Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Tonight is a big night for me: American Idol, Cubs vs. Houston, the Kentucky/Oregon primaries, news coverage of poor Ted Kennedy's condition, and my beloved future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux pitching at home in San Diego. Yet, now that I'm safely curled up on my sofa, I'm suddenly exhausted! Depleted. Like a helium balloon with a slow leak.

I think it's because I miss my best friend. I hear from every day, but lately they have just been short, silly emails. I want to talk to him. I believe that would make me feel better. Maybe tomorrow.

I've been tagged!

Lucy tagged me and I'm ready to play along …

Here are the rules:

1. Each player answers questions about themselves.

2. At the end of the post, tag 5 people by posting their names.

3.Go to their site/blog and leave a comment telling them they've been tagged. Invite them to your site/blog so they can read the tagged post.

4. Let the person who tagged you know when you've completed your tagged post.

1. What were you doing 10 years ago?
I was in the middle of a fun relationship with a great guy. He was a good deal younger than I, so I knew nothing would come of it long-term. We were just in very different places in our lives. I wasn't in love with him, but I remember him fondly, and hope he feels the same way about me.

2. What are 5 things on your "To Do" list?
Finish filling the bag with "gently used items" for Goodwill
Take my coats to the dry cleaners
Make an appointment with my dermatologist for my annual checkup
Remember to recharge that damn cellphone! (It's not much use to anyone when the battery's dead, now is it?)
Pick up a roll of quarters so I can do a ton of laundry (Oh, joy!)

3. What are 5 snacks you enjoy? (In no specific order)
Yoplait whipped yogurt (so far I haven't tried a flavor I didn't love)
Hershey bar with almonds
Mint chocolate chip ice cream
Teeny-tiny Tootsie Rolls

4. Name some things you would do if you were a millionaire.
Get a credit card for my mom to use for groceries. I know how much she hates watching every penny.
Take my niece and nephew to Washington, DC, and introduce them to their nation's history
Pay off my mortgage
Finally renovate my bathroom and kitchen!
Hire a car and driver

5. Name some places where you've lived.
I don't get around much: Elgin, Brookfield and Oak Park -- all in the Chicagoland area.

6. Name some bad habits you have.
I hate throwing anything away
I hate putting anything away
I take too long, too hot showers and baths (I'm always afraid that, when I leave the bathroom with one towel around my bod and the other around my hair, I will be confronted by Al Gore, who will lecture me on my wasteful way with our resources)
I'm lazy
I spend money when I'm blue

7. Name some jobs you've had.
Babysitter (high school)
Receptionist at a real estate office
Secretary for Sears HQ (back when we were still called "secretaries")
Catalog copywriter
Associate creative director

8. Name those whom you are tagging.
Anyone with writer's block. These questions will get you thinking.

This just stinks

My friend Kathy has been having a rough time again, and I really hate it.

She's 61 and broke. Now she is unemployed again, too. She lost her new administrative job last week. (I don't know the details and I'm not asking, as she's feeling wounded and embarrassed.) This means no more health insurance. Gas is $4/gallon here already, and that's no help. She's disconnected her landline and ISP, using her cellphone and the computer at the public library.

This is not the time of life to find herself in this situation. It's going to be very difficult for her to ever retire, even if her health eventually demands it. We don't discuss this because I'm sure this has crossed her mind, too, so what's the point? But it is the 800-lb. gorilla in the room.

To make matters worse, her grown daughter has landed in quite the sinkhole, too. Her daughter is married with four kids, a big house, two cars and a truck. Well, scratch the truck -- it's been repossessed. The big house is slipping away, too, going into foreclosure.

So Kathy is moving in with her daughter's family, temporarily in the house, and then together into a rental somewhere. This means she has to find a new home for her two four-year-old tabbies. I think this is the saddest circumstance of all.

This situation must be handled carefully. Kathy is proud, embarrassed, and terrified. I am only helping as asked -- which involves finding a home for the cats. (I can't take them, though I considered it. 5 cats in a 2BR condo would simply be too much.)

Frankly, just handing her money isn't smart for either of us, or our friendship. She'd resent it, even if she didn't articulate it. Our relationship has been prickly at times over the years, and I must be sensitive to that. Also, I don't know how much financial help my mom is going to need, not to mention my niece and nephew. My sister and brother in law have been having money trouble and I want to be able to help them. And what of my own future? I feel it's like the oxygen on the airplane -- I have to secure my own mask first before I can help those who are depending on me.

So I worry.