Monday, August 31, 2009

09 August Happiness Challenge -- Day 31

Monday. Beautiful sky, perfect weather. The sky is blue and clear, except for a few puffy white clouds. The sun is bright and the mercury just grazed 70ยบ. Simply gorgeous.

Now it's time to bid that Get Happy Girl, Judy Garland, "adieu" because, just like Christmas decorations, she's going to be tucked away until next year.

That felt gooooood

Worked out today for the first time in a week! Did my half hour of cardio plus some lat pull downs. My bruises didn't protest too much, which is good because my muscles have missed the exertion.

I'm feeling enthusiastic about all of this again because when I stood on the scale this morning, I found that at least I hadn't gained any weight.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

09 August Happiness Challenge -- Day 30

Sunday. Well-timed words of encouragement. Not only did my cyber sibs, Kwiz and Snarky, cheer me up with their comments on the post below, my neighbor Brian stopped the laundry room to talk to me about working out, too. It would be so easy for me to throw in the towel and go to Stone Cold Creamery, but that's not what I really want to do. Thanks to my personal cheerleaders for keeping me on track.

Uh oh

Tomorrow is Weigh Day. I fear the results will not be what I want them to be. I have missed work outs due to work (bad excuse, because my health club is open 24/7) and tummy trouble and my bruises (valid excuses). I've also fallen off the diet wagon a time or two.

I must remind myself that this is not a diet I am on. It's a lifestyle change. So August wasn't all that successful. I can turn it around in September.

Besides, I know I'm stronger, if not thinner. That's an indication that I'm on way to a healthier life. And that is the point, isn't it? (Let me rephrase: that SHOULD be the point, shouldn't it?)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

09 August Happiness Challenge -- Day 29

Saturday. Looking at him. Watching my cat Joey sleep always makes me smile. He does it so completely! He sprawls out, changes his position frequently, and looks like he's smiling as he dreams. My big old tub of guts is a "power napper extraordinaire."

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: The Waiting

1. Have you ever stayed online for a very long time waiting for someone? Not particularly. I will stay online and refresh my mailbox often if I'm expecting an email from a friend, but I'll be doing other things -- not just sitting there, scaring at the screen.

2. How do you eat oreos? I don't eat Oreos, but I do have a weakness for the lemon creme sandwich cookies my admin regularly brings into the office. I devour them in a bite or two, without taking them apart and eating the creme separately.

3. Are you cocky? Professionally, yes. Personally? No.

4. Did you have an imaginary friend as a kid? Hell yes! I had an entire imaginary cast of characters. It was great.

5. What t.v. station do you watch the most? MSNBC

6. Have you ever seen the ocean? Both the Atlantic and the Pacific and the Gulf, too.

7. Have you ever been hospitalized? Only once for the removal of uterine fibroids. Not really a big deal.

8. What's your favorite brand of rootbeer? IBC (though it's getting harder to find)

9. Could you live without a computer? Not happily

Faith and Redemption

I'm watching Ted Kennedy's funeral mass and my heart is so full. Not just in celebration of this one life or this one family, but because I know how fortunate I am to believe.

• I know that public service, politics and government are all noble callings. I know the Kennedys, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama (all of who I'm looking at on my TV right now) chose to better the country, even though they all could have found easier, more lucrative work in the private sector. Yes, I realize that no public servant is perfect and at times believing as I do leaves my heart feeling as bruised as my knee. But it also gives me so much hope and purpose.

• I know that we can change our own lives. I know I can become a better person, a better daughter, a better friend. I have that capacity. As I listen to everyone discussing how Ted Kennedy's love for his second wife Vicki helped him get his life back on track, I know that's possible. It's never too late, it's never over, we're never done ... not until God calls us home.

• I know that true love and soulmates exist. He was well into middle age when they wed. (See bullet above.) Just because I have fallen short in romantic relationships until now doesn't mean it will always be this way. (See bullet above.)

• I know that Jesus loves me and I will be forgiven. Service to man, love and redemption are all part and parcel of God's glory. Within my Unitarian faith I have the framework and reinforcement to worship as I wish, and I am so grateful.

I am a very lucky woman with a full heart. As Ted Kennedy said, "...the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die."

