Wednesday, January 30, 2013



Let me state it plainly -- In this Gal's world, there is only one real Batman: Adam West. From 1966 to 1968, he fought crime in our living rooms. Every week. Same Bat Time. Same Bat Channel.

Here are 13 of the evil masterminds that he faced, and faced down, leaving Gotham City safe for good citizens.

1) The Riddler. (Frank Gorshin) The first heinous criminal Batman brought down. Joyously, dementedly evil, he always got such a kick out of crime. John Astin donned the green tights festooned with question marks once, but Gorshin played the part more often and more memorably.

2) The Penguin. (Burgess Meredith) The villain who vexed the Dynamic Duo most often. He had his fans, obviously because he appeared on the show more than 20 times, but The Penguin was my least favorite. I think it was all the cigarette smoke that turned me off.

3) The Joker. (Cesar Romero) I've always found him to be their most worthy adversary. He was very creative, a snappy dresser, and had his own theme music. I love how, if you look close, you can see his mustache under the white makeup. I know the clip below bounces around a lot, but I think it shows The Joker to his best advantage and plays his signature tune several times. Plus, I love it when the drunk looks up, sees The Joker on TV and says, "That's my mother in law."

4) Catwoman. (Julie Newmar) Didn't you love the chemistry she had with Batman? Lee Meriweather played the famous cat burglar in the Batman movie, and Eartha Kitt took over in a couple later episodes of the show, but they didn't generate the same heat with The Caped Crusader.

5) Mr. Freeze. (George Sanders) He was a tragic man, really. During a battle, Batman spilled a jar of Instant Freeze on him and now he must wear a special refrigerated suit. Without it, he'll perish! No wonder he's always so pissed at The Dynamic Duo.

6) Egghead. (Vincent Price) I found his puns were eggs-cruciating. But that could be because, unlike Egghead, I have a normal sized brain. He had a huge, egg-shaped cranium to hold his superior, oversized brain. Yet with all his intelligence, he couldn't defeat Batman and Robin because they had right on their side.

7) Chandell. (Liberace) Chandell didn't start out as a villain. In fact, he was a gentle soul and a great pianist. But he went astray one day when he got lazy and, during a command performance at the White House, he used a player piano. His jealous twin brother Harry (also played by Liberace) blackmailed Chandell so he was forced to turn to crime. Chandell is memorable because he was Aunt Harriett's only love interest.

8) Shame. (Cliff Robertson) A very bad cowboy. Not only villainous but also none-too-bright. Still, I loved his episodes. Especially when the Caped Crusaders feed Shame's kerchief into the Bat Stain Analyzer and find he spilled a combination of avocado and jalapeno on it. Hearing the results, Robin exclaimed, "Holy Guacamole, Batman!"

9) The Bookworm. (Roddy McDowell) As well read as Shame is ignorant, The Bookworm even had a booklight in his fedora. He also had his very own tricked out vehicle, The Bookmobile.

10) King Tut. (Victor Buono) What a 60s relic this plot is! King Tut was a brilliant professor of Egyptology who gets hit on the head by "hippies" during a campus riot and comes to as an evil genius compelled to steal.

11) The Siren. (Joan Collins) Popular singer and harpist Lorelei Circe had a second personality -- arch criminal The Siren. She could put any mortal man under her spell by hitting a note three octaves above a high C. She even mesmerized Chief O'Hara!

12) Ma Parker. (Shelley Winters) She called herself "the greatest mother of them all." Certainly she could count on her three sons, who made up her "gang." She seemed to regret her life of crime, because she never stopped trying to discourage her only daughter, "Legs," from taking part in their illegal activities.

13) Minerva. (Zsa Zsa Gabor) The last criminal mastermind of the TV series, Minerva seemed to be an upstanding and glamorous Gotham City entrepreneur. She ran a luxury spa, frequented by all the local millionaires and millionairesses. But her signature scalp treatment was really The Deep Secret Extractor, and it enabled her to learn the location of all her clients' valuables ... and steal them!

For more about the Thursday 13,

or to play along yourself, click here.

Monday, January 28, 2013

31 Days of Oscar Blogathon: 1960 Best Supporting Actress

It's The Battle of the Blondes, 
or Girls Gone Wild!

