Sunday, February 28, 2010

Monday Movie Meme

This week's movie topic is all about Books vs. Movies...

Share movie versions of books and your take on them, linking back here at The Bumbles.

The Godfather. One of the greatest movies ever is based on one really crappy novel. I tried to reread it recently and was amazed by how bad it really is. Talk about pulp fiction! The plot points are all there, and Mario Puzo deserves credit for that, but the writing has none of the elegance or wisdom of the movie. It's just a lurid collection of scenes of sex and gore. This is one case where the movie really is superior to the book.

Ordinary People. This faithful movie adaptation is as good as the book, which means its very good, indeed. Mary Tyler Moore is a revelation as Beth Jarrett, showing the high price of being perfect all the time. I'm continually jarred when I see Timothy Hutton as a middle-aged man, for to me, he will always be Conrad, the troubled adolescent who works so hard at therapy and at getting well, who finally figures out "who it is who can't forgive who."

In Cold Blood (book) & Capote (movie). Truman Capote's book is a masterpiece. Seeing the recent biopic enhances it. It explains how Capote got much of the information about the family and the murderers and made some of the artistic decisions that make In Cold Blood the searing, heartbreaking American tragedy it is. While the book stands on its own, I wonder if I would have enjoyed Capote's film biography as much if I wasn't so familiar with his book.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sunday Stealing

Harriet's Choice: The Disney Meme

1. Which non-Disney Princess Disney Film is your favorite? Mary Poppins

2. Which Disney film makes you cry the most? Old Yeller

3. Which Disney film makes you the happiest? Beauty & the Beast

4. Which Disney film has the best music? The Lion King

5. Which Disney film has the best love story? I have always responded to the subtle sexual tension between Mary Poppins and Bert the Chimney Sweep

6. Who is your favorite Disney Princess? Belle from Beauty & the Beast

7. Who is your favorite Disney Prince? Simba from The Lion King

8. Who is your favorite Disney animal sidekick? Timon from Lion King, or Nana from Peter Pan

9. Who is your favorite Disney main character animal? Old Yeller

10. Who is your favorite villain? Scar from the Lion King

11. What is your favorite Disney song? Hakuna Matata

12. What is your favorite Disney villian song? "Cruella Deville, Cruella Deville, if she doesn't scare you, no evil thing will, to see her is to take a sudden chill ..." from 101 Dalmatians

13. What is your favorite Disney animal song? Hakuna Matata

14. What is your favorite Disney Princess song? A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes

15. What is your favorite Disney Prince song? You Can Fly from Peter Pan

16. What is your favorite Disney Prince/Princess duet song? Jolly Holiday from Mary Poppins; if that doesn't count, I can't answer because I hate most of the sappy duets

17. What is your favorite Disney love song? "Tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme, Beauty and the Beast"

She's a STAR

My niece, that is. She is on her way to becoming her school's representative at the state finals of the FCCLA Culinary STAR Event.

FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) is a national organization for high school kids. My niece won this year's local chapter award for her zabaglione, a "light, foamy custard-like dessert."*

She impresses me with her focus. She likes this competition because it's fun and because she enjoys winning. But also because they are judged by faculty members of the two colleges she wants desperately to get into. A very mature outlook for a junior.

She got a mention in the local paper, and her name is on the display board outside her high school. ATTA GIRL!

*Before today, I didn't know what it was, either.

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Should I Stay or Should I Go

1. Have you ever been on a date and you had to tell the person to just go away? No, I have never been on a date that was unbearable. But many of my first dates never turned into second dates.

2. Do you wish you were someplace else right now? If yes, where? On a pier in Key West, drinking a mimosa and watching the waves.

3. Do you have any pet peeves? People who don't respect space. Like taking an extra seat on the train because you want to put your bag on it, or using bench space in the locker room for your water bottle, or smoking right outside the front door beneath the "no smoking" sign.

4. Tell us about a guilty pleasure of yours. I'm watching Michael Buble as I write this, and God help me, when he sings, I enjoy him. I thought he was funny on SNL, too. (Somehow, though, there's something about him that makes me want to smack him.)

