Saturday, February 29, 2020

Saturday 9


Saturday 9: On the Radio (1979)

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

 
1) The action begins when a letter falls out of the pocket of a brown overcoat. What color is your coat? Olive green, with brown trim.


2) The lyrics ask if it "kinda strikes you sad when you hear our song." We don't want to be sad this Saturday, so we're asking what song makes you happy. Just heard this on the radio and got all swoony. I love Smokey! His voice is so romantic.


 

3) Right before this song hit the charts, Donna Summer hit the cover of Newsweek. Are there any magazines in your home now? If yes, who is on the cover? Meghan and Harry. I read a lot about those two. I worry about Diana's youngest.

4) Donna wrote the lyrics to this song, while producer Giorgio Moroder wrote the tune. Moroder is known as "the father of disco." Is disco a genre you enjoy? Nope

5) This song got additional airplay throughout the 1980s because the game show The Price Is Right played it every time a contestant won a stereo. Today, the most popular audio equipment sold at Best Buy is a sound bar to improve the quality of TV audio. Have you added a sound bar or sound system to your TV? Nope. I still have a 19 year old Sylvania TV. It still works fine, and I don't want to add it to a landfill if there's no need. Though I can tell its time is coming. (Well done, good and faithful servant.)

6) Moroder has won two Academy Awards for Best Song. The first was for "Flashdance ... What a Feeling" from Flashdance and the second was for "Take My Breath Away" from Top Gun. Do you  have a favorite movie soundtrack? 

The track list is here


7) He grew up in Ortsei, Italy. Located in Northern Italy, the Ortsei
economy is fueled by tourists who ski in winter, hike in summer and shop for woodcarvings all year around. Do out-of-towners find their way to your hometown more often in summer or winter? More in summer, but they're in Chicago all year around. Just this week, I was at CVS in line behind a trio of Asian tourists who were so happy to find rubbing alcohol scented with wintergreen. The stuff we take for granted! That's why I love eavesdropping on tourists.


8) Kourtney Kardashian was born in 1979, the year this record was a hit. Keeping Up with the Kardashians has been on since 2007. Have you ever seen it? Yes. One night, when I was battling a particularly vicious migraine, I stumbled upon an overnight Kardashian marathon. I gotta give it to those girls, they came through for me when it felt like my head was in a vice. They were just interesting enough to distract me from the pain, but not interesting enough to keep me watching when the meds kicked in and sleep blissfully beckoned.


I know Kourtney is the one with the straight hair on the right.

9) Random question -- When getting dressed in the morning, what's the second item of clothing you put on? Bra.






Tuesday, February 25, 2020

WWW.WEDNESDAY

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

1. What are you currently reading? The Other Windsor Girl by George Blalock. Everyone seems to think that "Megxit" -- The Sussex's departure for a new life in Canada -- was instigated by Meghan. I'm not so sure. I've been reading about Prince Harry since (literally) before he was born and he's always seemed to struggle with his role as "spare" while Brother William gets to be heir. I wonder if stepping away from royal duties wasn't Harry's idea, and he found a willing partner in Meghan.

It was with Harry in mind that I reached for this historical novel about Princess Margaret. Like Harry, she grew up stuck a few steps behind her sibling, the future queen. Like Harry, she had looks and charisma, but lost out because of birth order. And like Harry, she struggled.

Set in the late 1940s, when Margaret was in her late teens, this book is told from the point-of-view of one of her ladies in waiting. Our narrator is a title-rich but cash-poor aristocrat with a secret life (she writes racy romance novels under a pseudonym) and this appeals to Margaret's naughty side. Both women have been unlucky in love, another bond. Margaret is bored, rebellious and imperious -- isolated because of her power but injudicious in wielding it. So far, it's a good read. 


2. What did you recently finish reading? No Judgments by Meg Cabot. Sabrina suffered a bad break up and wants to start a new life. So she changes her name (call her "Bree"), her hair (from blonde to pink), her job (she's waiting tables) and addresses (she's now in a tiny apartment in the Keys). Everything is going well, until a hurricane sets its sights on South Florida. Like many conchs, she decides not to evacuate but instead ride it out.

This book is chick-lit through and through, with a handsome man and lots of adorable pets to occupy our heroine during the storm. I thought, if I took it on those terms, I'd enjoy it. I was wrong.

