Thursday, September 30, 2010

I don't feel good

And I extend my sincere sympathies to whoever followed me in the ladies room.

If I don't start feeling better soon, I think I will gingerly travel back home.

92% says it's DONE!

Kathleen gave me a ride home yesterday and reported that her test results could not have come back better: there's only an 8% chance of her breast cancer recurring!

The next step is radiation. Five days/week for six weeks, starting next month. The hospital is right up the street from both her office and mine, so I can visit her after the treatments if she'd like. While radiation seems like a day at the beach compared to chemo, it is still draining and if she wants someone to lift her spirits, well, I'm always happy to babble away merrily.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I Want Wednesday

Right now, I just want everyone to be happy. Or maybe happier. Or perhaps just OK.

I don't think my oldest friend has any real idea what's going on with her daughter, a new freshman whose world view is disturbing and whose sense of self is rather flexible. I suspect this girl would benefit from a mom and dad who co-parent, despite their divorced status, but I'm quite sure that's not going to happen. I've learned that the opinion of barren spinsters is not always welcome at times like this, and I know my friend believes it's my sworn duty to dislike her ex. And I do! I could give chapter and verse as to why he's a douche! But I also believe he loves his daughter and that, despite all their clashes, she loves him and this situation worries me.

Kathleen still hasn't updated me on the next steps of her cancer treatment. Why not? What's up? If it turns out she does indeed need chemo, I have a recommendation for a terrific wig salon. I want to help, but I don't want to hover. (I can be an annoying hoverer, you know.)

My uncle's birthday was Saturday. I sent him a giftcard, but he never acknowledged it. That's OK, really. It's depressing that this former millionaire is now a ward of the state who needs the $25 I sent. Besides, he took my cousin, his only child, to court over a petty and completely baseless claim. If this is where his disease has taken him, I guess it's just as well I don't hear from him. "Old age is a shipwreck." That's what President Kennedy said after spending a day with his father, who had suffered a debilitating stroke. Ain't that just the truth.

My shrink is sad, too. (See below) And I can't do anything about it. Nor, I suppose, would it be appropriate for me to, since one of her recurring mantras is that I'm not expected to "fix" everything and everyone, nor am I even able to. Still, I think it sucks for her.

Yet somehow I'm in a good mood today. Really. I just wish I could bottle happiness like cologne and spray it on everyone I love.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"Sad is part of life"

So my shrink told me this evening. We weren't talking about me, we were discussing her. But only in the most superficial terms, because she doesn't like us spending my time talking about her. I know her husband has had a rough summer, health wise, which has caused her to cancel some of our sessions. I asked her if she had good news to report and she answered guardedly that she has "hopeful" news.

I feel vulnerable. I know that I'm not her most critical patient, only seeing her once a month. But it's such a comfort to know she's there if I need her.

I also feel badly for her. I've been seeing her since the 1980s. I have been able to tell, by the photos on her desk and the artwork in her waiting room, that her children have grown up and had children themselves. I know she and her husband have been together 40 years.

I know "sad is a part of life." I know that people get old and sick. I may have to accept it, but I don't have to like it.

10 on Tuesday

Here's what's on This Old Gal's mind this sunny Tuesday.

1) I'm worried about my philodendron. I inherited it from an abruptly-dismissed coworker around Christmastime, 2004. At that point, his roots were bursting through the cheap white pot he was stuck in. I transplanted him into a roomier terra cotta, made sure all sides got light, and he's been flourishing. Except his roots were starting to appear on the surface of the pot, so after almost 6 years, I repotted him again. This time into a big ass, 10" pot. I hope he's OK, that the shock of the move didn't damage him. It's startling how attached to him I have become.

2) And his baby brothers ... the little shoots I am watching take root in the vase right beside him.

3) Bob Brenly. The Cubs TV announcer doesn't want to manage the Cubs. He officially took himself out of the running. Fine by me, I enjoy him in the broadcast booth. But it looks like there are still 3 candidates -- former Cub and current Yankee manager Joe Girardi, Cubs interim manager Mike Quade (who has been doing a fine job), and Cubs great Ryne Sandberg. Ryno was my grandma's favorite player of all-time, so I know she's in Heaven, intervening with God on his behalf.

4) Ed. Had lunch with my friend and former boss today. He was upbeat and in good spirits ... and kept surreptitiously looking down my t-shirt. Good God, we've known each other since the late 1980s! In all this time I never noticed him checking out my bod before.

5) Egg burgers. I had my first one for lunch today -- an egg sunny-side up served on an open-faced burger. It was yummy. I'm now a convert.

6) "Someone told me it's all happening at the zoo." I absolutely hate it when strangers walk by my office and peer in at me. It's an office. I'm banging away at my keyboard. What else would I be doing? The least they can do is toss me marshmallows as they stare, like visitors do when they gawk at the polar bears.

7) Space and time ... and the Beatles. In just a few weeks, on October 9, John Lennon would turn 70. A 70-year-old long-haired lad from Liverpool! Imagine that! I wonder what he'd be like now.

8) The new mom two doors down. I hope my coworker has her baby, a boy, on October 9. There's profound karma attached to that day. Not to mention "Instant Karma."

9) My pedi. I don't care what the calendar says, I'm wearing sandals until it starts to look funky.

10) My uncle. His birthday was Saturday. I sent him a card and he didn't acknowledge it. He's also been rather malicious toward my cousin, his only daughter. I think I just have to get used to the fact that he's fading and will never get better, will never be the same. Shit, I hate this.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Gordon Gekko, Superstar

This is the second terrific performance I've seen by Michael Douglas in two months (the first being Solitary Man). One of the things I've found interesting about his work lately is that he's exploring the lives of men over 60. Given his current health problems, it's especially poignant to watch his characters face their own mortality. And, in the case of Gordon Gekko, you want to scream every time he lights a cigar. In the movie, it's a sign of privilege, in real-life, it's simply dangerous and stupid. Also, he has a monologue about Gekko's son, Rudy, and drug addiction. Again, the way art imitates life is chilling. I'm also reminded that Michael Douglas is great at delivering monologues. It could be what he does best. Whether it's "Greed is good," from the original Wall Street, or "I am the President" from The American President, he's good at talking to the camera, and us, effortlessly holding our attention all by himself.