5. If you could change places and become a celebrity, who would you'd like to be? Sue Grafton. Because I enjoy her work, and because people know her name but not necessarily her face. I'd like to be famous enough to get better service, but not so famous people want my autograph or photographers can sell my photo.

6. What do you consider your biggest talent? Ear wiggling

7. Do you have a favorite actor/actress that is not a big star, yet they are your favorite? Jane Kaczmarek. She's a great working actress who has been kicking around for decades, and you might know her as the mom on Malcolm in the Middle

8. Name your five favorite rock bands of all time. I'm not sure where rock ends and pop begins, but here are 5 of my favorite bands: The Beatles, Del Amitri, Barenaked Ladies, The Eagles, The Doobie Bros. (esp. with Michael McDonald)

9. If you were to start a new relationship (for whatever reason), how much of your sexual history would you share? Would you resort to lying? No one should lie about their sexual history, ever! HIV/AIDS is too serious. I don't think a new lover has a right to know names or details if you're not comfortable sharing, but the facts about your sexual health are VITAL!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Creepy, isn't it?

This looks much like the rash on my back. It's shingles. It's responsible for my fever, my back ache, my fatigue, and now, the pain under my ribs. I was misdiagnosed last weekend, and now, unfortunately, it's too late to treat it or lessen its severity. Now the virus simply has to run its course. The only thing my doctor said she could do is give me painkillers. She recommends I take them -- because the pain is making my sleep fitful and sapping my strength and lowering my resistance.

My doctor is going to fax some materials to the nurse practitioner at Walgreen's Take Care Clinic who told me I had some kind of bug bites. She doesn't want this to happen to anyone else.

I feel tired and miserable, but she promises the pain pills and nice, restorative sleep will help.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

My all-time hero

These two photos take turns on my desktop, revolving from one into the other, telling the story of the day in the life of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis that provides just one example why I admire her so.

These photos were taken the same afternoon, moments apart, in autumn, 1971. The photographer who took the first shot and appears in the second shot is Ron Galella. He hounded Jackie on a daily basis, dressing up as Santa Claus to shoot her while shopping at Christmastime, hiding in coat racks for photos of her dining and sometimes even smoking (gasp!) with friends, chasing her in a speed boat while she water skied, following her into movie theaters, etc. When her children were young they still had Secret Service protection and she would ask the agents to, "Please smash his camera," and usually they would. It got so bad that in 1972, just months after this incident, she actually took him to court and got a restraining order. I often wonder what would have happened if Princess Diana had been as ballsy as JBKO; perhaps she'd still be with us.

Anyway, Jackie was running a quick errand, crossing Fifth Avenue in front of her apartment building, when Galella sidled up near her and called her name. She reflexively turned and smiled. When she saw who it was, and that this time he had an accomplice with a camera, she simply slipped the dark glasses on (thereby making the subsequent photos he shot worth a little less), kept her face impassive and kept going.

She hated Galella. He was a stalker and he frightened and enraged her. Yet look at her control. Sure, she could have lost her temper with him (Marlon Brando literally punched his teeth out), but that would have given Galella a front-page shot he could have retired on. So she just withdrew into herself and kept going.

I wear my heart on my sleeve. I have a difficult time with my temper, which often hurts no one else as much as it does me.

I hope if I gaze at her long enough and remember the story, some of it will rub off on me. "Remember, Gal, just put on your sunglasses and keep going."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


It's a simple NAME THAT TUNE meme with a Mimi twist.

The Rules : Once you have been tagged (or commanded by the Queen) you are supposed to write down the top 25 SEVEN songs you cannot live without. The ones you can listen to over and over and never get tired of. They don't have to be in any particular order. These are the songs that make you laugh, cry, think of an old friend, whatever the reason. I know it's impossible for many of us to narrow it down to seven. There are just too many songs. Instead, make a list of seven songs that move you personally and tell us why. What memory does the song evoke? What emotion? Where were you when you first heard it? We'd like to know what's in your musical memory bank. Name seven songs and tell us about your emotional connection to the song.
Fair enough?

1. All My Loving -- The Beatles.
I know it wasn't the first song the Lads performed on The Ed Sullivan Show back in February 1964, but it is the moment I fell enduringly in love. "Close your eyes and I'll kiss you, tomorrow I'll miss you, remember I'll always be true." Hearing Paul McCartney sing that simple declaration of love when I was 6 marked me for life.

