Sunday, June 28, 2015


Watching the documentary I'll Be Me on CNN. It's about Glen Campbell's battle with Alzheimer's.

It's not easy to see him diminished. It reminds me of my uncle's battle with Parkinson's -- though with my uncle, his mind stayed sharp while his body deteriorated. But it's the same pain of watching someone disappear, bit by bit, and to ache along with their frustration and struggle.

Plus, Glen Campbell was one of my uncle's favorite recording artists. He used to play this song all the time. The sound of the guitars reminds me of my uncle. When I got older, I began paying attention to the lyric (written by John Hartford). I hope that the men who once held me in their arms still keep me in the backroads by the rivers of their memory, ever smiling, ever gentle on their minds.

Sunday Stealing

Unusual Things

1. Who was the last person of the opposite sex you laid in a bed with?  Sprawled out with my friend in the Keys when I was down there at Christmas.

2. Where was the last place you went out to eat? My second-favorite coffee house. I miss my favorite coffee house, but apparently it's everyone's favorite because these days it seems there's always a line.

3. What was the last alcoholic beverage you consumed? The usual -- vodka/cran.

4. Which do you prefer - eyes or lips? For viewing, I prefer eyes. For whistling, I'll go with lips.

5. Medicine, fine arts, or law? I think I would have been a good lawyer.

6. Best kind of pizza? Sausage.

7. Is your bedroom window open? Open

8. What is in store for your future? Laundry. Today I bleach my white. Woo hoo!

9. Who was the last band you saw live? The E-Street Band. BROOOOOCE!

10. Do you take care of your friends while they are sick? Of course.

11. Any historical figures that you envy? Not really envy. But there are many I admire.

12. How many songs are on your iTunes? Lots

13. What brand of digital camera do you own? My little Kodak Easy Share M350

14. When was the last time you got a good workout? It's been too long. Lately I've just been doing cardio, and I haven't done near enough of that, either.

15. Are you experienced? Sure.

16. If you need a new pair of jeans, what store do you go to first? Old Navy

17. Are you a quitter? I suppose so

18. What are two bands or singers that you will always love? I've already shown Bruce, so now, of course, I honor Sir Paul. Seeing him at Lolla at the end of July. Yea!

19. What of the seven deadly sins are you guilty of? All of them, at one time or another.

20. Did you just have to google the seven deadly sins to see what they were? Yes, because I always forget gluttony.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Saturday 9

I Miss You (1997)

... because Smellyann suggested it

1) In this song, Bjork knows what she's looking for in a mate, she just hasn't met him yet. If you are/were still looking for The One, what two qualities would you hope he/she possessed? Integrity and humor.

2) The lyrics ask if you believe "that a dream can come true." Do you believe that dreams come true if you wish hard enough? If they did, you'd be referring to me as "Lady McCartney."

3) Bjork turns 50 this year. Do you treat "milestone" birthdays differently? Or to you, is your age just a number? I love all my birthdays. (It's in late November, by the way. My favorite color is blue. It's never too early to start shopping.)

4) Bjork was always highly musical. At the tender age of 6 she began studying classical piano and flute. Sam is impressed because at the age of 6, she was still trying to master tying her shoes. Do you consider yourself musical? I don't. And neither does any unfortunate soul who has ever heard me sing.

5) She was born and raised in Reykjavik, Iceland. While the city is known for its bar scene, beer was banned there until 1995. How often do drink beer? I can't recall the last time I had a beer. I find I'm less likely to get a headache from a mixed drink.

6) 66ºNORTH is one of Iceland's biggest employers. This clothier makes quality outdoor wear and this time of year they sell a lot of durable rainwear. Do you have a raincoat? Yes. And I should have had it with me Friday but I didn't. The mercury barely touched 70º and I was stuck waiting for the bus in a downpour. My little blue hooded anorak would have come in handy.

7) In 1997, when this song was popular in clubs, Titanic was popular in theaters. Sam saw it and yes, she cried. How about you? Have you seen the saga of Jack and Rose? Did you enjoy it? Saw it when it first came out. Rented it when it came out on video. Saw it again at the theater when it was released in 3D for the 15th anniversary. And I've seen parts of it countless times on cable. I guess this makes me a Titaniac.

