Monday, November 30, 2009

Heads or Tails

The theme/prompt for this week is Heads -- Proud.

I feel very accomplished because I replaced the grout between two rows of tiles in my shower. I have never done such a thing before! This was a task I would have, in the past, handed over to a handyman. But because I'm economizing, I did this myself.

This left me feeling self-sufficient and proud.

To play along yourself, click here.

PS Thanks to Miss Skittles at HoT for naming my musings Blog of the Month!

The Queen's Meme -- The Shopping Madness Meme

1. What is your favorite item to shop for and why? Handbags. Because I love them.

2. Quality vs. Price. Will you buy off-brand replicas at a discount store or must you have the real thing? Why or why not? Quality vs. price is a false choice. For me, it's quality vs. quantity, and quantity wins every time.

3. Have you ever asked a sales clerk to remove something from display if it is the last one in the store? Tell us what special something would make you strip the clothes off a mannequin. I asked the sales clerk at Pier One to take the very last green table lamp out of the display. Does that count? The whole apparel thing would never happen because I'm not quite 5'2, and even the mannequins are taller than I am.

5. I really don't care if a guy goes shopping with me. I'm in my own zone and always have a plan. Are you an alone-shopper or would you like to have company? I'm an alone shopper for myself, but I do enjoy accompanying guys when they shop. They're so cute.

6. Have you ever done anything other than actually try on clothes in a dressing room? (I have no idea why this question followed the previous one. Ahem.)
Yes. I sat on the fitting room floor at Carson's, waiting for my first-ever migraine to pass. I'm sorry I don't have a sexier incident to report. You have no idea how sorry I am that I don't have a sexier incident to report.

7. Do you like or do you get annoyed when salesclerks and store management follows you around asking "May I help you?" a million times? (I have no idea why this question followed the previous one.) Yes. Especially at Nordstrom's. Some people equate that attention with service. It feels like stalking to me.

8. Create your very own store-brand name. (ie; Toys 'R Us, WalMart) What would YOUR establishment's name be? Place the name on this sign. When we are finished with this meme, I'll put them all together and we'll have our very own shopping mall. As you can see, I created my own sign. The photo is just soooooo perfect for the way I'm living right now.

To play along with the Queen, click here.

Movie Monday

Documentaries You'd Like to See Made. Go to your blog and create your own post on the topic, linking back to us in your post.

My choice was inspired by Molly's suggestion of a documentary about the life of a maid. Author Barbara Ehrenreich wrote about her life as a maid, waitress, retail clerk, etc., and how hard it is to get by on minimum wage. The book, Nickel and Dimed, is not that well written (the author can't keep herself out of the stories), but the people she meets are unforgettable. There's a great deal of camaraderie and generosity among the laborers she encountered, and these people were often as inspiring as their lives were challenging. I'd love to hear them speak for themselves on camera.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Point. Click. Give.

I'm big on toy drives. Maybe it's because I work in advertising and am especially sensitive to how often kids see messages about toys and gifts and Santa. What about kids whose parents can't afford to come through with toys? Do they feel angry, disappointed, less loved? It makes me crazy. Christmas is supposed to have a little magic to it, especially for children.

So this weekend I made a little of my own magic. I dropped a plush black bear (purchased by my mom for this specific purpose) into the Toys for Tots bin and donated a book to The Today Show Toy Drive via

I hope you'll do something similar. During the Recession, as consumers tighten our belts, charities have to do more with less and can use as much help as we can spare.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing: The Tell Me About Yourself Meme

1. When is your birthday? November 22. I am still celebrating, in case you wish to get me something.

2. Where were you born? Elgin, Illinois

3. Where do you live now? Just outside Chicago

4. What is your heritage? German and Irish

5. Tell us about a weakness. Pogo. Currently Boggle Bash.

6. What's a goal that you'd like to achieve? Rid myself of so much of the paper around here! Sometimes I think my home is a paper plantation.

7. What is the most overused internet phrase? LOL or LMAO or any variation thereof.

8. What was your first thought this morning? "Is it Saturday or Sunday?"

9. When do you usually go to bed? Around midnight

10. Do you smoke? If not, did you ever? Never even tried it.

11. Do you like your current relationship status? At times.

12. Do you (or did you) get along with your parents? At times.

13. How often do you drink alcohol? Two or three times a week.

14. Have you ever tried drugs (that weren't prescribed)? Yes.

15. Have you ever gone skinny dipping? If yes, do tell. No.

16. If given the choice, how would you like to die? Suddenly, and with no time to worry. Hit by a speeding car would be fine.

