Saturday, March 23, 2019

Sunday Stealing


1. When was the last time you tried something new? On Saturday, I added arugula to my ham and cheddar omelette. That was a first for me. Usually I have spinach. I admit I could taste no difference, but that's not the point, is it? I tried something new.

2. Who do you sometimes compare yourself to?
Everyone, all the time. My oldest friend quotes her shrink to me all the time, "Compare and despair." It's a lesson I still haven't learned.

3. What’s the most sensible thing you’ve ever heard someone say?
See Q2.

4. What gets you excited about life?
All kinds of things! I'm doing good work for my client these days. That makes me happy. And baseball starts this week. GO, CUBS, GO! My vacation is coming up -- I can't wait! And little things, like my cats being all sweet or a lovely blue sky, they excite me, too.

5. What life lesson did you learn the hard way?
"He didn't mean it," is a lie tell myself. If someone treats me unkindly on a regular basis, he's an unkind person, he does mean it, and I should flee.

6. What do you wish you spent more time doing five years ago?
Being serious about money.

7. Do you ask enough questions or do you settle for what you know?
I am a naturally curious person.

8. Who do you love and what are you doing about it?
I am not in love with anyone right now.

9. What’s a belief that you hold with which many people disagree?
My approach to Christianity seems to be out of vogue in Trump's Evangelical America. Humility, kindness, acceptance ... these things are mocked today. Christians are "tough" now. We think it's perfectly OK for our President to imitate the disabled, pay off porn stars and lie about it, to make fun of POWs, oh, I could go on but it makes me sad.

10. What can you do today that you were not capable of a year ago?
I'm sorry, but I got nothing for this one.

11. Do you think crying is a sign of weakness or strength?
I don't think it's weak or strong. I think it's personal.

12. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
I'd dress for myself.

13. Do you celebrate the things you do have?
That's my goal for 2019. My OneWord is "gratitude."



14. What is the difference between living and existing?
Engagement.

15. If not now, then when?
Ok, I'll bite. When?

16. Have you done anything lately worth remembering?
I'm going to remember that, while it harms no one, arugula really adds nothing to an omelette.

17. What does your joy look like today?



18. Is it possible to lie without saying a word?
Yes

19. If you had a friend who spoke to you in the same way that you sometimes speak to yourself, how long would you allow this person to be your friend?
I admit sometimes I'm harder on myself than I am with others. I try to treat people as I wish to be treated. I should treat myself the same way.

20. Which activities make you lose track of time?
Watching the news, farting around on the internet.




Saturday 9


Saturday 9: Young and Beautiful (2013)
 
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.


1) Lana Del Rey wrote this song for the soundtrack of The Great Gatsby. She wanted it to reflect the feelings of Daisy Buchanan. Have you read The Great Gatsby? More than once. It was my favorite book for a while there. Gatsby epitomized "the ends don't justify the means," yet I admired his optimism. Never could stand Daisy, though. I remember the first time I read what Nick said to Gatsby, "You're worth the whole damn bunch of them put together!" I was all like, "Bravo, Nick!"




2) In the 1970s, Robert Redford portrayed Jay Gatsby. In the 2013 version, Leonardo di Caprio played the part. In real life, both "Gatsbys" have helped raised funds for the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). Are you careful about recycling and conserving water/electricity? I'm a handy little recycler and, since redoing my bathroom, I'm better with water. I do keep forgetting about shutting off lights, though.

I preferred Redford as Gatsby. Leo seemed too naive.

3) Lana Del Rey admits that she dropped out of college because she simply could not get the required math credits. When confronted with basic addition, subtraction, multiplication or division, do you do it in your head? Reach for pencil and paper? Or do you take advantage of the calculator that's on your desktop or phone? I have an old-school Office Max calculator that I use a lot. I get frustrated with the one on my phone. Fat fingers, dontchaknow.

4) She enjoys Kurt Cobain, Eminem, Elvis and Sinatra. Which of those four gentlemen did you listen to most recently? I never listen to the first two, but I adore the last two. It's close, but I'll say Elvis.

5) Speaking of Sinatras, she has described her high maintenance look -- big hair, long nails, elaborate eye makeup, full lips -- as "Gangster Nancy Sinatra." How long does it take you, on an average day, to prepare to face the world? This is hard to answer because I get so distracted during the process. I'll go into the bedroom to get my brow pencil and remember I haven't chosen my day's blouse yet. And then I'll take the lint brush to my chosen blouse (cat fur, always cat fur!) and I'll catch sight of myself in the mirror and say, "Oh! Makeup!" and grab the pencil and head back into the bathroom. If I was to concentrate on the task at hand -- pencil, shadow, mascara, and tinted moisturizer -- I say at most 15 minutes.

