick).



Each day in August you are to post about something that makes *you* happy. Pretty simple. And, it doesn't even have to be every day if you don't want it to be. It's a great way to remind ourselves that there are positive things going on in our lives, our communities, and the world.


Friday, August 10, 2018

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 9

Today's happiness: good ingredients. This morning, I woke up feeling just fine.

I had a drink last night: vodka based, with fruit juices and liqueurs. I don't remember the name of it. It's not important to this post.

What does matter is that it was made with all-natural ingredients. What a relief! It's the first drink I've had since last Saturday's "Wicked Peach" triggered a miserable migraine. That drink was made with peach iced tea, that must have included artificial flavoring. I have to remember to grill the server and find out exactly what's in a drink before I order.

All natural ingredients = pain-free cranium.


Each day in August you are to post about something that makes *you* happy. Pretty simple. And, it doesn't even have to be every day if you don't want it to be. It's a great way to remind ourselves that there are positive things going on in our lives, our communities, and the world.


Thursday, August 09, 2018

A universal truth

I had dinner Wednesday night with my friend, Barb. I hadn't seen her in a while and was happy to see that she's taking care of herself. Oh, she was wearing a "boot" because of a sprained ankle, and she showed me a bandage covering the stitches on her arm -- remnants of a nasty fall. But still, she looks pretty good. Her color was good, she's keeping up her hair, she accessorized her outfit -- all little things that indicate she's taking care of herself.

Which is good, because we're almost exactly at the one-year anniversary of her husband's death. And we just passed the two-year anniversary of his cancer diagnosis. Yet she is picking up the pieces. She is surviving.

She's packing up her home, the home they shared, preparing it for sale. It's very slow going, but she's doing it.

She got a new puppy, Lily. The puppy has had health problems, which has kept her busy.

She bought a new condo, just a studio, because even though she 's selling her home here in Chicago and retiring to Hilton Head, she still wants to retain a base here.

She sees a therapist every week.

But she still cries every day. She still misses him every day. She still relives the moment he died, his hand in hers, and she hyperventilates.

People tell her "to move on." I told her to tell them to go fuck themselves.

Here's the thing:
Her pain is hers. It is not like anyone else's. It is unique. She is doing the best she can.
And, dear reader, whoever you are, this is for you: your pain is yours. It is not like anyone else's. And if you are doing the best you can, you're doing just fine.

We're not mass produced. We're individuals. We're like snowflakes, no two of us are exactly alike. That means we each have our own story, our own pain, our own path to healing.

Snowflakes for a humid August night.

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 8

Today's happiness: Cubbie symmetry. Wednesday was August 8.

August 8, 1988 is a big deal in Wrigley Field history. It was the end of one era and the beginning of another as the Chicago Cubs became the last MLB club to have lights in their home ballpark.

Opening Night: Chicago Tribune photo
My current favorite Cub -- and definitely one of my most loved EVER! -- Anthony Rizzo was born on August 8, 1989. Being the fabulous human he is, he is commemorating his 29th birthday with a fundraiser at a local grocery store chain. We're invited to donate a $1 to his pediatric cancer foundation at checkout. (Of course I did! He's Rizz!)

August 8 and August 8, just one year apart. Clearly Anthony Rizzo was born to be a Cub!


Each day in August you are to post about something that makes *you* happy. Pretty simple. And, it doesn't even have to be every day if you don't want it to be. It's a great way to remind ourselves that there are positive things going on in our lives, our communities, and the world.


Wednesday, August 08, 2018


 WWW. WEDNESDAY asks three questions to prompt you to speak bookishly. To participate, and to see how other book lovers responded, click here

1. What are you currently reading?  

Joe DiMaggio: The Hero's Life by Richard Ben Cramer. "Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you." Joe D is more than a sports legend. He's an American myth. This ambitious (546 pages!) biography attempts to deconstruct the myth and give us the man.

