Wednesday, February 10, 2016

WWW.WEDNESDAY

WWW.WEDNESDAY is back! To participate, and to see how others responded, click here.

1. What are you currently reading?  Sinatra: The Chairman by James Kaplan. I just cracked it open Tuesday night at bedtime, so I shall have to reserve comment. But I dearly loved the first volume of Kaplan's epic Sinatra biography, so I'm really looking forward to finishing the story.

2. What did you recently finish reading? White Collar Girl by Renee Rosen. What an original little novel! Set in the Chicago Tribune newsroom of the late 1950s and early 1960s, it takes on sisterhood, changing women's roles, and in a neat but painful twist, resurrects the question raised to the women of Man Men: "Are you a Jackie or a Marilyn?"

It's also the story of a family grappling with loss. And it's a compelling look at the Chicago of those days, and the long-ago Richter scale scandals whose aftershocks we're still feeling today.

Something about it bugged me, though: poor fact checking. 
•  Working on one of her first news stories, our heroine visits a building in the 60610 zip code. Today that's the right code, but zips weren't used in 1959. 
•  One of the characters plays Tennessee Ernie Ford's hit "16 Candles" on the jukebox. The thing of it is, he had a hit with "16 Tons," not "16 Candles."

Disconcerting to encounter such sloppy editing in a story about a meticulous, ambitious girl reporter.

3.  What will you read next? I don't know.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

It's got a name!

Post infectious IBS. That's what I have! It's such a relief to know what it is and how we're going to treat it.

Seems my gut has been battered by my bout with c. diff, leaving my digestive tract super sensitive and out of whack. Instead of being infected or irritated, it's rather bruised. I'm recovering more slowly than the average c. diff sufferer, but this is not unheard of. The doctor says I should add foods back to my diet slowly, take Imodium when I need it, keep up with the probiotic, and within the next two weeks, this should be a memory. YEA!

At that point, just to make sure everything is A-OK, I need to have my second-ever colonoscopy. I am not thrilled by this prospect. Not because of the procedure itself -- it's really much ado about nothing. But because it's a day off work and I have to figure out how to get home from the hospital (as they won't just let me leave and get into a cab).

I'm very glad to have seen the specialist today. It's taken 48 days, three doctors, and four tests (with another in the offing),  but finally I'm on the track to wellness.



Sunday, February 07, 2016

Sunday Stealing

Carry A Tune Meme 

Do you own a tablet of any kind?  Kindle Fire. I don't use it very much.

What’s something people always assume about you that isn’t true? That I'm a divorcee. For some reason, "lifelong spinster" is not a designation people assign me.

On a scale of 1-10, how much do elevators scare you? Negative 2. I don't even notice being on elevators anymore.

When you’re upset, do you vent to people or do you keep to yourself? Yes. I mean, I find both therapeutic.
 
Have you ever watched a meteor shower? No.

 Do you tend to put things off until the last minute? Yes

How do you react to random strangers suddenly trying to make conversation with you? With trepidation.

Do you have a lucky number? 7

Would you go out to dinner with Oprah? Yes, because she'd buy.

Did you ever play sports? No

Do you feel guilty if you throw food away? Yes

Do you think you could make it as a baker? No

Are you one of those people who are wearing scarves with everything? No

Have you ever been in a castle? Yes
 
When you were little, did you ever play with Playdoh? Of course!

 
Would you rather write a mystery or love story? How about a mystery with a compelling romantic angle? Those are the best.

 
Tell me about your worst fashion mistake: In the 1980s I wore too much eye makeup and too much neon. The 1980s were all about "too much."

Do you hate it when people smoke around you? Yes.

How are you wearing your hair right now? Every which way. I just got out of bed.
 
When’s the last time you were sick? I'm currently sick. Battling a rather tenacious stomach ailment.

 
Would you rather have OJ or milk with your breakfast? Juice! Though with my bland diet, I'm not allowed either. Which makes me sad.
 
What were you doing thirty minutes ago? Touching up my pedi. It's looking rough.

Though it looks more red on my shirt
 
Do you own any school related clothing articles? My niece just finished at CIM (Culinary Institute of Michigan) and during her time there I've collected a couple school-branded shirts and an umbrella.
 
