Wednesday, June 29, 2011

THURSDAY THIRTEEN #130

MY THIRTEEN FAVORITE PAUL McCARTNEY SONGS

This is Paul McCartney's birthday month, and I'm celebrating by devoting each of my June TT's to his life and his career.

This final week, is all about the music. His music. You won't see "Yesterday" or "Hey, Jude" here because, even though they are undoubtedly his ultimate fan favorites, for me they have been so overplayed.

I'm no music expert, just a fan who's heard his voice almost about every day of my life since February 1964, and here are my favorites, the ones that are the most relevant to my own life. (It must be wonderful to be him -- knowing your work has brought so much joy to so many.)


13) MAYBE I'M AMAZED. This one is slipping into that overdone category, but I still love it for the its diffidence. Falling in love is scary. "Maybe I'm amazed at the way I really need you." (McCartney)

12) FINE LINE. My favorite of his more recent work. "There's a fine line between recklessness and courage ... There's a long way between chaos and creation ... " He's both facing forward and looking back, sharing what he's learned about life and your life's work.
(Chaos and Creation in the Backyard)





11) LADY MADONNA. Love the sax solo. Love the honky-tonk piano. Love the message about how hard it can be to be a woman. (Very progressive for 1968!) Most of all, it was thrilling because Paul actually sings the word, "breast." Give me a break. I was just 10. (Hey, Jude)

10) NO MORE LONELY NIGHTS. From the soundtrack of a truly execrable movie. (Sorry, my liege. I love you and all, but I want those 90 minutes of my life back.) Still, taken on its own, it's both majestic and dear, capturing how I feel when I'm in love. "I can't wait another day until I call you ..." (Give My Regards to Broad Street)

9) GOOD DAY, SUNSHINE. It makes me happy. It also makes me want to make out with a cute guy on a picnic blanket. Oh, I'm sorry, was that TMI? (Revolver)


8) SILLY LOVE SONGS. "Here I go a-gain!" The most melodic "fuck you" to critics ever. Really, listen to the lyrics and you'll hear they're more than a little defensive about how lightweight his solo career was in comparison to John's more socially relevant work. But he got the last laugh because it sold like a gazillion copies. The middle riff with the Tower of Power horn section always makes me happy. (At the Speed of Sound)

7) BACK IN THE USSR. I love the sound of it, from the jet landing to the final fade.
"The Ukraine girls really knock me out ... Moscow girls make me scream and shout ... Let me hear your balalaikas ringing out, come and keep your comrade warm." Those lyrics are surprisingly witty when you compare them to the Beach Boys' "California Girls." (The White Album)

6) FOR NO ONE. "The day breaks, your mind aches ..." Break ups suck. This song has a weary tone, capturing how the hurt beats on your heart with the relentlessness of a metronome. (Revolver)

5) PENNY LANE. A perfect slice of life lived under "blue suburban skies." I got such a kick out of Michael Buble's homage to the horn solo in his "Haven't Met You Yet." (Magical Mystery Tour)

4) MY BRAVE FACE. I love the juxtaposition of the joyous melody with the sad lyrics about how much courage it takes to just get on with it when your heart is broken. "Simplest things set me off again and take me to that place where I can't find my brave face ..." (Flowers in the Dirt)



3) TWO OF US. "You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches on ahead." Immortalized as one of the last times he performed live with John, it's hard not to think how true lyrics are about his boyhood friend and songwriting partner, who'd be murdered little more than ten years later. Later they packed an emotional punch as The Lovely Linda battled cancer. Today, I think of it in regards to me and my mom, or me and my own friend John, both of whom have had health problems. It reminds me to appreciate time as time runs short. (Let It Be)

2) I WILL. "Who knows how long I've loved you? I know I love you still. Shall I wait a lonely lifetime? If you want me to, I will." The perfect love song to the lover you haven't met yet. (The White Album)

1) ALL MY LOVING. For me, this is the one that started it all. While this clip isn't from the Lads' 1964 debut appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, it's that vintage. When I first saw his face as he sang, "Close your eyes and I'll kiss you/tomorrow I'll miss you/remember I'll always be true ..." I said to my mom, "He's so pretty it hurts." It was romance as even a little girl could envision it. My idea of Prince Charming come to life. Yes, it's corny. But it's tattooed on my soul. (Meet the Beatles)




Damn! It was hard to limit myself to just thirteen!


To find out more about Thursday Thirteen,
and maybe participate yourself, click here.

Guilty as charged

Yes, I swiped this meme from Kwizgiver!

I am... he as you are he as you are me and we are all together. In other words, I am a Beatle fan. Goo-goo-g'joob.

I want... the holiday weekend to get here already!

I have... a real Hofbrauhaus Haus mug filled with quarters I can use in the laundry room.

I wish... my oldest friend would get her life together.

I hate... space hogs who take up the bench in the locker room for their water bottles, iPods, etc.

I fear... airplane travel. ICK!

I hear... the hum of the air conditioner

I search... on Google every day (Kwizgiver's answer; it's good)

I wonder... if ever I'll get another raise

I regret... very little

I love... learning new things. O me gusta aprender español.

I never... intentionally hurt a cat.

I ache... when I think of homeless pets.

I always... remember birthdays.

I usually... spend too long in the tub each morning.

I am not... very graceful

I dance... badly.

I sing... even worse

I sometimes... get lost in my fantasies

I cry... at the end of Old Yeller

I am not always... in control, which bugs the crap out of me

I lose... pens all the time

I am confused... by why the Cubs' Ryan Dempster doesn't have a better record this season

I need... more discipline

I should... back away from the keyboard and exercise

I Want Wednesday

I want to remember how I got this big, ugly bruise. It really is rather massive, yet it causes me little discomfort. (I know because I poke at it.) Still, how could I hit something this hard and not notice it? And how did the photo get flipped?