So far he's painfully shy, hates the humble circumstances he was born into, and yearns for "class." He is greedy. He appears unflappable. And he is amazingly good at baseball. He can hit the ball, throw the ball, outrun the ball. That ball was his ticket out of his poor San Francisco neighborhood and into the New York, and then national, limelight.

Often a bookish Marilyn* glamorizes reading on my WWW posts, but it hardly seems appropriate as I write about DiMaggio. For she was the love of his life and he was her personal hero, on a level and in a way distinct from the nation's.

*You don't have to ask "Marilyn, who?" do you? He married a myth even more enduring than his own.

2. What did you recently finish reading?  
Ticket to Ride: Inside the Beatles 1964 Tour by Larry Kane. I enjoyed this memoir of life on the road with The Lads. It gives you a real sense of what it was like at that unique and hectic time ... we're on the private (but not at all luxurious) plane with the Beatles as they traverse America; we experience the claustrophobia of the hotels, locked in with the band and their entourage; we're in the stands, listening to the screams that often drown out the music. 

Because Kane was a journalist, not a fan, his take was objective. Still, by the end of the book it was obvious that he was very impressed by John Lennon. John comes off as rebellious, curious, inventive, clever. Brian Epstein is a compelling, sad figure, too. 

I just wish Mr. Kane hadn't spent so much space on fan recollections. A couple stories about sneaking into the hotel, a few reminiscences from concert goers would be interesting and give context. But this many just dragged the story down.

3.  What will you read next?  
Maybe another biography? Or a mystery. My TBR pile is stacked dauntingly high with both.

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 7

Today's happiness: Doing it anyway. I worked out at lunchtime. I didn't want to. Once I got outside into the sunshine, I wanted to just keep walking and take myself to a nice, relaxing lunch. But instead I did the hip ab and adductor machines and about a half hour on the recumbent bike. 

I'm proud of me.


Each day in August you are to post about something that makes *you* happy. Pretty simple. And, it doesn't even have to be every day if you don't want it to be. It's a great way to remind ourselves that there are positive things going on in our lives, our communities, and the world.


Catching up

It's been months since I spoke to Henry, my dear friend in Key West. He called Tuesday night and we talked for more than hour -- most of tonight's Cubs-Royals game. (The Cubs won.)

He let me know what's new on his end: he's getting along better with his mom (yeah!) and his husband Reg is considering going back to tending bar, at least part time. The money coming in from Reg's bookkeeping assignments has been reliable, but not as good.

Henry is finishing a book of short stories with a local author he's terribly impressed with. This is an exciting development and I'm happy for him. It's just that I've read that author's work -- Henry gave me a copy of his new partner's most popular novel back on 2014 -- and I really didn't like it much. The man writes beautifully, but I didn't care for the voice of the narrator. I hope Henry doesn't remember my critique. Just because I'm not crazy about his collaborator doesn't mean I'm not excited about the collaboration.

He's very handy and he's going to advise me as I collect estimates from contractors for renovating my bathroom. That makes me happy. I'm not confident spending money on these things because I don't have any experience. It's good to know I count on him.

And I like chatting and catching up in real time. Texts are inadequate, and he's not much into email. I enjoy these long calls.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 6

Today's happiness: Air conditioning. On these humid days, it's so nice to be able to close the windows and still feel comfortable. I have never done heat well, and without A/C I would be suffering. I take it for granted and I shouldn't. It's really a modern miracle.


Each day in August you are to post about something that makes *you* happy. Pretty simple. And, it doesn't even have to be every day if you don't want it to be. It's a great way to remind ourselves that there are positive things going on in our lives, our communities, and the world.


Well, now it's happened.

I got a sad email from my oldest friend. She is now completely, flat broke. Her phone has been turned off and her car repossessed. I assume her credit card accounts have been closed, but I don't know for sure.

I feel terrible for her. Of course. Naturally. But I don't think it's the worst thing. I think it's been much harder for to wait for this to happen, to live under a constantly threatening storm cloud.

She's been maddeningly incommunicado as of late. Not answering emails. Not responding to texts. Her voicemail was always full, so I couldn't leave a message.