This Wall Street sequel is a very well made movie. Visually it's high-tech and glam. The performances (Douglas, Shia LeBeouf, Frank Langella and Josh Brolin) are uniformly solid and engaging.

I did have a problem with the script/plot. It was so Byzantine that I got lost in who was scamming who and what was happening with this or that deal and what the ef is Susan Sarandon doing in this film, anyway? So I just kinda gave up and enjoyed the ride.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Movie Monday -- Heists and Capers

Share your favorite heist & caper movies that create criminal characters we end up rooting for, linking back here at The Bumbles.

I could have named this post, "Hello, Gorgeous," because these movies stars are exceptiona
l looking men. They each have a compelling screen presence, sure, but they're also very handsome. Maybe that's what makes bad boys "characters we end up rooting for."

Bonnie and Clyde. They were young … in love … and they killed people. Both very violent and very moving, it's one of the most influential American films ever made.

11. A confection. The opposite of Bonnie & Clyde, really. There is nothing remotely plausible about this movie, but when a film begins with Clooney in a tux, you know it's going to have an exceptionally high charm quotient.

The Sting. Henry Gondorf and Johnny Hooker, aka Newman and Redford, the two coolest men who have ever li
ved, pulling off one of the most complicated heists ever filmed.

Catch Me If You Can. Leonardo DiCaprio is aw-shucks terrific as a kid with a heart of gold and a penchant for larceny.

"I wish I was a kid again, doing what I did again ..."

I spent Saturday with my oldest friend. She's getting ready to move across country to California, to begin a new job and a new chapter of her life. Our festivities included emptying out her safety deposit box and saying goodbye to her parents' graves. But the real fun part was going through a box of old 16 and Teen Scene magazines from the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Ah, Bobby Sherman! David Cassidy! Barnabas from Dark Shadows! Pete from The Mod Squad! Yes, all the dashing heartthrobs of our junior high years were represented. They each faced heartache, shared love secrets and begged to be our faves. At times, I laughed so hard I couldn't breathe.

I don't think I'll see her again now until December, when I go out to visit her in her new home for her 54th birthday. But we're in contact almost every day, sometimes more than once a day, and I'm sure that won't change. We're closer than sisters, and a few miles isn't going to change that.

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing: The "I've Been Tagged" Meme

1. Where are you from?
Brookfield, IL, a village just 15 miles west of Chicago. I can't believe it's only 15 miles, because it couldn't be a smaller small town. It is also the home of The Brookfield Zoo, one of the country's really great parks and if you ever get a chance, you should visit it and say "hi" to my favorite animals, the okapis, for me.

2. If you could live any place in the world, where would you live?
I can't imagine living anywhere else. I believe Chicago is the greatest city in the world: four seasons, a thriving theater community, easily accessible public transportation, diversity and, of course, The Cubs.

3. What's your favorite blog? I'll check them out of course!
SnarkyPants. Who is she? Here are 100 Things about Her.

4. What is your biggest blogging pet peeve?
Dopey comments. There was one blogger in particular, someone I barely knew in even the flimsiest cybersense, whose blog I never visited, who would come by and say the most pointless shit, I think just to get her link out there. For example, I wrote a long post about a film classic, and she left a comment saying, "Never saw it."

5. What's your favorite TV show this season? I need a new show! :)
I have to favorites: NCIS and Mad Men.

6. What's your favorite 'down' time {nothing computer related}?

7. Are you a parent? If so, what's your favorite thing to do with your children?
I'm a barren spinster

8. What about your blog, have you considered changing?
Not much. I have changed backgrounds time and again, but I like this one and shall keep it for a while.

9. What do you do for a living (if you work outside the home or if you work at home)?
I'm at a writer for a venerable Chicago ad agency which is mentioned frequently on Mad Men.

10. What is your fav
orite song at the moment? What is your favorite song ever? "Shut up and put your money where your mouth is/that's what you get for waking up in Vegas," by Katy Perry, is my current favorite. I suppose my all-time favorite is All My Loving by the Beatles. I know this wasn't the first song they sang on The Ed Sullivan Show, but it's the first one that made an impact on me, and I fell everlastingly in love.

11. What is your favorite niche TV channel to watch? The news channels

12. If you could have any career, what would it be and why? I'd love to be a historian like Doris Kearns Goodwin. She gets years to write her books, enjoys almost unlimited access to historical papers, gets paid boatloads of cash and ends up on the bestseller lists. Doris, you are my hero!

13. What is your favorite outfit? Comfy jeans, a t-shirt from a favorite vacation destination, and no shoes.

14. If you could tell your teenage self something, what would you say? "Your mother is wrong, these are most definitely NOT the best years of your life, and it only gets better from here."

15. What is your favorite recipe? Foodler

16. What is the funniest joke you've ever heard? A grandmother is watching her grandson playing on the beach. A huge wave comes and takes him out to sea. She pleads, "Please, God, save my only grandson. I will live a blameless life if only you return him to me. I beg of you, bring him back." And a big wave washes the boy back onto the beach, good as new. She looks up to Heaven and says, "He had a hat."

17. What is your favorite vacation spot and why? Colonial Williamsburg, because it blends my geeky love of history with my decadent love of pampering.

18. What are you most excited about with fall here? Using up all the vacation time I have greedily hoarded this year, and enjoying nice, long weekends.

19. Did you envision yourself to be where you are today ten years ago? If not, what did you envision? I'm pretty much where I thought I'd be ... though I imagined a thinner me in a better decorated condo.

20. If money were no object, what would your dream house look like? The 40th floor of a high rise looking out onto Lake Michigan.

21. What is your all-time favorite Disney movie? Mary Poppins

22. What blog do you think isn't getting enough notice? See Question #3

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Just Like Me

1. Who in your life do you think behaves and thinks the most like you do? When I look at my almost-18-year-old niece, I see an idealized, improved-upon version of the way I was at that age.
2. As a kid, were you ever wrongly accused (and punished, if it went that far) for something you didn't do? If so, what was it? What happened? Not exactly. But when we were little kids, my older sister used to surreptitiously pinch me and when I'd scream, my parents would yell at me for making noise. It never got old for her.

