Friday, April 18, 2014

Saturday 9

1) Which do you prefer: colored hard-boiled eggs, chocolate marshmallow eggs, or plastic eggs with coins inside? I'm my own girl, a rebel, a free thinker, so I'm going rogue and choosing a hollow chocolate bunny.

2) What's your favorite color of Peeps (yellow, purple, or pink)? Yellow chicks.

3) All this talk of sweets is making Sam hungry. What's for lunch? I don't know, but I suspect beef will be involved.

4) This song was introduced by country singer Gene Autry and it's still a favorite. Please share some of the lyrics. (And you're on your own; Sam didn't include a link to the song this week.) "Hippity hoppity Easter's on its way!"

5) Gene Autry was so popular that a town in Oklahoma named itself for him. Have you ever been to Oklahoma? Nope.

6) In addition to singing, Mr. Autry made 93 cowboy movies. What's the last movie you saw? Last Saturday I saw What's Up, Doc? with my classic movie group.

7) He and his horse Champion also had a TV show. Can you name another famous horse? The famous Mr. Ed

8) Gene Autry also recorded "Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer," and it was, of course, wildly popular, too. Who is your favorite recording artist? John, Paul, George and Ringo

9) Back to the holiday celebration at hand -- Easter is considered the season of rebirth. What leaves you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated? Washing my hair.

Lunch was just lunch

Rick, a coworker from three jobs and 16 years ago, called me for lunch. I truly haven't heard from him since Bill Clinton was President. It's a long and not very interesting story, but he ended up talking to my friend Tom and, since advertising in Chicago is a pretty small world, they played that, "Do you know so-and-so game?" and that's how my name came up and I reappeared on Rick's radar.

I figured he was looking for a new job and wanted to network.

I was wrong. He didn't ask for the name of our HR contact and he didn't even give me is card. I guess he just wanted to talk. It was nice.

He's divorced now. The little boy he talked about back in the day is now 24 and struggling mightily. The newborn twin daughters? One is severely autistic and in a custodial care facility in Michigan. Gulp. He said that while other dads have joyous parenting stories, he's had a lot of heartache. He seemed to really want to talk about it, but I admit it was hard to hear. I hope my responses were sensitive and that I didn't screw it up.

Oh, well. It was an unexpectedly pleasant lunch and sometimes people don't want anything from us except our time and focus.

I have resources. I should use them.

Wednesday was a bad day. It left me blue (see below).

I don't like being blue. I don't like accepting that I just have to take life as it comes. I wanted to do something about it!

So I articulated my worries about my job to the one person who can do something about them, the one person whose very job it is to listen and to help: my boss. While I was talking to him, I realized that I felt let down by my two teammates, but that I haven't been holding them accountable for their performance because I want us all to feel upbeat.

In short, I've been concentrating more on us being happy than I am on us being good. I am so worried about not being the bitch who can't get along with The Chocolate Covered Spider, not being the one who argues with everyone, that I've let standards slide. And yet feeling as though my coworkers are not doing their best makes me feel vulnerable.

Part of this comes from four of us sitting together in the Clown Car. I soak in everyone's emotions and feel responsible for the mood, for keeping us upbeat. It's exhausting.

And it ends now. I can change what I can change: I can make my boss more aware of our issues, because that's his job. I can insist that our account executive schedules the time it takes to get our work proofread, because that's her job. I can treat my art director like an adult and hold him responsible for his screw ups, because that's his job. And I can be more vigilant myself, because providing the client with our best product is my job.

But it's not my job to excuse bad behavior or take the fall when mistakes happen.

After talking with my boss, after dumping his fair share of the responsibility on him, I felt better. It's strange that sharing responsibility, I feel more empowered, but there you go.

And in the words of my fantasy older sister, Nora Ephron, I'm working on being the heroine and not the victim of my work story.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


I can't shake the feeling that something bad is going to happen.

