Saturday, July 22, 2017

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Don't Stop (1977)... because Country Dew recommended Fleetwood Mac

1) Since we're not supposed to stop thinking about tomorrow, let's talk about it: What are your plans for Sunday? Nothing on tap right now except grocery shopping. I had an intense Thursday (prep for colonoscopy) and Friday (colonoscopy) and Saturday I've got a lot of running around to do. Sunday I'm happy to take it easy.
2) Fleetwood Mac was formed 50 years ago in London. Fifty years is considered a "golden anniversary." Do you wear more silver or gold? Silver.

3) This song is from Rumours, which has sold 40 million copies. Is it in your collection? Nope. Though I believe all my friends did. It was crazy popular.

4) It was written by keyboardist and vocalist Christine McVie. She was born Christine Perfect, a name that earned her a fair share of teasing when she was a school girl. Do you recall being teased in school? What about? My last name. For some reason, neither of my sisters got ribbed for it. As fate would have it, they both got married, and got new last names. I'm the one who ended up saddled with this sucker for life.

5) Before Fleetwood Mac, she was in a band called Chicken Shack. If you were to order out for a chicken dinner, which restaurant would you turn to? NOT George's! George's is a local coffee shop that serves a little of everything. Last Friday, I impulsively stopped by on the way home from work to treat myself to an early dinner. Fried chicken was the special. I was so happy because I hadn't enjoyed fried chicken in ages. I still haven't. (The rice pudding dessert that was included in the price was good though.)

6) Before she could pay all her bills with her music, she supported herself as a window dresser for a London department store. Do you enjoy walking along, just window shopping? Or do you consider "looking with no intention to buy" a waste of time? I always give in and buy something. I have no will power.

7) When she found herself making big money, one of the first things Christine bought was a pair of matching Mercedes for herself and then-husband John McVie. If you were handed a check for $1 million, what's the first thing you would do with the money? Take it to an accountant. I want to know if it's pre-tax or after-tax. Sorry to give such an earthbound, boring answer, but I read that the IRS takes 36% of every lottery winner's payday. And then the state get its cut. So before I start spending, I want to know how much I have to spend.
8) The other girl in Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks, founded the Soldier's Angel Foundation. She believes in the healing power of music, and so she's proud to provide wounded soldiers with iPods already loaded with music. When you listen to music from your phone, MP3 player or iPod, do you use ear buds or headphones? Headphones. I just cannot wear buds.
9) Random question: Let's pretend your high school reunion is coming up. Which classmate are you more curious about: the one who was your first date, or the one who was too cool to give you the time of day? To be completely honest, I'm not curious about any of my classmates. BUT since I gave such a joyless answer to #7, I'll try to get in the spirit of the question. The hunk who ignored me. I hope he's still all studly. (But I also hope he shaved off that skinny mustache. It was de rigueur for hot guys back in the day, but today it would make him look like an aging porn star.)

Friday, July 21, 2017

"Everybody must get stoned ..."

So today, I was under Fentanyl and it made me stupid. Really stupid.

While I was still sober and completely cognizant, I was admitted by a young man I found officious, literal, and insensitive to my panic. I firmly believe that a certain level of sensitivity is integral to that job, and he was lacking.

When I awoke in recovery, the tech who'd attended me during the procedure was the first one to speak to me. She was very sweet and cheerful, telling me to relax and stay still and sip the apple juice she brought. A bit later, the young man who admitted me came to check on me. I remembered instantly how much I disliked him.

"Can you get up?" he asked.

"I don't know. 'Spose so," I replied, sipping my apple juice. I thought my reply was the funniest fucking thing ever, especially after I saw the confused look on his face. "OH? Are you asking me to TRY to get up?"

Oh, Gal! Noel Coward had nothing on you!

Then I was sure I'd lost my house keys. I checked my purse. The little locker where I'd stored my clothes. I gave my name and phone number to the hospital's lost and found. I looked under Kathy's car in the parking lot and then under the seat in her car.

I used the spare key I have hidden in THE SECRET PLACE and got into my apartment. Then I called a locksmith to get a spare key for my mailbox. The locksmith took pity on me and promised to be over here "first thing in the morning."

