Monday, December 10, 2018

Engaging, entertaining and a bit uncomfortable

Can You Ever Forgive Me?, will hold your interest. That's noteworthy considering the subject matter: a misanthropic, underemployed writer resorts to plagiarism to pay the bills. No romance, no car chases. It does have a very cool soundtrack and a rather daring central performance by Melissa McCarthy as real-life author Lee Israel.

And bad housekeeping and cats.

I'm not a lesbian and I don't drink as much as Lee, and I don't recall anyone ever complaining that my home has smelled, but ... I got home to my cluttered and dusty apartment, saw my suitcase in the living room where it's been since November 1, and clucked at myself. Then I took a nap.

Really. Next week, I'm going to do some housework. Honest to God!

First Henry, then Reg

Henry is recovering. He is. But it's not an easy journey. On the positive side of the ledger: his dear, empathetic side is re-emerging. For a while after his accident, he was maddeningly self involved. He didn't care about how his accident affected those who love him most -- not even the confused dogs he doted on. This past week, he called me to ask me how my Big Presentation went. That thoughtful gesture was so Henry, and it's a huge indicator of improvement. He's also more reality based. He shared some lurid delusions while in the hospital. Those are over.

On the negative side: he's obsessed with the moment of impact (which he doesn't remember) and keeps insisting he never had a head injury. He's like a dog with a dirty sock. "The witnesses are lying," "the driver was drunk or distracted," "I was 'clear as a bell,'" "if I had this brain injury like they say, why don't I have any bruises or scars on my face or scalp?"

It's wearying to sit on the phone and listen to this. Over and over. I have told him I refuse to treat him like a child, and that if I challenge him, it's because he's an intelligent man and my equal. So, Henry --

•  WHY would the witnesses lie? What's in it for them?
•  If the driver was drunk or distracted, why not hire a lawyer? (Said with complete confidence that no lawyer would take this case)
•  Your blood alcohol is part of your hospital record
•  You were in a coma for two weeks, and during that time the superficial scratches on your head healed

Over and over, every time we talk. And he calls me all the time. I'm ashamed to admit that if he calls before 9:00 AM or after 10:00 PM, I don't pick up.

I always reassure him that I love him. That I am on his side. That I cannot imagine how terrifying it is to lose two weeks to a coma, based on a cataclysmic event he can't even remember. I tell him that I know how hard his life has been over the last two years -- he lost two close friends and his writing partner, he survived Irma and worried about his family suffering through Maria, and now this. I've been with him through those traumas, so I know. My heart is with him.

After I hang up, Reg reliably calls. He wants to "set the record straight," which really isn't necessary. I know Henry had a traumatic brain injury. I know he was at fault in this accident. But Reg wants to talk.

Today he advised me not to talk to Henry about the accident or the hospital anymore. I almost laughed out loud. I did say, "You know, I'm not the one calling him to discuss it. It's the other way around." If I never again have one of these flights of fancy conversations with Henry about those events, I'll be fucking delighted!

But Reg is Henry's husband. He is in charge of Henry's care. And so from now on, I will try to deftly change the subject when Henry brings up the collision and the hospital.

Still, after the two calls today, three hours had gone by. I was exhausted.

I must focus on the positive. In less than two weeks, I'll be down in Key West for Christmas. I have told both Henry and Reg and that I plan on spending a few hours each afternoon or evening in their home. Reading with Henry, having lunch or dinner, watching movies ... Everything low key. I don't want to commit to spending all day or all evening in case Henry gets tired, and I don't want him to feel like my host. But I insist we will celebrate Henry's birthday and Christmas. I am bringing that normalcy with me.

Henry is going to get well. I've seen evidence of it. And I want him to remember this time in his life as not all bad.

Look at me! I'm Santa's Helper!

I've been so preoccupied with Henry's recovery* that I have let some holiday traditions slide by the wayside. Like giving. So Sunday I got on it.

Lawrence. I live next door to a children's home, where kids live while awaiting placement in foster care. It also offers childcare for a sliding scale to working parents who can't afford any other option. To help these kids enjoy a little tangible Christmas cheer, the home decorates the tree at Whole Foods. Each paper ornament has the name/age of a child and what they'd like to receive at their Christmas party. For some of these kids, it will be the only present they receive.