¡Mi vida es un misterio¡

Not what I expected, but that's OK


I have always loved Robert Redford. Partly because in the 1970s, when I came of age, he was so perfect and so prevalent. More enduringly because his career has stood for something. His serious films are genuinely thought-provoking and his even his light "popcorn movies" come with a message. Not all of his movies have been successful, but they have all been quality. His choices are interesting, including his decision to keep his private life private.

So I was eager to read the first in-depth biography of his life. And it's not what you'd think.

He's auto didactic and passionate about the world around him in a big, big way. He learns it and he wants to share it. That's where his heart is. It can be about conservation, producing, acting or directing. Horses or motorcycles or cars. He was like that as a child with sports and travel and remains like that today.

He's also more complicated and more stubborn than I ever would have suspected. His first marriage to wife Lola, a union that lasted 26 years and was held up as an ideal, really began unraveling much earlier than the public suspected. Yet it wasn't because of infidelity or the temptations that accompanied his superstar status -- at least not the conventional ones we see on TMZ, like drugs and parties.

It was opportunity and adventure that took him away from home. And during those absences, his wife -- a teenager when they met -- grew up and away from him. She went from being a supportive satellite/anchor to the sophisticated woman who dealt with family issues on her own when he was away. She also became an environmentalist in her own right. He had a difficult time adapting to this -- a loner to the core and, as he admits, unable to resist rebellion and competition, even with the wife he loved and needed. They separated, they recommitted, they tried therapy. She finally chose to continue her education on the east coast, as far away from Utah and Hollywood as she could get. She was sending a message not lost on him. And it was sad.

There's a treasure trove of tales about his professional and personal relationships with Sydney Pollack, Paul Newman, William Goldman and Alan J. Pakula. They were all honest about his strengths (intelligence, nuance) and weaknesses (self-centered much?). He was also refreshingly honest about how bad he is with money. No, don't worry -- no one needs to have a car wash to support the Sundance Kid. But his business endeavors were all ambitious and mostly unsuccessful.

His is a compelling story -- fascinating and a little sad. I'm glad I read it.

Monday, June 27, 2011

My day off

I took today off and spent it in court: watching the Casey Anthony trial until the Blagojevich verdict came in. I also picked up my contact lenses, bought a very nice card to go along with my friend John's birthday present, went to the health club for some early evening cardio, and (uh-oh) stopped at Trader Joe's for some fruit and vegetables ... and cinnamon crumb cake. My downfall! I really have to avoid having anything like that in the house.

Movie Monday

Epic Battle Scenes... Share those battle scenes that are so epic, they make you stop everything to watch. Link back here to the Bumbles.

This one is tough for me, because I'm not a big fan of war movies. So I'm throwing myself on the mercy of The Bumbles and bending the rules a bit to show an epic scene regarding the aftermath of battle.

In Gone with the Wind, Melanie goes into labor at the worst possible time, as Sherman relentlessly heads toward Atlanta, leaving carnage in his wake. As Scarlett frantically searches for Dr. Meade at the Atlanta train station, she has to pick up her skirts to avoid smoth
ering the soldiers she steps over. It's an amazing scene visually -- opening tight on Scarlett and then pulling back and back, revealing more and more dead and dying boys and young men. Until there are nothing but bodies for as far as the eye can see.

Now I'm not only a Northerner but also a proud native of The Land of Lincoln, so the romance of the South and her "cause" has always been lost on me. Secession and slavery hold no nobility for this Gal. And yet this scene still packs an emotional wallop. War is a sad, ugly, painful, profane business. A heartbreaking tragedy for both sides.



Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing: The Seriously Random Question Meme, Part 3 (The Final Edition)

Cheers to all of us thieves!

41. Who was the last person you went shopping with? A coworker

42. What is something you need to go shopping for? My favorite Body Shop Vitamin C capsules

43. Do you have the same first name as one of your relatives? Nope

44. What kind of car do (did) your parents drive? My dad was very partial to Ford

45. Are you rich? No

46. If you could spend one intimate night with a celebrity, no questions asked, never to see them again, who would it be? Bruce Springsteen

48. What famous person do you look like? Feel free to use this facial match program by clicking here. Show us at least the celeb photo. They got the coloring right.

49. What is the most daring thing you've done recently? Nothing comes to mind

50. Say you were given a pregnancy test right now. Would you pass or fail? I'm 53. What do you think?

51. Which sex scandal of the last decade bothers you the most? John Edwards.

52. Do you know anyone in jail/prison? No.

53. What are your plans (or what have you done) for this weekend? Had a completely wonderful time at a barbecue with friends. Me gusto la sangría y hamburguesas y conversacion.

54. Have you ever woken up and not known where you were? No.

55. What were you doing at midnight last night?? I dozed off on the sofa and was very pissed off at myself.

56. Last restaurant you went to? Delia's for breakfast.

57. How many hours did you sleep for last night? About nine.

58. Which is more distracting: Sexting while driving or sex while driving? I don't drive. But, as a pedestrian, I find the thought of you doing either one behind the wheel quite disturbing.

59. Do you think someone is thinking about you right now? I hope so.

60. Have you ever changed your clothes while in a vehicle? Yes

Saturday 9


Saturday 9: Make You Feel My Love

1. What has someone done unusual to make you feel their love? Well, we weren't in love, exactly, but I remember distinctly an unusual (but lovely) something a lover did once in bed to show me how dedicated he was to making the experience good for me, too. I'd tell you what it was, but this isn't WTIT.

2. Do you own a smart phone? If yes, is it everything you wanted? If no, how seriously have you considered a purchase of the new smart phone? No smart phone yet. I'm waiting for my provider to offer me one at a reduced price. I try not to pay much for my phones.

3. Have you ever camped out to purchase something? No

4. What is your worst habit? I'm a slob

5. What is your best habit? I return (most) calls and emails promptly

6. In your opinion, what is life's greatest mystery? We all face hardship and tragedy: why do some people prevail and others go under? Secondarily, why are left-handed relief pitchers so rare?

