Sunday, April 22, 2018

Sunday Stealing

IF ...

1. If you could eliminate a single type of insect in the world, which would it be? Oh, no you don't! You're not going to trick me into forgetting what we learned in Girl Scouts: every one of Mother Nature's creatures serves a purpose. I'm not eliminating anybody.


2. If you could have personally witnessed one event in history, what would you want to have seen?
I already witnessed a pretty cool one. I had the distinct honor of being in the crowd on 11/4/08 when Barack Obama addressed us, and accepted the Presidency



Look! There I am!


3. If you had to paint your entire home inside and out a single color other than white, what would you pick? Light blue


4. If you could decide what will be written on your gravestone, what would you have inscribed.
Just the names and the dates.


5. If you could have a secret listening device in any one room in the world, what room would you put it in?
My boss' boss' boss. He's the one who ultimately decides if I get axed this year.


6. If you could have any music group that no longer exists play at your birthday party, who would you want?
As Ed Sullivan memorably said, "And now, here they, THE BEATLES!"


7. If you were to perform in the circus, what would you do?
Ringmaster




8. If you could master one type of cuisine, which one would you choose?
Italian! It's my favorite.


9. If you had to have one piece of music softly playing in your mind for the rest of your life, what would you want it to be?
"I Will" from The Beatles White Album.



10. If you could ensure one single personality trait in your children, what would you want it be? 
Curiosity     

     
11. If you could resolve any single dispute, anywhere in the world, what would you solve?
I am so not equipped to even dip a toe into this arena.



12. If you could be a guest on any talk show, which would you like to be on?
Colbert! Because I love him.



13. If you were to be a news correspondent posted to any foreign country, where would you like to go?
There's a little wedding coming up that I'd love to cover.






14. If you could have been on the Supreme court for any single case in its history, which would you select?
Roe v. Wade. We have a right to privacy. We have the right to control our own bodies. In addition to freedom of religion, we have a right to freedom from religion.



15. If you could pick one person from history to live next door to you, who would you pick? My all-time heroine, JBKO. I've read comments made by her younger friends (Carly Simon, Kathy McKeon) about how she enjoyed playing mentor. Maybe she could teach me how to tie a scarf. For real! I could do a post solely on Jackie and her scarves! She saw the world in a way I just can't.

Also, we share a love of older buildings, and of books. I'd love to ask her how she feels about the internet.

ORD - EWR

Had lunch with my nephew yesterday. As his senior year ends, he's terribly excited because he really hated high school. And because, at 18, he's about to take his first solo vacation.

He's going to Newark! About a decade ago, he began playing Pokemon online with like-minded little nerds all over the world. Even after the passion for Pikachu faded, he stayed in touch with two of the boys. One lives in Kentucky, and the other lives in Newark.

The one in Newark just had a baby and is about to marry his baby mama. The groom is 21. He's invited his two midwestern Pokemon pals to the wedding. It will be the first time the three of them have met, face to face.

Nick is paying for the flight, a wedding gift and a haircut himself. A friend of the groom's works at a nearby hotel and is giving them a break on the room for a couple nights.

Graduation! Junior college vs. university! Vacations and weddings! Wasn't I just pushing this kid in a stroller?




Saturday, April 21, 2018

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Love Don't Cost a Thing (2001)

1) Love may not cost a thing, but everyday stuff does. What's the most recent thing you bought? How much did you spend? After drinks with friends, I took a cab to the train station. It was $8 (with tip).

2) This video begins with Jennifer Lopez on the phone, on a veranda with a view of the sea. What's the view from the room you're in right now? A fan in the living room window. The heat's still on in my building and it's become a little toasty in here.

3) She sings that she doesn't want her lover's gifts or money, she just wants his attention. Let's change that a bit. Which would you prefer: a gift that was personally chosen but you know you'll never use, or cash? Personally chosen.

4) She met her first husband, dancer Cris Judd, while working on this video. She met Ben Affleck, to whom she was once engaged, while working on a movie. Think of those you're closest to -- where did you meet them? Most of them I've met through my jobs.


