Saturday, May 31, 2014

Saturday 9

"Meet the Flintstones" (The Flintstones Theme) 

1) The song promises that, "When you're with the Flintstones, you'll have a yabba-dabba-doo time." So clearly Wilma was one accomplished hostess. What about you? Do you enjoy having company? No. I avoid it all costs.

2) Since lyrics say, "Let's ride with the family down the street/courtesy of Fred's two feet," we're assuming the pedal-powered Flintstone car didn't require much gas. Are you loyal to a particular brand of gas? Or do you fill up with whatever is nearby, or least expensive?
Sorry, no car.

3) Clearly a sharp-dressed man in stone-age Bedrock wore a long tunic and no pants. What are you wearing right now, as you answer these questions? An oversized, bright gold t-shirt with the words, "KEY WEST" and the silhouette of a scuba diver in navy blue. It's this week's nightie.

4) Pebbles Flintstone grew up with Dino the Dinosaur and Baby Puss the Saber-Tooth Cat. Did you have any pets as you were growing up? I had a wonderful white cat named Tommy. He was quirky, fun and affectionate.

5) Mr. Slate is Fred's blustery boss at quarry, and he frequently threatens to fire Fred. Have you ever had a bad-tempered boss? I once had a boss who was ... um ... what's the word I'm looking? Fucking nuts! That's it! One day he just started insulting me in the most personal way -- telling me how bad my attitude is and that I need therapy. "OK," said I, "I get it. I'm fired. I've never been fired before. What do we do now? Do I go to HR and sign something?" He told me I couldn't leave, he needed me too much, and he took out his money clip and offered me all the cash in his pocket. Seeing crazy up close and personal like that is jarring. I was there barely a year.

6) It's estimated that during The Flintstones original run (1960-1966), it was viewed by as many adults as kids. Now that you're a grown up, do you still watch cartoons? No.

7) In 1961, The Flintstones was nominated for a Prime Time Emmy Award as Outstanding Comedy Series. Do you watch awards shows? Love 'em. The Tony Awards are next weekend.

8) There are at least two Flintstones-themed amusement parks currently in
operation. Do you enjoy scary rides? Yes. It's been too long since I've been on a roller coaster. Unfortunately, none of my friends is up for a trip to the amusement park. The closest I'll come this summer is the Navy Pier ferris wheel.

9) Flintstones Vitamins are still on store shelves. Do you take a vitamin each morning? Yes, but the CVS brand, not Flintstones.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

"This bird has flown"

The entire front of the building I live in is glass. Four stories of windows facing the street. Vines crawl up and poke through the caulk between the panes, allowing for water damage. And so it was decided that the vines should be removed.

I get the decision. I'm in favor of it ... in theory. But the strong, thick vines have become home to bird's nest. I observe it every morning when I walk down the stairs. I noticed it because the
resourceful bird used a hank of bright red fabric, thin and netted, and laced it amid the twigs. I hated to think that a bird with such an eye for interior design would lose her home.

I'm happy to report that since they waited until after Memorial Day to remove the vines, the landscapers are removing an abandoned nest. I don't know where the bird went, but she moved away of her own volition before she could be evicted.


PLEASE NOTE: This is This Gal's 5,555th Musing!

To play along, just answer the following three questions ...

• What are you currently reading? Cop Town by Karin Slaughter.  I just picked it up and am very impressed by the action and pacing. Not high art, but so far it's an entertaining thriller about a family of Atlanta cops. From the jacket:

As a brutal murder and a furious manhunt rock the city’s police department, Kate Murphy wonders if her first day on the job will also be her last. She’s determined to defy her privileged background by making her own way—wearing a badge and carrying a gun. But for a beautiful young woman, life will be anything but easy in the macho world of the Atlanta PD, where even the female cops have little mercy for rookies. It’s also the worst day possible to start given that a beloved cop has been gunned down, his brothers in blue are out for blood, and the city is on the edge of war.

