Tuesday, June 30, 2009

And the mole stays in the picture

No, not him. The one on my face.

Saw the dermatologist this afternoon. He's almost 100% sure that nothing serious is going on with the mole. His guess is that it's abraded, and that the migraine meds I took acted as blood thinners, which exacerbated the bleeding.

He's not thrilled with how it's healing, but feels that's more likely because I continue to irritate it. So he gave me some salve to wear overnight (in case I touch it in my sleep) and in the shower (in case I scrub too hard when I wash my face) and wants to see it again next month.

But he's sure I'm fine.

Yea! Hooray!

Kids and money

I've been thinking about my nephew's behavior during our recent getaway together to Springfield. He was very thoughtful about my money. Before he replied to the waitress about a refill on his milk, he looked to me. When he used my cellphone to call home, he always proudly announced he got "the entire call done in less than 9 minutes!" It's important to note that I never mentioned the cost of anything regarding this trip, except that he'd have to use his allowance for souvenirs.

He's 9. I'm wondering if his awareness of money and his thoughtfulness about not squandering is good manners to be applauded, or perhaps his father's recent periods of unemployment have made him worrisome about matters that he shouldn't yet be bothered with.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Welcome to a select group, Carlos!

I love the Cubs. Sometimes I love the individual players so much that I don't care if they win or lose. I forgive a middling performance on the field if it looks like a player is doing his best. I would never, ever boo a Cub.

In short, I am every Cub player's dream fan.

And yet, the warmest emotion I can muster for Carlos Zambrano is antipathy.

He stunk up the Cell yesterday. OK, whatever. Some days even the best pitcher just doesn't have his stuff. That I can forgive.

I cannot forgive beaning two White Sox players and throwing a wild pitch. Just a month after he earned a suspension for throwing a tantrum when a call didn't go his way.

This is the man who has not only beaten up the Gatorade cooler and broken bats over his knee, he slugged his own catcher a few years back. Aside from showing appalling sportsmanship, he could have hurt himself with any one of those childish displays.

Carlos is a diva who is not about the team, he is about Carlos.

He has now entered the exclusive pantheon of Cubs I really dislike. In fact, today Zambrano is very close to surpassing Todd Hundley for sole possession of second place. However, it's doubtful he will ever even tie Dave Kingman. God, I hated that guy ...

But I digress.

Please, Lou, please ... Someone needs to kick Zambrano's ass and you're wearing the cleats that can do it.


My best friend remains completely incommunicado, except to tell me he is too busy to talk. I do not believe him. No one is busy 24/7.

He did this about this time two summers ago, and I was miserable with worry. I recognize there are some issues in his life (specifically, his marriage) that he's not comfortable discussing with me. That's not only his right, I think it's best. I don't belong in his marriage and hearing about it makes me uneasy so my responses would, quite possibly, be insensitive and flip. Last time it took him a couple months to re-emerge and I was lonely and miserable. I'm trying not to let that happen again.

But I am worried about him and I miss him so. I wish he would just tell me what's up -- topline, no details required. It would be easier for me to be understanding if I understood.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing: The ABC Meme

A – An advantage you have – I think fast on my feet.

B – Blue or brown eyes – Neither. (They're green.)

C – Chore you hate – Laundry

D – Dad’s name – Bill

E – Essential start of your day – Caffeine. Specifically and non-negotiably in the form of Classic Coke.

F – Favorite color – Blue

G – Greatest thing you’ve ever done that made you feel really good – I don't know that I've ever done anything GREAT. I've done a lot of little things that made me feel really good. During my mother's recent health problems, I have been grateful and pleased that I've been able to pay her Medicare B insurance.

H – Habit you have –
I speak faster and faster the more excited I get.

I – Issue you hate that the world tries to make you pursue – The Middle East. I don't hate The Middle East, obviously. It's just that it's so complicated and so neverending and fills me with such a sense of dread.

J – Job title – Associate Creative Director

K – Kohls or Target – Kohl's. Target is GU.

L – Living arrangements – Me and three cats in a 2 BR condo.

M – Music you like – Beatles, Bruce and Babs (Streisand)

N - Nicknames – When I was really little, my dad called me "Mouse."

O – Overnight hospital stay – In 2003 I had a uterine fibroid embolization.

P – Pet Peeve – Women at the health club who take up valuable locker room bench space with their iPods, lotion bottles, etc., and leave no room for my ass so I can get dressed. Men may do it, too, but I am not welcome in their locker room, much to my chagrin.

Q – Quote that you like most – "East is east and west is west. And
if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does." It's Groucho, and it always confuses people.

R – Right or left handed – Right

S – Siblings – Two sisters

T – Time you wake up – 6-ish

U – Underwear – Yes, each and every day.

V – Vegetable you dislike – lettuce

W – What makes you r
un late – TV

X – X-rays you’ve ha
d – Clavicle

Y – Yummy food you
make – Pumpkin spice bars

Z – Zoo animal – Okapi

Saturday, June 27, 2009

I know it's Saturday evening, but I need a nap!

The Cubs-Sox game was three and a half hours long! Because it was the Cubs-Sox game, it was three and a half hours of emotion. The teams are well-matched this year, and today's game (like yesterday's and probably tomorrow's) was a see-saw affair. We won yesterday, they won today. Such great baseball is fun to watch, but EXHAUSTING!

I know it sounds anti-social, but there is nowhere I'd rather be right now -- even if it is Saturday -- than by myself, curled up on my sofa with the TV, my books and this here laptop.

Irritated Mole

No, not like him. I'm talking about one on my left cheek, about midway between eye and nose. It spontaneously started bleeding this morning and I couldn't get it to stop. I admit it frightened me and I had my dermatologist paged. On a Saturday morning. Before 9:00 AM. He was in his backyard, gardening before the sun got too hot.

He's so great. So friendly, putting me completely at ease. First he asked me which mole on my face, the one on my cheek or the one on my lip? So he remembers me, which made me trust him more. Then he asked me when I'd last had aspirin -- which was late Friday night when I had my migraine meds. He said the big dose of aspirin probably exacerbated whatever was wrong with mole, then he told me to put pressure on it with an ice pack until it stopped bleeding and then plan on getting in to his office Monday or Tuesday. He won't be there -- he's on vacation next week -- but he reassured me that this isn't anything his associates can't handle.

