Tuesday, September 29, 2015


This meme is no more. And yet I persist in answering the three questions it asked each week. Stubborn, ain't I?

1. What are you currently reading? Franklin and Lucy by Joseph E. Persico. By strange coincidence, my WWW post is illustrated by one of history's most famous Presidential mistresses while I'm reading about FDR's romances. The difference between Kennedy and Roosevelt is that it seems FDR really did fall in love, and not even JFK's most charitable biographers would claim his extramarital activities were anything other than brief, sleazy encounters. This book, which I've just begun, puts Roosevelt's love life in a historic context. How did the women in his life influence his behavior? How did the events of the world influence his personal life?

2. What did you just finish reading? Three Blind Mice and Other Stories by Agatha Christie. This was very spotty. Some of the stories were obvious. Some stories were frustrating because Miss Marple and Poirot had facts we didn't, and that's not fair. But three were great and will stay with me. "The Case of the Caretaker's Wife" is a "puzzle" created for Miss Marple by her doctor to occupy the redoubtable old girl as she recovered from the flu. "Third Floor Flat" has two young men stumbling out of a dumbwaiter and onto a murder, and Poirot figures it out. This one was really well written. And then there's "Three Blind Mice," aka "The Mousetrap." I can see why that one is considered a classic. I thought I had it figured out, then Christie tossed a red herring at me and I wavered, and it turns out I was right all along. So she kept me guessing, but in the final analysis gave me the satisfaction of being right. What a crafty audience pleaser that Agatha Christie was!

3. What will you read next? Dunno.

September Challenge -- Day 29

Not to be confused with me
Have you broken the law? How so?

I actually did once. I jaywalked in the Loop and a policeman followed me in his squad car calling to me from his loudspeaker. "Lady in the black coat! Wait!" It was a one-way street and I just turned and walked the other way (a benefit to being a pedestrian that drivers don't have) and trotted off, pretending I didn't hear him. He called me over and over again, presumably to scold me. I guess I wasn't heinous enough to merit the siren. Sorry. I know this isn't exactly Bonnie Parker stuff here.

Want to play along? Click here for the day's question.

Monday, September 28, 2015

It's Official!

 I picked up my officially licensed MLB post season Cub shirt. The highlight of my day.

Came very close to buying this one. First of all, because it seems I'm never "in the moment," a problem I've been wrestling with for decades. Second, because I love our manager, Joe Maddon. Love him soooo much, and this is one of his best quotes. But the shirt was designed for a man and my rounder figure would leave Joe looking a little bug eyed.

Still, we'll be playing ball in October. Color me happy!

Hey! I made it!

More than (gulp!) 40 years ago, I saw That's Entertainment! on the big screen and fell ever deeper in love with musicals. In those long ago days before VCRs (much less DVDs), I began staying up late to watch The Late, Late Show and see as many MGM classics as I could in their entirety.

I was especially enchanted by Judy Garland. She was just so extravagantly talented. Her acting had utter sincerity, her dancing conveyed an effortless grace, and that voice! I've never heard another singer whose vocal performances were so enhanced by such a tremulous (and even dangerously out of control) vibrato. My favorite non-Dorothy number of hers was and remains "Get Happy" from Summer Stock.

Now when I first saw her in the mid-1970s, I felt like I'd discovered her. Part of my passion came from the fact  that yes, she was that good. Part of it was that the music of that era was particularly putrid. "Seasons in the Sun" and "Tie a Yellow Ribbon" were the drek pouring from my transistor. So I turned to Judy with intensity.

It was also during the mid-1970s that I fell in love with Chicago. I grew up in a suburb a half hour and a lifestyle away. Where everyone was the same. Where everyone knew everyone. Where nothing seemed to move or happen. I never felt I belonged.

When I began taking the train into the city with my friends, I came alive. Noise! Motion! People! Tabula rasa! I was always sad when night fell and I had to go back to the burbs, because I belonged downtown.