Kate isn’t the only woman on the force who’s feeling the heat. Maggie Lawson followed her uncle and brother into the ranks to prove her worth in their cynical eyes. When she and Kate, her new partner, are pushed out of the citywide search for a cop killer, their fury, pain, and pride finally reach the boiling point. With a killer poised to strike again, they will pursue their own line of investigation, risking everything as they venture into the city’s darkest heart.
• What did you recently finish reading? Mary by Janis Cooke Newman. Wow. Just wow. More than 600 pages written as if by Mary Lincoln herself. An intense and very moving book about a woman who saw history first hand and suffered much (too much) pain in her life. It wasn't a fun read -- far from it -- but it was so engrossing and well written that I enjoyed it nevertheless.

• What do you think you’ll read next? I don't know.

To see how others responded, click here.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Facing forward

Reynaldo is behaving a bit differently these days. He hasn't curled up on his kitty condo once since Charlotte died. Instead he's taken to her regular haunts, sleeping on the foot of the bed and perching on the back of the sofa. I think he misses her.

Joey does not. While he has the sweetest of hearts, Charlotte never had any use for him. Nearly every morning this century, he tried to befriend her at breakfast and she swatted him on the nose.

Joey is the same age as Charlotte was. The heartbreaking thing about our pets is that they don't live as long as we need them to, and, statistically speaking, Joey is on borrowed time.

I have to start thinking about getting another cat. Reynaldo can't be home alone all day. He's too social. He'd be confused, bored and unhappy by himself all day while I'm at work.

Tuesday, June 3 is my nephew's 8th grade graduation. Depending on how things are going at work, I may take the whole day off and check out the animal shelter in his neighborhood. My nephew is a cat lover and might enjoy being part of the process. If I meet anyone who seems like a good fit for this household, perhaps I'll go back the following Saturday (6/7) and adopt.

Cubs Win! Cubs Win!

Going into today's game, Jeff (The Shark) Samardzija had the lowest ERA in the  major leagues, an amazing 2.0. Even more amazing, he had no wins this year. None. Zip. Zilch. For some reason, when The Shark is on the mound, the bats are silent.

Until today.

The Cubs beat the Giants in San Francisco. The final score was 8-4, and Samardzija did some of the hitting himself with an RBI double.

So the team with best record in the league lost to the team with the ... um ... not best record. And finally, the best man won.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Two servings of Hamm

This afternoon I saw Million Dollar Arm, the Disney movie starring Jon Hamm. It was pretty predictable -- Jerry Maguire Goes to India -- but since it centered around two of my favorite elements (baseball and a gorgeous leading man), I had fun.

Now tonight I'm watching the mid-season finale of Mad Men. Once again Jon Hamm plays a handsome asshole in search of redemption. And I love it.

Left me feeling confused

I am, of course, a dedicated and lifelong Beatle fan. As a discerning Beatlemaniac, I long ago came to the conclusion that the group was really two outstandingly talented men -- Lennon and McCartney -- and two very lucky ones. While Sir Paul has always resonated with me, I don't skimp on my appreciation of John.

Yet this morning at church, I was disturbed when one of our choir soloists opened the service by singing John's signature anthem:

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today...

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

It's Memorial Day weekend! How can anyone sing, "imagine there's no countries" on one of the most patriotic days of the year? How can anyone sing, "imagine there's no heaven" inside a house of worship? I was very uncomfortable hearing this song under these circumstances. The intensity of my feelings made me even more uncomfortable.

Then my minister took over and it all made sense. He reminded us that Memorial Day is about honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice, those who died so that others may live. Perhaps the best way to honor their sacrifice is to work for peace, to ensure that fewer soldiers die on the battlefield, that fewer civilians are collateral damage, in the future. And that, he says, takes commitment and imagination. Hence, the song choice.