3. What about as an adult, were you ever wrongly accused for something you didn't do?? Do you think it's worse to be accused as a child or an adult? Why/why not? One of my coworkers insisted on remembering me as being the adversarial one in a long meeting, when in reality, it was the MAN sitting next to me. She kept berating me for my bad behavior for days -- um, I don't work for you, bitch -- and finally I just announced I was going home and would not be back the next day, either. And I told my boss to take that day to fix the problem. It was easier than it was in my childhood, because as an adult, I had power and I could handle it.

3. What’s the scariest weather situation you’ve experienced? Spring storms are always scary/exciting around here. I can't think of a specific one.

4. If you could wake up tomorrow morning in another country, where would you want to be and why? England. Because they speak English and it would be easier to navigate, sight see and, of course, get home.

5. Instead of going to work Monday, if you could spend the entire day doing something else--any one or two things that you absolutely love doing--what would you do? Reading and going to the movies.

6. What sites (other than meme sites) do you use most to help you post on your blog? Life Magazine Photo Archives

7. Check out a post on your blog from six months ago (March 2010) and tell us what is different now about your blog and/or life? Not a ton. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis is still my all-time hero and inspiration in times of stress and I'm still sad about my uncle (today is his birthday). However, my best friend and I are fine, so in all, I'm happy.

8. What was the last photograph you took? My pedi.

9. Which fashion trend do you believe is the most horrendous and why? Why must otherwise perfectly lovely handbags be marred by fringe? It's so 1970s, and the 1970s were not an especially aesthetically pleasing decade.

Friday, September 24, 2010

He's cracking me up

My boss, that is. Usually he's so hands-off it's laughable. Most of the down-and-dirty of financial marketing really doesn't seem to interest him that much.

But now we have a project that excites him. And, since it's interesting to him, it's supposed to be a priority for us. He seems confused that his enthusiasm hasn't rubbed off on me … that I wasn't delighted to spend two hours this morning discussing it, and I haven't jumped on the next steps he suggested yet.

Um ... that's because the "fun" project has to be wrapped up by end of day 9/29. And the usual, same old/same old, dull, boring shit that I have been working on for more than a week is due end of day TODAY.

Maybe everyone feels about their boss the way I feel about him. From 2001 to 2003, I was a Big Boss myself, a Creative Director with a staff of 6. I wonder if I was as out of touch as he is.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I feel good, I knew that I would

I worked out at lunchtime -- 32 minutes of cardio, reps on the incline press and the hip ad/abductors. Yea!

Then I donated my platelets. I like knowing that 3 hours total (that includes going to and from the Lifesource Center) will help make a cancer patient's chemo easier. I have done this before, so I already knew it's completely painless. But now, because of my friend Kathleen's breast cancer, donating seems more personal and more important.

This show ROCKED!

I saw American Idol's Constantine Maroulis in Rock of Ages last night, and it was simply terrific. First of all, he's simply a charmer. He has great pipes and unexpectedly delicious comic timing -- all innocent wonderment inside a leather-clad rocker's body. The plot is fabulously, ridiculously silly. And the music! Everything from "Cum on Feel the Noize" to "Don't Stop Believing" to "We Built This City." I've had "Harden My Heart" running through my head all day. If you get a chance to see this show, do it!

It was also good to see my old boss/theater buddy, Barb, again.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Queen's Meme -- The Change Meme

1. Name one thing you'd like to change about yourself. The extra weight I'm carrying around.

2. If you could wave a magic wand and be done with all the small petty nuisances in your life, what you would have "be gone" first? Extraneous packing materials! I am sitting here looking at a box that's about 12" deep and 14" long and was used to ship a single, solitary blue canvas tote. Now, really! What am I going to do with this ginormous hunk of cardboard? Not to mention all the tissue they used to keep the bag from bouncing around in the ginormous box in transit.

3. Do you collect and save your spare change in a jar? Yes. Pennies in a piggy bank, quarters (for laundry) in a big old mug from the Hofbrauhaus Munchen.

4. Change your world. What is our biggest concern as a global humanity?
Our willful insistence on demonizing one another. Oh, and handguns.

5. What would you have changed about your last relationship or the one you're in now? Nothing, really. It was fun and ran its course naturally.

6. If you could reverse the course of history in a time machine, what would you do and how do you think the world would be different today? I would insist that Robert Kennedy take the pre-arranged route through the hotel lobby and not stop in the kitchen to greet the foodservice staff. Then Sirhan Sirhan would not have gotten a clean shot, the Vietnam war would have ended years earlier, and the inevitable changes in race relations would have had a chance to come about with more civility.

7. Who would you like to change into a toad? A certain high-maintenance coworker.

8. What is the first thing you change into when you get home from work? My playclothes -- more casual (meaning well-worn) jeans and a t-shirt bearing the name of a recent vacation destination.

9. If you could change places with anyone in the world for one day, who would that be? Mariska Hargitay. I wonder how it feels to be tall and lean and gorgeous.

10. Have you ever heard the expression "turn over a new leaf?" What is under your old one? Being a victim.

11. Name one thing that can cause you to immediately change your mood. Baseball. I bleed Cubbie blue.

12. What have you recently (or ever) had a change of heart about? And why? Mark Harmon. My current TV boyfriend. He was so good as The Deliberate Stranger (Ted Bundy) that I was actually creeped out by him for decades.

13. When is the last time you changed the oil in your car? I don't have a car. And the people who run the Pace Suburban Bus Company get so testy when I go looking for mechanical doo-hickies to fiddle with.
It's easy. Just click here.

I Want Wednesday

I want to work out! For one reason or another, I haven't been to the health club all week and I miss it -- which, I guess, is a good sign. Maybe I'm hooked on the endorphins and will go more often when the opportunity arises. Or perhaps I'll start making opportunities.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

10 on Tuesday

Ten Reasons Why I'm in a Better Mood Today

1) I just watched the season premiere of NCIS. My TV boyfriend, Leroy Jethro Gibbs, is back in a big way!

2) The city looked especially green and clean today as I walked from train to my office this morning. A wonderful way to start the day!

