Friday, May 26, 2017

Sometimes it feels like work

Checking my Facebook feed is a long slog these days.

Some things make me smile. My old friend Tom got whisked away by his wife for a birthday weekend in Vegas, with their toddler daughter. The photos are adorable.* Who knew that, if done correctly, Vegas can be an affordable family getaway? Plus, it's wonderful to see Tom so happy. He's a really good man and it's delightful to watch him embrace fatherhood. Lana's really stuck with her 2017 fitness resolutions, and her "sticktoitiveness" not only makes me happy for her, it's beginning to inspire me.

But then Facebook makes my teeth hurt. "I'm going to tell you everything that annoys me, and then I'm going to do it myself." It makes want to scream when someone says, "I'm just not me without my coffee and a Stan's donut in the morning," followed by, "What makes anyone think I care about their dumbass post about where they had lunch?"

I don't mind the parental bragging and I'm enjoying the prom/graduation photos. I like the reposted vacation memories. I'm happy to post a sad emoji to show solidarity with a friend remembering a parent or a pet or another loss that tugs the heart. Yes, I'm jealous of Doreen's frequent SATC weekends with friends in New York, but I'm happy for her nevertheless. I'm with you on all that, Facebook Friends!

But the, "I hate all Republicans" followed by, "I hate intolerance" posts ... the posters who rightly go out of their way to respect Muslims and Jews and atheists/agnostics but then turn around and disrespect my faith by saying, "Sweet Jeebus" ... Sometimes I dread checking in with my 73 Facebook friends.

That's right. I have just over 70 "friends." The median number of Facebook friends is 200. I couldn't deal with that much hypocrisy on a daily basis.

I know my Facebook feed is not a reflection of me. My sisters and aunt can/do read it, so I have to be careful. But I hope that my superficiality doesn't translate to being an asshole.

My feed is, however, a reflection of how into the Cubs and the Royal Family I am. For up-to-the-minute trade rumors and adorable* pictures of George and Charlotte, Facebook can't be beat. So I suppose I should just get off my fucking soap box and get over myself.

*That's "adorable," not "adorbs." Another thing about Facebook that makes me cringe is intentional language mangling. How much time is actually saved by lopping off the "able" but adding an "s?" Or is saying "adorbs" actually adorable, and I just don't get it? And don't even get me started on "Mmmkay" for "OK."

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


WWW.WEDNESDAY asks three questions to prompt you to speak bookishly. To participate, and to see how other book lovers responded, click here.

1. What are you currently reading? Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. Oh, my, but this book is intense. A Chicago reporter is sent on assignment to the small Missouri town where she grew up. Young girls have been disappearing, and she's to use her hometown connections to get the story. The writing is wonderful. Ms. Flynn creates an  atmosphere so claustrophobic that after reading awhile I want to run outside and feel the sun on my face. This book is as dark and creepy as it is involving. As opposed to the tripe I just finished ... 

2. What did you recently finish reading? On Borrowed Time by Jenn McKinlay. This is one of the "Library Lovers" series. I know when I pick up one of these "cozy mysteries" that I'm not going to get breakneck action or a challenging character study. But this book requires such a suspension of disbelief that to accept it you'd have to be brain damaged.

For example, our heroine, Lindsay, has just seen her brother kidnapped. Now she and her ex-boyfriend are in a small boat, chasing after a much larger one through dark and dangerous waters. There's an explosion. Lindsey and Sully are almost killed and her brother and his captors are lost in the night. So what do you think she does?

Call the police? No. Fall apart? No. Have passionate, life-affirming sex with Sully? No. 

She sits in the kitchen with her landlady, Nancy, as Sully makes them all some of his famous hot chocolate. I believe there was mention of nutmeg and cinnamon. 

The entire book is just this dumb. Last fall I read an earlier book in the series -- Book, Line and Sinker -- and, taken on it's own terms, I enjoyed it. But this one is borderline insulting, and I finished it only out of misguided optimism and stubborness.

