Sunday, October 15, 2017

That went well

Expedia gave me a great price on my Christmastime vacation to Key West. And I planned the flights and the hotel all with my fingertips. Convenience and value ... yea!

But that was back in the spring. Since I booked the trip, Delta has changed my flight times over ... and over ... and over. I'm generally a good sport about this. As long as I get aisle seats and I don't have to change planes in Miami, I'll go along with just about anything.

Just about anything. With their last change, Delta had me changing planes in Atlanta, during Christmas week, in less than an hour. Sorry, not acceptable.

So I got on the phone and called Expedia. I dialed the 800#, sat on hold listening to Muzak, and spoke to an actual person.

In less than an hour, the Expedia sales rep gave me my choice of two other options and booked me on the one I preferred -- getting me that coveted aisle seat -- and it didn't cost me a cent. I suspect if I'd dealt with Delta directly, fees would have been invoked.

1-800-319-4834. That's the number. Sometimes doing it old school ends up being easier. Sometimes the human touch is just what you're looking for.


Sunday Stealing

Questions to Ask Your Crush

1. What do you find hilarious, but most people don’t find funny? My favorite joke: "Lou Gehrig died of Lou Gehrig's disease. What are the odds?" Or the baseball equivalent: "Tommy John needed Tommy John surgery. What are the odds?" My friend John simply does not understand this joke and it annoys him.

2. What was the best year of your life so far? When I was 35. I was in love and felt sexy and womanly, and I was hitting my stride professionally.

3. What’s your favorite thing to do on the Internet? Farmville

4. What fad have you held on to even tho it isn’t popular any more? Farmville

5. What do you spend most of your time doing? Farmville

6. What do you spend way too much money on? Everything, it seems. (I bet you thought I'd say "Farmville," didn't you?)

7. What event, large or small, has changed the course of your life most? That moment in my 20s when I met the guy I spent too many years with. I made life and career decisions based on his happiness, and he simply wasn't worth it. I often wonder how my life would be different today if I'd taken the job as an admin/receptionist in a dental office, instead of the one that put me in his path.

8. Who do you have a hard time taking seriously? Myself

9. What do you judge people for most often? I'm intolerant of intolerance. Especially intolerant Christians. I'm a Christian, and when I hear politicians merchandising faith in exchange for votes, I want to remind them of the story of Jesus and the money changers. I can just imagine Him at last week's Values Voter summit, overturning the podium.

10. What was the most beautiful view you have ever experienced? Early one morning, I watched the sun rise over the Swiss Alps. The sun actually bathed the snowy mountains in pink. Amazing! 

11. What is something you read or heard that has stuck with you for a long time? JFK: Reckless Youth. There are a gazillion books about John Kennedy, and I've read most of them, but this one is different and really quite moving. It takes him from birth to age 35. There's family dysfunction, grave illness, lots of girls and women, dear friends and genuine heroism as he finds his voice along the way. The thing is -- to age 35 his life was difficult and painful. And he had little more than a decade left to live. Despite the money, the charm and the power, his was not a life any of us would want. I learned an important lesson: the way a life looks on the outside is no indication of how it feels on the inside.
12. What’s your favorite thing to shop for. Why? Books. Because they're books.

13. What’s the best compliment someone can receive? I try to be a good person. Any compliment in that regard is most appreciated.

14. What’s something people go on and on about and you just can’t stand sitting through? Game of Thrones

15. What’s something you can do that most people can’t? Roll my tongue. Wiggle my ear. (Jealous, aren't you?)

16. When was the last time you tried to look cool and ended in embarrassment? I'm old. Every time I try to look cool, it ends in embarrassment.

17. What is the most ridiculous rule you have to follow? At the auditorium where my movie group screens classic films, there is a ladies room labeled, "Children Only." So I have to pass it and use the commode all the way on the other side of the theater. Now on weekdays, the building houses a daycare center so I suppose the "Children Only" rule makes sense. But on Tuesday and Saturday nights, the youngest person there is 19. WHY? WHY CAN'T I GO IN THERE? PS I did sneak in once. No, the toilets and sinks aren't exceptionally close to the ground.