Alas, "Get Happy" isn't on it
One day my passion for Judy and my passion for Chicago came together. On one of those Saturday afternoon day trips, I found this fabulous little record store that sold more than just The Top 40. I was beyond thrilled to find a two-record set of the best of Garland's Decca years. With the bag clutched to my chest, I kept raving about my find to my companion, a girl I knew from church named Karen who indulged but didn't share my eccentric affection for the movies and music of the 40s. As we made our way back to State Street, we came upon a teeny-tiny street, just a few blocks long. Garland Court. "Look!" Karen said, "There's a street named named after your girl."

That long-ago Saturday afternoon popped into my mind today when I sneaked out of the office and dashed to Macy's on State and Randolph. I saw the Garland Court street sign. What had been that record store is now a 7-11. Definitely a sad sign of the times, but that's not the point.

I made it! I'm downtown every day, just like I wanted to be, ached to be, when I was a kid. I must pass Garland Court six or seven times during my workweek. When I do from now on, I must remember to pat myself on the back. I got where I wanted to go. That's an accomplishment.

September Challenge -- Days 27 and 28

Day 27: Were you a good listener today (Sunday)?

This makes me smile because -- except for a text exchange with my oldest friend, a "thanks" to the woman who bagged my groceries and a brief chat with my neighbor in the laundry room -- I literally spoke to no one on Sunday. Since we've been stuck sitting in this "Clown Car" ("open seating," with four of us one on top of the other) and I feel pitifully exposed and painfully public Monday-Friday, I enjoy my alone time even more. So no, I was not a good listener on Sunday. And that's all right with me.

Day 28: I never _______________

Relax much these days. Things have slowed down some at work, but the tension is so thick you can cut it with a knife. I should have seen this coming. After all, when I told my boss about my issues with Christine the Mole and he assured me he'd take care of them, I knew this meant he'd have to let her know I complained. Now Christine and The New Girl are treating me like I'm toxic. I was right to do what I did. I don't regret it. I just wish I knew how to NOT let the tension in. I've been doing this for decades, and the office politics still get to me.

Want to play along? Click here for the day's question.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sunday Stealing

Really Random Meme

Do you believe that Walt Disney is really frozen? No

Do you believe its easy to forgive and forget? No, though I believe it's worthwhile.

When you feel like running away from it all who do you call? I don't call, I click. Expedia.

Is there anyone who knows your entire life story? No.

Have you had to have stitches at all in the last year? No.

Which is coming next: Christmas or your birthday? My birthday! 11/22. My favorite color is Cubbie blue. Start shopping now!

Have you ever been a clown for Halloween? No. I've never (intentionally) been a clown for any occasion.

What time did you go to bed last night? Late

When did you get up this morning? Early

When was the last time it rained? Before dawn one day last week. I appreciate when it rains overnight. Very thoughtful of Mother Nature.

Are your finger nails painted at the moment? Toe nails, yes. Finger nails, no.

Do you ever go hunting/fishing? ICK! No.

Did you have an imaginary friend as a child? Good goobies, yes. I had a vivid imagination. It amuses me to recall that I used to pretend Ann Marie was my best friend.

Which parent do you look most like? Neither one. Though I do look a good deal like my aunt on my dad's side.

Do you have any friends who are famous?  Just Marlo Thomas.

Do you use eBay to buy or sell? Yes. Is there anything else you can do there?

Is music a daily part of your life? Yes.

Is your self esteem high or low? Depends on what area of my life we're talking about.

September Challenge -- Day 26

Day 26: What made today worthwhile?

I had lunch with my nephew and gave him his birthday present. This shirt was the centerpiece. He loves Stephen Colbert so much. I also got him M&Ms personalized with his picture and cheese-flavored salt twists made to look like worm larvae. And a little cash.