3) Had dinner last night with Kathleen and was happy to see how well she's dealing with her breast cancer. She's keeping a journal of her experiences, at the suggestion of a cancer survivor from her church, and it's making it easier for her to share her feelings with her husband.

4) Also, we tried a lovely little restaurant for the first time. I had the roasted chicken, and it was delicious!

5) Had lunch today with a former co-worker, a complete angel. I'm happy to report that she's happily pregnant with her second baby boy (due within the month).

6) Enjoyed buckwheat/fruit/pecan pancakes for lunch. Don't know why, but it's always fun to have breakfast food for lunch.

7) Bat Glove! This clear plastic wrap can help prevent bats from shattering, which means that horrifying accidents like the one that befell Tyler Colvin could be a thing of the past. (Get well, TyCo!)

8) I still have almost two weeks of vacation that I must take before the end of the year! So I'm going to visit my oldest friend for her birthday in her new home in Los Angeles.

9) My best friend has been reliably there for me, and my world always feels more right when that's the case.

10) It's the 21st of September!

Monday, September 20, 2010

And on the subject of money ...

… my mom is making me nuts.

Last year I gave her one of my Citi American Airlines credit cards. I told her she had $25/month to use anyway she chose. BUT I told her it had to be $25/month -- not $50 one month and none the next because I pay it off every month to avoid finance charges and I'm only budgeted $25 extra dollars every month.

I told her to charge one of her weekly lunches at Olive Garden with her friend Shirley. Or her groceries (she makes two trips a week, and $25 would cover one of them). I told her this way she would have cash available if something big comes up.

She doesn't like to use the card at Olive Garden because then they would need separate checks and that's too hard for the waitress.

She doesn't like to charge her groceries because people who do that are in serious money trouble. Um, SHE IS IN SERIOUS MONEY TROUBLE!

Lately she's simply been ignoring the $25 limit. In August it was $43.36 at Menard's (an irresistible sale on bird seed) and Thursday it was $73.39 at the vet for her cat Ethel. I found this out by checking the Citi website. She never was going to tell me.

I'd say it's not the money, except it kind of is. I'm trying to build a reserve in case my niece or nephew needs my help. My brother-in-law is still out of work, with no unemployment coming in. When you add up my Mom's Medicare Part B insurance, her snow removal, and the $25 a month on Citi, I'm giving her $215/month. I know she gave me life and yes I love her and of course I take my responsibility to her seriously, but she's not helping me here.

Do I sound awful?

So Saturday I called her and we talked about it all. I guess I feel better about it because we cleared the air. BUT ... here's the thing --

Even though I have told her -- and told her and told her -- that she could use the card whenever she wanted for whatever she wanted, as long as she didn't go over $25/month, she never bothered to listen to me. She admitted as much. After all, I have money.

So she charged $75, so that will make it hard for me to pay it off in its entirety. So? Just send $50 less this month.

I told her -- again! -- that I pay this card off in full every month because in exchange for the miles I earn it has a very high interest rate. And that by not calling me when she went over, she put me in a pickle.

She was all like, "oh, wow, really?"

So I told her -- yes, REALLY! And I asked her, "don't you understand what I have been saying to you, over and over again?"

Not really. But not because she's vague. Because she doesn't listen and doesn't think it should matter because, after all, I have money.

She admitted she takes me for granted. She mentioned the insurance and the snow removal, and all the presents I have bought for my sister and brother-in-law for her to give them because I know money is tight for her and their birthdays (as well as my niece's and nephew's) are all between now and the end of November. She said she knows I'm the only one of her kids who helps, and that's not fair, so consequently she won't take any money from me anymore.

Damn it! That's not what I'm asking of her. I'm asking her to limit the use of that card to $25/month. I'm not saying I won't help her with vet bills, I'm saying she has to call me first. I told her this, and reminded her that I'm not being unreasonable here.

And besides, if she doesn't take money from me, what exactly is she going to do? Work? She can't walk any distance anymore. Turn to one of my sisters? My uncle? Are you laughing yet?

AND she wants to send me a check for the $50. Why? So I can turn around and give it to her again next time her cat Ethel gets sick? I didn't say that to her because it would hurt her too much, so instead I said, "I want to help you be independent and happy in your house, but I don't want it to be unfair to me. It's not about the money. It's about you spending the extra money without telling me first."

"It's about the money to me, Gal." She told me she's sorry she takes for me granted and that she loves me and doesn't tell me enough. And that's where we left it, because she wouldn't talk about it anymore.

So I don't know where we left it. The good news is, it's nice to know she's not feeble. She understands what I say to her, when she bothers to listen. The bad news is, I'm a combination daughter-ATM. And that hurts.

More about Crazy Old Neighbor

$10,000. That's the princely sum that Crazy Old Neighbor killed himself over.

According to the note he left, he believed he was being hounded and blamed by us for the $3,000 he owes the condo association board (though not for the thousands in destruction of property, which he denied doing). He still owes his bank $7,000 for his 1 BR unit on the third floor. He left his condo and his car to relatives, but their lawyers contacted our lawyers to say that since they, too, were "estranged" from him and involved in litigation, they're not going to take possession of his stuff as quickly as we'd like.

I suppose it doesn't matter, really, as long as they aren't foreclosed upon and pay his assessments (both current and past-due).

I think about him constantly. The last time I saw him -- the Thursday before Labor Day -- I actually crossed the street to avoid making eye contact with him. Now he's dead.

I know he either would have ignored me or called me a "bitch" again, and I just didn't feel like dealing with it that day. But I still feel guilty. He was my neighbor and clearly he was in a lot of distress and that wasn't nice of me.

And then I'm mad at him anew. Because, like the damage to the laundry room he did that's yet to be repaired, he manages to get the last word ... over Labor Day, today and for all eternity.

Suicide can be a monstrously selfish act.

Movie Monday -- Growing Older

Share on movies about aging or being elderly, linking back here at The Bumbles.

Solitary Man. I just saw this movie last month. Michael Douglas was superb as a man who refuses to grow old gracefully, who deals with his health problems by ignoring them. This was before we learned of the actor's real-life health problems, which make his performance even more touching. If it's not out on DVD yet, it soon will be, and I highly recommend it.