Perusing the ornaments, I saw that gift cards are big this year. Walmart, Amazon and McDonald's, specifically. I get it. I bet when you're little it feels very grown up to go into a store (or to a site) and be able to choose whatever you want and pay for it yourself. But I don't want to do that. I don't want Santa to hand "my kid" an envelope. I want the big guy to hand over a gift.

So I was drawn to Lawrence. Age 6. Because he asked for clothes. And not specific athletic shoes, like some of the boys did. Just "shirts and jeans." Unless he's a burgeoning fashionista, he must really need those clothes. So I went to Old Navy and got him a heavy shawl-collared sweater and a pair of jeans. Then there's Cha-Cha-Chihuahua. It's a game I picked up last summer when a local  toy seller went out of business. I think Lawrence needs it.

One of my agency's clients is a certain fast food giant that gives away toys with their kids meals. Last summer, when we were packing up for our move, I rescued a bag of these toys from the dumpster. So Lawrence is getting a little Minions holiday train, too. Isn't a Christmas party better than a landfill?

Toys for Tots. I love this organization, because it breaks my heart to think of a kid disappointed by Santa. So this year I'm donating a "Mighty Muggs" Star Wars action figure, a bathtime baby doll, a sticker craft set, an oversized Christmas picture book and a special edition Sponge Bob Uno game. I've been picking these things up all year, whenever I see toys on sale, so it didn't tax my budget in the least. If you'd like to donate to Toys for Tots, click here.

My baggy project. I want to take what I learned from my relationship with Napoleon, Caleb and Randi and put it to good use. So I'm filling little sandwich bags with stuff intended to make the day of a homeless person a bit more merry and bright. So far each has a packet of tissues, a travel-sized hand lotion and an apple/cinnamon breakfast bar (the red wrapper is Christmasy) and a dollar bill. I always knew that the homeless needed money, but Randi taught me that it's important to remember that they aren't "just" homeless people, but people, too. Everyone enjoys little surprises at Christmastime.

It's beginning to feel a bit more like Christmas.

*More on that above.

Sunday, December 09, 2018

Why be a jerk in the Lord's name?

One of our newer Sat 9-ers went off on a mini-rant this week about Christmas. It's too commercial, and those "seculars" insist on saying "Happy Holidays," which somehow diminishes the season for her.

It's her blog so it's her right to rant. I just won't visit her anymore. It's not the first time that she's wrapped her hostility in my faith and it offends me.

My Christianity is about love.

I love my Jewish friends, who celebrate Hanukkah during this Sat 9-er's Christmas season. I refuse to believe that Jesus actually wants me to ignore what matters to them as I celebrate Him. Similarly, when I say "Happy Holidays," in addition to Christmas I am including The Immaculate Conception, Kwanzaa, St. Nicholas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's.  I don't make a big deal out of all those days, but if you do, please be happy. The world needs more happy.

When you are bagging my groceries or handing me my dry cleaning, I cannot know which of those holidays you celebrate. So I say, "Happy Holidays." Because I know Jesus wants good things for you, too.

If you do not worship any god, you still deserve to make happy memories during this happy time. If you are atheist or agnostic, you have obviously heard The Greatest Story Ever Told and decided it's not for you. I don't believe that my saying, "Merry Christmas" will suddenly make a lightbulb go off over your head. I do believe, however, that my tone-deaf admonition that you celebrate my faith could drive you further away. And that is not my goal.

And then there's this: this country was built on religious freedom. So this insistence on institutionalized Christianity is unpatriotic.

Besides, "Happy Holidays" was good enough for Andy Williams. Andy is, of course, the Official Voice of The Gal Herself's Christmas.  

I wish everyone could experience the solace and wisdom I get from following Jesus. But even if you don't, I sincerely want you to enjoy the season, and to enjoy Andy.