Then, in mid-June, I got a call from the finance company that held her car loan. She had used me as a reference, and they couldn't reach her, either. That's when I understood the situation. She was probably afraid of her phone and email, knowing bill collectors were demanding funds she simply didn't have.

Now that it's happened, now that it's over, I imagine life is easier for her. Like Tom Petty sang, "The waiting is the hardest part."

Now that she has bottomed out, she's able to take advantage of the social safety nets California has to offer. She reports that she can now afford all her meds and she's been to the dentist for the first time in years, because it's just $1/visit. Soon, I predict, she'll be feeling better.

I'm relieved to report she's luckier than most in her position. She has air conditioning, internet and cable through her cousin, whose home she's living in, rent free.

She promises to let me know when she gets her state-issued phone. Unlimited talk and text.

I hope it's soon. I miss her!

Sunday, August 05, 2018

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 5

Today's happiness: Katharine Hepburn Day on TCM. I love Summer Under the Stars, that movie lovers' August holiday where TCM devotes 24 hours to a single star. Today, that star is THE star: The Great Kate.

Here it is, Sunday night and it feels like noon. Time flies by with Kate. Plus, I haven't gone anywhere today so I haven't spent any money. TCM is helping me stay on budget.

My favorite of today's offerings is The Philadelphia Story.  I've seen it gazillion and a half times -- recently on the big screen with my movie group -- but it still charms me every time.

Shortly after this scene, Kate (as Tracy Lord) delivers the perfect description of the morning after a boozy night before: "Here I am, standing solidly on my own two hands, going crazy."


Each day in August you are to post about something that makes *you* happy. Pretty simple. And, it doesn't even have to be every day if you don't want it to be. It's a great way to remind ourselves that there are positive things going on in our lives, our communities, and the world.


Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing

1. First thing you wash in the shower? My face.

2. What colour is your favourite hoodie?
I don't own a hoodie.

3. Would you kiss the last person you kissed again?

4. Do you plan outfits?
Once Andy Avalos tells me what the weather will be.

5. How are you feeling RIGHT now?
Clean. I just took a shower.

6. What’s the closest thing to you that's red?
A spray can of Resolve carpet cleaner. My cat Reynaldo emptied the contents of his stomach onto my rug and I'm hoping to prevent a stain.

7. Tell me about the last dream you remember having?
Last night, I dreamed I was having a conversation with my nephew about the validity of statistics. I have no idea what that dream means.

8. Did you meet anybody new today?
I'm not dressed to receive new people just now.

9. What are you craving right now?
A Coke. And so I shall have one.

10. Do you floss?
No. My dentist recommends I use picks instead. 

11. What comes to mind when I say cabbage?
Those dolls: Cabbage Patch Kids.

12. Are you emotional?
About some things, I'm very emotional.

13. Have you ever counted to 1,000?
Yes. Who hasn't?

14. Do you bite into your ice cream or just lick it?
Depends on how it's served. Cone? Lick. Ice cream bar or sandwich? Bite.

15. Do you like your hair?
This morning, right now, yes.

16. Do you like yourself
? This morning, right now, yes.

17. Would you go out to eat with George W. Bush?
I would consider it an honor. I didn't vote for him -- in fact, I worked very hard on John Kerry's 2004 campaign -- but I'd consider it a privilege to spend time with Jimmy Carter, either Bush, Bill Clinton, or Barack Obama. Now as for the current resident of the White House ... anyone who publicly mocks the disabled does not get the pleasure of my company. I have standards.

What a cruel man Donald Trump is.

18.What are you listening to right now?
Bagpipes. For real. TCM is showing Mary of Scotland.

19. Are your parents strict?
My parents are both dead and besides, I'm a big girl now.

20. Would you go sky diving?

21. Do you like cottage cheese?

22. Have you ever met a celebrity?
I kissed Bruce Springsteen. (We talked about last week. I don't want to gild the lily by repeating it.)

