Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I don't want this to be true

This article from may explain what the hell happened between Al and Tipper. While I have never had a great affinity for Gore, it makes me sad that a 30-year marrige is coming to an end.

A week after news broke that Al Gore faced allegations of sexual assault, the former vice president broke his silence, issuing a strongly worded denial Wednesday. The statement comes as police in Portland, Ore., say they're reopening an investigation into a massage therapist's claims that Gore made "unwanted sexual contact" with her four years ago ... during a three-hour massage session at a luxury hotel in October 2006.

The Queen's Meme

Our monarch gets into the Spirit of the Season with her meme.
To play along, click here.

I hold these truths to be self-blevident!
(That’s blog + evident for all you non-blog speakers)

I declare myself to be free from guilt.

I wish I could free myself of CLUTTER!

I am thankful that Ortho/Novum freed me from reproductive tyranny.

I don't mind paying for fun things but boring, utilitarian items (like light bulbs and toilet paper) should be free.

I am free to make the mistake of rooting for my Cubbies, over and over again. In fact, I look forward to it!

If I could choose one freedom I don’t have today it would be the freedom to eat whatever I damn well please without gaining weight. (I used to be able to, you know.)

In a free and perfect world there would be no handguns.

I am going to write my Declaration of Independence on a giant pizza crust.

I wouldn’t mind being taxed on fun things, but I highly resent being taxed on non-discretionary items, like food and medicine.

When I was younger I was free to piss away my money but now that I’m older I prefer to exercise a little restraint.

I declare myself free from the destructive habit of regret.

I declare myself joyfully addicted to Leroy Jethro Gibbs (my TV boyfriend)!!!

I don’t think the world will ever be totally free of lust.

With complete abandon, I free fall into dreams of the Cubs passing Milwaukee in the NL Central.

In a hypothetical Superman existence, I would use my power to do good by protecting all the kids whose parents stupidly don't watch them at the mall.

I wickedly use my my power to do evil by punishing all the lazy-ass parents referenced above.

If I weren’t so dependent on caffeine, I could be truly independent about the beverage choices I make.

When I need to free my thoughts from stress and worry, I imagine Gibbs in his Navy whites, carrying me out of this paper bag factory.

I would like to freely kick BP in the seat of its hypothetical pants.

I want to do this (one illegal activity) every single day and pay no consequences. It's not illegal but it's not nice -- sleep with one man every single day, even if he's someone I shouldn't. Sigh.

I want the freedom to let my silliness run amok also and enjoy Alvin & the Chipmunks every single day.

If I could re-write the Freedom of Information Act I would remove all those heavy black lines that cover the good stuff from the public record.

I daily need the freedom to create and I don't give a damn what anybody else thinks about it.

If I had the power to throw one person in jail it would be Steve Bartman.

If I had the power to free one person from bondage of any kind I would free my best friend from the bondage of low self-esteem.

If I could “speak truth to power," I would say to the world, "Drive less, TAKE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION, and reduce your addiction to gas and oil, you morons!"

The 3 most important freedoms I have in my life are: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, and freedom to have as many cats as I want because I own and don't rent anymore.

My favorite freedom song is:

I'm skipping the last question because I'm devoting this blog to the idea of PERSONAL freedom. Nobody's responsible for this but moi.

Clean Me for Tuesday

Every day I am going to do something -- no matter how small -- to improve my standard of living at home.

It reminds me of a bastardization of an old Catskills comedy routine: “I just cleaned a shelf in my linen closet and boy, does my arm stink.” Let me explain. I had a graveyard of partially used colognes on the second shelf of my linen closet, reasoning that the scents would last longer in that dark, cool environment. Then, after tucking them safely away in the cool darkness, I forgot about them.

Tonight, before I disposed of any, I sprayed a bit on my right arm. Some I found had lost their scent, others I just don't like anymore. Twelve containers of fragrance that, for one reason or the other, I won't wear anymore anyway are in the trash, and two cosmetic bags are in the bag for Goodwill.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

10 on Tuesday

On my mind right now ...

1) Sean Murray has signed a new contract! That means that Timothy McGee will be on NCIS again this fall. He's not the hottest, nor the funniest, but his character is sweet and smart and I'd miss him. I'd also miss all his nicknames: Probie, McGoo, McGeek, McNerd and Elf Lord.

2) The veins on the inside of my knees aren't fading as much as I'd like. Yet I'm tempted to skip on my next (and, hopefully, final) sclerotherapy session next Friday because I hate the post-treatment support hose soooooo much. Considering how much time, discomfort and money I have sunk into this project, that would be short-sighted and immature. However, short-sightedness and immaturity kinda define me at times.

3) Carlos Zambrano. I know I should have compassion, in case he is indeed suffering from some sort of medical problem. But I suspect he's just a dick. I mean, watch this! Poor Lou practically had to resort to a tranquilizer gun to control his pitcher.

4) The Supreme Court must not care if we have a long, hot summer here. How could they overturn Chicago's gun ban? I know Mayor Daley is on it, and normally my faith in him is limitless, but I'm scared.

5) Today's workout felt good. For some reason, they always do on the days when I almost don't go.