We -- meaning the three of us who touched a recent project -- let a typo slip through. It never got to print, so it's not catastrophic, but it's also not good. I'm worried that this will get our client thinking about taking this portion of our account work -- the part I work on! -- back and handling it in house. The fact that the one heading this on the client side is the troublesome newbie doesn't help allay my fears. Have I mentioned lately that I really need this job?

Oh, and then there's the stove thing. I admit I'm still rather shaken by that near miss. When I'm home I keep compulsively touching the burners to make sure they're off. And I've covered the on/off console in bubble wrap, just in case Reynaldo gets the the itch to go wandering again. I know it only happened once in 10 years, and no damage was done, but still, it scared me.

My stomach hurts. So I cancelled workout #3 with trainer. I was afraid that, even after Pepto and ginger ale, bouncing around too much could end embarrassingly.

But that still leaves me feeling fat and undisciplined.

My life is really no different than it was a month ago, but I'm frightened again.

I keep thinking of that lyric from "American Pie" --  I met a girl who sang the blues ... and she was this Gal!


To play along, just answer the following three questions ...

• What are you currently reading? Mary by Janis Cooke Newman. Sorry if you're already sick of hearing about Mary Lincoln's fictional memoir; I haven't even hit page 300 of this 600+ page tome. But I am enjoying it immensely. Mary is reflecting on her life from the looney bin in Batavia, Illinois. The daughter of privilege, the belle of Springfield, the first President's wife to be referred to as First Lady -- she seems determined to figure out how the hell she ended up residing in a "rest home" with one woman who speaks to croquet balls and light fixtures and another who spends her days trying to memorize and recite the Bible. After all, to use her own word, Mary Lincoln is "unlunatic."

As portrayed in this "autobiography," Mary is smart, passionate and ambitious. These qualities both attracted and frightened our 16th President. Her ferocity balanced his melancholia and drove him to greatness. It's a marriage of formidable and flawed individuals who loved their sons and loved one another. It's easy to forget that against the backdrop of epic events like the Civil War, slavery and assassination.
• What did you recently finish reading? Another memoir, only there's nothing fictional about    After Visiting Friends by Michael Haney. The early death of Mr. Haney's father cast a pall over his entire life -- not only for what happened but for what his family conspired to never talk about. A beautiful and painful book that my own family prepared me to appreciate.

• What do you think you’ll read next? I don't know.

To see how others responded, click here.

Well, that's over

I've been out of sorts all day Tuesday.

A lot of it had to do with our bitchy new client. She met Tuesday with the coworker known as The Chocolate-Covered Spider, and I can't help but worry that no good is going to come from that combo platter.

Part of it has to do with yesterday's stove thing. Like when I almost got hit by a cab, this stuff stays with me for a while. It's a mixture of gratitude and wonder about how life unfolds.

Then there's the significance of April 15. It's the anniversary of the Boston Bombing, the sinking of the Titanic, and Lincoln's death. It all demands observance.

“A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces, but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.” – President Kennedy

Monday, April 14, 2014

Wow. Just wow.

When I was a kid, my oldest friend and I used to play with her Mattel Creeple People Thingmaker. We poured plastic Goop into trays, heated it in the Thingmaker, and then had creepy plastic people to play with. Actually, we never played with them. The fun was in the making, not in the playing. I've never forgotten the smell of the Goop in the Thingmaker.

Good thing. Because when I got home this evening, I smelled it in my kitchen. Accompanied by an unfamiliar hum.

Much to my horror, I discovered that one of my stove burners had been on. Perhaps for hours. And the Creeple People smell came from my bag of laundry supplies, which was perched atop the stove. My guess is that Reynaldo walked across the back of the stove, where the on/off buttons are, and turned it on.

Thank God I didn't work out after work Monday night. Thank God I didn't stop at the store on the way home for milk.

Thank God.

My memory isn't blurred

Pharrell Williams is suddenly adorable. Nominated for an Oscar for 2014's feel-good song "Happy" from the children's movie Despicable Me 2. Newly married to his long-time girlfriend. A proud papa to son Rocket. A philanthropist who willingly auctioned off his famous Grammy hat for charity.


