Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Tuesday 4

A Repeat ~ Just Wondering

1.   When was the last time you tried something new? Last week I took my coworker to lunch at a restaurant we'd never tried before. The soup was meh but the burger was fantastic! The onions were caramelized in beef fat. That may sound a little creepy to you, but it made a difference and enhanced the flavor.

2.   Who in your family do you compare yourself to? I think I'm most like my Aunt Joanne, in ways good and bad. We're both short. We're both opinionated. We both like to read and we're both loyal. I even have her fair skin and round face.

3.   What lesson in life did you learn the hard way? If you find yourself repeatedly getting the short end of the stick from someone, don't believe him when he says he didn't mean it. He did.

4.   What can you do today that you weren't able to do before? I just figured out how to use the cropping tool on my phone! Until recently, I had to download photos to improve them before posting them. I'm not the most tech savvy gal in the world, so this was a big deal.

Sunday, December 08, 2019

Sunday Stealing

From Pinterest

1. What don’t you share? On this blog? I don't share real names.

2. A reason to celebrate? It's Christmastime!

3. Describe where you are now. At my dining room table.

4. A dream that seems impossible. Winning the lottery.

5. Something you hope for. A winning lottery ticket.

6. A tradition that makes you feel at home. Singing with my shower radio.

7. The people who make your life better. My friends (because, technically speaking, my cats aren't people).

8. Someone you’d like to meet. Doris Kearns Goodwin. I'd love to talk Abe and Mary with her.

9. A silly thing you’d really like. I want an Anthony Rizzo Cubs jersey. I don't need it. I would only wear it once/twice a season. But I want it nevertheless.

10. A book from your childhood. Abe again.


11. Something you’re still not sure about. Whether impeachment is wise. Oh, I think Trump is guilty of bribery and with every passing day I'm more certain he's a blight on his office. But this is my third impeachment, and I've seen it have unintended consequences.

12. The best dessert to share with friends. Well, the last one I shared was a brownie with whipped cream. It was terrific, so I'll go with that.

13. A story that captures your imagination. I'll stay with Abe.

14. Memories beside a fireplace. My uncle was proud of his fireplace, so it made me happy to buy him fireplace related stuff for Christmas. He loved a good creosote sweeping log.

15. How do you spend a rainy day? I'd love spend it napping!


It was a stupid phone call

A serious topic, to be sure, but a stupid call. My friend Henry had a seizure at work and ended up in the ER on Tuesday or Wednesday. Friday night, he called me.

He was still rattled by the experience. He was also drunk, medicated and silly.

He gets seizures as a result of his traumatic brain injury. Which he still denies he has. He had a seizure this past week because he doesn't take his medication.

I asked him why. He said that, when he's at work and the alarm on his phone goes off, he refuses to stop what he's doing to swallow pills. He says it's "embarrassing."

I asked him if it isn't "embarrassing" to have coworkers break into the men's room and then see him loaded into an ambulance. He told me that I don't understand. He's right.

I changed the subject to my upcoming trip to see him. I told him I'd be happy to go to his new church for Christmas Eve service, and that I discovered I could walk to it from my hotel. I asked if he could get a ride.

"I'll drive myself. I can drive. I've been driving." He slurred this.

I told him that I would stay in Chicago rather than be responsible for a man who has seizures getting behind the wheel.

He changed the subject to Patrick, Reg's friend who will be coming to stay with them. He told me he thought Patrick was "creepy" and implied that he indulges in promiscuity because he was molested as a child. This is a rather dramatic accusation! Plus, Henry forgets that I not only was molested as a teen, I'm a rape survivor, so this is an uncomfortable subject for me.

I asked him what Patrick's rate of intercourse has to do with him. He said Patrick brings strange lovers into their home and Henry doesn't want to "wake up dead." This does not happen.

Fortunately, Henry said his medications were kicking in and he wanted to cut the call short. THANK GOD!

Nothing he said was true or legitimate. It's very hard for me not to shout at him.