Sunday Stealing


favorite novel and author? It changes. Lately I've been thinking about William Goldman, who died last month. He's best known as a screenwriter, but his novels were little gems of wit, heart and construction. If you get a chance, read Princess Bride and Magic. They were exceptional novels before they became hit movies.

favorite perfume/scent? Black Diamonds by Elizabeth Taylor

coffee or tea? Tea

are you a cat or dog person? I object to this question. I love critters. I have cats because my lifestyle is cat friendly. But I could easily lose my heart to a dog.

which mythical creature would you transform into if you could? No specific myth comes to mind. Though I would like her powers.



favorite time period? Mid century. Either the 1860s or the 1960s. Such tumult and romance!
name 3 films that have changed your life and have shaped you into the person you are today.

Mary Poppins
The Way We Were
To Kill a Mockingbird 

diamonds or pearls? Pearls. The more you know about diamonds, the less beautiful they become.

what’s your biggest dream? Independence/security


dream destination? Lately I have been fantasizing about a return to the Spa at Colonial Williamsburg. It's financially not in the cards, but it's where my mind wanders.

favorite fictional character? Jo from Little Women

share a quote or passage that means something to you.

what’s your favorite plant/flower? Carnations. They are colorful, versatile and fragrant.

do you prefer the forest or the ocean? why? I like big water (rivers and lakes, too). I like their motion and their colors.


what do you value most in people?  Availability. The willingness to be there. (Which reminds me -- I owe two friends phone calls!)

I admit I'm relieved

My niece wanted to celebrate Christmas with me this year. This was a surprise. A pleasant one to be sure, but a surprise nevertheless. I felt it keenly that we missed one another last year, but I didn't realize she felt it, too.

Then I got thinking: Why does she want to see me? I began to suspect that she might be engaged. She and Mark have been together a while now (two years?) and she seems to love him very much.* He's good to her, he loves their cats, and he's smart and progressive, so he gets my seal of approval. I wish he was a Cub fan, but we can't have everything. (At least he's not a Cardinals fan.)

Then, being me, I got worrying: A wedding! I may be moving this year, I'm going to the TCM Film Festival ... How much time will I get off? And I don't want to see my older sister. I really, really don't.

I'm happy to report that her left hand was naked as a jaybird! She just wanted to see me. And she seemed to be very happy that I was getting along so well with Mark. He was a little shy at first, but he mentioned that in college he took a course in bio-neurology and brain function, so I used questions about Henry's accident and recovery to draw him out.

I gave her a colorful, crazy soft faux fur scarf and a giftcard to Ulta. I'm not 100% sure she liked the scarf. It might be a little too much color for her. Since it's a regift, I can't blame her. But it is quality and expensive  and wherever it ends up next, I hope that woman likes it.

Mark got a beard grooming kit (wash, soap, oil and balm). That was a more successful gift. He was happy to see it was lightly scented, and told me a funny story of using menthol shampoo on his beard and how the fragrance wafted up and cleared his sinuses for the day.

I got a bath set. Orange scented bath bomb, body lotion and foot lotion. Emery board for exfoliation. She knows I love this stuff. 

Then we got on the subject of marriage. We arrived there because of a cousin who recently had a baby without the benefit of wedlock. I said I didn't get. Her baby daddy's name is on the lease and the birth certificate so it's not like he can just cut out. Why not get married? Mark explained that, "to our generation," it's not about the love or commitment but the celebration of the love and commitment. And until they can afford to celebrate it in style, they don't want to do it. So, I guess, there are no late night trips to Vegas and an Elvis impersonator in their future. And, to my relief, no wedding in mine.

My only regret about the afternoon is that I didn't take any photos! It was my first Christmas celebration of the year, it was lovely, but I have no pix.

*Though it must be said that she seemed to love Michael and Jason, his predecessors, very much, too. I think she wants badly to be in a relationship.

Saturday, December 08, 2018

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: I'm Gonna Put Some Glue 'Round the Christmas Tree (So Santa Will Stick Around All Year) (1954)
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) This week's featured songstress, Peggy King, sings that she'd like to extend the Christmas season all year. How about you? Do you wish the season was longer? Shorter? Or do you think things are fine as they are? "Peace on Earth, and mercy mild. God and sinner reconciled." What's not to love? I wish the spirit of the season lasted longer, like forever.