The thing of it is, last year he was one of the fully-clothed strutters surrounded by nude women in Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" video. He sang on that ode to "no doesn't always mean no" and shares a writing and producing credit. So every time I see him, my skin crawls a little.

Mr. Williams says that not only do my lying eyes deceive me, so do my lying ears, and that when I hear lyrics about giving the girl "something big enough to split her a** in two" after getting her high whatever it is that they got from Jamaica, the stuff that "always works from Dakota to Decatur," it's not sexist.

"People who are agitated just want to be mad, and I accept their opinion. I appreciate everything “Blurred Lines” became."

I get it. I'm just a humorless feminist. So pardon me if I don't melt at the clip of him welling up as he and Oprah watching children sing "Happy." His attitude about how men and women should regard and treat one another doesn't leave me happy at all.

Last night I fell in love again

Mad Men is back from hiatus, and its return is very welcome. And not just because Jon Hamm is so very dishy.

It's consistently the smartest, best scripted show on TV. Even when the characters surprise me, their behavior is completely in keeping with the personalities as established. I can only imagine how hard that must be for a show with so many characters and plotlines.

It's also very true to the period and takes such pains to get the little details right. Last night the second Mrs. Draper, Megan, got a callback for the pilot of this show. It was much hyped but little viewed and virtually forgotten by everyone ... except the good people at Mad Men. It's just the type of project a New York soap opera actress would audition for in 1969's Hollywood.

I also liked how the women are still being treated. The changes that came about in the workplace didn't happen because men became enlightened. They occurred because women got fed up. Peggy and Joan are rapidly approaching their boiling point and the show depicted this beautifully. (It doesn't hurt that I, like Peggy, began my career as a secretary and worked my way up to creative director.)

I can't think of another show that treats its characters and its audience with as much respect as Mad Men does. Which doesn't mean last night's season premiere didn't provide me with more than couple smiles. My favorite: "There's someone above you and someone below you and everybody's buying everybody dinner." Welcome to advertising!

I'm so gonna miss this show when it's over.

PS My agency was mentioned within the first 10 minutes. Hope my new client was watching.

Just what I expect in 2014

I spent three hours doing laundry yesterday. Mixed, darks, greens and purples. The last two loads were because I bought so many lovely little green and purple pieces for spring.

Now that my new blouses and t-shirts are freshly laundered, it's 30º and snow is predicted for this evening.

This evening -- Monday, April 14. The average high for this date is 57º.

Of course, there's been nothing average about the weather in 2014.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sunday Stealing

The Bonus Question Meme

What’s your favorite frozen treat on a stick? I've got some chocolate covered bananas in the freezer right now. I went through a period where I ate them all the time, but now ... eh ...

What’s your favorite lollipop? The little rootbeer flavored ones my bank gives out.

When you passed notes during class in high school, who was mostly often the recipient? The woman who still makes frequent appearances on this blog as My Oldest Friend.

Who among your high school friends was the first to get his or her own car? I'm sorry but I don't remember.

Who’s the black sheep in your family? You're talking to her.

Who’s the family historian? My aunt is the keeper of everything on my dad's side.

What was the last thing you sprayed from a spray bottle? The stuff that promises to kill mildew on my shower curtain.

What was the last thing you sprayed from an aerosol can? Hairspray

When did you last make reservations for something? Dinner last Thursday

What’s your next upcoming appointment? An appointment for a checkup at the doctor is coming up

What store’s departure from your preferred shopping mall most saddened you? My all-time favorite store, Marshall Field's on State Street, closed in 2006. Thank God the beautiful, iconic old clock remains. It's Macy's now, and I've gotten used to shopping there. But many of us Chicagoans still call that store Field's.

What’s good to eat at your preferred shopping mall? If I eat there, I grab a Big Mac.

What services (as opposed to goods) do you pay for at your preferred shopping mall? I don't. Sorry.

What’s a store you’ve never been inside at your preferred shopping mall? Lids. I don't wear caps.

What kind of store would you most welcome in your preferred shopping mall? Makeup and skincare, like The Body Shop, Sephora or Ulta. 

