Thursday, March 31, 2016


I can't stop thinking about my friend Barb. She has cancer. She has cancer. The enormity of it overwhelms me. I can't even begin to imagine what it's like for her.

Next Wednesday she's having a double mastectomy. The one time we talked about it at length, she seemed more interested in the reconstructive surgery than the disease. Maybe she's worried about how her husband will respond to her. Maybe it's her way of facing forward. At any rate, I'm taking my cues from her. If the plastic surgery is her focus, then it's mine, too.

Since she's my theater buddy, I got her this nightshirt to wear during her recovery. It's loose, so it should be comfortable. It's cheap, so if anything leaks on it or stains it, it won't be any great loss. And she knows it's something chosen by me expressly for her.

It's that personal touch that makes me so happy with this purchase.

Farewell, Jen Lancaster

My home is overrun by books. I love them. But I plan to celebrate my new sofa by having my living room painted, so some of these books and magazines simply have to go. Any books that can't be housed in the den have to be "re-homed."

Since I hate to part with any of them, it's slow going. That slim volume of Agatha Christie short stories? Sure, I could get rid of it. After all, once you know whodunnit, there's little point in rereading. But these were my first Marple mysteries! Just holding the book with the ladylike lavender dust jacket made me recall how delighted I was to finally make Miss Marple's acquaintance. You see the problem.

On the other hand, I'm glad to be getting rid of my Jen Lancaster books. She an undeniably talented local author I read obsessively for a while … until I noticed the quality of her books taking a slow dive and discovered through her social media/online presence that her self absorption wasn't leavened with self awareness. Getting rid of her stuff feels like an exorcism, giving me the high that "decluttering" articles always promise.

I'd never throw any book away. That's why I'm putting them in my neighbor's Little Free Library for someone else to take and enjoy. It might make Jen Lancaster happy to know that, in my bluer-than-blue community, she has a crack at changing more progressive little minds.

As the lady herself once said:

“No one’s going to be won over by my spouting dogma in my books because that’s not why people buy my stuff. I don’t write essays on why liberalism doesn’t work or why Obama’s taking us down a slippery slope. People read my books to laugh, so that’s my goal. But if my goofy little stories just happen to emphasize conservative values like morality, self-determination, and liberty, well… let’s just say that’s not unintentional.”

Yeah, those are exclusively conservative values and completely foreign to us libs. Did I mention how satisfying it is that others will be getting her books but she won't be getting royalties? Who says liberalism doesn't work? Tee hee.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

"Yes" in the face of "no"

I went to church today for the first time in ages.

I have a pretty consistent relationship with God and pray often in the form of an ongoing dialog. Today, though, is a holy day and I wanted to honor the relationship with something more formalized. So I headed off to service.

It wasn't my church, though. My church is under construction, has been for months and months and will continue to be for months and months more. The renovation is tricky because the structure is a landmark, and the materials and techniques used can't be those familiar to denizens of Home Depot. So in the interim, my minister has been holding services at the Lutheran church on the other side of town. I am grateful to that church community for opening its doors so generously to another faith -- what a kind and very Christian thing to do! -- but it's not the same.

Still, I'm glad I went. The sermon was very valuable to me. Our minister brought the tale of the Resurrection into our daily lives by calling it the eternal and most passionate "yes" ever in the face of "no." She reminded us that we all, unfortunately, have occasion to stare down "no" with optimism and love.

It was the not the message I expectedon Easter, for this was an imaginative spin I'd never heard before, but it was very good for me at this point in my life. When she talked about love, and how it's love that survives death, I surprised myself by reflexively touching the pew immediately to my right. For that is where my Joey would glue himself to my side. I miss that old tomcat so very much, and he was all about love. Even in his painful, dying moments, he literally reached out to me with affection.

Later I reached for the Atocha replica coin pendant I wore to church this morning. The Atocha was a ship that went down off the Florida Keys in the 17th century. My uncle was a student of that shipwreck and had an actual coin from treasure, worth thousands of dollars. I bought this little coin pendant when I was missing him during a holiday of my own in Key West. Anyway, why did I wear it today? I selected it for the way it looked against the neckline of the blouse I chose this morning. And yet during the sermon, I fingered it like a talisman. My uncle was a far from perfect man -- a distant father, a mercurial husband, a ruthless businessman. But he was my godfather and as good to me as he knew how to be. I've never known why he was as uncharacteristically kind and supportive to me as he was, but I've always been grateful. I miss him.

So Joey and Ted -- their love survives as a "yes" in the face of "no."

