Friday, April 17, 2015

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Neon Lights

1) Think of a neon sign you pass by often. What does it say? There an EXIT sign on either end of my hall. Not terribly attractive nor original, but they get the point across.

2) In the video for this song, Demi Lovato spends a great deal of time in the water. When is the last time you swam? Over Christmas in Key West. I swam in this pool every morning.

3) The song encourages us to "look up at the sky." OK, we will. How does the sky look where you are today? Gorgeous. Clear blue, not a cloud in sight.

4) Demi is a contributing editor for Seventeen magazine. When she was in junior high school, Crazy Sam eagerly awaited each new issue of Seventeen. When you were younger, which magazine(s) did you read regularly? I loved flipping through Mademoiselle. It was like Glamour, but the lifestyle it promoted was more affordable and attainable for a gal on an allowance. Unfortunately, Mademoiselle went belly up years ago.

5) Demi is an investor in the company that makes Texas Tea, a bottled beverage available at Whole Foods. Do you have any tea in your kitchen right now? Yes. I have two boxes of tea bags. They both smell yummy. I like to spoil myself with flavored, fragrant teas.

6) Demi is currently on tour, performing halfway around the world in Australia and New Zealand. Have you ever had a job that required travel? Never as far as New Zealand!

7) Demi had a recurring role on the show Glee. That show's series finale aired last month. Is there a show that's no longer on that you miss?


8) Fast-growing fast food chain Chipotle reports that their top sellers include a burrito bowl with steak or chicken, salad with chili-corn salsa, and a soft taco. Which of these would you order? I'm not a big fan of Mexican food, but I'll go with the taco.

9) What beverage would you like to enjoy with your burrito bowl, taco or salad? Can I have Dr. Pepper at Chipotle?

Oh, great!

After I blog I'm going to pack for my trip to Los Angeles. My spring vacation. This trip has always felt like something of a consolation prize. I had wanted to take a spa trip -- I love those solo getaways to relax and recharge -- and had almost decided on Memphis, when my oldest friend dropped a bombshell on me. Her doctor told her she suffers from "bipolar, cyclical, clinical depression, which typically doesn't respond well to meds."

She goes through periods where she can't get out of bed. She also has physical problems, like vertigo, and has taken a ton of time off work already. This is her fifth job in 4 1/2 years she's been in California. She can't afford to lose it.

So I'm going out to be with her. To lend her moral support. She hasn't made any friends in the time she's been out there, and the cousin she moved to be with hasn't not made herself available in times of need. I want my oldest friend to know that she's not alone.

That's why I'm flying for hours and hours (which I hate) to shop and go to the movies (which I could do here). I figured I'd have fun. After all, no one makes me laugh harder than my oldest friend. It's just not what I want to be doing. But I've been trying to get my mind right.

Except yesterday my friend told me she was going to the doctor because a bad head cold has her ears all plugged up.

Oh, great!

If I end up on her living room sofa watching Me-TV all weekend, I'll scream. What a waste of stress (air travel) and money and time off that would be!

I know she can't help being sick -- whether she's congested or bipolar. But I can't help being exasperated, either.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015



Abraham Lincoln died 150 years ago this week. Since he's been on my mind, I thought I'd make this week's Thursday Thirteen a little snapshot of life in America on April 15, 1865.

1) We married younger back then. In 1865, the average age was 21 for the bride and 26 for the groom. 150 years later, the average bride is 27 and the groom is 29.

2) Princess Leia would have fit right in. One of the most popular do's began with hair parted down the middle and then rolled up on the sides.

3) The French influenced how we dressed. Bright Zouave red, like the French infantry wore, was the "in" color for ladies' jackets.

4) And how we smelled. Guerlain, the French perfume house, provided American women with the most popular scent of the decade. A version of it is still available today. 

5) Dying was already an effective marketing strategy. You know how when a recording artist dies, his sales and downloads go through the roof? We weren't that different 150 years ago. American composer Stephen Foster had recently died, and with his passing came the renewed popularity of his songs, including "Oh, Susanah!" and "Camptown Races."