What did you most recently purchase at an office supply store? I was recently at Staples, but I can't for the life of me remember what I bought. Sorry.

What did you most recently purchase at a book store? A wonderful book called After Visiting Friends.

What did you most recently purchase at a drugstore? Yesterday I went to CVS for a giftbag.

What did you most recently purchase at a convenience store? Wedneday I bought a lottery ticket (which I have yet to check, so I may be a millionaire as I write this) and a Mounds bar.

What did you most recently purchase at a thrift shop? A cute little pink and white striped tote bag from Goodwill.

My boys in Cubbie blue are back

This baseball season is now two weeks old. I am happy to report that the Cubs have a wonderful infield. So good that our Gold Glove second baseman, Darwin Barney, isn't even starting every game because new Cub Emilio Bonifacio's bat is so hot. Barney is one of this blog's favorite Cubs, so I hope the front office doesn't respond to this embarrassment of riches by trading him.

Our pitching still sucks, though. For some reason, we cannot get a good closer. It's so stressful to see a 2 or even 4 run lead dissolve in the 8th because our relief pitchers are so generous.

A nice Saturday

The weather was warm (70º) and dry. I slept in, had a nice big coffee shop brunch, enjoying french toast and my Mary Lincoln book. Did a little shopping, saving with my CVS coupon. And finished the day with a rare Saturday Meet Up.

I haven't seen What's Up, Doc? in years. Decades, probably. It was wonderful to see it again, and I enjoyed seeing it in an appreciative crowd. Being a big Streisand fan, I was happy to hear the kudos for her, and the "she's so pretty!" comments. Ryan O'Neal was very pretty, too, in those days. Not as talented as Babs, but definitely gorgeous. Made me sad for the way his life and career  have worked out. It was nice to see fellow-movie lovers Rebecca and Martha again.

I think the best Saturdays include nothing but breakfast, books, baseball (more in a moment) and movies.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: I'll Be There for You (1995)
1) This song begins with, "So no one told you life was gonna be this way …" What do you wish you knew five years ago about your life now? "Oh, Gal, the weight you're gaining so easily is not going to be easy to take off!"

2) This is, of course, the theme from Friends, which is frequently shown back-to-back on TVLand and TBS. Have you ever "binge-watched" a show, catching episode after episode? NCIS, Law & Order, Will & Grace, Friends ... I don't rent them from Netflix, but if a network runs a marathon, I often watch.

3) On the show, Monica and Rachel shared a beautiful 2BR/2BA Soho apartment with a private balcony. It's estimated that such a pad would cost at least $3500/month in today's real-life New York. Describe your dream home. The Palmolive Building on Michigan Avenue. It's a beautiful, lovingly restored art deco building and that light you see is called The Lindbergh Beacon. It dates back to the 1930s when it helped pilots fly into Chicago from over the Lake. Of course with today's air traffic controllers it's no longer necessary, but it still shines every night, rotating a full 360º.

4) Of the six main characters, only Chandler was an only child. Do you have any siblings? Two sisters. I'm the middle one.

5) Gunther was the barista at Central Perk, the coffee shop where the Friends hung out. He had an ongoing, unrequited love for Rachel. Are you crushing on anyone right now? Does he/she know? Yes. I don't know.

6) Currently Matt ("Joey") LeBlanc stars in the Showtime series Episodes, playing a character named Matt LeBlanc. If there was going to be series
based on your life, who would play you? Carrie Fisher. We're very nearly the same age and have similar senses of humor. (Though my writing isn't as sharp as hers, and my life isn't as dramatic as hers, nor are my demons as fierce.)

7) Courtney Cox, who portrayed Monica, has the Twitter handle @CourtneyCox and has 628,000 followers. What was your last tweet? Gwyneth Paltrow for the Polly Bergen part. Then she and Nicky could consciously uncouple. Some classic movie fans and I were casting our own modern-day remake of an old movie called Move Over, Darling (itself a remake of My Favorite Wife).