And right now, when my life feels so full of aches and pains -- loved ones who are ill, loved ones who are suffering, my own perplexing health -- I have to muster the positivity to face the ongoing no's. I can do it.

Sunday Stealing

Easter Meme
Five Things I Have a Passion for: 

•  American history. For example, I was tickled to discover this fellow. He is the earliest American Easter bunny, painted on a tile as a gift to a child, from approximately 1795. I love this stuff.

•  Animal welfare. Cats and dogs are like corks on the water, they go where the waves (or we) send them. That makes us responsible for their health and happiness. I feel this keenly.

•  The Beatles. The Lads from Liverpool shaped my world view of just about everything, and I'm eternally grateful.

•  The 1960s. The Beatles. Civil Rights. The Kennedys. Motown. The space race. It's the decade that changed everything. I can't get enough of what we now call "mid-century."

•  The Cubs. This could be the year!

Five Things I'd Like to Learn Before I Die: 

•  Spanish
•  Organization
•  Self discipline
•  Technology (I admit I'm having a hard time keeping up)
•   Um .... You got me on #5

Five Things I Say A Lot:

•  Where are my sunglasses?
•  What the fuck?
•  Sorry I'm so late.
•  Why do they hate us? (In regards to management sticking four of us in a crappy clown car of an office)
•  I could, if I was someone else entirely!

Five Books and/or Magazines I Have Read Lately: 

•  White Collar Girl by Renee Rosen (Novel)
•  Talk Show/Brief Encounters by Dick Cavett (Memoirs)
•  Cheap Shot by Ace Atkins (Mystery)
•  Franklin and Lucy by Joseph Persico (Biography)
•  US and People (because I love William, Kate, George and Charlotte)

The Italian poster
Five Favorite Movies:

•  The Way We Were
•  Mary Poppins
•  Psycho
•  Summer Stock
•  A Hard Day's Night

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: I Don't Know How to Love Him (1971)

1) This song is from Jesus Christ, Superstar. Though now a beloved classic, the play was controversial when it first premiered. Can you think of something else that originally made people uncomfortable, but went on to be accepted? While I now consider him a national treasure, I was initially very unhappy when Bill Murray replaced Chevy Chase on SNL.

2) Jesus Christ, Superstar was originally developed as a "concept album," a collection of songs written to sequentially tell the story of The Crucifixion and Resurrection. Do you remember the first album you bought? Did you download it, listen to it on a CD player, your cassette deck, or record player? Meet the Beatles. Not only was it on vinyl, it was monaural.

3) When the album's songs were performed live in concert at the Pennsylvania Civic Arena, producers decided to stage it as a play and the rest, as they say, is history. Tell us about a really good idea you've had recently. It had to do with my client's website.

4) Jesus Christ, Superstar is a truly international phenomenon. During a revival tour that began in 2011, it's been a hit with audiences in the United States, Canada, Britain, Ireland, Brazil, Hungary, India, New Zealand, Italy, France, Mexico, Chile, Bulgaria, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Iceland, Russia, Poland, Czech Republic, Greece, Australia, The Philippines, South Africa, Panama, Colombia, Croatia, Bolivia, The Netherlands and Portugal. Besides the United States, which of those countries have you visited? Canada and France.

5) Peeps are big sellers every Easter. Would you rather have yellow chicks or pink bunnies? I'd rather have Girl Scout cookies. It's that time of year, too.

6) Jelly beans are also popular this time of year. One theory says they were introduced in Boston during the 19th century. What else comes to mind when you think of Boston? The John F. Kennedy Library and Museum. At a time when the GOP frontrunner somehow feels it's appropriate to make fun of a reporter with special needs and uses Twitter to mock his opponent's wife, it helps to remember when we aspired to more.

7) We've been talking a lot about sweets this morning. The only holiday that generates more candy sales is Halloween. When do you eat more candy: Easter or Halloween? Halloween. Beginning November 1, those "fun size" candy bars are everywhere at the office.

8) Easter lilies will adorn many churches this Sunday. What's your favorite flower? I like carnations and mums because they're both pretty and hearty. There's usually a vase filled with them on my desk.

9) Easter is considered the season of rebirth. What makes you feel refreshed or rejuvenated? Washing my hair.

The Sound of Silence

Friday evening at about 7:00 I headed off to the washateria. I hate doing laundry under the best circumstances, hauling my clothes up the street does not constitute "the best circumstances," and I wanted to get this unpleasantness out of the way.

When I got there, it was full. Yet I got three washers (dark, whites, mixed) side-by-side-by-side. That's because everyone in the Friday night/after work laundry crowd was already drying. Which meant that by the time I got to the dryers, everyone had gone home.