There's too much unnecessary detail about our heroine. In addition to the bad breakup that's the catalyst for her move from New York to the Florida Keys, there are some complicated family dynamics that are introduced and derail the story. I see that No Judgments is the first in a series. I don't know why Ms. Cabot couldn't have explored Bree and her parents in a later book.

3.  What will you read next? I've got a couple baseball biographies here -- one about Gehrig, the other about Ruth. I don't know which one I'll choose to take me into spring training.


Have I cracked the code?

I've been at my wit's end when it comes to my dear friend, Henry. How can we continue to be close if lashes out at me all the time? How do I communicate with someone whose traumatic brain injury has left him by turns frightened, paranoid and aggressive?

I experimented this week with making this about me, not him. By talking to him about my problems, I reasoned, I was taking the focus off his. At least this week, it worked!

It began with an email. He invited me to watch a video of him singing a solo at church last Sunday. I told him it made me happy to see him go from nervous to confident and happy as the music moved him. (This was a diplomatic answer, as the video was clumsy and for some reason the microphone didn't really pick up his voice.) He thanked me with an over-the-top message about how much he loves me. So I get it. I know he's sorry we haven't been getting along and he understands he hurt me.

But now what?

I sent Henry an email about my prospective prison pen pal, Darius. I told Henry the truth -- that I'm feeling more than a little ambivalent about corresponding with a man found guilty of murder. I asked Henry for his thoughts.

Voila! He called me Monday night and told me I'm good and strong and he's sure my heart will lead me to the right thing. It was a very sweet message.

I'm glad I wasn't home Monday night to mess it up. Our give-and-take can't get overheated if there's no real time give-and-take.

And I think my asking him for advice not only distracted him from his own problems, it helped even the power differential between us, at least for a moment.




Monday, February 24, 2020

Tuesday 4

Odds and Ends Tuesday 4 # 8

1.  You're having a lovely dinner party for friends and family.  What will you serve for appetizers, main course and dessert? I'm never having a "lovely dinner party." I'm simply not that girl. But last time I had people over for dinner, I served green salad, two different types of pizza (plain cheese or sausage), and yellow cake with vanilla frosting.

 2. Snow storm!  You've got house guests and you're all stuck inside for the night. What do you prepare for dinner.  Will you watch a movie? Which? The menu would be soup (one that sticks to your ribs, like beef barley or New England clam chowder) and salad. Rather than a movie, I think I'd take this opportunity to play Monopoly or Scrabble.


3. We are going into New York City for the weekend. Where do you want to go? I'd take my own personal Jackie tour. My all-time idol spent most of her adult life in New York, and I'd love to visit her haunts.
•  1040 Fifth Avenue (her home for decades)
•  The Russian Tea Room (her favorite lunch spot)
•  Grand Central Station (which she saved from the wrecking ball)
•  The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir in Central Park (where she jogged)
•  A Broadway show and a late dinner at P. J. Clarke's (her regular night out)

Read about her Grand Central Station preservation efforts here

4. You are going to night school.  They offer courses in writing short stories, painting,  piano  or guitar lessons, simple home repairs, baking, and gardening. Which do you pick (or make up one of your own) and why? Short story writing. I write for a living, but I deliver on assignments and it's never fiction. It would be fun to use different muscles.



Saturday, February 22, 2020

Sunday Stealing

Getting to Know You

1. What is your favorite color? Cubbie blue.


2. If you could get on a plane tomorrow and travel anywhere, where would you go? Hollywood! The TCM Film Festival is coming up and this year, I can't afford to go. But I want to. Desperately.


3. Were you closer to your mother or to your father? My mom.


4. What is your favorite meal (savory and dessert)? Friday I had the best burger -- with bacon, cheese and a fried egg. It was freaking HEAVEN! So I want that again. Fries. Cole slaw. Coke or a beer. And a Dove Bar for dessert.


5. Can you wink with each eye?  (How about curl your tongue)? Yes to all.


6. Beach or forest? Forest.


7. City or farm? City!


8. Would you rather be blind from birth or turn blind as a teenager? No, thank you. OK, I'll be a good sport and answer the question: blind from birth.


9. Would you rather always be overdressed or underdressed? Need more definition here. Do you mean overdressed as in too elegant for the situation? Or overdressed as in a down coat on an 80º day?