Would you rather call people or have them call you? I'd rather call them.

 
Can you carry a tune? Not even in a bucket

Who was the last person who unexpectedly texted you? My friend Mindy

Who do you text the most? Probably coworkers. Usually saying, "I'm running late but I'm on my way!"


Saturday, February 06, 2016

Not even the lead story

On Thursday, an entire family was found dead in this very ordinary looking bungalow. Six people snuffed out. Two were children.

At first the rumor was that it was a murder- suicide. On Friday, the coroner confirmed that every member of this family had been murdered, no signs of suicide.

The murderers are still out there. So far, no suspects or "persons of interest" have been mentioned by the police.

This evening, it wasn't the top news story. It wasn't even the top crime story. Two people were shot this afternoon on bucolic sounding Cypress Drive in suburban Bolingbrook and two Gary high school football players were shot this evening.

Dear God! We're now living in a world where six murders in one household can be old news in less than 72 hours. I don't know what to do with all my disgust and horror.


I did plenty of nothin'

Every weekend I intend to accomplish soooo much. And today, I did none of it. (OK, I have done laundry and dishes and grocery shopped, but that doesn't begin to make a dent in the mess that is my condo.)

Usually when I'm this lazy, I get mad at myself. But not today. Because most of today I spent observing Joey. After being my fur buddy for 17 years, I feel like I owe him this level of affection and attention as his life ends.

He stares a lot, because I don't think he can see well anymore. He wobbles as he gets up or settles in, because of his debilitating arthritis. He sleeps a lot, but then even as a young gun he liked his naps. But he doesn't get on furniture anymore unless I put him there. No more jumping for Joe.

At about 1:00 today, I'd decided that it was time to say good bye. I was going to call the vet and make an appointment to put him down on Tuesday. And then something funny happened ...

I took my jewelry off, looping my rings onto my watchband for safekeeping. When they clanged together, Joey brightened and slapped at the watch. I got out the laser pointer and damn if he didn't chase it for a moment. So his life does still have joy in it. And I don't think he would move like that if he was in pain.

So I'm not putting him down just yet. I have quit giving him his blood pressure/vision meds. As I said, I think his vision is gone already and getting dosed frightens him. The sad truth is that he's not going to live much longer, with the medicine or without, so let's spare each other that.



Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Sorry

1) This song is a plea for a second chance. Are you good at forgiving/forgetting? I forgive but I never forget. I'm not proud of this. I'm just being honest.

2) Justin asks his girl to "forget this." What have you done/said recently that you wish could just be forgotten? I had a terrible time Friday evening, trying to pay at the self-service kiosk at CVS. It was an annoying way to end a long week.


3) Mr. Bieber says he needs just 6 hours sleep every night. How about you? How much sleep do you require to feel sharp? Who would believe Justin and I have anything in common? Yet it's true. Six hours sleep is good for me, too.


4) Justin prefers D and G underwear, which can cost as much as $102/pair. Sam may be crazy, but there's no way she'd spend that much on underwear. What's something you're willing to splurge on? Paper towels. As a pet owner, I have learned that economizing on those doesn't actually save any money whatsoever.


I accept no substitutes
5) He may be picky about underwear but not cuisine. He loves Big Macs. If we were going to McDonald's, what would you order? This is mean! I have been having tummy trouble and my doctor(s) prescribes a bland diet, no beef. But if I could, I would devour a Big Mac.

6) When it comes to healthier fare, Bieber has told fans he enjoys snacking on bananas and grapes. What do you reach for between meals? Crackers


7) Performing in Germany, Justin Bieber told a girl who approached the stage, "Ich liebe dich” ("I love you") and she fainted. Have you ever fainted? Nope


8) As a kid, Justin was teased for being one of the shortest in his class. What do you recall being teased about in school? I don't recall the what, but the who remains vivid. Janice P., you were a dreadful bitch when you were 13.

9) Random question: Will you be watching this weekend's Super Bowl? Nope




Friday, February 05, 2016

Ready for some good news?

I wish those people seated at the table were happier for me

 All my tests came back and there is no sign of c. diff in my system anymore. YEA!

No inflammation or infection is present, either. HOORAY!