We celebrated at his favorite restaurant, a glorified hot dog stand that also sells pizza. On the way over, we stopped in front of a stranger's house for photos. Him with a gift bag, a dumpster and some decorative gourds. It amused him. "People will ask, 'whose porch is that?' and I'll say, 'I don't know.'" That amused him enormously.

Over lunch we talked about his new hero, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. I told him I still suspect the GOP nominee will be Marco Rubio, and that seemed to make him feel better. The anti-Muslim, homophobic rhetoric of Ben Carson, Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee was very disturbing to him. I like that he thinks about this stuff, and from such a heart-centered way.

He's proud of how well he's doing in his AP courses, but the class he's enjoying most is English. They're reading A Separate Peace. It made him happy that I remembered and loved that book, too.

He's smart, he's good, he's funny. He feels the same way about me. No wonder time spent together felt worthwhile.

Want to play along? Click here for the day's question.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Take a Letter, Maria

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

1) In this song, R. B. Greaves gets a shock when he gets home from work. When is the last time you were surprised? Was it a happy or sad surprise? It was a shitty surprise. My boss is not only making me come in on a day I was scheduled for vacation, I have to do a client presentation. AAARGH!  

2)  Mr. Greaves sings that he didn't get home until "about a half past ten." That's a very long workday. No wonder his wife felt neglected! Have you ever had trouble maintaining balance between homelife and career? Obviously (see above). I've solved the problem by giving up on having a personal life.
3) According to the song, "Maria" is a secretary. Have you ever worked in an office? Every workday since I was 17.

4)  In today's office, R.B. Greaves wouldn't ask Maria to "take a letter." Instead, he'd keystroke his own email to his wife and cc his lawyer before hitting, "send." Think of another phrase, like "take a letter," that we seldom hear anymore because of technology. "Be kind, rewind."

5) "Maria" is mentioned in many songs ("Maria" from West Side Story, "Maria, Shut Up and Kiss Me" by Willie Nelson, "How Do Solve a Problem like Maria?" ...) but Crazy Sam discovered  few, if any, "Samantha" songs. Does your first name figure prominently in any lyrics? The bells are ringing for me and my gal, the birds are singing for me and my gal ...

6) 1969 was the year that Neil Armstrong first stepped on the moon. Do you believe in life on other planets? Intellectually, of course. Emotionally, not at all. How do I integrate these two conflicting views? By not thinking about it.

7) In 1969, the Beatles performed publicly for the last time as a band, on the roof of Abbey Road studios. When did you last climb up onto your roof? I live in a condo building and have only seen my roof once, before I closed on the place. I accompanied the building inspector. The roof was flat and black and not terribly interesting.

8) Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries sold at a brisk pace at Christmastime in 1969. Were you a fan of these books? If not, tell us about a book you remember enjoying when you were young. Oh, I was a massive Nancy Drew fan when I was a little girl. Which is why I was so tickled to see this, this manual typewriter, when I visited the Soboroff Typewriter Collection last spring. (Yes, I'm geeky enough to actually go look at old typewriters, and then to be thrilled.) There, along with Truman Capote's and Tennessee Williams' and Ernest Hemingway's, was the typewriter used by Carolyn Keene to write about Nancy, Bess, George and Ned. This typewriter is too modern for the first book, which was written in 1929 and published in 1930. But it's still pretty damn cool.

9) Random question: Do you consider yourself old fashioned? Hell, yes. I think I'm probably the most typical Baby Boomer in the world, which must make me seem rather quaint to millennials. 

We're IN!

It happened after midnight CST, when the Oakland A's dispatched the San Francisco Giants and eliminated them from the post season.

THE CUBS ARE IN! We're one of the two wildcard teams. We'll be playing post season for the first time since 2008.

Friday, September 25, 2015

September Challenge -- Days 24 and 25

Day 24: What I wish I could have skipped today (Thursday)?

That jaw-dropping moment when my boss told me I could not have 10/8 off, after all.

When I requested the day, saying that I had been saving a handful of days of to celebrate my Cub playoff victories, he was very cavalier and said, "They're your days. Take 'em whenever you want."