He also tweaked us. The U.S. volunteer military is made up, by and large, of people who don't look like our congregation. Few of the families at my church have "skin in the game." The conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq haven't touched us personally. Therefore it might be easy to allow ourselves not to think about, not to feel for, the challenges our troops and their families face.

My minister was telling us that we owe our military men and women -- past, present and future -- something. That's what he was saying. And he used John to make us stop and pay attention.

Sunday Stealing

Random XV

1. How old is the oldest pair of shoes in your closet? I don't keep my shoes in my closet. They're supposed to be in a canvas tote, but most of them are kicked under the coffee table or behind the chair.

2. Did you buy Girl Scout cookies this year? If so, what variety? Peanut butter sandwich

3. Do you know how to ballroom dance?  No

4. Were you a responsible child/teenager? I was nowhere near as bad as I could have been

5. How many of this year's Oscar-nominated movies did you see? Most of them

6. If you're going to have a medical procedure done, such as having blood drawn, is it easier for you to watch someone else having the procedure done or have it done yourself? It doesn't scare me

7. What is your favorite day of the week and why? Thursday. It means I'm better than halfway through.

8. What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?? That I'm a good friend
9. Do hospitals make you queasy? No

10. At which store would you like to max-out your credit card? It's not a store. I dream of maxing out my credit card at the front desk at Chateau Elan Spa and Resort. I wish I was doing that right now.

11. Are you true to the brand names of products/items? Some

12. Which is more difficult: looking into someone’s eyes when you are telling someone how you feel, or looking into someone’s eyes when he/she is telling you how he/she feels? If it's a personal matter, the latter.

13. What’s one thing you’re deeply proud of — but would never put on your résumé? Tee hee, she giggled, blushing at the memory.

14. What’s the most out-of-character choice you’ve ever made? Walking away from my job in 2002.

15. What’s your personal anthem or theme song? "Tears Die on Their Own" by Amy Winehouse

That was nice

I spent my Saturday taking myself out to lunch, where I had a drink, and getting a salon  pedicure ("Optimistic" by Revlon). I needed a little pampering. Then I did all my laundry and blabbed for a while with my oldest friend.

A nice Saturday.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Saturday 9

The Star Spangled Banner

1) Are you a veteran? Are there veterans in your family? (We are grateful and want to hear about it.) My dad was a hospital corpsman in Korea. My uncle was a foot soldier in Vietnam.

2) Memorial Day also kicks off the summer season. What's your favorite picnic food? Barbecue. It's the aroma as much as the taste. I love that BBQ smell!

3) Let's celebrate the Memorial Day holiday with ice cream. What's your favorite flavor? Mint chocolate chip.

4) This marks the weekend when Americans step up their outdoor activity and do things they may not have been able to do during the winter months. For example, when is the last time you rode a bike? Years ago, in Key West.

5) Or went hiking? If we define "hiking" as taking a long walk, then last Sunday.

6) Or rode a horse? Decades ago, visiting my cousin when she still lived in Albuquerque.

7) Or toasted a marshmallow? When I chaperoned my niece, then in first grade, on her first-ever Girl Scout sleepover.

8) As you answer these questions, is there an air conditioner or window fan on? The fan is in the open window, but it's not turned on.

 9) Crazy Sam needs your help: What song or a performer would you like to see featured in a Saturday 9 this summer? Diana Ross and the Supremes. 50 years ago they were the second biggest act in the world, topped only by the Beatles, with 5 consecutive #1 hits. It was an astonishing achievement at the time, for women of color to dominate the charts like that when much of America was still segregated. They truly helped change the world, and I think that's a very big deal.


So that's what it's for!

I'm not really a fan of Facebook. Oh, I spend a lot of time on it. But usually I'm snooping on people (a former and very annoying coworker was looking for work and I was so happy to see where she landed ... because it meant she wasn't coming to my agency) or reading what feels like press releases from people I don't necessarily know very well. Not much that's posted feels real. So while I enjoy keeping up with people over the miles in real time (an old boyfriend, a really good guy, and his wife just posted the last day of school of their youngest child, so it truly was the last day of school for them), I don't much see the value of it.

