Friday, October 31, 2008

A Chicago Ghost Story

Michelle's TT about The Red Dwarf of Detroit inspired me to do a Halloween post introducing Chicago's own Resurrection Mary. There are many versions of this story, which has been told and retold countless times since the 1930s, but I'm going with my favorite …

Imagine that it's a late, moonlit night. You are in nearby Justice, IL, driving down Archer Avenue and are just about to pass Resurrection Cemetery. Suddenly a teenage girl appears by the side of the road. She's easy to see, even in the dark, because she has white blonde hair and is wearing a white party dress. It can't possibly be safe for her to be out alone, walking around near a cemetary on a night like this, so you roll down the window and offer her a ride. She wordlessly shakes her head and you start to pull away.

Just as you're picking up speed, she somehow appears directly in front of your car! You cannot stop and are sickened by the thud and crunch of breaking bones as you run her over. You get out to see if there's anything you can do to help this poor girl. But there's no trace of her. For it wasn't a real-live girl you encountered … It was Resurrection Mary!

In the 1930s, the "real Mary" (if there was one) was a vivacious and popular girl who was thoroughly enjoying her prom at the Willowbrook Ballroom. Her boyfriend got a little too fresh and Mary, ever the lady, ran out of the ballroom and into the night, in search of a ride home. While trying to hitch a ride on Archer Avenue, she was hit by a car. The cowardly driver sped away, leaving poor Mary dead in the street.

Her family buried her in best white dress in Resurrection Cemetery. But, since it wasn't "her time," she frequently escapes from her grave to spend another night dancing among the living. Since history has a way of repeating itself, she is often hit by a car again as she heads back "home" to her grave.

It's not unusual for the Justice police department to be called out to the cemetery after a Resurrection Mary sighting. I'm not sure she'll come out tonight, though. Haunting drivers on Halloween just might be too typical for a "free spirit" (pardon the pun) like Mary.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Economic casualities

In the humongous office building where I currently work, there used to be a small fragrance store and a restaurant that specialized in salads. Both disappeared this month. Right here in town, I pass an independently-owned furniture store every day as I walk to and from the train. As of this evening, it's empty, too.

I never shopped in any of these places, yet still, I feel like crying. Each of these small business represented someone's dreams and it's painful to consider the heartbreak these closures have caused.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #91 -- Meet the original girl super-sleuth


Before Kinsey Milhone, before Kay Scarpetta, I followed the adventures of the original girl super-sleuth, Nancy Drew. So did just about every girl I grew up with. We weren’t alone: Since 1930, girls between the ages of 9 and 12 have been introduced to the mystery genre through these 175 titles.

Nancy Drew has conquered Hollywood, too, starring in 5 movies – four in the late 1930s with Bonita Granville; one in 2007 starring Emma Roberts. There have been two Nancy Drew TV series. In the first, which premiered in the 1970s, she was played by Pamela Sue Martin (who was replaced by Janet Louise Johnson). The second series ran in 1995 and starred Tracy Ryan.

In the 1990s, Nancy’s adventures as a third-grade sleuth solving mysteries with her young friends (“the Clue Crew”) were chronicled for a younger audience in a series known as The Nancy Drew Notebooks. Also, today’s kids can help Nancy solve mysteries interactively with her computer games.

She has her own website and a line of collectibles . With all this merchandising, I’m surprised the girl still has time to sleuth!

Here are thirteen facts about the girl who has played a role in countless young lives: Miss Nancy Drew.

1) Nancy has always had blue eyes, though her hair color has changed from reddish blonde to just blonde over the years.

2) Except for her incarnation in The Nancy Drew Notebooks, Nancy is done with high school but still a teenager. (I think of her as forever 18.)

3) She lives with her widowed father, famous attorney Carson Drew, in River Heights.

4) Her late mother, who descended from Scottish aristocrats, died when Nancy was either 3 or 10 (depends on which book you reference).

5) Nancy and Carson are tended to by their housekeeper, Hannah, who cooks and cleans and keeps the 3-story brick house running smoothly.

6) Nancy has always loved her blue car. In one book she drove a maroon car, but by the next volume she was back to blue. Over the years it’s evolved from a blue “roadster” to a blue Mustang.

7) Her two best friends are a pair of cousins named Bess and George. Bess is Elizabeth Marvin and George is Georgia Fayne. Bess is pretty and plump, and George is a big, clumsy tomboy.

8) Nancy is without a doubt the leader of this trio, unafraid to do whatever it takes – climb a fence, pick a lock, rifle through drawers – in search of a clue. Bess and George are helpful, but generally just along for the ride.

9) In addition to being fearless, Nancy is always fashionable, and capable of solving crimes in high heels and pearls. She is fond of hats and has a gift for coordinating them with her handbags.

10) Nancy doesn’t just solve crimes. Even though she doesn’t seem interested in college, she enjoys artistic pursuits like music and dancing. She is a fine cook, but loves sports – golf, sailing, swimming, tennis, and horseback riding.

11) Naturally this spirited and accomplished girl is irresistible to boys. But her heart belongs to Ned Nickerson, a sophomore at nearby Emerson College. He is 6’2, with wavy hair. He, too, is excellent at sports and has spent a summer or two as a camp counselor.

12) Ned would like Nancy to settle down and become his wife, but she’s just not ready. In the meantime, he’s welcome to help her solve mysteries.

13) Her latest adventure was Werewolf in a Winter Wonderland (2003). Here’s the plot summary, courtesy of “Things are hairy in River Heights this holiday season. Two wolves have disappeared from WildWolf, the federal wolf preserve just outside of town. Local farmers think the missing wolves are killing their sheep, but there are also rumors of werewolf sightings nearby. At the same time, the annual River Heights Winter Carnival is set to begin. When the first two days of the outdoor festival are full of tragic disasters, Nancy can't help but wonder -- is there a link between the carnival's trouble and the missing wolves? After the carnival's beautiful ice palace is destroyed, Nancy's sure there's a wolf at River Heights's door. But is the leader of this pack of crimes human, or beast?”

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

It took two hours, but I VOTED

I have lived more than half my life in the same town, yet had never been inside Village Hall until today. Now I'm an expert on its layout. I can tell you how to find the public restrooms, animal control, and the window for paying traffic fines because the line of early voters snaked through the entire first floor.