Then I found my key ring. In my pocket.

Who would've thought?

Turns out LaLiz and I have something in common after all: Hemorrhoids.

Really. Up until I read the report on my colonoscopy, I didn't believe that the creature shown here and I had anything in common. Yet in the wonderful book, Furious Love, recurring hemorrhoids bedeviled her mightily. I find this oddly comforting.

Other results from today's procedure:

•  Diverticulosis, without perforation or bleeding.
•  Random biopsies, taken from colon, will determine if colitis is the lingering result of last year's c diff.
•  NOTHING that indicated malignancy.

While the prep* was terrible, the procedure itself went well. I just have to eat more veggies, move more and drink more water. Losing weight would be good, too.

Kathy was awesome today. She isn't always, but today she was. She went above and beyond. Sitting with me while I waited in my hospital gown, prone on the gurney, waiting to be rolled in. Then she was there when I was done, with my paperwork and a Paul at 75 magazine as my reward for being such a good patient.

I think this was an example of what Elizabeth Edwards tried to teach me in her book, Saving Graces. Sometimes I need to allow myself to lean on people. By revealing myself as not the always strong one, I help strengthen our relationship.

*Though not as bad as the prep was last time I had a colonoscopy, in 2009. Who knows? Perhaps in 10 years, when I'm due for another colonoscopy, it'll be even a bit better yet.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Where are my Cubs?

In less than an hour, I begin the "prep" for my colonoscopy. I do not want to do this. I know it is going to be unpleasant.

If only I could watch the Cubs! But alas, they have a day off.

So I'm left to worry ... about my colonoscopy, about John McCain's brain cancer, about OJ Simpson gaining parole.

I'm such a baby. But I admit, I'm very unhappy right now and my mind is racing. My guys could distract me. But my guys are nowhere to be found.

Wednesday, July 19, 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? Kennedy and Nixon, by Chris Matthews. As I watch a new President demonize the press and get bogged down in scandal, I get a horrible sense of deja tragedy. I'm working through the foreboding by reading about Nixon. 

Kennedy and Nixon explores "the rivalry that shaped Postwar America." Chris Matthews begins by introducing us to Jack and Dick, two WWII Naval Officers who entered Congress at the same time and were quite friendly, until circumstance and ambition pulled them apart. As they gained national stature, the difference in their appeal became obvious. One's strength was his charisma, the other's was his very ordinariness. To slightly paraphrase Matthews in this highly readable book, "Americans viewed Kennedy as their shining hero. They recognized Nixon as the face that stared back at them in the bathroom mirror."

2. What did you recently finish reading? Exposed by Lisa Scottoline is one of those books I liked ... except when I didn't.  (This was an ARC from Amazon.)
Exposed highlights the evolving relationship between Bennie and Mary, the two central characters of the Scottoline's popular "Rosato" series. My favorite scenes were the ones that had the two women putting their heads together to solve the case. "Teamwork makes the dream work," Bennie says.
Still at times it really annoyed me. Mary's family and the gang from South Philly, mostly Italian immigrants, are cartoonish. I know they're supposed to seem colorful, with their broken English and loud voices and cute nicknames, but it wears thin fast and soon becomes a condescending distraction. And there's a major plot point that really doesn't bear up under close scrutiny. It feels especially sloppy for an author of Scottoline's profile because it involves health care coverage, and that's something that the entire country seems to becoming more knowledgeable about. Where are her editors? (I won't say more to avoid spoilers.)

3.  What will you read next? I've got Sue Grafton's X, a Kinsey Milhone mystery I've yet to crack open.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing:  Firsts

First Job: Babysitting

First Real Job: Secretary

First Favorite Politician: JFK

First Car: Impala

First Record/CD: "Annette" backed with "Hey, Cubby Boy." It was a thick yellow 45 rpm by Jimmy Dodd of the Mousketeers, recorded before I was born. I don't know how I got it. Maybe it came with the record player, which looked like this.

First Sport Played: Tag or kickball.