7. Are you one of those people who is constantly busy with projects, social outings, etc. or do you just like to lay low and stay home? I looooooove my alone time

8. Whether you're busy all the time or like to just chill, have you always been that way? I've always been this way.

9. Is there something you'd like to change about how you spend your time? If so, what is it? If not, why not? I'd like to be more sincerely motivated to stay neat and uncluttered.

Vroom! Vroom!

Where's all this energy coming from? Got off work early yesterday and, after watching the Casey Anthony trial (I admit I'm hooked), I did grocery shopping ... and three loads of laundry ... and walked over to Bed, Bath and Beyond to put the finishing touches on my friend's John birthday present and pick up replacement curtain rods.

I think it's because I'm weaning myself off Lexapro. The anti-depressant was, at one time, a godsend for me. One of the values of this blog is I can look back on who I was, and how much I once hurt. Once I began taking anti-depressants, I was able to pack my emotional baggage and move away from The Stoney End, so I'd never diss taking meds.

But that was nearly four years (and tons of weight) ago. My body has adjusted, at least emotionally, to the new hormones levels. So it's time to move on.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

THURSDAY THIRTEEN #129

THIRTEEN SONGS
PAUL MCCARTNEY OWNS

This is Paul McCartney's birthday month, and I'm celebrating by devoting each of my June TT's to his life and his career.

Following the long and winding road to Sir Paul losing the publishing rights of the Beatles catalog in 1985 pisses me off, so we're blowing past that.

Instead, here are 13 other familiar songs Paul McCartney owns. It helps explain how he became so damn rich.


1) 76 Trombones from The Music Man

2) A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Bessie Smith

3) Greased Lightening from Grease

4) Hello, Dolly

5) I Won't Grow Up from Peter Pan

6) Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee from Grease

7) One from A Chorus Line

8) Summer Loving from Grease

9) That'll Be the Day by Buddy Holly

10) The Man that Got Away from A Star Is Born

11) Tomorrow from Annie

12) We Need a Little Christmas

13) What I Did for Love from A Chorus Line


To find out more about Thursday Thirteen,
and maybe participate yourself, click here.

Naturally I am the sun

The center of my own universe. And lately I've been finding it a little hard to shine because all the planets revolving around me seem more than a little blue.

Ed's daughter is back in the hospital. Her fever spiked and they admitted her. He says he's taking it in stride, but I'm not so sure. She'd enjoyed more than two full months of good health and he was beginning to hope.

My oldest friend hasn't really drawn a single happy breath since moving to Beverly Hills. She has no friends out there, hasn't been to work in six months due to an injury, and her son ... well ... and her daughter ... well ... She has her heart set on this new job and consequently a new home 90 minutes north of Los Angeles, up in the mountains. I worry that she won't get this job -- her home here in Chicagoland was foreclosed upon, and prospective employers can access and judge you by that kind of information, and I doubt the hospital she works for currently will give her a very positive recommendation -- and her heart will break. She can't withstand much more heartbreak.

My best friend's dog died. For someone who always told me throughout her long illness that he'd be OK when the day finally came, he's very sad. It could be that he lets himself feel bad with me because he knows I'll understand. But still, I hate him hurting.

My friend, The Daddy's Girl, lost her daddy. I know she's blissfully happy with her hubby and I realize that having him beside her makes it easier. But nothing will make it easy.

At least my friend, El Professor, seems to be feeling a bit more chipper these days. I don't know the details of his job search or his finances because he doesn't bring them up. But he's being communicative, that's what's important to me. If he's satisfied exhausting the Weiner scandal or encouraging me in my successful quest to see Sir Paul, I'm satisfied, too. It's nice to have one to mark off the list!

Sometimes, when I'm wrestling with my new Spanish or enjoying working on a particular project or hugging one of my fantabulous felines or seeing a little progress in my battle to get healthy, I feel almost guilty. I mean, it's hard to be a bright, shiny sun with so many unhappy planets in my orbit!

Image: nuttakit / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I Want Wednesday

I want less homelessness! I always have dimes and nickels in my pocket so that I don't have to stop and take out my wallet to help the homeless. Today it didn't get me to and from lunch. I helped three people, but had to pass two more. I felt bad because I can't tell who really needs help most. The faces of the two people that I passed will stay with me all day now.

So I don't really believe the economy is improving. Every corner wouldn't have a person holding a cup if it was. And this makes me so sad.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

She was a good girl. Oh yes, she was!

Gumbo, that is. My best friend's dog. She died last week when they were on vacation.

It was her time. She was 15, old for a border collie. She'd been suffering mightily with allergies and arthritis for the last three years. And she went peacefully. Since they discovered she didn't do well in kennels, when they had to leave her she stayed with friends. Shortly after they left, Gumbo stopped eating and her good-hearted caretakers took her to a vet, who advised it was hopeless, and their most humane choices were to either put her down then or to keep her on fluids until her people returned home to say goodbye. Wisely, my friend chose the former. It was easier on both Gumbo and his daughters that way.

And how Gumbo loved those girls! She preceded the oldest by a little more than a year and consequently was very, very possessive of them. She wore out the grass along the fence surrounding their backyard, where she ran circles, "guarding the perimeter" while they played. She whined about not being allowed to join her girls -- at least not until the freshly refinished floors could withstand the clicking of her claws. She was so forlorn that they fastened socks to her paws so she could slip and slide her way alongside them.

Even though he has always insisted that he "doesn't love animals" the way I do, he seems pretty freaking forlorn himself. He told me about Gumbo's harrowing battle with distemper as a very young pup, newly adopted from a shelter, and asked me how long it would be until he remembers not to look for her when he enters a room.

That's the greatest honor that can be bestowed upon Gumbo -- acknowledging the huge hole she leaves in their lives.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Movie Monday

Depressing Movies...Share on your blog movies that make you go totally bummed out and link back here to the Bumbles.