2. September -- Earth, Wind and Fire.
It sounds happy, with the great horns and the "ba de ya" refrain. The lyrics, recalling the joys of days gone by, make my heart skip a beat, too.

3. Thunder Road -- Bruce Springsteen.
The sexiest, most romantic song I have ever heard. "Show a little faith, there's magic in the night." It is about the courage it takes to fall in love and declare yourself, but it promises Boss-sized dividends, too.

4. You Don't Know Me -- Jann Arden.
It's been done by everyone from Eddy Arnold to Elvis, but this is my favorite. The opposite of "Thunder Road" because the singer is "afraid and shy" and lets her change go by, too unsure of herself to declare her love.

5. Tears of a Clown -- Smokey Robinson & the Miracles.
Popular when I was in 7th grade, when I was just beginning to have a little after school freedom, so it was a heady time. It also encouraged me to look up "Pagliacci," so this song is Motown as teaching moment.

6. Better Not Look Down -- BB King.
I first heard this at a time when my life was in a complete state of flux. I remember reminding myself of BB's words of wisdom, "better not look down if you want to keep on flying, put the hammer down and keep it full speed ahead." Not a bad motto.

7. Stoney End -- Barbra Streisand.
When I'm depressed, I'm not one to suffer quietly. That's why I love this cut. Babs puts voice to my agony, especially when she rails against "the fury of the broken thunder" that's come to match her "raging soul."

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I'd like to give up being sick for Lent

I haven't felt well since Sunday, January 24. The discomfort takes different forms -- fatigue, headache, sneezing, runny nose and now rash -- but it's always there and it's bugging the shit out of me.

The constant since last month is a pain in my left side, right under my ribs. Feels like a stitch that you get after running. Only I don't have the energy to run.

I'm going to my GP on Friday. She has to figure this out for me. I've flitted about the web and have found diagnoses from heartburn to infected gall bladder to diverticulitis. I don't really care what it is ...

Monday, February 22, 2010

Movie Monday -- What's Wrong with Me?

This week's movie topic is all about Popular Movies You Hated...

Ever get excited to see some movie the whole world has been gushing about, only to discover that you thought it was a dud? Not only are you completely annoyed that the movie didn't meet your expectations, but you don't have anyone else to complain to because you're the only one who didn't like it. Lonely days. Share movies you didn't see what all the fuss was about and link back here at The Bumbles.

Brokeback Mountain. Gay cowboys with bad facial hair and strange dialog from Randy Quaid ("stemming the rose?") made me giggle.

The Piano. Holly Hunter -- so brilliant in Broadcast News -- won an Oscar for this?

Lost in Translation. Yes, it was. For me, at least.

Anything by Ingmar Bergman -- Woody Allen and Roger Ebert love him. This Gal doesn't.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing: The Clown's Meme 2

34. What do you like about the summer? The Cubs and showing off my pedi in sandals.

35. What do you like about spring? Spring training, and my vacation. (This year it's Colonial Williamsburg.)

36. How many states provinces have you lived in? Just the Land of Lincoln.

37. What cities/towns have you lived in? Two.

38. Do you prefer shoes, socks, or bare feet? Bare feet, temperature and terrain permitting.

39. Are you a social person? I can be. But I'm also more comfortable with my own company.

40. What was the last thing you ate? Girl Scout cookies.

41. What is your favorite restaurant? Ada's Deli.

42. What is your favorite ice cream? Mint chocolate chip.

43. What is your favorite dessert? See above.

44. What is your favorite kind of soup? New England clam chowder.

45. What kind of jelly do you like on your PB & J sandwich? Strawberry jam

46. Do you like Chinese food? Yes. Especially fried rice.

47. Do you like coffee? Hate it, loathe it.

48. How many glasses of water, a day, do you drink on average? Two or three. (I know I should drink more.)

49. What do you drink in the morning? Coke and milk. (No, not together. Ick!)

50. What non-banking related card in your wallet is the most valuable to you? My Petco card, I guess.

51. Do you sleep on a certain side of the bed? Yes. The right.

52. Do you know how to play poker? Yes. I think of it as Yahtzee!, but with cards.

53. Do you like to cuddle? Depends on whom I'm cuddling.

54. Have you ever been to Canada? Yes. Montreal and Toronto.

55. Do you have an addictive personality? Perhaps. I don't smoke and have no trouble with liquor. But I find it hard to give up caffeine and sugar.