17. What did you want to be when you grew up? Taller. Yuk, yuk. Get it?

18. Have you ever been dumped? Yes. It is not fun. If you have never been dumped, you're really not missing anything.

19. What's on your pizza? Plain cheese is good. Cheese/sausage is a close second.

20. Have you ever shoplifted? No. Which is geekier: not having shoplifted or never having smoked?

Mad or sad?

Can't stop thinking about my dinner with John last night. I keep tossing the events around in my head and they leave me unsettled.

I enjoyed the movie and the meal. I am so tickled with my birthday gifts, because they were so obviously, thoughtfully chosen with me in mind.

But John's so obviously ill! Tenacious cough and shortness of breath. Complete lack of patience in others. He kept worrying and whining about the crowds he anticipated us encountering downtown yesterday (Black Friday). But there were no crowds in the neighborhood we were in -- after all, the only businesses around there are a multiplex movie theater, a bowling alley, a Walgreen's and some high-end restaurants ... hardly the places that offered "door buster" Black Friday deals. He walked so slowly and had trouble with stairs.

He is 55 years old and suffers from congenital heart failure, yet he refuses to get a pacemaker, or even a flu shot! (Both of which were recommended by his doctors.) While he has cut way back on his drinking, and I saw him finish the mixed vegetable side he had with dinner last night, he doesn't exercise as he knows he should.

He does keep his regular doctor appointment -- he has one this Friday -- but what good are they if they don't act on his doctors' advice.

I have known John for 30 years. During that time we have seen each other through so much: burying family members, falling in love and having our hearts broken, movies and concerts and parties.

I don't want to lose him! And I don't know why he's choosing to not get better!

I feel so helpless.

I'm NOT a Scrooge!

You Are a Minimal Christmas Tree

You're not a total Scrooge, but you feel no need to go overboard at Christmas.

Less is more, and your Christmas reflects refined quality.

Found this quiz (where else?) at Kwizgiver's.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy birthday to me (part 7)

My dear old friend, John, and I went first to the movies and then to dinner. It was a quiet birthday celebration, at least by our standards, but it was nice.

The movie was a small indie film called An Education. It's a gem. Jenny, at 16, is as disaffected as I was during my high school years, only she's far more beautiful and poised.

Then we went to PJ Clarke's for dinner. I had a cheese omlette and a bag full of presents. My favorite was a portrait of Sir Paul that my friend picked up at a street fair earlier this year. I'm very happy with it.

The only dark cloud on my birthday horizon is that John's not well. He has a cold and a peristant cough and tires easily, which worries me because he suffers from heart disease. He also is reluctant to get a flu shot, which makes me nuts. I pointed out to him that between his age (55) and his heart trouble, he simply must get the shot. He said he'd "consider" it. I don't believe him, but I have learned over the years that if I pressure him he just tunes me out.

We'll see

I just replaced the grout between a row of tiles in my shower. I have never done anything like this before, and it was easier than I anticipated that it would be. This worries me a bit. I hope when I check on it again in an hour, I will still be happy with what I see, and when I'm able to shower again tomorrow, I will find my efforts did the trick!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy birthday to me (part 6)

Is ABC airing this for me? I think so.

I'm watching Good Evening New York City as I post this. I still love him so.

In addition to the laundry (see post below), I scrubbed the litter boxes clean. (There is a domestic chore I hate more than laundry, and that's it.) Then I went over to my sister's for Thanksgiving. It was very nice. The food was good, and we celebrated my birthday as a family. My nephew and I went WII bowling in the family room, my brother-in-law and I talked grout, I introduced my nephew to Kittenwar! And I got gifts. Yea!

It was a good day, and I'm thankful for that. I'm glad my sister and I managed to behave. It means so much to my mom.

It's been a nice holiday, but I'm going to sleep well tonight.

My virtuosity continues

Not even noon and I have completed three loads of laundry (lights, darks and whites req. bleach). I hate doing laundry, and I'm relieved to have it behind me for another week.

There's about three hours until I leave for my mom's. Wonder if I'll do anything else productive ... I admit my virtuosity is surprising even me.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Feeling ambitious and virtuous

I am going to scrub my tiny bathroom from stem to stern and then sort my laundry before I go to bed tonight. I promise myself this. Let's see how I do ...

Aren't they something?

Seeing them at their first state dinner, I'm so glad the Obamas represent me.

No, I'm not 100% sure I like where healthcare is going. While I agree Gitmo had to close, I'm not sure I consider civil trials a more attractive option than military tribunals. The thought of being in Afghanistan for 4 or 5 more Thanksgivings makes me a little queasy.