Until I try to take one.

The client will be here on 10/8 and he wants me to do a presentation about The Big Project.

It's so unfair I could cry in frustration. No one else on this team has ever had to reschedule a vacation day.

Day 25: Was I in control of this day?

Pretty much. Since my boss spoke to Christine the Mole, things have been going more smoothly. That includes a meeting today that I kind of insisted we have, and it went well.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

September Challenge -- Days 22 and 23

First baseman Rizzo & a snow leopard
Day 22: If I could change today (Tuesday), would I?

Ultimately, no. Because the Cubs won, Jake Arrieta became the first pitcher in the NL this year to win 20 games, and Kris Bryant broke Billy Williams' Cub rookie/homerun record. I mean, really! How can you want to walk away from all that fabulousness?

It was a little wild on the field before play even started. Manager Joe Maddon invited a zoo and an aquarium to Wrigley Field with animals and hosted a petting zoo instead of batting practice. His unorthodox methods certainly are working. Love this team!

Day 23: I believe ...

... that God has a plan for all of us.
I believe that plan involves me getting my own planet.
And I believe that the current President of the Church, Thomas Monson, speaks directly to God.
I am a Mormon.
And dangit, a Mormon just believes.

(My favorite song from Book of Mormon.)


This meme is no more. And yet I persist in answering the three questions it asked each week. Stubborn, ain't I?

1. What are you currently reading? Three Blind Mice and Other Stories by Agatha Christie. I'm really enjoying this slim volume of short stories. I think I know whodunnit, then that savvy old bird Agatha throws more clues my way and I reassess, and then there's a plot twist that reveals I was right all along. I'm also enjoying reading this particular edition. A paperback published more than 30 years ago, the pages starting to yellow, the cover cracked, that I picked up at the library book sale for just a few cents. I wonder who else held and enjoyed it before me.

I began reading Kill and Tell by Linda Howard, but abandoned it. Just didn't grab me. A bit too violent involving characters who felt too nondescript for me to care about them. I'm willing to entertain that it might be me, not the book, and so I'll give it a shot later.

2. What did you just finish reading? Calico Joe by John Grisham. It uses the 1970s Cubs as a backdrop for a tale about hero worship and courage. It's about honor and revenge and doing the right thing. I admit it made me misty at the end. I highly recommend this little book (even if the names Kessinger, Santo and Monday don't make your heart skip a beat).

3. What will you read next? I'm looking at a biography of FDR. It's time for a biography again.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

That went well

This is how my boss wishes he looked
I met with my boss, one-on-one, last week about Christine the Mole. I was shocked by how little heknew about the situation, and how badly my agency is handling it. I must own part of that, for I assumed the Powers that Be were on top of it. Consequently, I let it go on too long.

I won't go into too much detail, but here's the deal: I get what's going on with my client, Sheila. The Big Project is very important in the short-term for her career, but for her company -- a Fortune 500 behemoth -- it's a blip. I know this because of we recently kicked off the annual January Initiative and it's the same as it was for January 2015. The Big Project will kick off to consumers in November and by January it's already old news?

So I've capitulated a lot to Christine on The Big Project, feeling that it's not worth the agita to fight with her. And fight we would! She wants to change every damn word I write to make it consistent with the 16 pages of legal. Yes, she believes consistency, thou art a jewel, and I should speak to consumers in the big type the way the lawyers have in the small print. I've argued with her when she's been at her most egregious, but often I've given in to get along.

I don't believe this damaged Sheila -- she's interested in hitting her dates, not in quality, and not fighting with Christine helps grease the skids. Besides, despite all the meetings and hours and words and pictures we've all sunk into The Big Project, it will really only be in the spotlight for a matter of weeks. Over the holidays, when consumers won't even be paying attention. The initial print runs are respectable, but there's no second printing scheduled. And, as I say, it's already virtually invisible by The January Initiative.