18. What country do you not know the location of, even though you should? Guyana. I can never remember where it is, so it's placement on the globe always surprises me.

19. What do you have a hard time with but most people find quite easy? Math.

20. What’s the most impressive skill you have? It's a tie between ear wiggling and tongue rolling.

Saturday, the Cubs played the Dodgers

And I believe Joe speaks for us all.


The only good thing to say about this game is that I didn't see most of it. A storm knocked out my cable and internet. It was cool to press my old-school AM/FM Walkman back into service.

Oh, well. It was only Game One of a Best of Seven Series. The Dodgers are a very good team, so while this is unpleasant, it's not surprising.

A good color for autumn

I got an Eddie Bauer one-pocket "boyfriend" shirt in this color today for just $3.50. I found it online on sale for $50, so I am feeling quite proud of myself.

I picked it up at a community sale that benefits infant welfare, the food pantry and the animal shelter. I also got a pair of black sunglasses for $1.00. This made me happy because I can lose $1 sunglasses just as easily as I can lose expensive sunglasses.

I treated myself to a lovely lunch at the nearby Italian restaurant -- just me, butternut squash ravioli and The Starter Wife -- and waited for the first Cubs-Dodgers game.

It was a challenge to stay dry. It rained and poured and stormed all day. Which left me worried about Napoleon. I hope they made it to the safety of the bus to Cleveland. This was not a day for living in a tent by the river!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Saturday 9

1)  Chattanooga is Tennessee's fourth largest city. Have you ever visited Tennessee? If so, where did you go and what did you see? About a year ago, I made like Paul Simon.

Since Glenn Miller's recording of "Chattanooga Choo-Choo" was awarded the first-ever gold record, we're going to devote the next questions to your firsts.

2) What was the first award or accolade you ever won? The earliest I remember is a check from the local newspaper that I received when I was 8. They ran a "teacher of the year" contest. While my teacher didn't win, my nominating essay did. I used the money to buy a Madame Alexander doll. It meant a great deal to me when I found her among my late mother's things. My mom kept that first prize all those years!

3) We know about your blog. But which was the first social media site that you posted to? (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, MySpace ...) Twitter.
4) Where did you go on your first plane ride? MDW to FLL. Midway to Fort Lauderdale. My cousin Kathy and I went down to visit my uncle, who had just moved to Lauderdale. It was the summer between my junior and senior years in high school.

5) Tell us about your first cell phone. I believe it was this Motorola StarTRAC. If this wasn't the first, it's the earliest one I recall. That antenna wasn't just for show.

6) Tell us about your first tattoo: Where is it on your body? Where did you have it done? What does it depict? No tattoo. I have no enthusiasm for letting a stranger inject me with ink.

7) How old were you when you had your first piercing? Immediately after I graduated from high school. Until then, my parents wouldn't allow it. I always wanted pierced ears.

8) What had you been drinking the first time you suffered a hangover? Harvey Wallbanger. I've never had another. It's funny how I blame the drink, and not my own complete lack of judgement.
9) Was your first ticket for parking or was it a moving violation? I've never had a ticket.

Is Napoleon off to Cleveland?

I've posted about Caleb, his wife, and the stray newborn kitten they rescued, Napoleon. Their story has touched me deeply. I may have said goodbye to them on Friday. At least, I hope I have.

It's complicated, but the man Caleb has been working for in Indiana -- a gentleman who runs a company that washes windows of commercial buildings -- has an opening for Caleb in the Cleveland office. A real job! It will pay enough for husband, wife and cat to move indoors to a shelter and give up living in a tent. Then, once his wife is able to stay clean and groomed and get her bearings about her, she will apply for her boards in Ohio and look for work as a hairstylist. They hope to have enough money to start the New Year in a furnished apartment in Cleveland.