I know the mole will probably come off, which rattles me because it's on my face, I've been looking at it for 50 years and I'm used to it. But he may have to remove it to biopsy it, and that's more important than my personal comfort, isn't it?

Friday, June 26, 2009

It cuts like a knife. He's out of our lives.

Michael Jackson died yesterday. But in a way, he died for me years ago. Disappearing noses … alabaster skin … Neverland Ranch … Baby dangling … Slipping in and out of limos while wearing a surgical mask … most disturbingly, the sleepovers with little boys. It was like deja Elvis, only slower and more grotesque.

But how I loved his music! That's the Michael I followed for decades. That's the Michael on my iPod. That's the Michael I both mourn and celebrate.

I Want You Back
Stop! The Love You Save
I'll Be There
Got to Be There
I Wanna Be Where You Are*
Rock with You
The Way You Make Me Feel
Billie Jean
Beat It
Black or White
The Man in the Mirror

And, most fittingly, Gone Too Soon.

*I love to sing along with him when I'm all alone.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

New meme! Freshly stolen!

Naturally it was stolen from Kwizgiver.

I can't...

*get to work on time in the morning
*do multiplication tables in my head
*always keep things in perspective

but I can...
*make friends with almost any dog or cat on the plaet
*usually win at Scrabble
*wiggle my right ear
*recite dialog from The Way We Were from memory
*give good gift

I won't...
*eat tomatoes
*let Mean Mr. Garafalo from downstairs steal my newspaper any more!
*give up on the Cubs
*give in to temptation and get a free beer from the office beer cart
*laugh at ethnic jokes because they hurt people

but I will...
*drink more water
*work harder to say within my 1890 cal/day limit
*take the stairs more often
*answer my Cousin Rose's letters more promptly
*finish the tooth whitening regimen, instead of getting bored and giving up halfway through

I shouldn't...
* be so hard on myself
* obsess
* be so lazy
* procrastinate
* worry about things that are not in my control

and I should...
* cherish those I love
* unclutter more often
* save more money
* exercise
* stay present in the moment
(These are almost exactly the same as Kwizgiver's)

What about you?
If you play along, let me know so I can compare our answers.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Thursday Thirteen #114 -- On My Mind


These are in the order they came to mind
and not necessarily in order of importance.

1) I'll lose my job. I'm an old gal in a young person's industry. It's possible that if I can't hang onto this gig, I may have to contemplate a new career. What could I do that would pay as much as advertising writing? See? Just blogging about it has me chewing on my lower lip.

2) My mother's health. She doesn't move enough. She's got no aerobic exercise in her life at all. This can't be good for her heart. But discussing this with her is like talking to a stapler.

3) My mother's finances. She doesn't have much left to carry her through the rest of her life. What if her savings run out when I'm unemployed (see #1)?

4) My Cubs' bats are so streaky this year! Too many men left on base. Lou has tried encouraging them to watch films, then to forbid them from watching films. Hendry brought in a new batting coach. Nothing seems to work for more than a few games. What is up?

5) Health care. I understand that reform is necessary and that the current system is too expensive to us as a country. Rah-rah! I'm with you, Mr. President! I just worry what MY health care is going to look like after the reforms are passed. I'm 15 years older, and facing different health care issues, than I was when The Clintons were wrestling with this problem. Wish it had been resolved back then.

6) Abigail Breslin. She's top of mind now because she's been doing publicity for her new movie, My Sister's Keeper. "Little Miss Sunshine" is now 13, which is an awkward age for actresses. She's so genuine and talented and her performances have really touched me. I hope she grows up OK and has a long career and a happy life.

7) Major newspapers. Many have disappeared and both of Chicago's major dailies are struggling. I love reading the paper as I ride the train each weekday. I'd lose a valuable part of my daily routine, and local government would escape one of their most ferocious watchdogs.

8) The auto industry. Yeah, I know the bailouts weren't very popular. But what are the options? If the auto industry folds, where will all those workers go? It's not like they would have dozens of factory jobs to choose from. The economy is so different today than it was in past decades. What if they can't get new jobs that offer affordable health insurance for their families? While I admit I'm influenced more by emotion than common sense on this subject, there is a dollars-and-cents component to my concern. If, as a hopefully/gainfully employed tax payer, I have to help these folks out financially, I'd rather pay to help them keep their jobs than to pay their unemployment benefits.

9) Barack Obama. Take care of him, God. He's got to steer us through a mess.

10) My best friend. He's been very quiet and rather distant for more than a week now. That's so not like him. He's been known to get like this when he has troubles at home that he's not comfortable discussing with me. I understand because, frankly, I'm not comfortable hearing them. I just wish he'd tell me, topline, that's what's going on.

11) My oldest friend. She's had more than her fair share of physical and emotional upheaval lately. I wish life would give her a break and simply saddle her with a bad hair day.

12) My coworker's cat. She's not actually my coworker's cat. She's the cat that a coworker's evil irresponsible shitheel of a boyfriend left with her "for a little while," and then virtually disappeared. This poor cat is lonely, overweight and 12 years old. My coworker is taking good care of her, but really hates cats. Unfortunately, few shelters are interested in taking in a 12-year-old cat. I want to take her, you know. I can't stand this story. But I already have three middle-aged/elderly cats in a two-bedroom condo! Must move on. I'm chewing my lower lip again.

13) My plumbing. Or is the building's plumbing? It's old and unreliable and leaky when it finally goes, it will be time-consuming, inconvenient and expensive to repair. I am dealing with the problem by hoping it just goes away. Or that someone from the building management company will do their jobs and fix it. I know it's not the wisest plan, but it's the one that's easiest on that lower lip, the one that tends to bear the brunt of my worrying.

What's occupying your thoughts these days?

To participate yourself, or to look up
more TT participants,
visit the new hub (thursday-13.com).

Is it OK that I find this funny?

Gov. Sanford admits to extramarital affair

Relationship revealed after S.C. governor's mysterious trip to Argentina.