6) Charles Dickens had another hit on his hands. His latest novel, Our Mutual Friend, was published in installments between May, 1864 and November, 1865.

7) Culture came to Chicago. The Crosby Opera House was all set to open this week in 1865, but the gala premiere performance was rescheduled out of respect for Illinois' favorite son, the late President Lincoln. This building had a lot of bad luck. First there were cost overruns, then the President's assassination interfered with its opening, and finally it was destroyed in The Great Fire in 1871.

8) We liked our desserts. Pumpkin pie, apple pie and plum pudding were tops.

9) We liked our beer. While beer had been popular here since before the Revolution, brewing started becoming more sophisticated in the mid-18th century. The most successful breweries were built over artesian wells.

10) Mr. Lincoln started a trend. He was the first of our Presidents to be photographed extensively. The last known picture was snapped just weeks before his death. He appreciated the importance of preserving important moments for posterity. I bet if Abe was alive today, he'd be taking selfies.

11) Husbands and wives were seldom photographed together. And the Lincolns were no different. The style for formal portraits back then would be separate shots taken during the same sitting and then displayed together in a hinged frame.

12) The Civil War lightened up mourning, literally. Antebellum Americans grieved publicly in a Victorian fashion. Siblings wore nothing but black for six months, mothers and children dressed in black mourning for a year, and wives were expected to remain clad in "widow's weeds" for at least than two years. That became untenable during the Civil War. First of all, nearly one of every four soldiers died, and it was likely that more than one person mourned a single soldier (say, his mother, his sister, his wife and his child), so it's possible that most of your town could be in black, day in and day out. Very bad for morale. Then there was the expense. New black material or black dye could be costly, and the War had brought hardship to just about everyone. So the Victorian mode of "perpetual mourning" went by the wayside.

13) The marriage rights parallel. Just as today we're debating whether same-sex couples should have the right to marry, legislators and journalists were all over the civil rights and moral issues raised when married couples wanted to split up. Some states thought a divorce should be granted if the wife was unfaithful, whereas straying husbands were just "boys being boys" and a not sufficient reason for a union to be severed. States differed on how many times a wife had to be beaten before she could legally leave her husband. And then, just as now, people piously claimed their point of view was the right one because they believed that's what The Good Book says.

Please join us for The NEW THURSDAY THIRTEEN. Click here to play along, and to see other interesting compilations of 13 things.

Why I love keeping a blog

This morning, while waiting for the train, I found myself gazing yet again at the vacant lot across from my el stop. It seemed sad to me that it's still empty. I knew the construction project that was to happen here was a victim of the Recession, but I couldn't recall exactly how long it's been like this. Then I did a search on this humble blog and look what I found:

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Gone, baby, gone

The Gay House is gone! Demolished! It makes me very sad.

The Gay House was a building I saw every day, twice a day, because it's across from the el tracks. The first floor was a trio of small, affordable offices. No one ever stayed there very long, and I enjoyed checking out who was currently renting space. Sometimes it was local political candidates. At tax time there was frequently an accountant. You get the idea.

Upstairs was an apartment with the most beautiful rooftop garden. I called it The Gay House because in addition to a grill and plastic Adirondack chairs, all year around there was a gay pride rainbow flag on the porch. I loved watching it change from season to season.

Between yesterday and today, it's gone! The three offices, the apartment, the grill, the chairs and the gay pride flag. I feel like I've lost something.


This meme is no more. And yet I persist in answering the three questions it asked each week. Stubborn, ain't I?

1. What are you currently reading? Frank: The Voice by James Kaplan. I read a lot of biographies, and I'm pleased to report that this time, the author and his subject are very well matched. Kaplan manages to be both admiring and clear-eyed when writing about the man and his music.

For example, I just read a passage about Frank's unfortunate infatuation with The Mob. It began, "Bugsy Siegel, the jaunty sociopath, was uncharacteristically nervous ..." So yes, Kaplan goes there when writing about Sinatra, and he does with style. This book is a most entertaining read.