At the top of my list is Inglorious Basterds. Yes, I laughed during certain parts. But I hated what I was laughing at, and the behavior I was cheering. Even more, I hated being surrounded by a theater full of movie goers who got off on the violence but I doubt gave a moment's thought to the relative morality Tarantino was shining a light on. So while I enjoyed it while it was going on, I never want to see it again.

And then there's Babel, another movie starring Brad Pitt. Now I'm not making this up: There's a character in that movie, a Chinese teenager, who is deaf… and mute …and depressed … over her mother's suicide …and plays on losing sports team … and she's convinced she's the last virgin on her losing sports team. SHE EVEN HAS CAVITIES! At least they didn't show her cat being run over by a car. Guess they're saving that for Babel 2.

And if I can go back our depressing Nazi friends for a moment (because who can give us pause and question or own humanity more than Nazis?) there are, of course, Schindler's List and Sophie's Choice -- two exceptional but incredibly wrenching movies. As they should be. But now that I've seen them once, I have no interest in seeing them again.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I've just gotten to the part about professions

Soy escritora. Mi mejor amigo es hombre de negocios. Monica es artista.

Spanish remains slow going for me, but I won't give up!

Rough time to be a Daddy's Girl

My friend Barb's dad died Friday night. It's easy for me to say that it was a blessing, as he was in great pain since his cancer metastasized, and since Barb had to shuttle between her high-stress job and hospice to spend her last moments with him and she simply couldn't go on this way much longer. But I'm not Barb, I'm merely her friend.

For Barb is a Daddy's Girl, so her sense of loss is incalculable, and I'm certain she'd rather have one more day with him. I could tell she wrote his obituary herself -- mentioning his dedication to family, his sense of humor and his sincerity.

What makes this worse is that he died Friday night, today (Sunday) is Father's Day and Tuesday is her 55th birthday. How does a Daddy's Girl get through her first Father's Day and birthday without her Daddy?

Oh, I've sent a dish garden to her house, a card to the funeral home and (as requested in the obit) a donation to the food pantry. And I know those things will remind her that she's in my thoughts. But they really won't help, will they? The only way to get through something like this is to simply ... get through it.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing: The Seriously Random Question Meme, Part 2

Cheers to all of us thieves!

21. Have you ever had a garage sale? No. I don't have a garage.

22. What color is your cell phone? Black

23. What is the last alcoholic beverage you had? Beer

24. Are you happy right now? Yes

25. Who came over to your house last? My neighbor from across the hall

26. Do you drink beer? See #23

27. Have your brothers or sisters ever told you that you were adopted? No

28. What is your favorite key on your key chain? My mailbox key; I like its size and color

29. What was the last movie you watched at home? An Unfinished Life

30. What is in your pocket? Chapstick, tissue, and 40¢

31. Who introduced you to your bf/gf/husband/wife? I haven't met him yet

32. Where do you hurt? I don't

33. Has someone ever made you a build a bear? No

34. What’s something fun you did today? Watched the Cubs/Yankees and saw Bridesmaids

35. What is your favorite aisle at Target? Lotions and creams and moisturizers

36. When is your birthday? November 22

37. Is there anything hanging from your rear view mirror? I don't have a car

38. How many states in the US have you been to? 18

39. What kind of milk do you drink? Skim or 2%

40. What are you going to do after this? Adjust the AC; it's getting a little warm in here

It was fun

Bridesmaids is not high art. But it is very, very funny. More vulgar than your typical "chick flick," and yet still very good hearted.

I wasn't aware Jon Hamm has a small but important role. He plays a guy who is such a creep even Don Draper would be appalled, but even he's funny. And now I have this running through my head.




Hey, hey, holy mackerel, no doubt about it!

The Cubs are on their way!

The lowly Cubs welcome the high-and-mighty Yankees to the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field* and yesterday, kicked their butts. Today the teams are tied in the bottom of the 4th. Since Vince Vaughn is going to sing the stretch, I am confident he will bring the home team luck.

I've always liked former Cubs catcher/current Yankee manager Joe Girardi, and I'm really enjoying these games.

* To the ESPN writer who called Wrigley Field "a dump": Fuck you.

I WAS in a good mood

I'm watching an episode of Gidget from 1965. This show usually makes me happy because I enjoy Gidget's relationship with her warm and wise father. Sally Field played Gidget while Don Porter played her dad.

In 1965, this staid senior citizen was the same age I am today. Gulp.

They say it's your birthday ...


Your 69th birthday, as a matter of fact. Enjoy your day, my liege. And remember that, in little more than a month, we'll celebrate together (along with 40,000 other revelers) in my favorite place in the world.*



* To the ESPN writer who called Wrigley Field "a dump": Fuck you.

Friday, June 17, 2011

A presitigious award!

She over at a Kwee Life has deemed this humble blog Irresistibly Sweet. How cool is that! She tells us: "Now, as I understand it, for this award one is to list seven pieces of information not commonly known about themself, and fifteen recommendations."

Well, I'm going rogue here. I'm going to list 15 pieces of information and recommend seven. (Yes, call me "maverick.")

1) Whenever I hear Van Morrison sing, I wish I was in love.

2) I like the color yellow very much, but I can't wear it because it does hideous things to my complexion.

3) "Yellow" is "amarillo" in Spanish. I'm still working on learning Spanish, even though it's not really much fun. I like thinking that it's something I'll be glad I know, even if the learning part has been muy
difícil.

4) On June 1, I celebrated my (gulp) 30th anniversary as a professional writer. I still enjoy crafting copy, so I consider myself very lucky.

5) My cat Joey, a shelter rescue, is approximately 13 years old. Perhaps older. I hate this fact. Every morning, shortly after I open my eyes, I call out to him because I'm afraid he's gotten sick overnight. You see, he's the kind of good, sweet boy who keeps his problems to himself. I worry that he won't let me know if he's not feeling well.

6) Sometimes I look at my mom and feel rather the same way. When I realize how frail she's become as she approaches 80, I get a little scared and even a little angry because I don't want her to get sick and die.