But I know he's not himself. I know my Henry is in there, somewhere. I've seem more and more flashes of the old Henry as he struggles to recover.

I just need to hold on. To hang on. To realize he's doing the best he can.

But it's a white lie

I don't feel like going downtown today. I just don't. Apparently, other members of my movie group don't feel like it either.

For Will, our moderator, wants us all to meet at one of the multiplexes to see Meet Me in St. Louis on the big screen in celebration of the film's 75th anniversary. It's a good choice. After all, it's the movie where Judy Garland introduces "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." Will thought sure I'd be there because, as he texted me, IT'S JUDY!

Garland is adorable in the movie and her musical numbers are stellar, but I'm not all that crazy about the movie. It's overlong. Plus, it's on TV all the time (I literally saw it yesterday on the Movies! network).

I want to chill today. I want to eat brunch at my favorite coffee shop. I want to finish my grocery shopping, get my laundry done and maybe take a stab at cleaning my bathroom. I want to talk to as few people as possible.

So I told Will I was too busy and too broke to join him. It seems he's going to have a very small turn out today. He offered to pay for my admission, "a late birthday present."

I'm going to wait a few hours and pretend I didn't see it till it was too late for me to get downtown. I will thank him profusely. And that will be sincere. His thoughtful and generous offer does mean a lot to me. 

But I'm telling a white lie to preserve my alone time.

Friday, December 06, 2019

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: The Champion (2018)

1) This song is about doing what it takes to win. What's the most recent competition you won? (Yes, online solitaire counts.) It was probably an online game of canasta. I'm pretty good, if I do say so myself.

2) The lyrics tell us to "go ahead and put your bets on me." Do you often play games of chance -- like the office football pool, or slot machines, or the lottery? I spend $2/week on the Illinois State Lottery. Then I fantasize for days about what I'd do with my winnings.

3) The video includes footage of young people competing in The Special Olympics. What's your favorite sport to watch? Is it the same sport you most enjoying playing? I love watching baseball. I'm no good at it, though.

4) This week's featured artist, Carrie Underwood, first came to America's attention when she won on American Idol. Prior to competing on that show, she'd never been on an airplane. How old were you when you took your first flight? 17.

5) Carrie loves horror and her favorite author is Stephen King. What book are you currently reading? Still Life by Louise Penny.

6) Carrie's duet partner on "The Champion" is rapper Ludacris. In addition to making music, he acts and has appeared in one Sam's favorite shows, Law & Order: SVU. What's your favorite "cop show?" Law & Order, either the original or SVU -- but only when Elliott was on.

Law & Order, with my favorite cast
Elliott and Liv on SVU

7) Ludacris is a distant cousin of comedian Richard Pryor. Have you studied your family's genealogy? Nah.

8) Soccer was a big deal in 2018, the year this song was released. According to Google, "FIFA World Cup" was the news story that generated the most internet searches. What's the last thing you "googled?" Law & Order, to get the photos.

9) Random question: You're battling the flu. The doctor advises you to stay in bed a full five days. As you begin feeling better (around Day 3), do you continue to follow doctor's orders? Or do you get up and start moving before you're supposed to? I'd get bored, move around too much, and then collapse back into bed. 

Tuesday, December 03, 2019


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? Still Life by Louise Penny. This is the first book in the Inspector Gamache series. I know I'm late to the Three Pines party. My blog buddy, Kwizgiver, is a massive fan and the staff at the local bookstore recommends it, too. So book #1 has made its way to my book bag.

Jane, school teacher/aspiring artist/longtime Three Pines resident, is found dead in the woods. Shot with an arrow! It's hunting season, so at first the authorities can't definitively classify it as a homicide. But you and I know it's murder.

So far I'm really enjoying the unique sense of place Ms. Penny has spun. The citizens are colorful and unique without being wacky or stereotypical. Three Pines feels like a very real place.