5) She and her current boyfriend, former Yankee Alex Rodriguez, are both workout fanatics. How often do you exercise? I haven't exercised in weeks because of this persistent kidney problem. I miss the physical exertion.

6) Her high school nickname was "La Guitarra," because her curvy shape reminded her friends of a guitar. Share a high school memory about you and your friends. Study hall with Jimmy. He was reading The Godfather and would pass it to me, with the sex parts marked. Truly, until Sonny and Lucy slipped away during the wedding reception, I didn't know people could have sex standing up. 


7) JLo just completed filming her third season playing a police detective on NBC's Shades of Blue. Did you see anything memorable on TV this past week?

 

8) Jennifer Lopez posts often on Facebook, and Twitter, and Instagram. Do you feel you spend too much time on social media, do you wish you posted more often, or do you try to avoid it altogether? I probably spend too much time on it. On the one hand, it helps me feel connected to the rest of the world. On the other hand, it doesn't always make me happy.

9)  Random question: You're at a yard sale and come upon an unusual little knicknack that would make the perfect gift for your best friend. The tag says $7. You think that's rather high for a castoff. Do you pay it? Do you pass on it? Or do you try to get the seller to lower the price? I agree that $7 sounds expensive for a yard sale knicknack, but I'd buy it. I like finding the perfect gift, and I'm not comfortable with the whole haggling thing.

April Challenge -- Day 21

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Your zodiac sign and whether you think it fits you.

While I am on the cusp, those who follow these things assure me I am a Sagittarius.

Here is what Astrology-Zodiac Signs says about people like me:

Strengths: Generous, idealistic, great sense of humor
Weaknesses: Promises more than can deliver, very impatient, will say anything no matter how undiplomatic
Sagittarius likes: Freedom, travel, philosophy, being outdoors
Sagittarius dislikes: Clingy people, being constrained, off-the-wall theories, details

I am surprised by how well that does describe me,* because I don't much believe is astrology.

 

If you're interested in seeing the April Challenge prompts and joining in, click here.

*I'm not really an outdoor girl. I like being outside, but I do don't camping. I try not to over promise.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Saved by the balls

Napoleon update: His furry little life was so harrowing this week! As he approaches his first birthday, he is quite the bruiser, very strong and healthy. When I think about the sad fate met by his momcat and littermates, it's amazing how lucky he is, being adopted by Caleb and Randi. They may be homeless, but they lavish him with love, attention and care. He's up to date on his shots, but he hasn't been fixed yet. Turns out, that's a blessing.

Caleb and Napoleon are high profile, panhandling together on Michigan Avenue street corners day in/day out.That has its benefits: local beat cops know them on sight. And it has its downfalls ... like Monday.

An "older woman" (Caleb's words; I suspect she might be younger than I am) came upon them and announced, "That's my cat! You stole my girl! That's Pussy Fru!"

Caleb told her he's had Napoleon since he was a tiny kitten, and that Napoleon is a he. (Blogger's note: no one who names a cat "Pussy Fru" should be allowed to have one.)

She reached for Napoleon, who was wrapped in blanket and tethered to a harness. "Do. Not. Touch. Him. You. Bitch." Caleb said, "Don't hate me. I was trying to be as tough guy as possible. Napoleon is my baby!"

The woman left but, unbeknownst to Caleb, returned. She and her husband were sitting in a big old car, idling at the corner, waiting. As Caleb was packing up for the night, the woman got out of her car and actually picked up the cat. What she hadn't counted on was the leash, which Caleb stands on when he can't be looking at Napoleon to make sure his baby doesn't travel. When he felt the tug under his foot, he spun around and saw her making her way to her car with Napoleon!

By the time he got over to her, her husband had gotten out of the car and taken Napoleon. This cat is usually very chill, but he's not accustomed to being held by anyone but Caleb or Randi. So he unsheathed his claws and took a piece out of the man's neck. The man, naturally, dropped Napoloen and Caleb punched him in the face. He picked up the poor frightened cat and started back to his cart when a cop arrived. After all, the woman had been screaming, "Pussy Fru!" the whole time. Even in Chicago, that will garner attention.