  3.  What will you read next? Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe.

Nail polish and mimosas

Here it is Wednesday and I'm just now catching the blogosphere up on my weekend!*

Saturday afternoon brought me to the salon for my 2017 pedi. I went back to the future and revisited my Fall 2014 color: OPI La-Paz-itively Hot. The weather has been chilly and gray so my pretty pink toes have not yet been able to dazzle the populace, but I love looking them. When I gaze upon my new pedi, I hear Beatle George in my head: "Little darling, it's been a long, cold lonely winter."

The Saturday Cub game was rained out. The unscheduled day off turned out to be a good thing for my guys, for Sunday afternoon's game was a blowout. Cubs 13 - Brewers 6. And the score makes it sound closer than it was.

Sunday afternoon also found me enjoying a mimosa at brunch with Nancy. It's the first time I've spent any time with her in months! For all that I've expressed wanting a closer relationship with her, I have been soooo lazy in pursuing it. Friendships take work. I must remember that.

Anyway, she's very happy these days, so it was nice to be around her. She told me about her trip with her kids to Hollywood to be a contestant on Jeopardy! She's legally unable to tell me how she did before the show airs this summer, but she was able to tell me all kinds of cool stuff about the taping. For example, Jeopardy! contestants stay at the same hotel and tape in the same studio as Wheel of Fortune contestants. These Jeopardy! folks -- who have never met before and would soon be competing against one another -- were united in feeling superior to the Wheel of Fortune contestants. Wheel of Fortune is all luck, "no brains required."

She's also happy and confident in her new job. I wish I was happy and confident in mine.It was fun to see her enjoying her life so much.

*Oh, blogosphere! How have you managed to roll along without hearing how I've spent my free time?

Saturday, May 20, 2017

She's kicking ass and taking names

Connie had a vet appointment this morning. Whoever would have thought that such a compact little body could emit so very many loud noises? She made it abundantly clear that being dragged from her napping spot under the bed, then stuffed in a carrier and taken out in the rain was not her idea of a good Saturday morning.

Once she got onto the examination table, she was a champ. Even though she had to submit to inoculations, the vet tech even got a purr out of her! Her eyes are clear, her teeth are not (yet) cause for concern, she's gained a pound. All good.

I appreciate the care my cats get at the vet. And I hope I don't return for another six months for Reynaldo's next check up.

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Him or Me -- What's It Gonna Be? (1967)

1) In this song, a man pleads with his girlfriend to make up her mind. Do you consider yourself decisive? With few exceptions, yes, I am decisive.

Since this song is all about either/or, we're using that as our theme this Saturday ...

2) Choose a condiment: Catsup or mustard? Catsup

3) Choose a sci-fi series: Star Wars or Star Trek? I don't really like sci-fi, but if forced to watch one, it would be Trek.

4) Choose your spy: James Bond or Jason Bourne? The Bourne saga has been a little too dark. I like young Pierce Brosnan in a tux, so I'll go with Bond. James Bond.

5) Choose your winter sport: Football or hockey? Hockey

6) Choose your breakfast: Pancakes or waffles? Waffles

7) Choose your side: French fries or potato chips? Now this one is hard. Usually fries, but sometimes I get such an urge for a nice, thin chip ...

8) Choose your chore: Washing dishes or doing laundry? I hate them both. But I'm actually very good at laundry, so I'll go with that one.

9) Choose your nextdoor neighbors: Munsters or Addams Family? Maybe Gomez would invite me over to play with his trains.

By the way, week's song reminds me of how much I like Mark Lindsay's voice. When I was a kid, he was insanely popular in 16 Magazine and I judged him on the body, bounce and shine of his ponytail. Turns out the Raiders were better than I remembered.  So I'm gonna listen to them again right now.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Donald Trump is off on his first international trip

I hope he does well. I really do. You should hope so, too.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love

My friends, Henry and Reg, celebrated their 26th anniversary by going to the Key West Courthouse and taking out a marriage license. They wanted it dated May 11, because it was on May 11, 1991, that Henry and his cat Saatchi moved into a house with Reg and his cat Koko. They've been together ever since.

On Monday, they went back to the courthouse and were married.