All that said, I'm proud that the Obamas are who the world sees. They are wise enough and confident enough to believe what JFK said, "Civility is not a sign of weakness." They make me smile.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Heads or Tails -- Soft

Make any kind of post using any form of the word "Soft".

You just know that everything about her -- her coat, her purr, her grip as she holds you with her paws -- is going to be soft. Makes me just want to pick her up and rub her against my cheek!

To play along, click here.

Happy Birthday to me (part 5)

One of the art directors and I went downstairs for a delicious (I had the lobster roll) celebratory lunch. I also had a rather potent gin blossom. Fortunately, we're slow here today so at most I can only do a little damage.

Monday, November 23, 2009

This isn't supposed to be happening

Since this afternoon, I have battling something that seems distressingly like menstrual cramps. Which is impossible, since I'm in menopause. The feeling is familiar but by no means welcome and I hope it goes way ... soon.

Movie Monday -- Victory

Share on your blog movies focusing on champions, victories and winners and link back here at The Bumbles.

The first one that comes to mind is The Natural. (Maybe because of the Roy Hobbs baseball card tacked to my bulletin board.) A young man of enormous promise gets on a train, off to the majors, with dreams of proving to the world that he's the best. Tragedy strikes and his dream is deferred. He returns to the game as a very old rookie and energizes his teammates, reminding them of how they loved the game when they were kids. To make a long story short, he leads them to the championship against very long odds.

It's a movie about baseball, and much more. It's a fable about what goes wrong in life, and what goes right, and what we can control and what we can't. It's about the impact of the past on the present.

"We have two lives. The life we learn with and the one we live with after that."

"You've got a gift, but that's not enough. You've got to develop yourself, too. If you rely too much only on your gift, you'll fail."

The ballparks are beautiful. The period costumes are beautiful. Redford is beautiful. The score is beautiful. If you haven't seen this elegiacal film, rent it!

Damn, I miss baseball.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Welcome to Chicago, Michael Vick

I still think you're an ass.

Happy birthday to me (part four)

It's my actual birthday and I'm home from Springfield. We had a great time with The Abester.

Saturday began with a big breakfast, then we went to the Lincoln's home. I have been here several times before, but it's always exciting to be in the only rooms where Abraham, Mary, Robert, Eddie, Willie and Tad all lived together, where he learned he'd been elected President. Then we went to the
Presidential Museum. Again, nothing new here, except to be shocked and disgusted by how similar the personal attacks on Lincoln were to the ones Obama endures today. How little we have learned in 150 years!

One of the things I enjoy so much about my oldest friend is that she completely accepts, even shares, my geekier side. She picked up a Lincoln coffee table book, full of quotations and commentary by fellow Presidents and statesman about Abe's influence, at the Museum gift shop.

Then we walked on over to the Lincoln Depot. This was new to me. It was from this s
pot that Abe left Springfield for Washington, DC. The speech he gave, extemporaneously (!), is quite beautiful:

"My friends, no one, not in my situation, can appreciate my feeling of sadness at this parting. To this place, and the kindness of these people, I owe everything. Here I have lived a quarter of a century, and have passed from a young to an old man. Here my children have been born, and one is buried. I now leave, not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington. Without the assistance of the Divine Being who ever attended him, I cannot succeed. With that assistance I cannot fail. Trusting in Him who can go with me, and remain with you, and be everywhere for good, let us confidently hope that all will yet be well. To His care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell."

Then we had lunch, went back to the room, and worked on our Nanos (see post below). We went down to the hotel restaurant and had a lovely dinner with cheesecake for dessert.

It was a fun birthday celebration. My oldest friend and I learned and laughed and bonded ... and ate and drank waaaaaay too much. I began my actual birthday with unsavory tummy trouble. (The less said, the better.)

The Amtrak ride was smooth and uneventful except for the laughter and conversation. G
ot home, took a nap, and woke up to a snack of Townhouse crackers and tea. I wish I felt better. I also wish I had more sense. I didn't have to eat everything in sight on Saturday. Oh, well ... My birthday is an ongoing celebration and I'm enjoying it.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Happy birthday to me (part three)

All aboard! My oldest friend and I are taking off to Springfield this evening to spend my birthday weekend with Abraham Lincoln.

I don't know why really. It just feels right. She and I are both Abe-o-philes, and it will be nice to take the train and catch up with one another, face-to-face instead of over the phone or online. We'll get in touch with Abe and Mary again at their home, his Museum and, depending on the weather, his tomb.