6) It's beginning in earnest. The State of Illinois is now seriously exerting their power over their ward, my uncle. They restrict his phone use, monitor his mail, and have cut off his cable. He resents all this mightily. However, I'm glad it's finally coming to pass. The court ruled he was no longer equipped to handle his own affairs back in March, and then for many weeks, nothing happened. I think we were all lulled into thinking not much about his life would change. Everything about his life will change. I'd prefer if we could just get it all over with.

7) The opening bars of certain songs always evoke very specific memories. I don't need the whole song, just the first notes of "The End of the Innocence," by Don Henley, "I Want You Back" by the Jackson 5 and "For What It's Worth" by Buffalo Springfield will take me back.

8) Hearing the Chipmunks sing "Chelsea Dagger" makes me smile. I suspect this means I'm disturbed.

9) No one is taking work very seriously today. I don't know if it's because the Taste of Chicago is going on just past the front door, or because we have a short work week, but it's undeniably something. Why, even I am composing an unusually long post here!

10) I wish I had an admin at home. I need to return one of the duplicate handbags ebags sent, and tell the Doubleday Book Club that I'm not paying for a book I never requested and didn't receive. But I don't feel like doing either thing and will put them off for as long as possible.

A family Facebook tale

I love my family, I do. But at times I feel more like a changeling than a real relative. And lately my "otherness" has been more powerful.

Let me start with the least serious and most annoying familial issue: Facebook. I don't have a problem with Facebook itself. To me, it's an entertaining toy that only sporadically holds my interest. Twitter is the same for me. I think it's because they are so both so superficial and public by nature. The place where I participate most consistently, and am most authentic, is here on this blog.

Anyhow, last year, my Aunt Jo (my dad's kid sister) found my oft-dormant Facebook page and wished me a happy birthday. I thought that was very sweet and thanked her. I thought that was it.

Jo is the relative I most resemble physically (as opposed to my two dark-haired, dark-eyed sisters) and she's my godmother. But my she and my dad clashed (he clashed with just about everyone) and mother always thought she was a spoiled brat (an opinion solidified before I was born), so we were never very close. Plus, she and my older sister had quite the knock-down/drag-out over my grandmother's will. So I was glad that bears me no ill will. So there you go.

Except that now my kid sister is on Facebook. And published a photo of me, which I wanted to see because, well, anyone with internet access can get to those photos if they're talented enough and I like knowing what's out there. The photo is fine -- but there's a meow-y comment to my sister from my aunt, hoping my kid sister will stay in touch because "your sister's not too communicative, at least not with me."

Now, for reasons too complicated and wacky to comprehend, my kid sister is always alternately pissed at or jealous of me. And I guess it's my fault that my Aunt Jo doesn't really care about my sister or her family and is just using them to communicate with me.

So I exchanged some really meaningless messages with my Aunt Jo (it occurs to me she might have photos of my grandpa, whom I loved very much, so I don't want to tell her "gee, thanks alot" or "go screw yourself") and wonder how I got into this gene pool.

I mean, just by sitting here, minding my own business, I manage to provoke two family members. I'm trying to consider it a gift.

Clean Me for Monday

Every day I am going to do something -- no matter how small -- to improve my standard of living at home.

I did manage to be clean last night before I went to sleep. I sorted the mail, putting a week's worth receipts in their proper folder. It felt good.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Can't we just stick him in a cage at Lincoln Park Zoo?

I've been in therapy longer than anyone except, possibly, Woody Allen. I have great sympathy for others who are struggling. But Carlos Zambrano is just a fuckin' hot headed bully, and this deal is the work of a very good agent.

Zambrano to go on restricted list

CHICAGO -- After consulting with Major League Baseball, the players union and the agent for pitcher Carlos Zambrano, the Chicago Cubs announced on Monday a collective agreement between all parties that will allow Zambrano to be removed from the suspended list and placed on the restricted list on Tuesday.

The Cubs don't anticipate Zambrano being activated until after the All-Star break at the earliest. Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said Monday that Zambrano and his agent have not asked for the right-hander to be traded or released by the team.

Zambrano has been suspended by the team since Friday, when he threw a tirade in the dugout that led to a verbal confrontation with teammate Derrick Lee. Beginning Tuesday, Zambrano will be paid and has agreed to go through a treatment program that will have him away from the team until at least July 15 -- when the Cubs host the Phillies after the All-Star break. The groups collectively agreed to find independent doctors to evaluate Zambrano and provide treatment following the evaluation. During this evaluation period, and during any type of therapy, Zambrano will not have any contact with his Cubs teammates.

Zambrano had contact with Hendry on Monday and was remorseful about his dugout tirade at U.S. Cellular Field. Manager Lou Piniella has stated that Zambrano will go into the bullpen when he returns to the 25-man roster. Once Zambrano is moved to the restricted list, Jeff Stevens be called up to fill his roster spot. Zambrano surrendered four runs to the Chicago White Sox in the top of the first, then began screaming in the dugout, knocking over a Gatorade cooler before getting in the face of Lee. Piniella then sent Zambrano home, and Hendry suspended him indefinitely.

Bruce Levine covers baseball for ESPN 1000 and Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.

We're friends, too

Just when I was about to sign off Facebook forever,* I was friended by my niece, who just opened an account. What's more, I represent her first friend request. Not bad for an old fart, huh?