I was catching up with William and Kate and George and Charlotte in US magazine when I suddenly noticed the silence. I heard the whirring of my two dryers and the sloshing of the attendant's mop and that was it. When I sneezed -- fabric softeners sheets will do that to me -- the attendant seemed startled that I was still there. After she blessed me, she commented on the quiet. We exchanged smiles, and then I started to get creeped out.

A pair of young men without laundry came in. I couldn't hear what they asked the attendant, nor could I make out her response, but they weren't happy and I was glad when they left. As I began folding I realized two things: 1) I was scared and 2) I didn't want to leave her there alone. Though what I could do to keep the attendant safer is a mystery, isn't it?

As I was packing up to go, I was thrilled when a big guy joined us. He was distracted and on his phone, there to retrieve clothes he'd left in the dryer a while ago. I was glad he was there.

By the time I left, my instincts were really humming with "Danger! Danger!" I'm worried about the attendant, being alone there overnights. That's a crappy job she has.

And I cannot wait for our condo association to finally replace the machines here in the building.

Friday, March 25, 2016

He hurts

My nephew is in so much pain these days that on Monday night he contemplated suicide. Again. I don't know the details, but I am relieved to report that as his thoughts dove into darker and ever darker water, he went to his parents' room, tearfully woke them up, and asked for help.

My sister thinks the problem is the Prozac he began taking after the holidays. Perhaps. I have an embedded distrust of psychiatrists. Those meds are powerful and often psychiatrists are too too quick to prescribe them. Not all depression is biological, a lot of it is situational and requires long, hard work with a psychologist. I was bothered that my nephew's doctor was so quick to prescribe something as potent as Prozac to a teenager he barely knew, but my nephew is my sister's child -- not mine -- and I've learned that often a barren spinster's perspective is not welcome.

At any rate, my sister shared that she's also taking him to a psychologist, twice a week, that he really likes. This is positive. The doctor is getting to know my nephew and believes that the kid is too sensitive, expects too much of himself, and puts himself last. I agree with that assessment. I know he hates it that he's not on the honor roll anymore. This feels earth shattering to him, in part because he's worried about money and how he will pay for college.

I don't know much more because I didn't ask. I don't want him to feel piteously exposed. (He's 15 after all, an age where embarrassment really can feel fatal.) I just told my sister to tell him that I love him, that I'm no stranger to depression/meds/therapy, and that there isn't anything I wouldn't do for him. She said she would.

If I don't hear from him in a couple weeks, I'll call him and invite him to lunch.

He is a sweet boy, tender to the max. He's smart, but he's not the brainiac his sister is. Nor does he have her inherent toughness. He's nicer though. Watching them grow up, it's occurred to me that their lives would be easier if they could swap -- giving him the more conventional, tough traits and her the softer, kinder ones.

At any rate, I hope he's OK. He deserves to be. He is a lovely person.

And 2016 continues to be a terrible year.

Thursday, March 24, 2016


I had a nightmare the other night that has stayed with me.

In the dream, I reunited with a former lover, a man I was crazy about back in the day. Even though he was politically conservative, I respected his intellect and trusted his heart. I don't know recall the dreamy details, but somehow we each ended up at the same ski resort, encountered one another, and picked up where we left off decades ago.

We're having a wonderful time and he checks his watch. He tells me to wait here, he has to do something, he'll be right back. He's gone longer than I expected him to be and I go looking for him. Remember, this is a hotel so there are many meeting rooms and showrooms. I open door after door, looking for him. Most of the rooms held conferences, with men in collared shirts giving power point presentations.

But the room where I found him was a small one, and what I found him doing was horrifying. He saw me see him and he pushed me into the hall. A moment later, back in street clothes, he told me that it wasn't what I thought it was. That's all I remember.

I know it was only a dream. I have no reason to believe that at heart he isn't still the same good Catholic boy I knew. Wherever he is, I hope he's happy.

Dreams are about symbols, so what is my lover symbolizing? My guess is that this nightmare was my subconscious' way of processing Trump. I can't believe that 40% of GOP primary voters are actually voting for the man. It's frightening, and feels far more dangerous to our way of life than ISIS. I have always believed that what we do to one another in this country is worse than what it is done to us. We pull together after we're attacked by outsiders and after 9/11, after Pearl Harbor we came back stronger. We let insiders like Trump and George Wallace pull us apart and damage our national fabric. 