8) Also in 1997, singer John Denver died. Name a John Denver song. "Annie's Song." You fill up my sen-ses like night in a forest ...

9) Random question: If you had the opportunity to sky dive, would you take it? Maybe. While I'm terrified every time I fly in a plane, sky diving kind of intrigues me.


What he said

Marriage equality is the law of the land. So says the Supreme Court. 
It's a great day.


Friday, June 26, 2015


Not my family. Turns out maybe it could have been my family.

My aunt/godmother was back in Chicagoland for the first time since my mother's funeral back in 2012. She was here to visit her son, my very talented cousin Ryan, and his family -- especially her granddaughter, who is home from New York for the summer.

She also wanted to see me and my kid sister, and so I set up a Tuesday night dinner in LaGrange. My aunt went to high school in LaGrange, and I wanted her to see the beautifully restored movie theater, where I knew she spent many hours during her teen years.

So Ryan, his wife and daughter, my sister and her husband, my nephew and I joined my aunt and
her husband at a burger place in LaGrange. There was much laughter and so much affection. After dinner, four of us peeled off and walked up the street to the theater. The high school students who work there very kindly welcomed us, even though we weren't seeing a film, and encouraged us to look around.

It made my aunt so happy to be in the old neighborhood. She bubbled as she told her husband about the parade floats she rode down the main drag, so many years ago.

She loves me very much, was very big on hugging me and seemed to like just looking at me. I think part of it is that I remind her of her late parents. I inherited my rabid Cub fandom from them, and my dad. I said that, if this is the year when the Cubs return to post-season play, I'll wear my grandmother's Ryne Sandberg #23 jersey to a game. It cracked my aunt up that my team is in third place and I'm already getting the jersey pressed in celebration.

Much of my antipathy toward family comes from hostile relations with my mother's mother -- a very bitter, very angry alcoholic -- and the tension in my parent's marriage, and my older sister's violent rages. Then there was the family patriarch, always in attendance, who never tired of reminding me that he molested me ... and enjoyed it. Family gettogethers were either ugly, or fraught with the potential for ugliness. I never felt like I was welcome, like I belonged or was even safe.

Those were the people I "celebrated" Christmas Eve, Thanksgiving, Easter and Fourth of July with until my early 20s, I unfortunately allowed their toxicity to ruin how I feel about family. The bad memories crowd out the extended family, the relatives I saw at other times. I forget how much my oft-mentioned Cousin Rose loves me, how much my late uncle (my mom's kid brother) loved me, how much this aunt loves me, how much I have in common with my artistic cousin, how happy my nephew always is to see me.

I do have a lot of love. I just have to let myself feel it.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

"Yes, Boss?"

The client was in town this week. It was an all-day meeting, during which we recapped our work for the first six months of 2015.

My boss presented a board depicting our work to date on my Big Project. After giving an overview, he tossed it to me. I blabbed and answered questions without notes. One of our clients said, "I always get a kick out of your enthusiasm."

I realized as the day wore on that I was doing a lot of the talking. I wasn't on the agenda, I had no predetermined part of the agenda. It's just that I know my shit.

So much so that, this morning, when I went to my boss' office to discuss next steps, he looked up and said, "Yes, Boss?"

I was flattered, of course, but also cognizant of the role Long Tall Sally (aka The New Girl) has played in my career renaissance. Yes, her personality is too big. Yes, there's too much drama and volatility in her wake.

But when her predecessor, The Chocolate Covered Spider, chaired December's similar client meeting, I wasn't even invited. Spidey didn't share the spotlight. Spidey didn't want others to shine.

So I'm enjoying this new chapter in my work life.

Image courtesy of iosphere at

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Let's get our facts straight

I'm not a Southerner. I've vacationed in the South -- Atlanta and Little Rock/Hot Springs, specifically -- and enjoyed it. I feel far more comfortable there than I ever have in Los Angeles. But I am not a Southerner. I grew up in the Land of Lincoln, and am proud to hale from the state that gave us the man who saved the Union.

That's why I don't get the affection anyone feels for the Confederate flag. At best it stands for secession. At best, flying that flag flies in the face of "one nation, under God." So I don't understand why it's flown on any day, anywhere, after 1865.