56. Do you eat out or at home more often? At home, but I'm probably eating carry out.

57. What do you miss about highschool, if anything? Not. a. damn. thing.

58. Do you know anyone with the same birthday as you? No. Usually my birthday is more closely associated with a little incident in Dallas, known as the Kennedy Assassination.

59. Do you want kids? No.

60. Do you speak any other languages? No.

61. Have you ever gotten stitches? Yes, and I have a scar on my chin to prove it.

62. Have you ever ridden in an ambulance? Nope.

63. Do you prefer an ocean or a pool? Pool to swim in. Ocean to look out upon.

64. Do you prefer a window seat or an aisle seat? Aisle.

65. Do you know how to drive stick? Nope.

66. What is your favorite thing to spend money on? Handbags.

Itchy and Ugly

No, they aren't cartoon characters. They're the best words to describe the ginormous welts on my back, and the burgeoning ones growing on my tummy. Best guess is that the blood sucking bugs came in on the new throw pillows I bought at Pier One a week ago. The doctor prescribed a concentrated hydrocortisone cream and Bendadryl.

The pillows, while cute, weren't worth it. Not even on sale. Right now they are safely tucked into a big black garbage bag in my den, and there they will stay until next Saturday. Hopefully by then, the bugs will have perished.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Sad Clock Stops at 64 Days

I heard from my best friend today! He was defensive and edgy, but that's because he was the one who initiated contact and wasn't sure how I'd receive it. I wasn't sure how I'd receive it, either, to be completely honest. But it was fine in a tentative, wounded, embarrassed kinda way.

I have too much work to do and I still feel crappy, so I won't elaborate much now. Except to say that knowing he's out there makes having too much to do and feeling crappy more than tolerable. My world feels like it may be slowly righting itself.

And btw, Snarkela, how did you know?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cute kids and cuter dogs

So who cares if the score wasn't remotely memorable?

My friend Barb and I went to see 101 Dalmatians last night. The score, with lyrics by Dennis DeYoung, was a yawn. As were the performances by most of the adults. But the majority of the puppy parts were played by energetic, adorable kids. It was a joy to watch them dance and cavort (as only kids and puppies can). The children in the audience were very well behaved, too. I love going to family theater events because you're often surrounded by little ones excited to be up so late and doing something so grown up, with the little girls dressed to the nines. (My favorite little theater goer wore a rhinestone headband that, once she was outside, she covered with a cloche hat and matching mittens. You could tell by the way she dealt with the hat and mittens, she felt tres chic.)

For me, though, the real stars were the 15 real, adult dalmatians. Especially the one who screwed up, which made her more endearing. She was supposed to pull a dog house to centerstage and then exit stage left. Only she stopped in the middle of stage beside the dog house, as though awaiting her applause. That wasn't the case -- turns out she just forgot what she was supposed to do next. Her trainer came onto the stage and made an expansive hand gesture which she understood, and she trotted off.

Of the 15 canine stars, 7 were originally shelter dogs and are available for adoption after this tour is over. Before deciding you want to give one a "forever home," the Playbill warns that dalmatians are very active, very curious, sensitive to cold and susceptible to sunburn. They can also be "the best friend you ever had."

On a personal note, I mentioned what was going on here at work and Barb reassured me that should I be let go, she could toss a few freelance jobs my way. And she paid for dinner! She said it was because she was so late and caused me stress when I had a cold and all, but I know it was because she worried about a different kind of stress.

Falling in love again

Never wanted to
What am I to do?
Can't help it

Yes, I've unearthed my Moonlighting DVDs. A logical transition from Nick and Nora. And, in their way, more romantic (at least in the unrequited seasons).

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Don't know if it's true, but I'll take it

And thanks to Endomental for sending me over here.

You Are Doc

If you're not already a doctor, you should probably be one. You are a total brainiac.

You are extremely intellectual, and sometimes you find it hard to relate to other people because of it.