6) She's a big soccer fan, and her favorite team is Liverpool FC. Here in the US, college basketball fans are currently obsessed with March Madness. What's the last sporting event that you watched? I haven't watched any sports in a while. BUT BASEBALL STARTS NEXT WEEK!

7) Her younger sister, Caroline, studied photography and is responsible for some of Lana's publicity pictures. Have you ever gotten a job because of a relative? Nope

8) In 2013, when this song came out, Pope Francis became the first pope from a Latin American country. Latin America generally includes Mexico, most of Central and South America, and in the Caribbean, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. What's the farthest south that you've ever traveled? Honolulu.




9) Random question -- What button would you prefer your life to have: rewind, fast forward or a pause? Fast forward. Where will I be living on 12/31/19? A real estate agent is coming over tomorrow to assess selling our building.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Whew!

We had an important internal review on Thursday afternoon, reviewing the creative work for Monday's Big Presentation.  I admit I was nervous. The last time we did a project of this size/scope, our internal account team was a major obstacle. What they lacked in competence they made up for in drama and the entire process was more hostile and stressful than it needed to be.

I'm happy to report that Thursday went well. Very well. The work we did was both pretty and smart, and this account different team got it.

That's the thing about my job. Presenting to the client usually goes well. I have studied my clients' business, which they appreciate, and so they always approach the work wanting to like it. It's these internal reviews that can be unnecessarily political and painful.

But not Thursday. And on Monday, when I go to my clients' office and present to a dozen people, I'll be more confident because I know my internal team is behind me.



Image courtesy of IndypendenZ at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

I have a date with Angie Dickinson by the pool


The full schedule of events was published! I know what my choices are for the TCM Classic Film Festival! And, on the first night, I'll be seated around the pool at The Hotel Roosevelt. Watching a special screening of the original Ocean's 11, hosted by Danny's ever-loving, not-quite-ex herself, Angie Dickinson.

I've got my ticket already! Planning for Ocean's 11, and texting back and forth with Betty from my movie group (who's doing the poolside thing), were really the only good thing that happened today. It was a blah day at the office, a little too much stress and too little actual work.

Then a condo board meeting. More discussion of possible building sale. More talk about the possible bed bug issue. Talk ... talk ... talk ... No resolution. Lots of stress. All three of us on the board -- me, John and Brian -- were overtired and in a bad mood.

I kinda hate everyone.

But Angie. I'm looking forward to hanging with Angie (and Betty, and dozens more of our classic loving tribe) by the pool.



Monday, March 18, 2019

He's planted a flag on a small corner of my heart


Last week, my President threatened half the country. Here's what he said to Brietbart: “You know, the left plays a tougher game, it’s very funny. I actually think that the people on the right are tougher, but they don’t play it tougher. Okay? I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump – I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough — until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad."

Over the weekend, my President had harsher words for SNL, who teased him, and Fox, who suspended Judge Jeanine, than for White Supremacists.

My President, who wraps himself literally in the flag and brags about his support for veterans, made fun yet again of a dead war hero. John McCain served voluntarily in Vietnam, and President Trump had bone spurs.

And there are "Christians" across the blogosphere who insist that this President is their guy.

It all makes me a little sick to think about.

On the other hand, Beto O'Rourke is asking us to "demonstrate our resolve, our creativity and our courage." He promises his campaign will be positive. A campaign that includes all of us.

Beto O'Rourke is not talking about the grievances of the past. He's talking about fighting the good fight for a better future.

I'm a little in love with Beto O'Rourke.

Oh, it's early yet. I don't know where Beto is on many specifics, and when I find out, I may not love him at all anymore.

I've always gotten a kick out of Joe Biden, and believe he is an exceptionally good man. It would really hurt me to vote against him.

But then, President Trump dismissed Beto because of the way he uses his hands* and I felt the need to leap to the Congressman's defense.

My politically astute and involved nephew is back with Bernie, but was not surprised by my fascination with Beto. "He reminds you of Obama, doesn't he?"

January 27, 1992
"Well, yeah," I lied. But my nephew, a college freshman, was not yet born the last time I felt this way about a candidate. After 12 years of Reagan-Bush (or, as Don Henley referred to them, "Those tired old men that we elected King"), I yearned to hear from someone to connect to emotionally, a candidate who "felt our pain." Someone who, as Abraham Lincoln said, "touched the better angels of our nature."

I ache for that now. I want a leader who won't fuel our anger about what's gone in the past, but instead who encourages us: "Don't stop thinking about tomorrow."

Intellect is important. But so are imagination and charisma.

Tonight I'm watching Elizabeth Warren work an Iowa crowd. She's tough. She's smart. She's gifted at taking complex issues and making them accessible. Good for her!