The thirty-third Oscar ceremony was held at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in April, 1961. Much of the drama that year was provided by Elizabeth Taylor. Understandably so. In the space of little more than 12 months, LaLiz married Eddie Fisher, made Butterfield 8 almost against her will and yet still gave a magnetic performance, negotiated the (then unheard of) salary of $1 million to do Cleopatra, traveled to Europe to play the Queen of the Nile, contracted pneumonia and nearly died, saved by a tracheotomy that left a visible scar on her throat. Shirley MacLaine, nominated alongside Taylor for Best Actress that year, joked that she didn't lose to Taylor's onscreen performance as Gloria, but instead to her tracheotomy.

But the more interesting category was Best Supporting Actress, 
which saw two sunny blondes play against type and 
get rewarded with Oscar nominations

Shirley Jones was 26 years old and already a showbiz veteran. A beauty queen ("Miss Pittsburgh of 1952") with a voice like an angel, Shirley became the first and only singer under contract to Rodgers and Hammerstein. She made her movie debut in Oklahoma! and went on star in Carousel and April Love. In 1956 she married actor/singer Jack Cassidy and by Oscar night in 1961 she was mother to toddler (and future teen idol) Shaun Cassidy and preparing to start on The Music Man.

Amid the musicals and family fare, she made Elmer Gantry, a widely-anticipated, big budget project with impressive literary cred. Burt Lancaster had the title role as the charismatic evangelist who sold religion as if it was laundry detergent. Jean Simmons was prim Sister Sharon, a true believer who lacks Gantry's charm and oratory skills. And, cast completely against type, Shirley was prostitute Lulu Baines. While showing off curves no one dreamed she had, Shirley also exposed Lulu's dark side -- revealing her disillusionment and cynicism, her appetite for revenge and then finally, her remorse. It's a gritty performance, made all the more jarring because this is the girl we saw warbling alongside Gordon MacRae in the surrey with the fringe on top.

By Oscar night, 34-year-old Janet Leigh was also an established fan favorite. Her career had a fairy tale beginning. College student Jeannette Morrison was on a school break, visiting her parents at the ski resort where Dad worked the front desk and Mom was on the cleaning staff. She was discovered by vacationing movie queen Norma Shearer, who helped Jeannette get an MGM screen test and a new name. As Janet Leigh, she made her debut alongside Van Johnson in 1947's The Romance of Rosey Ridge. Her fresh-faced prettiness and natural screen presence won her roles in Little Women, Holiday Affair and My Sister Eileen. Orson Welles saw her potential as a serious actress and cast her as Charlton Heston's wife in Touch of Evil.

Like Shirley Jones, Janet Leigh had a husband "in the business." Tony Curtis was a major star and he and Janet had two young girls. Like Shirley Jones' son, Shaun Cassidy, Janet's daughter Jamie Lee Curtis also became a successful second-generation performer.

The similarities end there, because the movie that brought Janet to the Academy Awards was very different from the prestigious, studio-backed Elmer Gantry. Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho was a small budget, black and white horror flick loosely based on the lurid tale of serial killer Ed Gein. While Elmer Gantry was set against a backdrop of religion, Psycho was immersed in matricide and confused sexuality. The subject matter was considered so offensive that the studio nearly didn't distribute it. (Ironically, Universal suggested Shirley Jones for Psycho but, as legend has it, Hitchcock was dismissive of the notion.)

Today, Psycho is unarguably the more influential film, and Janet Leigh's Marion Crane is one of cinema's iconic roles. Marion is involved with a married man. This was a change of pace for Janet, who was more likely cast as wife than mistress. Leigh successfully captures Marion's ennui. We understand that she's tired of waiting for Sam (John Gavin) to leave his wife, tired of her boring office job, tired of being dutiful. She sees an opportunity to get her hands on $40,000 -- money that could mean freedom for her and Sam -- and she grabs it. On her way out of town, she gets caught in a blinding rainstorm and stops at the Bates Motel. After sharing a lonely sandwich supper with inn keeper Norman (Anthony Perkins), she has a change of heart and decides to go back home in the morning and ask forgiveness. She celebrates with a cleansing shower. And the rest, as they say, is history. Well before the movie is half over, her role is complete. But the memory is indelible. That famous shower sequence is horrifying because of Hitchcock's peerless direction and scoring, and because Janet Leigh's Marion is so vulnerable and relateable that we can imagine ourselves in that bathroom.