  2. What did you recently finish reading?  Becoming by Michelle Obama.This is a very candid post-White House memoir. I was surprised, and delighted, by what Michelle Obama chose to share. Even before Barack stepped onto the national stage, she struggled as she tried to balance her professional/personal lives. As a couple, they had trouble with fertility. Their relationship benefited from marriage counseling. Her openness on these important topics has/will undoubtedly help other women cope. Brava, Michelle!

It was also fascinating to watch her travel from the South Side to Pennsylvania Avenue. She isn't as diplomatic as her husband, not as careful or elegant in her speech. I missed his voice in some of these stories, as I wanted to hear his take on these same events. But this is her story, her chance to talk. As I was reading, I appreciated that this was history I was flipping through..
3.  What will you read next? Cary Grant by Marc Elliott. Unless I change my mind.

My boss is an old fart

Ok, that might not be the most elegant title for a post, but it's true! We got a project last week. A little one, in the scheme of things. But obviously very important to our client, Rick. It's important to Rick, so it's important to me. I like getting that check every two weeks!

My boss, on the other hand, has been making fun of it. It's stupid, it's poorly thought out, it's too small to move the needle of our client's business ...

Last week, on Tuesday morning, we agreed that I would do two creative concepts and he would do one. After all, he has nothing on his plate right now and is always complaining about that, too.

Tuesday afternoon, I brought it up again, telling him in broad strokes what I decided to do on my two (2) concepts. He said he "couldn't think about it" right now. He was taking Wednesday off to extend his Thanksgiving weekend an extra day and well, he'd do it Monday.

I worked on Wednesday and fleshed out my two concepts. They were on his desk Monday morning. I kept trying to talk to him about them, and the impact they would have on his -- which still needed to be done -- but he was busy. Writing personal checks. After all, our paychecks had been deposited over the weekend! Yes, my boss was openly doing this on company time.

We had a meeting about this project Monday afternoon. My boss sat in the corner and reminded us all how dumb it is, how poorly thought out it is, and that it's too small to have any real impact on our client's work. Yeah, that'll inspire the troops!

The art director, account executive and I got into a conversation/disagreement about how a regulation would impact the legal. The art director was very resistant to doing something I believed was legally mandatory. We both were trying to impress upon the account executive that we really needed to get this resolved.

My boss snapped to and announced, "You've been arguing about this for 40 hours!" and "We have more important things to worry about than this regulation!" He actually scolded us.

More important things to do than worry about a regulation? Like what? Complaining about how poorly thought out the project is, or how dumb it is, and how it's too small to make a difference?

Fortunately, he left after the meeting. A dentist's appointment. I was glad to see him go. I could no longer stand the sight of him.

Though he left Monday afternoon without doing his concept.

Sometimes I think maybe it's time for all of us to retire.

Sunday, December 01, 2019

Sunday Stealing


1. Right now I'm _____. Watching Meet the Press.

2. _____ is my well known quirk. Being a rabid fan girl

3. Are you _____? kidding

4. _____ first, then _____! Measure/cut

5. That's why _____. I'm here

6. _____ is one of my favorite tv shows ever! The Dick Van Dyke Show

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _____, tomorrow my plans include _____ Um ... My answers are not weekend-y at all: starting my Christmas cards/going to work

8. If I could go anywhere on a road trip, I'd go to _____. the TCM Film Festival in April. (Unfortunately, I can't afford it this year.)

9. _____ is something I don't understand. Dismissing impeachment after all this evidence

10. Thanksgiving makes me think of _____ how grateful I am for my blessings.

11. _____ is the best way to relax! A nap

12. It looks like Autumn _____. is over

13. _____ is one of my favorite healthy snacks. A bowl of cereal

14. The smell of _____ makes me think of _____. licorice/Grandpa

15. When I am feeling lazy I _____. do this (fart around on the internet)

16. When I look to the left, I see ______________. my sofa

17. ___________ are the room(s) that have the best view in my home. The living room is

18. _________ was done dirt cheap! Dirty deeds were

19. __________ is a responsibility that all qualified citizens must share. Jury duty

20. If you have any __________feel free to share it with me. chocolate


"I need my sister"

So began my Saturday night call with Henry. He resigned from the Sunday night poetry group because the woman who runs it "attacks" him and he can't take it anymore. Apparently they have been at cross purposes since summertime, and things came to a head this past week when she accused Henry of showing up for meetings drunk.