They're nice and smart and they have been so loving with Napoleon. Neither of them ever lived with a cat before, but they've aced caring for this kitten. He's exceptionally chill. Almost nothing* scares him. Napoleon is so bonded to his "parents" that it doesn't occur to him that any ill could befall him. When I told them I thought it was great that they saved this kitten's life, Caleb responded that he saved theirs. They found it easy to get depressed, to get wrapped up in the sadness of days on the streets and nights in a tent by the Chicago River. But caring for this sick kitten, getting him well and giving him love, gave them "something to live for."

Over the months I've given them money -- $1's here and there and change -- and paperback books and big plastic bags to protect their clothes against the mud on rainy nights. But mostly we've enjoyed getting to know one another. I know what they like to read and how much they miss having books. They know I love cats and The Cubs (on Friday, his wife said, "I was so happy for you when they won.").

I hope they get the money together for Sunday's bus to Cleveland. They need three tickets -- they won't allow Napoleon to ride with the bags in the underbus compartment. The nights here have been getting colder and wetter and soon that tent by the Chicago River won't be comfortable or safe.

But that means we won't see one another again, and that makes me sad.

I'll be glad to be unhappy, though, if these three find themselves warm and dry and safe.

Fingers crossed,

* He doesn't like Chicago's city street sweepers.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Friday 56

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that's ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it)
*Post it.

From The Starter Wife by Gigi Levangie Grazer.  Our heroine, Gracie, has just received an unexpected call from Raymond, her florist, with tips on how to maintain the elaborate, 100-rose arrangement her husband Kenny gave her.

"I didn't receive any flowers."
There was silence at the other end of the phone.
Gracie knew what Raymond was thinking, "Oh, shit." Followed in close succession with, "Who the hell did Kenny give 100 roses to?"  and "I can't wait to tell everyone."

FINAL: Cubs 9, Nationals 9

The W Season Continues! The Chicago Cubs advance to the NLCS. Third year in a row! No team in franchise history has done it three times.

I love these guys!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


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? The Starter Wife by Gigi Levangie Grazer.  A frothy roman a clef about The Wife of a Producer who suddenly, unexpectedly finds herself left behind. Her problems are real to her but a great escape for me. I'll never have to worry if the florist I have on retainer will change his allegiance to my ex-husband, or if the valet who parked my BMW knew about my husband's affair before I did. I suppose I understand the issues she faces, but I can be entertained by her situation rather than feeling it, and after spending a month with the Tate/LaBianca murders (see below), that's all right with me.
Plus Ms. Grazer -- ex-wife of Oscar-winner Brian Grazer -- is a good writer. The stream of consciousness passages that explain how our heroine works through her stress are clever, funny and occasionally even relateable.This shouldn't be surprising. As a scriptwriter, he wrote the Susan Sarandon/Julia Roberts hit Stepmom, so she has proven she can sympathetically portray modern women in turmoil.

2. What did you recently finish reading?Helter Skelter, The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi. Wow. Just wow. A true 20th century nightmare. An intense and scary story told with integrity by the prosecutor. It's not a perfect book; Bugliosi spends a lot of time rehashing squabbles with the LAPD that just don't seem relevant decades later. But this is one of those books where it doesn't matter that you know how it ends. You're gripped by the human tragedy, by the lives lost, and by the stakes as Bugliosi works hard to make sure that Manson never walks free.
As I write this, Leslie Van Houten as been approved for parole and the only thing between her and freedom is California Governor Jerry Brown. I hope he denies her release. The argument -- if she wasn't a member of the Manson Family, she'd be free today -- doesn't impress me. Because she was a member of the Manson Family. She was a willing, enthusiastic participant in at least two exceptionally cruel and violent murders. She snarled and giggled her way through her trial. While I don't believe in the death penalty, I am in favor of her staying right where she is for the rest of her natural life. She has found God and earned two degrees while in prison. Those adventures in spiritual exploration and self-improvement are opportunities Rosemary and Leno LaBianco didn't have.
3.  What will you read next? I've got some biographies and mysteries waiting for me.