I saw a report that said just over 55% of all registered voters cast a ballot in 2004. I predict we're about to see what happens when that percentage rises. My advice: Take a book and bottled water along when you go to vote Tuesday!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Worries closer to home

This afternoon and evening I got a pair of phone calls delivering disturbing news:

First, my 9 year old nephew. He started suffering terrible headaches when the school year began. His mom -- my kid sister -- has been keeping a diary of everything he eats, the time of the headaches and the duration. His teacher has been very helpful, cooperative and comforting. Two pediatricians have examined him, as well as the input from his mom and teacher, and yet cannot isolate the reason for the headaches. (We know it's not a sinus infection, nor his eyesight.) So today, he had an MRI. Next is an examination by a pediatric neurologist, who can't see him until February! On the one hand, this makes me angry. I hate the thought of him squinting in pain, sometimes driven to tears and nausea, until February. On the other hand, if his pediatrician thought it was serious, I'm sure the neurologist would find a way to squeeze that "initial consult" in before the new year.

Next, a friend of mine … and her hubby. No, they aren't having marital trouble. But he had just had surgery for prostate cancer! Even though they are both in their 50s, neither had been married before they got hitched in the summer of 2007. It somehow doesn't seem fair that two people who waited so long for "happily ever after" have to deal with this. Yet she's upbeat about his prognosis and seems to genuinely admire the way he has handled the pain. I'm impressed by how lovingly she talks of helping him with some pretty disgusting procedures. So even though I found this news rattling, I find it heartening how well the two of them are handling it.

So now that I've had time to process the information, I've calmed down a bit and aren't as anxious about this news as I was when it was first received. Still, if you don't mind, I think I'm gonna be done answering the phone for a while.

I can't stop thinking about him

He is Julian King, the 7-year-old nephew of Jennifer Hudson. Look at the face of a little boy who endured unspeakable terror last Friday, seeing his grandmother and uncle shot right there in their home. Then he was shot twice in the head in the backseat of his uncle's stolen SUV.

Here's a link to a column by the SunTimes' Mary Mitchell. She sums up my feelings perfectly.

Rest in peace, little fella. I'm sorry that in life someone treated you so disrespectfully, but I believe that where you are now, you're safe and secure and content.

Phfew! That'a a relief, because I was gonna vote anyway.

You Should Be Allowed to Vote

You got 13/15 questions correct.

Generally speaking, you're very well informed.

If you vote this election, you'll know exactly who (and what) you'll be voting for.

You're likely to have strong opinions, and you have the facts to back them up.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Color me "home"

It's taken most of today, but I have unpacked most of my boxes and have vintage Bruce Willis gazing (Ok, make that "smirking') at me. So now this new office feels "mine."

I don't have my Bonnie & Clyde poster up yet ("They're young. They're in love. They kill people."). Nor have I hung A Hard Day's Night. I need to bring a hammer in for those two. But I've got my creative muse (shown) on the bulletin board and that's key.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday Stealing: The AnyHow Meme

1. Do you believe in seeing a rainbow after the rain?
Yes. In reality and metaphorically.

2. If you have a dream come true, what would it be? Right now, it would be to win the lottery. Unfortunately, I forgot to buy a ticket this week.

3. Do you believe in eternity love? Yes. But I think it evolves.

4. What feeling do you love most? Contentment.

5. What feeling do you hate the most? Helplessness.

6. Do you cherish every single friendship of yours? Some more than others ...

7. Do you believe in God? Yes.

8. Who cares for you most? My mom.

9. What do you think is the most important thing in your life? My friends. I'm very lucky.

10. What emotion do you like to show? Happy, cheerful, upbeat. You know, the rainbow after the rain thing.

11. If you have something troubling you, what do you do? I try to fix it. And if it's not immediately fixable, I obsess and make myself crazy. It's not a perfect system, but I've consistently followed it for decades now.

12. Who do you admire most? Right now, my friend Barb. She's the only one I know who is shrewd, successful AND happy, both professionally and personally.

13. Who did you last chat with in a chat room? It's been years and years. I don't remember.

14. What kind of person do you think the one we stole this meme from is? Thoughtful

15. What color did you use to dye your hair? Nice 'n Easy #107.

16. Why are you doing this meme? Can't sleep.

17. What do you do when you're moody? Dunno. Depends. Sleep. Work. Write. Xanax.

18. At which age do you wish to or did you, get married? When I was a kid, I thought 26 was a ripe old age.

19. If today is the last day of your life, what will you do? I don't know how to answer because I wouldn't want to know in advance that it was the last day of my life.

20. Who is the person you trust the most? My best friend.

21. Last time you smiled? A few hours ago while chatting about my niece and nephew.

22. What are you listening to right now? Bette Midler

23. Who was the last person you saw in your dream? My friend, John.

24. Are you talking to someone while doing this? No.

25. Do you walk with your eyes open or closed? Open.

26. Is there a quote you live by? "Always wear sunscreen." So opens a commencement speech that was really written by Mary Schmich of the Chicago Tribune, not Kurt Vonnegut, and it's filled with good and realistic life advice.

27. Do you want someone you cannot have? Yes.

28. Who always makes you laugh? My best friend

29. What was the worst idea you've had this week? Not exercising at lunchtime. Gave me too much time to dwell and left me feeling undisciplined … and fat.

30. Do you speak another language other than English? No.

To indulge in a little Sabbath theivery yourself, click here.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

And the hits just keep on coming!

Last week I learned that my condo association assessments will be going up in 2009. In today's mail I received a lovely announcement from my mortgage company -- not only is my monthly payment going up, I owe them about $750 as my local property taxes have risen dramatically and my escrow account must keep pace. Now -- when I believe I'm on the verge of being let go -- I don't need this news.

It's enough to make an ol' gal afraid to check her mailbox!

Nailah Franklin Update -- Suspect will act as his own lawyer

In September, 2007, a promising young pharmaceutical sales rep was kidnapped and murdered. Her name was Nailah Franklin, shown here. I never knew her, but I was impressed and touched by the way her family and friends rallied and made sure she wasn't just another "missing black woman" statistic. This 28-year-old woman was clearly loved by many.

Yesterday, the suspect in her murder, a former boyfriend, told the court that he was going to represent himself. This 31-year-old says he cannot afford his own lawyer, and doesn't want a public defender because it would take too long to have one assigned and for that PD to be brought up to speed on his case. He wants a speedy trial because he maintains his innocence.

I will use his name here and publicly apologize if he is, indeed, found innocent. But for now, I want to devote this space to the young lady whose life was lost.

Nailah Franklin was one of 5 daughters.

She graduated first from Homewood Flossmoor High School and then the University of Illinois.

She spent 5 years at the prestigious ad agency, Leo Burnett.

She moved to Eli Lilly in 2006.

She loved "all things Oprah."