You're just on a completely different wavelength than everyone else. You are lost in your collection of facts and ideas.

Even though you make everyone around you feel a bit dumber, they like having you around. Your wisdom is always appreciated.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

And then there were three fewer

Remember that old Agatha Christie classic, And Then There Were None? Here at work, we seem to be re-enacting it. Every time we meet in a certain conference room, there are fewer of us. Except instead of a murderer knocking off us "little Indians," it's layoffs.

I'm trying not to freak out, because what would be the point? The problems seem more tied to agency infrastructure than to any particular campaign. I can't fix this. I can help minimize the problem, but I can't fix it.

My mortgage is paid 6 months in advance. I have 7 months' expenses socked away (I wish it were 8, but somehow I just can't get to and stay at that threshold). Until the economy turns around a bit and jobs are more plentiful, I think I've done what I can.

Now I just have to trust in my preparation, trust in my ability to do well while I'm here, trust in God and fate, and try not to make myself crazy.

Heads or Tails #20 -- Light

I am of German-Irish descent, and what's more, I am the palest one in my family. So when I saw the prompt "light," my mind immediately went to my very light complexion.

And skin cancer. I have to remind myself that it's a winter issue, too. And, while I'm reminding myself, I'm going to take this opportunity to remind the blogosphere.

According to the American Cancer Society, we should all apply sunscreen every day, because even "brief sun exposures all year round can add up to skin damage." An SPF of at least 15 is recommended. In Chicago's winter, when carrying a tube of suntan lotion isn't exactly second nature, I make sure I use foundation and moisturizer formulated with sunscreen.

Sunglasses are important, too. Before you purchase, check the label and make sure the lenses block both UVA and UVB rays. "If there is no label, don't assume the sunglasses provide any protection."

Now have fun but be careful out there. And be sure to check out Heads or Tails here.

Monday, February 15, 2010

No Joke

Thank you, Jon Stewart. For tonight, on The Daily Show, you played a clip of President Obama at a townhall meeting in New Hampshire, fielding a question from a man who proudly proclaimed himself to be, "Dick Swett."

This was legit. This was for real. Richard "Dick" Swett really is a former Congressman from New Hampshire. AND he was once our Ambassador to Denmark! I just love the imagining his formal presentation to the monarchy:

"Your Highness, I give you Dick Swett."

I realize tonight's Daily Show was a rerun. I'm glad I didn't see it during the original airing last week. This old heart of mine couldn't take it twice.

Dick Swett. Tee hee.

Happy President's Day

This is the real John F. Kennedy. Just in case you need to be reminded. For Hollywood has found the Kennedy story irresistible, and The Internet Movie Database lists 73 different dramatic performances as our 35th President. These are just the ones I've seen.

Bruce Greenwood in Thirteen Days
William Devane in The Missles of October
Martin Sheen in Kennedy
Cliff Robertson in PT-109
Patrick Dempsey in JFK: Reckless Youth
Stephen Webber in The Kennedys of Massachusetts*
Daniel Hugh Kelly in Jackie, Ethel and Joan
Stephen Collins in A Woman Named Jackie
James Franciscus in Jackie Bouvier Kennedy
Cliff DeYoung in RFK and His Times
James Kelly in Sinatra
William Petersen in The Rat Pack
Charles Frank in LBJ

Some Kennedy/Hollywood trivia -- Martin Sheen has played both JFK and Bobby and William Petersen has played both JFK and Joe Kennedy, Sr.

* It's on now and inspired this post

Movie Monday

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

Share your selections that feature snow and freezing cold and link back here at The Bumbles.

The one that sprang immediately to mind is Little Women. While these pictures are from the most recent Winona-Ryder-as-Jo version, the winter scenes are all either fun or exciting in all three versions. I remember Jo burning her skirt time and again in front of the fireplace ... snowball fights with Laurie, the boy next door ... sharing their breakfast on Christmas morning ... Amy (that's Kirsten Dunst) falling through the ice ... The March girls are always all bundled up, and it's not just out of 19th Century modesty!