Just in time for Easter, I'm a bit like this bunny. It finally feels safe to peer out of the hole I was in and tentatively sniff the air. I'm re-entering the world and taking charge of my life again.

Wednesday was not a good day for me, gastronomically. I had Chinese food and that might not have been the wisest choice. But other than that, things have improved in the bathroom. I was so sick for so long that it's easy to be fooled into settling for this. I have to remember that I'm still not well, and the responsible thing to do would be to discuss my ongoing tummy issues with the specialist next month.

While I'm still depressed about not being able to finish my long-planned bathroom renovation, I'm determined not to let it ruin my outlook. I mean, this is my home. I live here. I spend an enormous amount of time in my living room, and it's hideous. Messy. Cluttered. Walls are gouged and dirty. Sofa is a wreck.

I already ordered a new, custom made sofa -- which I spent more on than I would have, had I known the expensive special assessment coming. That's galling, I admit. But the upside is that it will be exactly what I want. So why not make this the centerpiece of the room? Why not sort through everything, organize much and dispose of a lot? Having the walls repaired and repainted will cost a lot less than the bathroom remodel. I've got a table of framed photographs that I can have made into a collage to hang on the fresh walls.

It will take energy to do this. I still crash every night after work. I've been sick for so long, it's really had an impact on my quality of life. But I'm starting to work out again -- at least twice a week, which I will increase to 3x in April.

There's no denying that the first quarter of 2016 has sucked. But that means 75% of the year is still waiting to roll out before me. While there's much I can't control, there's a lot I can. And so I will. I will get out, get up, get better.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Sunday Stealing

The Currently Meme

Currently, I am ...
  • Reading The Chairman, the second volume of the Kaplan's Sinatra biography
  • Writing a series of emails on behalf of my client. It's boring, but it's incremental billing.
  • Playing a lot of Farmville 2.
  • Watching a documentary about the Bee Gees. I didn't know Maurice pronounced his name "Morris."
  • Trying to stay upbeat
  • Cooking What is this cooking of which you speak?
  • Drinking ginger ale
  • Calling The only call I made today was to the local consignment shop. They sold one of my sweaters, so I have a store credit for $8 I can use ... maybe for a necklace or a ring. They often have nice jewelry there.
  • Pinning I haven't visited my Pinterest account in, like, forever
  • Tweeting Ditto
  • Crafting an excuse to not do housework
  • Doing Sunday Stealing
  • Going to Carson's tomorrow. It's The Goodwill Sale. Yea! I will divest myself of a pair of perfectly usable tennis shoes and some linens and come home with nice, new things.
  • Loving being able to eat again. I was on a restricted diet for more than two months and I appreciate food so much more now.
  • Hating my home. I have to get my mind around the fact that I can't finish my bathroom remodel. It's hard. I was really looking forward to it.
  • Re-Discovering ... hmm ... nothing comes to mind. Sorry.
  • Enjoying dreaming that I'm the one with the lottery ticket worth $27 million. Until I check it, I can continue to fantasize that it's me.
  • Thinking that I want that drumstick in the refrigerator.
  • Feeling like something good is bound to happen.
  • Missing baseball. Cubs opening day is April 4!
  • Hoping to find the perfect gift for my niece's graduation. She's finally done with culinary school. I know she wants cash, but I'd like to give her something whimsical along with the check. Something like these earrings.
  • Listening to a commercial for Myrbetriq, a drug for overactive bladder. Really. That's what's on!
  • Celebrating that I'm starting to feel better and stronger
  • Smelling that chicken in the kitchen
  • Thanking God that my cats, Connie and Reynaldo, are healthy and happy
  • Considering knocking off another chapter in that Sinatra book
  • Starting to think about my spring pedi. I'm leaning toward an opaque beige.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Of course, back then I had a cuter rack

Alas, no longer me
It occurred to me today that I'm living the same life I had when I was 19. Only in those days, my bust was perkier.

When I was 19, I was living in a place that was falling apart. Ditto. Back then, I wasted 2-3 hours every weekend at the laundromat. And guess where I spent this sunny Saturday? At the same laundromat! Naturally, I hated it. On the other hand, I'm a little glad that it's still there.

What was then an Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips franchise is now a Wendy's, where I got a completely adequate burger. However, since burgers are are still a rather new addition to my 2016 diet, I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Three washers used to cost me 17 quarters ($4.25), and today I had to plug in a staggering 41 coins ($10.25). I lost track of how much I spent on the dryers.

Today I brought my own Lysol wipes. This is an enhancement over the olden days, when I had to wipe down the folding table with a damp paper towel.