Then we'll write and write and write. We're both participating in Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month). Our goal is to each write a 50,000 word novel between November 1 through November 30. She's far, far closer than I am. She's at 44,500 and I'm at ... er ... um ...9,300.

No matter. She'll get her novel done, but I'LL GET A PRESENT!!! I am the Birthday Girl, after all.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My favorite moment

I love the Colbert Report best when Stephen looks like he's just on the verge of breaking himself up.

Happy birthday to me (part two)

Got a promotional birthday card from a local salon, inviting me in for a free facial. Since I was there and reclining and scrubbed clean, I also had my brows (ow! ow!) waxed. Instead of taking the bus, I walked to and from the salon, which means I got a nice workout in on my day off, too. Now I'm watching NCIS. Sigh. I love Gibbs.

Happy birthday to me (part one)

Today (Wednesday) was my last day at work this week. It was a busy day. Since I was unable to get away for lunch, I was grateful that the agency gave me a $5 birthday gift certificate for the building cafeteria. (So my grilled cheese, Baked Lay's and Coke was just 39¢!) The art directors brought me a mint-chocolate brownie for dessert, which was thoughtful. Especially when you consider that I can be rather Type A with them!

Then my theater buddy, Barb, took me out to a nice birthday dinner. I had my first orange blossom fizz (who knew I like gin?), an apple salad, chicken ravioli and, for dessert, a slice of pumpkin/gingerbread pie. Very yummy!

Then we went to see the world premiere of The Addams Family, with Nathan Lane as Gomez and Bebe Neuwirth as Morticia. It was soooo weird and so very, very funny. (I predict about a half hour of dancing will be cut when it gets to Broadway, but that's a small quibble.) And my gift? A beautiful, heavy white soap dish with solid bar of fragrant pomegranate soap, which will look good in my pink bathroom -- if I can find the right spot for it.

When I got home I found a gift from cousin Rose. It's a black Totes umbrella. Not as glamorous as Barb's gift, but appreciated all the same. Next to individual gloves, umbrellas are the item I forgetfully leave behind on the train most often.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Movie Monday -- Memorable Death Scenes

Humorous, horrifying, tear-jearking, realistic and ridiculous. Here are a few that stood out for us. WARNING!!! It is impossible for these not to be spoiler-free. Play at your own risk. Share on your blog scenes depicting death and link back here at The Bumbles. And don't forget to visit your fellow participants to find their recommendations!

Old Yeller. The puppycide takes place off screen, but that doesn't make it any less heartbreaking. Look at that doggy face. Go ahead. Every time I do, my throat closes a little.

Brian's Song. Maybe it's a Chicago thing, but the short life of Brian Piccolo, like Walter Payton, has the power to make grown men cry. I know that I once welled up in a bank when the theme was played on the Muzak overhead. The death scene has James Caan as Brian, acknowledging that he has lost his brave battle with cancer by saying, "Can you believe this?" and then closing his eyes. The movie ends with a voice over: "Brian Piccolo died of cancer at the age of 26. He left a wife and three daughters. He also left a great many loving friends who miss and think of him often. But when they think of him, it's not how he died that they remember - but how he lived."

The Godfather. Thinking of James Caan, he also had a very famous death scene in the causeway. Sonny, Sonny, Sonny, your temper always got the best of you!

Bonnie and Clyde. Oh. My. God. It's so violent, so inevitable, so awful. It begins with Clyde looking up at the birds and suddenly knowing what it means. His eyes lock with Bonnie's, and she realizes it, too, and looks at him with such love. Then the shooting starts. It's hard to describe how jarring this scene is upon first viewing (or how liberally Coppola borrowed from it for Sonny's murder in the causeway).

Psycho. Speaking of iconic death scenes, who can forget Janet Leigh's beautiful, horrified face as she tries to defend herself from mother's knife in the shower?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Is it bad that this made me kinda happy?

Today, while playing Monopoly with my now-10-year old nephew, the subject of my birthday next weekend came up. I told him I was spending the actual day, next Sunday, on the Amtrak with my oldest friend, returning from Springfield, where we will be celebrating. I told him this because he and I went down to Springfield last June and I thought he would want to reminisce about our trip.

Instead, he turned away, saying, "You should be here."

"We always celebrate my birthday on Thanksgiving. We can do that again this year." That's not exactly true. My birthday was always a separate family event. Then my kid sister, his mother, decided about 7 years ago that she was busier than I am and not about to go out of her way for me anymore. (I never noticed her going out of her way for me at all, but never mind. Another story for another time.) I don't argue with her or stand up for myself anymore because I worry that she'll block my access to the kids. Now that I think of it, she hasn't invited me for Thanksgiving yet ...