But when Christine started fucking around with The January Initiative, I had to act. Yes, I owe it to my agency to get along with my coworkers, to be efficient, to contribute to a copacetic workplace. But I also owe it to my client to serve them as well as possible. The January Initiative, though! My client's company counts on this for nearly 25% of the division's revenue! No, she cannot make that advertising copy read like page 11 of the Terms and Conditions. No, no, no!

I outlined everything to my boss and he completely got it. He did. He said Christine has to respect what I know, to stop reworking my copy, to concentrate on catching typos (which I admit I make and need help to correct) and marketing detail but to stay out of the creative lane.

I also hope he got something important -- Christine isn't too bright. If I can understand the role The Big Project really plays, just by reading the project brief for The January Initiative, why can't she? When I pointed out all the January indicators, he got it immediately. She has to be told?

I hope he remembers this next time they discuss making her a permanent employee. She's not only political and scheming, she's dull as dishwater. And we need someone sharp in that position.

Monday I didn't see Christine at all. She stayed on her side of the floor, communicating with me only by email, so I know he conveyed his concerns to her. Is this good or bad? Will the remaining three months of her tenure be tense? Oh well, it can't be helped. I can't let her do anything that will damage the client's business.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Unexpectedly sympathetic

I've been spending quite a bit of time with Vera Miles lately. She's an actress I haven't ever given much thought, but thanks to her short association with Alfred Hitchcock I've seen two of her most important movies in rapid succession.

The movies are at either end of the Hitchcock spectrum -- one small, quiet, subdued and little known; the other is Psycho. ('Nuff said.) Watching both of them with my classic movie club, seeing them on the big screen without constant interruptions for commercials featuring car dealerships and carpet installers -- which is how I saw Psycho time and again on commercial TV -- I came away surprised by how compassionate both of these films are to the mentally ill.

First, The Wrong Man. This is the only time Henry Fonda worked with Hitch, and it's a shame because he brings tremendous gravitas and decency to the proceedings, just by being Henry Fonda. He plays Manny, a jazz musician/husband/father of two. He's of average height and build. When he travels between his home and the nightclub where he plays with the band, he wears a standard gray overcoat and a typical black hat. When a series of armed robberies take place in his neighborhood, he finds himself a suspect. Because of the hours he works, he doesn't have much of an alibi. The police keep telling him, as the poster says, "an innocent man has nothing to fear." But he finds himself booked, arraigned, and tried. And we know he didn't do it. We feel his loss of liberty, we hear the cell door slamming behind him, and it's claustrophobic and scary.

Vera Miles plays his wife. She's the one who comes slowly unglued during the ordeal. They're an average family with one income and a mortgage -- she doesn't know how they'll pay for the legal representation they need. She doesn't know how she'll cope, taking care of her boys on her own. She becomes paranoid and depressed. It manifests itself at first by the way she laughs inappropriately, or sits and stares a bit too long, or (most tellingly) hugs and comforts herself. This is a woman in pain.

Because the film was made in 1956, some things do appear dated. And it doesn't help that her shrink is played by Werner Klemperer, better known as Col. Klink. But if you can get past that, the story of Manny and Rose is quietly harrowing and quite moving, without lurid theatrics. Fitting because this is based on a true story. Perhaps because my oldest friend is battling bipolar disorder, and because I have danced with depression myself, The Wrong Man really touched a chord with me.

Then, Sunday, I saw Psycho As noisy and raucous and lurid as The Wrong Man is subdued. There's sex and screaming and frantic, screeching strings as the ugly story of Norman Bates unfolds. (If you're one of the few people on the planet who doesn't know this story, stop reading now because spoilers lay ahead.)