By the way, he voted "yes" to banning gay marriage and "no" to civil unions because that wedded bliss between a man and a woman is sacred and all.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I'd forgotten!

I'm spending a lazy day at home, spinning the dial, and came upon a most arresting sight (no pun intended). A very young Michael Douglas, smiling most winningly, as he gets information from the San Francisco PD crime lab. He was completely gorgeous! I'd forgotten.

So I googled one of my favorite Rolling Stone covers of all time -- Michael Douglas promoting The China System while holding his own bare-assed, cherubic baby boy. Babies and dogs ... Even the most gorgeous man looks more beautiful cuddling a baby or a dog.

He also starred in one of my favorite romantic comedies of all time, It's My Turn, with Jill Clayburgh. Never heard of it? That's OK, no one else has, either. I'm a cult of one.

When I see Michael Douglas now, he looks like a silly old man with with a particularly arrogant younger wife. I forgot what a fan I used to be.

Here's to you, Mother Earth

I just installed 2 of these energy saver bulbs in the light fixture/ceiling fan over my bed. (Still one conventional bulb left, but when it finally goes out, it will be replaced with one of these, too.)

They're made by GE and they fit in my bedroom fixture the way the spiral energy savers don't. I've been using them in my living room lamps for ages and can confirm what the package says -- they last much longer than regular soft white bulbs. They're not quite as bright as GE's regular soft white 60s, but really, how important is that? Especially when you consider that they last longer (resulting in fewer bulbs in landfills) and use less power (great for conservation) which means they cost less money (good for my wallet).

Monday, June 22, 2009

Three busy days

My 9-year-old nephew, Nick, and I left Saturday afternoon for a long weekend in Springfield, IL, where he connected with The Birthday Boy, our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln. We spent Sunday touring Lincoln's home and the Presidential Museum, where was saw Abe's actual stovepipe hat (shown). Then he took advantage of the hotel pool. Today we took the train back to Chicagoland and now I'm home ... alone ... exhausted.

Don't get me wrong, we had a good time. It was his first Amtrak ride, his first trip away without his parents, his first stay in a hotel, the first time he slept alone in a double bed. He enjoyed all of it.

He and I covered a lot of ground. We talked about what he's looking forward to this summer, his best friends, what he learned about Lincoln, his favorite foods, his favorite GameBoy games, that I snore ... He's a sweet kid, well-behaved, and a delight to be around. It was fun to see everything through his eyes. (The Lincoln's Springfield home had a three-seat outhouse -- that really fascinated him.)

But I'm not used to being around a kid 24/7. I'm exhausted! I don't know how you parents do it!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Back-to-back and come-from-behind

The Cubs rallied to win two very emotionally-charged games this week. The first was vs. the White Sox, and since they dropped the first game, winning the second was imperative. The Boys in Blue did win, but it was all still up in the air until the ninth.

Today's game was against the Cleveland Indians. Usually interleague games aren't don't interest me that much, but the Indians are another story altogether. For Kerry Wood returned to Wrigley Field for the first time this year, and I still can't get over him wearing a new uniform. Mark DeRosa is an Indian now, too. At one point the Cubs were behind 7-0. That would be the time I turned it off.

Oh, Gal of little faith!

This picture shows at least part of what I missed. The Cubs went from 7-2 in the eighth to 8-7 in the 10th. I went with this photo from the Sun-Times because it shows my current favorite Cub, the yummy Ryan Theriot, being congratulated by his teammates after "hitting the game-winning single."

FTD comes through

Yesterday my oldest friend checked herself into the hospital. Her tummy trouble was so severe it frightened her. This morning they did laparoscopic surgery on her to remedy a clogged duct between her liver and her gall bladder -- at least I think that's what the nurse told me. The nurse didn't seem to think it was very serious, but then, it wasn't the nurse who was having the surgery.

I called after her surgery but my friend was still sleeping it off. Her son was there with her and said she was doing fine. I wanted her to know I'd been thinking of her so I went to FTD.com and took advantage of their "same day delivery" option. Look what I was able to get her! Who wouldn't be happy to get a teddy "bear hug." I know it made it to the hospital, and maybe even to her room, before she woke up.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

And I Love Him

Happy 67th Birthday, Sir Paul!

The song that's on now isn't one of his, but it fits. Bob Seger is singing, "I'm older now but still runnin' against the wind …"

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Thursday Thirteen #113 -- Summer Reading


How many will I actually get through? Keep an eye on my Shelfari shelf. It keeps me honest.

1) The Girls from Ames by Jeff Zazlow. "A moving tribute to female friendships, with the inspiring story of eleven girls and the ten women they became."

2) Mercury in Retrograde by Paula Froelich. "The lives of three women intersect when they each decide to move into the same SoHo apartment building. Penelope is a reporter at the New York Telegraph, Lena is an Upper East Side socialite who works at the high-fashion magazine Y, and Dana is a corporate lawyer on the verge of becoming a partner ... As these three different women become friends, they discover that having their carefully planned lives fall to pieces may be the best thing that could ever have happened to them."

3) This Charming Man by Marian Keyes. "Paddy is Ireland's most debonair politician, dubbed the JFK Jr. of Dublin. His charm and charisma have taken hold of the country and the tabloids, not to mention our four heroines, Lola, Grace, Marnie and Alicia ... Narrated in turn by each woman, This Charming Man explores how their love for this one man shaped their lives."

4) Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner. One day 28-year-old Cannie Shapiro "opens up a national women's magazine and sees the words Loving a Larger Woman above her boyfriend's byline and she is plunged into misery, and the most amazing year of her life ..."

5) The Other Side of the Story by Marian Keyes. "A light-hearted, three-heroine romantic farce full of snappy, girl-friendly prose."

6) The Memory Collector by Meg Gardiner. "Forensic psychiatrist Jo Beckett's speciality is the psychological autopsy -- an investigation into a person's life to determine whether a death was natural, accidental, suicide or homicide … When Jo is asked to do a psychological autopsy on a living person -- one with a memory who can't be trusted to participate in his own medical care -- she knows all her skills will be put to the test."

7) Accessory to Murder by Elaine Viets. Josie Marcus, single mom and retail mystery shopper finds herself involved in a murder mystery. (One of my clients regularly hires mystery shoppers and I think they're an interesting sub culture.)