So they all got a ride to the police station. The woman insisted that Caleb was not a homeless man, but a hipster from Palatine (a suburb northwest of Chicago) who stole her cat, the unfortunately named Pussy Fru.

The top cop on duty checked under Napoleon's tail and announced that since Napoleon is a male, and Pussy Fru is a female, Napoleon cannot possibly be her cat. He told the couple that they had no standing to press charges for the assault because they were stealing Caleb's "property" and he was merely defending it.

As Caleb and Napoleon were leaving the police station, one of the cops that they see every day recommended that Caleb get "proof of ownership," so that this doesn't happen again. He's going to try to get a copy of vet's records detailing Napoleon's shots last fall. He also asked me if I'd sign "an affidavit or something" that says I've seen him with the cat regularly since Spring 2017. I told him that of course I would.

There's a notary public in my building. Maybe I'll just write something up myself and have it notarized for Caleb to carry.


April Challenge -- Day 20

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Put your iPod on "Shuffle," write the first three songs and share your thoughts.


"You and I" -- Barbra Streisand
Her voice is a complete delight in this one. She goes from a whisper to a belt, holds notes forever and proves that what she insisted at the beginning of her career is, indeed, true: She's not a singer, she's an actress who sings. 

"Shameless" -- Garth Brooks
I love early 1990s Garth.

"Dancing in the Moonlight" -- King Harvest
 A summertime song. Beginning with the first chords, it takes me back.  I remember which kids I babysat for (Stephen and Jeffrey) and which Cubs started in the infield (Santo, Kessinger, Beckert and Hickman) when this was popular.

 

If you're interested in seeing the April Challenge prompts and joining in, click here.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

April Challenge -- Day 19

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Five fears that you have:

1) Losing my job and being unable to find another one. This one literally keeps me up at night. Ten years ago, it never occurred to me that I couldn't use my connections to get work in my industry, in my town. But "my connections" are retiring ... or out of work themselves. Gulp!

2) That I will outlive my money. (See #1.)

3)  That I will be ill and vulnerable. I don't feel I have people I can dependably turn to, nearby, to take care of me if something bad happens. Kathleen is always traveling, on work or otherwise. John hates, loathes, despises and abominates cats. Barb is preparing to move to Hilton Head. Henry, my aunt and my cousin all would, but they are in Florida.

4) That I will go down The Stoney End. I used to really, really battle depression, and when I was in its throes it felt like this Barbra Streisand song:

"Never mind the forecast cause the sky has lost control,
cause the fury and broken thunder's come to match my raging soul,
now I don't believe I want to see the morning.
Going down the Stoney End, I never wanted to go down the Stoney End.
Mama, let me start all over. Cradle me, mama, cradle me."


Years of therapy have taught me what to say to myself when I feel it encroaching. I need to slow down, step back, breathe deep, and recognize it. Isolate the cause. Then deal with it, before my soul rages. That's when I make really bad decisions.

5) That I will be in a plane crash. It isn't dying that worries me, it's the horror of those last seconds. The descent, people screaming ... I can't even look at coverage of the Southwest crash because it's my nightmare brought to life.

"Gee, this was fun!" The Gal said sarcastically. Maybe next time, before I accept one of these challenges, I should read the questions beforehand. Some of these prompts have been downers.

 

If you're interested in seeing the April Challenge prompts and joining in, click here.

Farewell, little Willow

Queen Elizabeth had to have her last corgi put to sleep. Willow was 14 years old.

Yes, she is one of the world's most famous women. Yes, she has eight (8!) official residences. No, she never wears earrings purchased at Claire's Boutique, like I do.

But in some very important ways, the Queen is just like you and me. She looked into the eyes of that dog and melted. When she learned that Willow's cancer was untreatable, she had to make the same decision that everyone who shares her home with a furry friend has to make. Even though she knows her corgi is gone, she'll still look at the spot at her feet, or by the door, or on the rug, where Willow always slept. And she will ache.