7) I don't remember my first kiss and I feel very bad about that.

8) I have been getting headaches more often in the evening as I wean myself off Lexapro. This is to be expected.

9) I just found out my FICO score is well over 700, so I guess I shouldn't worry as much about money as I do. But I feel like my new, commonsense approach to finances helped me avoid a fiscal disaster.

10) I believe in God and Heaven. It gives me so much comfort that I feel bad for people who don't have similar faith.

11) My shrink tells me that I get so frustrated with my oldest friend because she's not more like me. There's a lot to that. I see so much potential in my friend, and yet, at every turn, she makes the wrong choice. If she was more like me I'd understand her better, for sure, but she'd also be less troubled.

12) My cat Reynaldo really is a badly behaved beast. He's affectionate, sweet and gentle, but he is soooo destructive, and I have given up trying
to stop him. We'll just be slobs together. But when I got home yesterday and found that he had torn down not only my drapes but the entire assembly, leaving three holes in the dry wall, I wondered what fate would have befallen him if he'd been adopted by someone else. I think that's why God put him in my life.

13) My rabid hatred of Kathie Lee Gifford has cooled to mere annoyance. Now I want to scream whenever I see Whoopi Goldberg. Madonna still makes my skin crawl. I have no real explanation for this.

14) It amazes me to recall that, when I first met my best friend I could not get his name right. In my head I referred to him as, "The Guy with Glasses."

15) This year, Father's Day will be a sad one for me, as it's the first one without my godfather, my uncle, who died last November.

NOW HERE ARE MY CHOSEN SEVEN.
These seven bloggers share there lives with us with generosity and grace.

Book Mama. She loves books, hubby Tim, and her three fabulous blond urchins. But since she's gone back to work she doesn't post enough! So here's a nudge.

Jenny McB. She's baaaack! After a vacation from blogging, she's got some new posts and I want to catch up on her life.

Kwizgiver. We share a love of books and pedicures, and she's about to start posting about her summer break.

Snarkypants. She's on the verge of some exciting changes in her life, and it's neat to follow her chronicles.

Silver Neurotic. She's getting married! C'mon now, who doesn't love a love story? Go over there and follow hers.

Mimi Writes. Oh, yes, she does. But she also takes great photos. Check her out.

Vivian. She has a ginormous heart, uncommon commonsense, and a great visual sense. If that's not reason enough to love her blog, she also has an imaginary cat.

Office observations on a quiet Friday

From now until Labor Day, our offices close at 1:00 on Friday. The atmosphere on these short days is very different from the rest of the week.

1) Everyone is more casual. For example, I'm wearing a Beatles t-shirt and my favorite AE is wearing a faux polo shirt emblazoned with a previous client's logo. I didn't realize how much sloppier we all are on Fridays until I caught sight of our intern ... in a beige business suit. They're so cute when they're young and ambitious, aren't they?

2) Short days go oh-so-slow! Why is that? I'm sooooo freaking bored.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

THURSDAY THIRTEEN #128


MACCA BY THE NUMBERS

June 18 is Paul McCartney's birthday, and I'm celebrating by devoting each of my June TT's to his life and his career.

Today, here are 13 numeric facts about Sir Paul

1) At age 11, he was one of just 4 boys in his class who advanced to the Liverpool Institute for Boys, where he studied English and Art.

2) In 1956, when he was 14, his mother, Mary, died of breast cancer. This left Paul traumatized, but it also inspired him to self expression. As he has said, "I lost a mother and picked up a guitar."

3) The following year, in summer 1957, at age 15 he met some kid named Lennon at a local church picnic and together they changed the world.

4) Almost 200 of the 240 songs recorded by the Beatles are credited to Lennon-McCartney.

5) With the Beatles, he won 12 Grammy awards.

6) At age 28, the Beatles disbanded and he considered himself unemployed.

7) During his post-Beatle career, he won 6 more Grammy awards.

8) More than 350,000 fans in Brazil paid to see him in concert in 1989. Currently this is the record for tickets sold to a single musical event.

9) He has been engaged four times: Jane Asher, Linda Eastman, Heather Mills and, currently, Nancy Shevell

10) He and first wife Linda were married for 29 years.

11) Together they raised four children -- Heather, Mary, Stella and James

12) He has one child, Beatrice, 7, with his second wife, Heather. (The less said about Heather Mills, the better.)

13) A savvy businessman, his personal worth is estimated to be $290,000,000. It looks like a lot, but before the Recession and his expensive divorce from Heather Mills, he was worth nearly a billion.


To find out more about Thursday Thirteen,
and maybe participate yourself, click here.

Shine on me, Sunshine. Walk with me, World. It's a zippety do dah day!

I'm the happiest girl in the whole U.S.A.

Me and Sir Paul. July 31. WRIGLEY FREAKING FIELD! Row 2, Section 33, right over the dugout.

My ticket cost more than I wanted but less than I feared.* Hopefully it won't be billed to my credit card until Friday. If not, well, I'll have to scramble a bit. But who needs to spend money on food when you have your very own most favorite Beatle right before your eyes within THE FRIENDLY CONFINES? I can live on enthusiasm.


*Tip: Reasonably priced scalper tickets are easier to get when you go as a single. Brokers have a harder time unloading them.

People as pups

This post was inspired by she over at a Kwee Life, who left a thoughtful comment about thinking of my friend's son the way I would a dog. This is far more compassionate that it may sound to the un-Gal-initiated, because I have infinitely more patience with pets than with people.

Yesterday I had a particularly tiring clash with a coworker that I tangle with regularly. Once again, she thinks I'm simply being difficult. Once again, I think she's being short-sighted. We talked, and talked and talked! My boss was in the meeting and could have ended the conversation immediately by taking a side (Any side! Please, just stop the madness!) but once again he was reluctant to make a decision. So we finally agreed on a compromise, but it was a lot more difficult than it needed to be, and it left me feeling bruised. I just want to do a good job for my client. If my boss had mediated, I would have gone along with whatever he said. But he wants everyone to love him, and one of us most definitely wouldn't have, so he sat back.