Of course, we still have to wonder why I still feel (literally) quite crappy. Today was a rather bad day, as far as the bathroom goes. So something is still wrong. But it's not c diff, and it's probably not anything to cause long-term damage.

Still, I'm beginning a new probiotic tonight and visiting a new doctor on Tuesday. Knowing what it isn't doesn't tell me what it is.


Wednesday, February 03, 2016

My dad gave me a road map

Some parents show their kids how to live. That is loving and important. My dad showed me how NOT to live. That's a valuable lesson, too.

My dad was an autodidact with a passion for politics and history. That we share.

My father was also a committed Right Wing Nut Job. Of the old-school Goldwater variety. He thought pacifists were "chicken." That minorities wanted "too much, too soon." That the white male was the backbone of American Society, and no one appreciated him. This is, obviously, where we differ. I'm what the RWNJs would call "a libtard," a Kennedy Girl, an old-school, unreconstituted Liberal.

He loved arguing his point. Debating. Explaining why the person on the other end of the spectrum was just wrong. I don't enjoy debating these things. I like learning, yes. And digesting other points of view is vital and it be illuminating. But these issues are too important to me for me to treat them like sport.

And he did nothing to effect change. I never saw him phone his congressman or write a letter to the editor. He never even made campaign contributions, much less attend a rally or volunteer to leaflet.

Yelling at Walter Cronkite, making snide and disrespectful remarks about the opposition, turning the holiday dinner table into a tense debate stage ... none of these things makes a difference. None of these things makes anyone happy -- not the one spouting, nor his audience.

That is so not me. I try to walk it like I talk it. My dad never enjoyed the glorious moments I've had: balloon drops and storms of red, white and blue confetti. Seeing your candidate's face flash across the screen above the caption: THE WINNER IS. Knowing I played a part in making history.

So maybe his road map showing the path not to take me was his greatest gift to me.




Am I blue? You'd be, too.

So I just finished four more days of antibiotics. And my gastrointestinal tract is still not normal.

This has been going on for 42 days.

I'm angry. I'm frustrated. I'm sad. I'm singin' the blues.

So I went back to the doctor. Again. More tests. As she explained it, one of three things could be going on.

1) My gut is healthy but my colon doesn't know it. 42 days is a long time to go without a full meal, and maybe my body just doesn't remember how to process food. This is the most attractive diagnosis. Then I just start slowly start eating again.

2) My C Diff is just really, really resistant to antibiotics and we need to put me on a different course of treatment.

3) It's morphed into something else. This is both the least likely and the worst option.

I suppose I should feel lucky. I have no fever, I'm not fatigued and I'm functioning. Today the doctor told me about a new mother who contracted C Diff in the hospital and had it for a full year, leaving her unable to nurse her new baby. I'm not that sick.

But I'm still sick. And it sucks.


Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Quality of life

Joey is a very old cat with a litany of health problems: high blood pressure, arthritis, kidney disease and a viral infection. Those last two are fatal. So I am trying to remind myself that our time left together is short.

But here's the thing: Right now he's sitting beside me, purring so loud I can hear it. He enthusiastically wolfs down his food. And last night he engaged in a little laser point tag. I'm going to try it again tonight.

As long as Joey is still enjoying his life, I'm going to sit back and enjoy him. The vet has warned me that he's never getting better. But for now, he seems happy enough to be here. And so here he shall stay.




Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sunday Stealing

Laundry Day Meme

Do you know any couples that have been married for a very long time? Yes. I also know couples who haven't been married a long time because, until recently, they weren't legally able to wed. Seeing these relationships, gay and straight, from my up close friend's perspective makes me appreciate how much work and dedication is mixed in with the love.


What are you tired of people telling you? My across-the-hall neighbor means well, but she's always scolding me that I'm not aware enough of my surroundings. I startle too easily. I shouldn't have my headphones on all the time. Eat me. I've always been a day dreamer and I always will be. (And I've never liked to be scolded!)

Which type of ice cream do you prefer? Mint chocolate chip.

Do you have a little sister? What’s her name? Kate

What was the last movie you watched on TV? Last Vegas. I liked it more than I thought I would.