Until Thursday. I posted this photo of Charlotte (posting it again because I like looking into her eyes again) and mentioned that, after all those years of looking after me and the boycats, she can now relax. I got so many very sweet little messages and hugs. I got two IM's, too (from my nephew and from Ms. Snarkypants herself). They made me feel better. They really did.

As did the sweet and sensitive comments I received on my Charlotte blog post (below). Thank you, everyone. Because she was such a good and trusting diva cat, I'm reminded from that Arthur Miller line from Death of a Salesman -- "attention must be paid." The internet gives us an almost immediate way to pay attention to the important things in one anothers lives.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

My girl is gone

I left work today at 1:30, rushing through The Big Meeting and not much caring* because I just knew Charlotte needed an IV at the vet. It was a last minute emergency appointment, and they said they could squeeze me in at 3:30.

I thought she had the flu. After all, she wasn't avoiding me and the boycats like she had in February. She even purred as I fell asleep beside her on the futon Tuesday night. She really loved that furry green pillow from the old sofa. That's where she spent last night, too, in plain sight and not hiding under the bed.

She was much sicker than she was in February. Much sicker than she had ever been before. Her liver had failed. The vet showed me how yellow the inside of her ears and gums were, tell tale signs, and I felt awful for not having noticed. None of the lights here at home are as bright as the fluorescents at the vet and, even though I looked into her mouth every day, twice a day, to pill her, I never noticed.

They took some blood and gave her fluids when we waited for the results of her test. The vet was warning me that it looked very bad, but I wasn't understanding. After all, they took her temperature and she didn't have a fever! After she had the fluids, really very quickly, I could tell she was already feeling better, purring and giving me a kiss.

That, of course, was when we were alone. When the vet and the techs were tending to her, Miss Thing sent her mind far away. She was terrified by all unfamiliar those hands on her, of strangers calling her strange names like, "Little Mama."

When the results came back, the vet read me some dizzying numbers and added pancreatitis to the liver malfunction. She told me Charlotte would have to stay in the hospital for days to "at least have a shot." I held her tiny head in my hand, and she stared up at me with big, affectionate eyes, looking comfortable for the first time in days. I wasn't sure leaving her in a hospital environment was fair.

"I'm afraid if we get her well, we'll just have to go through this again in another three months," I said, starting to cry. Unselfish doesn't come naturally to me and I really didn't like the conclusion I was slowly reaching.

"I'm not sure she would make it three nights," the vet said. "I think you need to think about the short term, not the long term."

"Is she dying?" Duh, Gal.

"She has never been this sick before," the vet said carefully. "Her liver shut down. I'd be worried about her if she was a strong, 6-year-old cat." Meaning my fragile 17-year-old didn't have a chance. She also told me that -- right now -- was the best Charlotte could expect to feel for days. And even then, she might not pull through.

I told her I hadn't even entertained this notion, and that I needed a little time. The vet left me alone and after a few minutes (I don't know how many) one of the vet techs came in and was telling me about how she recently found out her husband was cheating on her. She said she didn't know what to do. It was weird. I think she was trying to be kind, to distract me, and since I spend so much time at the vet's office I think she feels we know each other. We don't. I wanted to be alone with my girl.

She left and Charlotte and I were alone again. I looked in her face. I listened to her purr. I made up my mind to act out of love. I didn't want to let her go. I wasn't ready to let her go. But I couldn't stand the thought of her dying in a hospital, with strangers handling her and calling her, "Little Mama." Divas are not "Little Mamas," and Charlotte was always regal and always had attitude.

I didn't want her to hurt. Because of her age and her failing liver, the only sure things in her future were discomfort and fear. Wellness was not likely. Here I had an opportunity to ease her out of life without pain. It would be monstrous of me to not let her go.