He claims he wasn't. He says it's all different medications he takes after his accident.

I know that, after church on Sunday, he and his friend Phyllis go to brunch and drink wine.

So I think they're both right.

He was very weepy, which is standard these days. But he is showing real improvement. He's empathetic again. That facet of his personality has been missing for the last year. Now he says he's sorry for what he's put me, Reg and Phyllis through. It's so good to hear.

I tell him apologies are not necessary, that I love him and I'll always be here. I tell him the facts and details of the accident are unimportant to me, that all I care about is having him alive and stronger every day.

That's not entirely true. I'm very happy to hear the "I'm sorry." Because he has. on occasion, been an asshole and it's a balm to hear he knows and regrets hurting my feelings.

And because, before the accident, Henry was the dearest, most generous man you'd ever want to meet. I've missed him!

In less than a month we will be together in Key West. That will be good for us both. I predict it will be a merrier Christmas than it was last year (and Christmas 2020 will be even better still).

In my happy place

I love to sit in a darkened theater, eat movie food* and contemplate murder. That's why I enjoyed Knives Out. It's everything I wanted The Good Liar to be. It's funny, fast-paced and twisty -- very twisty. It's SNL meets Agatha Christie. I'm only sorry that the plot made it impossible for Christopher Plummer and Danial Craig to have a scene together. That would have been great!

*Saturday, it was Raisinettes

Friday, November 29, 2019

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Baby's in Black (1964)

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

1) Black is this week's signature color because Friday was "Black Friday," the day when retailers cut their prices and consumers flock to the stores. Did you score any "Black Friday" bargains? Yes. I hadn't expected to go shopping on Friday because I'm just so over the crowds. But a local grocery store has a tree with paper ornaments made by kids from lower income households. On the back of each ornament, the child shares what they'd like from Santa. I drew Emily, a 4-year-old who wears a size 6 and wants "Anna and Elsa." 

I bet she'll like this better than the sweater
Old Navy was busy but not crazy, so I slipped in and got her a fuzzy green sweater (50% off!) and some slipper socks (on sale for $1!). Then I stopped by the local independent bookseller. Instead of cutting prices, they're donating 10% of sales to a homeless shelter. There I found a Big Golden Book based on Frozen 2. So Emily is set!

2) Feasting and football are also popular Thanksgiving weekend pastimes. Do your Thursday-Sunday plans include pigging out or watching a game? While I tend to pig out on weekends anyway, I have no specific dining plans, and I seldom watch football.

3) At Thanksgiving dinners, Crazy Sam's homemade gravy is always a hit. (Probably because she's so generous with the cognac, which gives the gravy a nutty taste.) What was particularly delicious at your Thanksgiving table? I had "The Works," with pumpkin pie for dessert. It was all excellent, but I was especially happy with the turkey and gravy.

4) Among the biggest the Black Friday advertisers are Target, Kohl's, Macy's and Best Buy. If you could have a $100 gift card to any one of those stores, which would you choose? Target, because I can pick up groceries. This whole needing to eat thing is such a drain on my budget!

5) This week's song, "Baby's in Black," is about a girl who wears black because she's in mourning. Do you find that the color you're wearing reflects your mood? Yes. It makes me happy to wear Cub-related gear. (Right now, I'm wearing a XXL Anthony Rizzo 44 t-shirt as pajamas.)

6) The woman who inspired this song, Astrid Kirchherr, has been friends with Paul McCartney since he and his bandmates (John Lennon, George Harrison, Stu Sutcliffe and Pete Best) met her in Hamburg back in 1960. Tell us what you believe are the components of a strong, lasting friendship. Availability. I work at this. I want my friends to know that I'm free to talk, email or get together when they need me. Or just want me. These days, our lives are so busy, and time is at a premium. Friends are worth the time.