And how can you not admire Joe Biden's courage, optimism and common touch?

But I remember 2004 so very well. John Kerry is a good man. He was prescient and smart and dedicated and serious. But he couldn't win. I learned my lesson. I've worked on winning campaigns and losing campaigns and winning campaigns are better.

In 2020, winning is literally more important than ever.

And I know me rather well. I bet I already know how I vote on Tuesday, March 17, 2020.

 

*Hands that are bigger than Trump's, I'm sure.


Sunday, March 17, 2019

But all I want to do is sleep

Slept in this morning. Entered my checks and expenses into Quicken. Took a shower. Took a walk. Settled in a booth, chick-lit in hand, trying to choose my lunch from the new, expanded menu when Patrick called.

Patrick is Reg's oldest friend, and he's living with them in Key West these days. I adore Patrick. He's a good guy and he has Henry's and Reg's best interests at heart.

He told me first that Reg is "mortified" by how he treated me. To which I rather heartlessly replied, "Good." Then I hastened to add that since Reg apologized, I'm willing to put it behind us. But I would be lying if I didn't admit that whole thing -- the confrontational conversation with Henry plus the public slap by Reg -- didn't leave me bruised.

Then Patrick told me that they have two big problems right now:

•  Lola, their dog, is having seizures. She's very old, has bad teeth so she no longer enjoys her food, and other age-related health problems, and is suffering. Reg knows it's time to put her to sleep. At moments, Henry will admit he knows it, too. But they just can't bear to do it right now. Can I do anything to try to convince Henry? Lola is in pain, and this situation is not fair to her.

•  Reg simply cannot keep taking time off work to drive Henry to and from his job. Henry refuses to take Uber or Lyft for complicated reasons that don't make a great deal of sense to me. Anyway, they can't afford it if Reg's hours -- and his pay -- are cut. Can I try to influence Henry to take cabs or arrange rides on his own?

I said I'd see what I could do, sometime this week. And I will. Just not right away.  I have other things on my mind right now, and Reg and Henry are depleting me.

This is not to say that I don't love Henry. I do, and I'm in this for the duration. But when I got home from lunch, all I wanted to was nap. Then I did three loads of wash, and was ready for bed. 9:00 on Sunday. I've done none of the chores I'd planned for today. My tank was empty.




Saturday, March 16, 2019

Sunday Stealing

Cookie Questions

1. Do you eat Oreos? When they are offered. I don't buy them.

2.  If you eat Oreos, which are your favorite – original, double stuff, golden original, golden double stuff, Oreo brownies, Oreo ice cream?
Original. I'm a purist.

3.  Do you twist your Oreos apart?
Of course!

4.  Are you able to pass by a plate of cookies and not take one or are you a bit of a 'Cookie Monster'?
I'm a cookie monster ... except for Grandma's. They're a vending machine cookie, produced by Frito Lay. They literally taste like nothing. The very definition of empty calories.

5.  Tell us about your favorite cookie. Crunchy, soft, chewy, crumbly, other?
I drool for a Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip cookie.

6. Have your tastes changed since you were a kid?
Nope.

7.  Enquiring minds want to know if you are a dunker and, if so, do you dunk in milk, coffee, or tea?
I dunk chocolate chip and shortbread cookies in milk.

8.  It is that time of year and they are selling them on every corner and in front of every store!  Do you buy Girl Scout cookies and if you do, which is your favorite? 
I was a Girl Scout, so I have a heart for the lassies in green. My favorite is the peanut butter sandwich cookie.

9.  Raw cookie dough.  Yea or Nay? 
Yea.

10.  Do you like cookies with filling?
Sure.

11.  Do you prefer organic cookies?
Not especially.

12.  Large cookies, or small cookies?
Yes, please.

13.  Do you like familiar flavors in cookies?
Yes.

14.  Do you make your own cookies, or buy them?
Mostly I cadge them from the catering tray after a meeting ends.

15.  Please tell us something random about your week!!
I am trying to face forward, leave last week behind, and enjoy anticipation of baseball season and my vacation. (Cubs opening day is March 28. I leave for the TCM Classic Film Festival on April 10.)


Good for what ails me

My movie group met Saturday night, just when I needed them most. I've been a little blue lately, and sitting in the dark, surrounded by fellow film geeks, really lifted my spirits.

Tonight we watched a movie I'd never even heard of before. Out of the Fog is a noir starring Ida Lupino and John Garfield with a completely charming supporting turn by an unbelievably young Eddie Albert. The plot kept me guessing and I found the final twist very satisfying.

We had a very animated conversation about it afterward. Ida Lupino is an actress I simply do not like, and since I was surrounded by fans I kept my mouth shut about that. Instead I opined about the movie's menfolk. It's always energizing to be with others who love what I love.