"Thanksgiving is too late this year! Your birthday is November 22!" As if I don't know my birthday. His frustration surprised me.

"Are you upset about this?" I asked as his glasses came off.

"He's been planning a party for you," my mom said, coming back into the room where he and I were playing. Hearing her say that started the tears.

I explained to him that I was sorry and upset, too. After all, who was missing out on singing and a present? Me! But I told him we had two choices:

1) Celebrate on Thanksgiving anyway
2) Have his party as planned, but the following Sunday

No, he insisted. It's no good if it's not closer to my actual birthday! I showed him my datebook and how my friends had different celebrations planned for me throughout the month. I said, "My birthday is not a day, it's a festival." He wrote his name down on my calendar for Sunday the 29th, we hugged, and went back to Monopoly.

Naturally I'm sorry to see him cry. But it was gratifying to know my special day meant so much to him. He's such a sweet boy.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing: The Over the Top Meme

Part One - Describe:

Your hair? Short again, and probably forever more.

Your mother? Doing better, thank you.

Your father? Died almost 20 years ago.

Your favorite food? Burgers. Or maybe cheeseburgers. Yummmm ...

Your dream last night? I don't recall

Your favorite drink? Coke.

Your dream/goal? To restore order to this messy condo!

The room are you in? Living room

Your hobby? Sitting on the sofa, farting around on the Internet

Your fear? Plane crash

Your TV? Showing a Man from UNCLE rerun

Your Pets? Three highly individual cats

Friends? Quite an eclectic collection!

Your life? My own, thank you very much.

Your mood? Slightly unsettled

If you're missing someone? Yes

Your best friend? Yes! How did you know that's who I miss?

Part Two - The Where's?

Where do you want to be in 6 years? Sitting on a new sofa

Where were you last night? Grocery shopping

Where did you grow up? A suburb two or three towns over

One place that I go to over and over? Downstairs to the laundry room

Your favorite place to eat out? Monk's Pub. Great burgers!

Wish list items? Adam Lambert's debut CD, a nice new humidifier for the living room ... that's all that springs to mind right now. Not too glamorous, I know.

Last time you laughed? Watching a clip of Esteban Colberto interviewing Lou Dobbs about immigration.

Last time you cried? At the health club Friday. It had nothing to do with my workout. It's just I had time alone with my thoughts as I strode along on the treadmill. I'm sure no one noticed.

Part Three - The What's?

Something that you aren't? Organized!

Last thing you did? Yelled at Reynaldo, the world's worst cat. I don't know why I bother. It seems only to amuse him, not deter him.

What are you wearing? A nightshirt that says, ironically enough, "She who loves cats."

Something you're not wearing? My watch

Your favorite store? The Body Shop

"Why Me?"

When the movie's main character/narrator, Precious, writes this in her class notebook, she broke my heart. As she considered her young life to this point, how far she had come under the worst circumstances imaginable, and how tragically unfair this latest turn of events was, she wasn't whining. She was defeated. That question, "Why Me?" was almost a cerebral question on her part. For all the extraordinary events she had gone through -- which I won't detail because I don't want to spoil the movie for you -- she began to cry that she had never even had a boyfriend. It broke my heart that she was still just 16, and that her wants and dreams were still so simple and so pure. She wanted a boyfriend.

This movie reaches in and manipulates your guts. There's only one scene of physical violence, but the language is so abusive and harsh it feels like surgery.

I won't apologize for being worried about my job and financial insecurities. I am 52 next week and am my own sole source of support. I have no relatives to lean on, and a couple who depend on me. I am scared, and would have to be beyond irresponsible to not face my situation head on and consider how to make it better.

On the other hand, I have gifts and advantages denied to Precious and kids like her. I am grateful for that, and am humbled by the reminder that, while Precious takes place in Harlem in the 1980s, I know there teens who live hopeless lives less than 20 minutes from where I sit.

I started the day watching good, old-fashioned courage and patriotism in The Fighting Sullivans. I capped the day with Precious, also an American tale of heroism. Film-making is an American artform, and I experienced two excellent examples of it today.

PS Precious got it's launch at this year's Sundance Film Festival, founded by Robert Redford. The Quintessential Golden Boy and Precious. It's hard to think of two movie characters with less in common, and yet they are tied together. I like that.

I need me some corn

I am a connoisseur of corn. When the days grow shorter and winds blow colder, there's only one corny dish I want: Andy Williams. He always sounds so smooth and controlled and easy going. His voice means the holidays to me. Since I realize it's too early for carols, I downloaded some non-Christmas-specific Andy: "Can't Get Used to Losing You," "Butterfly," "Dear Heart" and, of course, "Moon River."