*Long story, to be shared at some point soon

Twin Spin Redux

Just as like last Tuesday, I was happy to see both Molly the Cat and "my" homeless man at lunchtime today.

I'm happy to report that Molly's coat is in fine condition and she even let me look at her paws as I pet her and they look clean. Her male person was with her today, and he always reassures me she eats before he does. I believe it. For her to be as calm, clean and healthy as she appears is a miracle. (She allows me to pet her, but she really perks up when she spots a pigeon.) He had a fresh haircut, and Molly's female person was nowhere in sight, so I suspect she's working somewhere and he's prepared for interviews. I have a feeling the day will come when I won't see them at all anymore, but that won't be cause for concern because I predict Molly's people will, like cats, land on their feet.

As for "my" McDonald's Man, well he remembers me again, which is nice. He actually pumped his fist when he saw me approach and, once again, thanked me and told me my "blessings will not soon be forgotten." How do you explain a man with cataracts, who lives in front of a McDonald's, who is so gracious and pleased with 35¢? The "blessings" he has reminded me to appreciate will not soon be forgotten, either.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Movie Monday

Time for a little "Girl Power!"
Share on your blog women characters from film who know how to save the day, linking back
here at The Bumbles. And don't forget to visit your fellow participants!

Vivian Leigh, Scarlett O'Hara, Gone with the Wind. Who else could deliver a baby, pick cotton, shoot a Yankee, and make a small fortune running a lumber mill and a general store, all the while looking like "cutest trick in shoe leather?" Whatever it took to keep Tara, she did. The ultimat
e heroine.

Anne Bancroft, Anne Sullivan, The Miracle Worker. With courage, faith and pure stubbornness, Teacher gave Helen the gift of language, thereby giving the world the gift of Helen.

Barbra Streisand, Fanny Brice, Funny Girl. "Nobody, no nobody is gonna rain on my parade!" Who would dare? After all, we're talking about a woman here who would commandeer a tugboat to catch up with and board an ocean liner … singing exquisitely and at the top of her lungs, every step of the way.

Look what I found!

This is a Woodman helicopter, built from a kit. It's the kit I picked up, actually. Found it at the village sidewalk sale for only $10. It's going to make some creative little boy very happy. It makes me happy that something I bought on one of the hottest days of the year (so far) will be a Christmas toy drive gift when the mercury drops about 60ยบ.

I just can't decide

Finding peace with the sad reality that this isn't the Cubs year (again ... either ...) leaves me free to contemplate truly weighty issues as I watch the games. For example, who am I hotter for, Xavier Nady or Ryan Theriot?

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing: The Eighty Meme, Part One

1. What curse word do you use the most? The ever-lovin' f-word

2. Do you own an iPod? Yes. I love my iPod.

3. What person do you talk to on the phone the most? I'm really not on the phone that much anymore. The one I still talk to the most is my mom because she doesn't/can't/won't email.

4. Do you still remember the first person you kissed? Yes.

5. Do you remember where you were on 11/9/01? No ... Should I?

6. What was the last movie you watched? Sex and the City 2

7. Has anyone ever called you lazy? Only those who know me

8. Do you ever take medication to help you fall asleep? No

9. Has anyone told you a secret this week? Yes. Just about everything my friend Barb told me Friday was prefaced with, "You're the only one I can tell this to ..."

10. What is the first thing you notice about the opposite sex? Now that it's summer, with more skin showing, I love seeing a man with good arms. Like 60-year-old Bruce. Splash me, Boss. Please. (Thank you, No, really, thank you.)

11. What are you looking forward to? Having a most relaxing Sunday.

12. Do you own any band t-shirts? The Beatles and the E-Street Band

13. What will you be doing in one hour? Sleeping, I hope. (Too much caffeine today.)

14. Is anyone in love with you? I suspect that may be the case.

15. Last time you cried? Thursday night, when I reflected on my uncle's sad plight.

16. Are you on a desktop computer or a laptop? Laptop

17. Are you currently wanting any piercings or tattoos? Nope

18. Would you ever date anyone covered in tattoos? Literally covered with tattoos? Like including their face and earlobes and naughty bits? No.

19. What were you doing before this? Consuming Yoplait Whipped Key Lime Yogurt.

20. When is the last time you slept on the floor? Last fall. I was soooo sick and exhausted I just decided it would be easier to just bring a pillow into the bathroom.

21. How many hours of sleep do you need to function? To merely function? 3 or 4. To function well, 6 or 7.

22. Do you eat breakfast daily? Does my morning milk chocolate Slim Fast shake count?

Lazy from the heat

I don't do heat well. Saps me of all energy and ambition. Which explains why my Saturday included nothing but watching the NCIS marathon, farting around on the Internet, napping, eating and obsessing about Carlos Zambrano. I must snap out of this. I mean, I can't stay this way until after Labor Day, can I?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

No man is man enough to answer this question

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Letters From the Sky

1. Do you believe that we will ever be contacted by beings from another planet? Yes. I just have a hard time imagining what that contact will be like.