Which is why I'm so excited about next month's TCM Film Festival. Betty and Will from the movie group will be out there with me. Well, sort of. We're all attending, but we agree that we'll meet up and check in with one another, but on the main, we'll go our separate ways when we're in Hollywood. We love old movies, but we differ on our faves. And no matter which theater, and which screening, we find ourselves in, we know we'll be surrounded by fellow film geeks. And that's a fine thing.

So I added Betty's number to my phone -- I've long been connected to Will -- and we squealed and and oohed and aahed with excitement. This is gonna be so good. Four full days in my happy place, with others who share my passion. Tonight was just a tantalizing coming attraction.


Friday, March 15, 2019

St. Patrick's Day with Saturday 9



Molly Malone
 
Unfamiliar with this week's song? Hear it here.

1) Are you of Irish descent? According to family lore, my favorite Grandma was half Irish. Which made my dad 1/4 Irish. And me 1/8 Irish.


2) Legend has it that the heroine of this week's Irish ballad was a real lass. 17th century birth and burial records confirm that a woman with that name lived in Dublin. Can you think of another song about a real historic figure? Eleanor Rigby's grave is in Woolton, Liverpool. I don't believe that Paul McCartney just landed upon that name by accident. The nearby church that runs this cemetery was the social hub of Liverpool in the 1950s. It was at their summer party that Paul met John in 1957.

 

3) Molly sold fish from a cart that she wheeled through the streets. What's the last seafood you ate? Gorton's Fish Sticks. Dipped in ketchup. I love them. Don't judge me.

4) The lyrics tell us that, after her death, her ghost continues to wander the streets of Dublin with her wheel barrow. Do you believe in ghosts? No.

5) This week's featured band, The Dubliners, are obviously from Dublin. They were introduced to American audiences on The Ed Sullivan Show. Today, Stephen Colbert tapes his show in The Ed Sullivan Theater. Who hosted the last talk show you watched? Dick Cavett. His shows are rerun every weeknight on the Decades cable channel. Some are quite dated and kind of unwatchable, but the shows devoted to Hollywood icons -- like Fred Astaire, Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis or Alfred Hitchcock -- are delightful.


A lively and charming Hitchcock, from 1972

6) Corned beef and cabbage is a traditional St. Patrick's Day dish. Is it a favorite of yours? No.

7) According to Irish legend, leprechauns earned the gold in the pot they guard by repairing shoes. Crazy Sam can't remember the last time she got a pair of shoes repaired. When the heels wear away, she discards the shoes and buys new ones. What about you? Do you get your shoes fixed (either by leprechauns or just by ordinary repairmen)? No. But I do make regular trips to the watch repair shop to get batteries replaced. I don't toss away a watch until absolutely forced to.

 
8) Do you look good in green, the signature color of St. Patrick's Day? Yes. I have green eyes, so wearing green brings them out.

9) Random question: Did you more recently sneeze or cough? Sneeze. I have allergies.



I'm as mad at myself as at anyone else

Today was not a good day. And I'm afraid I allowed it to unfold badly.

I woke up this morning to a work email, read while I was still in my jammies, that announced a creative team meeting, suddenly called by Mr. Big himself. He doesn't care about my team or our work. In fact, I've ridden in the elevator with him and he hasn't even spoken to me. What does he want to talk to us for?

Then I saw the date. 3/15. End of the pay period. Uh oh. This is when they like to do layoffs. It's neater this way.

So I rode to the office in terror. Expecting to see a cardboard packing box near my chair. However, by the time I got in, Mr. Big had cancelled the meeting. And, in fact, had decided to take the day off. What the hey?

My boss and my art director told me not to worry. Today's aborted meeting could not possibly have been about my imminent axing. Their reasoning: (1) Management has to keep me at least until 3/25, when The Big Project is presented; (2) I was invited, and I wouldn't be asked to the meeting if I was laid off (I'd be in HR). OK, I suppose that makes sense.

But I was unsettled all day. I went to lunch with some chick-lit (The Other Side of the Story) and was starting to feel better. Then I went to the post office to buy some Forever stamps. The patron in line behind me was really rude. Hostile.

I let him get under my skin. I keep reliving it, wondering why he thought he was entitled to treat me that way.

I'm home now, and I can't relax.

I suppose I have the blues, but it's more than that.

Why do I let other people's stink cling to me so tenaciously?

Let it go, Gal. Let it go. Live in the moment.


Wednesday, March 13, 2019

But nothing is all bad

Yes, Wednesday had its icky moments (see post below). But I was happy, too.

1) These two. Connie and Reynaldo have been very affectionate this evening. It's as if they sense I had a bad day and want me to have a little extra sugar.


2) And these two. Bryzzo delivers the advice I didn't know I needed. How adorable are my guys?