2) She specifically mentions toys. Have you purchased/will you purchase any toys as holiday gifts this year? I don't have any little ones on my holiday list anymore, but that doesn't mean I don't give toys. I encourage everyone to make like Doris Day and make Christmas merrier for kids in need. You'll find that imagining some child getting your gift is a great moodlifter!

Click here for more about Toys for Tots

3) Search for "glue" on The Home Depot's website and you'll get more than 3,000 results. There's heavy-duty adhesives, all-purpose glue, clear epoxy, wood glue, and more. Do you currently have glue in your home? If yes, how many kinds? Three. I have plain old Elmer's, Titebond Wood Glue and then some Gorilla Glue.

4) What's the last thing you used glue for? I don't remember, but I have to use the wood glue again to stick that ornamental thing back on my bedframe. And damn, I'm gonna do that this weekend. Honest, I am.

5) This week's featured artist, Peggy King, was a TV staple in the 1950s. With her perpetually upbeat persona, she was known as "Pretty, Perky Peggy King." Do you consider yourself upbeat, aka "perky?" God help me, I've been told I am. I had lunch with a client on Wednesday who referred to me as "effervescent and enthusiastic." It's funny how one person's "effervescent and enthusiastic" is another person's "loud and pushy."
6) Ms. King got her start singing radio jingles for Hunt's tomato sauce. Prepared tomato sauce, properly stored, can safely be kept in the refrigerator for days. Do you have any leftovers in your refrigerator right now? Yeah. I have a teeny tiny piece of salmon that I really should toss.

7) Her biggest movie role was in Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955). Do you watch scary movies and shows all year around? Only at Halloween? Or not at all? I'm usually up for some good Hitchcock, but other than that, I really don't do horror.

8) In 1954, the year this record was released, President Eisenhower dedicated the Marine Corps. Iwo Jima Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, just outside of Washington DC. If you were to play tourist in our nation's capital, what site would you be certain to visit?

Isn't he just something?
9) Random question: Which of these common household items would you miss most if it suddenly went on the fritz -- your bedside lamp or your hair dryer? Hair dryer.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Really. Somebody, please, take his phone away.

Our President makes himself look like a moron on a regular basis.

Hi, Santa!

My neighbors got a new Santa! Being greeted by him this evening made me crazy happy. Santa inspired me to get my wreath out of the closet, squirt it with cinnamon scent, and hang it on the door for another year.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Sunday Stealing

Art Historic

Classical: If you were an Olympian god, what would you be known for? Like Artemis and Diana, I'd be known for my love of animals.

Byzantine: Do you prefer gold or silver accessories? Silver

Medieval: Are you religious? In my way. I find myself disgusted by the way it's become fashionable to cloak hostility in my Christianity. (See post below.)

Gothic: What is your favorite historic building? Oh, I love so many old buildings! Since you're asking me for one, I'll go with JFK's birthplace in Brookline. This is where history was shaped -- the defining sibling relationships among Joe, Jack, Rosemary and Kathleen ... where Kennedy first picked up a book and fell in love with words and reading (if you visit, you'll see his well-worn copy of Billy Whiskers) ... the surprisingly small backyard where he learned to ride a bike ... I visited only once, more than a decade ago, but it's stayed in my heart.

Renaissance: Have you ever had a time in your life when you felt enlightened or changed? So many times! But, since an earlier question got me thinking about faith I'll go back to a sad Saturday night in the early 1990s. I had just ended a relationship with a man I loved very much. I was desolate, and that night felt like the longest one of my life. Sunday morning dawned and I went to church. Singing hymns as the sunlight streamed into that sacred place was a balm to my heart. I made the decision that morning to join the congregation. I wanted to formally show my respect and gratitude to the Lord for helping me heal.

Baroque: Do you enjoy the finer things in life? Not really. A typical refrain of my youth was my father admonishing me for not showing proper respect for my stuff: "This is why the Gal can't have nice things."