8) Blonde Ambition by Zoey Dean. Scheming on the set of a fictional TV show, Hermosa Beach.

9) Lily by Paulina Simons. "In the city that never sleeps Lily feels she is quietly watching life from the sidelines ... then her best friend and roommate Amy disappears and suddenly life takes a 180ยบ degree turn."

10) Cat Talk by Carole C. Wilbourn. "A cat is a very sensitive animal. How he feels is how he acts. It is, therefore, very important to know how your cat is feeling."

11) Clara's War by Clara Kramer. "The heart-stopping story of a young girl hiding from the Nazis is based on Clara Kramer's diary from her years surviving in an underground bunker with 17 other people."

12) Till the End of Tom by Gillian Roberts. Another in the entertaining series of murder mysteries featuring Philly Prep English teacher Amanda Pepper.

13) Undertow by Sydney Bauer. "Christina Haynes was not breathing. It was a terrible accident. Wasn't it?" Cool illustration of a boat on the cover.

To participate yourself, or to look up
more TT participants,
visit the new hub (thursday-13.com).

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I always knew ... but I didn't want to know ... you know?

The New York Times is reporting that Sammy Sosa tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug in 2003.

This makes me sad, but fortunately I was having a bad day, anyway.

Heads or Tails

The theme/prompt for THIS week, June 16, is:
HEADS - Lost
TAILS - Found

So I'm taking the "tail" spin and highlighting songs that include the word "found."

"I found my thrill on Blueberry Hill/on Blueberry Hill, where I found you." Fats Domino

"You got lucky, babe, when I found you." Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

"Now I've found my life has changed in, oh, so many ways/my independence seems to vanish in the haze." Beatles, "Help!"

"Young Scott with a slingshot found a tender spot and threw his lover in the sand." Bruce Springsteen, "Blinded by the Light"

For more information, or to play yourself, click here.

Don't ask

It's almost noon and I still haven't left for work yet. Fortunately I don't have any meetings until eod.

Monday, June 15, 2009

I have a headache. One I thought I got rid of 20 years ago.

So I get into the office this morning -- late, as always, but excited about completing this new project. I open up my work (!) email, and there it is. A message that doesn't belong anywhere in my life anymore, but certainly not here.

Subject: Stephen Doe

Need to talk, apologize. The after life is real. Whether you communicate or not ---- is understood; sdoe@fuse.net

The man I am referring to as Stephen Doe is, without exaggeration, the worst thing that ever happened to me. He was abusive and left me damaged physically and emotionally. While I have worked very hard -- and very successfully, I am proud to say -- to build a new life in the aftermath, the result of his physical cruelty remains with me today.

He first began trying to talk and apologize a year ago. He contacted my friend John, who was once our friend, and asked him to ask me if it was alright to contact me. It certainly was not, is not. I thought that was the end of it. Clearly, it's not.

We ended more than 20 years ago. I thought it was all behind me. I don't need this shit.

I am frightened that he knows how to reach me at my office.

I must breathe deeply and think. He lives in another state and is unlikely to show up here. Let's face it, that would require more effort than he put into our relationship when we were together.

Even if he does, post-9/11 this building has sophisticated security measures in place. He can't get up here without my permission.

I have caller ID both here and at home, so he can call, but I don't have to pick up. I can block him from my emails.

It's just he doesn't belong in my life anymore. At all. If he wants forgiveness, he should talk to his priest, not to me. After what he did, I owe him no comfort for his conscience.

This reminds me of something Carrie Fisher once wrote: "Nothing is over. It's just over there."

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Mel Gibson Conundrum

Mel Gibson is a anti-Semite who suffers from false piety and serious impulse control issues.

Mel Gibson is also a talented actor who has a gift for being a credible, likable Everyman, despite his really rather terrific looks. (Thank goodness they have dissipated with time.)

He's an asshole -- far more so than Tom Cruise -- yet I enjoy his movies. So by seeing them and renting them, am I supporting a jerk? Or am I simply separating the actor from the man?

Roman Polanski and Woody Allen present similar dilemmas. What to do? It leaves me tired.

It was gorgeous!

D Lee scored bottom of the ninth on a Ryan Theriot single.
The skid is over!

Clearly he's thinking of me

"I'll check out the Braves, the Cubs and the National League West." So says my beloved Future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux when asked by Las Vegas Golf if he still follows baseball.

I like to think what he meant to say was, "I check out the Braves, the National League West, and the Cubs because The Gal Herself is never far from my mind." But he's the soul of discretion.


Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing: The Blue Rene Meme

1. What thing is nearest to you? This laptop is, literally, on my lap.

2. What is your ringtone? The one that was programmed into my phone when I got it. Sorry my answer isn't more interesting.

3. What was the last message in your inbox? It's about being in a good mood and it's titled, "Me, too."

4. Who is your best friend? The one in Question #3 who is also in a good mood.

5. What is the brand of your TV? Sylvania in the living room, Symphonic in my bedroom.

6. What schools did you attend? Triton Community College.

7. Do you own a MP4? iPod. Does that count?

8. What song are you listening to now? No music, but the dulcet tones of Mike Murphy, Joe Scarborough and David Gregory on Meet the Press.

9. Did you kiss anybody in the past 2 days? No

10. Have you ever kissed someone you met in the blogosphere? No

11. What would you want to be called if you weren't your current name? "Thin Love Goddess"

12. Would you be happy if you had everything? I'm willing to find out.

13. Are you always thinking of someone special? Yes

14. Tell us of your most desperate dream? It involves assault with a deadly weapon, the police, a trial, and a rather creepy & pathetic Burt Reynolds.

15. When did you last laugh till you cried? Thursday night. My friend John and I were having a completely tasteless conversation, ping-ponging back and forth between Chaz Bono and Nancy Grace. We should be ashamed of ourselves, but it was just so fuckin' funny.

16. If you had a crush, would you tell them you love him/her now? No

17. If you could be anywhere in the world now, where would you want to be? Wearing a robe, drinking a Mimosa at a table overlooking the water and the gazebo at Chateau Elan. It's my happy place.