She volunteered at the Chicago Urban League.

She was eulogized as "not a star, but a superstar."

May she rest in peace.

Saturday 9 -- The Best of What's Around

1. What's the best new website you've found?
eBags. I love it! It's easy to navigate and the merchandise changes often and there's always something terrific available at a great price.

2. What's the best movie you've seen?
My all-time favorite movie changes from time to time. Right now, I'd answer Bonnie & Clyde. I appreciate the subtext about how we have a hard time separating fame from infamy. I love how instantly, unpredictably it veers from comedy to tragedy -- because often that's how life is. 40 years after its release, it's easy to see the influence it's had on other movies (esp. The Godfather). And I looove the clothes.

3. What's the best quote you know?
"What man has done, man can do."

4. What's the best book you've read?
JFK: Reckless Youth by Nigel Hamilton. It's my favorite biography of my favorite President, and it centers it on his early years. It reminds me that no matter how terrific a life looks from the outside, you have no idea how it feels on the inside.

5. What's the best thing someone's done for you?
I'm fortunate to have a lot of great and helpful people in my life, but this is the first example that pops into head. I really love my cat, Joey. He's such an open, loving soul and being around him lifts my spirits. My friend's little boy (now he's a high school senior!) accompanied me to the animal shelter and he's the one who zeroed in on Joe.

6. What's the best thing about your job?
The benefits! If I end up getting laid off, I will really miss the very affordable, high-quality health and dental insurance.

7. What’s the best CD you own?
The Beatles' White Album. We can quibble about whether there are better CDs out there, but this is the most varied and has some truly exquisite moments.

8. What’s the best new TV show you watch?
Mad Men. I have such a crush on Don Draper. As one who works in advertising, I'm often surprised by how well they nail the world I work in.

9. What’s the best car you’ve owned?
This is easy because I've only ever owned one: An ancient Chevy Impala. To be honest, it was a rusty piece of shit. But it was also the best car I've owned.

To play along yourself, click here.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Some good news for a change

One of the mutual funds I own independent of my 401(k) at work actually went up today. By 1¢. I know that one entire penny might not seem like cause for celebration, but the other one went down 5¢.

Sometimes it's all in the context.

What's on the Gal's Mind Today?

This "Rollercoaster of Randomness" was liberated from Kwizgiver.

Are you single?


Have you ever been in love?

What did your last ex look like?
He had brown eyes and dark, curly hair.

Who is are favorite band/artist?
The Beatles. (If you didn't know that, you're new to this blog, aren't you?)

How is your day going?
Eh. We're slow here at work and I'm preparing to move to a new office where I honestly don't think I'll be in very long. I know that if layoffs are looming, every day that I'm still employed is important. On the other hand, it feels like waking up and attending the same wake every day.

What were you doing at 3:00pm?
Packing another box of files

Have any siblings?
2 sisters

What movie did you last see?

What kind of phone service do you use?

Do you have a favorite pair of shoes?
One? No. I have many favorite pairs of shoes!

What is your favorite breakfast meal?
Eggs. Maybe an omelet. Perhaps over easy so I can mop with toast.

Would you rather be at the beach or be in the snow?

Do you like anyone?
You mean "like" in the schoolgirl sense? I suppose I do.

Are they older or younger?

Have any nicknames?
Yes. But I don't like them much so I'm not sharing them here.

Would you rather eat or sleep?
Eat. As evidenced by this ass.

Do you like long car rides?

Wanna go for a walk?
I love walks

Favorite colors?
Blue and green

Rain or sunshine?
Sunshine. The sky today is cloudy and closer to gray than blue.

What is your favorite drink?
Classic Coke

Plans for the weekend?
Take an inventory of my clothes and see what I need for fall/winter (just in case I'm freelancing or looking for a new job).

Ever been out of the state?

Out of the country?

Ever met anyone famous?
Bruce Springsteen kissed me. Sigh ...

Who is the best band to see in concert?
Bruce Springsteen

How much money do you have on you?

Next concert you will attend?
If Paul McCartney comes to Chicago to promote his new album, I will be there. No matter what.

What is your favorite dessert?
I have sudden and inexplicable craving for strawberry shortcake.

Anything exciting happening soon?
I hope not. Because if something exciting happens soon, it may be an axe blade on the back of my neck. (Professionally speaking, of course. I forget we're so close to Halloween, and the annual return of Freddie and Jason and Michael Myers and Leatherface ...)

Text or call?

Are you a morning person?

Sunrise or Sunset?

What do you like to watch on tv?
Mad Men. Don Draper is sooooo hot.

When is your birthday?
Next month

How old will you be?
51. It looks older than it feels.

Ever been drunk?

What is the most recent thing you have smoked?
I have never smoked anything.

How many times have you been on a plane?
Probably between 70 and 100 times.

Favorite vacation spot?
I'd love to go back to New York, preferably on an expense account.

What kind of pancakes do you like?
Topped with hot apples.

What elementry school did you attend?
Brook Park

How tall are you?

Are you close to your parents?

Do you like to hold hands in public?

Would you have sex in aisle five at Wal-Mart if you could?

Do you have a job?
Yes (she responded, smiling ironically).

Do you like cotton candy?
More in theory than in practice. Sticky.

Do you own a hula-hoop?

What kind of car do you drive?
I don't drive

Can you do the "Soldier Boy"?

Do you own a pair of boots with the fur?

What color is your umbrella?
Teal. I love my umbrella. It was a Christmas gift from my mom. Made by Samsonite, it never turns inside out. When I inevitably lose it, I will be very sad.

How many times a day do your brush your teeth?

Do you comb or brush your hair?

What brand of toilet paper do you use?
Cottonelle (it's a UPromise brand)

How far have you traveled from your home?
4,145 miles (I just looked it up)

Do you own a waffle iron?

Have you ever bought anything from Ebay?

Have you ever been in a wedding?

Do you know your mailman's name?
No. But I believe she's a woman, so we should probably refer to her as a "mail carrier."

Have you ever had a bad haircut?

Do you like to bet on horse or dog races?

Would you go to the moon if you could?

What is the highlight of your day, so far?
I'm still waiting.

What type of alcoholic drink do you order at the bar?
Light beer or an "ini."

Do you think senior citizens have sex?
I hope so.

Have you ever shot anything and killed it?

Would you eat a live spider if somebody was going to pay you 5000 dollars to do it?

Have you ever had a pedicure?
Oh, yes. I have given them up for the sake of economizing, and I miss them already.

If you play along, let me know so we can compare answers.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #90 -- Got a question? Ask Uncle Sam!