Friday, August 28, 2009

09 August Happiness Challenge -- Day 28

Friday. Peapod. Because I'm still pretty sore (as explained in yesterday's challenge post), I really can't/shouldn't do a lot of heavy lifting. So thank goodness for grocery delivery services! All my heavy stuff -- Slim Fast, Coca Cola and a jug of Tidy Cat -- will arrive at my front door this evening. Hurray!

It could be worse

Friends of this blog, the Bumbles, commented recently that, living in Boston, the Kennedy coverage is pretty much wall to wall.

Imagine what it's like to live here, in Chicagoland, and have THIS be the center of the press coverage! Doesn't quite reach the mythical majesty of Camelot, does it?

Friday Fill In

1. He was a gentleman and a scholar.

2. The cool night air, so I can sleep with the window open, is what I look forward to most this time of year.

3. My best friend is related to John and JQ Adams -- isn't that neat?

4. I can't say I miss Michael Jackson one bit, to be honest with you.

5. Appearances can be deceiving -- trite, but true.

6. The last person I gave a hug to was my nephew, who is imminently huggable.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to vegging, tomorrow my plans include vegging and Sunday, I want to veg!

To fill it in for yourself, click here.

Aw ...

Sir Paul and his gal pal, Nancy Shevell, enjoying a Yankee game. This makes me happy.

He can't possibly understand

This is Splash, the oldest of Ted Kennedy's three dogs and rumored to be his favorite. He's shown here in Kennedy's Senate office, sitting beneath a photo of JFK. But the great thing about dogs is that Splash doesn't know about the Kennedy Legacy and wouldn't care if he did. He was just sitting there with the light of his life, his favorite person, the one who gave him treats, scratched his ear, gave him rides in the car and took him sailing. In return, Splash gave his #1 person comfort and unconditional love. Not because Ted Kennedy was one of the most famous men in the world, but because that's what dogs do.

If you visit here often, you know I feel a special bond with dogs and cats. It's such a part of my heart that can't help looking at Ted's death through that prism. Splash can't possibly understand what has happened in his furry world. I wonder how long dogs mourn.

And then there was one

With the recent passing of Eunice Kennedy Shriver just two weeks ago and now, of course, Ted Kennedy, there is only sibling of their generation left -- Jean Kennedy Smith (second from left). I wonder what it is like for her these days.

She was there for the rivalry between Joe and Jack ... Honey Fitz ... sailing and swimming and football in Hyannis Port and Palm Springs ... their father's days in Hollywood ... the Roosevelts ... London during the war ... the glamorous but tragic marriage of Kick and Billy ... the heartbreak of Rosemary's illness ... Choate and Harvard ... PT-109 ... the sudden deaths of Joe and Kick ... the political ascendancy of Jack .... the addition of Ethel, Jackie and Joan ... the addition of Sarge, Steve and Peter ... Camelot ... their father's stroke ... the Cuban Missile Crisis ... the Special Olympics ... Dallas, Los Angeles and Chappaquiddick ... Bobby finding his voice and losing his life ... the trials of the "kids" (many of whom are in their 50s now), including drugs, cancer, brushes with the law and more tragic young deaths ... their mother's 100th birthday and her passing ... Teddy's growth into elder statesman ... her own time as Ambassador to Ireland ...

My mother and her brother are both seniors now and neither is in great health. My mother is stronger than she was six months ago, but she has COPD and a bad knee and tires easily. My uncle, her baby brother, is battling Parkinson's. I have watched their bond strengthen as their parents, aunts, uncles, spouses and lifelong family friends have passed.

In a very real, very human way, the Kennedys are simply a family. A family that has cast an enormous shadow across American life, to be sure, but a family, and Jean is the last one standing. Now, at 81, she has lost two of her siblings in the same month. Being the last of her parents' children must be bittersweet indeed for now she alone has all the memories.

My gratitude is with Ted Kennedy. My prayers are with her.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

09 August Happiness Challenge -- Day 27

Thursday. Nice men. It was a strange day in Loop today, what with the police shooting & killing a man with a knife at noontime on State Street. But that doesn't mean Chicago isn't a terrific city. I bought a new microwave at Sears today. The box is bigger than I thought it'd be and I had a hard time getting into the cab. The cabbie helped me get it in and out of the trunk. Then, as I headed toward the door of the train station, I took a tumble on the wet pavement. Bruises on my knees, cuts on my arms. Embarrassing and painful. The cabbie left his car and helped me get back on my feet. So did a very nice man. Then, while I was on the train, a (rather cute) guy asked me if he could help me on the steps, since box looked so heavy. He did much more than that. Turns out he and I got off at the same stop and he carried it for me practically to my front door. Thank you, three men I've never seen before!