So I knelt on the floor and looked into her eyes as the vet gave her the shot. I cooed, "Charlotte Anne," and "Girlfriend." I could tell she saw and heard me … until she didn't.

She didn't die among strangers, and she didn't hurt. So I have sadness but not regret.

Charlotte was (best guess) 17 years old. She joined and immediately began dominating this household in 2001. I gave her the best life I could. She gave me her affection and her support. I will miss her walking along the back of the sofa and rubbing my head with hers, and her help in the mornings. Who will sit on the toilet seat, watching me put on my make up, or jump into the armoire as I select the day's blouse, or chat with me every time I enter the kitchen?

I was fortunate to know her.

*No one else could meet yesterday afternoon, as originally scheduled. And I was ready yesterday afternoon. Today my girl needed me. So fuck 'em.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What's Up, Girl?

My poor Charlotte was not that enthusiastic about breakfast this morning, even though I augmented it with her beloved Gerber baby food. She also passed on two of her favorite morning rituals -- sitting beside me as I slather moisturizer on my legs and leaping into the armoire when I remove a shirt.

Still, she did eat, her eyes do follow me around the room and she's not hiding from Joey and Reynaldo. So she's not feeling as poorly as she did in February, when she was dangerously thin and dehydrated.

I wish she could just tell me what's up. I'll bundle her up and take her to the vet this weekend, if that's warranted. But she so hates going. Leaving the house, traveling by car, being handled by strangers ... it's such an anathema that it feels abusive to do it for my peace of mind, rather than her well being.

And they say crime doesn't pay!

My blow dryer died Tuesday morning. At first I was pissed, and then I remembered that I've had it since George HW Bush was in office. I had spent five years working for a haircare company, writing the product packaging copy, and after I gave notice I began "liberating" as much product as I could.

I was a regular Artful Dodger. We actually needed a dolly to get the cartons of shampoo bottles out to the car! (And yes, I was that brazen. Building security looked the other way because they loved me ever since I had to work on Super Bowl Sunday and brought them the portable TV from our office.)

I feel like there should be a downside to this story, since I did steal. But there isn't one.

Monday, May 19, 2014

I wish I'd been there!

Yesterday the Cubs beat the Brewers on a lovely, sunny spring Sunday within the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field. I had a completely wonderful time listening to the game as I wandered around town and ended up at Pet Supplies Plus, where I stocked up on canned cat food for Charlotte and Joe and saved about $7. I always enjoy listening to games on the radio because of announcer Pat Hughes, who has a terrific voice and is so talented at painting word pictures.

But yesterday I wished I was actually at the ballpark. For as part of the season-long centennial celebration at Wrigley Field, the Cubs were highlighting the 1930s. The players wore zip front jerseys, knee pants and cool socks, like the 1937 Cubs wore, and fans under 13 got Viewmasters, and I loved my Viewmaster. I wonder if it seems like a very retro, low-tech toys to today's child.

At any rate, I'm starting to feel better, and it was good to be out and about and listening to my heroes in pinstripes.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing

1. Last time you had butterflies in your stomach? A little over a week ago, before I met our new and rather "feisty" (I said charitably) client. It went better than I thought it would.

2. What was your last alcoholic beverage? More than a week. My tummy has been bothering me and booze is not a wise addition.

3. Who can you trust? I am blessed with quite a few friends I trust.

4. Where was your first kiss with your current significant other? In my imagination, since Mark
Harmon doesn't know I exist.

5. Favorite Band? The Beatles, of course.

6. What is something you've learned about yourself recently? I find myself daydreaming about retirement. While I hope and pray it won't happen for another six years, when I can afford it, I'm surprised to find myself looking forward to it.

7. Do you like anyone? No. I'm a mean old curmudgeon. OF COURSE I like people!

8. Do you know anyone who is engaged? No.

9. What's your favorite number?

10. Who was the last person to make you cry? I don't recall. I'm not much of a cryer.

11. Did you ever go to camp as a kid? Yes, I was a Girl Scout for seven years. I enjoyed sleepover camp in the lodge and in tents, but I despised daycamp.