This is my valentine to, a website I have literally lost myself in. It’s informative, it’s yours, it’s free – and it’s one of the resources I turn to most often when I work. (Especially if I’m working on something the Federal Government has to approve. Once I show the Feds that I got my data from the Feds, copy gets rubber-stamped more quickly.)

What is the Federal Citizen Information Center? I’ve lifted this from their own FAQ page: “The Federal Citizen Information Center [FCIC] brings together an array of U.S. Government information and services and makes them accessible to the public.”
You say it sounds like nothing but dull talk about tax regulations? It’s not. Here are 13 random titles that illustrate the breadth of free and verified information on the site.

1. Nine Ways to Lower Your Auto Insurance Costs. Includes a chart to compare discounts when shopping for insurance.

2. Stop. Think. Click. 7 tips to protect your information, your computer, and even yourself when you go online.

3. Summertime Favorites. Summer reading of 300 timeless classic for students in Grades K-3, 4-6, 7-8, 9-12.

4. Occupational Outlook Handbook. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reviews occupations, salaries, etc.

5. How to Talk to Your Adolescent about Alcohol.

6. Restaurant and Take-Out Safety. Tips to follow so that the food you take home in your doggie bag is safe to eat the next day.

7. Dietary Supplements. Questions to ask before taking dietary supplements, including risks and where to find more information.

8. Energy Savers. Tips on saving energy – and money – at home.

9. Your Credit Scores. Why your credit score matters, what good and bad scores are, the elements of your FICO credit score, and how to raise your score.

10. The Civil War at a Glance. This full-color map illustrates and briefly describes major Civil War battle campaigns.

11. Buying Contact Lenses Online or by Mail. Make sure you get what you ask for.

12. Money Tips for All Ages. Practical help for teens, young adults, newlyweds, people at midlife, parents, retirees, etc.. Also for those dealing with a medical emergency, job loss or other major life events.

13. Buying a Used Car. Discusses your limited rights when buying from a dealer or private owner.

I encourage you to wander around the site yourself. After all, as a taxpayer, you have already paid for the information so you may as well use it.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Am I glad I don't contribute to the RNC? You betcha!

My data is definitely not current so don't quote me, but I remember that in very recent history, the average RNC contributor gives $147/year. But let's go with that number for minute. If it's true, it took 1000 contributors to dress VP candidate Sarah Palin.

As one who worked the phones tirelessly for John Kerry four years ago, this makes me sick.

Not because I'm a Democrat, but because I can't imagine what it must be like to be an RNC volunteer this morning and think about all the dialing he or she had to do to raise $150,000 -- just to find out it went for clothes.

I never felt suckered by the Kerry Campaign. I like to think that the unpaid help who phonebank for the Grand Old Party are just as idealistic as I was. And I think that someone -- maybe not Sarah Palin, but whoever greenlighted these expenditures -- owes those volunteers an apology.

The Last Thing I'll Pack

This Rolling Stone cover, pockmarked from pushpins and faded from decades of exposure to both sun and fluorescent light, has followed me from office to office to office since Spring, 1986. The mailing label warns me that my subscription was set to expire in January, 1987. And it did.

This cover introduces the new star of Moonlighting and marks the dawning of my ongoing love affair with Bruce Willis. Didn't he look boyishly charming 20 years ago, when he had hair? I don't feel I should judge too harshly, though, since 20 years I had a waist.

When I reach my new office, regardless of how long I'm there, Bruce will be on the bulletin board. He always seems to know what I'm thinking, and that smirk is appropriate for any professional situation. If only his eyes followed me around the room, it would be perfect!

About the move ... months ago this agency had layoffs and consolidated creative and account teams. They didn't moved the newly reformed teams together, though. Until now. So maestro, play some traveling music for me and my friend Bruce.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Found tucked in the corner

As I continue to pack up my office, I came upon the following fortune, which is all that's left of a long-ago Panda carry-out lunch.


I like that, and I hope it's true.

I've been Minnie Mouse and Harpo Marx, but never this

You Should Be a Werewolf

You are seen as a bit tough and quite unpredictable. You follow your impulses.

You see Halloween as a time you can go a little crazy.

You love to scare people, and people are quite scared of you.

You tend to be intimidating - and not just on Halloween!

Monday, October 20, 2008

This is just CRUEL

Read the message that just arrived in this loyal Cub fan's email box! The wound is never going to heal if people don't quit picking at the scab.

World Series 2008 -- StubHub!

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I'm packing up my files ... but will I unpack them?

My agency keeps breathlessly telling us how terrific it will be for this account when we're all on the same floor. The Big Move is supposed to happen later this week. I have seen the floor chart and yes, I do have an office assignment. But the thought keeps nagging me ... how long will I actually reside in my new office? I am keeping all my personal items separate from the work items in case it'll just be easier to have those shipped to my house if/when the axe swings.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday Stealing -- The Meme about Memes & Blogging

How do you feel about being tagged for memes? Usually I like it because it's fun to respond to questions that have no wrong answer.

Do you participate in any regular weekly memes? Which ones? Thursday Thirteen, Tuesday Tunes, Sunday Stealing, Saturday 9 ...

Have you found any bloggers that you began to read regularly after participating in a meme with them
? Yes. That's how I've found most of my regulars, or how they have found me.

Do you know of any readers who found you through a meme and became regular readers? See above. (I guess this proves that I don't read these before I start answering.)

Did you find any favorite blogs through comments or blogrolls on others’ blogs? No.

Did you find any favorite blogs from someone else’s recommendation? No.

If you comment on someone’s blog, do you expect a response? If so, do you prefer that response to come through an e-mail, a comment from them on the same post, or a a comment on your blog? While I enjoy them, I don't expect a response. People are busy!

Do you ever struggle with your blogging “voice”? No. I'm a writer by trade and am sometimes more comfortable at the keyboard than away from it.

Are there certain types of blogs that attract you? I love finding I share insights, interests, opinions, etc., with people whose lives don't necessarily resemble mine. I guess ultimately more does unite us than divides us.

Are there certain types of blogs that repel you? Racial/ethnic "humor." Hate talk. And nothing is worse than hate talk disguised as Christianity. (I take my faith seriously, and my Lord is about love.)
What time of day do you usually blog? When I'm bored at work or can't sleep.

Do your family and friends know about your blog? Do they read it? Do they mind if you mention them? Do they suggest posts for it? I try to keep this blog a secret. It began as a journal, and personal journals lose their impact and effectiveness if I pull my punches. But I don't want to hurt anyone, either. So SHHHH!