18. When was your heart last broken? The 2008 MLB post-season. Let's say no more about it.

19. Whose birthday(s) is/are coming up? My friend Barb.

20. How many email accounts do you have? 3, but I haven't been one of them in years. I had a reason for
not closing it, but I can't remember it.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The pitchers are doing their part

The Cub bats remain silent! I am trying to keep my cool and not start freaking out. But it's hard. Zambrano, Wells, Lilly and now Hardin have all turned in noteworthy performances, but they have received little or no support from the offense.

Fortunately, there's still Lou. I love watching him face the press, never more so than after a heartbreaker like today's 2-0 loss to the Twins. He's not happy, certainly. He looks weary, but not enraged. No excuses. No scape goating. He says we just need to hit the ball harder and more often. It's a 160+ game season, it's only June, and Lou's not throwing in the towel.

In Lou I trust.

Besides, last year we reliably won game after game after game in the regular season and completely fell apart in the play offs. Perhaps Lou is just implementing his secret plan for reversing that equation.

She missed a lot

My older sister, I mean. A little more than a year apart in age, just a year ahead of me in school, we spent our girlhoods as far apart as we could and still live in the same house. From my POV, it was because she hated me. She used to hit, kick, and pinch me when we were alone -- either trying to hurt me or make me yell, thereby getting a scolding from our icky grandmother for being "so damn loud all the time." (This continued until I moved out.) My things were "ours," while her things were "hers," and since she was both bigger and more coordinated than I was, it was easy for her to enforce this. She encouraged her classmates and the neighborhood kids to choose between her and me. Fortunately, the kids on the block chose me, which is why this morning it strikes me that she must have had a rather sad childhood.

As I was going about my cat-related chores (scooping the litterbox, freshening the water bowl and dispensing the kibble), I had first The Green Hornet and then Batman on. I was either 7 or 8 when these shows initially aired, and it amuses me now to remember how seriously my friends and I took them. We didn't think they were campy or funny, we were frustrated that no one understood what a great man The Green Hornet really was, and frightened that we may find the Dynamic Duo had been harmed when we tuned back in tomorrow -- "same Bat time, same Bat channel."

My sister never watched those shows. Or That Girl, The Man from UNCLE, The Monkees ... she had no interest in our backyard swingset, where my oldest friend and I swung for hours at a time, singing Beatles songs and comparing/contrasting the charms of The Cute One vs. The Quiet One ... she had a bike, but she never rode with us as we pretended we were racing around the block on thoroughbred horses ... she somehow managed to fight our genetic predisposition for the Cubs, so she never walked around with a transistor radio, listening to Vince and Lou on WGN radio like my baseball-obsessed friends and I did (though I do recall some of my friends actually preferred -- gasp! -- Johnny Bench and The Big Red Machine to my the Cubs). All the things I enjoyed were tainted in my older sister's mind, polluted by my very presence.

What did she enjoy? I know she and my icky grandmother used to polish her silver together a lot, and it meant a lot to my older sister to get it when Grandma kicked. She took sewing lessons. She got straight A's. We did watch Bewitched together, and agreed we preferred it to I Dream of Jeannie. We both played with our Barbies, but seldom together. (Mine was always dressing for a date with Paul McCartney.) I remember she liked doing jigsaw puzzles. Occasionally she joined us (or did her friends let me join them?) for tag. She was a far better athlete than I was and justifiably proud of her jump rope prowess. Blessed with dark hair and eyes, she tanned while I only burned, and lay in the yard slathered in baby oil, hoping to look like the California Girl she eventually became.

But I remember no music coming from her room. Not much laughter, either. She was not into Nancy Drew and didn't participate in the reading competition in our front yard. She didn't race to the drugstore to see who had the biggest photo on this month's Tiger Beat (Bobby, David or Donny).

With the compassion and perspective that comes with time and years (and years!) of therapy, I understand that she really didn't hate me. She was jealous of me. A high-maintenance, high-strung, colicky baby, she never got the undivided attention from my mom that she needed because I was born. Not my fault, not her fault, not my mother's fault. It's just the way it was. It's unfortunate that my parents didn't have the insight to handle it as we grew up and the competition grew more physical and virulent, but back in those days, such things weren't discussed.

Now that she and I are both middle-aged broads, and I know that she can't physically hurt me (though I wouldn't stand in front of her car and trust her to brake), I feel sorry for her. I was a funny, imaginative kid and my friends and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Too bad she couldn't/wouldn't let herself do the same.

So hard to take Sarah Palin seriously

Even though I don't much care, the Palin-Letterman controversy has penetrated my consciousness, and I conclude that if the good Governor is really the future of the Republican Party, the Democrats have little to worry about.

David Letterman made a joke about Bristol Palin. Yes, it was in bad taste. Whatever. I'm not sure Bristol can claim to be a model of propriety after explaining to People that as a high school student-mom she breast fed before classes. Let's not forget this photo of Bristol was not a paparazzi shot. Young Ms. Palin posed for People and granted the interview. She has appeared of her own volition as a spokesperson for abstinence. So when Sarah Palin whines and complains that her kids aren't treated as delicately as the Obama girls, she's ingenuous. The Obama girls don't have a cause and they have yet to pose solo -- without their parents anywhere in sight -- for magazine covers. If anyone is exploiting Bristol Palin, it's whoever it is that may have influenced Bristol to put herself out there without making sure Bristol understood she may takes shots.

As far as young Willow Palin is concerned, if Governor Palin is so worried about her younger daughter's reputation, maybe she should stop talking about her. I didn't know Willow's name or that she was 14 or that she was in New York with her mother until Governor Palin kept repeating it on The Today Show and CNN.

The timing is very good for old Dave though. Conan was getting all the publicity for being the hip, new kid at 10:30 (CST). Wonder if Dave and Sarah are pulling an Eminem/Bruno on us.

Friday, June 12, 2009

What's wrong with me tonight?

I keep spilling things! Between the Coke and the orange juice, my carpet has really taken a beating. I'm so klutzy, you'd think I was trying out for the right field position on the Cubs!

Oh well, tomorrow is a new day and a fresh start for me, my carpet, and my Cubs.