And the Oscar went to ... Shirley Jones. Let's not forget that three other (blonde) actresses were also nominated for Best Supporting Actress of 1960: Glynnis Johns for The Sundowners, Shirley Knight in Dark at the Top of the Stairs, and Mary Ure for Sons and Lovers.

About the Blogathon:
"Aurora of Once Upon a Screen, Paula of Paula's Cinema Club and Kellee  of Outspoken and Freckled are hosting a new, mammoth blogathon event that coincides with Turner Classic Movies’ 31 Days of Oscar, February 1 to March 3, 2013. It’ll be a month filled with fabulous tales and screen wonders." I encourage you to check out other entries.


Is it OK if I find this funny?

Apparently someone has hacked into the Facebook account of my oh-so image conscious older sister. Or perhaps she's gone super freaky. At any rate, after a long absence from the site, two items attributed to her appeared in my feed. The first was that she gave a "like" to "Big Booty." The second referenced her husband's email and includes a link to a porn site.

Upon reflection I realize it doesn't matter if someone's hacked into her account, or if she thinks she's privately sending erotica to her balding, 68-year-old husband to get the home fires burning. Either way it's pretty fucking funny.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

At the movies

Just as the swallows return to Capistrano, I return to the movie theater when the Oscar nominations are announced. I'd already seen (and enjoyed) Lincoln and Argo. Now I have played catchup and seen Les Mierables and Silver Linings Playbook.

I finally saw Les Miz on stage a little over a year ago and it rocked my world. Especially Eponine. The movie was a little less awe-inspiring and more grueling. My mind wandered at times (like what an ordeal the filming must have been for Hugh Jackman -- he earns the title "The Hardest Working Man in Show Business" -- and why didn't The Boy from Oz ever play Chicago?). But Jackman and Russell Crowe were fascinating rivals and Samantha Banks was a heartbreaking Eponine. Anne Hathaway was wonderful, too, but I'd seen the clip of Fantine singing, "I Dreamed a Dream" so many times that it wasn't a surprise. Amanda Seyfried's Cosette kind of annoyed me. But then I'm so totally Team Eponine I may not be objective. The boys who play the rebels were all so achingly young -- like all frontline soldiers, I suppose -- that their inevitable slaughter hurts. So while this movie has much to recommend it, I just wish it was more deft, moved faster and had a bit more wonder to it.

If Les Miserables was something of a letdown, Silver Linings was a delightful surprise. I knew Bradley Cooper was a hunk, I just didn't know he could be such an affecting actor. Jennifer Lawrence was great in a difficult, edgy part. Robert DeNiro -- who has been such a hamhock in recent movies -- was vulnerable and real. Jacky Weaver embodied moms. The script was knowing and funny and original. In short, I looooved it.

So if I was in charge of the Oscars,* here is how I'd rank these 4:

Silver Linings Playbook
Les Miserables

I missed Life of Pi, but I wasn't that enthusiastic about that one anyway. Ang Lee is not one of my favorite directors. On the subject of directors, I have no intention of seeing Django Unchained. Tarentino and I broke up after Inglorious Basterds.  

I likely won't see Zero Dark Thirty, either. While I understand the necessity of Bin Laden's murder, it did not fill me with joy. I cannot celebrate the death of any human being (ah, those pesky Sunday School teachings stuck after all). And I have always been disturbed by the specter of my country using torture, as I believe we're better than that. So no matter how wonderful the film may be, I think I'll pass.

*And wouldn't the world be a better place if I was?

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing: The Meme From Suburbia

1. What were you doing 10 years ago?
I was worried about layoffs at work, just like now. Although the circumstances were very different then. Ten years ago, I was Big Boss Lady and I was fighting to save the jobs of my staff (instead of my own). And then the impetus for the layoffs wasn't that we didn't have enough work (like now). Back then, the agency I worked for went from being owned and run by one (very wonderful) man to being just a small part of a multinational network that needed to let people go to improve their North American bottom line.

2. By this time next year, I ...
would like to be healthier.

3. Do you think the United States will elect a female President in your lifetime? Do you think this would be a good thing?
Whether it's good or bad depends on the woman. For example, there's a world of difference in terns of brain power and qualifications between Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin. And yes, I think it's inevitable.