I have errands to do today, and I'm worried anew about my job. On days like this, I needs me some Andy. I just do.

"Our boys are afloat again"

Well, this puts it all in perspective for me. I just watched The Fighting Sullivans, about the brave Iowa boys who enlisted together after Pearl Harbor, served together on the same ship, and died together when the boat went down. The story of the Sullivan family and their sacrifice was the inspiration for Saving Private Ryan.

The photo shown here is of the real Sullivan brothers, while the quote is from the movie. It's what their mother said at the christening of the ship named for her sons.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I must wipe my eyes and blow my nose.

It's that most wonderful time of the year

Yes, it's the 4th quarter. That time of year when those of us in advertising realize how badly our accounts have been managed all year long. There aren't enough hours left in 2009 to bill to make our retainer, which means giving money back to the client. This is a very bad situation.

I'd just begun to relax. Our agency president made no mention of Christmas bonuses but told us we'd turned a corner and could look forward to salary increases in 2010. I'm not complaining because I know this recession has been hard on everyone, but I haven't had a raise in 3 years. With insurance premiums rising, my take-home pay today is actually less today than it was last year.

I suspect we can kiss raises goodbye, at least on this team, and just be glad if we have our jobs in six months.

Friday, November 13, 2009

I am strong! I am invincible! I am woman!

I fixed my own slow-running bathtub drain last night! All I needed was this lovely Turbo Snake (just $9.99 at CVS).

Using the smaller, pointier snake -- not the bigger, flat-headed snake suggested for tubs -- I was able to extricate a clog that was made up of hair and broken pieces of pumice stone. (I wondered where that thing had gone.)

While I am feeling very accomplished, I wish Billy Mays was still here to read this. I believe this fine product was originally his.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Something beautiful amid all the ugly

I am so impressed with Carol Williams.

She is the first wife of Washington DC sniper John Allen Muhammad and the mother of his oldest child, a young man named Lin. She went to Virginia for the execution because she wanted her son, who really never saw Muhammad and considers his mother's long-time fiance his dad, to say whatever he felt he needed to say. Then, she said, she and her fiance would bring Muhammad's body home for burial.

Muhammad cheated on her during their short marriage and left her to raise their son alone. She has no doubt that he was guilty of the attacks that left people dead, injured, and terrified. She does not delude herself that he was ill or misunderstood. She told Larry King, "I'm praying for myself, for my son, and also for the families of the victims."

Yet she made the trip to Greenville Correctional Center so her adult son could find closure, or at least have no regrets about not saying goodbye. Then she and her fiance brought the executed sniper's body home.

I don't know how any of the TV talking heads and politicians who act like only they can define Christianity feel about this, but I believe Carol Williams walks it like she talks it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Starting with the books

Paper, paper, paper! This condo is overrun with paper and stuff! Something must be done!

So this evening I am going through the books on the floor and in the magazine racks and on/under/beside the coffee table and deciding which ones to part with. I always hate getting rid of books, so to take some of the sting out of it, I'm taking them to Goodwill. Maybe they'll make it out onto the salesfloor in time to be someone's Christmas gift. That would make me happy.

TONIGHT'S TOTAL: 8 paperbacks and 9 hardcovers.

Lordie, but I'm a geek!

Last night, on the way home, I was able to shake off my blues. The reason was two-fold.

1) I knew I was on my way to see my shrink, God bless her. I see her monthly, so I had this appointment scheduled for weeks and I'd forgotten about it. But the timing couldn't have been better. Just knowing she was going help me put all this in perspective put it in perspective, if that makes sense.

2) I listened to Mickey and Judy sing "How About You?" on my iPod. It's from the 1941 film, Babes on Broadway. There's even an interlude toward the middle where they tapdance! I love listening to these two put on a show. Though I know I am undoubtedly the only woman on the el Green Line last night with Mickey Rooney downloaded on her iPod. Yes, I'm a geek. But they made me so happy!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A nice pick-me-up to battle my bad mood!

People Love That You're Kind and Compassionate

You're the kind of gal who really enjoys putting other people first. You enjoy pitching in and making a difference.

Your heart really goes out to anyone in need. In fact, it's difficult for you to turn your back on someone who's struggling.

As long as you have friends who don't take advantage of you, your empathy is only a good thing.

If there were more people in the world like you, you wouldn't feel like you have to look out for everyone.