Of course, I guess I should also say that (1) Jo March is one of all-time favorite heroines and (2) I like winter.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Domesticity makes me sick

No, wait, that's backwards. Sickness makes me domestic. I started feeling better at about noon. Ran some errands and being out in the sunshine lifted my spirits and made me feel dispirited by my messy home. So I did four loads of laundry, scrubbed the kitchen floor (hence the ammonia -- I'm stuffed up so the smell didn't bother me a bit) and cleaned the inside of the microwave. I noticed today that, while my fabulous hardboiled eggs didn't explode in the oven, something tomato-ey had.

If this mood continues, I'll clean the bathroom tomorrow.

But I'm spending the rest of the evening with Nick and Nora Charles. I want to be like them when/if I grow up. (Though I'm sure Nora Charles' white-gloved hands never touched a bottle of Parsons.)

I made egg salad!

Yes, the least domestic blogger ever made herself a meal! The highlight was hardboiling the eggs in the microwave. No explosions. Here's how I did it (reposted here so I won't forget about the vinegar).

Step 1
Fill the microwaveable cooking dish with enough water to cover the eggs with at least an inch of water, but don’t put the eggs in the water yet.

Step 2
Add about a tablespoon of vinegar and a tablespoon of salt. This will keep the eggs from cracking and will make them easier to peel

Step 3
Place the container of water in the microwave and heat it to a full boil.

Step 4
Remove the container of boiling water from the microwave and place the eggs carefully in the water. Cover the container with a plate to keep the heat in, and to keep the mess contained if an egg explodes.

Step 5
Return the container to the microwave oven and set the oven on low or low-medium. Cook the eggs for eight minutes.

Step 6
Take the container of eggs out of the microwave oven and let the eggs stand in the hot water for another eight to 10 minutes, depending how “done” you want your eggs.

Step 7
Let the eggs cool enough to handle, and then peel and eat them. If you want to save them for later use, don’t peel them, but store them in the refrigerator.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sunday Stealing

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Clown's Meme 1

1. How old will you be in five years? 57. And it hurts to say, thank you very much.

2. Who did you spend at least two hours with today? Mika Brzezkinski (left). I'm really enjoying her book, All Things at Once. It's on my Shelfari bookshelf.

3. How tall are you? I always say I'm 5'2.

4. What do you look forward to most in the next six weeks? BASEBALL!

5. What’s the last movie you saw? Crazy Heart. Jeff Bridges really is that good, by the way.

6. Who was the last person you called? My mom.

7. Who was the last person to call you? The receptionist from my dentist's office.

8. What was the last text message you received? My niece.

9. Who was the last person to leave you a voicemail? Does the automated "your prescription is ready" notification from Walgreen's count?

10. Do you prefer to call or text? Call.

11. What were you doing at 12am last night? I think I was asleep. I don't feel well and my sense of time is fuzzy.

12. Are your parents married/separated/divorced? Separated, seeing as my mom is alive and my dad is dead.

13. When is the last time you saw your mom? Two weeks ago.

14. What color are your eyes? Green. And a nice green, at that.

15. What time did you wake up today? I woke up at about 6:00 AM. I didn't move for about an hour, just stayed in bed and watched the local news. But I was awake.

16. What are you wearing right now? My cream-colored nightshirt.

17. What is your favorite Christmas song? Joy to the World

18. Where is your favorite place to be? Right now, a massage table.

19. Where is your least favorite place to be? Conversely, the examination table.

20. Where would you go if you could go anywhere? Boston. I haven't been in a while, and reading the obits for author Robert B. Parker put me in a Boston state of mind.

21. Where do you think you’ll be in 10 years? Right here in this condo. I may actually even own it by then!

22. Do you tan or burn? Burn

23. What did you fear was going to get you at night as a child? Richard Speck. Ugly, vicious, and cruel and real. You're lucky I showed Mika and not that human piece of shit. I was 8 the summer that he killed those nurses and he really did haunt my nightmares.

24. What was the last thing that really made you laugh? I can't remember. Isn't that sad? I'm not having a bad day, really. I just have a bad cold and an achy back and I'm not filled with laughter.