7) In the early days of the Beatles, Paul McCartney and John Lennon began writing a play but abandoned it. Do you have a novel, painting, play, song or poem that you're going to finish "someday?" Every year I do Nanowrimo. It's my opportunity to write fiction for myself, not for publication. As a copywriter, I'm used to being given a topic and a deadline. Compliance departments make sure every word I write is within guidelines. Nanowrimo is a good exercise, and fun for me.

8) When he was 16, George Harrison dreamed of moving to Canada, Australia or Malta. In just a few years, he would visit all those places with Beatles and eventually decided there was no place like home and stayed in England (though he did also maintain a home in Hawaii). Have you ever thought about moving to another country? If so, where? No.

9)  Random question: Finish this sentence -- If you want me to give you "yes" for an answer, the best time to approach me is _____________________. After a Cubs win.


That's how Thanksgiving felt. John, Gregory and I met at Millennium Grill at 6:00. We did the prix fixe menu, which gave us all the basics -- green beans, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, dressing, gravy, cranberries and, of course, turkey -- all on one plate. Dessert was extra, but mandatory for me, so I had a slice of pumpkin pie.

The best thing about this restaurant is that it's in Millennium Park, home to Chicago's official Christmas tree.  And what a tree! A 55-ft. tall blue spruce covered in nearly 55,000 lights!

As we ate, John and Gregory were able to watch the skaters twirling around. (I sat in the other side of the booth, but that's OK. I got there early and took pictures.)

We had a nice time together, agreeing that this was a much easier-going holiday than we'd ever had with our families. Two memorable moments:

•  John insisting we aren't "old" but "middle aged." I'm 62, he's 64 and Gregory is (at least) 66. Gregory and I rolled our eyes and wondered aloud how long he thinks we'll live!

•  The manila envelope. Inside was a yellowing press page of the Chicago Sun Times,  dated February 9, 1964. It was a story titled, "Bug Bites Beatle," about how George was battling the flu in the run up to the Ed Sullivan Show that night. It was thoughtful and very cool.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

I'm thankful

I'm so grateful these two are healthy! Reynaldo and Connie are my responsibility and my joy. They have much to teach me, if only I'll pay attention.

I yelled at a homeless man ...

... and I'm not sorry. I know I should be sorry. I wish I was sorry. Compassion for the least among us is the hallmark of my Christian faith. Miss Melanie Wilkes -- my cinematic spiritual guide -- might have yelled at him, too, but at least she would be sorry.

There's this guy right here in town who has been homeless for years. He doesn't just stay on a particular corner, he moves from spot to spot. He's rather in your face with his panhandling, but I've seen him so often over the years that I know he's harmless. I don't like to take my wallet out of my purse when I'm on the street, so if I don't happen to have anything in my pocket, I don't share.

One day -- months ago -- he asked me for "a dollar." I said, "I don't know how much change I have, but you're welcome to it." I put some coins in his hands.

"I need a dollar."

For real. He said that to me. So I held out my hand. "If my money's not good enough for you, give it back." He mumbled and walked away.

Wednesday, he was on the el platform. It cost him $2.50 to get up there.*

He came up to me and asked for a dollar.

I flashed to the people I see in the city. The solemn, silent people holding their cups and their signs ("This is humiliating," "Anything is a lot when you have nothing"). Sometimes with their kids, often with their pets. Frequently with all their belongings in a garbage bag or shopping cart.

And this man came up to me and said, "I need a $1 for a sandwich." And I lost it.

"No," I said. "I gave you money and you told me it wasn't enough."

"You gave me a quarter!" He said, as if I'd offended him. I promise you, that wasn't me. I never give my quarters away because I need them for laundry. So that leads me to believe there's another woman here in town that he pissed off.

"I don't have to give you anything. I save my money for people who say 'thank you.'"

Not me
"What do you expect me to get with a quarter?"

"I don't care! Go away!"

"I got you, Buddy," said a voice from behind me.

"Go talk to him!" I shouted. "He's nicer than I am!"

The homeless man moved behind me, saying over and over, "She gave me a quarter. What do you expect me to get with a quarter?"