That's my boy!

I know, I know: We're not supposed to have favorites. We should love everyone of our guys equally.

But I can't help it! I love Anthony Rizzo best!

He has so much heart. He gives his all every time he puts on the uniform. He has so much class and decency. My favorite moment of last year's World Series run was Rizz apologizing to the umpire he snapped at. "It was my fault on that," he said, unaware a national TV audience was hearing his every word. Even the umpire was impressed. "That you came over here to say that, that shows what a good guy you are." As if all that weren't enough, he's a cancer survivor who gives back to the community, recently donating $3.5 million for a family center in a Chicago children's hospital.

And yesterday afternoon, he demanded respect from the Nationals. In the bottom of the 8th, Nationals manager Dusty Baker chose to pitch to Rizzo, thinking he would be an easier out than Willson Contreras. Mistake! For a wounded Rizzo is a dangerous Rizzo. He got a single, bringing in the winning run.

Of course he did. He's the leader of the defending World Series Champions.

As he passed the Nationals dugout, once again network cameras picked him up. "Respect me! Respect me!" he shouted.

Photo from the Chicago SunTimes
I know my guys are not favored to repeat and win it all again this year. I'm resigned to that. But if they fall short of a second ring and trophy, it won't be because Anthony Rizzo didn't show up and give it his all.

"I believe in yesterday"

I think John Lennon would forgive me for invoking frenemy Sir Paul just now. But stress left me a little fatigued yesterday and I didn't get around to commemorating his 77th birthday with a blog post. I'm doing it a little late -- the morning after -- but I'm doing it all the same. Because he deserves it.

Here's one of my previous 10/9 posts, with one of my favorite Lennon set lists and illustrated with one of my all-time favorite album covers.

 "You say it's your birthday. It's my birthday, too, yeah."

No, it's not my birthday. But it would be his, were he still with us. Happy birthday, John.

He was a giant, and his career cast a long shadow over music, over his generation, and over me personally. John was never one of those artists who was afraid to let his world view inform his art. He was aware that there were those out there who just wanted him to stay a "mop top" forever, to do fun music that didn't make them think. But he understood that the role of the artist always has been to challenge the status quo. I loved him for his uncompromising courage in this area.

Just because he knew how to articulate what he saw around him and set it to music doesn't mean that's all he did. Not by a long shot. Now that I've given him his props for his message music, I want to shine a spotlight on one of my favorite (and lesser known) Lennon CDs, Rock'n Roll. If this CD has a message, it's simply that early rock can fill us all with joy. I still miss the old boy, but I'm grateful I can still hear these 13 songs through my iPod headphones whenever I feel like celebrating his life.

1. Be-Bop-A-Lula
2. Stand by Me
3. Medley: Rip it up/Ready Teddy
4. You Can't Catch Me
5. Ain't That a Shame
6. Do You Want to Dance?
7. Sweet Little Sixteen
8. Slippin' and Slidin'
9. Peggy Sue
10. Medley: Bring It on Home to Me/Send Me Some Lovin'
11. Bony Maronie
12. Ya Ya
13. Just Because

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Sunday Stealing

Getting to Know You

If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time? Write better and longer emails. (Or maybe even letters!) My old friends and I don't just blab on the phone like we used to anymore, and now I find myself keeping in touch more and more by text. It's quick and easy, but it's woefully inadequate.

What’s your favorite piece of clothing you own / owned? My Gloria Vanderbilt Amanda jeans. They're comfy and they wear well.

What hobby would you get into if time and money weren’t an issue? I'd like to ride. It's an expensive and time-consuming hobby, but I do love horses.

What would your perfect room look like? I love the rooms at the Colonial Williamsburg Lodge. Lots of wood, warm colors and clean lines.