4. Which fictional, TV show character you would shag anytime?
Leroy Jethro Gibbs of NCIS

5. Who is your greatest enemy?
6. Tell me about your most recent trip of more than 100 miles?
I went to Key West for New Year's. I have very dear friends down there in the southernmost tip of the contiguous United States. 

7. Which do you use more often, the dictionary or the thesaurus?

8. Do you have a nickname? What is it?
Not really anymore. My dad had quite a few pet names for me when I was a little girl -- my favorite was "Andy Panda." Remembering that just now made me smile.

9. What are you dreading at the moment?
Dealing with my older sister regarding our mother's "estate." The quotes are because all my mother really left us is bills and we're working toward breaking even. I have borne the financial responsibility virtually by myself, while our kid sister has had to deal with the emotional ordeal of disposing of our mother's personal belongings. And yet my older sister chooses to sit on the sidelines, kibitizing and making demands. At times I am glad that my mom can't see what a most emphatically not nice woman her eldest has turned out to be.

10. Do you worry that others will judge you from reading some of your answers?
Not really. That's one of the benefits of keeping my cyber and real lives very separate.

11. If you find an outfit you love, but the size on the label is larger than you want, do you buy the outfit? Why or why not?
With the big butt I'm hauling around these days, it's hard to imagine a label larger than I need. I suppose it's possible, though, since numbers go up to infinity.

12. Even the biggest slackers are anal-retentive about something? What are you anal-retentive about?
My towels have to match. I absolutely hate it when they don't.

13. Out of all the books you read as a child, which one had the biggest influence on how you are today?
Abraham Lincoln by Ingri and Edgar D'Aulaire. It fascinated me to imagine my homestate of Illinois as it was back in the 19th century and ignited a lifelong love of presidential biographies. It's a Caldecot Medal Winner, beautifully illustrated. If you have a young child in your life, I can't recommend this book more highly.

14. Which Golden Girl would you want to spend a night on the town with?
Rose, because she kinda reminds me of my oldest friend and we always have a good time together.

15. What is the one product you would never buy in its generic form even if the generic is half the price?
Paper towels. When you live among pets like I do, it's not worth it to have paper towels that come apart when faced with really icky tasks. I'm a Viva or Bounty Girl, all the way.

16. How old were you when you stopped believing in Santa?
What are you saying? NO!!! I don't believe you!

17. What is the one smell that turns your stomach without fail?
Coffee. Blech! There used to a commercial where the woman takes a can of Folger's and presses it to her face as though she were a horse and it was a feedbag, presumably so she can savor the scent. I learned to look away. 

18. If someone holds out a carton of milk to you and asks you to sniff it to see if its spoiled, do you?
Say, "Fuck no. If you're worried, throw it out, you moron." Why ingest something you suspect may be sour?

19. You have a completely free day and $2000.00, What are you doing?
Taking off to find the perfect replacement for my pathetic sofa.

20. What is the most used item in your home?
The aforementioned pathetic sofa.


Saturday, January 26, 2013

It's sinking in

The sky today was such a beautiful, clear blue. It made me sad to think my mother didn't get to see it.

A freight train rolled by carrying John Deere tractors. My late uncle was so loyal to that brand and seeing the logo go by again and again and again made me miss him.

I don't like being sad. Perhaps that's the function of dealing with shit like funerals and wills and estate sales -- it occupies the mind until the heart is ready to absorb the pain of the inevitable.



This weekend's challenge: Give us a 33-word example of personification.

I live across from the tracks and recognize the sound of train cars coupling. They can be quite amorous and let out a satisfied metallic purr at the conclusion of the mating ritual.

About the photo: Life Magazine makes a library of their archive images available for free to use for “non-commercial personal purposes."


Saturday 9

1) Do noisy storms scare you? No.

2) Mother Winters tells us Lena Horne was considered one of the great beauties of the 1940s. Whom do you consider one of today's most beautiful women? Right now I'm watching Erin Burnett on CNN. I'd trade faces with her.

3) Crazy Sam admits it -- there's a big bag of recycling she really should take out to the bin. Yet she's composing this meme. What should you be doing, instead of answering her questions? My laundry is sorted. I just haven't made my way down to the washer and dryer yet. It's such a drag. I mean, didn't I just do this last week?