If the internet was not available right now, what would you do instead? Reading. Maybe scrubbing the tub.

Do you complain a lot? Probably more than I should.
Recuerdos del color de agua de niebla

Name a movie that your favorite actor is in. The Way We Were.
  

Do you like your toes? Sure

Would you rather go to an authentic haunted house or an ancient temple? Depends on what city each is in.

Have you ever had champagne? Did you like it? Yes. Yes.

Are there any seashells in your room? No.

What was the reason for the last time you went outside? Met my nephew for lunch

Do you like fruity or minty gum? I prefer minty

Are you looking forward to any day of this month? Not especially.

What was the last graduation you attended?  My nephew's from high school.

Do you rummage through the $5 movie bin at Walmart every time? I seldom shop at Walmart

What day of the week do you usually do laundry? Sunday

Do you like using air fresheners? Yes

Are your nails ever painted red? Yes, and my pedi could use a brush up right now

When you were a baby, did you have a favorite blanket? No

Ever been on a cruise? No

Would you rather go to Alaska or Russia? Alaska

Strawberries or bananas? Bananas

Are you wearing socks? No

When’s the last time you went to the mall? Earlier this month


Meds, meds, more meds

Over the last few days I've given prescription medication more thought than I have in months.

Metronidazole. That's the antibiotic I'm taking for my C. Diff. I took my last pill yesterday and thought that Saturday morning would dawn and I'd be fine. Saturday dawned, but I still had diarrhea. This has been going on for more than a month and cannot be good for my body. I called my doctor's office, knowing my GP left for vacation on Friday, but confident someone there could refill my prescription. I was prepared, need be, to insist on talking to my gynecologist, who is part of the same practice. That wasn't necessary. My doctor had a lovely back-up physician, who called me back right away and not only called Walgreens for me, she also told me to take a probiotic and recommended I eat more, even though I'm not hungry. She said at this point, my body is no longer used to processing food and so I must eat something -- a small portion of something bland -- three or four times a day. Even if I'm not hungry (and I'm not).

She told me that C. Diff is powerful and hard to cure, so what I'm going through is not unusual. Next weekend, I should be able to return beef to my diet, but dairy could take another month. I have another appointment with my regular doctor on February 9. I hope I'll be able to cancel it because I'll be fine. But I know I must be prepared to keep it, just in case we have to try a different prescription medication.


Benazaperil. This is what Joey gets squirted down his throat every day. It helps regulate his high blood pressure, which, in turn, helps preserve his sight. Each evening, when I dose him, I'm sad. For I know we are trying to save his vision just so that he's not frightened by blindness as his death approaches. There's no long term for my Joey. Since we don't know for sure how old Joey is, it's possible that his 21st birthday has come and gone. That's an exceptionally long ride for a cat and he and I have been lucky for the time given us. This bottle of Benazaperil will take us into March. I must be prepared that the bottle may last longer than Joey. 

Prozac. My 16-year-old nephew took his first dose this week. I was surprised to learn that he's been suffering crippling bouts of anxiety and depression. I knew he was more comfortable in the cyber world than the real one, but I thought that was generational. He was massively disappointed in himself that he didn't make the honor roll, and was almost paralyzed with fear addressing the class about the subject of his choice (topic: why Citizens United needs to be overturned). This goes beyond a phobia of public speaking. He has a debilitating fear of failure. According to my sister, this began in summer 2012, between grade school and high school, and has just gotten worse and worse. 

I am sorry he's suffering, but I'm proud of how open he is to treatment. Soon he will start talk therapy with a PhD, something I suspect will be more helpful to him than just a pill in his gullet. I know that some depression is biochemical and some is situational. I suspect that his is a combination. My kid sister can be a very unhappy person at times -- and she confessed to me that she's taken Wellbutrim and Prozac -- and you know what they say: "If Mama Ain't Happy, Ain't Nobody Happy." I don't mean that the my nephew's struggles are his mother's fault. Everyone is different, and everyone handles stress in his own way. And I applaud how pro-active my sister has been in getting help for her son. It's just that I know my nephew is sensitive and growing up in a moody, tense home may be as much of what's bothering him as personal body chemistry.