Their attitudes toward the ceremony were very different. For Henry, it was his wedding day. He insisted they get hair cuts and wear ties for the occasion. He was inspired to write a poem and couldn't stop thinking about/talking about the upcoming event.

For Reg, it was an annoyance. He wanted to get married, but not like this. His parents live in Maine and, since hip surgery, his father has trouble traveling. Reg wanted to wait until his parents could come down to Key West. But, in the age of Trump, Pence and Gorsuch, he was no longer confident that marrying would forever be his civil right and so he acquiesced to city hall. But he resented the trappings.

Because I'm closer to Henry, I made as big a fuss as I could. I called a local Key West florist and asked her to deliver a vase of peach and orange roses. I sat by the phone so I could "ooh" and "ahhh" after -- in Henry's words -- "the deed was done."

But in a way, I'm more like Reg. For these two didn't need a license or a ceremony to be married. They have been through so much together -- most notably Reg's hospitalization/health problems and Henry's major career setback and breakdown. They are so supportive of one another, so respectful of one another. They simply have to be an example of what God wants each of us to find.

Art complements life

Last night my movie group saw a mostly forgotten film from 1948 called Apartment for Peggy. It's a comedy-drama about postwar newlyweds, living on campus when he goes to college on the GI Bill. And I was totally into it.

Yes, William Holden was positively dreamy in 1948. But his was not the character who captured my imagination.

It was Edmund Gwenn as a retired philosophy professor who burrowed into my heart. His wife is dead. His son died in WWI. The college strongly suggested that it was time to retire. So he's rattling around in his big house, filled with ennui as he writes his "opus." (We're never told exactly what it is.) When the book is done, he calmly decides he's going to commit suicide.

He loved his wife and son, but they're gone. He traveled every year when he was a husband and father and saw much of the beauty the world has to offer. He loved teaching, but the college no longer wants him. When his book is done, he'll be done, too. It will have been a good life, ending on a high note. Why wait until he is sick and scared to go? Why not check out in his own way, on his own terms, as winter turns to spring?

His plans are upended when he meets the Peggy of the title. She's an exuberant 19-year-old bride, pregnant with her first baby, and she and her Navy vet husband have nowhere to live.  Literally nowhere. They are so desperate that they accept the tiny attic in the professor's home. He doesn't want them there, of course. But as long as he's still living on campus, the college can prevail upon him to take them in.

He gets involved with Peggy and her handsome hubby, and their dog and cat, and their preparations for their new baby and he experiences a renewed will to live and enjoy life.

Sound predictable? I suppose it was. But I was totally into it emotionally.

Because just as the lights went down, I learned that Pervy Walt died. Last summer, my 90-year-old neighbor was diagnosed with cancer. This year, over the last 5 months, he went to the hospital three times -- twice in an ambulance -- before this fourth and final hospitalization.

I'm glad he died in the hospital, hopefully with a lot of pain meds and a minister or nun nearby. I'd be lying if I said I'll miss him -- his behavior had gotten too creepy and inappropriate for that. But I wonder if he was like the professor at the beginning of the movie. I wonder if he was ready to go.

And I'm grateful to God and fate and my movie group and Hollywood for giving me Apartment for Peggy to help me work through my feelings.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Tears and Nosebleeds

Donald Trump is getting ready to take his first international trip as President. As I understand it, he's hitting Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Italy. I am sincerely worried about him ... and us. He has exhibited bad judgement recently, while sitting in his own home(s). What will happen to him when he's out of his comfort zone?

He's a 70-year-old man, after all. I remember the passages in Historic Conversations where First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy discussed her Spring 1962 trip to Pakistan and India. She clearly treasured the experience and was proud of how she represented her husband and her country on this solo trip abroad, but she went out of her way to include how exhausting the experience was.

At 32, she was less than half Trump's age. While the events on her schedule certainly had diplomatic import, there was nothing of consequence about policy. And yet she reported tears of exhaustion followed by nosebleeds before retiring every night.

Saudi Arabia, Israel, the Vatican ... what toll will these high profile stops with high powered leaders take on Donald Trump? Can he handle it?