I'm in a weird mood

I think it's because I didn't get to work out on lunchtime. A coworker, pregnant and in her fourth month, came by just as I was off to the health club. She had been to the doctor this morning and I sensed she needed to be fussed over a little. OK. When it comes to fussing over your baby bump, I'm your girl. However, that 20 minutes prevented me from making it to the club in time. The result is that I feel just ... blah. Fat and blah.

The project upon my plate has an inflexible template and I have to tell everything there is to know about this checking account in less than 250 words. This isn't creative. This is like doing a puzzle. I'm not inspired. I am, however, annoyed.

I'm also annoyed that I still haven't received my expense reimbursement. I'm tempted to say, "It's only $50," but that's not how I feel. Do I look like Ivanka Trump? I can't just turn up my nose at this money. It's $47. MY $47! And I want it!

My best friend is interviewing, I just know it. He's in remote mode again, and I'm sure it's because he knows how I feel about all this. He's 43 years old -- if he doesn't get out of financial marketing (which he really no longer cares for) now, he may never get out of it, and that makes me sad. He lives in an enormous house that he couldn't unload now if he wanted to, and I know his wife is happier as a stay-at-home mom, and I know this isn't my business anyway, but I'm sad nevertheless.

There's no Cubs baseball anymore until Spring.

If one more person comes in here, I may scream.

I wasn't in this mood this morning. I don't know why the bottom fell out. But it has. And I hate it.

Tuesday Tunes

It's November and this month is about giving thanks, tell us a few of the musical things that you are thankful for, be it albums, shows you've seen, electronics you've bought etc. Whatever has made your musical life better in the last year.

This year it's been all about Amy. It took me a while (too long) to get into her because her life is such a tabloid-magnet/train wreck. But I love her voice, her lyrics and her sensibility. I love Frank and Back to Black is on right now and my favorite songs are "F-Me Pumps" and "Tears Dry on My Own." I hope she gets it together and keeps it together and makes more music soon.

To play along yourself, click here.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Movie Monday -- Life Changers

What movies had such an impact that they caused a change in our behavior, beliefs, or exposed us to a new passion?

The Way We Were (1973). For all my classmates, HE was the main attraction, and it's easy to see why. I don't think Redford has ever looked so good. But that was part of why this movie had such an enormous impact on me. He was better looking, more talented, more popular ... and, in the final analysis, quite the scumbag. She, on the other hand, was abrasive, noisy, idiosyncratic, and, in the final analysis, happier. Barbra Streisand gave me permission. She showed by example that I could be an outsider who marched to my own drummer and still get the guy -- if only for a little while. And if he can't handle all that goes with being with ME, as I am, maybe he's not worth being with.

If you happen to run into Streisand, thank her for me.

To play along with the Bumbles, click here.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Sometimes ...

As introduced by Snarkela:

The “Sometimes” Meme: All you have to do is finish the sentence…

Sometimes I just need: to have a quick touchpoint with my best friend.

Sometimes I want: everyone to do what I want them to do!

Sometimes I like to: just blab with my mom on the phone

Sometimes all it takes: is a walk, wearing my headphones, looking at the sky through the trees (or, now that it's fall, through the branches)

Sometimes I picture: myself in 15 or 20 years. Which Golden Girl will I be most like? Dorothy, I know.

Sometimes I wish: I had as much focus domestically as I do professionally.

Sometimes I find: times races by faster each day.

Sometimes I take: a really long look at my complexion in the magnifying mirror. At least that hard work has paid off!

Sometimes I look: for that crazy guy from the train platform who went off on me way back last March. I really hate how much space he takes up in my head.

Sometimes I hate: that things are so terribly divisive in this country. (Snarkypants' answer, and it's just right for me, too.)

Sometimes it’s nice: to just soak in the tub.

Sometimes it hurts: when I think of how much I'll miss special people in my life.

Sometimes it makes me happy: to just be grateful.

Sometimes it’s sad: that I don't feel wiser or more sophisticated by the time I'm this age.

Sometimes I listen: to Sir Paul, just to remind me of who I've been and who I am. He's the soundtrack of my life.

Sometimes I sleep: by just dozing off on the couch. Then I wake up hours later!

Sometimes I like to watch: Nancy Grace. That madwoman just cracks me up. Especially when she talks about "the twins."

Sometimes I feel: like my home is being engulfed by paper. How can this be? We're moving toward a paperless society! Will someone please tell the piles of mail on my diningroom table and the magazines on, under and beside the coffee table?

Sometimes I rant: while taking a shower.

Sometimes I never: believe I'll finish the books in my TBR pile.

Sometimes I really: get desperately sad for no real reason.

Ok, I admit it!