12. When was the last time you cried? See #10

13. What is one thing you miss about your past? My waist

14. What is one thing you've learned about life? That there is so much more to learn!

15. Are you jealous of anyone?  Yes. It's a very human, if not altogether admirable, emotion.

16. Is anyone jealous of you?  Probably

17. Has a friend ever used you? Yes. Though the term I'd use is "misused."

18. Has anyone recently told you that they like you more than as a friend?  Not recently

19. Who was the last person you drove with? A cabdriver

20. What are you looking forward to?  Church and lots of sunshine

Where Did My Day Go?

In keeping with this blog's unofficial Motown theme, that's the musical question I'm asking today.

Saturday just felt like a wasted day to me. I slept sooooo much! Went out to breakfast, did a little grocery shopping, stopped at Ulta (I had points to redeem!) and got my eyes checked (my prescription hasn't changed). I got home at about 2:30 and slept until nearly 7:00! I felt a little nauseous and had a killer headache and was in bed before midnight.

I had been looking forward to a lazy Saturday with nothing to do, but I hadn't planned on doing nothing with it! I really wish I could beat this flu bug. I'm so sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Saturday 9

Vacation (1982)

Unfamiliar with this week's song? Hear it here.

1) Do you know how to water ski? No. Never tried. I don't think it would go well.

2) Do you have 2014 vacation plans? October weekend trip to LA, birthday weekend in Vegas in November, and Christmas in Key West. As I just wrote it, it looks rather exciting, doesn't it? Which is nice, because right now October feels very far away.

3) Do you have a passport? Maybe. Somewhere. It's long expired.

4) If you took a 7-night cruise, could you completely unplug -- no phone calls, no texts, no internet? Probably not. I'm hooked on the internet.

5) Do you own a travel alarm clock? No. Here at home I have a noisy, jarring Lucy alarm clock with a big bell on the top. And in hotels, I always ask the front desk for a wake up call. The sound of an unfamiliar phone very effectively shakes me from slumber.

The girls, ca 1984
6) Though the Go-Gos broke up in 1985, they frequently reunite for live performances. What's the last concert you attended? Last month I saw Miss Diana Ross at the Chicago Theater. And I saw the Go Gos at Taste of Chicago back in the summer of 1984. (A child behind me touched my bare shoulder with her ice cream bar, which completely creeped me out.) I attended both concerts with my friend John. I love how much history we share.

7) Their first hit was "Our Lips Are Sealed."  Can you be trusted with a secret? I wouldn't trust me with one.

8) In 1982, when this song was popular, the comedy Tootsie was in theaters. What movie makes you laugh? "You fucked up. You trusted us."  Animal House
9) Sam is chewing on a Tums as she composes these questions. What's the last over-the-counter medication that you took? Pepto Bismol.


I dumped it

On my way to the train this morning, I found a newly opened can of cat food, just sitting on the sidewalk. Since cats don't have the opposing thumbs needed to work the pop top, I cleverly deduced that a human had left it there.

I picked it up and carried it to the nearby trash can.

I didn't like that it was in the middle of the sidewalk. If the can was left by a Good Samaritan, trying to help out a local stray, why not leave it in his or her own backyard? I was concerned that it may have been tainted, left by a bird- or bunny-lover who doesn't want  predatory felines doing what comes naturally in their backyards. Or some fucking cat-hating sadist. Someone who doesn't want a poisoned kitty carcass on their own precious lawn.

A 59¢ can of cat food is not going to come between any cat and starvation. But if it was poisoned, it could have come between some cat and tomorrow.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Good girl

That's aimed at me. Two nights in a row I was tempted to cab it home (totalling $50 with tip) but instead took cabs just to the train station and used my 10 Ride Pass (totalling $23 with tip). Tuesday night I commuted home from my classic movie meet up, last night it was Motown: The Musical.