BTW, here's a link to the Kennedy Library's film of Jackie's trip. I'm impressed by what a game performer she was when she stepped onto the public stage. You'd never know you were watching an inherently shy, admittedly exhausted woman who missed her small children desperately. I think her poise was fueled by her understanding of American history and respect for her place in it.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Sunday Stealing

 Sunday Stealing: The Getting to Know You Questions

1. What is your occupation right now? How long have you been there? I am an advertising writer. I've done it a very long time. My first ad was for Granny's Rheumatiz Remedy back in December 1861.
2. Favorite rock band. Ever.

Look how cute!
3. What are you listening to right now? George Stephanapolous is about to interview Ken Starr. Considering that George worked in the Clinton White House, this could be very weird.

4. Last person you spoke to on the phone. What was it about? My friends in Key West. They just took out their marriage license! YEA!

5. How old are you today? Or make up a question. This one bites. Do you believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone?

6. What is your favorite sport to watch on TV? Go, Cubs, go!

7. What is your favorite drink? Coke

8. Have you ever dyed your hair? I did it myself for decades. Right now I have highlights, and they're professionally done.

9. Favorite food? Last night I had shrimp and it was very good. So I'll say grilled shrimp with lemon butter.

10. What is the last movie you watched? Union Pacific (1939). It was fun -- a little too long -- but it was entertaining. Robert Preston and Joel McCrea reminded me of Newman and Redford.


11. Favorite day of the year? My birthday.

12. How do you vent anger? I drink and swear.
13. What was your favorite toy as a child? My Lassie dog. We were inseparable.

14. Living arrangements? (Of course your pets count. Geez!) Me, Reynaldo and Connie share this 2BR condo.

15. What was the last thing that you cried about? I thought Reynaldo was sick. He wasn't.

16. Who is the friend you have had the longest? I've known my oldest friend for 55 years.

17. What did you do last night? I saw Union Pacific and then went out for dinner with members of my movie group.

18. What are you most afraid of? Airline travel.

19. In how many areas of your country have you lived? What's your favorite? Just this one. Obviously it suits me.

20. What is your favorite flower? (Ugh. Quite the note to go out on. But hell, we steal the questions. I guess you get what you pay for.) I like carnations. They're pretty and they last.


Why I'm mad at myself

So far this year, I've spent $300 on Cubs tickets.  $100 for a seat for the game I'm going to with John in June. $200 for two seats for the game I'm taking my nephew to in July.

And that's for the tickets alone. I'll spend more on hotdogs, beer, Cracker Jack, etc.

I am stunned by how expensive it is to go to The Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field. I get it, of course. My team is crazy popular* and it plays in one of the smaller parks. Intellectually understanding it doesn't mean I accept it emotionally, especially as I'm trying to economize.

And this is part of why I'm mad at myself over Friday. I stopped at the ATM for weekend cash. A woman approached me -- invading my space and making me uncomfortable -- and started to tell me about how little her job at Walgreens pays her.

"Ma'am," I said, cutting her off, "I've had a long week and I've got a train to catch. Here." I gave her the dollar I had in my pocket. I'd intended to add it to my transit card, but I figured it would help her more ... and make her get away from me.

She just stared at George Washington but didn't thank me. "If you don't want it, give it back," I snapped.

"I want it," she said, "but it's not enough."

"Then give it back," I repeated.

"Oh, I want it."

"Look, I didn't have to stop for you," I said, walking past her.

"Thank you, ma'am," she called after me.

"Finally!" I said, over my shoulder.

Look, I didn't have to stop for you. Oh, listen to me. I'm such a fucking saint because I broke my stride and acknowledged a fellow human being.

Did I have to cut her off and put the dollar in her hand? Maybe she wanted to be heard.

And haven't I just spent $300 on Cubs tickets? If I can afford that, why shouldn't I help the less fortunate?

I worry about my finances and my future. I hope if I'm ever in her position -- and I may well be -- I hope I meet someone who has a kinder heart than I did Friday.