First Concert: Bobby Sherman at The Auditorium Theater in Chicago

First Foreign Country Visited: Canada

First Favorite TV Show: Batman

First Favorite Actor: Michael Landon

First Favorite Actress: Marlo Thomas

First Girlfriend/Boyfriend: Tommy from across the street. We were going to get married and get a dog. And we would keep her on a leash, not let her run away or get hit by a car. We were in pre-school, and seemed to believe two people had to be married to own a dog.

First Encounter with a Famous Person: When I was about 10, I saw Hawks' star Stan Mikita doing his Christmas shopping in Oak Brook, Illinois.

First Brush With Death: I know my mother was very upset when I told her how I "fixed" the broken plug by prying the broken prong out of the socket with a pen. I got a stern talking to about electricity.

First House/Condo Owned: This one

First Film Seen: Mary Poppins

First Favorite Recording Artist: The Lads from Liverpool

First Favorite Radio Station: The Big 89, WLS

First Book I Remember Reading: Abraham Lincoln by Ingri and Edgar Parin D'Aulaire.

First Meme You Answered on Your Blog: Here's the first Thursday Thirteen I ever did, 9 years ago.

From one part of town to the other

Last night I took John out to dinner for his birthday. It was a pleasant, low-key evening at Harry Caray's 7th Inning Stretch. We had artichoke/spinach dip and caught up, then we had our entrees and watched the game.

John was a little out of it, which I admit here I resented. He partied way, way too much Friday night and was still experiencing the after effects at 5:00 Saturday. This shows a lack of respect for our time together, and for his health. He is, after all, 62 years old and he can't party like he did when he was 25. But since we were celebrating his birthday, I kept my frustration to myself. I didn't want to spoil our evening and besides, he refrained from drinking during our meal. That shows he understands, on some level, that he has to learn when to say when.

After dinner, I had about an hour until my train home. I didn't want to spend the money for a Lyft or Uber home, so I trekked it. From Water Tower Place to Ogilvy Transportation Center is about a mile and a half. It was a pretty, warm night, and I enjoyed the city scenes. Near Water Tower you find lots of tourists, and it was neat to hear all those different languages being spoken. Then I got to the River Walk. Oh, but it's gorgeous! And busy! People at the riverfront cafes, sipping wine. People kayaking, with those little lights on the back to make them visible on the night water.

As I walked, this recording -- a favorite of Sir Paul's -- kept me company.

Got in my front door at 11:00 PM, ready for bed. I didn't take any photos yesterday, didn't "check in" anywhere on Facebook. I don't know why, really. I just wanted to enjoy the moment, rather than immortalize it.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Saturday 9

I Will Never Let You Down (2017) ... because Smellyann recommended Fastball
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) Fastball is a trio from Austin, Texas. Austin is the capital of Texas. When you were in school, did you have to memorize the state capitals? If we were supposed to, I never did.

2) Have you ever visited your state's capital? Oh, yes! And everyone should visit Illinois' state capital, Springfield, because of all the Abraham Lincoln historical sites. You can see the Presidential Library and Museum (which now has an exhibit from the Spielberg movie), Lincoln's home, the Old Capital House where he gave his "House Divided Against Itself" speech, and his final resting place. It's all inspiring. But my favorite is The Lincoln Depot. It's the site where he said good bye to Illinois when he left for DC. His impromptu speech is so moving:
History happened here
"My friends, no one, not in my situation, can appreciate my feeling of sadness at this parting. To this place and the kindness of these people, I owe everything. Here I have lived a quarter of a century, and have passed from a young to an old man. Here my children have been born, and one is buried. I now leave, not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington. Without the assistance of that Divine Being who ever attended him, I cannot succeed. With that assistance I cannot fail. Trusting in Him who can go with me, and remain with you, and be everywhere for good, let us confidently hope that all will yet be well. To His care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell."
He was a great man, literate and wise and sensitive. And Illinois' own! 

3) Fastball played dates throughout Canada this past spring. When did you last leave the US of A? I haven't left this country this millennium.

4) Tony Scalzo is a founding member of Fastball. He's the singer in the video for this song, and that's his wife, Jennifer, playing the organizer of the speed-dating event. Have you ever gotten a job because you knew somebody? This one. My friend Kathleen was working there and asked if I could pinch hit for their writer, who was on vacation. I never left.
5) In this pitch to a perspective lover, he admits he doesn't have much money. Last time you went to the ATM, how much did you withdraw? $55.