2. Have you or a family member ever traced your family tree? Not literally. My cousin Rose has traced her family back to Elizabethan England. But the branch of her family that she followed for centuries is her dad's, and we're related through her mother's side. Still, it was fun to learn that the easy going, unpretentious man I remember being happiest with a beer can in one hand and a fishing pole in the other was directly descended from the peerage.

3. Did you ever consider an acting career? I did when I was a little girl. I was going to be a great star.

4. What is the funniest situation you’ve witnessed in a religious setting? To celebrate Earth Day, the kindergarten Sunday School kids serenaded us with "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands." As they sang, they tossed soft stress balls that looked like globes back and forth. It was very adorable ... until they were done. Their teacher gave them a sign that meant they were supposed to lightly toss their soft globes into the congregation. She didn't count on how competitive and rambunctious little boys can be. They freakin' pelted those in the front pews.

5. What's the first movie you remember ever seeing in a theater? Mary Poppins. I remember everything about it … once the coming attractions ended, the heavy red curtains closed, then reopened, and there they were, the rooftops of London! Magic! I have loved going to the movies ever since.

6. What's the most difficult confession you've ever had to make? I got caught in a lie while in high school. It was humiliating.

7. What is a city that you have visited and hated? As a rule, I have liked every city I've ever been in. The teeny-tiny town that I visited and hated is Green Lake, Wisconsin (population: 1,100). Every year, my family used to drag me along to a part of the world where that was the biggest metropolis. Which meant that for two weeks every summer, the only interaction we really had was with one another. Which meant that for two weeks every summer, I felt like Marilyn Munster.

8. Has anyone in your life been "they one who got away"? Yes. There's an old lover who still pops into my head, one way or another, every day. I hope he's happy.

9. Why do you think the 10 foot duck walked into the bar on Thursday Thunks? A duck walks into a bar and asks the bartender "Got any grapes?" The bartender says "No, I don’t have any grapes." The duck walks out, sorely disappointed. So the next day, he walks back into the bar, asks the same question, gets the same answer. The day after, he walks back into the bar, and again, asks the bartender, "Do you have any grapes?" The bartender, having still not figured out why this duck seems to think he may have some grapes, says to the duck, "No, and if you come back in here tomorrow and ask me if I have any grapes, I will nail your bill to the bar!" The duck turns around, and walks out of the bar. So the next day, the duck walks back into the bar, and asks the bartender "Got any nails?" The bartender says, "No." So the duck says, "Got any grapes?"

Thank you, thank you. Don't forget to tip your waitress. She works hard for the money.

Friday, June 25, 2010

A night at the Opera

We finally got to celebrate my friend Barb's birthday at Opera. The food was delicious, and so were the mint martinis. Barb was surprised and pleased by her gifts -- a picture frame decorated with black cairn terriers like her beloved Max and an autographed photo of her movie boyfriend, Clint Eastwood. She works very hard, and I'm glad my birthday presents appealed to her silly, frivolous side.

I'm also glad I got home in time to catch the tail end of the late news and learn that the Cubs have suspended Carlos Zambrano indefinitely (see below).

Why do we still have Carlos Zambrano?

The hotdog/douchebag/diva melted down today in the first inning of the Cubs/White Sox Crosstown Classic. He gave up four runs and then completely lost it.

Nothing is ever Carlos' fault. He has no impulse control. Lou Piniella pulled him from the game and right now is saying, "There's no excuse for this," and "It won't be tolerated." He volunteered that during the game he had "a conversation" with GM Jim Hendry.

I hope it means the Cubs will unload Zambrano before the trade deadline.

Kids watch baseball. Derek Lee always does his best and never hogs the spotlight. For Zambrano to get away with this sends the wrong message about sportsmanship.

Clean Me

I haven't been a Cleanie for a couple days, but today was a big day for the new Clean Me. I got an estimate for doing a little fix-it work on my hideous, horrible bathroom. To regrout all the tiles, replace the caulk around the tub and toilet and sink, steam clean the floor and scrape/sank/killz prime the area around the shower will only take 4-5 hours and cost about $500.


This reinforces my new outlook -- that upkeep of my home doesn't need to be an all or nothing proposition. Just because I don't have the $5000 to $7000 sitting around, enabling me to redecorate it exactly the way I want it to, doesn't mean I have no choice but to sit around and be depressed.

Five on Friday

These five songs evoke specific summer memories. I was inspired by seeing Chad and Jeremy's "Summer Song" on Trav's playlist here. (That song reminds me of playing Scrabble at my friend Judy's house, with her bedroom windows wide open, listening to albums her older sister left behind when she moved out.)

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I'm so full of it

Sure, yesterday I strongly implied that I had written off the Cubs' 2010 season. And that's true. But the individual games ... I can't look away, I can't not care.

This evening I stayed at work an extra 90 minutes -- until I was literally the last one on the floor -- because the Cub/Mariners game went 13 innings, and I was so afraid that I'd miss that critical last out, that I wouldn't be there, watching Gameday on the computer, when the momentum switched and they won.

Which, thank goodness, they did.

Which is why, when it comes to the Cubs, I'm still all Paula Abdul.

Stolen from Kwiz

You Crave Love

You don't feel like life is really worth living if you don't have anyone to love.

You know that in the end, relationships are what matter most - and you put love first.