23. Do you rent movies often?
Never. Between Comcast Xfinity and Amazon Prime, I don't have to.

24. Is there anything sparkly in the room you're in?
You mean, other than ME?

25. How many countries have you visited?
5 (not counting this one).

26. Have you made a prank phone call?
Oh yes. But that was before Caller ID.

27. Ever been on a train?
Every day, 5 days a week.

28. Brown or white eggs?

29.Do you have a cell-phone?
No. I'm a Luddite. (Just checking to see if you're still reading.)

30. Do you use chap stick?
Only in winter.

"Sorry" is a good word, a strong word

I used to be terribly close to a very good guy. I still think of him as "a kid," but today's he's a 45-year-old father of two. From the moment we met -- nearly 20 years ago -- he's been one of my favorite people. I mentored him at work and was his confessor about his night time adventures. When he finally settled down, he moved to the burbs and we drifted apart. These things happen. It didn't diminish my fondness for him.

Two months ago, he posted to my LinkedIn page that he was suddenly and unexpectedly unemployed and was hoping for my help and a reference. I responded yes, immediately, and told him to send me his rez. I'd spoken to our HR department and knew there was an opening he might be right for. I never heard from him again. Apparently he couldn't be bothered.

Last week, I received a reference request from a prospective employer. Naturally I filled it out honestly (but still effusively). But I sent him a LinkedIn message, letting him know that even though I praised him, I was still pissed. I reminded him that I spoke to our HR department and said, "I extended myself for you and you left me hanging. Not cool."

He answered me instantly online and over the phone. On Friday, we chatted for 40 minutes and caught up. His firing was likely illegal, since he was being slammed by his new boss for time spent on a federal grand jury. He was busy with lawyers and won a year's worth of severance. But between that, his kids, and celebrating his 10th wedding anniversary (it's been 10 years?), he just hadn't been checking LinkedIn as much as she he should.

"You know, last time I looked for a job, LinkedIn didn't even exist!"

During the course of our conversation, he apologized a half dozen times. Before we hung up, I said, "You fucked up, you apologized, it's over now." And I mean it. All is forgiven.

I remain impressed by what a nice person he is, how sensitive. He's still rough-edged, still all-boy, but at his core he's a very good person. His readiness to apologize was rare, and it made me very happy.

Saturday started as a good day ...

but it ended here.

The Cubs won (and my dear Rizz got a homerun). I'm happy with the ceiling fixture I picked up at Sears. I was off to grab an early, quick dinner and then do a little shopping at Target. The pizza place I planned on was filling up fast and with families. (The movie theater next door is showing Teen Titans.)

So instead I tried a new place. New to me, that is. This bistro has been here for more than a decade. For one reason or another, I never tried it before. I was looking at their carryout menu and was surprised when two members of the waitstaff* came out with the "real" menu and invited me to come back some time.

They were so nice, I said "why not now?" I had a lovely seat by the window where I could enjoy my good book. The manicotti was delicious. The bread basket was bottomless. The side salad was generous.

Oh, yeah. And I had the drink of the day: The Wicked Peach for $7. The worst $7 I've spent in a long time.

I asked the ingredients. All I remember is peach schnapps and peach flavored ice tea. Judging by the wicked migraine I had overnight, the ice tea must have included artificial flavoring. And that triggers mayhem in this old gal's bod.

 No day off should include your face in the toilet.

As I tried to sleep -- difficult with your head in a vice -- my comfort was, of all things, The Kardashians. The E! network was running a marathon, and there was something strangely comforting in coming in and out of consciousness with them still there. Kris was upset with Caitlyn/Bruce's book, Kourtney's baby daddy was disappointing her, Kendall was doing a photo shoot in India, Kim was speaking in a very flat voice ...

I've never seen this much Kardashian in my entire life, and I don't think I'll ever tune in again. But Saturday night, these girls served their purpose.

*Turns out one of them, the waitress who ultimately took care of me, is also the owner.

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 4

Today's happiness: Sears is still here. On Saturday, I picked up a ceiling light for kitchen.