I was eating lunch a few blocks away as this went on

A man who was shot by police after allegedly pulling a weapon on another man along busy State Street is dead, officials said.

And yet nothing seemed unusual. Didn't even know about this until I got back to the office. Kinda spooky.

So far the score is tied.

Gal 1/Reynaldo 1.

Regular readers know Reynaldo is my skinny beige cat. He is always sweet but often so hyper that I am completely exasperated. Imagine John Grogan's Marley mixed with Lilo's Stitch and you have my Reynaldo.

This morning, for the second pre-dawn in a row, he has raced into my bedroom, trying to get me to play with him. No, I don't know why he doesn't play with one of the other two cats. And anyway, he's Rey, so reasons are immaterial.

First he walks across my body and meows in my ear. An unpleasant way to wake up. I yell at him and pull the covers over my head. He digs at the sheet as if I am a buried treasure. I yell at him. He jumps onto my dresser. Sometimes he flips the light on, sometimes he just knocks things over. He wants me to get up and chase him. I want to sleep until my alarm goes off at 6:15.

Yesterday this went on for more than 40 minutes, until the alarm went off. This morning he began way earlier and really pissed me off. For he decided that the figurine on the TV stand needed to go and knocked it onto the floor. It is, believe it or not, an angel holding a cat -- a gift from a past art director who admired my compassion for homeless animals. Like Rey … until that dark day I brought him home from the shelter.

So I got out of bed and he raced out, sure I was finally playing his game. But no, I simply closed the door and went back to bed. Where my diva cat Charlotte was looking at me like, "Please knock it off. I'm trying to sleep here."

I hadn't done this before because the litter boxes are tucked beside a partition in my big walk-in closet and I didn't want to inconvenience the two cats who are not demonically possessed. To wait 90 minutes to use the facilities seemed unfair, but what the hell. I wanted to go back to sleep and besides, I was busy playing Annie Sullivan to Rey's Helen Keller.

The alarm clock went off, I opened my bedroom door and triumphantly saw the cat I thought I'd vanquished, looking at me expectantly. I stepped over him and went into the bathroom.

Where he had taken a dump on my pretty new pink bathmat.

This isn't over, Reynaldo!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

09 August Happiness Challenge -- Day 26

Thursday. Bipartisan grace. I got home and turned on the news, as I do every day. And, knock me over with a feather, I was treated to Nancy Reagan speaking glowingly about Ted Kennedy! She said the two conferred often regarding health care, specifically stem cell research. Imagine all that could be accomplished if that spirit of bipartisanship could be bottled and shared throughout the House and Senate!

Feeling very Dorothy just now

I went to the dermatologist yesterday to discuss removing/minimizing my varicose veins. The procedure isn't very expensive and seems safe. So why am I waiting until Fall/Winter to have the complete treatment? Because after the injections, I will have to wear support hose for 48 hours. Support hose and August just don't go together. In fact, not much goes with support hose.

I can just hear Blanche or Sophia making a joke at my expense about veins and the support hose.

*She shot up one vein on the back of my left calf and so far, so good

I'm not sad this morning

… about the passing of Ted Kennedy. For at last we saw a Kennedy brother live a long life and die at home, of natural causes.

Today at lunch I bought my skincare at The Body Shop, gave my change to a homeless man, and renewed my membership in Greenpeace. While Ted wasn't on my mind as I did these things, it occurs to me that that they each came so naturally because I'm a Kennedy Girl. Since childhood, JFK, Bobby and Ted have shaped my world view. Government should do for the individual what the individual can't do alone. We are all responsible to one another.

I met him at a "Kerry for President" fundraiser in 2004. He was round and white-haired and friendly and LOUD and bigger than life, and I never expected to get so close to him. When he grabbed my hand, I was at a loss for words. (It doesn't happen often, but it happens.) So I just said, "Thank you." At the time I thought it was a dopey thing to say. In retrospect, I realize that "thank you" just about covers it.

"...the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

09 August Happiness Challenge -- Day 25

Tuesday. Shrimp. After work I stopped at Whole Foods and picked up some cooked and peeled shrimp. Oh ... YUM!

Now I may be Team Kate

At first I admit I was Team Jon. Kate was too bossy, too critical, too much the perfectionist. (Remember when she scolded him for not using a coupon?) He was so much easier going with the kids, more natural.