10. If you could pass alone one of your attributes to your children, which would it be? My conscience.


11. What are you most insecure about? My financial future.


12. What are you afraid people see when they look at you? Nothing. The older I get, the more invisible I feel.


13. What is the saddest you’ve ever felt? After John Kerry lost to George W. Bush. I put everything I had into that campaign and it literally broke my heart. John Kerry is smart and decent and dedicated. He deserved better, and our country deserved him.


14. Would you rather have your own private island, or your own private jet? Island. I will name it Galtopia.


15. How do you think you will die? I have a strong feeling that it will be fast. I don't know if it'll be a fatal stroke or heart attack or a cataclysmic accident. I don't dwell on it much.




Saturday 9



Saturday 9: Buttons & Bows (1948)

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

 
1) The lyrics extol the beauty of "rings and things and buttons and bows." When you're getting dressed, do you give much thought to accessorizing? I'm not much for scarves and belts, but I do enjoy jewelry. I always wear earrings when I go out. Usually a necklace. Never bracelets but often a watch. I enjoy watches. That's one thing I don't like about advancements in technology; there's not a lot of style or originality in a FitBit!

2) Dinah Shore sings that she doesn't want to live where the cactus hurts her toes. Sam can sympathize, as she has a blister on one of her toes from where her winter boots rub. Do you have any aches and pains to report this morning? Nope. I feel pretty good this morning.

3) Dinah was such a popular entertainer that people were surprised to learn she earned a degree in sociology from Vanderbilt University. What is something we'd be surprised to know about you? I can be pretty macabre. One of my favorite shows is Autopsy: The Last Hours of ... . My oldest friend is even worse; she's never seen a vampire movie or mob story she doesn't like. We've been friends since Kindergarten. I wonder if it's something in the water in the town where we grew up.

4) Dinah's was the best selling version of this song, which was introduced by Bob Hope in the movie The Paleface. Hope had success early in his career as a song-and-dance man on Broadway. Are you better at telling jokes, singing or dancing? I laugh easily and I like jokes. Here's the first one that comes to mind. (It's been credited to Paul Lynde on The Hollywood Squares.)

How many balls on a regulation billiard table?

Depends on how many men are sitting on it.

5) Both Bob and Dinah donated their time to entertaining the troops in WWII. It was during a USO tour that Dinah met and fell in love with actor George Montgomery, who was serving in the Air Force. They were married for 20 years and had two children. Their daughter followed her parents into show business and became an actress. If a young person asked you for career advice, what would you tell them? Consider geography when you choose a career. I've had friends who left Chicago for their dream locations only to find it wasn't so easy to get jobs in their professions.

•  A friend with experience in financial marketing moved to Denver, a city where few banks have headquarters. He was unemployed for a long, long time.
•  My oldest friend, a hospital administrator specializing in cardiology, longed to live near her family in Hesperia, California. The nearest job she could get was in Topanga, almost two hours away. 
•  My friend Henry, a college professor, moved to Key West, which has just one institute of higher learning. When things didn't work out at the community college, he ended up in lower paid jobs at the newspaper and the public library.

In short, if you long to teach surfing, don't move to the desert.

6) Dinah was an avid golfer and even sponsored an LPGA tournament. She was also an excellent cook who hosted TV cooking segments. Which would you find more relaxing -- an afternoon on the golf course or in the kitchen? Ew, this is hard because neither one sounds attractive to me. I suppose golf, if I'm with people who don't take it too seriously because, except for putt-putt, I've never tried it.

7) In 1948, the year this record was a hit, Scrabble was introduced. Do you prefer word games, card games, board games or jigsaw puzzles? Card games, especially Canasta.

8) Also in 1948, LPs (33 1/3 rpm records) were introduced. Do you have any vinyl records in your home? Lots. I don't know why, since I have nothing to play them on.

9) Random question -- Which of these would you consider the greatest insult: to be called boring, untrustworthy or stupid? Untrustworthy. I know I'm neither boring nor stupid.

Friday, February 21, 2020

What is time?

I got home Thursday night and was just beat. No reason, really. Not a busy day at work -- not by the longest shot -- and I'm coughing less as I recover from my bronchitis. But still, I wanted a nap. And if I want a nap, maybe I should listen to my body and take one.

On the other hand, I also want to live up to my OneWord and do MORE each day. Move more, be more productive, save more, etc.