 How often do you play sports? Never

What fictional place would you most like to go? Camelot. The weather is perfect (July and August cannot be too hot, and there's a legal limit to the snow) and the even the simple folk manage to escape their blues.

What job would you be terrible at? Driver's ed instructor. I am truly desperately awful behind the wheel.

When was the last time you climbed a tree? The 1990s. I don't remember when exactly, but it was at my grandmother's house. I loved climbing her apple tree as a child and I tried it one more time as an adult.

If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning medal for? Worrying. Or, as a friend used to refer to it, "awfulizing." Taking any situation and imagining it turning out as badly as possible.

What skill would you like to master? FOCUS. It's my oneword for 2017. I even wear a pendant with the word on it to remind me. And I still haven't mastered it.

What would be the most amazing adventure to go on? I'd like to follow my Cubs on a road trip and cheer them on in every park in the league.

If you had unlimited funds to build a house that you would live in for the rest of your life, what would the finished house be like? I'd like to live in the condo on the top three floors of Chicago's Palmolive Building. I'd renovate it (I don't require a special game room for the billiard and poker tables I don't own and don't want) so we can call it new. First of all, it's a gorgeous and historic old building that's been lovingly preserved. Secondly, I'd have truly astonishing views of Michigan Avenue and The Lake. And last, it was once the Playboy office suite. I think Hugh Hefner was a dangerous man, and I love the idea of this unreconstructed 1970s-era feminist putting her feet up there.

That little, well-lit building behind The Drake is my dreamy Palmolive Building

What state or country do you never want to go back to? Never is an awfully long time, so I don't have an answer for this.

What songs have you completely memorized? I know a lot of songs. So I'll share a rather obscure one with you:

You made the coat and the vest fit the best
You made the lining nice and strong
But Sam! You made the pants too long!
You made the teak lapel look so swell
Who am I to say you're wrong?
But Sam! You made the pants too long!
They got the belt, and they got suspenders
So what can they lose?
But what good are belts and what good are suspenders
When the pants are hanging over the shoes? 
I feel a winter breeze up and down my knees
My belt is where my tie belongs!
Cuz Sam! Sam! Sam! You made the pants too long! 

What do you consider to be your best find? My cats. Shelter rescues, all. And just as dear as any pedigreed pet could ever be.

Are you usually early or late? Yes. I'm either early or late. I'm never on time.

What pets did you have while you were growing up? When my mother was swimming in a little lake in Michigan, a turtle landed on her shoulder. We took him home.
For some reason, my kid sister named him Bobby Joe and I thought, "why not?" Bobby Joe lived a nice, long life in a plastic bowl on my desk. He loved freeze dried worms and would come out his shell to "sunbathe" when I turned my desk lamp on to do my homework. 
When people come to you for help, what do they usually want help with? Wordy stuff. Just today, my former coworker Tom asked me for help with his resume.

What takes up too much of your time? Farmville.

What do you wish you knew more about? Oh! So many things! Lately I've been wondering about two famous incidents in history -- the disappearance of Amelia Earhart and Jim Jones and Jonestown. I'd love to just read and research those until I was sated. Then I'd move on to something else. Like some of the First Ladies that pique my curiosity -- like Grace Coolidge and Pat Nixon. Oh, I could go on and on. I'm such a geek and you're probably drifting into a coma of boredom.

What would be your first after waking up from being cryogenically frozen for 100 years? Where are the Cubs in the standings?

Sung to the tune of "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year"

Watch it here.

It's the most wonderful time of the year! (Go, Cubs, Go, Cubs)
With W's flying and everyone smiling,
You know fall is here!
It's the most wonderful time of the year! (Go, Cubs, Go, Cubs)

The Cubs created this promotional video for the playoffs and I love it so much. It captures what it's like around here these days. On every block you see someone wearing Cubbie blue. We spontaneously smile at each other, as if we're in some exclusive club. A woman walking a pit bull with a Cubs collar started talking to me, just because both her dog and my chest bore the team logo.