Rococo: Is your bedroom full or trinkets and pictures? If so, which pictures adorn your walls? I love this poster of Marilyn in Malibu, 1948. At the very start of her transition from model to actress. Doesn't she look happy? I respond to the uninhibited joy, and it reminds me to be careful what I wish for, because I just might get it.

Neoclassicism: If something came back into fashion, what do you hope it would be? I liked the big, satchel handbags of the 1970s. Let's see those come back.

Romanticism: Do you often see things in a positive light? I try. Not always successfully.

Pre-Raphaelite: Which book would you like to see turned into a film? The Astonishing Thing

by Sandi Ward. It's the tale of a family in distress as told by their confused cat. It's a moving and life-affirming story and I'd love it to reach a wider audience.

Impressionism: Do you look for details or take everything in at once? I get an impression, and then I drill down.

Art Nouveau: When were you last at the theatre? I saw The Old Man and The Gun back in October.

Surrealism: Why does the porcupine think it's a duck? Because it's quacking up.

Pop Art: Do you enjoy pop culture? Yes.

Contemporary: What did you do today? It's still morning, so not much yet.

It doesn't have to be this way

The passing of George HW Bush got me thinking ...

Presidents Bush and Clinton had an unlikely but authentic friendship. Barbara Bush said she thought her husband was Bill's "surrogate father." Similarly, George W. Bush once introduced Bill as his "brother from another mother."

The warmth between the Obamas and the George W. Bushes has always been on display -- whether it's Michelle embracing W. or the Bush daughters reaching out to Sasha and Malia.

The Kennedy and Bush families have been cordial for nearly 100 years now, dating back to the 1920s when Joseph P. Kennedy and Prescott Bush were amassing fortunes that would survive the Depression (and creating two of America's most influential dynasties). Here's JFK's grandson, Jack Schlossberg, with George H. W. Bush.

So clearly the Bushes, Obamas and Clintons are all willing to leave political battles in the political arena.

Donald Trump is the source of today's friction.

•. He insists that the Clintons are guilty of treason and should be prosecuted.
•  He maintains  that President Obama has gotten away with .... something. His blathering is a little hard to follow on this one.
•. He recently mocked George H. W. Bush's "thousand points of light" ("what the hell is that?") and then had the chutzpah to laud it when eulogizing Bush.

Politely put, our President is a jerk. It will be interesting to watch the grace with which he is treated by the Obamas, Clintons and Bushes next week when he finds himself seated among them in a pew at the National Cathedral.

It will also be interesting to see 40% of the country refuse to give the Clintons and Obamas any credit whatsoever for decency and civility. For some reason, 40% of the country embraces Trump's inappropriate personal attacks. Much of the time his supporters insist Christ is their guide in this and all things, yet I am sure Jesus will be more favorably impressed by the Clintons and Obamas this week.

We live in strange times.

Saturday, December 01, 2018

Saturday 9

Call Me (1966)

Unfamiliar with this week's song. Hear it here.

1) Chris Montez sings that you can always call him, regardless of the hour. Do you believe that it's ever too late to phone someone? Growing up, my mother always often told me that "polite people only call between 9:00 and 9:00." I still live by that.

2) He insists that you can depend on him, even when your friends desert you. Who is someone you can trust to have your back, no matter what? I'm pretty lucky in this regard. I have good friends. I was touched the other night when my friend Kathleen told me I should reach out and depend on her more.

3) Billy Crystal serenades Meg Ryan -- via answering machine -- with "Call Me" in When Harry Met Sally. Answering machines have been replaced by voice mail. Who most recently left you a voice mail? Lifesource wanted me to donate blood.

4) Chris Montez is a graduate of El Camino College in Torrance, California. The average daytime temperature in November in Torrance is 70º. How is the weather where you are today? Rain and mid-30s.

5) Today Chris actively promotes a healthy lifestyle to children. He was honored for his efforts by the group SOPA (Stop Obesity, Promote Activity). Do you believe you get enough exercise? HA! Hell to the no.