In the past when I've seen the iconic shower scene, I've been repulsed and terrified imagining what it would be like to trapped in a stall like that. Naked, defenseless, with nowhere to turn as a madman carves away at me. Seeing it uninterrupted on the big screen, it's less scary than cruel. For once I didn't imagine myself and my own bathroom, but instead was captured by Janet Leigh's eyes. She's confused, she's shocked, and as her life literally goes down the drain, she seems to be reaching out to us -- the audience -- for compassion. I responded to her plight with as much humanity as horror, which is what Hitchcock meant, and what ca 1960 audiences must have felt.

Likewise, I left the theater reevaluating Norman Bates. When Vera Miles goes to the big house behind the Bates Motel in search of clues to her sister's fate, we get a painful glimpse into Norman's short and tortured life. Stuffed toys (a precursor to his penchant for taxidermy) and a small child's phonograph and a single bed, pushed up against the wall ... this is Norman the adult's sad existence. It broke my heart. By now I'd seen what he'd done to Marion/Janet Leigh and Arborgast, the private detective. And yet I felt as much compassion for him as I did revulsion for the way he must have been treated by his monstrous mother for him to be so permanently, irreparably infantilized. He wasn't born a monster, he was made one.

September Quiz -- Days 20 and 21

Day 20: What pressure did you feel today?

Choosing between Cubs/Cardinals and my movie Meetup (Psycho on the big screen!). I realize how ridiculous it is to think that I have any impact on the outcome of an MLB game, so I went to the movie. And the Cubs lost. AAARGH!

Day 21: The last gift I've received was ...

Thinking of the Cubs (and I have been doing that a lot lately) ... My aunt gave me a copy of Calico Joe, the John Grisham novel that revolves around the 1970s Chicago Cubs. It's a moving little book and I highly recommend it.

Want to play along? Click here for the day's question.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Asking your help

There's a dreadful woman out there named Kristen Lindsey. She shot a defenseless orange tom through the head with a bow and arrow. Proud of her barbarism, she went to Facebook and posted a photo of herself displaying the poor fella (named Tiger) with the caption: "My first bow kill. Lol. The only good feral tomcat is a tomcat with arrow through an it's head. Vet of the Year award ... gladly accepted."

Yes, this bitch is a VET.

The State of Texas claims there is nothing they can do to stop her. While she lost her job in Brenham, Texas, because of this, she can still practice veterinary medicine. She has moved to Wyoming, where she is trying to start a business called Lazy Boot Equine, so she can make a living tending to horses (and hopefully not shooting them).

I don't want her to make a living treating any living being. I want her to be buried under a ton of student loan payments as she tries to pay for an expensive education she can never use.

So spread the word! Make sure the name Lazy Boot Equine,
which she owns, is forever tied to her horrible behavior. And please, sign this petition to help persuade the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners to take another look at her license.

I posted the link to his petition on my Facebook and got NOWHERE! I'm hoping that the people who stop by this blog will be more sensitive. (I know there are about 20 of your who come by each day and read but don't comment. That's cool, you're completely welcome here. And if you happen to sign this petition, I won't know. But trust me, you'll feel better.)

The petition shows the ugly photo of Tiger, dead on the end of an arrow. Here's Tiger at a happier time. He was loved and deserved better than he got.

Rest in peace, Tiger

Sunday Stealing


Do you have a sensitive gag reflex?  Nope.

Where are you the most ticklish? My armpits 

What was the last situation to upset you?  Work. I have such a love-hate relationship with my job right now.
Have you ever had an online argument? Yes
Do you like to listen to music while filling out surveys?  I have, but I'm not just now

How long do you spend on the phone each day, on average?  Less than hour talking. Probably an hour altogether, when you factor in texting.

Is anything in your hair right now, like gel, hairspray, etc.? A little mousse.
When was the last time you were up before the sun? Do you like wearing sunglasses? Why or
why not?  This morning I was up before the sun. My cat Reynaldo saw to that. And I looooove wearing sunglasses. First of all, I have to. I damaged my eyes decades ago and am very light sensitive. Secondly, they are my favorite fashion accessory. Here's a pair of Cub sunglasses that I received recently from my blog buddy, Snarkypants.