Then the game happened. It didn't go as we would have liked, but it's October and my guys are in again ... third year in a row! The fans of more than 20 MLB teams don't have the pleasure I'm enjoying right now.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Turn Me Loose (1959)

1) In this song, Fabian sings he has change in his pocket. Every evening, Sam puts her change in the piggy bank on her kitchen counter. Do you do anything special with your coins? Or do they just jingle/jangle in your wallet or pocket until you spend them? I am obsessed with quarters. I collect them in the Hofbrauhass beer stein I got in Munich decades ago. Then I use them downstairs in the coin-operated washer/dryer.

2) Fabian got his start because his neighbor in Philadelphia owned a record label and thought 14-year-old Fabian had the looks to be a teen idol. Tell us about a time recently when you were in the right place at the right time. I'm sorry, but I've got nothing for this one.

3) His record label paid Fabian $30 week to study singing after school. What jobs/chores did you have when you were in high school? Did they prepare you for your eventual career? Mostly I spent my high school years babysitting. Since the kids went to sleep early, I spent most of the time drinking pop, eating potato chips and watching old movies. Sadly, I have yet to find a job where soda/salty snack consumption and a love of MGM musicals is rewarded.

4) In 1959 he appeared on the cover of now-defunct magazines like Teen Screen and Dig. Who and what did you read about when you were a teenager? Mademoiselle was a favorite. It was like Glamour, but promoted a more affordable lifestyle to a younger audience. It also regularly printed book excerpts and short stories by very good writers. Alas, it is no more.

5) In the 1960s he moved from singing to acting. In 1965 he appeared in Ten Little Indians, a screen adaptation of an Agatha Christie mystery. Have you ever read an Agatha Christie book? I just discovered her comparatively recently. Her stories can be a little predictable but they're fun. And I forgive Ms. Christie for being formulaic since she's the one who developed the formula. What a crafty old girl she was!

6) In 1973, in an attempt to jumpstart his career, he appeared nude in Playgirl magazine. By the time it hit the newsstands, he regretted it.  Tell us about a time you were very embarrassed. This was like 100 years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. It was lunchtime and I was enjoying the sun by walking across a very crowded plaza. I spotted a guy I knew -- and was crushing on -- and called out to him. At that very moment, the wind caught my skirt and lifted it, a la Marilyn. So it looked like I was flashing him. Smooth, Gal. Very smooth.

7) In 1959, when this song was popular, most women wore nylons on a daily basis and the average price per pair was $1. What socks or leg wear -- if any -- do you have on right now? I'm barefootin'.
8) 1959 also saw the premiere of The Twilight Zone on CBS. 58 years later, you can still see the show in reruns. Are you a fan? Oh, yes. My favorite is about a young woman named Jan. Her brilliant but reclusive parents live shut away from the rest of the world, tended by a household of robots of their own creation. Jan is lively and pretty and wants to go out and have fun and meet people her own age but her parents forbid it. Eventually Jan begins to suspect the reason for all the isolation and secrecy ... and why aren't there any photos of her as a baby in the family album ... and why doesn't she have any childhood memories? When she gets that she's a robot, too, she gets all balky and they have no choice but to dismantle her. Though intellectually they understand she is an it with no more feelings than a vacuum cleaner, this childless couple has come to love Jan and they can't bear to throw her away. So they reprogram her as their maid. And, I guess, they all live happily ever after. As happily as people do in The Twilight Zone.
9) Random Question: While we're talking about TV ... Sam finds it disturbing that her brother claims he's seen every episode of Bad Blood, a show devoted to family members who have murdered their relatives. Do you enjoy "true crime" reality shows? Well, that show sounds creepy and I think I'll pass. But I have fixated on trials of the day, like Casey Anthony and Jodi Arias, and last weekend I watched a documentary on the Scott Peterson case.