So when I woke up from nap at about 10:00 PM, I thought, there's really no reason why I can't do something. After all, that's why I chose MORE. I don't have to do everything, I just want to do MORE.

And so I scrubbed my bathroom floor. Not just wiped it down, scrubbed it with Mr. Clean and rinsed it down.

One of the benefits of living alone is that flurry of activity disturbed no one. And I feel good about having done MORE before Thursday ended.

If I'm more flexible about how I approach my out-of-office hours, I can get MORE done.


Thursday, February 20, 2020

My grandma's fudge

While tooling around on eBay, looking for something else entirely, I stumbled upon a seller in Elizabeth City, NC, who was parting with her collection of vintage cookbooks. One of them just so happened to be a compilation of recipes put together in 1987 to raise money for the Lutheran church my family attended. Sight unseen, I bought it for $12.00.

On pages 48 and 104, my grandmother is represented. I knew she would be. Grandma was all about that church.

The first was for pork chops. I remember her pork roast, but not her pork chops. The second is for fantasy fudge. That I remember! Whoever owned this book circled the recipes she used. Grandma would be pleased to see both of hers were circled.

So this spiral bound, musty little volume feels like a rare treasure. I'm giving it to my Aunt Joanne (Grandma's surviving child) for Mother's Day. I know she will love it.

I'm enchanted that it just so happened to fall into my life now, from 33 years ago and 941 miles away. I wish it could tell me its journey to my hands.

I close with Grandma's fudge.

FANTASY FUDGE

3 c sugar
3/4 c margarine
6 oz evaporated milk
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 c marshmallow cream
1 c chopped nuts
1 tsp vanilla

Combine sugar, margarine and milk. Bring to a roiling boil, stirring constantly 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add chocolate pieces; stir until melted. Add marshmallow cream, nuts and vanilla, Beat until blended. Pour into 8x8 buttered pan.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Anthony Rizzo and dogs

Two things to brighten any day: The Cubs' Anthony Rizzo and fur babies.

Rizz with the service dog he provided for the Joe Dimaggio Children's Hospital in Hollywood, FL
His own puppy, Kevin, dressed as Sheriff Woody
Kevin brings his chew toy to Dad's workout session
My favorite! Kevin modeling his shark fin float coat

Monday, February 17, 2020

Tuesday 4

Toiletries and Cosmetics 

 

1. What brand of shampoo do you think works best for you and what does it do for you? Four days/week I use Nizoral. At my dermatologist's recommendation. The bottle says it's a dandruff shampoo, and I wish I had dandruff, because there are far cheaper alternatives out there! Nizoral is the only OTC shampoo that contains ketoconazole, which helps control my scalp oil and irritation.

 

2. Do you have a favorite brand and shade of lipstick and blush? Nope. I don't wear them anymore. I think they age me. But when I was younger, I never left the house without wearing blusher.

3. Is soap your favorite for face washing or do you use other products? I use Aveeno Face Wash.


4. Do you have an all time favorite perfume or scent that you wear? If you don't wear perfumes, is there a scent that you love in general? I'm with Liz. Black Pearls, to be exact. It's been discontinued, but I have a secret stash


Introducing Darius. Or maybe not.

My OneWord for this year is MORE. I chose MORE to remind myself that's all I need to do. Not "everything," not "all," just MORE. Save more, be more productive around the house, move more ...

I fell off the bandwagon in mid-January when I got sick.  Instead of doing MORE, I was happy to do ANYTHING. But now in mid-February, I'm breathing without coughing, going hours without napping and ready to for MORE.

Inspired by my niece, I RSVP'd "yes" when my church asked for volunteers to be prison pen pals. My congregation is very involved with prison reform. And how hard could it be? After all, I write for a living.

What I didn't take into account is that prison is full of very not-nice people.

I was matched with Darius. He is serving a life sentence for a double homicide. GULP! He has already been in prison for 25 years.

I know we shouldn't judge a person's entire life by his worst moments.

I know that when we help the least among us, it's as if we are helping the Lord.

And so I wrote to Darius. I didn't use my last name and am using the church as my return address.

I am hopeful that he answers and that we begin a correspondence that enriches us both. Megan, a fellow congregant, has experience writing to inmates and will help me if I feel uncomfortable. And this is only a six-month commitment.

I am hopeful, but skeptical. We'll see how this unfolds.