3) And this came! I'm really going to the TCM Film Festival.  Look at my pass!



You know what I don't need? This!

Working on a big project at work. Massive. High profile. It's what I do well. I should be enjoying it, except for circumstances beyond my control -- like the account team and the production studio. So I'm worried about how it will go. Will I do right by my client? Will this project have positive -- or negative -- ramifications for my job security?

On top of this, I got caught in some Henry and Reg crossfire. My friend Kathleen is going away for a short girls' trip to Puerto Rico -- a bonding time for her and her sisters as they recover from their father's death -- and so I called Henry for travel tips. He was just in Puerto Rico last year, and I know he loves talking about the land of his birth. He always complains that people treat him "like a child," so I thought that asking his advice would make him feel more valid.

We talked about a rain forest, and his favorite restaurant, and everything was going OK. And then it wasn't.

Henry started talking about the accident ... again. And again. And again. He doesn't remember the accident. But he's sure he knows what happens, and his theories completely exonerate him. I'm beyond exasperated by this. I don't care. I know it's his brain injury talking, and it's tiresome.

He was complaining specifically about his friend, Phyllis. She says she doesn't believe his fabricated version of events. She snapped at him. He took that to believe that she was questioning his sanity. Maybe she was -- I've never liked Phyllis -- but that's not the point. He was hurting and I tried to make it better.

I said that there are many things about his accident and its aftermath that don't make sense to me. But that doesn't mean I don't accept them. For example, it doesn't make sense to me that people voted for Donald Trump, but I accept that he's President. I thought that would placate him.

No. No no no.

Hours went by. Literally. There goes NCIS. There goes This Is Us. There goes the time I was going to spend writing a letter to my Cousin Rose. Round and round about the accident. And just about everything he was saying was drivel. Not the way I wanted to unwind from a stressful day.

He went from angry to tearful to depressed to loving. These were the mood swings I hoped were behind us. OK, they aren't. But you know what? He's doing the best he can as he battles back from this brain injury.

This afternoon, when I'm sitting in out in the open, waiting for my art director to make some revisions to The Big Project, Reg's email arrived. It was a Gofundme update that went out to the 153 contributors to Henry's recovery fund. My aunt, my cousin, my niece, an old boyfriend, John and 14 other people who only pitched in because I asked them to, they all got to read an email about how "The Gal from Chicago" called Tuesday night just to "badger" Henry. He called me out by name, announcing how I'm not a real "friend" and I'm not helping.

What the ever loving fuck?

I tried to maintain my cool, but it was hard. I grabbed my phone and kept it together until I got into the lobby. As I began dialing Reg, he called me.

"The Gal from Chicago here," I answered.

He seemed surprised that I was angry at him. After all, to his mind, I called Henry last night, just to "badger" him about the accident, and Reg woke up upset and nasty to Henry. Clearly, I'm a sadistic bitch.

"Why didn't you call me before you hit send?" I kept asking. "Why didn't you talk to me directly? Why did you call me out in front of 150 people?"

I told him what really happened, and then I added, "I deserve better from you."

"I am so sorry," he kept repeating. And I believe he is. He's tired. He's dispirited. Consequently, he's making bad choices.

Reg took down the original post and sent a new one. He apologized, referring to me as, "a very good friend, an ally and a sounding board for Henry's rants. I don't know where I would be without her input."

Fucking A, Reg. Fucking A.

I'm tired. Exhausted from The Big Project. Worn out by Reg and Henry.

But this is life. Life is messy. And it's never all bad ...



Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

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 Side of the Story by Marian Keyes. 30-something Gemma is a successful adult, a event-planner with a great car and good friends. But her romantic life is non-existent, and her mother is suddenly a bigger part of her life than ever before. Dad is having his mid-life crisis a little late and has moved out of the family home so he can carry on an affair with his (much younger) assistant. 

No matter how old you are, you can be affected by your parents' marital strike (confession: a similar situation happened to this gal herself). But complicating Gemma's response is her own recent history: Her boyfriend left her for her best friend. So she feels overwhelmed and disillusioned just now. She expresses this in a series of clever, highly readable emails to her girlfriends, which unexpectedly become her entree to a new career as an author.

Back when the millennium was younger, I read a lot of Marian Keyes. I like her warm and witty style, and I enjoy that she sets her books in Dublin and London, which are unfamiliar to me and fun. For some reason I moved out of my chick-lit phase. This particular volume has been sitting in my TBR pile since  -- gulp! -- 2008. (The sticker on the back is from Borders!) I'm glad its time has come.

2. What did you recently finish reading?  

Being John Lennon: A Restless Life by Ray Connelly. The woman who raised him, Aunt Mimi, reported that she learned early on the most effective way to discipline John was to give him the silent treatment. "Don't 'nore me, Mimi! Don't 'nore me!" he would plead.