8) The creators of Friends were massive soap opera fans. They named their characters after recurring characters on All My Children and had Joey appear on Days of Our Lives. Have you ever been hooked on a daytime drama? I watched AMC off and on throughout its run. I loved Dark Shadows when I was a kid.

9) The band who performed this song, The Rembrandts, took their name from the famous Dutch painter. Can you see any artwork from where you're sitting right now? Tell us about it (and yes, a school painting by your 7-year-old nephew counts). A pen-and-ink of San Francisco's Lombard Street.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


We have a new client. She's about 35, but has only been in marketing about three years. Most of her career has been spent in creative services -- design, specifically.

I've had two meetings with her, both regarding the same relatively minor project. And in both meetings she acted more like a designer than a marketer, trying to tell us how to do our job (therefore not doing hers).

I'm trying to see this as newbie behavior. She's trying to establish her credentials with us and impress us. Or maybe because the job is a bit more complex than she expected it to be, she returns to the area where she's most comfortable -- which is creative rather than marketing.

Also, when Mad Men isn't on and mentioning our agency every week, I forget how respected and venerable we are. I mean, I'm here, part of the sausage making process, so I'm not impressed with us. But I imagine that a Michigan Avenue agency with our reputation could be intimidating.

At any rate, she makes me tired.

I dearly hope that she will calm down and come to know and trust us. To let us add value and make her job easier.

I'm trying not to be paranoid -- that somehow our Fortune 500 Company client didn't hire her because they are displeased with my work and want to bring my projects in house under her tutelage. When I'm not freaking out, I realize that's unlikely. But possible.

Another reason why I'm tired.

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick/

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

I Want Wednesday

I want this week to be over. Saturday our classic movie group is meeting for What's Up, Doc, a screwball comedy I haven't seen in decades. The weather is supposed to be sunny and warm(er) Saturday, too.

I want carefree and happy!

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Look! The glass is half full!

Yes, something very bad happened to me. It continued to hurt me and bedevil me throughout my life at the most unexpected times. And no, I didn't get the support I needed and deserved from my mother and sisters.

This has to be acknowledged. We're only as sick as our secrets, and this one was a doozy.

On the other hand, after this week, much of it will be OVER. The old fart will be, literally, dead and buried. I'll never have to see at his face. I can think of no reason why his name will come up in any context, ever again. This is an enormous relief.

And, since he managed to die at a time when I can't leave town as I'd planned, I suddenly have quite a cache of American Airlines miles I can use. So this October's trip to Los Angeles? The flight will be free, thankyouverymuch.

I've gotten the support I craved as kid now, and now I'm very grateful for it. Those of you who posted your support on Sunday's post have no idea how much your words meant to me. My aunt from the other side of the family wrote that she wishes she could fly in for "the funeral of that old bastard" so she can "practice her grave dancing." And my oldest friend, an abuse survivor herself, and I talked a lot on Sunday night. It's good to have people in your corner!

And I got through it. I wonder how much this has colored my relationships with men, but at this point it's only an intellectual pursuit. It doesn't really matter how I got through or what it cost me, I got through.

I'm tougher than I give myself credit for.

Teaser Tuesday

Here's how to play this meme.

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

From Mary: A Novel by Janis Cook Newman. It's the fictional autobiography of Mary Lincoln. Here she is on page 158, lobbying Abe to bring her along when he moves to Washington as an Illinois Congressman.
"I want to see how they treat you in Washington City. Once they come to learn what you are."
"And what is that?" he asked as the baby tugged upon his ears.

"Noble," I told him.

My husband held up his youngest son. "And I am to refuse the heart's desire of someone who believes that of me?" he asked Eddie.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Of course he did

My molester died this morning. This means that relatives will be coming in from Los Angeles and Tampa to honor his pervy old ass.

I had a feeling this was coming. I've been checking my voicemail during the day from work, expecting to get the word. I imagined that then I would use the American Airlines frequent flier miles I have been hoarding to take a flight to Memphis. I thought it would be nice to absent myself by spending a few days with The King. There are motels within walking distance from Graceland and I thought it would be a great distraction from the ugliness at hand.