But if you want to know why it flies over South Carolina today, it's more about this man than it is about Robert E. Lee.

In January 1961, a Federal court upheld the right of black students to attend the University of Georgia. That didn't play well in the South. "Two four six eight, we don't want to integrate!" Then, in March, 1961, President Kennedy signed an executive order prohibiting segregation in the federal workplace.

The Confederate flag went up over the South Carolina statehouse just weeks later. In April 1961. Ninety six years after the end of the Civil War.

If the GOP wants to truly own the mantle, "The Party of Lincoln," it's time for them to join statesmen like Sen. Lindsay Graham, and Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney and call for the removal of the Confederate flag.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Sunday Stealing


Are you a good dancer? No, I'm a very bad dancer.

Are you a good singer? No. It's one of the few things I do worse than dance.

Are you a good cook? Oh, come on! Is this meme designed to make me feel bad about myself?

Are you a good artist? So now I'm 0-4.

Are you a good listener? Ding! Ding! Ding! I finally got one!

What's your favorite clean word? "Gubernatorial." It's just fun to say.

What's your favorite swear word? The "f word" is very versatile, and I appreciate that in a word.

What's your least favorite word? I'm beyond sick of the work vernacular. Especially "recco" instead of "recommendation." It's not like, at the end of my life, I'll say to myself, "I could have accomplished so much more if only I'd abbreviated 'recommendation' to 'recco.'"

What was the last film you saw? Jurassic World

What football team do you support? I have a passing interest in the Bears. But my massive Cub obsession takes up all the sports space in my cranium.

Have you ever been bobbing for apples? Once, when I was in Girl Scouts.

What's your most expensive piece of clothing? I'm sure it's my winter coat.
What's the last thing you took a picture of? My cat, Connie.

What's the last thing you drew a picture of? I did a crude sketch at work, a schematic of how I wanted a brochure to unfold.

Have you ever bought anything from eBay? Yes, the last thing was this new Miche. (Without the little "new" pennant, of course.)

Have you ever invented a fairly unique meal or drink? No.

Do you have any secret family recipes? No.

A day in my village

A lot of little things made me smile today.

 •  Stopped by the food pantry again today, dropping off cans of soup, tuna and vegetables, as well as some no-longer-needed-but-still-sealed feminine products. The women who took my contribution were so friendly and I could tell that they treated those who need this service with utmost respect. On the way out, a school bus pulled up. About a dozen junior high school aged kids got off, ready to help the pantry pack up/shut down until it reopens next Saturday. It made me happy to see kids giving their time on a summer Saturday.

•  Went to the bank to buy a roll of quarters for laundry. I was surprised to see a line. There's so seldom a line anymore because really, how often do you need to see a teller anymore? Well, it seems that beginning in July, Chase banks in the Chicago area will no longer have coin counting machines. I hadn't heard about this, and the others in line very generously explained it to me. I told them where the nearest Coinstar machine was, and how they could avoid the Coinstar fee. It made me happy that everyone was so friendly and helpful.

•  Then I had brunch in my second favorite coffee shop. (My favorite had a line and I didn't want to wait.) While I was enjoying my eggs and bacon, I eavesdropped on the family in the next booth. Mom and Dad sat on one side, Son and Daughter sat on the other. I'm guessing the kids were 10 or 11 and 11 or 12.

They were dining before the matinee at the movie theater, where the kids were using their own money to buy Dad his popcorn and a Coke for Father's Day. They were discussing whether to see Jurassic World or Spy. Son wanted to see Jurassic World because "Melissa McCarthy is fat."

Dad told his son that he only sees her that way because he's still young. "When you grow up," Dad said, "you'll look at Melissa McCarthy and see a woman who is smart and successful and funny, and those things are all very attractive. Those are the things you'll look for in a woman."

I don't know if he said it to get in good with his wife, or to help his daughter grow up feeling empowered, or if he truly felt that way. Doesn't matter. His kids were hanging on his every word, and it was so lovely it made very, very happy.

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Daddy's Little Man (1969)

1) This song is about an afternoon visit between a father and son. What are your plans for Saturday afternoon? I don't have any specific plans. Just general ones, that include laundry, naps and The Cubs vs. Minnesota.