6) He sings that at times, his mind is hazy. Do you have a good memory for names? Gets worse each year.


7) Fastball guitarist Miles Zuniga admits that he once had a crush on Carrie Fisher (aka Princess Leia). Tell us about one of your one-sided love affairs, either with a celebrity or someone you knew in real life. When I was a girl I had a mad crush on Joe Pepitone. He was only a Cub for a few disappointing seasons, but I thought he was impossibly glamorous.And I kept this baseball card shoved in bedroom mirror.

8) Fastball's drummer Joey Shuffield is partial to drums from Pork Pie Percussion. This company was started by Bill Detamore, who began making drums as a hobby. Do you have any hobbies that, under the right circumstances, could make you money? Nope

9) The fast ball is the most common pitch in major league baseball. Now that the MLB season is past the halfway mark, how is your baseball team doing? I am confident that the World Champion Chicago Cubs will have an impressive second half.

I once was lost, but now I'm found

No disrespect intended. But the last four days I've been miserable because I missed my guys so much.

Last year, The Cubs had the best record in baseball and made history by placing their entire infield in the All Star Game.  Plus two of our pitchers graced the NL All Star Roster.

That was last year.

This year, only two Cubs represented Chicago (Joe Maddon and Wade Davis). Both were selected. Not a single Cub was voted to the squad.

Instead of having the best record in the game, we're tied for second place in our division and ended the half looking pretty damn mediocre. (Though it must be noted that I really don't mind watching mediocre baseball. I am a lifelong Cub fan. I can recall seasons where we aspired to mediocre.)

So where last year's All Star break brought elation, this year's just left me lonely for my guys. (Though thanks to Twitter and Instagram, I learned that Anthony Rizzo and his fiancee went to the Bahamas for the break and John Lackey invited Jake Arrieta and his family to enjoy the Lackey family's new built-in swimming pool.)

Tonight, the boys are back! I'm watching them play the Orioles, and all is right with my world. Schwarber hit a home run. Zobrist hit a home run. Heyward hit a home run. All three of those guys struggled in the first half and I hope this is a sign of things to come in the home stretch.

There were rumors over the break about a big trade and I was anxious. I love these guys so much, I don't want to see a one of them go. Well, there was a big trade -- with the White Sox, no less -- but it was all good. We got a leftie in his prime, Jose Quintana, in exchange for minor leaguers.

And I'm heartened to remember that The Chicago Cubs are still the World Series Champions. They will be until someone else wins it all. I am forever hopeful that they will begin winning like world champions again.

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 Exposed by Lisa Scottoline. The star of this series, Bennie Rosato, is sharing some bad news over a bottle of wine with her rich and powerful client, Nate Lence.
"Here's the thing. I know you don't get involved in every little case that comes down the pike, but this one could get a lot of attention and it would be terrible PR."

"Like what?" Nate glowered.

"It looks as if the rep was fired becasue of his daughter's medical expenses, which is unlawful under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The child has leukemia, and she's four years old."

"A cancer kid?"

Bennie cringed. "Not sensitively put, but yes."

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing: The Put Your Questions in the Box Questions

1. Where were you three hours ago? Fighting to stay awake. It's a lazy Sunday and I'd be just as happy to crawl right back into bed.

2. Make a confession.Yesterday morning, while watching a Will and Grace marathon, I realized anew that in many ways, Will Truman is my ideal man.

3. Bad habits? I'm addicted to Farmville 2.

4. Favorite color? Blue

5. Can you drive? No

6. 3 pet peeves. Space hogs who take up more than one seat on the train, people who take more than 10 items to the 10 items or less line, people who twirl their hair incessantly.

7. Last person you hugged. My nephew

8. Something you miss. My waist

9. What song is stuck in your head at the moment? "Benny and the Jets"

10. Favorite quote. "Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim." Nora Ephron

11. Favorite band. The Lads from Liverpool

12. Something your excited for. Today's Cub game. Kyle Schwarber seems to have his groove back.

13. Favorite movie.


14. What type of phone do you have? An LG piece of shit with a cracked screen.

15. Favorite animal. I have a soft spot for just about all of them.


But it was beautiful, like always!