6) Released in late 1965, "Call Me" became a big hit in 1966, reaching #2 on the charts. Even though it sold millions of copies and was certified as a Gold Record, it never hit #1. Is winning, or being the best, important to you? Not really. I think I lack a certain killer instinct.
7) In 1966, when this was playing on juke boxes, kids were watching Batman and Star Trek. If you had your choice of watching an episode right now, which would you choose: Star Trek or Batman? Batman. Always. Adam West was freaking magnificent.


8) Also in 1966, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay was born. Do you enjoy cooking? See #5

9) Random question -- You have the opportunity to perform in the circus! Would you rather be shot from a cannon, or put your head in the lion's mouth? I'd prefer to be ringmaster. But since that isn't one of my choices, I think I'll trust the lion.

This was a surprise

A happy and sad surprise. I slipped out at lunchtime on Friday, eating a little Chinese and heading for the bank. As I waited at the light on Michigan and Randolph, I saw a familiar face. Caleb! Napoleon's "dad." In almost exactly the same spot where I met him 18 months ago. Only today he was rolling toward me in a wheelchair, being pushed by a friend of his.

Last month I learned that Napoleon and his family were no longer on the street, and I was sure I'd never see them again. And here Caleb was ... in a wheelchair!

He is still driving a forklift, but he was promoted to days instead of the night shift. He and his wife and, of course, Napoleon, live and sleep indoors every night. His boss at the grocery warehouse has "rented" them the attic space above his garage. They're staying there for free now, in exchange for the work Caleb is doing to make it livable.

So Randi, a cancer patient, is warm and dry every night. That's good news! And Friday was her birthday, so Caleb and his friend had gone out to buy her a card.

But what about the wheelchair? He had a fall at work and tore a ligament. It was beginning to heal when he slipped on the ice and set back his recovery. So the doctor recommended a wheelchair when he's outside. Caleb hopes to be back at work "soon."

I told him I was sorry I hadn't gotten to say "goodbye" and his response surprised me. "Oh, you'll see us again." When the weather gets better, he fully expects to augment their income by panhandling, as time allows. His attitude is borne of having lived on the streets for years. Many of their friends are still homeless. He seems to see no stigma. I gave him $6 (for Randi's birthday).

And then we talked about the essentials. The two passions we share:

1) Napoleon is "a monster." He now weighs in at 14 lbs.! (The average house cat is 8 lbs.)
2) I'm reading Y Is for Yesterday. Caleb asked if it's "sad," since Grafton died before she could write "Z." I love that he knew that.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

How can it take two weeks?

Nothing is harder than waiting for a phone call. Especially a phone call about biopsy results. And yet that's just what my oldest friend has to do.

Yesterday she had a biopsy, a response to something "suspicious" lesion found as she was treated for a tenacious UTI. I got a text from her today, saying that the procedure went well, but that her doctor rather dismissively said, "See me in two weeks."

This is not acceptable to me. The lesion was discovered back in September, but because she's on public aid, it's literally taken two months for her to get the approvals required for the biopsy. Compare this to how I was treated when my doctor suspected a DVT. In the space of one afternoon, I went from my GP's office to the hospital for tests and then home, and my tests cost me as much OOP as my LYFT rides. Of course, I have CIGNA, while my oldest friend is on Medicaid.

This is how we value human life here in the old US of A. All those people who protest choice and pontificate about the sanctity of life, where are they in situations like my friend's? Why is it a fetus in the first three months of life deserves greater protection than a friend and mother entering her 63rd year?

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Sunday Stealing

1. How many states have you been in? 21

2. If a sexist Man is called a pig, what is a sexist Woman called? I think "pig" still works.

3. You see the one person who you absolutely despise. If you were guarentee'd that he/she couldn't say or do anything back to you.... What would you do?? Keep going. Life's too short to engage.

4. How many states are to the right of you? And don’t give us a map to look at. I don't really understand the question. But IL is bordered on the east by IN and KY.

5. You can go anywhere in the world for free. Where are you? London


7. Are you a boxing fan? No

8. What is the most disgusting thing you have ever eaten? I hated gazpacho.
9. Is it cloudy right now? Yes.

10. Someone gives you a $500 gift card to WalMart or Target. What are you going to buy? Groceries. It would feel like such a luxury to not have to budget for food.