To play along yourself, or compare your answers to other bloggers', click here.

Grudging fondness for our erstwhile First Lady

After reading American Wife and seeing W, I find myself strangely supportive of a woman I hadn't given much thought to before, Laura Bush.

I find First Ladies fascinating. Like Betty Ford, was this or that First Lady thrust into a spotlight that neither she nor her husband ever anticipated? Or, like Jackie Kennedy, was she given a heads up and just didn't believe it could ever happen? (A Catholic President! Whoever heard of such a thing?) Was she a helpmate to her husband through the painful times, like Lady Bird Johnson, or a distraction, like Mary Lincoln? Did acting as a full partner, like Awesome Abigail Adams, strengthen their marriage or complicate it, like Eleanor Roosevelt? What the hell is going on with the Clintons, anyway, and how would Bill have handled the role of First Gent?

But Laura Bush has always seemed, at best, annoying. Positioned as "the anti-Hillary," she seemed aggressively bland and uninvolved. Proud to have no thoughts of her own, just standing by her man.

The woman who emerges from these current fictionalized depictions of her life is wise, a little sad, tested by life and truly and deeply in love with her husband. While I cannot IMAGINE spending 20 minutes with George W. Bush, much less a lifetime, she can. I respect and admire her for seeming to make her marriage work in the most difficult of circumstances. The part of me that still believes in true love hopes these fictionalized accounts are true.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Saturday 9 -- You Wear It Well

1. What are your favorite shoes? A completely adorable pair of Enzo Angiolini black flats. They're a cross between Mary Janes and ballet slippers and I love them.

2. What does your favorite shirt or blouse look like? It's a pale blue Eileen Fisher sweater set, tank and cardigan. With slacks it's dressy, with jeans it's business caz.

3. What does your favorite tee shirt say on it? "Books. Cats. Life Is Good." As it looks more likely that I'll be laid off, it's good to remember the simple things that make me happy.

4. Do you think you look better in casual or business attire? Casual. When I'm in serious business attire, I feel like I'm in "grown up drag."

5. What do you sleep in? Either just my panties or panties and a nightshirt. This week's nightshirt bears a big bright picture of Lucy Riccardo.

6. Do you wear expensive sneakers? I pay between $50 and $75 -- that's mid-range, right? The pair nearest me right now is by Ryka. (I never put my shoes away.)

7. What is your favorite hat? That would be the only one I have -- a Burberry bucket I wear on rainy days to keep my hair from frizzing and going booiiinggg!

8. Your preference for men: Boxers or briefs? Briefs -- and I like deep colors, too.

9. Your preference for women: Suits or dresses? Ew, ick! I'd prefer to wear slacks ad jeans. (Unless I'm waiting for Mad Men's Don Draper in the ladies' lounge. Sigh …)

To play along yourself, click here.

Friday, October 17, 2008

My theory about Caylee Anthony

This case -- featured on the cover of the new PEOPLE -- continues to both fascinate and haunt me.

The mom and now defendant, Casey Anthony, is a pathological liar and an amazing nut job. The grandmother, Cindy Anthony, is more than a little bizarre herself. The dogged investigators keep relentlessly pursuing clues and piecing the puzzle together. Most of all, there's Caylee, the bewitching missing victim, a tiny brown-eyed girl who captured the heart of all who have met her (except perhaps, tragically, her mom).

Here's my theory: Mom Casey -- unemployed party girl -- couldn't afford a sitter but couldn't bear to spend a single night without male attention. So she would take Caylee with her and, to make sure she slept quietly in the car while Mom partied on, Casey would dose Caylee with chloroform. One night, she simply used too much.

She paniced and tried to make Caylee's death looks like a more blameless, more easily understandable, accident by leaving her in the backyard pool. For whatever reason, that didn't work and she had to move the body again. Stuffing her child in the trunk, Caylee drove around and found a spot in the woods. She settled on a secluded spot and disposed of little Caylee.

Caylee. Poor Caylee. I hope her passing was painless, and that she's at peace.

My hero

What with my post-Cub depression and stock market panic and job fears, I have suffered a loss without allowing myself to absorb it.

I will never see Greg Maddux pitch again.

My favorite Cub of all time very likely played his last game in the Dodgers' loss to the Phillies on Wednesday night. I miss him already. What will my Aprils be like from now on?

Four Cy Young Awards, 355 wins, more Gold Gloves than any other pitcher has won ever …

He said of his role as Dodger reliever in these playoff games, "I felt privileged to do it. I was glad I had a chance to pitch."

It was a privilege to watch him pitch all these years, too.

I'm scared

Yesterday was not a good day for me.

I have spent weeks working on a presentation, trying to get it right, fighting the good fight internally so we could give our client the best possible solutions. Wednesday evening, as I was leaving the office to go home and get some sleep, I learned that our client was slashing budgets and most likely wouldn't be able to launch the initiative we were presenting and proposing for January 2009.

Even scarier -- They weren't sure they were going to have the money to use it at all during 2009.

If the client doesn't need what I create, the agency I work for doesn't need me.

So I had to get up at 5:00 AM to ride for hours to present something I worked hard on that may very well end up be totally unusable.

Got home to find my 401(k) statement. I have lost $4,085 over the last three months.

Then I went to my condo association meeting. My proposed assessment for 2009 is 10% more.

So I could soon be an unemployed 50 year old woman who works in an industry that is really hurting right now. My retirement account is dwindling the same way my job prospects are. I have too much credit card debt and can expect increased expenses when I may be relying on decreased income.

Let's be real: If I wasn't scared, I'd be an idiot.

The plus side: I have 8 months' worth of expenses in the bank (though not all FDIC insured ...). I just made my April 2009 mortgage payment. Much of my Christmas shopping is already done (I buy things throughout the year as I come upon them). I already have the funds for my mom's 2009 Medicare Part B insurance and snow removal service. Most of my holiday trip to Key West is already paid for, so no matter what, I won't have to cancel that.

So it's not as bad as it could be. But still, I'm scared. And since the job market is so crappy, there is precious little I can do about it, except to tighten my belt and try to calm down.

Breathe … breathe … breathe … sleep … sleep … sleep …

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #89 -- The New Millennium's Biggest Bombs


If you’re thinking of investing money somewhere safer than the stock market, forget the movie business. While there is always a lot of publicity about the movies that break records for making money (Titanic, The Dark Knight), there are even more movies that lose a staggering, embarrassing amount of money.