I don't believe he's that badly off because 1) he doesn't even carry a backpack, and if he was homeless, he'd have his belongings with him and 2) he had the $2.50 to get on the el platform. I resent him approaching me -- an old lady by myself -- and getting in my face. And the lack of gratitude just staggers me.

I know I should feel bad about this exchange, but I'm still angry. At him. I hope I get to the point where I can honestly say I'm angry at myself, or at least ashamed. But to be honest, I'm not there yet.

*Our el stop is manned by a CTA employee during morning/evening rush, so I know he didn't jump the turnstyle.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

3 baggies and a crumpled $5 bill

I made baggies for the homeless people I pass every day. Each one included a packet of tissues, cough drops, Chap Stick, hand lotion, a breakfast bar, a pouch of tuna, and $1. At lunch on Tuesday, I took a walk and distributed three of them.

One went to a young mother with two little daughters, who said, "God bless you." The second went to a man sitting under the scaffolding at a construction site. He smiled and thanked me. As I was walking away, I heard him say, "I hope it's socks." Gotta remember that! If not socks, I could certainly add those toe warmers. The third was for a guy who was really, really drunk or wasted, sitting in front of The Billy Goat Tavern. I hope when he woke up/came to, this made him feel better.

I was going to give the last one to a guy in a knit cap, sitting under a street light. When I got close, I saw it was Caleb! He was alone, no Napoleon or Randi. I said hi, he unsmilingly said "hi." I was confused by this and said, "You don't remember me, don't you?"

"You're The Gal," he said. This is so weird. Why is he so cool to me? I gave him $5 and asked where the rest of the family was. He gave me a street name, and told me that Napoleon is "so big." Then he went back to reading. I was dismissed.

I walked a couple blocks up and down the street he named but didn't see Randi and Napoleon. I thought she's appreciate the last baggie because it included lotion. I didn't see her anywhere. There's an underpass on that street, but to be honest, I didn't feel safe venturing down there. I hope that's not where they're living now!

I don't know why Caleb is so remote. Is he embarrassed to be back on the street? Did I offend him somehow in one of our last encounters?

It doesn't matter though. Of course, I enjoyed seeing the young mother's face when I gave her the baggie. Yes, it makes me feel good to know that the wasted guy will wake up feeling like he matters to someone. But doing good shouldn't be about accolades. Doing good should make the world better, even in a small way.

Caleb, Randi and Napoleon have opened my eyes to the suffering of my neighbors. That is what matters. And this Thanksgiving, that's what I'm going to be grateful for.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Tuesday 4

About Thanksgiving

1.   What is your favorite Thanksgiving show/animated show? I don't really have a favorite Thanksgiving show, but I do like to catch at least a few minutes of each televised parade (Chicago's and New York's).

2.   What is there about Thanksgiving you like the best? The feasting! When I was a kid, and my icky grandmother hosted Thanksgiving, there was always so much tension. She really didn't enjoy preparing the meal but insisted on doing it because it was tradition. You could try to help her, but I promise you that you were doing whatever it was wrong and making everything harder for her. By the time we sat down to eat, I wished I was anywhere else.

After she died, my kid sister took over the tradition ... including the martyrdom. She wanted to host Thanksgiving at her house -- so her kids would have those memories -- but then she wanted her husband to be able to have dessert with his family, at his mother's house, so we had to be done by a certain time. It was a lot of pressure for a mother with little kids. I remember recommending a restaurant near her in-law's home or letting Boston Market at least handle the sides, but no. Tradition. Again, I felt like she was begrudging me every mouthful because I took so long to chew! I would have gone elsewhere, but I didn't because it was important to me to spend the day with mother. I went where she went.

Since my mom died, I've been having what my friend John calls "Orphan Thanksgiving." I guess now we could call it Friendsgiving. John, Gregory and I get dressed up, meet at a restaurant, enjoy a leisurely meal and are grateful for what we have. This year, we're dining at the Millennium Park Grill, which will give us a lovely opportunity to see Chicago's official Christmas tree, and to watch all the skaters twirling around on the rink. I'll linger over good food and not worry about doing anything wrong in the kitchen!