Even if you've already found your true love, you're looking for more people to care for.

You never like your life to be too quiet. You prefer it to be filled with friends, conversation, and laughter.

What Do You Crave?

Let me know if you scored the same as Kwizgiver & I.

Busy with busy work

Today a lot of work crossed my desk. None of it was remotely creative. We're remailing a project that was done last April and we have to make sure that all 18 versions are up to date and correct. Not glamorous, but it's important that it be done well.

I have enjoyed it in a factory-conveyor-belt kinda way. There's something satisfying about a project like this. X one version off the list, move onto another, feeling productive.

I cried tonight

In public. At a table in a bar. This is not like me.

I only had one drink, and I hadn't even finished it yet when I welled up, so it wasn't the booze talking.

It was a lot of things.

It occurred to me that it's been two weeks since Kathleen forgot all about me. She apologized, admitted that her behavior "sucked," and then, that was it. Not another word.

I mentioned this to my best friend because I tell him everything and besides, he knows us both. His response was confusing. He advised me to call her, right away, today, because if I didn't it was going to be like a "pebble in my shoe," disturbing me every day. He went on to say that friendships need to be "a two-way street" and that once she realizes she hurt me, "she'll understand."

Good advice, to be sure, but confusing because it so closely reflects his relationship with me. We began the year not speaking at all, which broke my heart. It's taken him awhile to fully comprehend how much power he has to hurt me himself, and to be more gentle with that power. So while I appreciated his advice and heeded it, it left me a little unsettled. I guess it means that he gets it. And I shouldn't look for trouble where there isn't any, because he and I are fine now and that makes me happy.

So I shot Kathleen an email and asked her, simply, "What's up?" She told me she had lots to tell me and offered to give me a ride home. Deja weird, because that's what happened two weeks ago when she offered me a ride and forgot me.

She showed up tonight, though. And all the way home she told me about her issues at work, how concerns about her career and money (her son is already in college and her daughter just finished her freshman year of high school, so that tuition bill is on its way, too). She had to fire someone, something I know for a fact blows and that I'm still not completely over.

I'm glad that I was able to help her. I told her that I didn't think it was an accident that she was suffering all these careers doubts and exhaustion at the very time that her nest was emptying. Also told her that firing that woman herself, letting that woman vent to a supervisor she knows, was a gift. She welled up. Then we stopped for a drink.

I'm glad we did. I was upset that we had spent the entire drive home talking about her, her, her. I know her problems are real, but regular readers of this blog this year has been tough for me, too. The shingles, the dental work, the work worries, and most of all, my mom and my uncle.

It was then that the tears started. Tonight I cried over my uncle for the first time.

Kathleen is a practicing Catholic, and while my religious beliefs are less conventional than hers, knowing how seriously she takes her faith made it easy for me to talk about mine. It was good to work it through out loud -- I told her one of my regrets is that my uncle never knew how much I appreciate his kindnesses, and now he never will; she says that somewhere, the man I love is still in his body somewhere and feels it. I didn't agree -- still don't -- but I realized that I believe, I know, that after he dies and soul and his mind and body are reunited in Heaven, he will feel it. And that gives me tremendous comfort.

So we never addressed the friendship/two-way street thing, but that's OK. Kathleen thanked me for being "an exquisite friend," which was lovely to hear. And I thanked her for my tears, which I feel my uncle deserves.

But the whole day was exhausting. Including the Cubs loss (see below).


The Cubs lost tonight -- 8 to 1 to the Mariners. It doesn't so much bother me that we gave up 8 runs. It upsets me that, over and over, we had two on and no outs and didn't score. (I'm not kidding; that one run came on a solo home run).

It's the end of June. As much as it hurts to admit, this is not a play-off bound ball club. It's just not. And it's too sad and too tiring to stay up, watching them lose and lose big on the west coast.

Now all there is to do is stuff the ballot box so Marlon Byrd makes the NL All Star Team. Seeing us unable to score there, too, is just unacceptable.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Rod does Motown

I am actually enjoying this CD. Some of the cuts are cheesy ("Love Train") but for the most part, lushly arranged blues and Motown suit old Roderick's voice well. Perhaps Smokey Robinson and Rod Steward are a combination that was meant to be, because "You've Really Got a Hold on Me" and "Tracks of My Tears" are my favorites.

I Want Wednesday

I can't believe that the Independence Day Holiday is already next weekend. I'm not ready for summer to be speeding by so quickly. I want the baseball season prolonged so the Cubs have time to regroup.

Simply put, I want the days to go slower.

Clean Me for Tuesday

Got home, ate chicken salad and french fries, watched a late Cub game (they're in Seattle) and fell victim to a food coma. Nearly unable to move. Too tired to go to bed. And yet, I caught up with some of the paperwork that was beginning to devour the dining room table again: Medical and charity receipts in the Receipt envelope, vet bill in the Cat envelope, entered transactions into the computer so I could shred the credit card statements.

Thank you, thank you (she said, bowing deeply).

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

You're ours now, Lou

The Cubs played, and fell to, the Mariners in Seattle tonight. Lou Piniella's team is struggling, and these days he looks tired whenever they show him in the dugout.