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? Growing older and becoming vulnerable has never been more terrifying -- or campy. By the way, Bette Davis was 54 when this scene was filmed, which leads me to believe aging is scarier for actresses than for the rest of us.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

"Looked like he was being stabbed"

This incident is just too awful. I'm grateful that I was dozing and missed seeing it live as just the tape is profoundly upsetting. My thoughts and prayers are with you, TyCo. From the Chicago Tribune:

Cubs' Colvin hospitalized, impaled by bat

MIAMI -- Tyler Colvin is in stable condition at a local hospital after being impaled in his upper left chest by a piece of broken bat during Sunday's game at Sun Life Stadium.

Colvin was scoring from third on Welington Castillo's RBI double when a piece of bat hit him in his chest. He was transported to the Ryder Trauma Unit of Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, where X-rays were taken and the wound was being sutured.

He's being treated for pneumothorax, a puncture of the chest cavity, which allowed air into the chest wall and the potential of a collapsed lung. A tube was inserted into the wound, and Colvin is resting comfortably, but will remain hospitalized for 2-3 days for further examination, and manager Mike Quade said he will not play again this season.

Colvin was not in labored breathing, and there was very little blood. There was no immediate word on the depth of the wound, though it was only a few inches from his heart, and his neck, and could've been much more serious. The sharp end of the larger piece of Castillo's broken bat is what went into Colvin's chest, but it did not stick into the chest.

Marlins catcher Mike Rivera said it was scary and looked like "he was being stabbed."

The Cubs said there was minimal external bleeding.

Castillo didn't know what was happening at first, and said it was tough to put out of his mind.

"I feel really bad about it," he said. "It wasn't on purpose, but he's my teammate."

Jeff Samardzija, the next hitter, met Colvin at the plate.

"It was wild," he said. "It's one of those things you don't see too often. But I thought he was fine. I thought we were just joking around. I saw a little something on his shirt and said, 'Hey man, you should probably get inside."

Samardzija said Colvin was smiling, and that "it kind of caught him by surprise, too."

Manager Mike Quade said he's "amazed" it hasn't happened more often with the maple bats splitting apart so often.

"We've seen guys get hit by pieces, but to actually get stabbed by one..." he said.

Good for what ails me

Got up early, went to breakfast, went to church, went to sleep on the sofa. My throat doesn't hurt anymore, but I am just sooooo exhausted!

Fortunately there's a Law & Order: SVU marathon on USA. I love Olivia and Elliott, and am content to just lay here and watch them for hours and hours (which is what I've done).

My throat hurts

I got a flu shot Saturday, and now I feel like I have the flu. I was told to expect it, and now it's happening. And so I am going to bed and will hope this sore throat goes away within 24 hours (as promised by the fact sheet handed me by the pharmacist).

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying

1. When was the last time you cried? June 24. I was telling my friend Kathleen about my uncle's deteriorating, and irreversible, condition. I'm not much of a crier, so I remember it distinctly.

2. If you could wake up tomorrow with a new talent, what would it be? Singing.

3. Who is someone (other than yourself) would you like to go back into your past and talk to and why? My grandpa. He died when I was in high school, just as I was learning what a wise, interesting man he was in his own right -- as opposed to just being the loving grandpa who laughed at every one of my jokes, kept the supply of cookies coming and gave great hugs.

4. What is your favorite meal eating out? Breakfast! While a hearty breakfast is a great way to start the day, breakfast dishes in my sink definitely are not.

5. Do you feel energized or drained by being in a group situation? If the answer is "it depends," on what does it depend? On the setting and people.

6. What word do you use far too frequently? "Fuck."

7. What’s a word you’ve invented? (alternate question: What needs a word but doesn’t have one yet?) There needs to be a word for that desperate longing that accompanies the memory of something terrific that's passed.

8. Pick out one of your favorite songs. Go to Song Facts and tell us about the song's history. September, by Earth, Wind and Fire. "While there are many theories as to the '21st night of September' in the opening lyrics, the truth is they just felt right."

9. What is your absolute favorite piece of furniture you have and why? The wooden cabinet that holds the TV in my bedroom. It's designed like an Amish ice chest, with a great handle and hinges.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Well, that's done

Two hours at the laundromat. Hopefully, by next week the washers in this building will be repaired and this is the last of Crazy Old Neighbor's destructive legacy. It's such a waste of time and quarters! To take some of the sting out of it, I rewarded myself with a hot dog, fries and Dr. Pepper.

Self Portrait

Oh, but don't I wish! The thing of it is, though, twice in two days I have been told I look at least 10 years younger than I am. That sort of thing does put spring into this old Gal's step.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

God help me, I laugh

This Will Ferrell-John C. Reilly movie is vulgar and infantile, and it cracks me up every time.

Checking off my "to do" list

Got a lot done at work today, and I think I did it well. My boss came by and asked my advice on the best way to approach an assignment, and that felt good, too. Best of all, I found that "Maggie Poppins" will be back in a few weeks. She's the freelance contractor who worked with us during the summer of 2009, and in a few weeks she'll be joining us again, filling in for a strategist who's going on maternity leave.

I didn't get to work out today, but other than that, I think it's been a good day.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I Want Wednesday

I want ... a beer. Yeah, that's it. Seeing this makes me want a Coors sooooooooo bad.

This was dumb

This is what I had for lunch ... in addition to a ham sandwich, a banana and a bottle of pop. Now I just want to curl up and take a nap.

I can do this job

I did well presenting to the client today. I was enthusiastic, flexible and engaged. Despite all the problems I face day-to-day at the agency where I work, I really like and respect my client and I think it shows in my work. I'm at my best down there with them.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

10 on Tuesday -- I want another cat

Oh, I'm not getting one. I realize that having four cats would move me past Crazy Cat Lady and land me squarely into Hoarder. But that doesn't mean I don't want another cat.

As I dream about the cat I'm not getting, it makes some sort of twisted sense to decide what I'm not going to call him. Here are the 10 most popular cat names from I'm not crazy about any of them.*

1) Tiger
2) Smokey
3) Kitty
4) Shadow
5) Tigger
6) Baby
7) Oreo
8) Princess
9) Angel
10) Max

*I don't know what I would name the cat I'm not getting because I'd have to meet him/her first, and since that's not going to happen, choosing a name is really impossible. It does make sense, honest.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Why do you suppose this is?