When the news feels very personal

I have two trips planned between now and the end of the year. They are both to places that have been featured prominently, and not positively, in the national news.

Thanksgiving in Vegas. In little more than a month, I'll be celebrating my birthday and turkey day just doors away from Mandalay Bay, where the nation's more prolific mass shooter mowed down 500 people. My heart is bruised by this carnage.

Christmas in Key West. Hurricane Irma did her damage there. The Publix Store, just minutes from the hotel where I'll be staying, was the site of an airlift that delivered bottled water and meal rations. It's the kind of thing you expect to see in a third world country, not outside of the grocery store where you've bought bananas, orange juice and Coke.

I know that these destinations depend on tourist dollars, so they will be up and running and ready for me. My friends, Reg and Henry, live in Key West and assure me things are rapidly returning to normal. I even spoke to the hotel where I'll be staying and the manager tells me all is well -- his building sustained minimal damage that's already been repaired and he can't wait to meet me.

But I wonder how it will feel to celebrate in towns still tinged with tragedy. I'm already hyperemotional these days, what with lingering concerns about my job (and, therefore, finances) casting a long shadow over everything. While that shooter didn't fire at me, and my roof was untouched by hurricane winds, I'm still an American. So on some level, what happened to those citizens did have an impact on me, too.

So I'm worried about being sad, I guess. And that's one of the ways depression takes hold of me. Worry about worry ... and then things start to look hopeless ... and the way I feel right now begins to feel like the way it will be forever.

Fortunately for me, the sun is shining. The sky is blue, Cubbie blue. And last night, my heroes delivered what's being called "a capital performance."

I know my guys aren't favored to go all the way this year. I realize how hard it is to repeat in the MLB. But they got here -- for the third year in a row! -- and they're defending their World Series championship with heart.


Friday, October 06, 2017


All I have to do is get through today and
then I can watch my guys defend tonight.
Bring on the Nationals!

Thursday, October 05, 2017

The cover fell off, but still ...

I saw Napoleon and his "mom" today. She was sitting on the corner, surrounded by his carrier and litter box, kitten beside her and nose in a book. I recognized it, even though the front cover had fallen away: it was the Patty Hearst autobiography I gave her husband! It made me happy to see her so engrossed in it. It made me feel old that this story is completely unknown to both her and her husband, but they're both readers, and readers love books. It makes me happy to put books in their hands. Especially used books that would be tossed aside but are now being enjoyed.

And I had another one for her in my purse. Caleb said he likes true crime, while his wife prefers "biography, memoirs and poetry." I found Waiting for Snow in Havana in our local Little Free Library. She was enthusiastic about it.

I also worked out at lunchtime. I feel better today than I have in a week. I think I discovered the key to overcoming depression: physical activity, and doing something -- even something that doesn't cost anything -- for others.

4 out of 5

I had my review this week. My boss and my coworkers combined to give me a 4 out of 5. That's better than I gave myself, and as good as anyone will get.* I have to work on being more daring in my creative choices, and on not wearing my heart on my sleeve when things go awry. I'm seen as responsible, collaborative and supportive. And I have earned my client's vocal and demonstrated trust and respect, which goes a long way.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. None of that is what I was interested in. What's going on with that agency in St. Louis? Are they replacing me? Are they replacing us? Is this solid "4" about to lose her job?

My boss says "no." He says he's wandered the halls, asking The Powers that Be about our sister agency in St. Louis and he says he's confident that there is no move afoot to get rid of us. He confided that his interest wasn't only in calming my nerves -- he has to work at least two more years before he can afford to retire.

I feel better now, even though I don't entirely believe him. It isn't that I think he's lying, it's that I saw what I saw on that deck. It's possible I misunderstood it ... and yes, it's unlikely that management would look a director like my boss square in the eye and lie to him ... except I saw what I saw on that deck.

So I'm moving ahead as though it is true that I'll be let go soon. I'm collecting samples and slowly building my online portfolio.