But the old fart died on a Sunday when I'm covering for a vacationing coworker and when I'm preparing to meet a new client for the first time. So no, I can't take a few days off right now.

Isn't that just like him? Messing with me to the last.

Circumstances can stop me from escaping town but they can't force me to celebrate my molester as the patriarch and pious congregant the family likes to think he is.

So I'm no longer answering my landline and am insisting to anyone who calls my cell or emails/texts that I'm out of town. Besides, I just may be gone for real on Thursday or Friday.

Once he's planted, this will all be over. Not only can he no longer harass me, and I will no longer have to keep his secret.

I got the news as I was getting into the shower. I felt cleansed in so many ways.

Sunday Stealing

The For Old Times' Sake Meme

When was the last time you swam in a pool? At Christmastime, when I was in Key West. It was small but very pretty.

Do you like to party? Not so much anymore. I have to be social and on all day at work, and when I get home I want to recharge with Alone Time.

Describe the shirt you're wearing? Key West again. A nightshirt featuring Robert the Haunted Doll.

What is one feature film that you don't like? Raiders of the Lost Ark. I don't hate it, I just don't like it.

Would people describe you as happy? Most of the time.

Sleep with or without clothes on? Depends on the weather and where I am.

Does it bother you if people swear around you? No

Do you prefer Wednesdays or Thursdays? Thursday, I suppose. But it's not a strong preference.

Like to travel? Yes. I'm going to Los Angeles in October, Las Vegas in December and Key West (third mention this post!) in December.

Think you're attractive? I suppose. I'm not pretty, but I can be cute.

Are or were you a good student? I could be, when I cared. I get more jacked about learning things now then I did in a school setting.

Are you currently happy? At this moment? Except for a scratchy throat, yes.

Colored or black-and-white photo? Depends

Do you consider yourself the life of the party? No

Do you drink? Yes

Do you make fun of people? Yes

Do you think dreams eventually come true? If they're supposed to

Favorite fictional character? Jo from Little Women

Go to the movies or rent? I love the experience of going to the movies

Have you ever moved? Yes. I hate it.

Have you ever stolen anything? No

How's the weather right now? Unseasonably chilly

Last time you cut your hair? I've never cut my own hair. But I had a hair cut yesterday.

Last person you talked to on the phone? I called a cab

Last time you showered? This morning.

Loud or soft music? Loud

McDonalds or Burger King? I like them both.

Night or day? For what?

Number of pillows? Two

Piano or guitar? I can't play either

Current longing? To be in better shape and feel more fit

Current disappointment? I'm upset with my best friend. He's been unemployed for 20 months now and just got back from another family vacation. He has traveled more with no income than most people do with jobs. I know this means his wife has to have a job. Yet he hasn't mentioned anything about it! I'm disappointed in him that he seems to feel embarrassed about his family's work situation. I mean, it's just ME. He should know that the things I admire about him have nothing to do with whether or not he's the breadwinner. (Straight men are so hard to figure out.)

Current annoyance? The aforementioned scratchy throat.

Last thing you ate? A bowl of cereal.

Last thing you bought? A roll of Bounty paper towels.

Pick a lyric, any lyric or a song... "So we are history, your shadow covers me, the sky above is ablaze!"

Pick a movie quote... "Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?"

So glad we had lunch

My nephew and I spent a couple hours together over pizza and he filled me in on his 8th grade life.

He didn't mention the class trip to Washington DC, which I know he dearly wanted to go on but can't afford. He's enthusiastic about the two traditional events that await him before graduation -- a museum trip to downtown Chicago and a trip to Six Flags Great America.

For me, the big news is that he's no longer sure he wants to be an author. He wants to teach. "Kids my own age or younger." I'm glad to hear this because I almost ordered him a wallet for graduation that said, "You are this close to be written out of my novel."

We also discussed our summer outing. My nephew wants to return to The Taste of Chicago. I'm not surprised because the boy does love to eat!