I asked my sister to tell him that I'd been in therapy for decades and took Lexapro for three years. She did, but I was not surprised that, when we had lunch today, he didn't want to talk about it. He was too enthusiastic about the book I gave him, Making of a President: 1968, and had a lot of Bernie Sanders/Hillary Clinton news he wanted to discuss. His passion for the Sanders campaign reminds me of the long-ago excitement that propelled Eugene McCarthy to national prominence. I don't think he's geeky. I want to hear how he feels about the campaign, and he wants to be heard. So perhaps that is role I am meant to play in his life.

I do wish religion had come up in my emails from my sister regarding his treatment. When I have been at my lowest, both as an adolescent and a woman, when I felt everything was hopeless and I had nothing to live for, I never seriously considered taking my own life because I knew God expected more from me. I have never doubted God's love. It is a powerful thing to cling to. I hope my nephew knows it is there for us all.





Saturday, January 30, 2016

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Don't You Care?

1) What's something that seems to fascinate everyone else, but you just don't care about? Making a Murderer. I don't have Netflix, haven't seen the series, and admit I'm not filled with longing, either. Though if my Facebook feed is any indication, I'm the only woman in North America who doesn't care.

2) The lyrics refer to "the times we cried and laughed." Which did you do more recently, cry or laugh? Laugh. Specifically I laughed at "I'm Dead. Now What?" I realize this journal is useful, but I cannot believe that's what they named it, or that they got Potsie as their spokesman. Stay classy, folks.




3) In the song, our hero seems surprised that his girlfriend doesn't believe him. Are you more believing and trusting, or suspicious and skeptical? I suppose I'm more believing and trusting.

4) This song is just over two minutes long, which seems short for a song but awful long when Sam is waiting for her chicken soup to heat in the microwave. What's the last thing you heated in a microwave? Tea. 

5) This week's band, The Buckinghams, was one of the first acts to perform at Chicago's premiere summer festival, The Taste of Chicago.* Let's think ahead: Have you made any plans for Summer 2016? I'm taking my friend John to Springfield to check out the Lincoln sites. It's shocking to me that someone could live in the Midwest all his life and never make it down there, not even on a class trip. So come June, we're rectifying that.


6) In 1967, when this song was popular, Rolling Stone magazine published its first issue. What magazines do you subscribe to? Do they arrive in the mail, or do you read them online? People, US, O, Allure and More. I'm very behind in my magazine reading. All those holiday entertaining issues are still staring at me!

7) Country star/American Idol judge Keith Urban was born in 1967. Are you watching the final season of American Idol? I've caught a couple episodes, but I'm more interested in Harry Connick than I am the contestants.


8) In 1967, the average cost of a movie ticket was $1.25. By 2015, it had risen $8.60. What's the last movie you saw in a theater? Carol. Alas, I didn't like it very much.

9) Random question: Sam's taking everyone out to dinner and she's buying. Would you prefer the steak or the lobster? I'll split the difference and have surf and turf.



*Though back in 1970, it was called ChicagoFest.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

"Demographics are destiny'

That's a popular catchphrase within the industry. I rely on it, in the abstract. When I'm trying to market a credit card aimed at people 40+, I know from the research that mail solicitations tend to be more successful than the internet. If I'm trying to sell household cleansers to the under 35 crowd, emailing coupons works. Etc., etc. The cool thing about market research is that you can find a study that slices, dices, and analyzes just about every product/media combination you can think of so you can hit people with the right offer in the right way at the right time.

One of my favorite bits of information is profiling by zip code. For some reason birds of a feather do tend to flock together, and consumer behavior can be predicted based on where we live. But why? Do
we set out to live among people who feel as we do? Or do our neighbors influence us?

It's my aunt who has me thinking of this. When I was a little girl, back in the 1960s, she was a hippie. A liberal. She listened to James Brown and had this portrait of President Kennedy hanging by her bedroom door. That was up here, in bluer-than-blue Chicagoland.

Then she moved to Florida. Now she identifies as a Southerner. Where she, like me, grew up a Cub fan, she now follows NASCAR. Though she knows better than to mention it to me or her son (my cousin), I suspect she's a Trump supporter.