I was the only Caucasian there today. Besides an Asian man who worked there, everyone there was African American. I wasn't uncomfortable, but I was aware. I thought about my friend John. He regularly points out, "Once again, I'm the only black man at the table." Today I was the only white woman.

Oh well. It's done. Hopefully, but next week we'll have new washers here at my condo. If not, well, I have two weeks worth of clean clothes to tide me over.

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Kiss from a Rose (1996)
1) This song is from the movie, Batman Forever. The movie Batman v. Superman will be out later this month. In that matchup, who do you support -- The Caped Crusader or The Man of Steel? I always choose Batman. And in my world, Adam West is the only Caped Crusader. He's just too completely awesome.


2) "Rose" became a popular name in the 19th century, when parents also began naming their daughters "Iris," "Violet," "Daisy" and "Lily." Do you know anyone who has a flower name? I have a cousin named Rose.

3) This week's artist, Seal, has something to fall back on. At his parents' insistence, before he pursued music he got an associate degree in architecture from a small college in Westminster. What's the last grade you completed? Twelve. I didn't last long at college. I only have a handful of credits.

4) Seal wrote this song back in the 1980s but didn't really like it very much. His producer discovered it when they were looking for material to complete Seal's second album and the result was several Grammys. Tell us about a time when something turned out better than you thought it would. I went to the dermatologist this week and passed my annual mole exam with flying colors!

5) Ex-wife Heidi Klum is not the only model in Seal's life. He also dated Tyra Banks. Can you name another famous model? Here's the one I grew up on.

6) Seal is currently involved with yet another model, Australian Erica Packer. Between them they have seven children. How many siblings do you have, and are you the oldest, youngest, or in the middle? I'm the middle daughter of three.

7) Seal's birthday was back on February 19. Let's think about your birthday. If you could have any type of cake you wanted, what would you request? I've always wanted a gingerbread birthday cake.

8) In 1996, when this song was popular, Lyle and Erik Menendez were found guilty of murdering their parents in a crime and trial that dominated the news in Los Angeles. What are people in your town talking about? The White Sox are having trouble in their clubhouse, with the players chafing under the rule of Vice President Kenny Williams.

9) Random question: There's an old saying, "Like nails on a blackboard." Sam can't recall ever hearing nails on a blackboard, but she knows she hates the sound of a dripping faucet. What sound bothers you the most? I hate, hate the sound of cardboard scratching against cardboard, like when you're assembling or breaking down a packing box.

Paul McCartney sent me flowers!

Fred from the mail room sat down in our clown car to watch me tear the paper away, saying, "I MUST see who sent the Gal flowers!"

The card read, "Sir Paul."

Fred simply refused to believe that the small bouquet of daisies and mums was from The Cute One.

Turns out they were from my oldest friend. She's been rather self-involved and absent lately, and was shocked when I responded to her "what's new?" with a list that included cancer, a car accident and an unexpected $5,000 expense in rapid succession.

So this gesture was not only to cheer me up, but to apologize for not being available when I needed her. I appreciate it on both counts.

What a lovely way to end the week.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Look! I'm smiling!

I feel the clouds slowly parting and smiling is a little easier. All because of our new Account Director, aka AD.

So far, he's everything I hoped he'd be. He's smart about marketing. He knows the products. With that combo, I'm certain to learn from him. He's unrelentingly positive. And he likes me.

People are nicer to me, now that AD is installed and clearly sees me as an asset. The new Mr. Big spoke to me today for the first time since he joined the agency in November. Honest. After four months. He admitted this, saying, "I suck." Well, yes, Mr. Big, you do. But the important thing is, he sought me out today. He told me that he knows how important I am and will continue to be to AD.

My boss treats me better when AD is within earshot. Apparently my boss wants AD to think that he and I have a casual and fun relationship. (Barf.) Other account execs are friendlier when AD is around, too.


I don't feel like going into it all right now, but 2016 has been shaping up as the worst year ever. I am so grateful for a bright spot.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Uh-oh! You know what this means

Yes, I'm taking my mail at The Stoney End.

This is the 16th time I've mentioned this song on my humble blog. Recorded definitively by Barbra Streisand, it includes the Laura Nyro lyric that encapsulates exactly how I feel when it seems life is getting away from me: "Never mind the forecast for the sky has lost control/and the fury and the broken thunder's come to match my raging soul."

I don't feel like detailing everything that's weighing on me right now. It does no good. If you're interested in the litany, this post is a good place to start. Right now it feels like everyone around me is hurting, like everything is spiraling downward, and I am helpless to stop any of it. So I decided to concentrate on what I can change. First on the list is my hideous bathroom.