Every time this Ally financial commercial comes on, I try to make the noise he does to summon the "real pony." I always fail miserably.

This is why it's good I live alone.

12 years already!

Yesterday I bought a bargain book called Diana: Unseen Archives. What a beautiful investment of $4.99!

Most of the book is photos, and that's fine because really, what more do we need to hear about her short, tragic life? Instead I found myself enchanted by her again. She wasn't the most beautiful woman in the world -- the nose was too long for that. But she certainly was one of the most charismatic ever. Charming whether in a gown and tiara or on her knees to accept flowers from a child, every photo radiates warmth.

I miss her, and sometimes wonder what she would have done with the last 12 years.

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing: The Strange Question Meme, Part 2

26. What color is your watch? I have several watches. The one I think I'll wear today has a silver band and a blue face.

27. What do you think of when you hear “Australia”? Nicole Kidman. I have just been reading about her on TMZ.

28. Would you strip for money? I am more curious about who would pay me for this service.

29. Do you go in a fast food place or just hit the drive thru? Not having a car limits my options.

30. What is your favorite number? 7

31. Who’s the last person you talked to on the phone? My mom

32. Any plans today? Yes. I especially hope Sunday includes a trip to the gym.

33. In how many states have you lived? Just one.

34. Biggest annoyance right now? Mildew on my shower curtain liner.

35. Last song listened to? "1985" by Paul McCartney & Wings (Band on the Run CD)

36. Can you say the alphabet backwards? No. Should I?

37. Do you have a maid service clean your house? I have in the past but don't now.

38. Favorite pair of shoes you wear all the time? My Roxy flats. I love them.

39. Are you jealous of anyone? Any woman with smaller hips than mine.

40. Is anyone jealous of you? With this fat ass? Not likely!

41. Do you love anyone? Yes.

42. Do any of your friends have children? Almost all of them do.

43. What do you usually do during the day? Write.

44. Do you hate anyone that you know right now? Not now.

45. Do you use the word hello daily? Yes.

46. What color is your car? I don't have a car ...
47. What size wedding ring do you wear? Nor do I have a husband.

48. Are you thinking about someone right now? Yes.

49. Have you ever been to Six Flags? Yes. I love a good roller coaster.

50. How did you get your worst scar? The acne scars on my chin.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

My color for fall/winter

#161 = Teak Rose. Yes, I got a pedi today, first one in ages! Going from sandals all day/everyday to tennies and flats and even heels every once in a while has been hell on my tootsies.

That was a lovely evening

I took my niece, she who dreams of a career in culinary arts, to Eno -- a restaurant that specializes in cheese and chocolate flights. Everything was yummy, of course, but the part I really enjoyed was chatting with her. She's 17, and very focused. She knows what she has to do to get into the right colleges for her chosen profession and is doing what's within her power in terms of ACT/SAT scores, advanced classes, etc. She has discovered something she's good at, she enjoys it, and she can make a living at it. I'm so happy for her, and hearing about her life is so exciting.

She's still a kid, though. I heard about her Halloween costume, her friends, how much she enjoys George Harrison's music … (Not Paul! Where did I go wrong?) Her major problems with her mother, too. I was relieved because they don't seem like unusually serious problems, but I wanted her to know that I heard her, that I took her feelings seriously.

It was a nice way to end a very, VERY long week!

Friday, November 06, 2009

This is Fracheska Velez

She is one of two local soldiers
killed yesterday

at Fort Hood.

As details continue to emerge about the carnage at Ft. Hood, it appears a pregnant Chicago woman was killed in the fray that claimed the lives of 13 soldiers Thursday.

Francheska Velez, 21, had just finished a tour in Iraq and returned to Ft. Hood three months pregnant. The Army had granted Velez, a 2006 graduate of Kelvyn Park High School, a maternity leave of abscence.

She was just weeks away from rejoining her family in Chicago.

What's going on?

I'm scared. Seriously. First Fort Hood. Now this. What's next? Another Oklahoma City?

Two dead, 17 injured in shooting reported in downtown Orlando

A former employee of a business located in a downtown Orlando building where a deadly mass shooting took place today is suspected in the attack.

Two people are dead and at least 17 were shot in the incident, which took place about noon today.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Not today! Not ever!

My Peace Globe celebrates The Blog Blast for Peace by imagining a world without gun violence. Meanwhile the horrifying scene at Fort Hood was unfolding:

• Twelve people killed and 31 wounded
• Injured gunman identified as Nidal Malik Hasan
• He was a psychiatrist, worked at Walter Reed
• Military earlier said gunman died

Too ugly, too awful, and just wrong.