Anyway, after the meeting, I realized what was going on. My "adversary" has a huuuuge, high-profile presentation on Monday ... and she's scared. She knows she's in over her head, she knows she has to not only make a good impression on our client but on her boss, as well, and she completely lacks confidence. So what does she do? She returns to the familiar -- our not-so-huge, we-do-this-every-quarter project. And she over managed it ... and me. Because this is where she feels confident.

What does a dog do when frightened? She growls a bit as she scurries back to her favorite, familiar spot. On the bed. It always feels just right under her paws and always smells just as it should. Comforting.

So now, when I look at my coworker, I imagine that she has silky ears and doggy breath and I smile. I suppose that could be considered condescending, but it's better than strangling her.

Image: federico stevanin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Guess what! Go ahead, guess!

I got on the scale and have discovered that I have NOT GAINED A POUND in the last month! Now I know that doesn't sound like much -- and believe me, I wish I could tell you that I have lost at least one pound -- but I was gaining a lb./month when I was on taking my full dose of Lexapro! I'm just weaning myself off, because cold turkey is dangerous and stupid, but I am hopeful that when I am done with the medication, I will see real weight loss, as well.

I'm warming to Mitt Romney

Watching the GOP debate in NH, I find him more respectful and statesmanlike and less divisive than many on the stage -- including Gingrich, Bachman, and Santorum. Even Pawlenty. I would enjoy hearing Romney debate the President, because I think the distinction would be clear and impersonal, and I might learn something.

Which is not to say I'd ever vote for Mitt Romney. I'm pro-choice and not displeased with Illinois' favorite son, Barack Obama.

And then there's Seamus (shown). Doesn't he look like a grand boy? To be fair, Mitt's wife, Ann, maintains Seamus loved his travel kennel and lived to a ripe old age. But I still can't seem get around tying a kennel to the roof of a car.

It must be said I'm not objective -- I've always liked dogs better than Republicans.

Monday, June 13, 2011

He's coming around again

My friend from Key West is getting chattier by the week, and I'm so glad.

He lost his job last month. It hit him like a sucker punch, especially because for more than a decade (he had tenure!) he worked hard at being a good teacher and really cared about his students. During the first few weeks he was barely functioning, unable to concentrate, and sleeping and drinking a lot.

He began to snap out of it about 10 days ago. Now every time I hear from him, he sounds more upbeat and forward-focused: looking for jobs, lunching with friends, surfing the net and sharing happy little bits with me. (In fact, he's the one who broke the Sir Paul news -- see below).

He has a heart as big as all outdoors and has never, ever shrunk from helping a friend. While I don't know the details, I suspect that some of those he's been there for in the past are rallying around him now. I also know his longtime lover has been there for him, too.

My favorite guy ever at my favorite place on earth!

Paul McCartney to headline Wrigley Field July 31

From the Chicago Tribune

Paul McCartney announced Monday that he will play his first Chicago concert since 2005 when he headlines July 31 at Wrigley Field.

Tickets will go on sale June 20 at tickets.com (prices were not yet available) for the rare date at the Cubs ballpark, which has seen only a handful of concerts in past summers by the Dave Matthews Band, Jimmy Buffett, the Police, Rascal Flatts, and Billy Joel and Elton John.

McCartney’s band will remain the same as it has for recent tours: keyboardist Paul "Wix" Wickens, guitarist Rusty Anderson, drummer Abe Laboriel Jr., and guitarist Brian Ray.

Also announced were McCartney shows July 24 at Comerica Park in Detroit and Aug. 4 at the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

greg@gregkot.com

I'm Disturbed

Yes, I know this post title is a great straight line. It's inspired by I Love Lucy -- the episode where Lucy & Ethel feel they work way too hard as housewives and prepare to go on strike until Ricky and Fred buy them the cool new household appliances of the day. They storm out of the Riccardo kitchen to the living room, where the boys are relaxing. Lucy: We're revolting! Ricky: No more than usual.

Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled blog post. What's weighing heavily on this Gal's mind this morning?

1) My best friend is incommunicado. He's already been on vacation with his family for a week now, and won't be back for another two days. He's even been gone for his 45th birthday (yesterday). I hope he's having fun, but I miss him. I really miss him. Little problems can grow up to be big problems if he's not available to keep me grounded.

2) It's not me, it's him. The guy who does my hair, that is. I have known him since we were in high school. About a year ago, he told me about a very scary incident with his daughter -- then a college freshman -- and a guy who attempted to drug her drink. I understood completely his terror about this horrible, horrible event, but when he used the "n" word to describe the young man in question, I stopped him. "He didn't try to do your daughter because he's black. You know that, right?" Yeah, yeah. I reiterated, "I don't accept that language in my presence, you know." Shrug. Over the past year, he has kept me waiting for my appointments. He simply overbooks his Saturdays. I don't like it, but when he apologizes I say, "You were closer to losing me with the n-word than with this." Saturday, when I was getting my haircut, he was going on and on about the landlord who will be renting a campus apartment to his daughter and three friends this fall. In the story, he mentioned the landlord's name was "Rosen." I tried to believe he wasn't going there. But then, just to make sure I understood, he said he was having his lawyer review the lease since "the landlord's a Jew and all." I literally hit him with the Newsweek in my lap. (Lucky for him I wasn't reading the latest edition of the Oprah magazine or he'd need a sling.) I told him again that I don't accept that kind of talk in my presence. Actually, what I said was, "I don't come here to listen to anti-Semitic shit." Instead of apologizing, he said, annoyed, "Will you let it go?" Then he kept trying to change the subject. He seems to think this "banter" between us is "fun." On the way out he kissed my cheek and said he'd see me next month.

Yes, he will. But should he? He does a good job on my hair and he's very affordable. I have known him for 35 years. My parents know his parents. He's the only one my nephew will allow to do his hair. He even made a point of watching my niece's graduation on the local cable access channel.