Now I am grudgingly Team Kate. Jon's acting like an overripe frat boy, smoking and drinking and partying with The Pink Ladies from Grease. Kate seems to tbe stable one, even though she wears more than a hint of martyr these days.

Actually, now that I think of it, I don't especially like Jon or Kate. But, oh, those kids! Especially the little boys. I'm so hooked on the Gosselin kids it's like they're crack. I hope that when all is said and done, they turn out OK.

This friend of a friend is no friend of mine

I'm upset, and who better to share my disquiet with than my blogbuddies?

I have a dear old friend who is very fragile right now. She feels her life is spinning out of control. Naturally my first instinct is to protect her and try to help her get through this. My friend has befriended, travelled with and played hostess to a woman she met online and very little good has come of their relationship.

I shall spare you all the wacky, sad details, but I'm not joking -- my dear old friend is in a bad crowd when she's with this cyber buddy of hers. Since I know how delicate she is, I have been monitoring her cyber buddy's blog. I just want to be sure there are no expensive trips or Lucy/Ethel episodes being planned.

No, I found a link to waaaay right of center message board. I'm not talking fiscally conservative, or even socially conservative. Everyone has a right to their opinions ... except these opinions.

I saw a graphic of President Obama as HITLER! And he was continually referred to on this message board as "The Kenyan." This is scary, nutball stuff. I worry about the President's safety when I read crap like this.

This woman -- my friend's friend -- and her daughter often communicate my old, dear friend's daughter, who is 13. No 13 year old should be exposed to this despicable crap.*

My friend is not very informed about the world. She has told me more than once that politicians are "used car salesmen" and she doesn't believe in any of them or what any of them say. Therefore I don't imagine she and her cyberbud discuss national affairs and doubt she realizes her cyberfriend seems to believe that our President is a Nazi. (Not just "a Nazi." THE Nazi.)

I'm keeping this to myself for now. As upset as I am about it, I know my dear old friend has more than enough on her plate right now. However, if her cyberfriend initiates plans to actually spend face time with my friend's daughter, I'll speak up.

*Go ahead, search my archives. You will not find anything that even implies that President Bush wasn't a patriotic American. Maybe a patriotic America who could be depended upon to make the wrong decision every time, but I
never said he was evil and I never compared him to frigging Hitler! I also respect the office, even when I'm crazy about the man holding it.

The Queen's Meme

Touch the bottle to see the secret message.

For more information, see the Queen of Bloggingham.

Monday, August 24, 2009

09 August Happiness Challenge -- Day 24

Monday. Resilience. I'm not losing weight as quickly as I'd like, but that's OK because I have visceral proof that my new attention to diet and exercise is working. Today I did 35 minutes of cardio, with my heart rate at 130+/minute, and while I was winded and broke a sweat, I wasn't at all as tired as I was doing less (25 minutes) back in May. So this is working, and I'm feeling good about it.

Monday Movie Meme

This week's movie topic is all about Villains...

1) Hans Gruber
(Alan Rickman) in Die Hard. So smooth, so well spoken, and so bad. Remember, it was his idea to shoot the glass, thereby leaving our barefoot hero, John McClane, with painful slivers of glass in his feet for much of the movie.

2) Barzini in The Godfather. He was behind the shooting of the Don and the massacre of poor Sonny in the causeway. To quote Clemenza, "I hate goddam Barzini!"

3) Helen Lawson (Susan Hayward) from Valley of the Dolls. She makes our heroines so mad that Neely O'Hara (Patty Duke) chases her into the ladies room, snatches the wig off Helen's head and flushes it down the toilet. (For me, that scene makes the rental worth it.)

If you'd like to make your own list of evil doers, or see who other bloggers mentioned, click here.

I'm ready!

You should be too. Please check in with Mimi for details.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

09 August Happiness Challenge -- Day 23

Sunday. Monopoly with Nick. My 9-year-old nephew kicked my ass at Monopoly today. I'm not ashamed to say I let him win. At one point during the game, he told me proudly that once he buys all 4 Railroads, he is unbeatable. That is his formula for victory, and he's never lost. He even generously offered me the better end of a trade because he was so sure he was going to win. The thing of it is, he couldn't possibly beat me because while he had soooooo much cash, I had all the buildings. So, when he was in the bathroom, I slipped him a few extra hundreds and when I landed on Park Place, I didn't buy it because, I said, I was unwilling to mortgage any property. So eventually he won. He was very sweet, telling me of all the grown ups he's ever played, I gave him the hardest time.