3.   Favorite Thanksgiving/holiday song? I love so many Christmas songs! But this morning, I'll choose "Silent Night."

4.   If you have an all holiday music radio station when do you start listening to it? I don't switch to the station that plays 24/7 holiday music. But I'll begin listening to carols on Friday. Love them!

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Sunday Stealing


1. You can breathe underwater or be able to fly. Which one would you choose and why?
 Fly. Then I would never be late for anything ever again.

2. What's your go to order at a café? My favorite meal to eat out is breakfast, so I'll go with my standard coffee-house order: Two eggs over easy, bacon, wheat toast, orange juice.

3. Where do you feel the safest? In my bed.

4. What is the one book or book series you could reread without getting bored for the rest of time? I like Spenser series set in Boston.

5. You will receive ten million dollars, but you need to spend one million dollars in 24 hours to receive the other nine million tax free (and you can’t tell anyone what you’re doing). What do you spend it on? I'd click around on Expedia. booking all the top-of-the-line travel I'll be able to take. TCM Film Festival, cruise to Hawaii, tour of London and then Liverpool ... click, click, click ... I'll need to buy new luggage and lots of new clothes ... click, click, click ...

6. What was your favorite vacation to date? I really did enjoy The TCM Film Festival last spring.

7. Is there any scent that reminds you of a specific memory? What is the scent and what does it remind you of? Black licorice reminds me of my grandfather because he used these medicated throat discs.They've been discontinued, but the memory remains.


8. What is your favorite TV series? Do you have just one or more? This Is Us. I'm also enjoying The Crown.

9. They say that in life you need to try everything. Are there things you will never try? Oysters. Thank you, but I have no interest.

10. If I ask you to close your eyes and remember a picture of you, what do you see? I don't remember any photograph, but I the first memory that pops into my head is playing on the swing in my grandpa's backyard. I was very happy out there. I think the throat discs made that top of mind.

11. What was your childhood bedroom like? Yellow. Messy.

12. Are you a GoodWill, or any second hand store customer? Oh, yes! I love second hand books and second hand clothes. This is a new passion for me. Have you tried ThredUp? I really enjoy it.

13. How do you feel about the death penalty? Appalled. In the mid-1980s, my friend John was on a death penalty trial and found the man guilty. Having been raised Catholic, this was awful for John, but he felt it was his duty as a citizen. Imagine how he felt in 2003 when the man he helped convict was exonerated and granted a full pardon based on INNOCENCE.

If, as a society, we want to have a death penalty, then judges should be the ones to decide who gets it and who does not. Jurors who are fulfilling their civic duty should not be saddled with such decisions. 

14.  If you could live in any fictional world, where would it be? I'd like to be a March sister.

15. Do you believe in ghosts/spirits & have you had any experiences with them? I really don't. I believe souls go to Heaven and are with us that way, but no, I don't think Caspar the Friendly ghost is the one who makes things go bump in the night.

Happy Birthday to Me -- Part 6

Celebrating on Southport. Saturday my classic film group met at the Music Box Theater on Southport to see Lover Come Back. It's not a great movie -- Doris is a little too broad* and it maintains that 60s-era fiction that the Confederacy was somehow "cute" -- it was a happy happenstance for my birthday weekend anyway because 1) it's set in Mad Men-era advertising and 2) Rock Hudson is very funny, and I'm going through a Rockaissance. He was so wooden in many of his early and late performances that I completely ignored how good he was when he was a major star (1955-1962). He may not have been a great actor, but given the right material and the right director, he was completely charming company.

After the movie, we met up with Joanna for gelato, a few doors down. It's funny, but I disagree with her often and heatedly on classic films -- and the classic film meet up is how we met! -- but agree with her on just about everything else!