And he's a bigot. An unapologetic bigot. If a service provider like my dry cleaner spoke that way, I'd take my business elsewhere. This situation bothers me a great deal. I want to do the right thing, but I don't know what the right thing is.

3) But this doesn't bother me much at all. My oldest friend's oldest boy is scheduled to be released from a mental hospital tomorrow. The doctors have changed his meds and, after almost a week of surveillance, seem to feel he will no longer be a danger to himself or others.

I know very little about the specific incident that triggered this hospitalization, but I do know he's been admitted twice before and, once released, refuses ongoing outpatient treatment. My friend won't insist on it because, well, he's her son and she can't just throw him out in the street.

We have been through this when he insisted on dropping out of school, and then, left without the structure of classes, fell into a haze of cigarette and pot smoke, only emerging from his bedroom to punch holes in the doors and walls. Then, when he got down to less than 100 lbs. (he's nearly 6' tall), he was hospitalized for depression and anorexia, but upon his release decreed the outpatient therapies "stupid" and refused to go. Most recently, when he hit his sister and beat up his car, he admitted himself but didn't like being around really crazy people and left the moment he was legally able. Now that he's 21, he can pretty much do what he wants to. And all he wants to do is sit in his room, strum is guitar, chainsmoke cigarettes (dangerous with his chronic asthma), smoke pot, and refuse food. (I thought pot made you hungry. Oh, well ...)

I have known this boy his entire life and yet when it comes to this news I feel ... nothing. I appreciate how an ugly divorce and bad parenting shaped him and I am sorry about that. I realize the turmoil he is causing for his mother (my friend) and his kid sister (a troubled girl unduly influenced by his bad behavior). But I feel bad for my friend and her daughter, not for him.

And I feel bad about feeling nothing for him.

Is it any wonder I want to retreat into the sitcom world?

Monday Movie Meme

Share movies that make you go hmmmmmmm, and link back here so that others can find you. Batman Forever is a Val Kilmer Batman movie with a pair of above-the-title villains -- Tommy Lee Jones as Two Face and Jim Carrey as The Riddler. Nicole Kidman played a shrink who was studying bad guys and "Bat guys" and Dick Grayson's parents die and he becomes Robin. I had absolutely no idea what any of these plots had to do with one another, making this that most heinous of bad movies: Too convoluted to follow, too noisy to sleep through.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing: The Seriously Random Question Meme, Part 1

Cheers to all of us thieves!

1. Your ex's car is on the side of the road, on fire. What do you do? Depends on which ex. :) I have great fondness for three former boyfriends and would make sure that the proper authorities were looking out for their safety. There's one dude, though ... well ....

2. Your best friend tells you she is pregnant. What is your reaction? Shock and terror. For my best friend is male, and my closest female friend is under the impression that she had a hysterectomy.

3. When is the last time you wanted to punch someone in the face? Punch? I can't recall. But last Tuesday I wanted to slap my boss and shout, a la Cher, "SNAP OUT OF IT!"

4. What is the last thing you spent money on? Chinese food, specifically crab rangoon and shrimp fried rice.

5. Do you think you gained or lost weight this past month? I suspect I may have lost a little because of how my belt fits. But I'm scared to get on a scale for fear of disappointment.

6. Crunchy or Puffy Cheetos? Puffy. Definitely puffy.

7. The first person on your friends list just called you a bitch. What do you do? Laugh and agree.

8. Congratulations! You just had a son. What’s his name? Michael

9. Congratulations! You just had a daughter. What’s her name? Emma

10. What are you craving right now? A roll in the hay

11. What was the last thing you cried about? I don't recall

12. When you buy something and your change is 2 cents, do you keep it or tell the cashier to keep it? I keep it and put it in a red penny piggy bank on my kitchen counter

13. What color is your tissue box? Blue

14. Do you have a ceiling fan in your bedroom, and if so, is there dust on that fan? Yes, and yes

15. What was the last voicemail you received about? My prescription is ready for pickup.

16. Have you ever blocked someone on Facebook? No.

17. Scariest thing you’ve experienced in the last year? My uncle's rapid mental deterioration. In retrospect, I see that it made his death a blessing, and it was selfish of me to want him to live on and continue suffering.

18. Do you wear a name tag at work? No. Because I don't like the photo. I keep mine stuffed in a pocket.

19. What kind of car do you want? One that comes with a driver.

20. What do you order when you go to Burger King? Whopper Jr., no tomato, extra catsup, small Coke.

Shocked woman/Image: Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Haven't posted much about this because I don't know much about this

My oldest friend's very troubled 21-year-old son has been admitted into a mental health facility outside Los Angeles. I don't have the details of this specific incident, but I do know that he is a depressed, chain-smoking, pot-smoking asthmatic who has given up eating to such an extent that he has done damage to his heart muscle. He can literally sleep for days at a time and is given to rages that leave tables as kindling and put holes in walls and doors. I just hope that this time he didn't use his fists on his mother or sister.

He was in and out of two hospitals in 2008, but he managed to convince his mother that somehow everything would be all right. I hope this time she can be convinced to leave him in the hospital where he is. If he had cancer, she wouldn't believe him if he told her he could treat himself. Mental illness is just that -- an illness.

She likes it! She REALLY LIKES IT!

For her graduation, I gave my niece a Beatles* wallet filled with cash to use now and giftcards to Bed, Bath & Beyond to help her decorate her first dorm room this fall. At the last moment, I decided to add a little something: a 2011 charm on a simple silver chain.

She thanked me warmly, for that is what she does. But since she is always so polite and grateful for the gesture, I wasn't sure if she liked the gift. That's why I'm happy to see her wearing it in all the Facebook photos of her with her friends, post-graduation.