11. When you were little, what did you want to be "when you grow up"? And, how much different is your occupation now from where you thought it would be when you were younger? When I was little, I wanted to be a singer/actress or a veterinarian. I am none of those things.

12. what was your favorite toy as a child? Lassie and I were inseparable.

13. What is the last place you had a good cry and why? It wasn't a good cry, but I welled up last week. Talking about the 2016 World Series, Game 7. I was telling my friend Kathleen what a privilege it was that I got to see the Cubs win it all. After all, my grandparents, my uncle and my dad all missed it. But I felt they were all with me at this moment:


14. Which Sesame Street Character do you relate with the most and why? Beaker. Because he's Beaker.


15. Did you ever make what you believed at the time to be a horrible mistake - that in hindsight turned out to lead you on the best path in your life? Not a horrible mistake, really. But there have break ups that broke my heart that I now know were for the best.

16. What’s your favorite show to watch on television nowadays? Lately I've started watching I Love Lucy reruns again. ADORE them. Not The Lucy Show, or Here's Lucy. Just Lucy, Ricky, Fred and Ethel.

17. Do you believe there is life after death?  Yes


Friday, November 23, 2018

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Black Magic Woman (1970)

1) Black is this week's signature color because Friday, November 23, was "Black Friday," when retailers cut their prices and consumers flock to the stores. Did you score any "Black Friday" bargains? Nope. Didn't even try. By 4:00, when I ventured out, the sidewalks were pretty empty ... except for the line in front of the movie theater. It looks like Creed and Fantastic Beasts are very popular.

2) On busy shopping days,  carts often litter parking lots. After loading your items into your car, are you careful to return your shopping cart to the store or the designated cart receptacle? Since I don't drive, I never take a cart out of the store. HOWEVER, as I cross the Trader Joe's parking lot, I do take errant carts into the store with me.

3) Who on your gift list is hardest to buy for? My Cousin Rose. This year, though, I think I've nailed it. She's planning a return trip to Poland to explore her ancestry, and I'm getting her a pink (rose-colored, get it?) passport holder. Fingers crossed that she likes it.

4) Feasting and football are also popular Thanksgiving weekend pastimes. Do your Thursday-Sunday plans include enjoying leftovers or watching a game? Well, I got my Thanksgiving dessert (pumpkin pie) to go and ate it when I got home. Does that count?

5) Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade is an annual event. It began in 1924 as a local event in New York. Today it's nationally televised. Did you watch it? I watched the Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade, which passed in front of Macy's State Street. So that counts, right?

6) What did you give thanks for on Thanksgiving 2018? That Henry is still alive. That accident rocked my world. I'm happy to report he sounds a little better every time we speak, and I'm confident that someday he will be his old self again.

7) At the first Thanksgiving, there were no forks. Pilgrims ate with spoons and knives, and forks didn't become popular until the 18th century. Think about your Thanksgiving place setting. Did you have both a salad and a dinner fork? I had a "Thanksgivingwich" -- a turkey sandwich on buttery bread with cranberry relish instead of mayo. There was a scoop of dressing with gravy on the side, but I used my spoon for that. So no salad fork was required and I didn't even notice the place setting.

8) Pies are a popular Thanksgiving dessert. What kind of pie did you enjoy? Or did you have ice cream? Or did you skip dessert? Pumpkin pie.
9) This week's featured band, Santana, was named for its founder, Carlos Santana. He was born in Mexico. When at a Mexican restaurant, what do you usually order? The blandest thing possible. Spicy food irritates my gut.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving!

May all your holiday wishes come true.

Happy Birthday to Me -- Part 3

Opened yesterday's mail this morning. My aunt sent me a box of teas (she worries about me being cold over the winter months) and two pair of earrings. A certain Snarkypants sent me sweet-smelling Perfectly Posh goodies. I also got a card from a friend of my mom's, a woman whose kids I babysat back in the 1970s. I love getting love over the miles.