I really didn't want to go to health club today. After all, I'd just gone yesterday! But, since I know I won't be able to workout tomorrow (client presentation), I forced myself.

I started with my 32 minutes of cardio followed by work on my flabby old arms. Then, to mix it up a little, I swapped my usual hip abductor exercises with some leg extensions. And right now, hours later, I still feel so good. Satisfied the way you feel after a job well done.

So why is it that the most satisfying exercise sessions are the ones I do almost under protest?

On La Liz and l'amour

I have recently read -- and thoroughly enjoyed -- two biographies of Elizabeth Taylor. While her story is so ridiculously garish, glamorous, and over the top that at times it feels like a juicy soap opera, there is one aspect of her life I actually do (or at least, did) relate to: the way she equated drama with passion and love.

I did that once, for a decade. My friend, John, who knew me back in those days, said he believed that my long-time lover and I "had only two speeds: fighting and fucking." I believed the more fiery our clashes, the more he loved me. The more I hurt, the more I loved him. Weren't we lucky to inspire such tempestuous feelings in one another?

As I look back on those days, I shake my head. For while our "love" was all-encompassing, it was beyond unhealthy. It was sick. I don't think his feelings about me were about love or affection or even admiration -- he needed me, and then disliked how much he depended on me, and therefore had to punish me.

Yes, he was one twisted repulsivo. But it's important for me to remember that everything he did, I allowed him to do. I'm so glad I got out and eventually moved on. Not only away from him and the abuse but from the toxic POV that equated love with drama.

And who would think that pudgy little old me would have anything in common with one of the most famous, and once among the most beautiful, women in the world?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Movie Monday -- Biopics

Share movies featuring portrayals of real people and their life stories, linking back here at The Bumbles.

Here are three well-known ladies who disappeared into lives of women less familiar.

Susan Sarandon as Sister Helen Prejean in
Dead Man Walking. Susan Sarandon usually plays a modern woman in touch with her own sexuality, even if she's not especially introspective. As Sister Helen, she reverses it -- playing a compassionate nun who struggles mightily to understand everyone around her, almost all of whom are in unfathomable pain, while trying to figure out the right thing to do.

Diana Ross as Billie Holiday in Lady Sings the Blues. I have been a big fan of MIss Ross' for as long as I can remember, and I'm fascinated to hear her act while she sings in this movie. She dials her own Motown/girl group exuberance way, way back and her turns at the mic take on the anest
hetized quality that bespoke Lady Day's pain.

Reese Witherspoon as June Carter in Walk the Line. The comedienne from Legally Blonde and Sweet Home Alabama was replaced by a three-dimensional woman under pressure -- making her way in a competitive profession while trying to live up to the expectations of a public who believed they knew her famous family and suffering through her love for a married man. She's both a church-going mother and a serious artist, as well as a love interest, in this movie and she's awesome.

A prayer for Crazy Old Neighbor

"Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us."

I thought about him at church today. A lot. I know that with time, my shock and anger will fade and I'll be able to forgive him for all the destruction and hostility, and forgive myself for not being as compassionate as I could have been.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sunday Stealing

The Player's Meme

Cheers to all of us thieves!

1. :::sniff, sniff::: Is the dog in the house? I don't have a dog, but maybe it's time to clean the litter box.

2. What is the best piece of advice you've ever received? My mother says, "There's always a good reason not to do something." Meaning if you want to procrastinate or chicken out, you can find an excuse. It's a trap I don't want to fall into.

3. What's the worst experience you've ever had involving alcohol? Ew, this is way embarrassing. Let me preface this story by saying, "It was the 80s." I was at a holiday party with a lot of coworkers. I got very drunk. A guy I barely knew and wasn't remotely interested in offered to take me home. I was impaired enough to believe that we were getting into his car and going directly to my apartment. My boss, a little older and far wiser about alcohol and men and women, observed the situation and felt his intervention was required. He said he'd take me home. Since he had Alpha status, the coworker backed off. How did I repay my boss's kindness? By puking in his car. And I wondered why I was taken more seriously as a party girl than a professional in those days! What can I say? It was the 8os!

4. What's the worst thing you've ever done to another person? We were having a terrible argument that was going to end with us breaking up, so I said something unforgivably cruel to speed the process up a bit. I mean, I left nothing but scorched earth. He deserved much better from me and I'm very sorry.

5. Who do you think started the concept of memes? Dr. Lyle Evans. He seems to have been behind many heretofore mysterious yet influential events. (It makes sense if you have been watching Mad Men this season.)

6. Give a song title or line that describes how you are feeling right now. "Go, Cubs, go! Go, Cubs, go! Hey, Chicago, what do you say? Cubs are gonna win today." It's pretty much how I feel every day between April and September. (Mark my words: Someday, God will deliver us and the feeling will take me all through October, too!)

7. What's your favorite search engine? Yahoo!, Google, Ask, Bing? or something else? Google

8. If Paul is the Cute One and John is the Smart One and George is the Quiet One and Ringo is the Funny One, which Beatle are you? At 5'2, I could be the Short One. But, after enduring 46 years of Beatlemania, I think I've earned the title of the Slavishly Devoted One.

9. The democratic government decides that, not only do we have to share our money with people who choose not to work, we also have to share our children with those who do not want to ruin their bodies with being pregnant. Which child do you give up? I don't have kids and I don't accept the premise that I'm currently sharing my money with people who choose not to work.

10. When should you procrastinate - now or later? I'll get back to you.

11. What is your favorite fast food? Little Cheeseburger from Five Guys Burgers & Fries

12. What was your favourite game as a child? Clue. I wanted to be Miss Scarlet, even if she did turn out to be the murderer. In fact, I still want to be Miss Scarlet.

13. Why terrible twos have to be terrible. I have no idea why, but this is one of my favorite ages. I love watching them exercise their assertiveness and test boundaries. You can practically see the thoughts forming before they act. Best of all, because I'm an aunt, I'm able to simply hand them back when they cease to amuse me.