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing: Jodi's Meme

INSTRUCTIONS: Using only song names from ONE ARTIST, cleverly answer these questions. Try not to repeat a song title. It's a lot harder than you think! Post as "Jodi's Meme: My Life According to (BAND/ARTIST NAME)" The great thing is that if you have already done this meme, you can do it again with a different artist! Please do!


-Are you a male or female? Girl

-Describe yourself: Baby's in Black

-How do you feel right now? Cry, Baby, Cry

-If you could go anywhere, where would you go? Octopus' Garden

-Your favorite form of transportation Yellow Submarine

-Describe Your Morning Routine: Twist & Shout

-Your best friend is The Fool on the Hill

-What's the weather like? Good Day, Sunshine

-Pet Peeve? You Never Give Me Your Money

-If your life was a TV show, what would it be called? She Came in Through the Bathroom Window

-Your relationship? For No One

-Your Fear? Maxwell's Silver Hammer

-What is the best advice you have to give? All You Need Is Love

-If you could change your name, you would change it to Michelle

-What do you say when you are frustrated? I'm a Loser

-Thought for the day: Got to Get You Into My Life

-How you would like to die? Happiness Is a Warm Gun

-Your soul's present condition: Norwegian Wood

-Your motto We Can Work It Out

About Inglourious Basterds

I enjoyed this movie as I was watching it, but I won't see it again and again and again as I do Pulp Fiction. Because while Tarantino's earlier work rocks my world and stimulates my imagination, Inglourious Basterds encourages my blood lust. It's like a hot one night stand that's fun while it lasts, but you don't like yourself very much the morning after.

At the heart of this funny and well made movie is the revenge Jewish vigilantes perpetrate against Nazis. Brad Pitt's talented and vicious little band isn't in France to capture Nazis and bring them to justice. Their goal is to, literally, scalp them. There is a subplot about a young woman whose family is killed by the Nazi's terrifying Jew Hunter. I don't want to spoil the movie for anyone, but I felt especially guilty about rooting for her revenge as I did.

I'd call the Nazis "animals," but that would be unfair to animals. Their cruelty and viciousness is almost unfathomable. While it makes them very good screen villains, and easy targets, all these years later, we should be careful never to emulate them and cheer for atrocity against them. Atrocities are soul-numbing, regardless of who the victims are. That's what bothers me about Inglourious Basterds -- I feel as though I took leave of my humanity for two hours.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

09 August Happiness Challenge -- Day 22

Saturday. We found each other. The animal shelter that was once home to two of my cats was sponsoring an adoption event at the local Petco. I looked at all those sweet kitties and I felt my heart grow a couple sizes. Partly because I longed to take them all home with me, and partly because I feel so lucky that the cats I adopted from that shelter -- Joey and Charlotte -- came into my life. I love my big old tub of guts and my little diva so much.

If you're grateful for the furry friends in your life, it will make you happy to make a contribution to your local shelter or to the ASPCA. In this economy, charities are hit hard. Summer is especially trying for animal shelters because they have so many puppies and kittens, combined with the dogs and cats that are turned in because their owners can no longer afford them. It's a heartbreaking situation -- and it makes me just that much more grateful that I can give my cats love and stability.

Don't know why, but I gots to have it

Back to Black came out a couple years ago, and yet suddenly, I can't hear it enough. Specifically this song.

"He walks away,
The sun goes down,
He takes the day but I'm grown.
And it's OK,
In this blue shade,
My tears dry on their own …"

Yes, she's a hot mess. But she's so great.

Saturday 9

1. When's the last time you ran? One afternoon last week I ran up the stairs to the platform to catch the Green Line el train. I made it!

2. Do your jeans have rips, tears, and holes in them? My weekend playclothes jeans are rather worn around the seams. But my work clothes are in good shape.

3. What are you dreading right now? The return of The New Mom. She's my most difficult coworker, and it's been so nice at the office when she's been on maternity leave.