2) The lyrics talks about enjoying an ice cream cone. Do you have any ice cream in your freezer right now? Not ice cream. Outshine frozen fruit bars. They're "berry delicious," you know.

3) Sam's father hates it when she swears. When is the last time you cursed? Friday afternoon. Specifically, I said, "What the fuck?" I wasn't angry. I was genuinely confused.

4) In a recent ranking of movie dads, Mufasa (Lion King) and Atticus (To Kill a Mockingbird) got very high marks. Who is your favorite movie or TV father? Mayberry's Andy Taylor would be my choice. He has to be a great dad. Look how well Opie turned out.

5) Sam's own father often traveled for business, and always remembered to bring her the little complimentary soaps, shampoos or body lotion he got from the hotel. When you take a trip, do you bring back souvenirs? I'm big on sending postcards. It's a dying custom. My 14-year-old nephew recently told me that I'm the only one who has ever sent him one. It's cheaper and easier to post vacation photos to your Facebook feed. But I can be very sentimental, so I continue sending postcards.

6) Back when Sam was in high school, it was her father who gave her driving lessons. Who taught you how to drive? Coach Brown. Neither of us wanted to be in that driver's ed car.

7) Sam's own father is easy to buy for: every year he wants a new pair of loafers, so every year for Father's Day she gives him a DSW gift card. Would you rather receive a gift that someone chose, even though it might not be just right, or do you prefer a gift card or cash so you can get exactly what you want? I appreciate gifts, no matter what!

8) For family barbecues, Sam's dad dons his "Kiss the Chef" apron and mans the Weber. What's the last thing you cooked on the grill? A rib eye on my George Foreman grill.

9) Sam's father satisfies his afternoon sugar craving with an almost endless stream of Butter Rum Lifesavers. When you crave a snack, do you usually want something sweet or salty? Lately it's been salty. Cheesey and salty. Like Cheetos.

I will not

After the Charleston massacre, pro-gun advocates were defensively in front of the cameras, explaining how it's gun laws that somehow make us vulnerable to gun violence.

Schools like Sandy Hook and churches like Emanuel AME are "soft targets" because guns are currently not allowed. Mr. NRA reasoned that, if crazy-hateful killers knew Kindergarten teachers and parishoners were armed, they wouldn't open fire. 

I will not bring a gun to church.

I remember after 9/11, when our church became a sister congregation to a mosque to help combat anti-Muslim sentiment, some were concerned that the choice would make us the target of hate. I was OK with that.

I will not own a gun. And I will certainly never, ever bring a gun to church. The very thought is repugnant.

Now I cannot think about this anymore. It hurts my heart too much.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Yesterday's mail required a glass of vodka

Thursday evening, I opened my box and retrieved four pieces of mail:

1) Coupons from CVS (yea!)

Thanks, Lisa!
2) A package from the always awesome Snarkela, who surprised me with a pair of my very own, officially MLB-licensed Cubs sunglasses.

3) A summons for jury duty. Yes, it's my patriotic duty and I'm very willing to do it, but I'd be lying if I said I was happy about it.

4) A registered letter. Gulp.

It was #4 that had me mixing booze in with my orange juice. I couldn't pick it up until this morning and I had no idea what it could be. None. And, me being me, I was sure it was bad news. From a lawyer. Probably about my mother's estate. Which would precipitate spending money I don't have and dealing with my sisters -- which is always a galling experience.

I got to the post office and had to both sign/print my name twice while the mail clerk was holding the letter. I was so agitated that it actually took a modicum of self control to keep me from ripping it from her hands.

As I walked away from the counter, I saw it was a letter from a law firm in a far off suburb. Bleh. What could it be? I thought the crap about my mother's house was behind us! Ripping it open I saw my village mentioned in the first line. Condo association drama? I was so nervous and upset, my heart was beating out of my shirt like a Warner Bros. cartoon character.

Oh, for pity's sake! Turns out I live within 300 feet of a proposed ATM that's being built to be especially handicap accessible and I have a legal right to "cross examine witnesses about the appearance of the unit."

All that worry over a piece of paper that's going to go into the recycling bin as soon as I publish this post!