It's half done. It's been half done for more than a year. New toilet, new sink, new medicine chest. Old bathroom tiles, old shower rod, old towel racks. I hate it. It's a depressing way to start the day. I was going to use my tax refund to finally, FINALLY finish it.

New tiles, new fixtures will come to $5,000. I got an estimate! I was excited, fantasizing about a new fresh, clean way to start the day.

Then the boom dropped. This building needs two new washers and dryers and a new elevator. There's a BIG special assessment coming.

There goes my new bathroom.

I know, I know. Compared to things like losing one's home or losing one's breasts, my problems are not as big those swirling around me.

I should value how much better my gut is doing. Finally. After all these months I think I'm getting better. I should concentrate on that more.

But I admit, I'm tired. This is just another thing. Just another rotten, unfair thing. The hits just keep on coming.

Monday, March 14, 2016

I timed it

My boss got back from vacation today. He spent what he claimed was a relaxing week in Mexico. Yet it took him just over two hours to be all exasperated and snarky with me.

I know he doesn't feel all that secure in the ground beneath his feet these days. I get it. But none of it is my fault.

Also, for reasons I don't feel like spelling out right now,* I'm not necessarily at my most pert and enthusiastic myself these days. It's going to take a lot of maturity and patience on my part to continue to pull the cart in double harness with this unhappy boss of mine.

*But if you've been reading, you know! And probably don't feel like reading about it again.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Sunday Stealing

Healthy Meme

When was the last time you got a nose bleed? I get minor ones all the time in winter and spring, when the air is dry.

Do you keep magazines by your toilet? Do people really do that?

If you were a waiter/waitress, would you make good tips? I've never worked food service because I'm sure I'd be terrible at it.

Have you ever stolen a road sign or traffic barrier? No. I can't imagine why I would want to.

What are the best kind of Girl Scout cookies? I enjoy Thin Mints, true, but I loooove those peanut butter sandwich cookies.

When was the last time you purchased alcohol? I haven't yet this year.

Do you find it attractive when a guy actually shows his feelings? Depends on what those feelings are.

Are you a fussy eater? I'm becoming one, as I've been battling a rather tenacious stomach bug for months now.

List everything you ate and drank today: Water, saltines, a Slim Fast shake ... Jealous, aren't you?

How are you sitting? On my fat ass

Waiting for something? No

Do you like pretzels? Sure

Do you wait until you’ve completely finished a certain makeup product before you buy a new one? I try to. I don't like waste.

Did you wake up before 8:00 a.m. this morning? Yes

Have you ever told anyone you were okay when you really weren’t? Yes

Do you have reason to cry right now? I suppose, but I'm not going there

How many sodas a week do you have? Too many! Lots and lots and lots.

Do you shop at Victoria’s Secret? No.

Are you into sports? Hey, hey, holy mackerel, no doubt about it! The Cubs are my team.

Can you easily touch your toes? More easily than I can touch someone else's.

What did the last shoes you wore look like? Five eyelet, white running shoes.

What do you currently hear? A political ad. We've got a primary Tuesday, so the airwaves are pretty well flooded with them right now.

Have you ever done yoga? Yes. It didn't go well. I have a hard time completely relaxing in a crowded room.

Do you text a lot? Not a lot.

Do you have a fax machine at home? No

Do you know anyone who has diabetes? Yes

Have you ever had to block anyone online? No

Are you afraid of thunder and lightning? No

Are you a shop-a-holic? Yes

Are you healthy? HA! Not since December 23. But I hope to be healthy again someday soon.

Good day/bad day

How to describe my Saturday? It was such a mixed bag!

First of all, I early voted. For Hillary. Which felt better than I thought it would. And for Kim Foxx, which I now regret. Here in Cook County we have three women running for States Attorney. The first is Anita Alvarez, and I believe she disqualified herself with her handling of the Laquan McDonald shooting. Then there's Donna More, who has to my ears the best plan for reforming bail/sentencing and getting guns off the street. Finally there's Kim Foxx, who is backed by The Machine but also endorsed by The Tribune and Dick Durbin, both of whom I respect. Looking at the polls, More can't win, so I voted for Foxx.

But now I think of my young nephew, who was absolutely glowing after attending a weekend Bernie Sanders rally. I don't share his enthusiasm for Sanders, but I completely admire his idealism. My vote for Foxx was cynical. I wish I could take it back.