14. Describe your favorite family member. My niece is 17, a senior in high school, and very ambitious about college. She's a big fan of Tim Burton's movies, George Harrison's music, and John Krasinksi's face. I'm love her intellect, independence and sense of humor.

15. What does your favorite breakfast consist of? Eggs over easy, bacon, toast and jelly, orange juice. Yum.

16. What food is better the day after it was made? Fried chicken

17. What was your last big purchase? My camera

18. When was the last time you kissed someone and really enjoyed it? My cat Charlotte was sitting on the ledge of the bathroom sink, watching carefully as I applied mascara. She was so adorably serious that I kissed the top of her head.

19. Why are there memes? Oh, who knows? Life is full of imponderables. Why do birds sing so gay, and lovers await the wake of day? Can vegetarians eat animal crackers? We may never get definitive answers to the really big mysteries of the universe.

20. Described yourself using two words that rhyme. (i.e. fuddy-duddy) Since I'm so talkative, I christen myself a cheerful earful.

21. If you were given the option of a "do-over" in life .. would you take it? Yes, see Question #4. I wish I'd never done that.

22. What movie makes (or has made) you cry? What touched you about it? Marley & Me. When the mom (Jennifer Aniston) says, "Goodbye, Clearance Puppy," and we remember how much she and Marley have been through together, I'm reminded of what fantastic friends our pets are and how much we miss them when they inevitably leave us.

23. What is one big mistake that you did in your life? And what did you do to make it right? See Question #4. I never did make it right and I'm very sorry.

24. When Life Gives You Lemons, What Do You Do With Them? I used to run them through the garbage disposal because they cleaned the mechanism and left everything smelling fresh. But since I don't have a garbage disposal anymore, I guess I'd just give the lemons back.

25. How different are you in real life as compared to the online identity you have created for yourself? I'm more honest and less guarded here.

26. Do you know what your parents would have named you if you had been born the opposite sex? I'd have been named "John" but called "Jack."

Happy 100th to you ...

Happy 100th to you, Happy 100th dear Ryan Dempster, Happy 100th to you!

Yes, this season has sucked. But even a season of bad baseball has its bright spots, and Ryan Dempster is ours this year. He just earned his landmark 100th win and it was in Milwaukee, so a lot of Cub fans were there, so that's a delight.

Demp is deservedly a fan favorite. Spirited and funny, a great Black Hawks fan, a devoted dad and humanitarian (his daughter has a rare disorder and his foundation raises money and awareness).

And no one has ever accused him of using steroids, like Cheater McCheaty Pants, aka "Why Aren't I in Jail?" aka Roger Clemens.

In all, it sucked

This past week, I mean. First Mayor Daley announced he was abandoning us. Then we learned that Crazy Old Neighbor committed suicide. The fire in Boulder came close to my best friend's home. Less personal but still upsetting: the virulent anti-Islam mood in the country.

And 9/11 is always an occasion for sober reflection.

So I did the only sensible thing. I got a mani/pedi and stopped for a margarita on the way back. The world looks better after a mani/pedia and a margarita.

What else can I say about today?

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Tell Her No

1. When was the last time that you had to tell someone that you loved, that the answer was no? A couple Sundays ago, I had to tell my nephew I wouldn't be able to play with him

2. When was the last time you visited a hospital? Last month, for my mammogram

3. If you were to start a club, what would the subject matter be, and what would you name it? We'd go to the movies, as opposed to watching on TV or computer screen, once a month, and we'd be the Cinema Supporters.

4. Have you ever hit someone of the opposite sex? No.

5. What's the first thing you notice about the preferred sex? Hair. My first-ever crushes were Little Joe Cartwright and Sir Paul, so ever since childhood I have been drawn to men with heads of thick, shiny hair.

6. What really turns you on? A man with a great voice, soft and deep

7. What was your biggest mistake? Spending entirely too much time with the wrong man

8. Tell us something totally random about yourself. The celebrity I used to hear I looked most like was Cruise Director Julie McCoy from The Love Boat.

9. Has anyone ever said you looked like a celebrity? Damn! Guess that makes this Saturday 8.

Friday, September 10, 2010

He has a lovely smile

Leroy Jethro Gibbs, my TV boyfriend. I can't wait for the Season 8 NCIS premiere (Tuesday, 9/21).

Oh, I love this movie!

I saw Murphy's Romance at the theater and am always delighted when I can catch it on TV ... like now, since I've found it ON DEMAND. It's old-fashioned but authentic and unutterably dear. The romantic in me has been hoping for 25 years that I'll find a Murphy of my own to melt me.

I even love the Carole King song over the closing credits: "You kissed me like a lover and loved me like a friend and I'm in love for the last time." God! I'm such a sap!

"We call God different names, but we remain one nation"

"I've got Muslims who are fighting in Afghanistan. In the uniform of the United States armed services. They're out there putting their lives on the line for us. And we've got to make sure that we are crystal clear for our sakes and their sakes: They are Americans. And we honor their service. We don't differentiate between them and us: It's just us."

Now THIS is the man I cheered for in Grant Park on Election Night, 2008. I am so proud of my President right now.


There, sitting on my hand, is a completely perfect .17 oz bottle of Lovely perfume. It's just a shade under 2" tall. I am in love with it. Isn't eBay great?

My oldest friend once gave me a card that reads, "You mean shopping for more useless crap isn't the meaning of life?"

I understand the sentiment. But when the useless crap makes me this happy, I forgive myself.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

I'm going to miss him so

Da Mare, of course. There are some who underestimated him, at their own peril, of course, because he appeared so unpolished. They seldom made that mistake twice.

My favorite in this montage is his assessment of Rod Blagojevich, which was, "cuckoo."

I'm stylin'

Today I'm wearing my new Old Navy cardigan for the first time, with a white t-shirt and a pair of dark wash jeans (also Old Navy). I love it because I got it on sale for less than $20, and because I know I can pair it with a black t-shirt and slacks and wear it when I present to the client. To borrow from the Lads, "And you know that can't be bad."

Like iron filings to a magnet

That's an apt description of how strongly crazies seem, at times, to be drawn to this humble little blog. Take yesterday, for example.