Every year my nephew and I spend a summer day together. I give him a selection of activities and he chooses. In years gone by, we've done things like The Taste of Chicago, Lollapalooza and The Chicago History Museum. This year, we went to The Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field to watch the Cubs and the Pirates.

The weather was perfect: clear and the mid-70s. Instead of taking the el to the game, which is fastest, we took the #22 Clark Street bus. It makes regular stops in The Loop, Lincoln Park and Wrigleyville, so for $2.25 he got a nice little tour of Chicago on a lovely day.

Then we ate pizza and watched the game. Jake Arrieta was on the mound, who was a pleasure to watch until he wasn't. He hit 95 pitches rather early on and, had Joe Maddon asked me, I would have pulled him them. (Joe didn't ask me.) We saw Kyle Schwarber get two hits -- one a dinger! We watched the sun set and the full moon rise over the most beautiful cathedral baseball has ever seen.

I bought two new t-shirts (because no, I cannot have enough Cub t-shirts) and wandered through Wrigleyville for a while, waiting for the crowds to thin. We stopped for grilled cheese sandwiches at an all-night diner* and I got him home by 1:00 AM.

I enjoyed showing him the parts of the city that draw young people in to party. He'll soon be a high school senior, so I know he's heard about the lure of the North Side. I also enjoyed talking to him. He just watched All the President's Men for the first time and was very impressed. He's thinking about colleges, and right now he's looking at majoring in political science at Western Illinois University.

I wish I knew more about his internal life. I worry that he's not happy or content. I shared the struggles I had within our family, resurrecting ancient history. I did it because I wanted him to know that I don't expect teen years in our family to happy. I also used his fondness for All the President's Men (produced by Redford) as a segue to Ordinary People (directed by Redford).

Which is not to say we didn't laugh a lot. We did. It's impossible to not have fun at Wrigley Field.

*Pizza and grilled cheese, all in a matter of hours, is too much dairy for this old gut.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: The Joker (1973)
because Stacy recommended it.

1) In this song, Steve Miller claims he's a picker, grinner, sinner, lover, smoker and joker. Do any of those six words describe you? I'll go with sinner and grinner.

2) He maintains he's still a midnight toker. When's the last time you got high? I've never smoked pot. I haven't had a beer buzz in weeks.

3) The lyrics include a reference to peaches. Name your favorite fruit. Lately I've been eating a lot of those easy-to-peel mandarin oranges.

4) This song had a big impact on the character of Joey on Friends, who had an imaginary friend named Maurice with the occupation of space cowboy. Did you ever have an imaginary friend? I didn't, though my Barbie Doll did. After every one of her dates, she would call Ann Marie (That Girl) to discuss it.
5) Steve Miller is the pride of Milwaukee, WI. What else is Milwaukee famous for? Beer

6) Steve Miller considers himself a serious blues guitarist. When did you last feel like singing the blues? Whenever I think of my finances.
7) In 1973, when this song was popular, you could buy a portable 8-track tape player for $44.50. On what device do you listen to music most often? My shower radio. Or my little Nano.

8) A Curious George book packaged with a Curious George plush toy was a big seller at Christmas 1973. Tell us about a toy -- either given or received -- that brightened a holiday or birthday for you. My niece was seriously into the American Girl books, so it was always great fun to give her the dolls. She would curl up beside me with the doll and tell me Josefina's or Addie's or Kit's story.
9) M*A*S*H was one of TV's top-rated shows in 1973. Who is your favorite M*A*S*H character? Hawkeye. I was always a little in love with him.

Friday, July 07, 2017

I think it's the sunglasses

I've written before of how much Donald Trump reminds me of Richard Nixon. When I was a girl, Nixon was my #1 bogey man, but with time I've softened toward him, become more compassionate about his personal struggles. Or maybe Donald Trump is just so egregious that Nixon has improved by comparison. I appreciate that Nixon served in the military, even though as a Quaker he could have avoided it, and spent his adult life in government when he could have made more money in the private sector. I suspect that those decisions would cause our current POTUS to label Nixon "a loser."