I know that it's done. I know that I can't undo it. I know that many people wouldn't give her anything at all. And I know her aggressive approach and attitude added to the situation. All of this is true, and I can't change any of it.

But I can change my heart.

Someone once asked my what I "got" from being a believer, from being a Christian. Yes, I believe in Eternal Life and His unconditional love. But there's also this: I want to make choices that would make Christ happy. I didn't do that Friday. That's why the incident has been a constant discomfort, like a pebble in my shoe, ever since.

*Though my heroes aren't doing so well in the standings just now.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Saturday 9

Mama Can't Buy You Love (1979)

1) This week's artist, Elton John, was made an Office of Arts and Letters -- one of France's highest honors for people who have contributed significantly to the arts. What's the most recent compliment you received? The two other members of my condo board told me last night they didn't believe I was "anywhere near" as old as I say I am. I'd like to say it's because of my youthful, dewy appearance, but I suspect it's because of my casual use of profanity. Oh well, a compliment is a compliment and I accept it ... as graciously as shit, if I do say so myself.
2) In 2013, Elton had to cancel an international concert tour because he had an appendectomy. Do you still have your appendix? Yes.

3) In 1979, Elton John was the first Western rock star to tour the Soviet Union. Would you like to visit Russia? There are places I'm more eager to visit.

4) Elton and his mother hadn't spoken in years but he reached out to her and healed their beach in honor of her 90th birthday in 2015. Who is the oldest person you know? The neighbor at the end of the hallway is 90.

5) Flowers and plants are popular on Mother's Day. How is your yard or garden? Is it green and/or blooming? I don't have a much of a garden here, but I recently walked past my old apartment building and was heartened to see how green everything was. And then I got sad. One of the younger trees (maybe 20 years old?) is probably coming down soon. There's a shopping center going up in the lot next door and the poor tree is pretty close to where ground will broken. It left me melancholy to see it waving blithely in the breeze, unaware of its upcoming fate.
6) Mother's Day is a big holiday for card shops. So are birthdays, weddings, and St. Patrick's Day. Hallmark sells greetings for everything from "Congratulations on Your New Job" to "Happy Retirement." Who received the most recent card you bought? Our admin, for Administrative Professionals Day last month.

7) Sam's mother is very careful when she unwraps presents because she likes to save
money by to reusing wrapping paper and gift bags. Tell us one way that you economize. Chicago now has a 7¢ bag tax. To avoid it, I've got a plastic bag in the bottom of my purse in all times.

8) Mother Winters used to scold Crazy Sam for leaving her dirty dishes in the sink. Sam admits it: as a grown up, she still leaves dirty dishes in the sink. How about you? Is your sink or dishwasher empty? I've got a plate, some silver and some tupperware in the sink right now.

9) RANDOM QUESTION: What size mattress do you sleep on -- twin, full, queen or king? Full. And I need to buy a new one. The one I have is ten years old and much the worse for wear.

ONEWORD: Struggling with My Focus

Yup, this photo just about sums it up.

Chuck, an art director I once worked with, explains this away by saying we're creatives, and a creative's brain is like his or her desktop: we always have too many windows open at once.

OK, that's an explanation, but not an excuse. I have to concentrate on the task at hand and blot out the rest.

Which is why I've just moved that dermatologist bill (dated 4/11 -- GULP!) to my purse, which brings me one step closer to calling their office on Monday. They only billed me for one visit with one doctor, when I had two separate visits with two different doctors in the same practice. I want to know if the second bill is forthcoming and I'll pay them both together. But I imagine my lack of focus makes me appear to them like someone who doesn't intend to pay at all.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you

I know, I know. My Facebook feed includes progressives. I'm aware that John McCain is a popular punching bag. He's grumpy. He has exhibited a bad temper. But let's be real: his biggest sin is that he is (gasp!) a Republican. That somehow makes it acceptable to compare him to a psychopathic killer from The Sopranos, hence his unfortunate "Johnny Walnuts" nickname. Or to characterize his cantankerous nature by referring to him as "Gran Torino," based on Clint Eastwood's 2008 role as a perpetually angry "get off my lawn" neighbor.