And here we were, in Seattle. Home of past triumphs. I look at you and wonder, "Were you happier with the Mariners, Lou?"

Is this how second wives feel at graduations and weddings and all those other festive occasions when they find themselves face-to-face with the first wife?

He's so over me ... and I'm so glad

There's a guy in my building I have christened The Saddest Boy in the World because, well, he is. He's 40+, currently unemployed, shoulders all the responsibility for his mother, a stroke victim who was unpleasant when she was well.

He's long had a crush on me, which has always made me uncomfortable. For example, one evening, as I was moving my clothes to the dryers from the washers he was waiting to use, he asked me what I did for a living. I told him I was a writer. Thirty mins. later, when we were both down there again to retrieve my clothes, he brought a 20-year old compilation from a local poetry contest. He was a runner up and he read his poem to me. It was a sweet, touching and profoundly embarrassing moment.

Well, that's all over now. I have seen him twice lately, and both times he has gone out of his way to make sure I saw he was on his cell phone, in a conversation he just couldn't interrupt to speak to me.

Good for him! I hope he's happy, and less lonely.

10 on Tuesday

This week I reveal exactly how unhip and cornball I am by sharing 10 of the most played songs on my iPod.

"My Tears Dry on Their Own" -- Amy Winehouse

"Oooh, Child" -- The Five Stairsteps

"Oh Me, Oh My (I'm a Fool for You)" -- Lulu

"The Right Thing to Do" -- Carly Simon

"What a Fool Believes" -- The Doobie Brothers

"I Will" -- The Beatles

"My Heart and Soul" -- Marcia Ball

"More than You Know" -- Barbra Streisand

"We're All Alone" -- Boz Scaggs

"Dancing in the Moonlight" -- King Harvest

Lyrics | King Harvest lyrics - Dancing In The Moonlight lyrics

The Queen's Meme -- The Beach Meme

1. When is the last time you saw the ocean? Last December, when I was in Key West.

2. Where is your favorite stretch of beach shoreline? Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. One of the most gorgeous spots in the whole country!

3. Are you planning a beach vacation this year? Back to Key West for New Year's.

4. Bikinis or one-piece? One piece. Green.

5. Do you sunbathe or sit under an umbrella? Under an umbrella. With a drink in hand.

6. Have you ever been to a nude beach? God, no! There are parts of my alabaster skin that should never see sunlight. Ouch! Sunburn. Pain!

7. Favorite activity at the beach while on vacation? Sitting under an umbrella with a drink in my hand.

8. Condo, hotel or cottage rental? Hotel. I'm not a very summery, outdoorsy gal. In fact, too much heat makes me growl.

9. What beach in the whole wide world would you like to visit for the first time? Blackpool in England. It sounds so veddy, veddy British.

10. Did you ever have a special romantic time at the beach? Not the beach, technically, but I have snuggled and kissed alongside the Chicago River.

11. Tell us about a favorite beach memory.
I was probably 16, which would have made my kid sister about 8. We were staying at the same cottage in Wisconsin my family dragged me to every damn summer. She was on me like Velcro anyway, so I deigned to let her accompany me out, way out to the raft, the destination of choice for us older kids. Of course I wouldn't let her get on the raft with me. I mean, she was only 8 and would listen in on my conversations with the other kids and rat on me. So she hung on the side, just basking in our sophistication. Until I noticed her pudgy fingers let go and glub, glub, glub ... down she went. I slid off the raft to retrieve her. She grabbed hold of my legs and quickly crawled up my body like a little monkey. I can still feel her hands and legs as she climbed to my shoulders. And stood there. Holding me under for what seemed like forever. Finally one of the other kids pulled her onto the raft so I could surface.

Save yourself! Stay out of the dungeon!
Click here to participate in this meme.

Twin Spin!

Both Molly the Cat and "my" homeless gentleman in front of McDonald's were out today! It made me happy to be able share my change with them, and I worry about them when they aren't around for a day or two.

Clean Me

Every day I am going to do something -- no matter how small -- to improve my standard of living at home.

As promised, today I took a close look into the sunglasses drawer. Once I added the glasses I found in jacket pockets and handbags and carelessly left on the kitchen counter, I confirmed what I suspected: I don't need to buy another pair of sunglasses again for a long, long time. Not when I have:

7 pairs with black frames
4 pairs with blue
3 pairs with brown
1 pair with purple
1 pair with grey

As with the earrings, now that I know what I have, I can choose more carefully in the morning and enjoy all that I have collected. I'm tossing one pair with a broken stem and one broken glasses case, and donating an additional two pairs of sunglasses and two cases to Goodwill.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Saving them is saving us

The people of the Gulf Coast are our neighbors. They are suffering ... again. This horrible oil spill is making it difficult for them to work, which means it's hard for them to keep up with their bills and their rent payments.

They need our help.

This country proved very generous when Haiti was decimated. I'd like to see us display similar compassion and generosity toward our own. I'm doing my small part by including this link. The Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana is affiliated with Feeding America and Catholic Charities. I encourage everyone to investigate this and consider making a contribution.

Yes, BP has put aside $20 billion to handle the clean up and to respond to claims by those in the Gulf who have lost their livelihood. But even if the fund distributes the funds efficiently, it will still take weeks for checks to be cut.