Back in January, 9 months ago, I did an impassioned post about convicted double murderer Betty Broderick. I wrote it that day because this woman was top of mind due to her parole hearing. I presented her story as I saw it -- including the undisputed fact that she shot her ex-husband and his new wife five times as they slept in their own bed, in their own house, before dawn on a Sunday morning. In case I wasn't fair or balanced in my depiction of this homicidal sociopath, I included this link to CNN for their coverage of the parole hearing.

Yesterday, out of the blue, I got a pedantic little comment on my post from a complete stranger, who somehow felt that a sunny September day was the appropriate time to tell me that "emotion (sic) abuse is very real" and that, "People should not judge someone till they have walked in their shoes."

Now, really, if you are a regular reader of this blog, you know I don't need to be told that emotional abuse is real. How pretentious, offensive and intrusive of her!

She not only came back and commented again, she devoted a post on her own blog to our exchange! She wrote that, with her own fearless stand defending this murderer, she knows she can expect "nasty messages from crazy, unreasonable people." Huh? What? I suppose that if you troll the internet and leave clueless, unsolicited comments for strangers, then I guess you can expect messages. I hardly see her as the victim of our exchange.

In fact, I don't see any victims of our exchange. I just composed this post because I have heard many of you say you wish you got more comments on your own blogs. Read this post, and then be careful what you wish for! (And Heather, you really don't need to leave yet another comment explaining your Betty-as-victim stance, either. I'm not interested in pursuing a correspondence with you.)

WARNING: Before you visit her to read about how "unglued" I became yesterday, you should know her blog is called "A Betty Broderick Obsession." It's certainly your right to check her post about me, as well as our our exchange on my January post, but I wonder about directing you all to a blog devoted to an angry woman who killed her ex-husband and his bride rather than just let the poor bastard go. I included the link to be fair to my new buddy, Heather, but you may feel life is too short to immerse yourselves in such a dark obsession.

Where is he today?

Crazy Old Neighbor, that is.

A comment on yesterday's post from Vivian has inspired me to actually articulate this tragedy in terms of my personal faith. Of course I'm not contradicting Vivian, I'm just putting my beliefs into words because language is my best friend when I'm trying to work through confusing stuff like this.

Crazy Old Neighbor is in Heaven, I have no doubts about that. Now that he's back with God, he's restored to the person he was when he was at his best. ("Even if," my friend Kathleen said, "that means he'll be 3 years old for eternity.")

There's plenty of evidence of his racism and misogyny. He was certainly hateful of his neighbors. He had no job anymore, his finances were fragile, and he had no family. He could not have been happy in the life he was living.

But even though he wasn't living his life in God's design, he was still God's child. Now that he's back with his Father, I believe Crazy Old Neighbor has finally found the serenity that escaped him in life.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010


Crazy Old Neighbor committed suicide. Probably over the long weekend. His body was discovered this evening, when one of his neighbors called the police to complain about the smell. I'm told it was an incredibly foul smell.

I am sorry that his life took such a hateful turn. I am told he was alone, with no friends or family, limited income and lots of money trouble. But I am also sorry that he held our whole building hostage with his destructive impulses.

Even the way he ended his life was selfish.

And yet I feel compassion for how desperate he must have felt.

I say this with all sincerity -- Rest in peace.

I Want Wednesday

I want to actually finish this one. I'm playing around with a novel, a creative writing exercise for my own amusement and to cleanse my palate after writing all these financial marketing ads. I do this every year, and by December 1, I abandon it, always amazed how I barely made a dent in the story I was trying to tell.

This says it better than I ever could

Daley a father figure for Chicago

Daley was the dad.

Good dad. Bad dad. The man we've loved to hate and the one we've depended on more than we like to admit.

Go ahead, curse him. It's fashionable, and often deserved.

He throws tantrums. He plays favorites. He is not cool. He has screwed up some things big-time. Disobey him at your peril.

But for years, all we've had to do is look around the neighborhood — Detroit, St. Louis, Cleveland — to see that we've been lucky to have a guy like him running our household.

While other cities stumbled and fumbled into the new millennium, Mayor Richard M. Daley led.

He led Chicago far and fast, and if he did it for pride and power, he also did it for love.

He hasn't done it alone, and he certainly hasn't done it perfectly, but in his 21-year tenure, Chicago has turned into the great city it used to only think it was.

I say this as someone who has lived many other places and lived here for 25 years. When I arrived, Chicago was dirty, viciously racist, tired.

Under Daley, and in important ways because of him, the city got better. It seemed, physically and spiritually, to get brighter.

It's no surprise then that when Daley announced Tuesday that he wouldn't run again, you could practically feel the tectonic plates shift beneath the Loop.

"Simply put," he said at a news conference, "it's time. Time for me, it's time for Chicago to move on."

He's right. It's time, for him and for the rest of us.

He's 68. The city budget is a shambles. His popularity is down. His wife, Maggie, who stood next to him Tuesday, leaning on a crutch, is living with cancer.

He seems to have sensed, in the words of the old Michelle Shocked song, "The secret to a long life is knowing when it's time to go."

Opinions quickly fell into two camps.

One: Good riddance.

The other: OMG. What now?

Even the "good riddance" people have to be worried about what now.

Today's college freshmen weren't even born when Daley took office 21 years ago.

They take for granted the gleaming skyscrapers, the clean streets, the green roofs, Chicago's prominence in the world.

And if they also take for granted the troubled schools, the gangs and guns, the cronyism and corruption, it's important to remember that Daley's failure wasn't inventing those, it was failing to fix them.

Go ahead, argue. That's part of living in this vast, messy town. Chicago feels like family. We argue, loudly.

And one reason Chicago feels like family — I've lived in cities that don't — is that for 21 years, the same guy has been head of the clan, like his father was before.

In deep, subtle ways, the fact that Chicago has been a family-run operation has provided a sense of connection and security. I don't mean security in all its forms; we all know the unemployment rate and the crime stats. I'm not arguing that patronage is good.

But Chicago feels grounded in a way few cities do, connected to itself in a rare way, in part because it has been run by someone who has the city in his history and his bones and his heart.

Cities, like people, go through phases. This has been a good phase for Chicago. We may not appreciate how good until later.