Last show you watched?  A Law & Order rerun on TNT

Next vacation you’re going on? Vegas in November for my birthday
Do you regret doing anything you’ve done this week? I regret not moving more, not making it to the gym this week.
Last night you felt?  Fine
What are you wearing right now?  What I slept in: my long, gold Key West Scuba t-shirt
Have you ever kissed underneath the stars?  Yes
What are you doing now?  This meme

What plans do you have for tonight? Watching the Emmys. Because I'll get to see this.

What’s the very first thing you do when you wake up, other than breathe?  Try to recall if it's a weekday or a weekend.
Do you like reading?  Of course!
Do you ever think about stuff and start crying?  I have.
Have you ever kicked a vending machine? I have kicked many things.

Do people consider you smart?  Yes
Have you ever stayed online for a very long time waiting for someone?  I've checked and refreshed my email often waiting for someone. Does that count?

Do you tend to be aware of what is going on around you?  When I'm out and about, yes.

How much money did you spend yesterday?  About $75.

Is there anything in your past that you’d like to try again? Yes.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

September Quiz -- Day 19

Day 19: OMG!

Oh, my God, I'm interested in numbers! And I hate math more than I hate nuclear war.

Right now the two numbers obsessing me are 5 and 0.5.

5 = Five straight wins, and against the two teams the Cubs need most to beat: The Pirates and the Cards.

0.5 = Games we are behind the Pirates. This is important because it's becoming rather obvious that the Cubs and the Pirates are going to meet for a one-game wildcard playoff ... and the team with the best record gets home field advantage. Naturally, I want that all-important game to happen here:

Want to play along? Click here for the day's question.

Saturday 9

Time for Me to Fly (1978)

1) How often have you flown so far this year? Once, ORD to LAX and back again

2) Think back to your last flight. Was it pleasant, stressful, or just uneventful? I hated it. I hate flying.

3) According to the Airports Council International, the world’s busiest airport is Atlanta's Hartsfield. Have you ever been to Atlanta? Yes. There's a beautiful spa/vineyard there called Chateau Elan. I wish I was there now.

4) This week’s featured band, REO Speedwagon, took their name from a truck. Have you ever driven a truck? No.

5) REO Speedwagon got their start in Champaign, Illinois, which is home to the U of I campus and, consequently, many bars. One of the most popular is the Blind Pig on Walnut Street. Give us the name of the bar, club or restaurant where you met up with friends in your younger days. We partied at Ziggy's, a dive with an elephant motif. The owner/bartender's name was Frank, but he rechristened himself Ziggy in honor of a zoo elephant who suddenly, after decades of being placid, turned on his keeper. Ziggy reminded us young revelers that, while he was usually a nice guy, he too could get rough if the spirit moved him. I remember spending Friday nights at the bar, drinking Yago out of a plastic cup. The height of sophistication!

6) Recently, lead singer Kevin Cronin appeared on an infomercial, hawking TimeLife’s two CD set of Ultimate Rock Ballads. Have you ever purchased anything from TV? Endless Summer by The Beach Boys

7) This song is from the CD, You Can Tune a Piano, but You Can’t Tunafish. Is there a can of tuna in your kitchen right now? Yes

8) You Can Tuna Piano, but You Can’t Tunafish is available on eBay on vinyl, CD, cassette and 8 track. Did you have an 8 track player? My dad thought they were the wave of the future, so I got the player and a few 8 tracks for Christmas. I preferred by vinyl, though.

9) In 1978, when this song was popular, the first Susan B. Anthony Dollar was minted. How much do you have in coins in your wallet right now? That would entail getting up and looking, and I'm sorry but that just isn't going to happen.

Friday, September 18, 2015

September Quiz -- Days 16, 17 and 18

Day 16: The last party I went to was thrown by:

I don't recall. I truly can't think of the last party I attended.

Day 17: What went perfectly about my day?