Of course, I'm thinking of my dear old Joey as I write this. I feel such a kinship with HRH right now. God save the Queen.



Wednesday, April 18, 2018

This is going to be awkward

Barbara Bush died yesterday. As the wife of one President and the mother of another, she is a historic figure. Her funeral on Saturday will be by invitation only. Still, it stands to reason that our living former Presidents will be there out of respect.

Eleanor Roosevelt's funeral: POTUS, future POTUS, two ex POTUSes

Our current President bruised and battered the Bush family during the 2016 nomination fight. OK, I suppose that's just politics. But his insistence on continuing to accuse President Obama and Hillary Clinton of illegality -- apparently in an attempt to distract 40% of the population from his own formidable legal problems -- is unusual and ugly, even by the rough-and-tumble standards of politics.

So naturally one wonders what will happen this weekend at Barbara Bush's funeral. A look at body language makes it evident that the Bush family enjoys a warm relationship with those Criminal Clinton and Obama Clans.


I predict President Trump will not attend the funeral, instead allowing the First Lady to act as his representative. I think he's too much of a coward to face Bill, Hillary, Barack and Michelle. Especially in an atmosphere where they are warmly welcome and he is, at best, treated with grudging respect. Besides, it would give Mrs. Trump an excuse to spend some time away from the White House.

The four pictures above make me happy. The Presidency is a daunting job. I'm glad these First Families get comfort and support from one another.

Writing this post does not make me happy. The situation at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is unprecedented and deeply unfortunate.


April Challenge -- Day 18

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Your favorite color and why.

My favorite color: Pantone 294.

Why?

 

If you're interested in seeing the April Challenge prompts and joining in, click here.

Monday, April 16, 2018

April Challenge -- Day 17

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A Quote You Try to Live By




 

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April Challenge -- Day 16

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Bullet your entire day.

•  Wake up with the (first) alarm. Lay there in bed until I hear the weather so I can plan what I wear.

•  Feed the cats. Referee the food envy and keep each focused on his/her bowl.

•  Check email, check my Farmville 2 Farm, begin this blog post.

•  It's after my shower that my morning always goes off the rails. I start to do one thing, and get distracted and distracted some more. And next thing I know, a half hour is gone and I'm running late.

•  Ride the el to work.  Read Sunday's Sun-Times during my trip. It seems President Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen, has ties to Chicago which are of interest to the Feds.

•  New project at work! Our client requested some new communication to drive traffic to the website promoting their Community Reinvestment Act mortgages and refi's.

 •  Scheduled my test for Wednesday. Hopefully, these images of my gut will help my doctor understand what's going on with my gut.

•  Had lunch in the cafeteria with Patty Hearst. I had chicken fried rice and a vegetable egg roll.

•  Attended an agency-sponsored talk by LaToya Ruby Frazier called "Art as a Weapon." I found her work and attitude moving and disturbing, which was her intent. It ran longer than scheduled because someone asked questions at the end. (OK, it was me. As much as I appreciated her photography, I wanted to make sure nothing was posed or staged.)

•  Rescued a couple tiny sandwiches from the deli tray brought in for Ms. Frazier's presentation. It will be my lunch tomorrow.

•  Tied up a few loose ends at my desk (specifically promoting my client's credit card as the way to pay for vacations this summer).

•  Got home late, which doesn't matter because the Cubs game was called. :(

•  Went through my mail and actually toyed with buying this $47 Kris Bryant ornament from The Bradford Exchange. Never mind that I don't put up a Christmas tree. It lights up! (I better recycle that flyer before I give in and order it.)

•  Fed the cats and kept each to his/her own bowl.

•  Had a bowl of chicken noodle soup, a fist full of crackers and lots of raisins for dinner. I've got a couple salmon fillets waiting for me in the frig, but I just wasn't salmon-fillet level hungry this evening.

•  Watching the Sean Hannity/Michael Cohen mess on CNN as I write this.

•  I figure on retiring at about 10:00. Watch some classic sitcoms or old movies until I nod off. Undoubtedly, Reynaldo will be by my side. Nighty-night!