Having just seen Miss Ross herself two weeks ago, I think Allison Semmes did a great job as The Supreme Supreme. Especially in her slightly effected speaking voice. Diana Ross sometimes sounds to me like a girl from the projects who is speaking the way she thinks a diva should sound. (I get that from Streisand, too, who also can get very whispery and precise when speaking to her audience.)

Once again I was surprised by how little my friend Barb knows about popular music and culture. One of the more rueful laugh lines -- when Marvin Gaye angrily tells Berry Gordy he already has a father -- was completely lost on her. So was the import of Flo's disappearance from the Supremes. And the music! I think she was hearing some of these songs for the first time!

But she had a good time. And it was nice to see her. She wasn't that late for dinner, and for the most part kept her phone in her purse. A couple months ago I angrily snapped at her that the next time she checked her phone, I was getting my book out and starting to read. I appreciated that she has changed her behavior for me.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

When my mind wanders ...

Last night, my classic film group viewed Hitchcock's Rebecca. I believe this is the first time I've seen it start-to-finish in one sitting, and somehow I was more impressed by the bits and pieces than the whole. Instead of concentrating on the plot and motivations, or even the sets and camera work, I found myself admiring Joan Fontaine's eyebrows.

I have been obsessed with my own brows lately. Decades ago, when I was in high school, I hated what a bushy unibrow I had. Over time they have become sparse and I think they age me, so I've been augmenting them with a pencil. I wish I had Hitchcock's makeup lady. She did an awesome job on Fontaine's brows. Definite yet still very natural and not at all overpowering.

Back to it

It's been a week since I've read, and I've missed it.

First I'd been carrying my laptop to and from work, which precluded carrying a 600+ page hardcover in my messenger bag. And I've been sick, just crashing when I get home.

I'm still not ready to resume working out, which I also miss, but I was able to go downstairs to the building cafeteria and get reacquainted with Mary: Mrs. A. Lincoln. This is a wonderful book and I was so happy to spend a little time with it again.


I just discovered the most amazing thing -- for 14 years, beginning when she was 21, my girl JBKO wrote to an Irish priest. Long, handwritten, intimate letters. Father Leonard became close when he acted as Jackie's host when she and her stepbrother visited Dublin in 1950, and they corresponded regularly until his death in 1964.

This means he was Jacqueline's confidante through her ill-fated engagement to a stockbroker named John Husted (not much at all is known about that relationship), her courtship and marriage to JFK, five pregnancies (including Patrick, the last baby to be born to a sitting President, and who died after just 40 hours) and the assassination.

No one is saying where these letters have been for the last 50 years, but they are now going up for auction on June 10. I hope whoever buys them will share them with the rest of us.

There is the school of thought that since Jackie was confiding to a priest, the letters should have been destroyed upon discovery. Or shared with Caroline. I understand that response.

But the lady knew she was a historic figure. The last letter is now 50 years old. I don't think her words have the power to embarrass anymore, and there's much to be learned.

Monday, May 12, 2014

I admit it: It's beyond me

My oldest friend has me stymied. I don't know how to help her anymore.

Her 22-year-old son is still living at home, sleeping on an air mattress on her living room floor. He has a friend with him, also camping out on her floor. They promise they'll be out in the fall, but she's not sure they'll be able to afford it. (Never mind that he just took his girlfriend to Las Vegas for a long weekend.)

This young man, who has a DUI and an overnight prison stay to his credit, is filled with advice for how his kid sister should be raised. He reported to his mother that his sister is known around town for her pot supply. I don't see where this is a surprise. The girl has been an outspoken stoner since she was in the 8th grade.

Yet for some reason, hearing this made my friend spin out. She's decided that her daughter needs to live with her father for the summer, to get her away from her Beverly Hills pot smoking crowd. To do this, she concocted an elaborate lie: She told her ex husband she needs major surgery, followed by 8 weeks of recuperation.