That anecdote, shared early in this affectionate but clear-eyed biography, seems to foreshadow John's whole life. He craved the world's attention, but he couldn't resist testing boundaries. It made him often hard to love -- for bandmates, friends, and fans alike -- but irresistible all the same.

Reading this book, it struck me how little time John had. Murdered at 40, he's been dead almost as long as he lived. That aids poignancy to his tale. He wanted more. He wanted satisfaction and contentment. He looked for it in unlikely places -- from fame to transcendental meditation to heroin -- but he never found it. He seemed as though he was getting close at the end, as he attempted to balance fatherhood with music making, and then BANG!

Much has been written about John Lennon and that little band he started. I've read a lot of it. I can recommend this book to both the casual fan and the fanatic.


3.  What will you read next?  
Richard Nixon, The Life by John A. Farrell. I began this book before the Lennon book. I must return to it.



Guess who worked out! That would be me.

I've been going to the chiropractor twice/week for the last two months. Last Thursday, he OK'd me to return to the health club. And so Monday I did -- for the first time in 2019!

I believe this is the beginning of the end of a saga that began back in September, when I visited the doctor about my swollen right calf and she sent me to the hospital for tests to eliminate DVT and phlebitis. Then in December, I began suffering from distracting, sudden, stabbing pains in that same right calf. Another trip to the hospital. Once again, DVT was eliminated. Along the way, diabetes has been ruled out, too.

Great. We knew what it wasn't, but we didn't know what it was. My friend Barb recommended her chiropractor, and my world changed.

It's now been four days without any pain. That's the longest I've gone in three months! I'm getting better!

So I went back to the health club and I stretched. I pedaled. It felt gooooood.



Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Sunday Stealing

Popular Queen Songs


Bohemian Rhapsody - What matters to you more than anything in the world? I want to do the right thing. At the end of the day, that's what matters to me. I know I find it tiresome when people hammer me with their faith, but I do try to live a life that pleases Christ.

Don’t Stop Me Now - What makes you feel unstoppable?
Success. I'm not being flippant. I find that positive momentum carries me forward.

Another One Bites The Dust - What one thing would you wipe off the face of the earth?
Oh, I don't know enough about the intricacies of the eco system to answer this. Pests that annoy me might be vital to the way our planet works.

Under Pressure - How stressed are you currently?
On a scale of 10? 7. Big project at work. Worries about Henry and Reg (see post below). Unsure about my domestic situation. I wish it was summer and I was looking back on this period.

We Will Rock You - What was the last concert you went to?




Somebody To Love - Are you looking for somebody to love?
I'm not opposed to it.

We Are The Champions - What achievement are you most proud of?
I have given stable, healthy homes to shelter cats -- lovely little critters that other disposed of like used Kleenex.

Radio GaGa - What do you think of today’s popular music?
I don't care for it, but I'm not supposed to. Every generation gets their own soundtrack.

I Want To Break Free - If you could move to any part of the world, where would you want to live?
I'd stay in Chicago, but I'd move into the Palmolive Building. That's the one in the center with the bright beacon (built to help Charles Lindbergh!) and the view of Oak Street Beach.





Love Of My Life - Have you ever had your heart broken? Good goobies, yes!

Killer Queen - What is your favorite thing about yourself?
I find humor in most things. The older I get, the more I value it.

The Show Must Go On - What is something you will never give up?
My passions.

Crazy Little Thing Called Love - Name some of your favorite musicians.
The Bs: The Beatles, Barbra Streisand, Bruce Springsteen.

Who Wants To Live Forever - If you could be immortal, would you?
No


Fat Bottomed Girls - What are some traits you look for in a partner?
A romantic partner? I'm seriously into hair. I'm attracted to a man whose hair would smell good.

I Want It All - If you could have anything in the world, what would it be?
Enough money to no longer worry about money.


 

I know what I know

Henry and I spend two to three hours on the phone together every week. It's been like this since he returned to Key West from Miami, after his accident. Often I love it, sometimes it exhausts me. The way our calls go depends on how Henry is doing at work, how he is feeling physically, whether his TBI is bedeviling him, and how patient I can be.

But here's the thing: he is getting better. Sure, every now and again he returns to rehashing the accident and how everyone is wrong about how it happened -- even though he has no recollection of it. Yes, he continues to insist he never had a brain injury, even though the seizure he recently suffered is evidence of it. OK, it's hard to hear him complain about how his medications affect him, even though he continues consuming multiple glasses of wine each day when he shouldn't be drinking at all.

I don't believe that any of those negatives are unusual or even unexpected from a man who nearly died five months ago.