My aunt blames Obama for everything. Also, I can tell from her Facebook "likes" that she has no sympathy for the "Oscar So White" movement. Yet eavesdropping on my neighbors in a restaurant last weekend, I heard the couple at the next table were talking about how amusing Obama was on Seinfeld's Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee and wondering if nascent racism played a part in Will Smith's snub at this year's Oscars.

So did my aunt change and then move to Florida? Or did living down there change her? I'd love to ask her, but I'm afraid that would open the door to conversations about her views that I don't want to have.

So I'm left to just tap my chin, look thoughtfully at the ceiling, and wonder.




I suppose it's good to know

Yesterday at the vet, my cat Joey had blood drawn. I got bad news. In addition to glaucoma and arthritis and kidney disease, my old tomcat is battling some sort of virus that accounts for his continual weight loss.

Joey is dying.

He's sitting here beside me, purring. His spirit is good, but his body is simply wearing down from the inside out.

He eats like crazy. He loves to be petted. Occasionally he can be persuaded to attack a shoe lace or play laser tag. I am grateful that his life makes him happy.

But he's dying all the same.

The vet tells me we could treat the virus, but those meds combined with the meds for his kidney disease would just make him anemic, so we'd be changing one problem for another. And the kidney disease could cause him discomfort, whereas the virus is just tiring him. So it's best to just let nature take its course.

How thoughtful of Joey to contract something incurable and untreatable. This way I don't have to regret any decisions I've made regarding his care. He'll be a generous soul to the end.

And this gives me an opportunity to start dosing Connie and Reynaldo with Viralys. This supplement will enhance their immune systems so they can resist the virus. So in all, I'm glad I know what's going on.

I just hate it.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Me and Joe, Joe and Me

My old cat and I have a lot in common these days.

Neither of us is as healthy as we've been.

•  Went to the vet with my tomcat. He had an attack of some sort Sunday morning (see post below) and it really frightened me. However, neither the emergency vet I spoke to Sunday nor my regular vet thought it was that serious.

The vet checked Joe out thoroughly and suspects it was his arthritis that made him collapse. Look at this recent photo, taken because he looks so sweet curled up like a little fur shrimp. It reveals something: he can no longer retract his back claws. Reaching for Rey's food on Sunday, that fast and sudden movement, probably caused him so much pain that he went down. The vet also did a blood panel, "just to be sure."

I'm expecting bad news. I mean, he's 20 years old and though he eats with gusto, he's losing weight. I don't want to hear diabetes or cancer. Especially not diabetes. My poor boy is already dealing with a special, prescription diet and a squirt of medication in his mouth every evening. I don't want to add twice daily injections. It's not fair to either of us.

But for now, he's sitting beside me. Comfortable, affectionate and happy. I wish we could freeze this moment and stay like this forever.

*  Me. So far today I've eaten two hard boiled eggs, four fish sticks and half a sleeve of Ritz Crackers. After I finish this post, I may have something else: a cup of applesauce or some dry Rice Krispies (I still can't have dairy). This makes me so sad, I could cry.

I have not had a real meal in over a month (December 23). I'm burpy. I'm bloated. Every morning is still a surprise in the bathroom. My urine is brown (antibiotics) to combat the yellow bowel movements. Some days I'm constipated, other days I have diarrhea. It's not unusual with C. diff.

I can't have pizza. I can't have pasta. I can't have burgers. I shouldn't miss this stuff so much, as I'm seldom hungry.

As I write this, it's late Tuesday night. I run out of antibiotics on Thursday. I hope, hope, hope I'll be better then. But I'm not confident.

I know it could be worse. I know I could have more than one episode/day. It's a bad way to start the day, but it's only in the morning. I don't have chills. I don't have fatigue. I'm not vomiting.

But I'm tired. I'm bored. I'm weary. I want my life back.

I know my doctor. She's good. If I'm not feeling better by Valentine's Day, we'll try something else. She'll get me well. But it's hard to stay positive.


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Collapse

That's how we started the day. Joey came up to my bedside and reminded me that he likes breakfast on time. I fed the cats, keeping a watchful eye on everyone staying to his/her own dish. Joey enthusiastically went for Reynaldo's kibble, I reached down to stop him, and BAM! Before i could even touch him, he went down.