Naturally this backfired.

So now her son and daughter are fighting because Sis says Bro is a hypocritical snitch (she has a point). Now her daughter knows my friend tried to ship her away for the summer and lied about the reason. Now her ex-husband knows she made up a health crisis to manipulate him into taking their daughter.

Oh yeah, and her MRSA infection flared up. She took Friday off because she was upset and her car needed work. Then she got sick on Sunday and is off again today. She's had employment trouble. She can't afford to lose this job, so she's got an extra patina of stress.

Happy Mother's Day, huh?

I'm overwhelmed just listening to her. I don't know how to help her.

I'm not a mother. I'm not crazy about a lot of the choices she's made up until now, but I truly have no idea how to advise her here. She needs to talk to her shrink. She needs to talk to her cousin, who raised two sons.

All I can do is love her.

Image courtesy of marin/

Shame on me

I called in sick today. But I wasn't sick, I was behind. I thought we had a firm due date of Wednesday for a project and, even though I worked most of Sunday, I just wasn't on track.* So I got up way early, called the office when my voice was still thick with sleepy, and plead migraine. Then I buckled down and spent 4.5 hours banging out the copy.

At noontime I shot an email into the office with questions. My AE answered back that I was "wonderful" to consider work when I felt so poorly and, even though she could answer my questions, she'd wait until tomorrow so that I could concentrate on healing and sleep. What I didn't know this morning is that the due date had shifted a bit because of issues on the client's end. I wasn't behind after all!

Her praising me made me feel guilty for staying home, for taking a full day off even though I worked a half day on my sofa.

And it made me more cognizant of the passage of time. It wasn't that long ago that I lived on the stress and thrived when I saw a deadline looming. But I've been doing this for more than 30 years now, and I admit it -- I'm tired.

*To be fair, the reason why I didn't get more done on Sunday is my tummy was bothering me and I was sitll fatigued from my cold.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Sunday Stealing

A Movie Meme

1. What is your all-time favorite "costume" movie or period piece?  Little Women.

2. What classic film would you nominate for a remake?  A Face in the Crowd. A radio talk show host becomes an overnight sensation, gets drunk with power, and is eventually exposed as the intolerant hypocrite he always was. Maybe it's time for Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh to make his movie debut?

3. Name your favorite femme fatale. Little Rhoda Penmark in The Bad Seed. This pig-tailed darling racked up quite a body count.

4. Name the best movie with the word "heaven" in its title.  Heaven Can Wait. So romantic!

5. Describe the worst performance by a child actor that you’ve ever seen.  Bonnie Blue Butler in Gone with the Wind. Gawd! That little girl was hideous!

6. Who gets your vote for most tragic movie monster?  Frankenstein

7. What is the one Western that you would recommend to anybody?  Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The two coolest guys ever.

8. Who is your ideal movie-viewing partner?  My mom

9. Has a film ever made you want to change your life? If so, what was the film? The Way We Were. I first saw it when I was in high school. It influenced me to resist tamping down the truest part of myself, just to fit in.

10. Think of one performer that you truly love. Now think of one scene/movie/performance of theirs that is too uncomfortable for you to watch.  Judy Garland in Love Finds Andy Hardy. She plays Betsey, the fat girl who wins Andy's attention only because she's rich and can sing. She was only 15 when she made it, and according to legend it made her feel homely and unattractive in real life. I hate the way MGM tap danced on her psyche, just to get a good performance out of her.

11. On the flip side, think of one really good scene/performance/movie from a performer that you truly loathe.  I usually find Bob Hope unwatchable, but he's terrific in The Seven Little Foys.

12. What movie has the best soundtrack? A Hard Day's Night

13. Favorite actor with a mustache? (i.e: Charlie Chaplin, William Powell) Groucho, of course!

14. Shadowy film noir from the 1940's or splashy colorful musicals from the 1950's?  Noir

15. Favorite classic Disney? Mary Poppins