The chief way that two seem alike to me is that their need for public adulation drives them to behave badly. And they seem obsessed by the predecessors who continue to haunt them, cool men who earned the public's fascination without begging for it.

In Poland, Trump took off on Obama again. Obama was weak. Obama didn't do enough to penalize Russia for hacking our election -- though Trump blaming Obama for not reacting to something while insisting that something never happened is pure Trump. Obama was weak on Syria. And the amazing thing (other than the spectacle of one President trashing another by name and on foreign soil) was that no one asked him about Obama. It's like Trump has Obama-specific Tourette Syndrome. He just blurts about Obama, the words pouring forth like projectile vomit.

Nixon, of course, refused to let go of JFK. They knew each other well and were friendly enough when they both arrived in Congress. As Senators, their paths began to diverge. When 1960 happened, Nixon bitterly resented losing The Presidency to a man whose glamor he couldn't match. Then JFK became a martyr, and there's no winning against the dead. Yet Nixon couldn't end the rivalry. At one point, JBKO pointed out to him that he would do things her late husband never would, like grow old with his wife and give his daughters away at their weddings. But Nixon couldn't see it that way. He let envy eat him alive. In Being Nixon, Evan Thomas writes of President Nixon ordering a low-level bureaucrat fired simply because she kept a portrait of JFK framed on her desk. (His aides secretly refused to do it.)  In The Final Days, Woodward and Bernstein give us a Watergate-era Nixon drunkenly arguing with Kennedy's White House portrait.

So what is it about Obama and Kennedy that their successors can't escape? Is it the easy elegance? Their Ivy League educations? The natural wit? Their acceptance among the media elites?

Or is it the sunglasses?

I'd love to hear someone like Tim Naftali weigh in on this. Prof. Naftali knows the Cold War and Nixon so well, and he's a recognized expert on Watergate, which has landed him on CNN a time or two since the Trump/Russia investigations began. (Prof. Naftali, if you read my blog ...)

Tuesday, July 04, 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? Exposed by Lisa Scottoline. The book sets up an interesting premise: what if what's fair isn't what's right? It's the latest in the popular Rosato and DiNunzio series, and it pits the two partners and two friends against each other. The case is heartbreaking and timely, regarding employers and insurance coverage and the cost of healthcare in this country. I'm enjoying it so far, though I find Mary's Italian Philly family a bit too cartoonish. Still, I like how Scottoline writes and I like the characters she's created. I just wish she'd give "Mare" a rest and revisit Anne Murphy. Anne is the firm's youngest lawyer with an interesting backstory and she deserves a turn in the spotlight. (I'm reading an ARC of Exposed from Amazon.)

2. What did you recently finish reading? Little White Lies, by Ace Atkins. I enjoyed this latest addition to the Spenser saga ... until I didn't. It has a lot going for it. Ace Atkins brings back some beloved old characters and uses them well. There's good food and good booze and witty banter, and of course a mystery. Connie Kelly hires Spenser to find her lover. He bilked her of tens of thousands of dollars, and left her a mess, emotionally as well as financially. Spenser takes her case and gets to the bottom of it all, encountering danger and intrigue along the way. So far, so good. But here's where it lost me. About 3/4 of the way through, there's a Clark Kent plot twist. Remember how no one at The Daily Planet realized that Clark Kent was Superman simply because he wore glasses? Here one of the bad guys completely changes identity, simply by dying his hair. I mean, really!
3.  What will you read next? It's time for another biography. Nixon is top of mind these days. Maybe Dolley Madison? 

What a day!

Today was a weird day. A sad day. A quiet day.

First I learned that my friend Nancy's father died. She's very philosophical about it. He had been very ill for a long time and, Nancy said, "ready to go." She also readily admits that the loss hasn't sunken in yet. I told her I'm ready to be there for her -- whether she wanted to talk or just wanted to be distracted. I reminded her I've lost both my parents, so this is a path I've walked. She said she would remember to call on me. I'm going to send a note this week, reiterating this. Sometimes it's nice to hold a card.