These people don't have weeks to wait for that money. They have medical bills … utility bills … housing costs … childcare and petcare expenses … and, perhaps the ultimate insult, they have to pony up about $2.60/gallon for gas.

The Second Harvest Food Bank is helping these citizens with emergency food services. And I'm helping them with a cash contribution. Because getting a free bag of food from The Second Harvest will help their cash on hand go a little further and last a little longer.

I tried to stay. I really did.

I am going to tell this story without embellishment, because none is necessary. The real-life details are horrifying enough.

Today our agency's new chief creative officer started. This is a very big deal. There was a reception for him and we were all supposed to go up and shake his hand.

I went up to the meeting room where the reception was being held. I saw our agency president holding court, allowing two of our top production chiefs to sniff his ass with so much enthusiasm I thought I had wandered into a dog park. Unseemly, yes, but bearable. "Suck it up, Gal," I told myself. "You can expect office politics everywhere there's an office."

I moved over to the buffet, where I heard one of my coworkers ask, loudly, of the ranch dressing he was spooning onto his plate, "Is this lox?" Well, it's not often you encounter white, runny lox. Perhaps the BP oil spill has already done something heinous to all of our salmon.

Then a guy swaggered in who appeared proud of having too many piercings, too many tattoos and a severe, too-black-to-be-natural mullet-mohawk. (This is Brian Bosworth; I am quite sure even he has figured out this look is stupid and abandoned it.)

I couldn't stay another moment. I simply couldn't. I left before the CCO even arrived.

I grabbed a beer and hurried back to my desk to blog about it before I forgot a single detail. And was envious of people who work from home.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Look what I found ON DEMAND

I love this movie! Bad Influence is so perverse, and so 1980s (even though it was released in 1990). Rob Lowe plays the completely decadent, amoral but impossibly seductive Alex -- not unlike the guy I spent the 1980s with in real life. Alex is the opposite of Sam Seaborn of The West Wing. This is a guy who scoffs at idealists, or perhaps sleeps with their wives. James Spader, of all people, is the "normal" one, Everyman, the stand-in for you and me. If you can get past the way most of the women are hidden beneath curly perms and impossibly large polyester shoulders, it's enjoyable in a very twisted way.

Clean Me

Every day I am going to do something -- no matter how small -- to improve my standard of living at home.

I bought an earring/jewelry display and organized my earrings and necklaces. Now that they're in one place (instead of on the bathroom sink, the nightstand, the coffee table, etc.) I can wear and enjoy them all -- and not buy anything else I don't need. This, I have learned, is one of the secrets of controlling my stuff.

Next up: my sunglasses.

First photo with the new camera

My new Kodak EasyShare M350 is indeed pretty easy to figure out. My big old tomcat, Joey, was a very patient model. If Tyra was here, she'd declare "curly paws" as his signature pose.

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing: The Oh My! Meme, Part One

1. The phone rings; who don't you want it to be? My kid sister. We never just chat, so I'm afraid it will be bad news about one of her children or our mother.

2. When shopping at the grocery store, do you return your cart? Yes. I'm a good girl.

3. In a social setting, are you more of a talker or a listener? TALKER!

4. What was the last compliment that someone gave you? One of my coworkers said, "I told him (our boss) I just can't be as nice about things as you are."

5. Do you play the lottery? Yes.

6. If abandoned alone in the wilderness, who would you want with you? I'm sticking with my celebrity answer from last month's Sunday Stealing -- Bill Clinton. As I said then, I think he'd be a riot to hang out with for a few hours. Plus, since he has Secret Service protection and his wife is Secretary of State, someone would come looking for us pronto.

7. Do you like to ride horses? Yes

8. Did you ever go to camp as a kid? Yes. It was the only thing that made Girl Scouting worthwhile.

9. What is your favorite party game? I don't think I have one ...

10. If a sexy person was pursuing you, but you knew he/she was married, would you go for it? There's no sin in some delicious flirting.

11. When was the last time that you lied? I told the sales guy at Best Buy I was buying the camera on behalf of my siblings for our dad. Since he thought I wasn't making the purchase decision completely on my own, he wouldn't try to upsell me. I just want a little point-and-shoot job, you know?

12. Could you date someone with different religious beliefs than you? Yes, and I have. As long as you treat one another's views with respect, it doesn't have to be a problem.

13. If you have a S/O, who pursued who? If not, do you like to pursue or be pursued? I'm more comfortable pursuing. I think it goes back to that Groucho Marx joke about not wanting to belong to any club that would have someone like me as a member.

14. Use six words to describe yourself. Pudgy. Loyal. Smart. Verbal. Sensitive. Independent.

15. Name a song that could make you cry? "Save the Best for Last." It so perfectly captured our relationship at the beginning. Unfortunately it ended badly, so that song tugs at my most tender heartstrings.

16. Are you pleased with your education? I wish I had more of it.

17. How do you feel about gun control? That it's sad we're still even having this conversation. We need to move away from this Old West mentality, where we're all armed and we settle our disputes in the streets with guns.

18. If your house was on fire, what thing would be the first thing you grabbed? Provided the cats are OK (and after all, they aren't "things"), I'd grab my wallet. Regardless of what happens next, I'll need ID and a credit card.