 

If you're interested in seeing the April Challenge prompts and joining in, click here.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

My 4th pet peeve

Why do people visit my blog just to disagree with me? And about things that are not firmly held convictions!

I just deleted a comment that said, in toto,  "I didn't like the movie you said you liked and I loved the one you said you didn't."

That was worth saying? Really

Our blogs are our cyber living rooms. So that comment would be like me coming to your home and saying, "You know, I hate this sofa."

There were 15 questions in the post she commented on. And that's what she had to say. Shame on her!

Sunday Stealing


1. Have you ever had a movie both totally captivate and complete confuse you? Yes. All Is Lost (2013). Redford plays a sailor, alone on his boat, fighting to stay alive after an accident. I don't know anything about sailing, so I don't understand many of the choices he made, or even what he's doing. Since his character is all alone, there's (almost literally) no dialog and therefore no exposition. Yet his plight and performance captured my heart. If it shows up on your favorite movie channel, be sure to catch it.




2. When watching a movie, do you prefer things all laid out or to have to 'hunt for your own clues' along the way?
Depends on the movie genre. If it's a mystery, I hate it when the detective somehow has information we haven't received. Unless it's Hercule Poirot. He's allowed to have information no one else could because he's Hercule Poirot.


3. Do you want an ultimate ending to your movie or do you prefer to have it open for conjecture and discussion.
Ultimate ending. That's another thing about All Is Lost that confused me. The title certainly implies an ending, doesn't it? And yet that last shot ...


4. Do you talk during a movie (preferably one in your home, not in the theater)?
No!


5. Have you ever seen a blockbuster movie and not get what was so great about it?
All the time.


6. What book frightened you as a young person?
I don't recall being scared by any book as a kid.


7. If you had to become a ‘living book (i.e. able to recite the contents of a book cover to cover upon request – reference Fahrenheit 451), what book would it be?
I would not do that. We don't live in Bradbury's world, and one of the joys of reading is that you get to "hear" it in your own, intimate voice as you go along.


Shudder!
8. What movie or TV show scared you as a kid? The Greatest Show on Earth. A doctor is unjustly accused of murdering his wife and avoids prosecution by joining the circus as a clown, and never ever removing his makeup. Being a child, I missed the "unjustly accused" thing and was terrified by his pointy, painted-on, I-just-killed-my-wife smile.


9. What movie (scary or otherwise) will you never ever watch?
I won't buy a ticket for anything written by, directed by or starring Woody Allen. Which is a shame, because I appreciate his work so much. But he is a despicable human being and I won't share my money with him.


10. Do you have any phobias?
Clowns (see #8). Squirrels, because when I was a child, my dad told me a very graphic, harrowing (and likely untrue) story about a little boy who was bitten by a rabid squirrel that stayed with me. Air travel.


11. What's the happiest thing to ever happen to you?
I've had a lot of joy in my life. I can't rank.


12. What's the saddest thing to ever happen to you?
I had an irrefutable moment of reckoning about the man I'd spent years with. The sadness was overwhelming and indelible. I mourned the time I wasted, the way I'd fooled myself
year after year, and the work involved in extricating myself.



13. What's the thing that got you the most angry in your life?
Oh, God. One day, when I was about 14 or 15, my dad just kept picking at me and picking at me. It was so passive aggressive and petty, and I was so disappointed that the man who is supposed to support me was behaving this way, that my knees went out. I've never felt such a physical manifestation of anger before.


14. What's the most frightening thing to ever happen to you?
I had a cancer scare. That's what precipitated my hysterectomy in 2011.


15. What's the most unbelievable thing to happen to you in your life?
I partied with Bruce Springsteen.




April Challenge -- Day 15

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Three pet peeves.

1) Space hogs. We all have to share this world. Please respect that.


A man is standing while your bags ride in comfort. You suck.