And I'm getting to know Nancy Barbato (still alive and kicking), the first Mrs. Frank Sinatra. A pretty, smart, level headed Jersey girl. She didn't belong in Manhattan or Hollywood, but she went there because she loved the boy she met in Hoboken. She's not naive, she's not plain, and she's not masochistic -- all attributes commonly attributed to her as the Sinatra yarn is spun. I'm coming to admire her very much.

2. What did you recently finish reading? Remember Me Like This by Bret Anthony Johnston. One of those "Have You Seen Me?" milk carton kids -- an 11-year-old boy -- is found four years later. Then what? How do the kid and the family adjust to the trauma they have endured? How do they deal with justice system and the press that keep the trauma alive?

At first I enjoyed the book. The point of view is original and the writing is talented. Then the plot took a strange turn. I don't want to give too much away, but just let's say it was deja-In the Bedroom. I didn't buy it.

3.  What will you read next? I don't know. I've had very good luck lately with books I've had laying around here that I've either skipped or forgotten. I think a trip back through my den will be in order.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

On my mind today

Remember that scene near the end of Spielberg's Lincoln? The President is speaking informally to members of  his cabinet when he gets word that Mrs. Lincoln is waiting for him to go to Ford's Theater. "It's time for me to go," he says, "but I would rather stay." That scene always makes me cry.

That was 150 years ago today.

My mind keeps going back to JBKO in her oral history, Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy. Jackie tells us that in July 1963, JFK asked Princeton historian David Donald, "Would Lincoln have been as great a president if he'd lived?" Four months later, well, you know.

 "It's time for me to go, but I would rather stay."

Oh, Mr. Lincoln, you haunt my imagination!

That went well!

In the olden days, when I presented my work internally, every meeting was followed by a sotto voce postmortem. We creatives would huddle together and relive the meeting, bemoaning that our best work would likely never be seen by the client because The Chocolate Covered Spider overstepped her boundaries and killed it during the internal review. My boss, who always prefers maintaining calm to quality, would back Spidey up. We'd feel bruised and helpless.

Today was the first day of a new chapter. We presented creative to The New Girl. She was exhausting ... lots of questions, lots of blab, lots of enthusiasm ... but even though the meeting was overlong, it was positive.. She had criticisms, she had opinions. That's to be expected, that's her job. But she's a collaborator, not a dictator. "What do you all think? I don't want to make the final decision."

We no longer felt dominated. We felt like part of a team. That's so much better.

This job feels almost new again.

It's not my fault

I am predisposed to men with brown eyes. And Marco Rubio's are the sweetest puppy brown.

Naturally there's no way I'd cast a vote for him. I'm reminded of a quote from JFK about who a liberal is -- someone who cares about the health and welfare, civil rights and civil liberties of the people -- and that's just not who Marco Rubio is.

But he does have sweet puppy brown eyes.

Don't judge me.

This made me so happy

For a brief time I worked with the absolute nicest woman you'd ever want to meet. Sweet, smart, pretty and loaded with integrity. We're Facebook friends and we meet for lunch every six months or so. She left me a message saying she needed "a Gal fix" and so today was our lunch date.

She told me "proud mom" stories about her three young sons, how much she likes their new home in the burbs, how much she loves doting on her nieces ... and then she told me the reason why she called me out of the blue.

Her career, which has taken off like a rocket even though she is mothering three sons under 6, has suddenly hit a rough spot. The boss who promoted her, who sees himself as her mentor, has begun to expect her to act as his henchman. She's supposed to support him in his quest to "clean house," to "toe the party line" and scapegoat people so they can be fired.

She won't do it. I wouldn't expect her to. She's not that kind of person.

She told me that last week her boss came to her office confront her about her decision. He was very angry. Things escalated. She said that as they "exchanged f bombs," she caught sight of the tiny "Just be yourself" pillow I'd given her years ago, as a going-away present when she left the agency where we once worked together.

It gave her strength.

How cool is that!

Of course, now she's in her boss' sites and expects to be let go herself before year end.

She's lucky that her husband is very supportive and makes nearly as much as she does. She can afford to take some off and perhaps would welcome being able to spend more time with those divine little boys.