I give these progressive their own special nickname. I call them "assholes." For, while I disagree with McCain on foreign policy and a woman's right to choose (and I'll be forever pissed at him for plaguing us with Sarah Palin),  I know he is a courageous man who has proven how much he loves this country. I'm not limiting this to his estimable service in Vietnam or his time as a POW. I include way he conducted himself throughout the 2008 campaign, with this exchange being the hallmark. The difference between John McCain and GOP's current standard bearer couldn't be more stark.

If the Congressional investigation into Trump's Russian ties is to continue, post-Comey, the effort has to have the vocal support of prominent Republicans. I wouldn't be surprised if Marco Rubio stepped up to the plate, but he's nowhere near enough.

Lindsey Graham has already spoken up, but he'll need help because he's considered a "Never Trumper."

The one we need to guide us through this waking nightmare is psycho "Johnny Walnuts." Loony ol' "Gran Torino."

I don't doubt he'll do it. I do doubt that progressives will fall over one another to thank him. Assholes.

It's had an impact on my mood

Prior to Tuesday night, the Cubs had lost 4 in a row.

No one on the team had especially distinguished himself in the series against the Yankees, nor in the first game (a blow out) against the Rockies.

How quickly I've become accustomed to winning!

Tonight we won. Once again, I am a happy gal.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing: The Chicago Crazy Questions

1) What was your dream growing up? Oh, it changed often, as it does with most kids. When I was in high school, I wanted to be a columnist for one of the big news weeklies, Time or Newsweek or US News and World Report.

2) What talent do you wish you had? How I wish I could sing.

3) If I bought you a drink what would it be? Vodka/cran.

4) What was the last book you read? 

Here's a review

5) Worst Habit? I'm a slob.

6) If you saw me walking down the street would you offer me a ride? No, because I don't own a car.

7) What is your favorite sport? As Roy Hobbs said in The Natural, "God, I love baseball."

8) What would you do if you were stuck in an elevator with me? If I was stuck in an elevator with Bud, I'm sure we'd laugh a great deal.

9) Worst thing to ever happen to you? I wasted a decade of my life in a bad relationship.

10) Tell me one weird fact about you. I can wiggle my right ear, but not my left ear.

11) What if I showed up at your house unexpectedly? I'd be pissed. I hate unexpected company.

12) If you could change one thing about how you look, what would it be? I'd get my waist back.

13) Would you be my crime partner or my conscience? Depends on the crime at hand.

14) Ever been arrested? Nope.

15) If you won $10,000 today, what would you do with it? Finish my bathroom. Put the balance in my retirement fund.

16) Favorite thing to do in your spare time? Fart around on the Internet while watching TV.

17) Biggest pet peeve? Her. She didn't pay for two seats, so why is she taking up two seats?

18) In one word, how would you describe yourself? Independent.

19) Do you believe in/appreciate romance? Theoretically.


They didn't look like champions last night

The Cubs winning the World Series has changed my outlook. I used to be able to watch, even enjoy, sloppy games because I didn't see them as sloppy. I viewed them as an opportunity to watch my guys on a field of green, playing America's past time.

Saturday night's game against the Yankees was just a mess. Poorly pitched, badly fielded. (My God! KRIS BRYANT made an error!) It was such a bad game that Joe had our catcher, Miguel Montero, on the mound for the close so he didn't waste any more arms on a losing effort.

That last tidbit about Montero I read this morning. I couldn't watch to the end. When I wanted to reach for a drink to dull the agony, I reached for the remote.


Oh well, it's a 163-game season. Some are just going to suck. And my guys are still the defending Champions. To borrow from the old song, "No, no they can't take this away from me."

I had the chicken, he had the pizza

Of course. My nephew always has the pizza.

Our little lunch lasted more than three hours. In retrospect, I'm sorry we kept the booth so long. But we had so much to catch up on! And he seemed to be enjoying himself.