Happy Birthday to Me -- Part 2

Beatles and Asparagus Spears. My friend Kathleen and her husband Martin celebrated me at a new local restaurant. The menu is Mediterranean fusion. I had the salmon stuffed ravioli, which was just OK (too many stewed tomatoes all over the place for my taste), but the asparagus spears! Oh! My! I don't know what they were cooked in, but they were divine! I only wish the portion sizes had been reversed. I would have preferred an asparagus entree with a side of ravioli.

My gifts were so thoughtful -- and Kathleen made a point of telling me she had purchased them over the spring and summer, when she came upon them. The first was The Fifth Beatle, a graphic novel about manager Brian Epstein. The second was a collage made of tiny pieces of paper, each a tiny Beatles photo. It's intricate and quite lovely.

I ended the evening feeling quite special.

First Born

I've finally seen the original A Star Is Born (1937)! It was screened at my movie Meetup. Judged on its own, it was OK. But in the context of film history, and seeing the movie that launched the three remakes, was fascinating.

The original is not a musical. With the benefit of hindsight, that was a mistake. The following Stars to be Born (Judy, Babs and Lady Gaga) are all so immensely talented behind the mic that you know what the established star (James Mason, Kris Kristofferson or Bradley Cooper) sees in her. Judy wasn't a glamour girl, and Babs and Gaga are both unconventional in appearance, but dear God, they can sing!

Janet Gaynor is a charmer who can do cute imitations of established like Katharine Hepburn and Mae West at parties. But based on that, Fredric March decides she has what it takes? In this movie, he seems more motivated by wanting to help a pretty girl than believing in, and connecting with, her talent. Nevertheless, you do believe they enjoyed one another's company and could fall in love.

So I liked it better than the Streisand version. Not for a moment did I believe that Babs/Esther even liked her leading man, much less loved him. Her performance is all (as Mad magazine referred to her) "Bubby Strident." She's too self contained, too self focused. And corny! It's got real cringe-worthy moments. She sings lead with two black chicks in a trio called The Oreos. Really.

So I stand by my fearless October ranking. Gaynor = good. Gaga = great. Garland = GOLD! Next time you have an opportunity to see the 1954 verison, grab it. James Mason is very touching, too.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Salad bag, meet Hefty bag.

I hate throwing food away. But according to the CDC, that bag of Italian salad I bought to eat healthier may actually do just the opposite.

I can't recall the last time I had something that was recalled. I feel quite a kinship with my fellow Americans right now.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing
1.What is your favorite animal?  My favorite zoo animal is the okapi. They are gentle, shy and look absolutely magical.

2.Your dream vacation? I'd love to visit Washington DC with my nephew.

3.Last person's house you were in? My downstairs neighbor Brian.

4.Worst injury you've ever had? Last month, I fell in a ditch, leaving my legs bruised and bloody. I don't know that it was the worst injury I ever had, but it was the most embarrassing.

5.Last play you saw? Escape to Margaritaville with my friend Barb.

6.Ever go to camp? Yes, often throughout grade school and junior high.

7.Were you an honor roll student in school? Never. You're talking to a solid C student.

8.What do you want to know about the future? Will I be moving in 2019?

9.Are you wearing any perfume or cologne? Not right now.

10.Are you due sometime this year for a doctor's visit? I am going to get my eyes checked next week. I need new glasses.

11.Where is your best friend? In a really bad place.

12.Do you have a tan? Nope.

13.What are you listening to right now? My cat Connie is trying to get my attention.

She thinks she's hungry.
14.Do you collect anything? Books

15.Who is the biggest gossiper you know? Me, I suppose.

16.Last time you got stopped by a cop or pulled over? 35 years ago. We'd just seen Superman III, I was more than a little drunk, and I felt the need to simulate flight through the sunroof of my date's car. As we drove up Lake Shore Drive. The police pulled us over and advised us that this is not advisable. However, since my boyfriend was the driver and he was quite sober, we weren't ticketed or anything. (Since I don't drive, this is my only "pulled over" story.)

17.What does your last text message say? WHAT ARE U DOING ON YR BDAY?

18.Do you like hot sauce? No

19.Do you need to do laundry? Nope. Did two loads on Saturday.

20.What is your heritage? 92% German, 8% Irish.