It's my best friend's birthday

We celebrated thoroughly when he was in town two weeks ago (who can forget the chocolate-covered bacon?), but still, I was very happy to talk to him and fuss over him today over the phone.

This is a very special day on The Gal's calendar because I'm so very glad he was born.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Thursday Thirteen #112 -- Summertime, and the living is casual



Now that winter coats have been abandoned, I have been taking note of what my neighbors wear emblazoned across their chests this Summer of 09. (Naturally there were tons of Cubs and White Sox shirts on display, so many that I disqualified them from the list. Interestingly, no Bears shirts, just hats.)

Have you seen any of these shirts? What do you advertise across your chest?

1) CAT (the Caterpillar logo)

2) We Be Jammin' (illustrated with Bob Marley)

3) Beijing 2008 Olympic Games

4) A big Playboy logo against a pink background

5) USS Constitution -- Boston

6) World Wildlife Fund

7) Hug it out!

8) Peace & Unity

9) Discover Greatness/Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

10) Livestrong

11) Obama 08 (Like the one my avatar is wearing)

12) Adopt Love/the Tampa SPCA

13) Hooters Rocks! (The less said about the accompanying illustration, the better)

To participate yourself, or to look up
more TT participants,
visit the new hub (thursday-13.com).

Our National Nightmare Is Over!

Donald Trump ousts Prejean as Miss California

The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- It's official: Controversial Miss California Carrie Prejean has heard the words "you're fired" from pageant boss Donald Trump.

Trump issued a statement Wednesday saying he sacked Prejean for failing to honor her commitments as Miss California USA.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Me & Mark McPherson

Mark McPherson is the detective assigned to the Laura Hunt murder case in Laura, Otto Preminger's 1940's noir classic. It hit me today, as I played Yahtzee on my iPod during the train home, that Mark and I have a few things in common.

Yes, I have been known to fall in love with those I can't have, like Mark does in the movie. Sure, it's possible that I'm more comfortable gazing at a loved one's picture than I am in risking my heart in a real relationship. (Though to this point, at least, all the objects of my affection have been among the living.)

But most of all, I am hooked on games. They keep me calm, just as the handheld baseball game Mark plays with as he questions murder suspects kept him calm. Of course, we've come a long way since those handheld games. I've got Pogo on my laptop and a couple EA games on my iPod. My favorite games are Yahtzee, solitare and blackjack.

Tuesday Tunes #23

The weather's heating up so lets do a little "hot" related word association. Songs/Bands/Artists/Albums you think of when you see these words.

Steamy --
"I'm on Fire" by Bruce Springsteen. Oooh, that song completely captures lust and yearning for me. Sooo steamy.

Heat -- "Heat Wave" by Martha and the Vandellas.

Hot -- "Rocky Racoon" by The Beatles. Daniel was hot, he drew fast and shot, and Rocky collapsed in the corner.

Summer --
"Hot Fun in the Summertime" by Sly and the Family Stone

Dry --
"Soon It's Gonna Rain" by Barbra Streisand. Smell how the velvet rain is falling, out where the fields are warm and dry.

Desert --
"Band on the Run by Paul McCartney & Wings. The night was falling as the desert world began to settle down. In the town they're searching for us everywhere but we never will be found.

Beach --
"New York State of Mind" by Billy Joel. Take a holiday from the neighborbood. Hop a flight to Miami Beach or to Hollywood.

-- "Born to Run" by Bruce Springsteen. In the day we sweat it out on the streets of a runaway American dream ...

To play along yourself, or to see how others answered, click here.

Monday, June 08, 2009

I like this song more than I should

It represents everything I have learned that a relationship shouldn't be. Yet here I am at my desk, bobbing my head up and down to the beat and singing along with Kelly, "Because we belong together now ..."

How about you? Any love songs you love, even though you know they're toxic?

Sunday, June 07, 2009

How could this NOT lift my spirits?

My friend Kathleen threw a joint graduation party for both of her kids. Her daughter just graduated from 8th grade, and her son is graduating from high school this week.

Not perfect kids. Her son takes the village parking laws a bit too lightly and has the tickets to prove it. Her daughter surprisingly allows herself to be trapped by decades-old (centuries-old?) gender stereotypes, and hides how good she is at math because it's only for ugly girls and geeky boys. Her son has been known to treat his father with a touch of condescension, which causes more than a touch of tension in the house. Her daughter has been known to indulge in a bit of junior high school histrionics, making her own contribution to household tension.

But they are good kids. He has been a stellar student all through school, traveled with his class to Japan and had his choice of schools before he and his parents agreed on Fordham. Best of all, he's very involved with his church and every summer he's headed down south with hammer, paint and pail and helps rehab homes in distressed communities. She is very sensitive, capable of expressing herself eloquently through art. (Unusual for a math whiz, huh?) She also has a well-calibrated internal compass. Just recently a teacher reported to Kathleen that when asked what she'd do if her boyfriend encouraged her to drink, Kathleen's daughter told the class without hesitation, "I'd get a new boyfriend."

I wasn't going to go to this party. It was a big open house, it was mostly family (and Kathleen has a very big family) and I wouldn't know many people. I mentioned this to my best friend, also knows Kathleen, and he chastised me -- telling me to get over myself, get myself over there, and just make an appearance. I'm glad I listened to him. I was only there for a little more than an hour, just long enough to have a beer, mingle a little and bond a bit with Kathleen and her husband, but it lifted my spirits enormously.

On the way out, her son unashamedly and happily hugged me. It hit me then that it's been a privilege to watch these two wonderful kids grow up.

A call & more cause for concern

Had a nice long chat with my mom last night, and while she sounded sharp and healthy and happy, still I hung up feeling more than a little rattled.

Her gray cat, Ethel, has been peeing outside of the box. I talked my mom into taking her to the vet. Ethel's getting older, and if she has a painful bladder infection, it's easier, cheaper and kinder if it's caught early on. Turns out my mom was right -- Ethie's issues are "behavioral." She thinks it's funny that her long-haired girl has suddenly become such a diva in her old age. Then she told me she had to cash in some savings bonds I gave her last year to pay Ethel's $700 vet bill.

I gave her the bonds just in case of emergency. We're pet people, so to us this was an emergency. No sweat.