"This is what I'm meant to do with my life"

So said my niece as she explained her foster parent training to me.  She and her fiance are beginning by becoming respite caregivers. If foster parents need a break, for a day or an evening or overnight, they can leave the kid in a safe place, with people who have been checked out by the authorities and are trained in CPR, etc. 

Then, after doing this for a year (and after their wedding and honeymoon) my niece and her new husband will become foster parents themselves.

They want to be parents, but they don't want to have a baby. They want to open their hearts and their home to a child who needs them. 

I am enormously proud of her.


Bad days down south

Henry's weekend got off to bad start. Patrick -- a lifelong friend of Reg's who stays with them each winter -- came home Saturday to find him sitting naked in the living room, talking to himself, and impervious to Patrick's being in the room. A seizure? A hallucination? Who knows?

Sunday, while shopping with Reg for tires at Sears, Henry had a full-on seizure. He lost consciousness, bit his tongue, the full 9 yards. He was taken away in an ambulance.

In the ER, Henry was stabilized with intravenous medication and sent home to rest.

I've heard all this from Patrick and Reg. I don't know why I haven't heard from Henry. Maybe he's still mad at me, maybe he's embarrassed, maybe he's still disoriented.

This all serves to remind me that Henry cannot help his condition. There are thing he can do to mitigate the damage, things he's not doing, but that's a quibble in the scheme of things. He rode his bike into a van. He has a traumatic brain injury.

So now I'm back to where I was, when my weekend began. I have to learn how to integrate his injury into our relationship. I'm still tossing counseling around in my head.


Sunday, February 16, 2020

Sunday Stealing

Happy Birthday, Bev!

Have you ever ...

1. Broken a bone? Yes. My clavicle when I was a pre-schooler.
2. Broken a window? Yes. In the den.
3. Been on TV? Yes. The Congress Hotel, 1992. I was on the local ABC affiliate as a cheering Clinton campaign worker the night we won. My mom was so proud!
4. Had a friend who shared the same birthday as you? Yes. Nancy H. We went K-12 together.
5. Locked your keys in the car? No, no car.
6. Accidentally sent a text or email to the wrong person? Yes. Embarrassing.
7. Sat in the back of a police car? Yes. I witnessed a crime and called 911. The police thought the suspect might still be in the neighborhood so they put me in the backseat as we rode around looking for him.
8. Fallen asleep at work? No
9. Made a snow angel? Yes

10. Ridden in an ambulance No

What is the  ...

11. Worst household chore Vacuuming
12 .Worst color Can't think of one
13. Worst pizza topping Anchovies
14. Worst weather Chilly/gray/rainy
15. Worst self-care job (e.g. dressing, washing, shaving, teeth, toe nails) Tweezing errant hairs
16. Worst game Football
17. Worst school subject Math
18. Worst animal
Can't think of one
19. Worst season Spring, because it has the most chilly/gray/rainy days
20. Worst TV show Trump TV














 

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Saturday 9


Saturday 9: Secret Valentine (2008)
Hear it here.
 
1) The lyrics talk about a song that's so romantic it "turns out the lights." Are the lights on in the room you're in right now? Yes. There's a four-bulb fixture above my head right now.

2) In the video, our heroine's Valentine's Day adventure begins with a note slipped into her pocket. What's in your pocket right now? No pocket in my pjs.

3) This week's band, We the Kings, are proud sons of the state of Florida. Bradenton, to be exact. They even called one of their CDs Sunshine State of Mind. Have you ever been to Florida? If so, where have you visited? Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Tampa and Key West. (Miami, but only to change planes.)

4) Lead singer Travis Clark has a pierced lip but doesn't always wear a lip ring. Do you have any piercings? If yes, are you wearing jewelry in your piercing(s) right now? Just one in each ear, and right now I'm not wearing any jewelry.

5) The band's name comes from a cheer they did when they attended Martha B. King High School. Have you attended your high school reunion? Ew. Ick. No. Thinking of high school gives me PTSD.

6) Hearts are the symbol of Valentine's Day, so here's a little heart trivia: whales have largest heart of any animal. When we say a person is "big hearted," it means we think of them as generous. Think about the people in your life. Who would you describe as big hearted? My friend Mindy. She's top of mind because I'm seeing her today. A very nice woman, she sees the best in everyone.