That would, of course, be my Cubs! My heroes in blue are enjoying a late-season surge, and it's given me playoff fever.

Day 18: How old do I feel?

Right now, at this moment, I feel like a woman in her 50s. (Which I am.)

Want to play along? Click here for the day's question.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


This meme is no more. And yet I persist in answering the three questions it asked each week. Stubborn, ain't I?

1. What are you currently reading? Kill & Tell by Linda Howard. From Publisher's Weekly, "Bestselling author Howard meshes hot sex, emotional impact and gripping tension in this perfect example of what romantic suspense ought to be." I just started it last night and am on page 11, so it's not right for me to say if this is true or not. But I'm up for some mind candy, so let's hope Kill & Tell lives up to the review.

2. What did you just finish reading? Calico Joe by John Grisham. A lovely little book about courage, integrity, filial bonds, and baseball. Lots of baseball. You don't have to love the Cubs like I do to enjoy this book. On the other hand, everyone should love the Cubs like I do.

3. What will you read next? I'm looking at some Agatha Christies.

Ssptember Quiz -- Day 15

The last thing I said to another person was... 

"Thank you" to the conductor who punched my train ticket.

Want to play along? Click here for the day's question.

Monday, September 14, 2015

He's so good it makes me sad

Christopher Reeve is indelibly etched into our national consciousness, first as Superman, and then as America's most inspirational disabled citizen. Those images are so powerful that it's easy to forget he had a career in between.

Right now I'm watching him in Death Trap, a lightweight murder mystery starring Michael Caine. Christopher Reeve is the best thing in it. Playing a character who couldn't be farther from the Man of Steel, he's savvy and graceful and perverse. It was a daring career choice for the man who personified "truth, justice and the American Way."

He so obviously loved acting. I wish he'd had the opportunity to do more. It's aching to think of how his life unfolded and ended.

With all due apologies to the Eagles ...

... I've got an unpeaceful, uneasy feeling.

Christine the Mole was warm and friendly today. (So unlike her.) Our department head, Mr. Big, was all anticipatory glee when he asked when my boss would be back from vacation. (Tomorrow.) And Katie, our team member who works remotely on site with our client downstate is suddenly coming up here "for a day or two." (Usually her trips are planned out in advance and have a definite agenda.)

Uh oh.

I fear that tomorrow it will become official and Christine the Mole will replace Long Tall Sally.

This is not good. She's petty. She's negative. She's political. And she's always so mired in the small stuff that she doesn't see the big picture, and we desperately need a big picture thinker.

Let's all fervently hope that I'm 100%, completely wrong on this.

I wish the Cubs were playing tonight. I need the distraction!

Who knew?

Because this weekend featured my favorite, FAVORITE weather -- 65º and sunny -- I was going to take Reynaldo to the park. He likes the park, likes watching the plants and squirrels and people from the vantage point of his carrier. (I never let him out because there are always dogs there, too.) Being alert like that chills him out somewhat and helps alleviate the inevitable evening mano-a-feline conflicts.

But Sunday we did not enjoy our little adventure, as planned. When I did a little test run through the park, I discovered a festival going on. Chicagoland's Pagan community was having their annual event. There were incense and crystals, psychic readings, dissertations on prejudice and religious beliefs and a willingness to answer questions about their way of life. They were also doing a wonderful job of collecting canned good for local food pantries -- a cause that's near and dear to my heart.

I am very proud of the fact that they felt welcome in my hometown. We don't have a state religion in this country, and I'm old-school patriotic about that wise and brave stance.* I'm also secure in my Christianity and, while I'm humbled by and grateful for the guidance and comfort my faith reliably provides, I'm not threatened by those who don't worship as I do.

I was surprised that there was such a flourishing pagan community here in Chicagoland. Who knew?

*Especially when watching the burlesque that's going on with that Kentucky county clerk, who exhibits no respect for the heritage of the separation between Church and State.