I do this to myself all the time. Will I never learn not to borrow dread?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Who knows how long I've loved you?


 One of the biggest thrills for me still is sitting down with a guitar or a piano and just out of nowhere trying to make a song happen.

Happy birthday, my liege.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

You're welcome

 I watch one hockey game all year, and look what happens.

Yes, I am taking credit for The Cup.

While this certainly was exciting, and I'm very happy for genuine Hawks fans, something happened spontaneously last night that I found fascinating. After the game, literally thousands of fans went out to party. But they didn't go to the United Center, the Madhouse on Madison, where the Hawks reigned victorious.

The congregated on the North Side, in front of The Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field. Home of my Chicago Cubs. It's as though the victory wasn't real until it was announced on the marquee.

I think this tells you where this city's heart is. Yes, we're cheering The Hawks. But what we're really waiting for is the moment when the team we love finally, finally comes through for us.

But I'm a kid at heart

I enjoyed Jurassic World. Yes, it's a silly and completely implausible movie. A kid's movie, really. But if you read this blog regularly, you know I'm not always that mature.

First of all, the movie velociraptors are really neat. They are smart and fast and devious and quite communicative. (My cat Reynaldo moves a bit like the movie raptor.) And Chris Pratt is the coolest guy I've seen on the big screen in a long time. He should be in every movie.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sunday Stealing

Would you rather go to a movie or to dinner alone? I'm okay with both. Or either.

Would you rather always say everything on your mind or never speak again? I say the former, though I bet most of my friends would prefer the latter.

Would you rather make a phone call or send a text? Depends on the person I'm either calling or texting.

Would you rather read an awesome book or watch a good movie? Awesome book.

Would you rather be the most popular person at work or school or the smartest? Smartest

Would you rather put a stop to war or end world hunger? World hunger. I believe economical equality just naturally brings about less violence.

Would you rather spend the night in a luxury hotel room or camping surrounded by beautiful scenery? LUXURY HOTEL!
Would you rather explore space or the ocean? Ocean

Would you rather go deep sea diving or bungee jumping? Diving

Would you rather be a kid your whole life or an adult your whole life? Kid. But not teenager. I'd like to stay 5  forever.

Would you rather go on a cruise with friends or with your spouse? I suppose a cruise because I don't have a spouse, but really, I'm not that tempted by cruising.

Would you rather lose your keys or your cell phone? Phone

Would you rather eat a meal of cow tongue or octopus? Octopus

Would you rather have x-ray vision or magnified hearing? I think they'd both be very distracting, but of the two, I'll go with hearing

Would you rather work in a group or work alone? ALONE! 

She was human after all!

I've been reading a lot about Princess Grace lately because my movie group is focused on Hitchcock in the 1950s and Grace Kelly was Alfred Hitchcock's quintessential leading lady.

Her life itself seems like a movie: socialite-turned-movie star, movie star-turned-princess. Breathtakingly beautiful. Married to a war hero/prince. Mother of three. Philanthropist.

I find it comforting that, even with her fairytale life, she and I have one thing in common: we both found Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis intimidating. Whereas JBKO fills me with awe, she seems to have rather annoyed Her (usually) Serene Highness. Of course, Grace actually dealt with her.

Despite rumors to the contrary, there is no credible evidence that JFK slept with Grace Kelly. Marilyn Monroe, Angie Dickinson and Gene Tierney, yes. Grace Kelly, no. But that doesn't mean that he didn't have a crush on her. There's a famous story -- told by both Jackie's sister Lee Radziwill and Grace herself: Lee met Grace at a party in New York, where Lee's brother-in-law Senator Kennedy was recuperating from serious back surgery. Lee thought it would raise his spirits if the famous movie star would visit his hospital room.

So Grace and Lee went to the hospital, where Jackie introduced Grace as his "new night nurse." Naturally he recognized her immediately -- at the time, she was Hollywood's "it" girl -- and, in her words, "couldn't have been more sweet." Like any smitten fan meeting his favorite movie star.

Six years later they met again, as Princess Grace and President Kennedy. Now it was her turn to have a crush. Publicly she told reporter and historian Paul Gallico that, "I became deeply involved, spiritually, and sympathetically, with the presidency—the office as well as the man. I felt personally involved."