He's no longer furious all the time. He doesn't rail against Reg, saying he wants a divorce. He doesn't complain about close friends who treat him "like a child." He's sweet and funny and always asks about my aunt. A Trumper, her outspoken support of the President has cost her a relationship with her favorite granddaughter, a situation which makes Henry very sad for all concerned.

Henry is healing. I can see the progress. So why am I unhappy this morning? It's Reg.

Reg is using social media -- reaching more than 150 people -- to complain about Henry. And about me. I have sent texts to Reg, saying, "Henry says he loves you!" "I can tell he's getting better," etc. I thought this would make him happy.

It does not.


This past week, Reg has posted: "Those of you who have spoken to Henry, thinking everything is good. You are wrong and I would like to bring you to the table. Read about TBI." and "Your conversations are but snippets. There is very little that you can say to make it better."

I get that Reg is tired. That he is the one who has to deal with the mood swings, day in/day out. That he is the one who bears the brunt of being with Henry as much as humanly possible (since the seizure, he's afraid to be alone).

But when I say Henry is better, that doesn't mean I think Henry is well.

Before the accident, I was more Henry's than Reg's. The accident brought Reg and I together, for a time. Now I think things have reverted. I'm going to stop reaching out to Reg, since it annoys him. Every month since the accident, I've sent money to their household through the Gofundme page, which Reg handles. From now on, I'll send it directly to Henry. (Example: I have a Shell gift card here that I'm putting in a card to Henry with a note. He can use it to thank the friend who drives him to and from work, or he can give it Reg. His choice.)

This is a journey. I'm buckled in for the duration. But I have to help them, to be there for them, in a way that does not deplete me.





Friday, March 08, 2019

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Up on the Roof (1979)
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.
 
1) JT sings that, when the world gets him down, he goes up on the roof to find peace. When you're "feeling tired and beat," what do you do to cheer yourself up? Showers and baths do wonders for me. I feel clean, fresh and brand new.
 
2) He sings that, at night, the stars put on a show for free. Are you economizing, or sticking to a budget? I try to watch my spending. But I have no self discipline. I'm as bad with my money as I am with my time. I'm like Lucy with no Ricky.


3) In addition to recording this song for his album, Flag, James Taylor surprised the song's composer, and his good friend. Carole King by performing it the night she received her Kennedy Center Honor (see link above). Tell us about a good turn a friend has done for you recently. A former coworker/Facebook friend sent me a lovely, unexpected present. She was in an airport book store and saw a magazine commemorating the 50th anniversary of The Beatles White Album, picked it up, and FedEx'd it to me. Reading about the Lads always makes me happy, and I was especially touched that she thought of me.
 

4) James Taylor and Carole King have been good friends for decades, but they have never been romantically involved. Do you have platonic friends of the opposite sex? Many.




5) James was born in the Boston hospital where his father worked as a resident physician. Are there any doctors or nurses in your family? No.



6) When James was young, his family moved to Chapel Hill, NC. James has vivid memories of how beautiful the area was in all four seasons. What's your favorite time of year? Autumn. Especially if the Cubs are in the playoffs!



7) In 1979, when this recording was popular, ESPN launched. Do you often watch that cable sports channel? Only when they're carrying a Cubs game.


8)  Also in 1979, the Voyager spacecraft sent photos back to earth that revealed Jupiter's rings. Without looking it up, can you name all the planets in our solar system? Nope.
 
9) Random question: Our Saturday 9 Wizards give you a choice -- you can be 20 years old and gorgeous, 30 years old and brilliant, or 40 years old and rich. Which do you choose? 40 and rich. I can retire and take classes, thereby making me smarter. And I can pay for massages and facials and a personal trainer, thereby making me prettier. 



Saturday, March 02, 2019

Sunday Stealing


1. I wish I had enough money to ________. Not worry about money

2. If you had to enter a competition for the "Most Uselessly Unique Talent," what would your talent be?
I can take shorthand.

3. When it might hurt their feelings, how do you feel about telling your friends the truth?
If it's important, I tell them. If it's not, and it means not hurting them, I'll try to avoid the topic altogether.

4. Peanut or plain?
Peanut, please.

5. Is there someone you would like to take your place in life for one day? Who and why?
I would have said my mother, since she really didn't understand my life at all. But she's gone now, so I don't have an answer to this.

6. Who was your favorite teacher and why?
Mr. Dombrowski. American history. Because he was so passionate.

7. What do you think is the ugliest thing or event on Earth?
You're now the President of ALL Americans, even Chicagoans!

8. What is your least favorite of your personality traits or quirks? I am devoid of self discipline.

9. I wish I could see ________ because _________.
I wish I could see into the future because then I'd know what to worry about, and what to let slide.