Sears, Roebuck and Co. gave me my first "real" job, just out of high school. I was a secretary in the Human Resources Department, based on my very good typing and shorthand (!) skills. Well, I didn't last two weeks. I was still 17 and lacked the maturity to handle a high-profile, sensitive job at a Fortune 500 Company. (I couldn't figure out how to use one of the phones, and so I answered it, "Hello?" Unfortunately, the man on the other end was Mr. Big.)

Anyway, they didn't let me go. They instead moved me to another department. I hated my boss, but the woman exec who had the office beside his -- back then there weren't many woman execs -- saw something in me and goaded me into applying for a catalog copywriter position. Since I didn't have the requisite college degree -- just a handful of hours from community college weekend courses -- I was resistant. She practically placed the test in my hands.

A career was born.

Sears gave me opportunties when arguably I didn't deserve them, so I remain loyal to the company. If I can shop there, I do.

To get to Sears, I had to pass the now completely shuttered Toys R Us and Carson's, with their yellow-on-black GOING OUT OF BUSINESS signs. But good old Sears is still there. And it was pretty crowded, with people milling about the bed/bath and household appliance departments.


Each day in August you are to post about something that makes *you* happy. Pretty simple. And, it doesn't even have to be every day if you don't want it to be. It's a great way to remind ourselves that there are positive things going on in our lives, our communities, and the world.


Saturday, August 04, 2018

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Along Comes a Friend (Theme from Kate and Allie) (1984)

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

1) This week's song is the theme from Kate and Allie, a sitcom that ran from 1984 to 1989. Were you a fan? Yes. Loved it.
2) The show was about two divorced women who live and raise their children together. Were you ever a single parent? Were you raised by a single parent? Nope. My parents made one another miserable, but they stayed married until death they did part. I think I might have had a better attitude toward marriage if they'd split, and then I wouldn't have witnessed so much passive aggression and tension.
3) Allie is proud that she can make a perfect cup of coffee: "Just the essence of the bean. No acidity." Kate is proud that she can belch the alphabet. What are you proud of? I remember stuff. I remember stuff no one else remembers (or cares about). For example, every strand of hair has three layers: cuticle, medulla and cortex ... In July 1957, 15-year-old Paul McCartney rode his bike to a church picnic in Woolton, Liverpool and met John Lennon ... Three DiMaggio brothers played pro baseball (Vince, Joe and Dom) ... Onions are highly toxic to cats ... The first book JFK ever read on his own as a very little boy was called Billy Whiskers ... If only I could remember to set my alarm clock before I go to bed at night.

4) Kate and Allie share half of a duplex in Greenwich Village. Many episodes had them doing laundry in the basement. Where are your washer and dryer? I share two washers and two dryers with the other building residents, and those coin-operated machines are in our first floor laundry room.
5) Kate was played by Susan St. James. She was familiar to viewers as the "wife" in McMillan and Wife. Without looking it up, do you know who played McMillan? Rock Hudson. I've been watching the reruns on Cozi TV and he's the same on the small screen as he was in the movies: blah in the action sequences but quite charming in the he/she scenes with wife Sally (Susan St. James). I think he was unfortunately misused by Hollywood. Because he was (very) tall, dark and handsome, he was typecast as the hero type when really, he should have been doing more of the Grant thing (you know, like Hugh or Cary).

"Mac" was more than a head taller than his TV wife

6) Allie was played by Jane Curtin. She was one of three women in the original Saturday Night Live cast. Without looking it up, can you name the other two? Laraine Newman and Gilda Radner.


I'm old enough to remember that, at one time, Chevy Chase was considered hot.  
7) On the set, Jane Curtin ran a poker game for the cast and crew. Do you think winning at poker takes more luck or skill? Skill. Or, rather, vigilance and patience. (Two things I lack.)

8) The Kate & Allie theme was cowritten and sung by John Lefler. Years later, Mr. Lefler wrote the theme for the Pokemon show. Is anyone in your life into Pokemon? My nephew was for a very long time. Years.

9) Random question: What's the last thing you whispered? "What?" I didn't understand what my coworker was whispering to me.