I'm happy that my little gesture so many years ago left her feeling supported and believed in.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sunday Stealing

The Sizzle Says Meme

1. If money were no object, what would you be doing with your life? I'd log lots and lots of hours volunteering. Probably at an animal shelter. Perhaps on political campaigns.

2. Money is just that - an object, so why aren’t you doing it? I'm confused. Doesn't this question answer itself?

3. What’s better: horses or cows? For what?

4. What do you think the secret to happiness is? 


5. When was the last time you had a dream that you either remember well or did not want to awake from? Can you share a bit? In February I had a lot of bad dreams. The scariest was The Purse Dream. I'm on vacation and visiting a touristy outdoor park, like Venice Beach. One of the street vendors is a woman who gives doggie pedicures. She has her own adorable little white mutt there -- painted nails, oversized glamorous sunglasses -- to drum up business. I drop my bag and fall to my knees to pet the pup and when I'm done, my purse is gone. So is my wallet, my ID, my phone, and the Epipen I need in case of bee sting. So I'm stranded and feeling completely vulnerable in a strange city.

6. When you were a little kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? A singer and dancer. I realized rather early on that I'm a tone deaf kltuz, which dashed that dream.

7. Complete this statement: Love is… what makes you feel alot. It's intense.

8. Can you tell a good story? Yes. I think I'm quite the raconteur.

9. Can you remember your last daydream? What was it about?  Sigh. It was a silly romantic daydream.

10. If you were to thank someone today, who would you thank? My friends, for always being there. I'm very lucky in that regard.

11. If you could be anyone's mojo, whose would you want to be, and why? (For those you do not know what mojo is, it's personal magnetism; charm.)   Leroy Jethro Gibbs, the "Boss" of the NCIS team. I love him, you know. He'd catch the bastards in The Purse Dream.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Back to back jacks!

The Cubs got back-to-back homeruns tonight for the first time this season. Yea! Go, Cubs, go!

And the groom wore yellow feathers in his hair ...

... and a dress cut down to there.

So this man is gay. The news broke this week that Barry Manilow has been secretly married to his manager. A man.

Female Fanilows -- primarily post-menopausal women -- are shocked because they didn't know he was gay. Look at that photo. They didn't know. Okeedokee. Some insist that since Barry himself hasn't officially confirmed the marriage, it's just a filthy lie and the man in this photo is straight. Okeedokee.

I find this very sad.

First, Barry Manilow is now 71 years old. He didn't just "become" homosexual. So he's been in the closet all his adult life. He waited until now -- when he's well over the age to begin collecting Social Security and on his farewell tour -- to finally marry the lover he's been with for decades. And he's still not announcing and openly celebrating his relationship. There's something poignant about that.

Secondly, his fans are pissed. Not all of them, of course. The man has sold a staggering number of records (hell, even I bought one) and many are wishing him well. But others are truly upset.

"I'm unhappy he lied to his fans for 40 years and wasn't honest years ago at the gay bath house he and Bette Midler played. But I'll forgive him & move on and pray that God forgives him too!"
Doesn't look prepared to kick ass, does he?

"Barry is going to sue! Barry needs to get them good for doing this to him!"

"Who's the low life that started this ridiculous story? They're in for it now!"

I've been a fan girl all my life, beginning with my pre-school crush on Little Joe Cartwright. So in a way, I can tap into the Fanilow mindset.* I suppose I understand how they'd feel betrayed. I'm told that onstage he really plays to the ladies, presenting himself as something of a romantic ideal, and every night the competition is fierce to be the CSWY Girl -- the one he plucks from the audience to dance with during "Can't Smile without You."

What makes me sad is the implicit homophobia in some of these posts. Is "gay" really the worst thing you can accuse a person of? In 2015? Maybe Manilow was right to not trust his fans with the truth.  

Obviously Barry Manilow brought these women a lot of joy. His music meant something to him in a very real way. Clearly it's not my cup of tea, but that's not the point. The man who sang the love songs that set their hearts a pitter patter has found love himself.  

I wish they could be happy that he's finally found what he's been singing about.

*Though I insist that Michael Landon is far more attractive than Barry Manilow ever was, and maintain that at age 3 I had better taste, and a more finely tune gaydar, than the some Fanilows.


Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

1) This song asks, "Does anybody really care about time?" How about you? Do you pride yourself on being punctual? Or don't you really care? I take public transportation, so I'm used to adhering to a schedule. The only thing I really struggle with is getting to the office in the morning. Nothing really happens before 10:00. All anyone does between 9:00 and 10:00 is wait in line at Starbucks. I can't see racing around the house in the morning to ride and over crowded train to watch people just mill around with cups in their hands. So I get in around 9:45.
2) The lyrics refer to a stranger asking the time. When is the last time you
conversed with someone you didn't really know? What did you two talk about? I got a pedi Friday evening after work. The owner's very young son was hanging around me by the UV nail dryer. He showed off his leaping skills by jumping over my shoes. I praised his talents and he wished me a good night ("bye bye") as I put on my coat.

3) According to the Top 40 tracker Tunecaster, this song knocked Tony Orlando and Dawn's "Knock Three Times" out of the #1 spot on the charts in January 1971. Are you familiar with "Knock Three Times?" Yes. It's awful, though not as bad as their more famous and more obnoxious follow up, "Tie a Yellow Ribbon 'Round the Old Oak Tree."

4) Chicago is not only the name of the group but also of the midwest's largest city. Chicago is the proud hometown of such luminaries as Bill Murray, Michelle Obama and Derrick Rose. Does your town have any favorite sons or daughters? Ernest Hemingway was born and grew up here. A rather dreadful girl, currently one of the defendants in a high-profile murder trial in Bali, is also from here, but we prefer to talk to Hemingway.

5) The group Chicago was originally known as The Chicago Transit Authority, after the city's public transportation system. When is the last time you were on a bus or a train? I take the train every day, twice a day, to and from work.

6) Four of the original seven bandmembers are still with the group … after 48 years! What's the longest you stayed at the same job? I've been at this one 10.5 years. That's really unheard of in advertising. I'd like to hang onto it as long as I can.

7) Lead singer Rob Lamm confessed that, at times, being in a band has been hard for him because he is by nature a loner. How about you? Are you more introverted or extroverted? Introverted. Being around too many people too long exhausts me. I need alone time to recharge.

8) This summer, Chicago will be touring with Earth, Wind and Fire. Have you seen/will you attend any concerts in 2015? I'm going to see old what's-his-name at Lollapalooza this summer. Gulp. Talk about being around too many people! Oh well, it's Sir Paul. Plus my 14-year-old nephew is the envy of all his friends because he's going to Lolla with the coolest aunt in the world.

 9) Random question: What's the last mess you cleaned up? I scooped the litterboxes. That counts, right?

Vacation prep

Soon I'll be off for a long weekend in Los Angeles. While it's not my first choice for a spring vacay, it's certainly not the worst thing that can happen to a gal, either. My oldest friend and I will go shopping, go to the movies, and take in some sites I just can't see here in Chicagoland -- maybe
Hollywood, maybe the ocean. We'll see.

To help me get my head into this trip, this evening I got my spring pedi. Essie Tart Deco. It's a light shade of coral. I think I like it. I'm still not 100% used to the brighter look, but change can be good and soon Los Angelenos will be gazing at it.

And I got a portable DVD player. ORD-LAX can take (gulp!) four hours. That's just too damn long for a white-knuckled flyer, like me. Books, magazines and meds can't keep me calm. So I'll let this little 7" screen distract me and keep me sane. Also, with more and more people streaming videos and the new MacBooks not having a slot for DVDs/CDs, I figured I'd better snap up a DVD player when they're still being manufactured. The one I chose is by Philips, new and not refurbished, and still just
$60. I have to remember to pack DVDs (I always forget to pack something!) and that the TSA wants me to take it out of my carry on when I go through security.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The "Because You Annoy Me" Edition

I'm glad this week has come to an end. I've been out of sorts and easy to rile, though I think I've kept that to invisible to others. Which is good. No one needs to see that. But, since a wound can't heal until it's cleansed, I'm getting all the debris out here in this post.