I supported healthcare for infants ... and got a $1 shirt. There's a bi-monthly rummage sale here in town that supports a different local charity with every sale. I always mean to go, but my Saturday mornings get away from me. Yesterday I made it. I didn't spend any more than $1, but I was happy to be part of the event. The majority of my neighbors was there to support prenatal and early infant medical care. One girl, a college student on a strict budget, bought a garbage bag full of clothes for $19. "My spring wardrobe," she said grandly as she hefted the bag over her shoulder. Another woman was scoping the vases and wristwatches because she has gotten really valuable items here for $5 or less. Touchingly, an elderly couple was haggling over 2 pairs of pants for $1. Yes, all the signs say the prices are NOT NEGOTIABLE, because, after all, the sale is for charity. But the husband had just had surgery and lost a ton of weight, pounds his wife dearly hopes he'll soon gain back, so she only wanted one pair of the small-sized men's pants. 50¢ clearly made a difference to this couple's budget. I was willing to make up the difference, but this sort of thing can be sensitive because pride and dignity are involved. The volunteer who manned the register gave the couple the pants for 50¢. It was the second time this week that I realized I live exactly where I belong.

I broadened my diet, with disastrous results. A meatball sandwich for Saturday lunch. Who could have predicted what it would do to me Sunday morning? I'm so sick of being sick! I have an appointment with a new gastroenterologist next month. I am eager to discuss the path going forward with her.

It was good to get out. A few hours after my sandwich, I began to suspect it was a mistake. My first impulse was to get into my pajamas and take it easy. But you know, there's an emotional component to my malady, and sitting around being depressed that I was still sick isn't doing me any good. After all, this has been going on since December 23! I can't let this rule my life. So I took a quick nap (quick because Reynaldo was opposed to it), and went to a special Saturday night meeting of my movie club.

I still don't like Garbo. 1939 is the stuff of legend for classic movie fans. It gave us two of the best known, most loved and most familiar films of all time: The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind. Those two are such cultural juggernauts that they overshadow all the other phenomenal movies that were released that year. And so, throughout the year on Saturday nights, we're screening some of the others. Last night it was Ninotchka. I admit I got bored and even dozed for a few minutes. For me, Garbo's nowhere near as compelling The Great Kate or even Marlene. But what the hell. It was good to be in a room full of movie lovers, to get my geek on and talk about what I love with others who love it, too. My best meet-up buddy, Joanna, wasn't there, but I found myself talking to -- and being sought out by -- others in the group. That made me glad I went. My job has been the focal point of my life for so long that I don't often meet/connect with people not in the industry.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: See You Later, Alligator (1956)

1) Crazy Sam's mother is terrified of alligators. Just looking at a photo of one of those scaly reptiles gives her the creeps. Is there a member of the animal kingdom that scares you? Squirrels.

2) Gators are carnivores, but they aren't picky. If meat isn't handy, they'll munch on fruit. Are you particular about your diet? For example, do you try to eat gluten free, low sodium, etc.? No. I'm battling my way back from tummy trouble, and currently have to be careful with dairy, but I am hopeful that someday soon I'll be my old self again.

3) In Spain, this song was a hit under the title, "Hasta Luego, Cocodrilo." Say something else in Spanish. Bienvenido a Chicago, Sr. Trump.

4) When this week's artist, Bill Haley, was a little boy, he made a guitar out of cardboard and pretended to play that until his parents got him a real one. Tell us about something you wanted so badly when you were a kid. Blaze! He was the most completely awesome rocking horse ever. I will always remember rounding the corner and discovering him under the tree that Christmas when I was 4. Santa totally came through!

5) Early in his career, Bill did whatever it took to get the gig. When singing cowboys were popular, the Michigan native pretended to be a cowpoke and renamed himself, "Silver Yodeling Bill." Have you ever fudged on your resume or fibbed in an interview? No. But I recall with bemusement how unaccountably confident I was in my younger days. I remember being asked in an interview if I could write telemarketing scripts. I said "sure." I'd never written, or even seen, one before in my life, but that isn't what I was asked. I was so sure that, given an example, I could compose one. I got the job and I did fine with the scripts. But the older I get, the more spooked I become and I would not have answered that question the same way in an interview today.

6) When his career was going well, Bill was generous and loved to give extravagant parties at his home, which he called Melody Manor. Do you enjoy playing the host? No

7) Bill was blind in one eye, the result of a botched operation when he was a child. Since the blind eye wandered and didn't focus, he always wore a curl over the opposite eye, hoping to draw everyone's attention to the other side of his face. What is there about your appearance that leaves you self conscious? My chins. Both of them.