4) Sam may be crazy, but she's not stupid and will never waste her money on Cialis, no matter how many unsolicited emails she receives! What's the most recent addition to your spam folder? Something about a lichi superfruit diet.

5) What was the last thing you cooked? I had chilled shrimp and a side dish of fruit for dinner last night, and neither required cooking. So I guess it would be Thursday night's hamburger.

6) Do you remember the lyrics to your either your high school or college fight song? If so, please share a bit. "Always cheering for the blue and white. Fight! Fight! Fight!"

7) "Samantha" is the feminine of "Samuel" and means "Listener." What's the derivation of your first name? Since my name is The Gal Herself, my first name is "The" -- an article that precedes a noun to indicate the type of noun.

8) Are you following the NBA or NHL this year? If so, which team are you rooting for? I'm an obsessive Cub fan, and since an obsession crowds everything else out, I'm afraid I simply don't have bandwidth for other teams.

9) Gloves, umbrellas, sunglasses, keys -- which of these do you misplace most often? Umbrellas, which makes me sad because good ones are so expensive.


Friday, January 25, 2013

My favorite pizza

... is free pizza. For some reason, the agency ordered pizza for all of us this snowy Friday. I really appreciated it as I try to economize.

I'm still coughing from time to time. Hopefully that will end and on Monday I can resume spending my lunchtime at the health club.

Go, John, Go!

This Recession has been brutal to my friends. Part of it is that most of us are in advertising/marketing, and our industry has been hit very hard -- making us easy to cut and making it hard for us to find new positions. But that's not the point of this post.

My dear friend John's response to his lay off is making me so happy! Seven months ago, when he was dumped after 12 years of service, I was worried. After all, he was 58 and had been struggling with some significant health problems involving his heart. And over the three decades we have known one another, I've seen him fall victim to depression.*

But he's bounced back so admirably! He still doesn't have a full-time, on-staff job with benefits -- which would be nice with the cost of healthcare what it is -- but he's juggling two freelance gigs! Which he got through his own contacts and his own initiative. One is onsite, out by the airport (which requires him to navigate public transportation -- not his favorite thing, but he's doing it) and the other will be from home evenings/weekends. That means more time writing and less time partying, but he's up for it.

He's been a fabulous friend to me through this first difficult holiday season without my mom. Hell, he's been a fabulous friend to me ever since we met. I am so happy and relieved to see his life going as smoothly as it is during this troubling time. He deserves so much credit for making it happen the way he has.

*Something I struggle with at times, too. It's part of our bond.

Thursday, January 24, 2013



This week's challenge: Using between 33 and 333 words, compose something that includes the third definition of the following word:

BITCH (noun)
1: the female of the dog or some other carnivorous mammals
2 a : a lewd or immoral woman
   b : a malicious, spiteful, or overbearing woman —sometimes used as a generalized term of abuse
3: something that is extremely difficult, objectionable, or unpleasant

I give you exactly 33 words:

The errant mitten left on the bus. A chipped and neglected pedicure. Chapped lips. Dry, itchy skin, especially that spot in the middle of my back I can’t reach. Winter is a bitch.

About the photo: Life Magazine makes a library of their archive images available for free to use for “non-commercial personal purposes."

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Thursday Thirteen #207


This time of year is brutal on my poor, pale skin and so I give this topic a lot of thought. Thanks to WebMD for this information.

1) Avoid hot showers. Hot water strips oils from the skin faster than warm water. Long showers or baths actually dry out your skin. Limit showers to 5- or 10-minutes in warm/not hot water.

2)  Use a gentle cleanser or shower gel with moisturizer. Instead of harsh cleansers, go for unscented, soap-free, or mild soap cleansers.

3) Care for your skin immediately after your shower or bath. Pat your skin with a towel, leaving it damp. Apply a moisturizer within three to five minutes to lock in moisture.

4) Look for "ceramides" in your moisturizer ingredient list. Ceramides help the skin hold water and soothe dry skin. Synthetic ceramides may mimic the natural substances in the outermost layer of skin that help keep moisture in.

5) Dimethicone and glycerin are good, too. They draw water to skin and keep it there.

6) Lanolin, mineral oil and petroleum jelly help skin retain moisture, too.

7) Hyaluronic acid may sound harsh, but it's really helps dry skin because it helps it hold water. 

8) Hydrocortisone cream and cool compresses help relieve itching.