He's a good kid, a sweet kid. I enjoyed our time together.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

My Mom Would Like This

I was in my old hometown today for my haircut and just happened to find myself passing my mother's house. A realtor was on the front sidewalk, talking to a young a couple. I can't say for sure, because my cab was moving at a pretty fast clip, but I think the woman was pregnant.

My mother loved that house so much. It's a good-sized ranch within walking distance to both public and parochial grade schools, and the yard I spent my girlhood playing in was her pride and joy. It would make her happy to see a young family grow there.

Saturday 9

50 years ago this week, The Beatles made history with this song (hear it here). They became the first and only act in history to hold all 5 of the top slots in the Billboard Hot 100.

1) In this song, Beatle Paul offers to buy his girl a diamond ring. Do you wear rings? I have to, because the ring helps me tell my left from my right. (Yes, I am that pathetic. You never want me as your navigator.) My current favorite is lotus blossoms etched on a silver band.

2) This song was written by boyhood friends John Lennon and Paul McCartney, who went on to become the most successful songwriters of the 20th century. Tell us about  your best friend from "the old neighborhood." Do you know where he or she is today? Yes. The woman I imaginatively refer to on this blog as "my oldest friend" has been in my life since Kindergarten. We communicate (email/phone) several times a week and are spending my birthday together in Vegas this November. I have lots of decades-long friendships. They come easily to me. I'm lucky that way.

3) The Ed Sullivan Theater, where the Beatles first performed to a mass American audience, is now the home of The Late Show with David Letterman. Do you have a favorite late night talk show? I love those Comedy Central boys. 

4) In 1964, when this song became #1, one of top TV shows was My Favorite Martian. Do you believe in life on other planets? Intellectually, yes. It just makes sense. But I don't spend much time thinking about it or imagining what they might look like.

5) In those days, homes had rotary dial phones, often affixed to the wall, with the receiver always tethered by a curly cord. Does your home still have a landline phone? Yes.

6) 1964 was the year GI Joe first appeared on toy shelves. Tell us about one of your favorite childhood toys. My Lassie dog, who looked much like this before I lavished her with so much attention and affection. She's up in my closet somewhere. I can't part with her.

7) Ringo was the first Beatle to become a grandfather. His granddaughter, Tatia, is now a rock musician. If you were to follow your grandfather into his chosen profession, what would you be doing now? I don't know what his job title was, but my grandpa worked at ElectroMotive Diesel for decades. He serviced engine parts, and was very proud of his prowess. When he finally retired, he spent hours on end at his tool bench or repairing things at his house and at ours. He loved to tinker!

8) Paul McCartney admits he enjoys watching MasterChef. What show do you go out of your way to catch? Thinking of talkshow hosts, I really enjoy seeing the old master again on Carson on TCM, hosted by Conan O'Brien. The current run ended on March 31, but I suspect TCM will show more again this summer.

9) The paparazzi has often caught Paul pedaling a bike around Martha's Vineyard. What's your favorite form of exercise? I enjoy pedaling my little heart out on the stationery bike. My ankle has been giving me trouble lately -- I think perhaps the boots I wore way, way too often this snowy winter didn't provide the right support -- so I've been shying away from the treadmill.

Dinner with a real ROMEO

Thursday night I picked up a lovely salad at the local deli and met Robert, a charming older gentleman from church. He's one of the volunteers who contacts each of the members about what we like about the congregation, what we don't like … and try to get us to pledge more for the 2014-2015 year.

(Good luck with that, Robert. I'm not at all happy about the way the capital campaign has been handled and I'm not going to support it.)

Despite how I feel about this fundraising push, I was very happy to talk with Robert. He was such a sweet, spirited soul! He invited me to sit with him and his wife this Sunday, and told me that he and his retiree lunch buddies refer to themselves as ROMEOs (Really Old Men Eating Out). I think that's charming.

Friday, April 04, 2014

"We're gonna cheer, and boo, and raise a hullaballoo ..."

Opening Day at Wrigley Field is underway. All is right in this gal's world.