Anyway, being Joanna, she showed up in a red scarf, with red earrings, red glasses and even a red phone. She brought me a book as a gift (which, okay, I'll probably regift) and handwritten notecard to use as a bookmark: "So glad you are part of my world. Happiest of happy. Love you! J."

We ended up blabbing for over 3 hours. Then she was off to meet her new fella, Sid. She's still very much in the infatuation phase, and it's cute to see her so happy.

*Hard for me to admit, because I usually adore her.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Happy Birthday to Me -- Part 5

Old friends. On Friday, my actual birthday, I met up with John and Mindy at Madison Tavern. We've been friends now for (gulp!) more than 35 years! I see and speak to John regularly, and try to keep up with Mindy, but the three of us seldom get together.

I ate ... a lot. I felt loved and fussed over. Yea!

But here's the thing: I didn't really have as good a time as I'd like because we had too much to catch up on in 2 1/2 hours. John has lost his job and is possibly now forcibly retired. Mindy went on vacation to Vietnam. These are big things! Then there's my life. A lot of ground to cover in one evening.

Still, I'm grateful that my old friends wanted to spend my special day with me. I went to sleep happy.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: No More Tears (Enough Is Enough) 1979

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

1) This lyrics use weather as metaphor for romance. Here at Saturday 9, we're more literal. How do the skies look where you are this morning? Well, I'm doing this on Friday evening. This morning, the skies were pale blue with puffy clouds. It was a pretty day.

2) According to Merriam-Webster, "enough is enough" is what you say when you want something to stop because you "can no longer accept or deal with it." When did you recently say -- out loud or to yourself -- "enough is enough." When my cat Reynaldo, firm in his conviction that he's starving, knocked a basket off the table. That earned him a time-out behind the closed bedroom door!

3) Grammy winner Luther Vandross began his career as a background singer and performed on "No More Tears." Tell us about one of your early jobs. I babysat in high school and loved it. The kids went to bed around 8:00, and that left me hours to eat potato chips and watch old movies on TV. No one pays me to eat potato chips and watch old movies anymore.

Best job ever!

4) Both Donna Summer and Barbra Streisand made slight changes to their first names. Summer was christened "LaDonna," while Streisand's parents spelled her name the more conventional "Barbara." When she was in high school, meme mistress Samantha Winters went from "Sammy" to "Sam." Did you ever make a similar change to your first name? My name doesn't lend itself to that. Besides, I watched my older sister do it every couple years. My parents called her "Patty." Then all of a sudden she became "Patti." Then "Pat." I'm just waiting for "Tricia" and then "Trish." It seems pretentious and artificial.

5) Hair was higher maintenance in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Streisand and Summer are both sporting styles that would require chemical treatment, like a perm or relaxer. Today's looks are less rigidly styled and tend to be smoother or slightly messy. How often do you change your look? I go to the salon every 4-5 weeks. But I haven't changed my look in about three years. I'm happy with my hair, but I think maybe it's time for me to change my makeup. I'm trying to convince myself to try false eyelashes.

6) In 1979, it seems every kid was asking Santa for Star Wars toys. Some things don't change, since the Star Wars franchise remains popular with children and toymakers after more than 40 years. What book or toy did you love as a child that remains popular today? I loved playing Barbies.

My Barbie
Holiday 2019 Barbie

7) Thinking of things that endure ... In 1979, the #1 show in the ratings was 60 Minutes. It's still on, every Sunday night, and in the summer of 2019 it came in at #4 in the Nielsen ratings. What's the most recent show you watched? Was it news, sports or entertainment? I have the news on right now.

8) In 1979, the price for a dozen eggs averaged 85¢. Today, it's about twice that. Are you more likely to use eggs to prepare a main course (like an omelette or Eggs Benedict) or as part of a recipe (anything from a cake to a meatloaf)? If it can't be nuked in the microwave or grilled on the George Foreman, I don't cook.

9) Random question: You’re alone in your car, driving through your neighborhood on a bright, sunny day. You get a flat tire. You have a spare and a jack in your trunk. Would you fix it yourself or call for help? I don't drive, so this could never happen to me. Still, I look forward to your answers.