He's an avid student of history who began reading about Andrew Jackson last fall and was shocked by how mercurial and violent Old Hickory was. So I knew he'd have a lot to say about our current POTUS (1) admiring Jackson for his "big heart" and (2) thinking that Jackson could have had any impact whatsoever on the Civil War. My nephew is a teenaged boy, so of course he thinks Trump is jerk. (My adolescent years are in my rearview mirror and I thought this news story made Trump look ridiculous, too.)

We talked about his family vacation to Nassau, his cousin's unplanned pregnancy, how much he loves talking to his history teacher between classes and after school, and we lightly touched on the end of his romance with Anna, who has been in his life since pre-school. I would have liked to hear a little more about that -- breaking up in a small town when you have to see your ex at every turn -- but he wanted to go back to politics. How did I feel about calls for Stephen Colbert's ouster? What about the new GOP healthcare plan?

He's so smart. He's so geeky. Those are not two qualities that endear boys to their high school classmates. But he seems happy, at least when he's with me and he can get his geek on with impunity. I just hope he's as happy when he's not with his old auntie.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: The Tide Is High (1980)
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) This song was originally performed in 1966 by a Jamaican band called The
Paragons. Jamaica is the most popular vacation destination in the Caribbean. What's your ideal vacation? (Relaxing on the beach, sightseeing in a new city, skiing the slopes, spending time with family, etc.) I long for a vacation like my last one to Colonial Williamsburg. It was a solo trip, so everything I did I did at my own pace. I began each day doing geeky historical/educational things, or indulging in retail therapy. Then late in the day I went to the spa, swam and got pampered. Sigh.
Colonial Williamsburg: I want to go back!

2) In this song, Debbie Harry sings that she's not the kind of girl who gives up easily. How about you? Do you hang on stubbornly? Or do you know when to say "when?" I don't give up until absolutely forced to.
3) Blondie is a group that took it's name from the lead singer's most identifiable characteristic, her hair. If your band was named after your hair, what would it be called? The Highlights.

4) Before her career as a singer took off, Debbie supported herself as a waitress. She even served drinks while wearing bunny ears and tail at The Playboy Club. Have you ever worked in food service? Nope.

5) Debbie points to David Bowie as a major influence on her music and career. What's your favorite Bowie song? "Modern Love."
That top-selling 1980 RS cover

6) In 1980, when this song was popular, the best selling issue of Rolling Stone featured Robert Redford on the cover. Who is your all-time favorite actor? I'll go with Redford.

7) In 1980, Ted Turner revolutionized how we watch TV when he introduced CNN. Do you have any subscriptions services in addition to cable -- like Hulu, Amazon Prime or Netflix? Amazon Prime. Don't watch it very much, though.

8) John Lennon was murdered in 1980. Today there's a specially landscaped section of Central Park called Strawberry Fields in his honor. If you had a day to spend in New York, what would you want to see? A Broadway show actually ON BROADWAY, followed by dinner afterward at one of those restaurants I've only ever read about. 

9) We're going shopping! Which do you need to add to your wardrobe: underwear, shoes or a swimsuit? I need them all! 

Friday, May 05, 2017

The Friday 56

The Friday 56

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that's ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it)
*Post it.

From On Borrowed Time, page 56. Our heroine, librarian Lindsey Norris, unexpectedly finds herself in a speedboat in the middle of the night, racing through the darkness.

"Isn't this dangerous?" she cried over the wind that tore at her hair and clothes.

"More so for them than for us," Sully shouted. "I know where the rocks are!"

What a little stinker!

Reynaldo is fine! The vet checked the roof of his mouth, his teeth, his gums, and the alignment of his jaw. Nothing is wrong.

(OK, his eyes have become a little cloudy, but considering his age, that's to be expected.)

The vet suspects Reynaldo got a piece of string between his teeth while playing with his toys and what I saw was just Rey trying to dislodge it.

Since my little feline roommate was very excited by the ride over and made fast friends with the vet tech, I think Rey was just bored and wanted a road trip.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Well, that was a first

Wednesday morning, in the elevator up to the 40th floor, I started to cry. And I don't cry. Certainly not in public.

But you can't blame me. I was provoked. Suzanne said, "Hi. How are you?"