9) Apply sunscreen all year around, even in winter. Look for a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or more that says "broad spectrum" on the label.

10) Use a humidifier at home to help keep skin hydrated during winter months when indoor air is dry.

11) Wear cotton. Wool, synthetics and other fabrics can be irritating.

12) Drink plenty of water. Hydrate from the inside out.

13) Eat omega-3 foods. Essential fatty acids can help fortify the skin’s natural oil-retaining barriers. Foods rich in omega-3 include cold-water fish (salmon, halibut, sardines), flax, walnuts, and safflower oil.

For more about the Thursday 13,

or to play along yourself, click here.

Retail Therapy

My boss was out today -- he actually went down to see our client and presented our work himself for a change -- and so he wasn't available to review my latest efforts. That made my afternoon a little quiet, a little boring. So I slipped away with my book and headed for Macy's on State Street.

I had a quiet lunch in the sports bar and then went up to the fourth floor and shopped the sale. I got a bag full of tops -- 5 for less than $60. I liked what I bought, I felt good about what value I got.

It was a nice escape, spending lunchtime at Macy's. But I hope tomorrow I'm feeling strong enough to return to the health club.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Eye Candy

Spinning the dial I came upon a repeat of Alias Smith and Jones, a show I loved during my freshman year in high school. It was a rather unimaginative series, completely derivative of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. But who cares? Ben Murphy (right) was gorgeous and the late Pete Duel was a dimpled charmer.

A furry valentine

JOEY does not seem to understand that he is (at least) 15 years old, overweight and nearing the end of his life. For while he doesn't play as much as he once did and has trouble jumping onto the bed, he also has become evermore affectionate with me -- I think he enjoyed my cold because I was so still so much and he could press his body into mine and purr -- and ballsier with the other cats. For example, he will nudge Miss Thing out of the way if she's too ambivalent about her treats. That's BIG. For the last decade he has been nothing but subservient to Her Highness.

CHARLOTTE is still her imperious old self. Though Joey's age, she has always been more spry and active. And most particular about her surroundings! For example, one of the cats peed on the bathmat. Once. Months ago. It has been washed several times since then and while the stain is still visible on the underside, the top is perfectly clean and I can smell nothing. That doesn't stop Miss Thing from most theatrically trying to bury the offensive bathmat every time she enters the bathroom. She begs for -- no, make that "strongly suggests receiving" -- treats but if they aren't the Temptations she favors, she waffles before deigning to eat them, or perhaps walking away. And she is not above slugging Joey in the face because the sight of him bothers her. Yet she is my most affectionate major domo. She clearly believes we run this household together and that I would lost with her.

REYNALDO has let me sleep two nights in a row! Nothing more will be said about this because I do not want to jinx it. A diagram of a cat floating around Facebook purports to show where felines prefer to and resist being touched. Reynaldo, being his own man, spins that diagram onto its ear. Rub his tummy, play with his front paws, pull his tail ... any attention is perceived as affection by my Rey-Rey.

I love them very much and they enhance my quality of life and capacity for patience, observation and wonder.

Presidential Geek Fest

This weekend I have been watching Cspan and The History Channel 2. With the Inauguration, they have been focused on the Presidency. How interesting to have all the Presidents of my lifetime in my living room again!

Watching the Truman-Bush 43 Inaugural Addresses in real time, I was impressed by what real snoozes most of them were. Eisenhower, JFK and Reagan were the only engaging speakers, and only "Ask not ..." was really memorable. All of these men had to have been charismatic on the campaign trail or would not have won election. So I am left to conclude that they were overwhelmed by the enormity of the task at hand and the historic significance of this particular speech and it intimidated them.

Reviewing news and newsreel footage of the Presidencies from the 1930s to 2008, it seems that the two who enjoyed the job most were FDR and Clinton. Johnson and Carter seemed most bereft to leave office.

I wonder how the Obama years will look through the lens of time.

I love cable.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing: The Back 15 Meme  

15) How do you vent your anger? Screaming and slamming and fixating. Not the most productive method, but mine own.

16) Favourite toy as a child? Lassie, as shown above. How I loved you, Girl!

17) Favourite season? Fall

18) Do you ever get letters delivered by the post office? Yes. My cousin Rose and I still correspond through snail-mail. And I got a nice, long letter from a friend of my mother's recently.