25. How many TVs do you have in your house? Two

26. How big is your bed? Full-sized

27. Do you have a laptop or desktop computer? MacBook

29. What color are your sheets? Pink/white/blue stripe

30. How many pillows do you sleep with? Two

31. What is your favorite season? Autumn

32. What do you like about Autumn? Spicy smells, sweatshirts, my birthday

33. What do you like about winter? Snow, the holidays

Busy doing nothing

Let's see now ... I had a sit down with my accountant, during which I handed off that big gray envelope of 2009 tax documentation. Then I took a nap. Then I got a pedicure (that pinky-purpley glob is Avon Spring Fling) and picked up a prescription at Walgreen's and bought cute but incredibly cheap ($2.75!) black and white earrings at Claire's Boutique. (LOTS of Alice in Wonderland tie-in tschotskes are already on display.) Then I took a nap.

My back aches. My nose is stopped up. I am exhausted. I hate missing workouts because I practically have to move my tummy to admire my Spring Fling pedi. Hopefully I'll feel better in the morning.

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: It's a Beautiful Morning

1. Are you a morning person? When I'm by myself, I can be very productive. I just don't feel like dealing with people before 10:00.

2. Tell us of a news story that truly shocked you. The horrible murder of Jennifer Hudson's family.

3. What was your very first job? Babysitting.

4. What characteristics do you despise? People who thoughtlessly infringe on other's (OK ... my) space: smoking where they shouldn't, taking up two seats on the train, talking too loud on cell phones ... you get the idea

5. To where would you retire? Right here. And I mean, right here. I love being curled up in this corner of my sofa.

6. Are you named after anyone? Nope.

7. How do you release anger? Yell, if I can. Withdraw, if I can't. Yelling feels better, though.

8. Do you use sarcasm a lot? Moi? Utilisez le sarcasme? Non!

9. What is your least favorite thing about yourself? I can be judgmental.

Friday, February 12, 2010

I love this "staunch character"

I'm finally watching the original, restored documentary, Grey Gardens. Spending time with Big and especially Little Edie Beale, I appreciate the HBO movie even more.

I love observing Little Edie because I can see myself as her in an alternative universe. Always at home with cats and critters, reading books and listening to the radio and trying to keep "the line between the past and the present" straight. And like Edie, I fancy myself "a staunch character." She says, "There's nothing worse than dealing with a staunch woman. They never weaken, no matter what."

Though I think I'd enjoy being a recluse, whereas Little Edie is bitter about all of her lost opportunities. Regret oozes from her, and the way she blames her old mother, Big Edie, is positively corrosive (even though I'm rather sure "Big Edie" deserves much, much of the blame her daughter assigns).

The black and white photo is of Little Edie before she went to New York to embark on a modeling career. She says she remembers herself as, "the cat's pajamas" back in those days, and she was. She only had a few years to establish herself as a dancer and model before her mother called her back to Grey Gardens, where they lived together (usually in squalor) for decades. I look at Little Edie's beautiful young face and I understand the fury and disappointment she suffered in her later years.

There are those who feel that the Grey Gardens phenomenon (original documentary, HBO special, Broadway play, books) exploits these two aristocratic loopy loons who became celebrities only because they were Jackie Kennedy's aunt and cousin. But Little Edie wanted to be an artist, a performer in her own right so badly that I feel Grey Gardens gave her that. Late in life and then posthumously, sure. But I think she'd find all this attention intoxicating.

Oh, not again!

I'm feeling a bit achy again, and that's how my bout of whatever the hell it was began last month. Please, please, please! I don't want to be sick! (I know, as opposed to all those people who do want to be sick ...)

I had just a light workout today (30 minutes of cardio, no weights). I didn't want to overdo it, in case I am achy for a reason. But I didn't watch all that news coverage about Bill's ticker without taking away something regarding the importance of regular exercise.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

This one's for you, Bill

I had a good workout today and treated myself to a Quarter Pounder with Cheese for lunch. Which wouldn't have been a bad thing by itself, especially since I had the Fruit & Yogurt Parfait instead of fries. But then I gave in to temptation and had one of the 480 (!) calorie chocolate chunk cookies from Cosi that our admins put out for us to enjoy. Dammit!

Then I got home and began monitoring coverage of Bill Clinton's heart disease and the stents he received. Somehow the gooey hot ham and cheese panini I was craving just didn't seem appropriate. So, for dinner, I had a bowl of Quaker Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal. 130 calories and 3 grams of fiber.