Here are some of the bigger bombs in recent film history. What makes this list interesting is that many have big stars and rather sound premises. With so many Oscar nominees/Oscar winners on this list, I bet on paper many of these projects looked like solid bets. Yet as a moviegoer, you may not have heard of some of these films, because they were so unsuccessful they didn’t play very long at the local cineplex.

Who keeps track of the industry’s big losers? That would be Tim Dirks of

1. Sahara (2003) Starring Matthew McConaughey and Penelope Cruz searching for treasure. Budget: $145 to $160 million. Total gross: $103.2 million.

2. Catwoman (2004) Starring Halle Berry and Benjamin Bratt as the feline supermenace and the cop on her tail. Budget: $85 million. Total gross: $82 million.

3. Around the World in 80 Days (2004) This remake starred Jackie Chan, with appearances by Luke and Owen Wilson, Kathy Bates and Rob Schneider. Budget: $110 million. Total gross: $72.2 million.

4. The Alamo (2004) Remake starring Billy Bob Thornton as Davy Crockett and Dennis Quaid as Sam Houston. Budget: $95 million. Total gross: $22.4 million.

5. Gods and Generals (2003) Civil War saga starring Jeff Daniels and Robert Duval. Budget: $56 to $70 million. Total gross: $12.9 million.

6. Gigli (2003) Remember Bennifer? This is the movie that starred Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez. Budget: $54 million. Total gross: $6.1 million.

7. From Justin to Kelly (2003) Starring American Idols Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini. Budget: $12 million. Total gross: $4.9 million.

8. Windtalkers (2002) Starring Nicholas Cage as a WWII general who guards the Native Americans who coded transmissions. Budget: $115 million. Total gross: $77.6 million.

9. Disney’s Treasure Planet (2002) Animated and futuristic treatment of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. Budget: $140 million. Total gross: $91.8

10. Swept Away (2002) Madonna as a rich-bitch socialite who finds herself shipwrecked with only an employee she’s treated very badly for help and company. Budget: $10 million. Total gross: $599,000

11. Glitter (2001) Mariah Carey plays a rising pop star. Budget: $22 million. Total gross: $4.3 million.

12. Town & Country (2001) Starring Warren Beatty, Diane Keaton, Gary Shandling and Goldie Hawn as a pair of married couples with fidelity issues. I actually saw this one! I’m sorry I did. Budget: $90 to $105 million. Total gross: $10.4 million.

13. The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002) A sci-fi comedy starring Eddie Murphy as the title character. Budget: $100 million. Total gross: $7.1 million.

Please note: Thursday is going to be a jam-packed workday for me,
so forgive me if I don't visit your TT as quickly as I normally would.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Me and her

There's a woman I work with who I have lovingly dubbed "The Freakazoid Bitch." She's responsible for either canning my best friend or at the very least not coming to his aid. That's not the only reason she bugs me. She is also loud, she wields her power too zealously and is very immersed in office politics. I neither like nor trust her. She neither likes nor trusts me.

So why is it that when things go badly for her, she actually seeks me out?

First it was when her boss was let go. She told me about it in advance as we went to the announcement meeting together (she came looking for me) and confessed she was scared that she would be next. Today she made a point of telling me how scared she was about a letter she got from the IRS.

This is very weird. I like us better when we're busy not liking nor trusting each other.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tuesday Tunes #14

This week we want you to do a mini review of your favorite album of the moment. Talk it up, tell us why you love it and why we should listen!

My current favorite CD is Peace, Love and BBQ by Marcia Ball. It's her latest album, just came out this spring, and it was my introduction to her.

She's a piano-based boogie-woogie blues queen. These songs take her through a variety of moods -- festive ("Party Town"), sexy ("My Heart and Soul" and "Falling Back in Love with You"), even evangelical fervor ("Miracle in Knoxville").

Her sound is unique, her band is tight, her lyrics are witty. After I committed this one to memory, I went out and got her performance CD, Live! Down the Road. I look forward to catching up on more of her work. (Though when she does it, it definitely sounds more like "play.")

To read more reviews, and play along yourself, click here.

Ten on Tuesday

10 Bands/Artists that Remind You of High School

I'm a member of the Class of 75

1. Elton John
2. Alice Cooper
3. James Taylor
4. Carly Simon
5. Barry White
6. Grand Funk Railroad
7. Electric Light Orchestra
8. Olivia Newton John
9. The Carpenters

… and my favorite …
10. Paul McCartney & Wings. (I still love Band on the Run and Venus and Mars.)

To play along yourself, click here.

The self-proclaimed "pit bull with lipstick" snaps

Sarah Palin bites the hand that supports her. (BTW, I'm linking back to Fox News so you can see I'm "fair and balanced.")

RICHMOND, Va. -- Sarah Palin mistook some of her own fans for hecklers Monday as a rally that drew thousands.

A massive crowd of at least 20,000 spread across the parking lot of Richmond International Raceway, and scores of people on the outer periphery more than 100 yards from the stage could not hear.

"Louder! Louder!" they began chanting, and the cry spread across the crowd to Palin's left. Some pointed skyward, urging that the volume be increased.

Palin stopped her remarks briefly and looked toward the commotion.

"I hope those protesters have the courage and honor to give veterans thanks for their right to protest," she said.

Some in the crowd tried to shout toward her what was really being said, but she couldn't hear them.

Some in the crowd had stood in place for more than three hours on a sunny day without shade. Paramedics provided aid to several people who passed out in the press of people. The exact nature and number of the ailments was not immediately clear from Henrico County authorities.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sending my mind to the happy place

I'm having a rather rough day here at work, so I'm trying to calm myself on this unseasonably warm (77º) autumn day by dreaming of a white Christmas, and the gifts I ordered for my best friend.

He took his family to London and Paris for Spring Break, and I'm giving him/them mementos of that wonderful trip that are suitable for hanging on their Christmas tree.

These glass ornaments were hand-crafted and hand-painted in Austria. London, especially the subway, was what impressed his daughters most, so I'm happy to see "Mind the Gap" on the London one.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I wanted to be Jackie, but this ain't bad, either

Thanks to Cupcake (aka Bette Davis) to turning me on to this quiz.

Your result for Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz...

You Are an Ingrid!


You are an Ingrid -- "I am unique"

Ingrids have sensitive feelings and are warm and perceptive.

How to Get Along with Me
  • * Give me plenty of compliments. They mean a lot to me.

  • * Be a supportive friend or partner. Help me to learn to love and value myself.

  • * Respect me for my special gifts of intuition and vision.

  • * Though I don't always want to be cheered up when I'm feeling melancholy, I sometimes like to have someone lighten me up a little.