8) On the other hand, what is it about your appearance that pleases you, and that you would never change? My dimples. I didn't like them when I was younger, but now I appreciate them.

9) In 1956, when this song was a hit, Elvis Presley exploded onto the music scene and displaced Bill as rock's top artist. The press and public assumed Bill was jealous of Elvis, but in reality he liked Elvis a great deal. Are you jealous by nature? Not professionally. Personally, I have fallen victim to the green eyed monster.


Friday, March 11, 2016

Don't drag the Chicago Police Department into this

Donald Trump says the Chicago Police Department recommended he cancel tonight's rally at the UIC. Donald Trump is, once again, lying.

"A spokesperson for the Chicago Police Department tells ABC7 Eyewitness News the Chicago Police Department did not talk to the Trump campaign or tell them to cancel the event, and that the first police heard was at 6:30 p.m. when they were notified by UIC and Secret Service that the event was canceled."

The CPD has lots of high profile, disturbing problems. But they were not responsible for what you saw on TV tonight.

This is who I have been thinking about tonight. This is how you address a crowd of the angry and the heartbroken. This is how you "make America great again."

I love my little town

I fell in love with this village when I was still in high school. Connected to the city by two el lines, the bus and a commuter train, it's always near everything. It's racially diverse and politically progressive. It's always felt like home.

Because we're a village of dedicated tree huggers, recycling is heavily encouraged. For reasons too complicated and boring to go into, we were without recycling bins for about a week. I felt so bad about not doing my part for the polar bears and the future generations, that I brought a bag of paper with my on the train so I could recycle it at the office. Yes, I felt a little silly to be commuting with a bag of trash, but the silly was better than the guilt.

I was so freaking DELIGHTED to see the new recycling bin back behind my building!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

"At least we're not dead."

It was ridiculous that we were laughing. After all, none of it is funny. It's just that there was so fucking much of it that Barb and I were found ourselves in stitches.

I don't feel like detailing the litany of woes bedeviling me. If you want to read about it, you can find it here, and here, and here. I try to remain cheerful despite all that, but every now and again it washes over me that I have been in some degree of pain every day for nearly three months, with no concrete end in sight, and I feel overwhelmed and exhausted. Last night, I sat down to eat at a lovely restaurant with an expansive menu, and I was bloated and full and uncomfortable. Again. Still. I wanted to cry.

That's when Barb breezed in. She looked more distracted than usual, which I thought was work related. After all, after her biopsy last month, she shot me a text message saying the procedure had gone "just fine."

She hadn't lied exactly. The biopsy itself had gone "just fine." It's the results that took my breath away. She has cancer and will undergo a double mastectomy on April 6. My head was spinning as she explained her options for reconstructive surgery.

Complicating the situation is Barb's kid sister. They both tested positive for the BRCA gene and so her sister spun out at this news. Sis is also pressing the panic button about her teen daughter -- Barb's niece -- worrying that the high school student is a ticking breast cancer time bomb.

As we were packing up, leaving the restaurant to go to the theater, Barb commented that if one lowers the bar "way down low, we're actually lucky. At least we're not dead." As I juggled my handbag and computer bag, I countered that at least I've only got two bags -- the colostomy bag hasn't made three yet. This tickled us.

The play we saw was 42nd Street. It was nostalgic, predictable and silly and just what we needed. At one point during dinner I suggested we just blow it off. After all, it's just lighter than air. "You're going out a youngster but you've got to come back a STAR!" The score includes "Lullaby of Broadway" and "Shuffle Off to Buffalo." When I got home, I felt happier than I thought possible under the circumstances. Sometimes fluff does a body good.

But here's the thing I'm thinking the morning after. Barb has cancer. Mindy's husband has a bad ticker. My nephew is battling depression. My friends in the Keys are beyond broke. I pass my florist's shuttered door every morning. Joey's dead. I'm still sick.

I cannot believe how bad 2016 is turning out to be!

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Hey! I think I love you!

What has me channeling my inner Laurie Partridge? We have a new Account Director! AD, as I shall christen him, is taking the role previously played by Long Tall Sally and before her, The Chocolate Covered Spider. It's an important job, requiring both people kills and smarts, and we haven't had anyone good in this position for years. We've had petty, and overwhelmed, and batshit crazy, but not good.

I am extremely hopeful that AD will, indeed, turn out to be good. He's already asked smart questions, and already tried to build a relationship with me ... and he just started Monday!

I complain a lot about work, but that's because I really want to do a good job. And to do a good job, I need a competent Account Director. I hope that's exactly what AD turns out to be.