I pulled it together by the time I got to my office (aka The Clown Car). Which is a good thing, because two people were in there already and I didn't want to share this display with a greater audience.

But I was so worried about Reynaldo. Tuesday night and Wednesday morning he actually seemed angry at his face. He was pacing anxiously, stopping to slap the left side of his jaw with his paw. Always up for a treat, he's been begging for and then abandoning extra kibble in his bowl.

He's 13, which is the equivalent of 68 in human years. He's in pain. It's my job, my duty, my responsibility to get to the bottom of this and get him comfort. And yet I couldn't, because there was a 9:30 meeting and I was the center of it.

My boss has made it abundantly clear that he can't/won't handle The Big Project without me. But at Rey's age, he could have anything from a broken tooth to a tumor in his mouth. If it's the latter, it's very serious. I recently discovered that this little beige demon likes to jump on the counter and lick my George Foreman grill, so maybe he burned the inside of his mouth. (Cats are notoriously not forthcoming when it comes to their health.)

After talking to Suzanne and my officemate, I was convinced that I had to get Reynaldo into the vet, and the office would just have to survive without me for a few hours. So Wednesday, I leave at 1:00.

It will probably require follow up appointments. I have tons of vacation time, so that's not the issue. It's The Big Project.

No wonder I have pimples on my chin.

In the meantime, Reynaldo can be as naughty he as wants to be. Knock any shit over you want to, Little Man. Tonight you have complete immunity!

Tuesday, May 02, 2017


WWW.WEDNESDAY asks three questions to prompt you to speak bookishly. To participate, and to see how other book lovers responded, click here.

1. What are you currently reading? On Borrowed Time by Jenn McKinlay. This is a one in a series of mysteries set in a small waterfront community in Connecticut. Our heroine, Lindsey, is the town librarian. Her apartment is in a big house, where her landlady lives downstairs, bakes delicious-smelling cookies and is happy to care for Lindsey's dog. Lindsey regularly meets her friends at the Blue Anchor, the kind of bar where everyone knows your name and they're always glad you came. If I sound like I'm poking fun, it's at myself for enjoying this series. It's depicts an idyllic small-town life I suspect doesn't exist but is fun and comforting to imagine. 

Anyway, in this installment (#5), Lindsey gets an unexpected visit from her brother, who mysteriously drifts into her life and complicates it. As one who never had, but always longed for a brother, I'm enjoying the interplay between them. And, speaking of brothers, I recently finished a book that couldn't be more different ...

2. What did you recently finish reading? In Love with Night by Ronald Steel. This book takes what Bobby Kennedy now stands for -- an end to poverty and a voice for the dispossessed -- and puts it in real-time context. The coalition he built in 1968 fascinates me because I believe it would have carried the day in 2016. Bobby was a hero to the young, minorities and blue collar whites. He was not the darling of "the elites," the  smear on Bernie Sanders, and he wasn't considered the "party establishment," the way Hillary Clinton is. In 1968, those roles were played by Eugene McCarthy and Hubert Humphrey, respectively. Bobby was in his own lane. The nearest thing to him we have today is Joe Biden.

But Joe Biden wasn't our martyred president's brother. As much affection as the Vice President has garnered, it's not the unbridled passion Bobby inspired. The way Kennedy's personal grief fused with the traumatized nation's was powerful ... and not entirely his doing. To quote the book's last line, "The Bobby Myth is our creation, not his."

An examination of how/why Bobby Kennedy remains an icon of liberal politics, In Love with Night is less a biography than a 240-page editorial. I'm glad it concentrates on Bobby's policies and behind-the-scenes maneuvers, not whether or not he shtupped Marilyn. It's on solid ground when it explores the tougher and often ugly side to RFK's emphasis on action and victory. I appreciate how it compares and contrasts emotional, angry RFK and cool, ironic JFK. But for all the attention it pays to Bobby's relationships with his mother, his father and the Catholic Church and how they shaped him, it makes scant mention of his marriage or his 11 children (Ethel was pregnant when he died). I assume his own brood had some impact on him, especially since the family of his genesis influenced him massively.

3.  What will you read next? I don't know.