At least I'm no longer popping a Xanax first thing in the morning, and I'm able to think about the upcoming NLDS playoffs. GO, CUBS!

*Corporate discourages perfect scores, and here's why: If I got 5 out of 5, and there's no room for improvement, then why aren't I being promoted and how much of a raise do I deserve?

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Today felt important

Hauled my ass to church this morning. The sermon was about "courage." In this context, it means we're supposed to "flex" our "courage muscles" in terms of social justice. Certainly I'm for that -- I mean, who isn't? But that isn't the message that fed my soul. I interpreted it to mean I need to flex my courage muscles in more personal and exigent matters. As my life enters this new chapter, I have to be more brave about trying new things, more open about trusting people and asking for help.

Every week, our minister says that the church is "made joyful by our laughter and holy by our tears." There is a power to being in that space. I admit my mind was wandering all over the place while the service was going on, but that doesn't mean my spirit wasn't fed by my time there. I know what I want my online portfolio to say. I feel energized about writing it. I feel that was God's hand, nudging me along.

Then I had a gettogether with my aunt, her husband and my kid sister and her husband. It was the first time we'd all been together in two years. My aunt loves me, and has been working on maintaining a relationship with me, and I treasure that. Her husband is a good man, too. At one point, over clam chowder and one too many rum-and-cokes, I blurted what was going on at work, and how scared I am.

The results made me happy. I got a lot of support. Encouragement. Affection. I had been feeling very alone and isolated and obsessed. Much of that is alleviated.

I don't have to be strong all the time. I do have resources, even if they aren't financial. I will get through this. And I'll do it with my smarts and my spirit.

I have to protect and nurture this feeling that started at church today.

Sunday Stealing


1. You are walking down the road and you look down. There is a bug. Do you step on it? No. One of my dearest childhood memories is "Charlotte's Web," read aloud by my mother. Since every bug could be someone's mother or best friend, whenever possible I let them live in peace.

2. What is one fantasy that you want to come true more than any other? That the lottery ticket I buy is the big winner.

3. Someone knocks on your door. Do you look out the window to see who it is before you open it? Do you open it regardless of who it is? I always look. I usually open. I'm never happy about it.

4. Have you ever eaten Play Doh? Yes. I recall it was salty.

5. What was your favorite Saturday morning cartoon as a child and why? Rocket J. Squirrel and his pal, Bullwinkle Moose. They made me laugh. They still do. Whenever I happen upon them, I stop to watch.

6. Are you a “people watcher?” Yes.

7. I have a bowl of fruit. There are apples, oranges & pears. You help yourself to one - which one do you choose? Apple.

8. What is your biggest pet peeve in the blogging world? People who come by just to complain about what I've posted. I recall when I first did Thursday 13 there was a woman named Gattina -- I think she was from Germany -- who would do it every damn week. I did one about original casting choices of classic films. You know, Shirley Temple for Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, or Ronald Reagan as Rick in Casablanca. She said, "Who cares about this?" I do, you wretched nitwit. And you could depend on her to come back the next week and say similar shit. It still happens now and again, but less and less. I think most of the icky trolls have moved to Facebook. That's why I don't mind that the blogging world has gotten smaller. There are fewer of us, but our manners are better.

9. What is one religion that you could just never see yourself joining? Scientology. No offense to any one. I don't like slagging someone else's faith. Scientology just isn't for me.

10. What word do you use far too often? "Fuck." But it's just so ... versatile. I recall reading an angry sailor's description of a broken jeep: "The fucking fucker's fucked."

11. How long do you spend in the shower? Too long. It's my major daydreaming spot.

12. If you were to write a personal ad about yourself, what would it say? SWF wishes you would just move along.

13. Your favorite flavor of soup is….? Beef barley.

14. You are sitting on a bench in the park and a bug walks in front of your feet…. do you squash him?
  (I am assuming this is a different bug from question #1) No.