4. Do you like Mexican food? No. Because spicy food doesn't like me, if you know what I'm saying here.

5. Favorite ice cream? Mint chocolate chip.

6. When was your last doctor's visit? I saw my shrink last Thursday and I go to the dermatologist next Tuesday.

7. Do you get the full 8 hours of sleep a night? Not usually, but I did last night.

8. How many pets do you have? I share my home with three absolutely fabulous felines.

9. "First Loves Are Never Over;" is this true for you? No. I'm very over my first love. Unless we're talking about Paul McCartney, who I love as much today as I did when I was six years old and I first saw The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show.

To play yourself, click here.

Friday, August 21, 2009

09 August Happiness Challenge -- Day 21

Friday. Little Women. Tonight I watched the 1990s Winona Ryder version. I prefer the Katharine Hepburn version, of course, but this is lovely, too. Book, movie, or musical, my favorite scene is always at the end, when the professor proposes to Jo from under the umbrella.

Under Each Other's Skin

My best friend and I have hit a stormy patch. I won't go into gory detail, but here's the dynamic in a nutshell: One of us does something to annoy the other;* somehow it escalates and I get more emotional and he gets more withdrawn and soon something that should be nothing has become a painful rift.

This has happened to us three or four times over the last five years. The physical distance between us (I'm here in Chicago, he's in Denver) exacerbates problems and makes them harder to resolve, of course, but the fact is that we're just gifted at pressing one another's buttons.

As I was spinning out of control, infuriated beyond reason by his sullen pouting, he finally addressed what was going on between us, saying that when the more I "push," the more he wants to "dig in his heels" and resist.

But "everything is fine between us and I am not mad at you. Sometimes frustrated, but never mad. And don't you feel the same about me?"

Yes, yes, I most certainly do. He went on to say that when something is important to me, no matter what, he's there. Yes, yes, he certainly is. I will always be there for him, too.

I just wish we could act like the responsible adults we are (at least in other aspects of our lives) and not drive each other crazy like this. I pray that we never go too far. Strong though the bond between us is, I don't want to test it. I can't imagine my life without him.

* In this case, he started it. I know it shouldn't matter, but it does.

This isn't the year

Today the Cubs were sold to the Ricketts Family. I don't care, really, except that it's given me an opportunity to reflect on what they are buying ... and I think it's time for me to admit that my Boys in Blues aren't going to three-peat as the Division Champions. They may not even make the play offs.

If I make peace with that now, the next few weeks will be easier. From here on, even if I'm not watching a team in contention, I am enjoying healthy men in tight white pants playing an entertaining game under the sun (or lights). What's not to love about that?

Go, Cubs, Go!

09 August Happines Challenge -- Day 20

Thursday. Maggie. She's the coworker who gave me a ride home from today's downstate client presentation. It was great to chat with her. She's an independent contractor -- not an agency employee. She's filling in for a coworker who has been on maternity leave. Since the new mom returns to work on Monday, we'll still have Maggie for two more weeks as she helps the new mom transition back.

It's been great to have Maggie here. Not only because she's neat in her own right, but because the new mom can be a real pill. Maggie gave me insights into the new mom that will help me deal with her when we have to work together going forward.

I don't like the new mom any more today than I did months ago when she left for maternity leave. But I don't have to like her. We aren't going to date, we're going to work together. The insights Maggie shared will make it easier for me to maintain my professionalism.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Naturally I had a big presentation today

This morning, as I was getting ready for today's big client presentation, I lost a tooth. It just popped off. Fortunately it was a porcelain crown, so there's no pain. It was embarrassment I was worried about. I didn't want to look like Hillbilly Gal as I stood at the head of the conference table, presenting new ways to excite consumers about investing in mutual funds while I had a conspicuous hole in my smile.

Since the tooth is lower left, towards the back, it doesn't show when I talk. The crown is now safely in a little blue case along with my teeth whitening tray. Hopefully my dentist will be able to just affix it back in place.

In the meantime, I suppose I should be glad that the presentation went off without a hitch, and grateful that life throws these little curves at me so I'm never bored.

I'd like to think this is true

You Are Humor

You love to laugh at life, and if possible, get others to laugh along with you.

You believe there's always a humorous side to everything. And your sense of humor ranges from upbeat to very dark.

You are outrageous and very honest. You're often the only one willing to say what everyone else is thinking.

You are witty and verbally talented. You like to play with words and say things in interesting ways.