2) Religious intolerance. I was reminded of this anew after Billy Graham died. Amid all the accolades, I can't forget/forgive how hard he worked to stop JFK's election solely on the basis of religion. We've come along way. His son Franklin supported twice-divorced Catholic Newt Gingrich over Mitt Romney because Mitt Romney is a Mormon, and that's not Christian enough for the next generation Graham. When people want to slag Barack Obama, they call him a Muslim -- which 1) isn't true, as all Chicagoans know that before he was a national figure he worshiped as an Apostolic and 2) implies "Muslim" is an insult. 

What goes on between your neighbor and his god is his business. Not yours. Get over yourself. Better yet, try to explain virgin birth and resurrection to someone who doesn't believe. See how that feels. Then get over yourself.

3) People who use rain umbrellas to protect themselves from the sun. You annoy me. If you insist on doing that, at least use a parasol, like Scarlett O'Hara did.

 

If you're interested in seeing the April Challenge prompts and joining in, click here.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Keeping the Faith


Today, the weather was soupy. Gray and wet and windy and foggy. Bears weather, not Cubs weather. You could argue today's game shouldn't have played.

But oh, I'm glad it was!

At one point, my boys in blue were down 10-2. It looked hopeless. Then the game exploded. In the bottom of the 7th, the Cubs scored twice. In the bottom of the 8th, they scored 9 times! Nine fucking times in the mud and rain. It was a sight to behold.

I realize others turned the game off when it was 10-2. I stuck it out. My faith has been rewarded.




Croft & Barrow and StyleWorks

I made it to the village rummage sale today, and left with quite a haul. Two Croft & Barrow (aka Kohl's) pullovers, like new, for $2.50 each. Two StyleWorks (aka Carson's or Bergner's) blouses, like new, also $2.50 each. I think one of them might be a little too tight across the bust, but if it is, so what? It was $2.50. It'll make a nice addition to the next Goodwill bag.

$10. Four blouses that will make me feel pretty as winter turns to spring, and I only paid $10. Better yet, my purchases will assist local charities.

I am happy.



Friday, April 13, 2018

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: High Noon (1952)

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

1) What will you be (or were you) doing at high noon on Saturday? Hopefully I will manage to get to the neighborhood rummage sale. I've had good luck there lately, finding fabulous stuff, and it benefits local charities.

2) In this song, Tex Ritter sings he doesn't know what fate awaits him. How strong is your sense of intuition? Tell us about a time you knew what would happen before it occurred. Sometimes I'm thinking of some obscure song and it comes on the radio. Freaks me out every time.

3) This song was the theme of a hit movie western by the same name. It starred Gary Cooper as a small-town sheriff. When did you last interact with a member of law enforcement? An officer was just hanging out in the lobby of my office building, looking all official. I think sometimes police just want to be visible to discourage evildoers. 

I want to rock a tiara, like Sophie
4) Grace Kelly co-starred as the "fair-haired beauty mentioned in this song. Four years later, she gave up films to become Her Serene Highness, Princess Grace of Monaco. Which job seems like more fun -- movie star or royal? Royal. Actresses work rather hard -- long days, memorizing lines, dealing with a lot of different personalities, being handled and judged ... Now a royal! I think you can pick your spots to do good. I wouldn't want to be mega-famous and popular, like Kate and William or Meghan and Harry. I think that level of scrutiny would be maddening. I'm thinking more like Sophie, Countess of Wessex. Never heard of her? Exactly!

She's married to Prince Edward, Queen Elizabeth's youngest son. He's currently ninth in line to the throne (10th when Kate's new baby gets here). Sophie gets to wear a tiara and do all sorts of charity work. She's on the board of several hospitals, raises money for the preservation of WWI and WWII veterans' memorials and cemeteries, and helped establish The Jill Dando Institute, the first institution of higher learning devoted to crime science. It's a passion of hers because Jill Dando was a murder victim, and a friend of hers. I'd love to be able to pick a cause and truly help make good things happen.

5) Though he cultivated a "just plain folk" persona, this week's featured artist, Tex Ritter, was really cosmopolitan and highly educated, earning a degree in the economics from the University of Texas before going on to study pre-law at Northwestern. Do you think the "real you" is consistent with the image you convey? Yes.