10. Tell us your favorite children's story.
As a baby bull, Ferdinand does not like to butt heads with the others in the
herd. He likes to sit under a tree and smell the flowers. He grows up to be unusually big and strong. One day, matadors come to choose bulls for a bull fight. They see Ferdinand smelling the flowers. 

All of a sudden, a bee stings him on the nose. Ferdinand hurts so he runs around, snorting and kicking. The matadors think he is the fiercest bull ever and take him away for a bull fight. 


When Ferdinand is led into the ring, he is enchanted by the ladies with floral headdresses. He parks himself in the middle of the ring and relaxes, enjoying all the colors and scents. This frustrates the matador, who wants to show off his cape and his sword as he kills a ferocious bull. The man gets so angry he actually starts to cry. Ferdinand is deemed a failure as a fighting bull, but that's OK. Because he gets to live out his life in the pasture, smelling the flowers, which is all he ever wanted to do anyway. So Ferdinand lives happily ever after by being true to his nature.

11. Explain how to play your favorite game.
Canasta is rather complicated, with wild cards and melds and such. Plus I just used up a lot of words telling you about Ferdinand. So here's a link.
 
12. What do you keep in the trunk of your car?
No car

13. Tell us about your favorite way to get lost in a simple activity — running, chopping vegetables, folding laundry, whatever. What’s it like when you’re in "the zone?"
I think of myself as a jet, as the wheels go up and I take flight.

14. What’s your dream tourist destination — either a place you’ve been and loved, or a place you’d love to visit? What about it speaks to you?
I've been daydreaming a lot about Colonial Williamsburg. It's a good vacation spot for me because I can get my geek on, immersing myself American history, and pamper myself in the spa.

15. What parts of nature do you like best?
When I'm in a forest preserve or on a garden path, I like looking up at the sky and seeing the blue through the leaves of green.

16. What kind of program do you enjoy most on TV
detective shows, comedies, game showsand why? I like watching movies. I'm a TCM girl.

17. Do you know any professional athletes?
Met? Yes. Know? No.

18. What will the next must-have technological innovation be? Jetpacks? Hoverboards? Wind-powered calculators?
I'm sure it will be some new iteration of a phone.

19. Have you ever been the victim of a crime?
Yes.

20. What if you woke up tomorrow with the ability to understand animals. What do you think you’d hear from them?
I'd want to hear from my cat, Reynaldo. I want him to tell me what I do that frustrates him so.

21.What is something that makes you melancholy?
Thinking of relatives no longer with me. My grandma, my uncle and my mom. Though I know they are with me in spirit.


There's always wine

My darling Henry has been drinking too much for years. He's joked about it, daring servers to "twist my arm, please!" when they offer to refill his wine glass.

He hasn't gained weight because of it. To my knowledge, it never affected his worklife. It has had an impact on his behavior -- when he drinks, his otherwise very sharp mind gets sloppy. And he makes bad choices ... like getting on his bike and turning into a van.

He knows how I feel about his drinking. I don't belabor this. I went through this with my friend, John, and I know that if I press too hard, I just find myself frozen out.While I don't want to be an enabler, I understand that the only ones who are responsible for Henry's and John's alcohol intake are Henry and John.

Complicating this are Henry's TBI and his relationship with Reg. Henry is taking a mix of meds every day, and he ignores the warning that they should not be mixed with alcohol. He is not the only one in his household who likes his wine. Reg has been drinking too much, too. It's balancing his roles as caregiver and breadwinner that compels him to find relief in the occasional glass (or two or three).

And so there's drama. There's fighting. Reg blames it all on the TBI. He insists that the reason they fight so much is that he is the only Henry lets his guard down with, and that's why he bears the brunt of Henry's rage.

Henry disagrees. He feels that, while Reg does a lot for him, they are the things Reg wants to do, not what Henry needs him to do.

To me, it looks like Reg is in love with his martyrdom and he should stand up for himself and tell Henry to stop being a jerk. Henry is the sweetest of men. He is. But he's only human. He feels vulnerable and frightened and he lashes out. I've felt it. On Christmas, when I handed him his present, he said even before unwrapping it, "Oh. A shirt." Upon opening it and seeing it was an artist's rendering of his favorite, Frida Kahlo, he said, "Who is this supposed to be?"

"Oh, don't be a dick," I snapped. "I had prepared a little speech about how she turned her accident into art, and I hope now you'll turn your accident into art. I was happy about Christmas and your present. And you wrecked it."

The next day, Henry made a point of wearing the shirt. Because he is a sensitive man, he loves me, and he was sorry.

Of course, since I've never been married, it's possible that I'm wrong about all of this.

But I am right about this: both of them being buzzed is not helping the situation. I wish they would each put their glasses down and walk away from the bottle.