19) When was the last time you laughed hard? During Book of Mormon

20) What is on the floor of your closet? Crap

21) Are you any good at drawing? No

22) What did you do last night? Gabbed on the phone and watched Prosecuting Casey Anthony on Lifetime. 

23) What are you most afraid of? A plane crash

24) Plain,cheese or spicy hamburger? Last night I made my own burger and it was plain. Not even a bun! (Carbs, dontchaknow)

25) Favourite dog breed? Mutt. Heinz 57. Shelter rescues will love you just as much as those with pedigrees.

26) Favorite day of the week? Friday

27) How many states / provinces / countries have you lived in? One state, no provinces and one country

28) Diamond or pearl? Pearls! I wonder if Marilyn would have sung about diamonds if she knew how corrupt and torturous that industry is.

29) What is your wish for this new year? Serenity

30) New year resolutions To save money by brown bagging it at least once a week. Every year I resolve to watch my pennies more closely but never before have I done it in a way that's measurable. This year I am.


The not-so-happy call

Spoke for about an hour last night with my friend from the Keys. One of his dear friends, Ted, is in the hospital in Miami, because the local facilities are not sophisticated enough to treat him. Ted had a mini-stroke because of tumors pressing upon his brain. My friend doesn't know if the tumors are malignant or benign but, since Ted just turned 75 and has other health problems, that point may be moot.

My friend wants to take off right away and go to Miami but he can't. He's very broke right now, underemployed by the local newspaper and because of the nature of the news business, his schedule changes and he doesn't work typical Mon-Fri/9-5 workweeks. So his schedule isn't always conducive and he can't afford unpaid time off.

I have been helping my friend in small ways -- $20 here, a Shell gift card there, and I paid for everything when I was visited him last month -- but that is all I can wisely afford to do until I know for certain how my mother's affairs will shake out. Plus I am not sure what impact the CDE situation will have on me at work and considering that I could find myself out of work at age 55 in a young person's profession, it just doesn't make sense for me to say, "Here's $500, go to Miami!" as much as I may wish to.

So I have to remember that there is also consolation and value in listening to and loving him when he calls, and praying that Ted's saga has a peaceful resolution.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

This made me happy

Got a call this week, out of the blue, from an old buddy. We used to work together and were very close. But then we got each got new jobs in different parts of the Loop, he got married and moved to the suburbs, and then he had a baby, we just drifted farther and farther apart.

But he's always been a wonderful guy, very genuine and sweet. So when I got the message --  "Wondered where your Christmas card was this year! Missed seeing your kitty-cat card." -- I was glad to hear that he sounded like the same person he's always been. We talked for about half an hour, mostly about the 14-month-old son he completely adores.

I'm also glad that I was so wrong five years ago about his marriage. I'm always sure I know best for the people I care about. This time I most certainly did not. He's very happy and content. Which is just what a guy like him deserves!

Saturday 9

1) Has anyone ever told you that you resemble a celebrity? I used to hear that I looked like Julie from The Love Boat. I think it's because we wore our hair the same way back in those long-ago days.
2) Is there an actress or actor whose movies you make it a point to see? Bruce Willis! I have always loved him, since Moonlighting. Though I missed Looper, I did see (and love) Moonrise Kingdom and there's a new Die Hard coming out soon. And Leonardo DiCaprio, though I won't see D'jango Unchained. I found Inglorious Basterds really disturbing and that turned me off Quentin Tarentino.
3) We're stopping for refreshments before we go in to see the movie. What's your refreshment stand order? Lately it's popcorn. It used to be Goobers or Raisinettes.

4) When did you last consume an alcoholic beverage? What was it? Last night it was Miller Time. It was the first liquor I've had since New Year's Eve/Day. With my cold I didn't feel like drinking.

5) Are you jumpy? Do you startle easily? Yes. I'm a writer, and at work, when I'm lost in thought, I lose track of my surroundings. My boss thinks it's amusing to make me jump. 

6) Do you wear a watch? Yes. I switch them out a lot.
7) When was the last time you tried a new restaurant? New Year's Eve. It was delicious. If you're ever in Key West, I recommend The Grand Cafe.
8) What color is your wallet? Brown 
9) How much does it have in coins right now? Now, see, that would entail getting up and grabbing my purse and that is simply not going to happen just now. I can say it has no quarters. I take them out all the time and set them aside for laundry.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Thursday Thirteen #206


I resisted the temptation to have a Big Mac today -- opting instead for a heathier 6-in. Subway sandwich -- but I have been jonesing for one badly. Since the Golden Arches are so top of mind, my TT this week is 13 items available at McDonald's locations around the globe, but not here in the US of A.