09 August Happiness Challenge -- Day 19

Thursday. The Beatles: Rock Band. I saw a preview on MTV and am so impressed. Not only because of the quality (it shows them in an updated but delightfully trippy Yellow Submarine kinda way, and the songs come from the original masters), but because it means that the Lads remain relevant and are being embraced by ever younger fans. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I think this is a good thing

Elmo, Sesame Street's most giggly spokesmonster, is going through some tough economic times. His mommy has lost her job.

Elmo's daddy is still working. But because money is tight, the family will have to cut back -- eating meals at home instead of at restaurants. A trip to the pirate amusement park is out, and movie night has become game night. But the message of Families Stand Together: Feeling Secure in Tough Times, an excellent program airing next month on PBS, is that Elmo's situation is not unusual, especially with the jobless rate expected to top 10 percent before the end of the year.

Presenting unemployment as a rather common occurrence will de-stigmatize it for kids and make it easier for parents to discuss finances with the whole family in a way they'll understand. For the rest of the article, click here.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

09 August Happiness Challenge -- Day 18

Tuesday. Mommy's home! My mom was on vacation with my kid sister's family from the 8th through the 15th. We have spoken to one another's voice mail, but tonight was the first time we got to talk in real time. She updated me on my niece and nephew, who we agree are completely fantastic kids. I updated her on the goings-on in my life. I am glad she was feeling well enough to go on this trip, but I missed her and I'm glad she's back.

Me and Brooooooce

I mentioned this incident in a recent post about my most memorable moments, and several commenters asked me to elaborate. So here goes:

Back in 1981, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band kept criss-crossing the country, promoting The River. "Hungry Heart" was a hit and he was selling out progressively bigger halls. My friends and I had seen him in Chicago but we couldn't get close enough to the stage for our liking. So we scored good tickets for nearby Indianapolis (they were easier to get in a smaller market), rented a car, blew off work after lunch and hit the road.

We were in our work clothes when we arrived at Market Square Arena's "will call" window to pick up our tickets. Five girls in skirts and heels. As we were walking back to our car, we saw ... HIM. Broooooce! Riding in the passenger seat of a car, leaving the arena after the afternoon soundcheck. We all spontaneously raced after his car, completely unable to catch it (high heels and handbags). He laughed and waved.

Some roadies thought we were cute and asked us if we wanted to party with Bruce. Ah, yeah! They told us which hotel everyone connected with the tour was staying at, and told us to ask for "The Stanley Kowalski Suite." They'd meet us there.

Naturally after the concert we raced to the hotel. We found we couldn't get near "The Stanley Kowalski Suite" unless we had a roomkey. So we checked in and, armed with our roomkeys, wandered the halls until we found the party. When we got to the Security checkpoint we pretended to be affiliated with the tour, and Security pretended to believe us.

Once we were in .... Ah! The bathtub was filled with ice and bottles of champagne. There were platters of food everywhere. I got to meet Gary Tallent, Clarence Clemmons and ... BROOOOOCE! He was a little drunk and very happy. He told us he remembered us from the arena parking lot, "You were all dressed up like you just left a building or somethin'." I was flattered that we made an impression, but a little disappointed.

I mean, this was the man who wrote, "Show a little faith, there's magic in the night." I wanted to hear something poetic or profound!

I somehow found myself alone in conversation with him and he didn't disappoint. We talked about something that was still very much on both of our minds: John Lennon's murder just three months prior. I asked Bruce if he'd ever met John and he said no, but he was so thrilled that John had mentioned him in one of the last interviews. Bruce said he didn't know John was even aware of his existence, and to read that Lennon was a fan of "Hungry Heart" meant so much to him. He could tell that I was a still sad and shocked Beatle fan and patted my hand. "If it wasn't for John, we'd be somewhere different tonight, huh?" Meaning we both rocked tonight -- Bruce onstage, me in the audience -- because of John. It was very sweet, perceptive and true. Then Bruce got swept away by other, more raucous partygoers.

At the end of the night, he stood at the door like pastor at the end of church, thanking all the guests for coming to the party and for their contribution to the tour. He knew we didn't belong there, but he was very gracious. Very drunk and very gracious. Like a big brother he asked us if we got enough to eat and if we had a good time. I complained that here I had partied with world-famous rockers but hadn't done anything to regret.

"I'll fix that," said Bruce and .... oh my God ... he took me in his arms, dipped me back (the only man who has ever done this), and ... oh my God ... KISSED ME! Alas, no tongue. He smelled and tasted of beer ... and that's all right with me.

That was March 5, 1981.