1) Congratulations. You just said the completely wrong thing! Michelle, the New Girl, has a good heart, a sharp intellect and a very, very big mouth. On Tuesday, when the topic of the plane crash came up, she was more than a little heartless. It was all unwitting -- after all, she didn't realize how many of us had a connection to one of the victims -- and afterward she must have felt terrible, so I let it go. But naturally, I was unsettled and pissed.

2) But no, you don't. Really, you don't. One of my more annoying coworkers -- though this week it must be admitted everyone was annoying me -- was bragging on herself. Again. This time she was telling Michelle, the New Girl, that she has a "photographic memory." Bull. Shit. I am the woman's short term memory. She never remembers anything we've worked on, or who the account team was, or ... or ... or ... She bases her brag on her ability to recall the moment, when she was in pre-school, that she helped her mother hang sheets on the line in the backyard. She can't even remember what happened immediately before or after she helped Mom. Over and over this week, when I had to remind her of something, I wanted to ask, "But what happened to your photographic memory?"

3) Are you fucking kidding me? Right after I heard about the plane crash, my oldest friend confessed that she had been too depressed to get out of bed over the weekend, meaning she missed Easter because of the blues. She moved 2000 miles to California specifically to spend holidays with her beloved cousin Sharon and instead of doing so, she stayed in bed? And her cousin Sharon didn't drive over to see what was wrong? I didn't think I could be more annoyed by this until she told me what triggered her depressive episode: Peter Falk died. In 2011. She never met Peter Falk and gave him little thought during his lifetime. But she and I have recently gotten into the Columbo reruns on Me-TV, and realizing he was gone sent her into a tailspin. On the one hand, I'm thinking of a woman who is faced with the most crushing circumstances I can imagine, and on the other hand, I'm listening to another who isn't doing the bare minimum (like getting out of bed and driving to her cousin's) to make herself happy.

I know that's unfair. I know my oldest friend's depression is a disease, and expecting her to "snap out of it" is like expecting someone to "snap out of" asthma or diabetes. I also know that she was trusting me when she told me about Peter Falk, trusting me to understand and not mock. And so I didn't mock and tried to understand. But I was still tres annoyed. Privately. To myself. But yes, even though she couldn't hear me, when she told me about Peter Falk my inner voice was screaming, "Are you fucking kidding me?"

So what's been wrong with me this week? I haven't been feeling well. My twisted ankle (now nearly two weeks old) is healing well but slowly. I think I miss working out. I'm still learning how to manage my GERD. I was felled by a migraine Wednesday morning. And yes, that plane crash has been haunting me.

But the week is over. And now I'm going to face forward, enjoy my weekend, and try to have a happy weekend and a better week.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015



Reflections on my little madman on his 11th birthday

1) I adopted Reynaldo from an animal shelter in November 2004. He was estimated to be about 7 or 8 months old at the time, which means he was probably born in April 2004.

2) The shelter volunteers called him Houdini because he had rather deftly figured out how to get out of his cage. I should have known then what I was getting into.

3) During our first meeting, he leaped out of my arms and attached himself to the side of the cage that held the rabbits also up for adoption. I should have known then what I was getting into.

4) I renamed him Reynaldo Curtis, after my then #1 TV boyfriend, the detective Benjamin Bratt played on Law and Order.

5) He answers to "Rey," "Rey-Rey" and "Reynaldo." For all the faults I'm about to list, it must be said that he reliably responds when called.

6) Rey has an astonishing need for my attention that has not abated with time. The vet says he is "unusually attached" to me.

7) This manifests itself by waking me up at all hours of the night, just to get me to interact with him. He eats my hair, cries at the ceiling, or knocks things off my dresser one-by-one until I awaken.

8) He hates it when I'm on the computer or on the phone -- or basically doing anything that doesn't directly involve him. To distract me, he likes to knock things off the dining room table or living room end table. He does this even though he knows it will get him banished to solitary confinement behind the bedroom door. He can't help himself, he's compelled.

9) In his quest to capture and hold my attention he has been quite destructive. He's destroyed picture frames and ripped the curtain rods out of the wall (resulting in plasterwork and repainting). He also did an impromptu dance on my electric stove, turning on one of the burners, which was scary. That's why the stove's control panel is now gusseted in bubble wrap. It gives the appliance an unusual look, but it's better than letting him burn the building down.