7) It's estimated that 9 million people buy Valentine's Day presents for their dogs and cats. Have you ever purchased a holiday gift for a pet? Yes, but not my own. At Christmastime, I remember my niece's cats and my nephew's cats, as well (and his tortoise, Georgina, gets a kiwi).

8) Valentines to teachers are also big sellers. Did you ever have a crush on one of your instructors? Oh, yes! One of my 7th grade teachers was dreamy, with wavy black hair. He only lasted a year. I was heartbroken he wasn't there for 8th grade.

9) With the popularity of e-cards, fewer Valentine messages are sent via the USPS. What's the most recent thing you dropped into a mailbox? Payment for last month's doctor visit.

I hurt. Now what?

I spent my long-ago 20s with a bad man. He was handsome, charming and good in bed. He was also impulsive, manipulative and violent. Everything was my fault. If I were more sensitive to his needs, we wouldn't fight and he wouldn't have to "act out." If I were more attractive, he wouldn't have to cheat. If I wasn't always trying to belittle him, he wouldn't have to drink so much. So I spent my every waking hour -- and many dreams -- trying to figure out how to bolster him, how to make him feel more secure.

I almost married him. It wasn't until we were in California -- he was trying to get into San Jose State and I was going to get a job to support us -- that I said to myself, "What am I doing?" I looked at my bruises in the motel shower stall and had an awakening. While he was at the college, I packed and took a cab to the airport. I went to the TWA counter with my paper ticket, told them I was sick (not exactly a lie) and changed my flight. I went back home. I never actually saw him again, though we had some unsavory exchanges over money and belongings.

I spent years of couch time discussing him, trying to get over him. I was also blessed with very supportive friends. My oldest friend was especially helpful. She swore to me that if she ever again heard me say of a man who hurt me, "Oh, he didn't mean it," she would kick my ass.

Last week, she kicked my ass.

Henry hurt me. He can't help it, of course. He is recovering from a brain injury. Hyper sensitivity and paranoia are not uncommon. I understand this intellectually, but I'm still in great pain because my dear friend was needlessly mean to me and is not remotely sorry.

I have a tendency to think it's my Christian duty to forgive, to accept people as they are, to love them as they are. But my best friend pointed out that I don't deserve to be hurt.

I get it. I see the pattern.

I know Henry is not totally responsible for his actions. I also know that I shouldn't let it hurt me so. Yet it does.

I think it may be time for a tune up. Perhaps I need to look for a new shrink. Isn't this what insurance is for, to help us when we hurt?


Tuesday, February 11, 2020

WWW.WEDNESDAY

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?
No Judgments by Meg Cabot. Sabrina suffered a bad break up and wants to start a new life. So she changes her name (call her "Bree"), her hair (from blonde to pink), her job (she's waiting tables) and addresses (she's now in a tiny apartment in the Keys). Everything is going well, until a hurricane sets its sights on South Florida. Like many conchs, she decides not to evacuate but instead ride it out.

I like chick-lit and know the locale pretty well, having traveled to Key West regularly for decades, and so I'm enjoying this book well enough in a Hallmark movie kinda way. I mean, if you can't tell by page 5 to whom Bree will ultimately give her heart, you have never read this genre.

2. What did you recently finish reading? Cary Grant by Marc Elliot.I read a lot of biographies, and have seldom encountered a subject whose real self is so different from his public persona.


On screen he was suave, immaculate, and witty. Offscreen, he was insecure, petty, jealous and cheap. This, in large part, was due to his upbringing. Hardscrabble and devoid of emotional security, his childhood left indelible scars. Therefore, the man who brought joy to us for decades was really pretty joyless. Fortunately, by the end of this book, when he settles into relationships with both his mother Elsie and daughter Jennifer, he finally seemed happy. 

Which is not to say I enjoyed this book. It tells his story chronologically and, I'm assuming, accurately. But Mr. Elliot seems positively obsessed with proving Grant's homosexuality. And yet he doesn't. Probably because Grant was (again I'm assuming) a bisexual who really did love three wives and had many more relationships with women than with men. Definitely because Grant accepted his sexuality and was less interested with labeling himself than Elliot is with labeling him.

And even after 448 pages, the Reel Cary Grant has a greater hold on me than the Real Cary Grant. Audrey Hepburn still speaks for me:
 


3.  What will you read next? I've got a couple baseball biographies here -- one about Gehrig, the other about Ruth. I don't know which one I'll choose to take me into spring training.


He can't help it. I can.