  • * Don't tell me I'm too sensitive or that I'm overreacting!

What I Like About Being an Ingrid

  • * my ability to find meaning in life and to experience feeling at a deep level

  • * my ability to establish warm connections with people

  • * admiring what is noble, truthful, and beautiful in life

  • * my creativity, intuition, and sense of humor

  • * being unique and being seen as unique by others

  • * having aesthetic sensibilities

  • * being able to easily pick up the feelings of people around me

What's Hard About Being an Ingrid

  • * experiencing dark moods of emptiness and despair

  • * feelings of self-hatred and shame; believing I don't deserve to be loved

  • * feeling guilty when I disappoint people

  • * feeling hurt or attacked when someone misundertands me

  • * expecting too much from myself and life

  • * fearing being abandoned

  • * obsessing over resentments

  • * longing for what I don't have

Ingrids as Children Often

  • * have active imaginations: play creatively alone or organize playmates in original games

  • * are very sensitive

  • * feel that they don't fit in

  • * believe they are missing something that other people have

  • * attach themselves to idealized teachers, heroes, artists, etc.

  • * become antiauthoritarian or rebellious when criticized or not understood

  • * feel lonely or abandoned (perhaps as a result of a death or their parents' divorce)

Ingrids as Parents

  • * help their children become who they really are

  • * support their children's creativity and originality

  • * are good at helping their children get in touch with their feelings

  • * are sometimes overly critical or overly protective

  • * are usually very good with children if not too self-absorbed

Take Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz at HelloQuizzy

"Nobody's young anymore"

So says Chance Wayne to past-her-prime Alexandra Del Lago in Sweet Bird of Youth. Watching this 1962 movie today, after what we know becomes of both Geraldine Page and Paul Newman is especially poignant.

While the play as written lost some punch when it was adapted to the screen, this was a provocative and risky project in 1962. Still, I'm glad their performances -- and their youth -- are preserved on screen for us to enjoy forever.

Sunday Stealing #6

The "Sometimes" Meme: All you have to do is finish the sentence...

Sometimes I just need: a shot of caffeine

Sometimes I want: a little more alone time

Sometimes I like to: pamper myseslf (massage, pedi, etc.)

Sometimes all it takes: is guts

Sometimes I picture: my best friend back here with me

Sometimes I wish: I was better organized

Sometimes I find: earrings under my dresser

Sometimes I take: too long in the shower

Sometimes I look: like a fat pigeon

Sometimes I hate: the people in the health club locker room (Do your iPod, water bottle and dirty towel REALLY need to take up so much space on the bench that I can't sit down?)

Sometimes it’s nice: to have a drink at lunch (shhh!)

Sometimes it hurts: to think of how my mom has aged since her illness earlier this year

Sometimes it makes me happy: to put other people first

Sometimes it’s sad: to see how different -- how much uglier -- John McCain is as a candidate than he was as Senator ("straight talk," my ass). So disappointing. I hope for the nation's sake that he can put that hateful "domestic terrorist" genie back in the bottle.

Sometimes I listen: to real crap on my iPod (like the Partridge Family) and hope that the person sitting next to me on the el doesn't identify it

Sometimes I sleep: on the sofa

Sometimes I like to watch: Batman reruns. They're a riot. (POW! ZAP!) I just forget when they're on.

Sometimes I feel: so much younger than my age that I wonder where the years have gone

Sometimes I rant: about religious intolerance. Some noisier members of the hellfire-and-brimstone Religious Right seem to be perverting my faith, which is dear to me, and it makes me NUTS!

Sometimes I never: want to talk to anyone all weekend and just be a hermit from Friday PM to Monday AM

Sometimes I really: wish I could end up in the ladies' room lounge with Don Draper (sigh). If you're a fan of Mad Men, you know where his hand is. It's enough to make a gal start wearing skirts again.

To see how other bloggers responded, or to play along yourself, click here.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I always love Olivia & Elliott. Especially in this episode.

It's the episode from Law & Order: SVU last season* when Olivia ends up with Elliott's wife, Kathy, under the most trying circumstances, and helps deliver Elliott's baby.

We know why Olivia behaves with such gallantry, even if she would never admit it: She loves Elliott. Not just in a carnal way, though there is quite a bit of tension between them. Not just in a romantic way, though I sense there is plenty of "if only" longing between them. But also in an unselfish way. She wants what is best for her partner. At the end, when Elliott passes Olivia visiting Kathy and the new baby for the first time, he stops, turns and pulls her to him. Watching the cavalcade of emotions cross Olivia's face broke my heart.

In this episode, the sweetness and pain of their relationship was exquisite. I really want these detectives to "partner" in every way!

* I guess USA Network has been running an SVU marathon all day. Damn! I was wasting time out in the sunshine, moving among real people, when I could have been indoors, parked on the sofa, observing one of my favorite TV couples.

It's a $ign of the Times

Checked on one of my IRAs and it's gone down 14%. This particular IRA is the one I opened back in 2003 specifically for my cats. (Yes, my cats. The beneficiary is my oldest friend, who knows that if I die suddenly, she's to use the money to care for my fur family in my stead. Otherwise, I'm using it for my retirement.)

The bank that holds my mortgage (WAMU) is no more. Now this. I'm not checking on my 401(k), where most of money is, because it will just upset me.

I know, I know. This economy is hurting everyone. I'm probably luckier than some because I have at least a decade till retirement so I have time to see the stock market rebound and I'll probably make my money back (eventually). Even though I'm not feeling overly enthusiastic now, I suppose it's possible I could even turn a profit. While only about 20% of my portfolio is in bonds and annuities, they are both dependable in a bear market and have actually made me money (though not 14%).

Breathe deep. Stay calm. Be patient. And be cheap and pay with cash whenever possible.

Saturday 9 -- Return to Sender

1. When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper and mailed it? Maybe 10 days ago. It was a letter to my Cousin Rose. I always write to both her and my friend in Key West. I like that it requires a little more work and thought.

2. Can you change the oil on a car? No. Fortunately, I don't have a car so it never comes up.

3. Name three things you have on you at all times. House keys. Epipen (I'm allergic to bee sting). Ring on my left hand (it has no sentimental meaning, I just feel naked without it).

4. What’s your life motto? "What man has done, man can do."

5. What’s a word that you say a lot? That would be the "f word."

6. What were you doing at midnight last night? Sleeping on the sofa.

7. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought? "Oh, that zit is still there." It feels like it went away, but the red spot is still visible.