10) He has a box of balls and catnip toys at his disposal, and yet he finds it more intriguing to torment me.

11) His liveliness makes him a good playmate for Connie, my two year old cat. Though they used to be boxing buddies, my 20-year-old tomcat Joey now finds Rey's tomfoolerly increasingly tiresome.

12) Rey has no temper. None whatsoever. I can clip his nails or shove pills down his gullet and he's fine with it. A neighbor kid once lifted Reynaldo up by his tail -- which had to hurt -- and he was very patient about it.

13) When he's a good boy, curled up upon his kitty condo, I realize he's adorable and well worth all the trouble.

Please join us for The NEW THURSDAY THIRTEEN. Click here to play along, and to see other interesting compilations of 13 things.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015


I'm afraid of how much today's news frightens me. I'm afraid of how much it will hurt if I let it.

For years my agency employed a freelance writer, a happily married mother of two who was content to work from her downstate home. We all loved her. The client loved her. She was referred to often today as "a good egg." She had integrity and warmth and dignity. When the project she was working on ended and we had to let her go, she sent a tray of cupcakes over to the office to thank us for the opportunity.

I reached out to her after she was let go. She told me it was just as well, because she could use the extra time to drive her kids to their sporting events. Her husband was so proud and pleased that their children were such jocks.

Today I found out her husband, age 45, was killed instantly in a small plane crash. He and 6 friends were flying back from seeing the NCAA finals and their plane lost its way in the fog. I saw the photo of the wreckage. It's sickening.

His Twitter account is still up. His last tweet was about Wisconsin and Duke.

This should not have happened to her. She is a good person. She deserves better from life than losing her life partner, than trying to shield her kids from the horror of that photo of crumpled steel.

I am reminded of Elizabeth Edwards' words of wisdom -- God promises us enlightenment and eternal life. He doesn't promise us protection or an easy ride.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Isn't she lovely?

All winter, Wrigley Field has been under construction. We've all heard rumors about the renovation, how drastic it would be, how after all the modernization the Friendly Confines won't be the same fabulous old girl we've all come to love.

Well, tonight the park was unveiled and all I can say is BAH! The bricks are covered with green ivy and the iconic, manually operated scoreboard remains. So it's still my Wrigley Field.

And so tonight it begins again. My Cubs are back and hope springs eternal. Maybe this year will be THE YEAR!

Who's a Good Girl?

Connie is a good girl!

We went to the vet yesterday, only our second trip in her 10 months living here. I didn't know how she'd be, either in transit or at the office. But she did fine. She's healthy enough -- her eye has cleared up nicely, her heart and lungs are good. Her gums are a bit bloody, though. The vet suggests that might be residual damage from the bad diet she endured at her previous home with a hoarder in Indiana.

Thinking about the condition she was in when she was arrived at the local shelter here -- emaciated, pregnant, with light sensitive eyes because of FVR -- makes me proud and happy that I'm able to give her the stable life she deserves.

Happy Easter

It's such a holy time of year. Passover ... Good Friday ... Easter.  I was preoccupied this morning with thoughts of freedom, faith, and love. It seemed so fitting that it was cloudy when I went into church but then was greeted by sunny blue skies when I emerged.

Just a coupla chicks, sitting around and talking

I met my niece for lunch at Olive Garden, my mother/her grandmother's favorite restaurant. It was the first time either of us had been back since she passed in Autumn, 2012. We agreed it was a nice way to think of her this Easter.

She told me about her impending breakup with her boyfriend. They're still living together, but it's platonic and only until she can get her own place.

As her college years grind to an end, she told me about her career aspirations. I'm jealous of her optimism and ambition. She isn't sure if she wants to stay in Michigan -- which she thinks is so beautiful with its lakes and beaches -- or come back here because it's home. And because there are so many more professional opportunities here.

She told me that she just discovered Friends on Netflix and is totally into it. Her favorite is Chandler. I think this is great.

I love her so much and really enjoyed the one-on-one time with her.