Then my friend Henry called. In tears, and I've never heard him cry before. His friend Ted died this morning. Like Nancy's father, Ted had been in ill health for years. At these final stages, there were no facilities in Key West that could provide him the care he required and he's been in Miami since May. Henry spent last night in Miami and is simply exhausted after driving hour after hour to get back to home, only to learn that Ted died while he was on the road. Henry knows I liked Ted and wanted to talk. Henry's partner Reg never really got on with Ted, so I feel like I was important to him today.

I barely remembered that it was the Fourth of July! I'm going to watch Yankee Doodle Dandy in honor of the day.

Monday, July 03, 2017

I Miss It!

I thought it was a good thing that we didn't have a classic movie Meet Up scheduled for July. I was going to use the extra free time to commit myself to housework.

Yeah, right.

I've taken two bags of clothes to Goodwill, but it's like spitting in the ocean. I'm still drowning in stuff.

And I miss Will and Joanna. No, that's not quite true. I miss watching old movies with Will and Joanna. It's cool to share your passion with others who really get it. On Facebook, Will posted his flower boxes with the caption, "The calla lilies are in bloom again."

I immediately answered, "Such a strange flower."

"I knew you'd finish the quote! :)"

(The quote is classic Hepburn from Stage Door.)

45 years is really a drop in the bucket

There's a feverish progressive theory floating around social media: Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan are supporting Donald Trump's clown Presidency because it enables them to push their "evil" vision of healthcare through. And once they succeed, once their wealthy donors are satisfied at the expense of the most vulnerable among us, McConnell and Ryan will "allow" Trump to be removed.

Oh, good goobies! There's so much wrong with this! First of all, healthcare isn't going anywhere because of Republican legislators. The GOP-controlled Senate won't accept the House bill. The Senate can't come up with a bill of their own that their own membership agrees on. At this point, McConnell and Ryan seem unable to mastermind a light out of socket.

Secondly, if they "allowed" Trump's impeachment, they would get to deal with Mike Pence. Safe, sober, dependable, ideologically consistent Mike Pence. No one -- not even his most passionate supporters -- has ever described Trump as safe, sober, dependable or ideologically consistent.

Oh yeah, and it's never good to assign tags like "evil" on political adversaries. It's toxic and it makes you part of the problem. Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan are, in my opinion, patriotic men who are simply wrong. They are acolytes of the Ronald Reagan/Margaret Thatcher theories of the free market being able to save us all. As a lifelong Kennedy girl who believes government should be there to do for the individual what the individual can't do for himself, this is anathema. To paraphrase, you can't raise yourself up by your bootstraps if you don't have boots. That said, I don't think McConnell or Ryan are "evil." I don't think they'd drown a puppy or leave a baby in a locked car on a summer day. I believe if I was on fire, they would indeed pee on me.

An Illinois man recently relocated to DC, picked up a gun and shot at GOP lawmakers while they practiced for an intramural baseball game. Rep. Steve Scalise -- a man I agree with on almost nothing -- is fighting to recover as I post this. It behooves all of us to watch our labeling. It dehumanizes and turns those we disagree with into targets.

Instead it's easier to explain what's going on today by looking back at our own recent history. Donald Trump is Richard Nixon's id, without the leavening superego. As the Russia investigation comes closer and closer to his inner circle, Trump becomes more outrageous.

Instead of talking about healthcare, or infrastructure* or even his dispatch of ATF agents to Chicago, Trump tweets about Mika Brzezinski's "bloody face" and body slams CNN. All this coincides with WSJ reporting that Trump's bromantic partner, Mike Flynn, was personally involved with Russian hacking ... as were Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway and Sam Clovis.

Don't look at what I did then! Look at what I'm saying now!

Our President doesn't seem to give a flying fuck about us. He cares about saving himself from prosecution. I don't think he's "evil," either. I think Donald Trump is behaving like he's desperate and cornered, and his responses are as predictable as they are sad.

Ryan and McConnell certainly don't want him as President. Just as the Republicans in Congress weren't wild about having Nixon in the White House. But they are stuck with Trump. Not because of their wealthy donors, because of passionate Trump voters in gerrymandered districts. This does not make them "evil." It makes them lacking in political courage. There is a difference.