Henry was really shitty to me Monday morning. For a quick recap, he sent me a sad email Sunday night, worried about losing Reg and wondering what to do about it. I answered it, thoughtfully, before I went to bed. I told Henry he needed to talk to someone who could help him navigate through his feelings and frustrations and articulate his position to Reg without sounding accusatory. I recommended the psychologist he saw briefly last year and his minister. I looked up phone numbers of both the doctor and the pastor, making it as easy for Henry as possible.


Monday morning, I woke up to an email promising that it will be the last time I ever hear from him. If I can't be there for him during the longest, loneliest night of his life, then I obviously don't care about him and he will respond in kind. He closed by asking, "what else can I do?"

I responded that he could do what I suggested last night -- make an appointment with the psychologist or his pastor. Then I went to take my shower. I was frustrated, but not yet angry.

Then I got the email from Kate. She's an old friend of Reg and Henry's that I've met a few time. She and I have never corresponded. 

"Are you okay?" she asked. "Is Henry okay? It sounds like there's been a meltdown."

Henry sent Kate our email exchange. Bastard!

It seems Henry called Kate Sunday night, too. And, like me, she didn't pick up. She assumes he was too lazy or too rushed to personalize the Monday morning "pity party" email and sent it to both of us. She went on to say that my original Sunday message to Henry was "perfect," what she wished she'd said.

Monday was Reg's birthday. I saw photos on Facebook of the two of them at a jazz club. Reg was excited to report that Henry got into the spirit of the birthday celebration and actually danced.

So let's see: I'm walking around feeling angry and wounded because he has disrespected me. He seems to view my friendship as a utility he's paid for, like hot and cold running water. I have no right to not take his call because I'm watching the Oscars. When he turns on the faucet, I simply must be there. It's ugly and unfair.

Meanwhile, he's enjoying dinner at Salute! and dancing by the blue lights of The Little Room Jazz Club

I know he can't help the erratic behavior. He is trying to recover from a traumatic brain injury.I understand the situation and it breaks my heart.

But it does not give him the right to hurt me.

I cannot control his behavior. Hell, since his bike collided with that van, he can't control his behavior.

I must stay positive and loving to Henry, but I also have to protect and love myself. 

I unburdened myself last night to my oldest friend. Our conversation was like a tonic for me. Afterward, she sent me this, advising me to print it out and carry it with me at all times.




Monday, February 10, 2020

Tuesday 4

Reading Is Fundamental


1.  Do you have some favorite books to share?
My all-time favorite book is the one I learned the most from:  JFK: Reckless Youth.  It takes our future president from birth to the Senate. He was born with many gifts -- charm, wit, looks, intelligence, wealth. He was also lonely, sickly, and pegged from birth as the lesser son to his older brother. Within the Kennedy clan, Jack was isolated, a brainy, bookish boy in a family that valued action over intellect. Plus, he and his mother never "clicked." There are reasons: Rose Kennedy's complicated marriage, the demands of raising a special needs child (Rosemary) at a time when little was known on the subject, and the basic differences in their personalities. But those reasons are hard for a little boy to grasp. He just knew his mother was remote and this was the beginning of his lifelong difficulty connecting with women on a real level.

You're keenly aware that when the book ends, he's 35, with just 11 years left to live.

So while the world saw a war hero, a Pulitzer Prize winner, and the youngest man ever elected to the Presidency, his personal reality was very different. From Reckless Youth I learned that, no matter how a life may look from the outside, you don't know how it feels on the inside.

2.  When looking for a book what things do you look for?
Something different from what I just read. After I finish something involving or complicated, I'll reach for something light. Kinda like sorbet to cleanse the palette.

3.  Does the cover of a book make a difference or help you choose?
Depends on how I come upon the book. If a book is recommended to me (Kwizgiver is a good source), then I'm already convinced I want it, regardless of the cover. 

But so many books that I read come from our neighborhood used book sale. This event is a major fundraiser for the public library, and I help out by sorting the books. We volunteers are rewarded after the sale by being allowed to have as many remaining books as we can carry. I admit that when I go in to the high school gym on that Sunday morning, I am attracted by covers and titles.

4.  What is your favorite genre of book? That is, is it science fiction, romance, mystery, true story, or biography?  
I have three reading "food groups" -- biography, chick-lit, and mysteries. I bounce comfortably from genre to genre.