6) Tex Ritter was the father of Emmy-winning comedic actor, John Ritter. John is remembered fondly as the voice of Clifford, the Big Red Dog. Clifford appeals to children because he is "gentle, friendly, loyal, lovable and clumsy." Do any of those adjectives apply to you? Certainly clumsy!

7) Tex is also the grandfather of Jason Ritter, star of ABC-TV's Kevin (Probably) Saves the World. If you followed one of your grandparents into their line of work, what would you be doing? My favorite grandpa had such a diverse professional career, he's given me several occupations to choose from. He was a chauffeur, a construction worker, technician on a conveyor belt and, as I just learned, a bass player!

8) In 1952, the year "High Noon" was popular, Stopette, the first antiperspirant deodorant spray, was introduced. Do you use a deodorant spray, stick or roll on? Suave Invisible Solid. You know, home air conditioners were not really all that common before the 1960s. And there wasn't antiperspirant deodorant until 1952. I'm guessing that for a long time, we were a stinky people in the summer.

9) Random question: What's something you have always wanted to own, but never have? A horse.

 

April Challenge -- Day 14

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Your life in seven years

This frightens me because it's unknown.

On good days, I think about how much I'll enjoy the freedom that will come with retirement. Waking up when I want. Being relaxed and energized to work on my home, work on my body. Really go through things and organize and declutter. Work out every day, maybe swim. Read more. Volunteer at the library and/or get a part-time retail job. (For some reason, I really see myself at Pet Supplies Plus.)

On bad days, I worry that I'll be poor and sick. I'm concerned I won't be able to afford to live much longer than my life in seven years.

 

If you're interested in seeing the April Challenge prompts and joining in, click here.

April Challenge -- Day 13

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Your commute to/from work

My commute is always eventful.

I take the CTA Green Line to and from the office each day. I get on at the second stop and get off at the sixteenth stop. The ride itself takes about 30 minutes and is always revelatory.

The first two stops take me through my village. It's always fun to see who gets on with me. One recent day there was a mom with a toddler girl who was so excited to "ride Thomas" that she actually, literally, jumped up and down and clapped her hands as the train approached. I felt privileged to be there for one of her first train rides. This week I rode with members of my local high school's swim team. Their conversation amused me. They do not find Mark Zuckerberg, or this Facebook transit poster campaign, impressive. I recall snickering and the word "douche." I was also impressed by how often one of the boys talked about his father, who takes this train to work every day. That kid is very proud of his lawyer dad.

The next nine stops are the ones you hear about on the news, as it takes me through the high crime area. I know this part of the journey turns a lot of people off, and I can see why. Many of the young people who get on and off at these stops are intimidating, behaving badly and almost daring the rest of us to say something, and no one ever does. (After all, littering or very loud music is not worth an altercation.) But it also teaches me a great deal about people who live just minutes away from my home. I find the women, especially, interesting and inspiring. They're almost all going to work. I can tell from their clothes and snatches of conversation that they are nail techs, fast food restaurant workers, and drugstore counter girls. Some of the younger ones -- and they are very young -- are trying to negotiate the commute with babies in umbrella strollers. I always wonder how much of their paycheck is left after they pay for daycare. Just Friday night, two of the women were talking about a friend of theirs who came home to find a burglar in her home. The community college students get on at these stops, too. I can tell by the textbooks.

The last five stops are downtown. I go through the up-and-coming River North area, and ride over the Chicago River itself. It never fails to amaze me that I am riding rails that were built high above a major river. Then into the financial district and The Loop. I get off at State/Lake. You can see the stairs I climb and descend way in the back of this photo. I realize that every day, twice a day, I pass an iconic marquee that tourists go out of their way to see and photograph.

I am lucky that I have another transportation option. After 7:00 PM, I do not ride the Green Line. It's simply not safe for a short, fat old lady traveling alone. Then I take the Metra commuter train. It's more expensive and runs on a more regimented scheduled. But on the upside, it goes directly from River North to my neighborhood without stopping.



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