1) Cheese Fondue Chicken Sandwich (Japan)
2) Chicken Carbonara Sandwich (Japan)
3) McD Chicken Porridge (Malasia)
4) McSpaghetti Plate (Phillipines)
5) McRice Burger (Phillipines)
6) Seaweed Seasoned Fries (Asia)
7) Brie Nuggets (Russia)
8) McKebob (Israel)
9) Kiwi Burger (New Zealand)
10) McPumpkin Omelet Sandwich (Hungary)
11) McLobster Roll (Canada)
12) McAloo Tiki Burger (India)
13) Chocolate and Orange Pie (Asia)

For more about the Thursday 13,
or to play along yourself, click here.

It was the hands

Lest you think I am hardhearted, I carry coins in my pocket at all times to help the homeless that I may encounter. But I never, never contribute to anyone who is "panhandling" on the el. First of all, it's illegal and the law is enforced, so why encourage the behavior? And it's intimidating, it makes the mood in the car more hostile, to have someone pressuring commuters into giving -- or any interaction -- while we're all sharing the same fine confined space.

But last night I broke my own rule.

Winter has hit Chicagoland, and it can be very hard on the least fortunate among us. That fact was hammered home when I saw the man leaning on a crutch in the aisle right in front of me. The creases of his jacket were torn and the insulation was falling out. And the hand holding the stack of McDonald's coffee cups! The skin was completely mottled and discolored. Was it grime or cold or infection? A combination of the three? I don't know. But I do know that if it hurt to look at it, it had to hurt to live in it.

He wasn't even aware of the coins I put in his cup but that doesn't matter. I was aware of him. His life made me grateful for my own. I am blessed.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Poor little fella

Winter has arrived rather suddenly and aggressively. While we still don't have any snow, people have begun wearing boots for warmth. Which is why I'm haunted by the little mouse I saw on the train platform last night.

He seemed to have three choices: diving onto the tracks, dodging heavy bootheels, or trying to find his way back into the crack in the cement from whence he came.

Yes, I know he is, technically speaking, vermin. I know that if I tried to help him, he would have bitten me with razor sharp little teeth. I know that he has a brain the size of a peanut.

But the furry little fella touched my heart all the same.

Monday, January 14, 2013


That's what we made as a result of selling my mother's belongings. The estate sale organizer made $900. So the contents of the home where my mother lived most of her life were worth $2608. How sad.

But I'm glad it's over. This is the natural order of things. Life goes on.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing: 40 of The Most Random Questions Meme, Part Two

21) Whats something youve always wanted? A million dollars. Although, adjusted for inflation, the million I wanted as a child is now $7,000,000.

22) Do you have hairy legs? I did before my weekly Saturday morning interlude with the razor.

23) What does Semper Fidelis stand for? "Always faithful." My dad was a marine.

24) Would you rather swim in the ocean or a lake? Lake. I'm not crazy about salt water.

25) Do you wear a lot of black? Not as much as I used to. It makes me look washed out. On the other hand, it's so easy!

26) Describe your hair: Short, reddish brown with "warm highlights."

27) Do you have Entomophobia? No. (I looked it up.)

28) Are you an adult? I am according to the US legal system.

29) Do you own or rent? I make mortgage payments. Someday I'll own it!

30) Do you have a tan? I'm quite pale.

31) Are you addicted to TV? Yes

32) Do you enjoy spending time with your In-laws? No, because I don't have any

33) Are you a sugar freak? Perhaps

34) What happened to Larry King? He retired, and not a moment too soon!

35) What sign are you? Sagitarius

36) What do you wish on your birthday? To be happy

37) Who did you copy this from? The Sunday Stealing site itself

38) Do you eat breakfast? I drink a Slim Fast breakfast shake. Does that count?

39) What would you name the royal baby? Princess: Diana Carol Elizabeth, after her grandmothers. Prince? I don't care as much.

40) Do you buy a newspaper? I subscribe and read it during my train ride to work.