The Queen's Meme #5

Completed because I am "terminally single." And because Mimi is my Queen and she told me to.

#6 The Bachelor's Dating Meme

Are you up for the challenge? Take a look at these seven dating profile headlines from real dating sites. Imagine you are trying to find a date and these gems have just landed in your inbox. How would you respond to them? Write a comeback response to each one. Be sarcastic, be funny, be brave! Spelling errors not my own. Names and locations have been changed to protect the terminally single.

1. Birdbrain looking for a mate. Good luck with that.

2. Where Are All The Bad Girls? I don't know. I stopped being any type of "girl" approximately 30 years ago.

3. A Good Woman Is Hard To Fine. That's because we commit no major infractions.

4. Does God Know You've Escaped From Heaven? Yes. Before I left He warned me to avoid men like you.

5. I Put the Fun in DysFUNctional. Then you're probably a relative of mine and we shouldn't intermingle.

6. Does this profile make me look fat? No, but it does make you appear trite.

7. I'm a no nonsince person with little tolorrance for stupitity. Congratulations. You have left me speechless. That's very hard to do. Please accept your parting gift on the way out.

Monday, August 17, 2009

09 August Happiness Challenge -- Day 17

Monday. Big Mac. I haven't had one in ages! A QP w/cheese is fewer calories, so if I'm at McDonald's that's now what I order. But it's not the same as two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions on a sesame seed bun. I grabbed one this evening at the train station and snarfed it down on the way home. Sigh. If loving you is wrong, I don't want to be right. (I'm still within my 1890-calorie limit.)

Give Me Five Monday

I haven't played this one in ages! This week's theme:

Here they are, listed in terms of recency.

1) Was in Grant Park for the Obama Rally on Election Night.
An inspiring historical event, experienced with thousands of positive, joyous people. It was a privilege to participate.

2) Went to a play-off game in Wrigley Field. My family has been loyally supporting the Cubs for generations, but only I can make that claim!

3) Saw Paul McCartney in concert. OK, so I was too young to see The Beatles. I got to see MY Beatle.

4) Made my niece's dream come true. She was 6 or 7 and dreamed she found a store that carried nothing but Anastasia-themed toys, books, and puzzles. I bought up everything Anastasia I could find on eBay and laid it out around my living room like a store. Oh, her face when she came in the front door! How often does one person get to literally make another's come to life?

5) Been kissed by Bruce Springsteen,
and yes, I got to kiss him back

To play along, and to see how others responded, click here.

Monday Movie Meme

This week's theme: FEAR
Share on your blog movies that caused you to hide under the covers and then link back here at The Bumbles.

Psycho. I've seen it so many times that I know exactly when the two big shock/horror scenes are coming (the shower scene, of course, and when the detective meets his demise). I also know that as we creep toward the end, when we finally meet Mom, I won't be frightened at all. And yet, when those two big shock/horror scenes come, I'm still scared pissless. I guess that's what makes Hitch the master.

Dressed to Kill. Brian de Palma's homage to Psycho takes the crucial elements, updates them, and also scares me pissless.

I almost included March of the Penguins, because I was so upset when that first, pudgy penguin died that I was on the edge of my seat for the whole rest of the movie, wondering which other cute tuxedo'd bird would get it next. Remember that shocking scene in the water, and how one of the mamas didn't make it back to feed her baby? Can you see why I'm in therapy?

It's gotta be Judy

This morning's Google Ad (at right) was publicizing a "Gay Man's Life Coach." It was quickly followed by "High Heels for Men." While I have dear friends of that persuasion, I haven't written about them recently. So I wondered what key word triggered these ads.

Then it hit me. Garland. Of course! My August "Get Happy!" girl is one of the great gay icons of all time.

She's also one of the great singers, actresses, performers and cautionary tales of all time. This pudgy, middle-aged heterosexual woman loves you, too, Judy.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

09 August Happiness Challenge -- Day 16

Sunday. Mad Men and Joey. Comfy on the sofa, watching the season premiere of my favorite show with my big ol' gray tomcat pressed tight beside me. Joey and I are the picture of contentment.

A whimsical investment in the future

My niece has spent much of this summer between her junior and senior years pursuing her career goal -- to be a chef. She's also a new generation Beatles fan. So, as I wandered the flea market at The Fest for Beatle Fans, I was tickled to find the perfect little tzotchke to show my support for her ambitions: an official Yellow Submarine cookie cutter.