Then she told me that she's down to $40,000. For the rest of her life. She has a little money coming in from Social Security, but that's it. Especially since her most recent illness, she really shouldn't go back to work (she made about $200/month during the school year as a lunch mom).

Her house is paid for. In fact, that $40,000 is all that's left in her reverse mortgage. But she still has to maintain the house and yard and pay the property taxes. Then there's food and utilities.

She knows this isn't good, but she doesn't seem to be stressing about it. She's known how bad things are for a while and has become used to it.

I've known things were tough for her -- that's why I pay for Medicare Supplemental Insurance and snow removal -- but I didn't know it was this dire. And so I'm not "used to it" yet and am, indeed, stressing.

I simply have to work harder at belt tightening. My niece needs help paying for her special culinary summer school classes. My mom will undoubtedly need more help, and soon. And what if I lose my job? I'm over 50! I simply have to keep contributing to my retirement funds or I'll just be following in my mother's financial footsteps.

As I posted Friday, this Recession is with me all the time now. I know I'm not the only one -- probably everyone who reads this has money concerns of some sort. I have to let it go. I have to try to take it in stride, to change what I can and accept what I can't, to trust God and work off my stress with exercise (or housework, this place is a sty again).

Friday, June 05, 2009

I don't like you, but I love you

Ok, I don't love Carlos Zambrano either. He's a hot head whose impulse control is as bad as his control of the strike zone is good. But even though I believe he's a little lacking as a human being, he's a talented baseball player and tonight he won his 100th game, and got a home run, to boot.

So I may not like you or love you, but tonight, Carlos Zambrano, this old Cub fan appreciates you.

Still not used to it

Our office closes early on Fridays in summer. I used the extra time this afternoon to do my grocery shopping. On the way home, I saw that a local bakery is shuttered, with a sign in the window thanking the community for letting them serve us for more than 15 years.

Just last weekend I noticed three other stores had closed.

This is in addition to my former boss, who has been unemployed for more than six months now, and is worried about medical insurance. And the friend who has an advanced degree, an impressive resume and blue-chip references and still has been pounding the payment since March.

Oh yeah, and then there's me. I'm still worried about my own job security. After all, I'm in advertising in a tough economy, so joblessness just naturally hangs over my head like the Sword of Damocles.

So it's with me all the time -- this bad economy. Nationally unemployment is at 9.4%. Here in Cook County it's a little higher. Even though these are sad and sobering thoughts for a sunny Friday afternoon, I'm glad they haunt me. I'm glad that my grocery bag contained a box of Pasta Roni (fettucine alreado flavor) for the neighborhood food pantry.

As Bruce Springsteen likes to remind us, "In the end, nobody wins unless everybody wins." Every plant that closes and every little bakery that goes out of business means unemployment and no insurance and lots of worry and heartbreak for someone who is just like me. Next time it could be me, and I'd appreciate it if someone out there hurt a little bit for me, too.

Borrowed from Mo

You can find her at Inside Mo's Mind.

This can be a quick one. Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you’ve read that will always stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.”

1) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

2) Charlotte's Web by E. B. White

3) In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

4) JFK: Reckless Youth by Nigel Hamilton

5) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

6) The Princess Bride by William Goldman

7) Saving Graces by Elizabeth Edwards

8) Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

9) Personal Injuries by Scott Turow

10) Pentimento by Lilliam Hellman

11) A Short Season by Jeannie Morris

12) Bang the Drum Slowly by Mark Harris

13) The Diary of Anne Frank

14) House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus

15) Oxygen by Carol Cassella

If you play along, let me know so I can see which books you chose.

I know what her public reaction would be

Without breaking her stride, she'd simply say, "No comment." Or maybe no one would have the cajones to ask her about this to her face. After all, the paparazzi who swarmed her only ever got photos, never answers. (WWJD -- What Would Jackie Do? -- is a game I play often because I remain in awe of her strength, composure, and ability to stylishly rise above even the worst situations.)

PORTLAND, Ore. — Police in Oregon say they’ve found graphic child pornography at the home of the half-brother to the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

The search at the Ashland home of 62-year-old James Auchincloss occurred in October, according to the Ashland Daily Tidings, which first reported the story. No charges have been filed.

Calls by The Associated Press to Auchincloss were not returned.

The newspaper said Auchincloss, who has lived in Ashland since 1995 and serves on the board of Oregon Stage Works, declined to comment on what police found at his home, saying that it was “a matter for the courts.”

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Thursday Thirteen #111 -- How Did You Know?


I love that early scene in just about every Law & Order episode -- the one where the detectives go through the victim's home or office to find out about her life. Here are thirteen things Benson and Stabler would learn about me from my offfice.

1) I'm a Beatle fan. The big A Hard Day's Night poster is a good clue. I also have a "fab flashback" on my bulletin board: the boys splashing in the surf during their 1964 visit to Florida. Then there's the bumper sticker: Still Pissed at Yoko.

2) The Cute One is my favorite. On display you'll find a Paul pin, keychain, photo (silhouette of him holding his bass over and his head) and a full-page newspaper ad from 2006, honoring him for his Best Album Grammy nomination. I love the headline, "Perhaps no artist on earth has more reason to look back, yet never does."

3) I'm a loyal Cub fan. You'll be tipped off by my Cubs screen saver, the Wrigley Field snowglobe on my desk, and the Soriano bobblehead on my bookcase.

4) My beloved future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux is my favorite ballplayer. I have two photos of him as a Cub on my bulletin board, as well as my ticket stub for July 26, 2005, when I was there to see him make history by getting his 3000 strikeout.

5) I'm a doting aunt. In addition to framed school pictures of my niece and nephew, I have his original artwork -- a painting of flowers -- on display. (I can't tell which way is up on his painting, but he displays a good eye for color nonetheless.)

6) I must know the date! I have two calendars -- one on my wall (a fundraiser for The Tree House) and a day-at-time movie trivia calendar on my desk. (Today's trivia question: What movie involves bank robbers, Bolivia and Etta Place?)

7) I'm sloppy. Most of my desk is covered with paper. Just like most of my home is covered with paper. Someday I MUST get organized!