I bundled him up in my arms and took him to the walk-in closet, where the boxes are located. He passed a stool while still laying down and then began panting. We stay like that for a while, and I called the 24-hour emergency vet.

I was surprised that they didn't recommend I bring him in right away. Glad, because I know how much Joey hates being handled by strange hands, but surprised. She asked me if he ever lost consciousness, and no he hadn't. Then she recommended I just watch him until Monday morning.

And so I have. He's eating and drinking with gusto and jumps up onto the sofa, same as always. I'm taking him to the vet tomorrow, of course. The spookiest thing about this is how unspooked he seems by the episode. While I think he's comfortable, I want reassurance. Cats are notorious for hiding their symptoms. I also suspect it was a combination of his arthritis and constipation that caused his collapse. But again, I'm no vet.

Charlotte has been gone a year and a half. Losing her was a shock. I had no idea she was as sick as she was. I am determined not to make that same mistake. Joey is going to be spared as much discomfort as I can.




Sunday Stealing

The Feisty 25

Do you like to see it snowing outside? Yes. I like snow.

Do you tell your family you love them enough? I don't have that much family left to tell. I do regret not telling my late uncle how much he meant to me. I still think of him every day.

Do you like getting jewelry or do you not wear any? I love getting jewelry. Especially necklaces and earrings.

Do you watch a lot of NFL football?
No. My sports obsession is The Cubs. If it doesn't involve The Cubs, it doesn't involve me.

Have you ever used the word ‘lame’? EVER? I'm sure at some point in my life I've said it.

Are you/Were you in a band? If so, what was your band name? Never in a band.

When is the last time you went to the doctor?
I had my mammogram on January 9. All clear. (Yea!)

Do you own any shirts with a peace symbol on it?
No.

Would you ever go to Japan?
I have no interest in going.

What was the last thing you went to Walmart for?
It's been years because I don't really like shopping there. I bought the ceiling fan currently in my den at Walmart.

Ever gotten in a car accident?
Yes. I was a terrible driver (which is why I don't drive). I scratched the car door in a parking lot. Too close to one of those signposts that tells you which section you're parking in.

Have you ever been in a choir?
No. I sing even worse than I drive.

Do you like the color of your eyes? If not, what color would you want them? I have pretty green eyes.

When was the last time you went ice skating? Don't even recall.

Do you like to brush your teeth? I don't really think about it.

Have you ever had a surgery? I had a hysterectomy in 2011. Scary because it was a cancer scare that precipitated it. All clear there, too. (YEA!)

Do you look older or younger than you actually are?
I'm told I look younger. (Yea!)

When is the next time you’ll be up on stage?
I can't even imagine.

Where did you spend your last birthday?
Las Vegas.

 What is the last show that you watched a full episode of? I watched a rerun of The Big Valley Saturday morning. I have a weakness for TV westerns. TV cowboys are so good and true.

Do you know anyone who lives in Utah?
No

Is there anything you need to work on doing soon?
I have a couple loads of laundry calling my name

Do your feelings get hurt easily?
Yes

Do you, or do you know someone who has taken karate lessons?
I've been involved with two men who took martial arts very seriously.

Were you ever a boy or girl scout?
I was a Girl Scout for years (Brownie, Junior and Cadet).


Eh

I love the Oscars. I love the trivia -- like the movie which has the most nominations but no wins.* I love the controversies -- whether it's Luise Rainer vs. Carole Lombard (Best Actress, 1937)** or Robert Redford vs. Martin Scorsese (Best Director, 1980)†. I love the awards show itself, with the dresses and the speeches and the bad musical numbers.

Most of all, I love the movies. Nominate a film and I'll be there, buying a ticket. I want to see as many as I can before the show so I can be an informed viewer.

That's why I'm so bummed that I really haven't liked two of this year's big Oscar movies. And I'm not even sure I know why.

The Big Short. It's uniformly well acted. (Especially nominee Christian Bale, who seems to be wonderful in everything I've seen him in.) Some moments are unexpectedly funny. (Selena Gomez' cameo.) And I couldn't wait for it to be over. I was bored out of my fucking mind.