Privately, it stung her that the fashion press ridiculed her for wearing "a bathing cap" when she went to the White House, where her hostess, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, was revered by Woman's Wear Daily. It annoyed her that Jackie was getting so much praise for "redecorating" the White House when she, Grace, was forever upgrading a palace that had originally been built in the 12th century.

After the assassination, when Jackie Kennedy became a jet setter, the two women both attended a ball in Seville hosted by the Duchess of Alba. Princess Grace was the official guest of honor, but Jackie garnered most of the attention, both from the guests and the world's press.

As Grace partisans saw it, Grace was blessed with greater beauty than Jackie. Grace was a royal, and Jackie was now a private citizen. Grace was guest of honor, Jackie was a guest. And yet somehow Jackie managed to be The Main Event.

The Onassis connection made things more galling for Grace. When Grace was still Grace Kelly, and Jackie was just Jacqueline Bouvier, Aristotle Onassis began investing heavily in Monaco. That made the Greek shipping magnate a major player in Monegasque politics, whether ruler Prince Rainier wanted him there or not.

And Rainier didn't. Onassis wanted Monaco to remain a welcoming port for big yachts and gambling, Rainier wanted to make it a comfortable home for all classes. The men clashed often and fiercely over Rainier's plans to build factories and warehouses, and affordable housing for their workers, at a time when Onassis, and the French government, wanted more luxury hotels and casinos. The casinos and hotels would mean more taxes for the French, and more fun for Onassis and his cronies.

It's complicated and boring, but eventually -- and most unexpectedly -- Rainier came out of the victor. He engineered sweeping changes to Monaco's Constitution and in 1962, Onassis boarded his yacht, The Christina, and left Monaco for good.

But then in 1968, Onassis married the most famous woman in the world and that propelled him to a level of fame that eclipsed Rainier, once and for all.

Grace despised Onassis, feeling his motives and business practices had nothing in common with her husband's ... or President Kennedy's, for that matter. But, because of Ari's relationship with the former First Lady, she found herself moving in the same circles with him again ... and again ... and again. And she found herself sharing the world's attention with Jackie, and being judged as somehow less. Less bejeweled, less well dressed,  less mysterious.

And certainly less inscrutable. For while Jackie never commented on Princess Grace, one way or the other (beyond a personal note, thanking Grace for her condolences after JFK's death), the gossip about Grace's resentment of Jackie reached such a fever pitch that she found herself facing cameras and Barbara Walters about reports of "coolness" between the two women.

"I was very hurt by that. I have great admiration for Mrs. Kennedy. I was very hurt and don't know why they (newspapers, magazines) pick on me about this."

She sounds whiny and petulant, doesn't she? I know. And it makes me like her better. THIS WOMAN had her insecure moments, just like the rest of us! I love it!

Love on Sunday

It's not uncommon to find people online attacking gay marriage because "God means marriage to result in babies." Here's the Scripture that is popular to quote:

•  Did He not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. (Malachi 2:15)
 • Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control. (1 Timothy 2:15)

Photo courtesy of The Mirror
I wonder how those people react when they see this happy couple. He's 103, and she's 91 -- so it's safe to assume there won't be any "Godly offspring" from this union. He's divorced, which means he was an adulterer (according to Mark 10:11) when he took up with this lady more than 25 years ago.*

I'm a Christian. I converse with Christ every day, and I try to live in a way that brings Him joy and shows that I'm grateful for the life He gave me.

For me, this means conducting my professional life with integrity. Taking care of those around me -- friends, cats and coworkers. Being kind to those who aren't as well off as I am, or don't have the advantages I've been blessed with. Trying to forgive those who piss me off and hurt me. Trying to judge less, not more.

My faith is flexible enough to adapt to divorce and contraception and strides made by the LGBT community. But it's firm in its compassion.

So this couple encapsulates how I feel about Christ this morning. I enjoy their joy. I celebrate their love … as I do every couple who finds romance and support and shelter from this frequently cold world through the love of his/her partner.

I hope I find it again myself some day -- even though, after my hysterectomy, I'll never have a child with whoever he is and I have no intention of ever getting married. I believe Christ would be very happy for me, were that to happen.