8. Who is your worst enemy? To be completely honest, me.

9. What does your watch look like? I have three that I wear often -- one with a lilac "alligator" band, one with wide brown band, one with a black "leather" band. I also have a dressier silver watch with a blue face

To play along yourself, click here.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Everyone, please, stop being so hysterical about Obama and Ayers

As one who lives in the Chicagoland area, this story is such a freaking YAWN! Chicago has 2.5 daily newspapers (the 1/2 is the RedEye). 6.5 channels devote hours every day to news coverage (the 1/2 is CLTV). Everything Barack Obama has done or said over the last four years, ever since a star was born at the 2004 Democratic Convention (at the time he was running for Senate here in Illinois) has been examined by our local press.


Nothing. Nada. Zip.

This is a city that lives and breathes scandal. This is the home of the Elliott Ness of The New Millennium, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. This is Illinois, where a Republican Governor is currently in prison and a Democratic Governor is about to be indicted. Evil doing is to reporters here what cat nip is to cats.

If there was anything of substance to the Ayers-Obama story, it would have originally come out during Obama's senate race.

More recently it was investigated again (here's a link to the Sun-Times story) when Hillary Clinton brought it up during the primaries. Nothing there, folks.

If this isn't enough for you, here's a link to the Woods Fund of Chicago's website, so you can see all the other heinous criminals who "associate" with William Ayers. They look like a dangerous crowd to me.

I am not minimizing anything Ayers and his wife, Bernadette Dohrn, did decades ago. I am minimizing Ayers' practically non-existant relationship with Obama.

Tony Rezko, that's another story. (You'll have to look that up yourself. I shouldn't have to do ALL your homework for you.) But McCain and Palin aren't emphasizing that, even though they might. It's not as easy to link "sleazy land deal" with "terrorist."

I hope that everyone sees this sad and dangerous act on McCain's part for what it is. When it comes to weighing a candidate's fitness to serve as President, I hope everyone remembers that McCain responds with cheap shots and half truths when things aren't going his way.

I can still blush

Last night I had a lovely dinner and a few drinks with my friend, John. I took the 9:40 commuter train home (it's safer than the el at that hour) and decided to occupy myself during the ride with American Wife. During a graphic sex scene, a younger woman took the seat beside me.

"Good book?" she asked.

"Huh? What? Yes, thanks," I said, feeling my cheeks turn scarlet.

The book is a fictionalized account of a certain First Lady, one who went from being a small town librarian to marrying the son of a wealthy, well-connected political family. Since I don't think of that woman as being highly sexual, I just didn't expect that passage. So I reacted the way a junior highschool boy would when his mom finds Playboy under his mattress.

To make it worse, my seatmate showed me her book. It was about the woman who played the role of muse for some painter I never heard of.

Ok, so I'm lower brow. But I bet my book ends up being more fun.

I wonder how many coworkers would agree ...

You Aren't A Diva

You don't like to cause a fuss or draw attention to yourself.

You're easygoing, and you can even put up from diva behavior from others.

This makes you everyone's favorite trusty companion.

But watch out - it could also make you their favorite doormat.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

This just in! Another reason to be pro-Obama

Visit the Best Friends Animal Shelter website and read how, after the election, Barack and Michelle Obama are adopting a shelter dog for their daughters.

There are as many as 12 million dogs and cats in US shelters. As one who has always gotten her pets from shelters, I can assure you that they are just as loving as pedigreed dogs and cats. I'm thrilled that the Obamas are making adoption their first option.

Happy Birthday, John Lennon

He would be 68 years old today.

I miss what might have been. Would he still be singing? Or would he have concentrated on exploring his talents as an artist or a writer more fully?

I miss his candor and his creative fearlessness. He would not be one of those artists who believes in keeping his world view to himself so as not to polarize his audience. John seemed to be determined to make you declare whether you were with him or against him.

I miss seeing what he'd be like at 68. Would he be a vibrant example of "60 is the new 50," with an active, healthy lifestyle? Or would all the smoking and drinking and drugs have taken their toll? Would his turbulent soul have quieted a bit so he could enjoy this time of his life surrounded by cats and kids and other loved ones? (I hope so.)

I'm going to listen to my favorite solo Lennon song, "Watching the Wheels." If you're a fan, what song would you like to remember him with?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Feeling better about it all

This evening, after the workday had officially ended, I ran into that coworker (the one who has played such a big role in my days lately) in the ladies' room. Since most people had gone home, it was quiet and we weren't interrupted. I believe that we understand one another better now. She was pleasant -- as she always is -- but she didn't hold her cards as close to the vest. We discussed ways to help prevent this situation from happening again, and agreed that our differences aren't personal.

So three cheers for ladies' room detente!

No one knows what goes on behind closed doors

I had a bit of a confrontation with the goody-goody coworker I mentioned earlier. It wasn't much of a confrontation because that's not her style. I presented my concerns and supported them with a chart and background information and all she had was her opinion. I'm grateful that my creative teammates voiced their agreement with me. It took a little over an hour to get this all ironed out and it was stressful, but now it's behind us and we can concentrate on the work.

At least I hope it's behind us.

She's always so measured and controlled that I'm never sure what she's really thinking. My boss' door was closed for a while this morning and I was sure it was her complaining about me.

Oh, it was just me be silly/paranoid. Not only was she not complaining about me, it wasn't even her in my boss' office.

It would help, though, if she was a bit more genuine. Or if I just understood her better. Her inscrutability makes me nervous.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

I'm sick of how much these two dislike each other

As I watch tonight's debate, Senators McCain and Obama are giving me a headache. Snipping and sniping. Please guys, just cut it out. It's really unpleasant to witness. I think the only way to get through this is to do a shot every time McCain calls the audience, "my friend."

Heads or Tails #18 -- Black or White

I haven't HoT'd for months, so forgive me if I'm a little rusty …

Today's theme is "Black OR White." I opt for black, and here are five songs that use "black," but not "white," in the lyrics;

Black Is Black -- Los Lobos. "Black is black, I want my baby back. It's gray, it's gray, since she went away. Oh-oh, what can I do? Cuz I'm feelin' blue."

Back to Black -- Amy Winehouse. "We only said goodbye with words. I died a hundred times. You go back to her, when I go back to black."

Paint It Black -- The Rolling Stones. "I see a red door and I want it painted black. No colors anymore, I want them to turn black."

Baby's in Black -- The Beatles. "Oh, dear! What can I do? Baby's in black and I'm feeling blue. Tell me, oh, what can I do?"

Black -- Pearl Jam. "All the pictures had been all been washed in black, tattooed everything."

To see how other bloggers responded, or to play yourself, click here.