Carol. I'm crazy about director Todd Haymes. His movies are beautiful and lush and lovingly made. The big emotions and drama in the lives of his women characters are uniformly handled with respect so they don't sink into camp. All that is true for Carol. Yet I was disappointed. Unlike his wonderful Far From Heaven, there wasn't a single character in this movie I understood, or even liked.

So I'm kinda bummed.

Thank God for Spotlight. It's the much-nominated film that didn't disappoint. Like The Big Short, I knew how this story was going to end. And yet I was still riveted. It had a real impact on me. My mind keeps going back to it. Those final visuals -- white type against a black screen representing literally millions of young victims of sexual abuse at the hands of priests -- still hit me like a punch to the gut. And there's the universal pain of disillusionment. These Boston Globe reporters were parochial school boys and a church-going girl. Doing the right thing hurt them. It's powerful stuff. (For some reason, though, this movie causes a brain fart and in conversation I refer to it as "Searchlight.")


* A tie between The Color Purple and The Turning Point

** Oscar got it wrong. Carole Lombard is divine in a classic and Luise Rainer is simply adequate in a forgettable movie

† Oscar got it right. Ordinary People resonates with me so much more than Raging Bull did.



Saturday, January 23, 2016

Saturday 9

 
Saturday 9: The One You Love (1982)

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

In memory of Glenn Frey (1948-2016). 

1) In this song, Glenn explores one of the great romantic conundrums. This week, Saturday 9 is confronting it, too. If you had to choose, would you prefer to be loved, or to be in love? I'd rather be in love.
 
2) The song describes an awkward moment: an old boyfriend calls when a woman is on a date with someone new. To whom did you last say, "I can't talk now?" I haven't done that recently, but just this week I walked up and down the hall while talking on my phone, trying to find a room with a door so I could have a little privacy when I talked to my doctor. This open-seating sucks.

3) The lyrics talk about heart vs head. When you find yourself in that predicament, which usually wins -- heart or head? I haven't ever tabulated, but I bet it's heart.

4) This song was from Glenn Frey's solo album, No Fun Aloud. What fun stuff are you looking forward to this weekend? Maybe eat a burger? Hopefully? I'm battling an intestinal infection and have been subsisting on a very bland diet. My doctor told me I should be feeling better "this weekend." God, I hope so! I actually dreamed of a hamburger this past week.

5) Glenn Frey was born in Royal Oak, a suburb of Detroit. The Motor City is known for car manufacturing. Is your car domestic or foreign? I don't have a car.

6) The popular 1990s sitcom Home Improvement was set in Royal Oak. Are you handy around the house?  Not even remotely.

7) Glenn Frey co-founded The Eagles in 1970. What's your favorite Eagles song? "Life in the Fast Lane"

8) The Eagles helped define "California Rock," but in recent years Glenn and his wife lived in Tribeca. Have you ever been to New York? If so, did you like it? Years and years ago. I loved it. I want to go back. After all, I'm a City Girl and New York is the ultimate city. But it's so damn expensive! So maybe smaller and more affordable Boston or Memphis are in my 2016 plans.

9) Glenn wrote "Smuggler's Blues" and "You Belong to the City" for the iconic 1980s TV show, Miami Vice. What else comes to mind when you think of the 80s? Big shoulder pads and Princess Diana. Here's a photo that combines them both. (I can't get over that she'd be a grandmother, twice over.)


Friday, January 22, 2016

"Please help."

My oldest friend shot me an email today. Just a couple sentences, letting me know that she put her cat to sleep. She closed it with, "Please help."

Naturally I picked up the phone and dialed. But what can you say at a time like that? I tried to cheer her up, reminding her that she gave that cat a wonderful life for more than 10 years. Someone threw Kal away, so she ended up at a shelter. The luckiest day of Kal's furry life was when and my friend and her family adopted her, loved her, gave her a forever home where she could feel safe. I told her she shouldn't think about the last moments, but be proud of the long, nuturing life she gave that girl cat.

And that easing someone out of life can be such a loving thing. She spared Kal pain and fear and confusion. If only we could be as humane to one another as we are to our companion animals.

I hope I helped. Not sure if I did. At least my friend knew there was someone on the other end of the call who takes petcare very seriously. That matters, right?