*After "living in sin" for decades, they "made their union official by giving into pressure from their elderly grandchildren."

Friday, June 12, 2015

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: American Pie (1971)

1) In the lyrics, Don McLean refers to having once been a paper boy. When you were a kid, what job or household chores did you do for spending money? I babysat local kids for $1/hour, $1.50/hour after midnight. It's still the best job I ever had. The wee ones always went to bed early, so I got paid to watch TV and eat potato chips.

2) Them good old boys were drinking whiskey and rye. What's the last drink you ordered?
An airmail -- rum, honey, lime and a touch of sparkling wine. 

3) He drove to the levee but it was dry. When is the last time it rained where you are? This afternoon. And yesterday. And probably tomorrow. I'd complain about it, except then I remember all the news stories I heard about drought when I was in LA. The rain really is our friend!

4) When McLean was working on the song, he wrote the lyrics out in long hand. It took him 16 pages of lined notebook paper. Today it's a laptop/smartphone/tablet world, and Sam can't remember the last time she hand wrote anything longer than a sign on her front door that read, "Bell broken. Plz knock." What about you? What's the last thing you wrote with pen or pencil? I take notes in longhand all the time in meetings, scribbling all over any handouts I'm given.
5) McLean's most recent CD is called "Addicted to Black," in reference to Olivia in The Twelfth Night. Quick! Without looking it up, name another character from Shakespeare. Petruchio. I've always thought he was hot, and never more charming than when he was played by David Addison on Moonlighting. This clip makes me want to dig out those DVDs and have a Blue Moon binge.

6) Don was born in New Rochelle, New York, which was named one of The Best Walking Cities in America by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). What about your neighborhood? Is it easily walkable? Very.

7) In 1971, the year this song was popular, Walt Disney World officially opened. Have you ever been to DisneyLand or Disney World? Yes. I'd love to go back, to either one.

8) Also in 1971, Mattel introduced Malibu Barbie. This doll was a "sun-loving California girl" and had a distinct tan. Have you ever used a tanning bed? Not in 20 years.

9) American Pie is also the name of a 1999 movie. Have you seen it? Not the whole thing. Just seems like such a guy movie.


It's 6:00 on Friday and I'm already done with the grocery shopping and laundry.

For all I complain about my job -- and, boy, could I* -- summer Fridays is a benefit I dearly love. The office officially closes at 1:00. Sometimes I slip out even earlier, since people start drifting out at noon and no one plans meetings for Fridays. I stayed a little later today, talking to Long Tall Sally (formerly known as The New Girl, but since a newer team member starts on Monday, she needs a new nom de blog). But still, I was back here by 2:30.

And now, when I wake up tomorrow, there's nothing I need to do. No errands, no appointments. I can't tell you how deluxe that feels.

*I'm looking at you, Christine!


I can't get enough of this story. It's so jaw-droppingly dramatic I can barely believe it's real.

More than a week ago, two very bad men broke out of a maximum security prison. Using power tools to cut through a steel wall. The cheeky bastards even left a Post-It note for their erstwhile captors that said, "Have a nice day." And then they crawled through a series of tunnels until they emerged on the outside ... through a manhole cover. C'mon now, tell me this doesn't sound like a 1980s action movie.

Except John McLane was a very good man
The thing of it is, once they emerged from the manhole cover, their plan fell apart. Because their ride didn't show up. So they've been scraping by -- probably in the rural area right outside the prison. In the rain. Possibly eating out of garbage cans.

Now today a 51-year-old woman who worked in the prison tailor shop has been arraigned for helping the two very bad men. Because one of the men made her feel "special," she somehow managed to provide them with hacksaw blades and lighted goggles. On the day of the break, she checked herself into a hospital because of "extreme nerves." Law enforcement suspects she was supposed to be waiting for them when they came up through the manhole cover, but she got extreme cold feet.

Her name is Joyce Mitchell. I swear I knew what she'd look like before they released her photo. Though I was surprised to learn that she has a husband instead of a house full of cats.

While I'm riveted, and am casting the movie in my head, I do pray this comes to a peaceful resolution. I especially hope no hostages are taken pr law enforcement officers injured when these two very bad men are inevitably apprehended.