8) I work out at lunchtime. Nike gym bag over there in the corner.

9) I'm right handed. The mouse on the right of my laptop gives it away.

10) I obsess. Hence the sticker on my desklamp that says, "I will not obsess. I will not obsess. I will not obsess."

11) My blood pressure is 118/78 and my pulse is 68 beats per minute. My ticket from Lifesource, the one that says I have "acceptable physical findings" for donating blood, is right here next to my computer.

12) I care about the environment. At least I care enough to toss my paper garbage into the blue recycling bin at my feet.

13) I change my mind a lot. One look at my desk and you'll see I prefer pencils to pens, and that my pencils almost all have worn-away erasers. That's why there's a fabulous elephant grey eraser always at the ready.

To participate yourself, or to look up
more TT participants,
visit the new hub (thursday-13.com).

No offense, but you all annoy me

This week is proving to be slow, work wise. This makes me a little antsy. (Recession? Joblessness? Hel-lo!) However my two art directors handle the respite from work differently than I do. As evidenced just now as we responded to a client request for a revision.

One is a very nice and conscientious man, so when we're slow like this, he questions everything. Over and over. He wants to get it right. He wants to take this opportunity to learn the reasons why the client requests these revisions. All very laudable.

Except that it makes a 30-second conversation about the project take 20 minutes.

All the client wants us to do is make one specific legal disclosure on the back of the brochure one point size bigger. It's not a big deal. You have no idea how not a big deal this is. Since I thought just one disclosure being bigger than the others on the same page would look dorky, and since making them all bigger would be easier, I asked him to make all the disclosures bigger.

His response: Why? Why must the 123 disclosure be bigger? Can we get away with making just the 123 disclosure bigger? Why? WHY?

My thought bubble: Dear Lord, shoot me now.

However my response is to ask the other art director, who sits beside him in their art director bullpen, how it would look with just the 123 disclosure bigger. After all, she has more experience with these brochures and disclosures than he does. But it was a mistake to draw her into this. You see, having extra time on her hands doesn't make her more conscientious, like him, or more agitated, like me. She really enjoys it.

So her response to me was, "I don't know."

My thought bubble: How can you not know? You've been doing this very think for more than four fucking years here! Close your email, quit watching Hulu and help us!

My verbal response: Oh, I guess it doesn't really matter because we're making all the disclosures one point size bigger. Thanks anyway!

Revealing myself as the impatient, frustrated bitch I am would not be helpful. Still, I wonder if my chipper demeanor looks as fake as it feels ...

Class & sensitivity from an unexpected source

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin issued a wise and soothing statement Tuesday about the murders of Dr. George Tiller and army recruiter William Long.

"The stories of two very different lives with similar fates crossed through the media's hands yesterday -- both equally important but one lacked the proper attention. The death of 67-year old George Tiller was unacceptable, but equally disgusting was another death that police believe was politically and religiously motivated as well. William Long died yesterday. The 23-year old Army Recruiter was gunned down by a fanatic; another fellow soldier was wounded in the ambush. The soldiers had just completed their basic training and were talking to potential recruits, just as my son, Track, once did. Whatever titles we give these murderers, both deserve our attention. Violence like that is no way to solve a political dispute nor a religious one. And the fanatics on all sides do great disservice when they confuse dissention with rage and death."

Believe me, this is something I never thought I'd say, but thank God for Gov. Palin.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Greetings from She Who Displays Bad Judgement

You'll be pleased to know there were no negative ramifications from my liquid lunch. (See post below.) No, let me rephrase: there were no negative professional ramifications from my liquid lunch. I laid low, filing and (appearing as though I was) researching until the baby shower at 3:00.

Then I had a humongous piece of cake with frosting and a Coke. Then, for reasons no longer clear to me, I had another piece of cake. And popcorn because someone else was having it and I liked the smell.

Then I don't know what happened. Sugar crash? Buzz kill? I was filled with self-loathing which could only be cured by one thing -- exercise.

We have a rudimentary workout room here in the agency -- a couple treadmills, a stationery bike, and weights. Not much floor space and no mats, but nice shower facilities. Back in days gone by, I would have used the "no machines/no floormats" excuse to dismiss working out here, and the "I can't miss the game!"* excuse for not working out either at the downtown club or the one at home. But because I had to cleanse my conscience, and because I really am dedicated to getting back into shape, I decided to "make do" with the workout room here. I did a half hour on the treadmill and (without floor mats, like the pioneer women did!) some leg lifts and sit ups while watching the game. I feel a little better about myself.

*But not the Cubs! How does a no-hitter into the 7th become a 5-5 tie in the 10th? C'mon, Boys in Blue! Shut 'em down and let's go home!


Psst! Don't tell anyone, but I had a teeny-tiny touch too much wine with lunch today. (Had to! It was the only way to distract me from how awful the tuna salad was!) Fortunately the only meeting I have to attend this afternoon is just a baby shower for a coworker, so if you all don't tell, I think my secret will be safe.

Monday, June 01, 2009

An(other) open letter to Sir Paul McCartney

I see you are playing Nova Scotia in July. Why don't you come here to Chicago to see me?

Yes, I know I made a slobbering, lust-filled fool of myself over Bruce Springsteen last month, but I promise you, compared to the twitterpated fool I make of myself over you, that was nothing.

So THIS is how we reward good behavior?

I have lost 5 lbs. Simply by moving more and monitoring what I shove into my pie hole (no pie, but plenty of other yummy foods). I am feeling proud and inspired and ready to make June another productive month of loss.

So imagine my surprise when I visited The Daily Plate and found that in exchange for my success, I am now allowed 40 calories less a day! Lance Armstrong, you bastard!

Wait, wait, wait. Calm down, Gal. What is 40 calories, exactly? 5 baby carrots. Or 1 cup of turnips. Or 2 cups of radishes.

I know I can manage to make it through each day with 5 fewer baby carrots, 1 cup fewer turnips, or even 2 cups less radishes. It won't even take any self restraint!

I wish I'd known long ago how uncomplicated the secret to a healthier lifestyle is -- move more, eat less. If you need help sticking with it, again I recommend livestrong.com, the home of The Daily Plate.