I raise this spoon of oatmeal to you, Mr. President.

Look after him, God

Former President Bill Clinton Hospitalized in New York City

In spite of everything (and I know there's been a lot), I still love the Big Dog.

Sir Paul at the Friendly Confines?

Paul McCartney may play two shows at Wrigley Field in September. So says the buzz around town today.

The only tangible that's more dependably delivered joy to my life longer than my Beatle is my team. So this would be a harmonic convergence of epic proportions in this Gal's life.

Keep your fingers crossed!

The same, but different

It's the same morning commute. The train travels down the same tracks, past the same landmarks to the same station stop. My destination is the same. Yet I tend to be very blue in the mornings. Why?

Because I no longer have my best friend.

The Secret Service will be so pleased

Behold my new Hanes Full Figure Sport Bra. It looks very different on me, and not just because I'm not blonde. On me, it looks as though I'm protecting the girls from a serious assassination attempt.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I Want Wednesday

This week's question is:

What type of charity do you want to run?

I would love to care for stray and feral cats. On winter days like this one, I worry about them sooooo much. Is it hard for them to navigate on short kitty legs through the deep snow? Where will they find food? How do they stay warm? (Oh, please don't crawl up under the car hoods!)

Also, while I can be very, very short-tempered with bipeds, I am somehow endlessly patient with critters. So in a perfect world, this would be my calling.

To play along yourself, click here.

Another year, another spa

I have booked my spring spa getaway. In previous years I have traveled to Chateau Elan in Atlanta, and I enjoyed it completely. But this year I am experimenting with a destination that marries my love of pampering and alone time with my love of American history.

This spring I'm headed to Colonial Williamsburg. I'll be staying at the Williamsburg Lodge and have two spa sessions booked. When I'm not being massaged and exfoliated and moisturized, I'll be out looking at "History on Display" in the nearby museums or indulging in retail therapy in the array of shops, all within walking distance.

Not that Chateau Elan wasn't wonderful -- it was! It's just so very expensive. I suspect I'll find it more relaxing to luxuriate in slightly less pricey surroundings. Plus it would be good for me to spend time getting to know a President who isn't Abe.

But I sooooooo want this!

I made a 2010 resolution not to buy any more books. It made sense at the time, since I have a knee-high TBR pile. (That's literal, not an exaggeration.) But Game Change just sounds so damn fascinating. The Clinton marriage continues to keep me hypnotized. It would be nice to read an account of the Edwards marriage written by legit journalists. The Palin/McCain shotgun "marriage" of sorts sounds like a train wreck that needs to be chronicled. And maybe I can finally figure out what made Obama the Candidate so much more compelling than Obama the President.

I want it, I want it, I want!

Will I be able to resist?

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

American Idol -- Hollywood Week

My first sit down with American Idol and I'm so loving it. It's the first year without Paula, and a guy named Andrew just did "Straight Up." I'm sorry she missed it. But Ellen is charming. Can't imagine this show without Simon, though.


Heads or Tails #24 -- Chains

HEADS - "Chain"

This week's prompt has me time travelling back to 1967, and two of the favorite things in my 9-year-old life.

• Adding to my gum wrapper chain
• Singing along with Aretha, "Cha-cha-chain-ee-ain-ee-ain, Chain of Fools."

The Queen's Meme

Look at the flying trapeze artists. What are they saying?
"So what if Aunt Edith made me executrix of her will? Do we have to talk about this now?"

2Introducing an environmentally-friendly way
to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.


He just taste-tested our new chili sauce, "Slap My Ass and Call Me Sally."

"Sal, is this the right way to audition directors for the Patio Diet Cola commercial?"
Mad Men reference. Hope it's not too obscure.

"Siegfried and I raised them since kittenhood. They'd never hurt me. Really."


Kirk Cameron is financing this, isn't he?


"I must have your coat. In the words of Cruella DeVille, 'I love fur. I worship fur.'"

How did a simple Saturday afternoon trip to Home Depot turn into this?


"Pssst! This photo is going to give The Gal Herself nightmares for a week!"


"Welcome to life in downsized corporate America."

To play along, click here.