When the news media finally breaks through and most of the country gets what happened, then they will press their lawmakers to remove Trump. Or, just as likely, old-timers of conscience like McCain and Graham will get fed up and do what they can to remove the President of their party. Just as Goldwater and Dole did in the 1970s. (Yes, I'm admitting Republicans did the right thing.)

I know this because I lived through Watergate. I know this because I read about Watergate. I know how levers of government work because I paid attention in 5th grade.

*Which I would have applauded. Yes, even though he is (gasp!) a Republican President! Because, Traitor to the Resistance that I am, I want people to drive across safe bridges.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing: Last The 40 Questions from Bud

1. My uncle once : found and cared for a snapping turtle he named "Dog." His reptilian buddy got to be so big that my uncle could no longer care for him, and Dog was rehomed at The Morton Arboretum. We lost my uncle years ago, but it's possible that Dog is still thriving. I hope so.

2. Never in my life : have I smoked a cigarette, or a joint, or nuthin'.

3. When I was seventeen : it was a very good year

4. High School was : sucked

5. I will never forget : how much high school sucked

6. I once met : a boy called Frank Mills, on September 12th right here in front of the Waverly, but unfortunately, I forgot his address.

7. There’s this girl I know who : is so helpful and so sweet. She went back to her home in India for 10 days and the office just isn't the same without her. She's a joy to work with.

8. Once, at a bar : I ordered a kir royale because I liked the color. I quit drinking them because champagne and wine now give me a headache. :(

9. By noon, I’m usually : hungry

10. Last night : is the night I will remember you by. When I think of things we did, it makes me want to cry.

11. If only I had : a brain I'd unravel any riddle for any individdle, in trouble or in pain.

12. Next time I go to gym/church : will be next week for both.

13. Susan Boyle : is, I'm sure, a very nice woman but not especially relevant to me.

14. What worries me most : being helpless. I prize my independence.

15. When I turn my head left, I see : the sofa.

16. When I turn my head right, I see : a framed print of the Beatles Anthology by Klaus Voorman.

17. You know I’m lying when : you ask me how I'm doing and I say "fine." I'm seldom just "fine." Happy, very happy, sad, worried, miserable, filled with anticipation ... yes. Fine? Not really.

18. What I miss most about the eighties : Ryne Sandberg at second base

19. If I was a character in Shakespeare, I’d be : Katherine of Padua. Like me, she was hardly ever just "fine."

20. By this time next year : I hope Bud will have a permanent new author for Sunday Stealing.
21. A better name for me would be : Julie. I don't know why, but I like the name Julie.

22. I have a hard time understanding : People who aren't furious that Russia interfered with our election process.

23. If I ever go back to school, I’ll : have a better attitude.

24. You know I like you if : I extend myself for you. (And no, I don't mean like yoga or pilates. No one wants to see that.)

25. If I ever won an award, the first person I’d thank would be : Depends on what the award is.

26. When I compare 80’s rock to 90’s rock : I liked the 80s better.

27. Take my advice, never : eat the hot dogs spinning by the counter at the convenience store or the movie theater.

28. My ideal breakfast is : a big, hearty one prepared by someone else.

29. A song I love, but do not own is : "Dance, Dance, Dance" by the Beach Boys.

30. If you visit my hometown, I suggest : you visit Wrigley Field. It's the most beautiful venue in professional sports.

31. My favorite Beatle is : 

32. Why won’t people : wake up about the Russian hacking? This is exactly what everyone was so worried about with Hillary's server. It happened, and now half the country seems to be view it as a yawn.

33. If you spend the night at my house : I must be bound and gagged and hidden in the closet. I don't like having overnight guests. I hate how my bathroom looks, and until the remodel is finished (target 2018, sigh) I don't want you here.

34. I’d stop my wedding for : for the groom. Who is the lucky bastard?

35. The world could do without : religious intolerance.

36. I’d rather lick the belly of a cockroach than : hmmmm .... I imagine that at least the belly of a cockroach would be smooth. So I'll go with "chew gum I found under the table in a diner."

37. My favorite blonde is :

38: Paper clips are more useful than : kumquats

39. If I do anything well, it’s : take care of dogs and cats

40. And by the way : Good luck with Stealing, Bev Sykes!