19. How often do you have a romantic weekend? So seldom, I don't remember.

20. Do you think more about the past, present or future? Future.

21. What was the last adult magazine that you have read? Penthouse.

22. What are you told about your eyes? That they are very pretty and very green.

23. How tall is just right? Height doesn't really matter to me. Maybe because I'm just 5'2.

24. Where is your dream house located? High above Michigan Avenue.

25. Do you have a secret fetish? No. Any suggestions?

26. Have you tried bourbon? If yes, what type? If bourbon is the booze that's in a mint julep, then yes.

27. Have you ever seen a male or female stripper? Yes. We took a road trip to see the male strippers at The Sugar Shack in Lake Geneva. They were dressed like Alladin (while they were dressed).

28. When was the last time you were at TGI Fridays? Years ago. The service isn't what it could be.

29. When was the last time you were at Church? More recently than I've been to TGI Fridays. It's a more pleasant experience.

30. Where was the furthest place you traveled today? It's dawn. The longest distance I have travelled is from the bedroom up the hall to the kitchen.

31. What was your favorite job? I worked in professional product development at Helene Curtis, writing the packaging and promotional materials. It was fun and I learned a ton about marketing

32. What condiments do you like at your BBQ? BBQ what? I like to add cinnamon to pork and beans. I put butter and salt on my corn on the cob. BBQ pork, beef and chicken don't require anything extra.

33. Bud is hosting Thursday Thunks this week. Will you play? I may. I may not. I'm wacky, madcap and devil-may-care that way.

34. Do you look like your mom or dad? Actually no. My parents and my two sisters are all dark eyed and tan easily. I'm green eyed and very pale. I used to think I was adopted.

35. Who was the last person that you showered with (it's okay to leave out the name)? Does a bath count?

Well, I didn't hate it ...

But I was very disappointed in it. Sex and the City 2, that is.

The boondoggle to Dubai is every bit the distraction as I feared it would be. Carrie's enduring love for Manhattan is so much a part of her character that something vital is missing. The slapstick hijinks are silly and insulting -- both to Middle Eastern culture and my intelligence. Samantha has become such a caricature that she's lost her humanity.

But it has it's moments -- my favorite is when Miranda gets Charlotte plastered, comparing notes on their lives as mothers. These are two characters that don't get much one-on-one time, and besides, friendship has always been at the heart of the SATC saga.

I also came away with new respect for Chris Noth and Cynthia Nixon. They alone are consistently authentic, even as the situations their characters find themselves in become more other worldly.

Clean Me

Every day I am going to do something -- no matter how small -- to improve my standard of living at home.

A day of actually DOING what I say I'm GONNA DO to get my life in order. I finally took that sweater set (that's been just sitting atop the dirty clothes hamper) to the dry cleaner, along with two winter coats. This is something I've been telling myself I'm GONNA DO for two weeks now. I began a new bag for Goodwill and also dropped another bag of bags (yes, I know, my bag fetish is ridiculous) at Kohl's for recycling before I went to Best Buy to get my new camera.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Happy Father's Day

Apparently electronics are popular Father's Day gifts, because Best Buy had a great sale on digital cameras. This is my new baby, a Kodak EasyShare M350. Hopefully I can figure out how to use it over the weekend.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Jumping Someone Else's Train

1. When was your last train ride? Thursday. It feels like I'm forever on trains -- the el or commuter trains to and from work, Amtrak to visit my client in downstate IL. Which is fine by me. Trains are a very peaceful way to travel.

2. How many foreign countries have you visited? Tell us about one. Five. Liechtenstein is the easiest to talk about. We literally drove through it one afternoon. I recall that it was very beautiful, with lots of pink and red roadside wildflowers everywhere. From what I could tell, they speak German rather exclusively -- as opposed to Switzerland, where everyone seemed to speak German or French or English.

3. What do you always take with you on vacation? Stamps so I can send postcards to friends and family.

4. Tell us about something you've lost recently. My ambition to be very productive on this, my day off. I got three loads of laundry done, vacuumed and straightened up under the sink, but that's about it. I think I went horribly off course when I stumbled upon I Love Lucy reruns onthe Hallmark Channel.

5. Do you prefer action packed vacations or relaxing ones? Relaxing. I have no desire to go on safari or climb a mountain.

6. How long will you wait in a check out line before abandoning your purchases? Depends on whether I'm on my way to catch a bus or train. If I'm not on a schedule, I'm rather patient.

7. How old do you wish you were? 35. I felt very womanly and sexy at 35.

8. Do you consider yourself kind? Yes. But there's room for improvement.

9. Tell us about your tattoos. Or if you had to get a tattoo, where and what would it be? I don't have any tats and don't want any. However, if there weren't needles and permanent dyes involved, I might get something small and discreet on my right shoulder.

Clean Me

Every day I am going to do something -- no matter how small -- to improve my standard of living at home.

The bag situation around here really is pathetic. Why do I hang onto them? Why is the thought of being without the proper bag for disposing of sodden litter or glass/plastic recyclables so intolerable? Well, tonight I have set aside yet another big bag of bags for the Peapod driver to take in exchange for my groceries.