* She's a huge fan, as all the best people are

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: The Remedy (I Won't Worry)

1. What's the remedy for you to stop worrying? According to my best friend, I "awfulize." Meaning I imagine a situation as bad, and then worse, and then as horrible as it can possibly be. Then I realize, "I can handle it," and it gives me the confidence to go on.

2. What is your favorite summertime beverage? Coke. It's also my favorite wintertime beverage.

3. Do you use any freeware on your computer? If yes, do tell. Nope. At least I don't think so.

4. What is one thing about your home that has to be just so or it drives you crazy when it comes to organization? My bath linens have to match, or Christmas will be cancelled.

5. Is there a specific subject you're especially curious about? A person? A region of the world? An animal? A field of study? The 1960s. Especially the Kennedy Administration, The Beatles and the British Invasion.

6. What do you consider your most interesting trait? I think very quickly.

7. What is something that really frightens you, and can you trace it back to an event in your life? I don't fly well. The impetus is when I was in a long distance relationship, flying between Chicago and Philly. The more I saw of airports and airlines, the less confidence I had in their attention to detail. Then 9/11 happened. Those visuals are something I can't awfulize my way through. My ultimate terror.

8. Who do you want to yell at to “get a grip!”? Most of the counter workers I have encountered at the US post office.

9. What do you wear to particularly look great for a party or event? I have a coral cashmere sweater I like myself in.

Friday, June 10, 2011

And I missed it!

I knew my neighbors -- a children's home -- were having their annual rodeo today. In the past that has meant a picnic in the street with hot dogs and popcorn,* country music and cowboy hats and a bouncy house. I got off work early this afternoon(1/2 days on Friday) just as they were packing up. I saw a small truck with a gate on the back, so I knew it was designed for transporting live animals. There was a distinctive odor in the air, and a chalk mark on the sidewalk was labeled: Pony Line.

There was a pony here today and I missed it!


* Forever courtesy of Newman's Own. God bless in perpetuity, Paul Newman.

Words to live by ... in any language

Two new phrases I will teach myself this weekend:

Libros y gatos. Vida es buena.
Mientras haya vida, hay esperanza.

OR
Books and cats. Life is good. and Where there is life, there is hope.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

THURSDAY THIRTEEN #127

THIRTEEN SOUNDTRACKS
PAUL MCCARTNEY
APPEARS ON

This is Paul McCartney's birthday month, and I'm celebrating by devoting each of my June TT's to his life and his career.

Today, here are 13 recent movies that wisely included his tunes.

1) The Social Network. "Baby, You're a Rich Man."

2) Dinner for Schmucks. "The Fool on the Hill."

3) Grown Ups. "Goodnight Tonight."

4) Did You Hear About the Morgans? "Dance Tonight" and "We Can Work It Out."

5) Evan Almighty. "Revolution."

6) Shrek the Third. "Live and Let Die."

7) Happy Feet. "Golden Slumbers"

8) The Lake House. "This Never Happened Before."

9) Cheaper by the Dozen. "Help!"

10) The Cat in the Hat. "Getting Better."

11) Love, Actually. "All You Need Is Love."

12) Bowling for Columbine. "Happiness Is a Warm Gun."

13) Vanilla Sky. "Vanilla Sky" (Oscar nominated for Best Original Song)


To find out more about Thursday Thirteen,
and maybe participate yourself, click here.


I Want Wednesday

I want less tension. We have a lot of work to do today in preparation for tomorrow's presentation. Some of it should be fun. Let's hope that as a team we can remember that.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Exchange of ideas

Had a pair of rather tiring meetings today. Both involved my boss.

The first had to do with a concept we're presenting to the client on Thursday. One of our account executives -- out today, celebrating her daughter's birthday -- left word that she wanted a revision she obviously thought was "no big deal" but I felt was a big mistake. I told my boss I was willing to do it, even though I was sure it was the wrong thing to do, but he had to tell me to. He had to make the decision.

We discussed why the absent account exec wanted to do it, why I thought it was a bad idea, and how I would implement it if he insisted. But he had to insist. I wasn't trying to be a diva, I wasn't being willful. I acknowledged her point of view but stated -- over and over and over -- that I thought she was moving us in the wrong direction and he'd have to be a boss and tell me to make the changes. At one point I got so desperately frustrated (remember, I was ready to make the change, all he had to do was pull the trigger) that I actually stomped my foot. Thank God for the conference room table.

Finally my boss decided on a resolution: To leave the project as he had approved it before the account executive reviewed it. Even though I had, technically speaking, won, the conversation was so animated and so lengthy that I needed a nap.

But I didn't get one. My boss then turned up in my office, asking for help with the performance assessments for the team (OOPS! I haven't done my self-assessment yet). I used to be a boss myself back in the day, so they come rather easily to me. But still, it took some time.

We got quite a bit accomplished. But it wasn't easy.

Image: Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Feeling virtuous

We're busy at work. It's a good thing, I know. But it's made getting to health club at lunch time difficult. That's why I'm enormously proud of myself that I not only spent 20 minutes on the treadmill on the 40th floor, I listened to the Spanish alphabet over and over through my headphones as I paced. AND I had baby carrots with dinner!

Are you impressed? I am!

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Movie Monday

This week's movie topic is all about Gifts...
Share on your blog movies that feature presents, gifts or other tokens being presented, linking back here at the Bumbles

The Wizard of Oz. Possibly the
most famous gift in all of cinema. Glinda the Good Witch places the Wicked Witch of the East's ruby slippers onto Dorothy's feet and all manner of hijinks ensue.

Unfaithful. Diane Lan
e is a suburban housewife, having a hot'n'heavy extramarital affair with a sizzling uptown artist. Since they met on an insanely windy day, she thought it would make complete sense to give him a snow globe depicting the Windy City. Her living room was filled with her snow globe collection, so no one would notice that one isn't there anymore, right?

Funny Girl. Early in their relationship, Nick impresses Fanny with an exotic blue marble egg acquired during his travels around the world. At the end of the movie, as Nick walks out on her, the egg is still sitting on her dressing room table.