Monday, January 31, 2011

That was weird

I had a long dream last night that found me performing an elaborate song and dance number in drag, a la Judy Garland. Carl Reiner was coaching me, and Ashton Kutcher gave me the hat. Conventional dream analysis says that the performance part of the dream indicates my longing to be at the center of someone's attention, or of a specific situation.

How can anyone be asked to explain the unlikely and perhaps even unholy convergence of Carl Reiner and Ashton Kutcher?

I'm so tired of being broke

With all the dire predictions of a major snowstorm heading our way, I find myself not worrying about warmth or food. I am sweating how much I'll owe for snow removal over at my mom's house.

"How much I'll owe" ... it's a familiar theme here. I haven't had a raise in more than three years. Yet everything -- insurance, taxes, assessments -- has gone up. Plus I have been spending too much money.

And I simply must stop.

I have a cushion in that my mortgage is paid through August. I've done that intentionally in case I lose my job. I may find myself skipping my next payment and using that money to pay down my credit cards. Gulp.

I am so sick of worrying about money.

Movie Monday -- Leave It to the Locals

Share movies that feature accents so bad, they might as well have not bothered at all. Then link back here at The Bumbles.

Robert Redford in Out of Africa. Where is Denys from, exactly, anyway? And why does the strength of his accent depend on which scene Redford is playing? Regular readers of this blog know I'm a Bob-o-phile, but (except for this scene ... sigh) this is his worst performance.

Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins. I have never been to England and to my knowledge the country has just three accents represented by Ringo Starr, Mary Poppins and Bert the Chimney Sweep. HOWEVER a friend of mine, a loyal subject who grew up in London, tells me that one of his fondest childhood memories was going to the theater with his friends and mocking Dick Van Dyke's performance.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

We have come a long way

.... and not necessarily in the right direction.

I'm watching Kennedy Home Movies on TLC and am enjoying it thoroughly. (Thank you for the heads up, Kwizgiver.) However, the commercial breaks feature "home movies" of what appears to be America's latest first family, The Kardashians.

I'm afraid of what this says about us.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing: The Ace Meme, Part Two

Cheers to all of us thieve

34. HAVE YOU BEEN OUT OF YOUR HOME COUNTRY? Yes. I've seen Canada, Germany, France, Switzerland and Lichtenstein.

35. WEAKNESSES? Sloth.

37. FIRST JOB? Does babysitting count?

38. EVER DONE A PRANK CALL? Yes. I wonder if Caller ID has made pranking harder for today's young slumber party attendees.


40. WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE YOU DID STEALING? Finishing a slice of pizza.

41. HAVE YOU EVER HAD SURGERY? Yes, a uterine fibroid embolization.


43. H

44. WHAT DO YOU WANT FOR YOUR BIRTHDAY? To bask in the afterglow of a successful Cubs season.


46. WERE

D TO? I do not understand this question.





52. ANY
BAD HABITS? I'm lazy, messy and struggle with my temper.

53. ARE YOU A JEALOUS PERSON? Oh yeah, and I'm jealous, too.

54. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON, WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? I don't know. After all, I'm lazy, messy, jealous and struggle with my temper.

. In practice, I'm not so sure.




59. W

60. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE TOY AS A CHILD? A plush Lassie Dog, not unlike this one.


62. WERE YOU A FAN OF BARNEY AS A LITTLE KID? Of course. I mean, look at him. He's hot!




66. WHAT ARE YOUR NICKNAMES? None currently

67. FAVORITE SUPER POWER? Mary Poppins could slide up banisters. I always thought that would be cool.

Lazy Day

Met my old friend Mindy and her husband for breakfast (and complimentary donut holes) at Lou Mitchell's, a Chicago institution that is not only one of our old haunts but a local favorite of what's-his-name. I haven't been to Lou's in close to 10 years, but was glad to see it hasn't changed much. (In addition to the donut holes, they also give you a tiny box of Milk Duds as they seat you). It was also good to see how happy and healthy my friend and her hubs are.

Then I came home and took a long nap. I'm definitely feeling better after this past week's sinus issues, but I think a day of doing nothing but relax was probably just what my body needed to complete the healing process.

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: What a Fool Believes

1. What celebrity do you think is the MOST foolish? At this moment, I'd have to say Charlie Sheen. I hope that this time, rehab works and he can save his own life.

2. What are 5 things you don't care about? The Kardashians, the Twilight series, weather where I'm not, where people can/can't use their iPhones, the NCAA

3. What 'issue' do you think your opinion is so right about that you end up trying to sway others to your point of view? Sarah Palin

4. What personality do you like to listen to on the radio? I don't have one any more, and it makes me sad. Local legend Steve Dahl has been contractually unable to broadcast until this summer, when his contract with his last station expires. They took him off the air because his ratings were low, yet they won't let him broadcast anywhere else. Doesn't make a lot of sense, does it?

5. What culture are you fascinated by? Ours.

6. You are alone with your lover's diary. What do you do? How much time do I have? Enough to argue my conscience, lose and start skimming the pages?

7. What frustrates you? Ism's. Sexism. Racism. Etc.

8. Do you remember the first time you were on the internet? What did you do first? I don't remember. It was AOL, so it was probably one of those chat rooms.

9. What was the biggest fight you have ever had with someone? Oh, Lord! The ongoing battle of wills with my cat Reynaldo. Six years and counting.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The chapter she wrote herself

I just finished Jackie as Editor by Greg Lawrence, the first book I have read in a long, long time that has anything new to offer about the life of JBKO.

Lawerence's spin is an interesting one: She was married to John F. Kennedy for 10 years and lived in the White House for less than 4 years. She was the world's most revered widow/heroine for 5 years and then Mrs. Onassis for 7. Then she spent more than 15 years as a book editor. This means that the longest period of her adult life is the one that mostly ignored by the press, the paparazzi and her biographers. Which is, I suspect, exactly how she wanted it.

Up until Ari's death, she had lived her life completely defined by powerful, charismatic men. Then, at age 46, she found herself single again. Her children were getting ready to go off to college. Financially she was set for life. Now what?

She went back to work. For the first time in 22 years. And she created a career for herself that made good use of everything that came before: the society girl who lived in Paris, the First Lady who restored the White House, the jet set celebrity whose calls were always returned by everyone. As an editor she was able to champion projects about ballet and Versailles and make sure that books about heroines she admired got published and read.

She worked hard and learned about the publishing industry -- and office politics. She began in a cubicle and worked her way up to an office with a window.

She also fell in love with a man who adored her and was willing to put her first, letting her shine instead of expecting her to bask in his reflected glory. She watched her children begin careers and she became a grandmother. She bought a home all her own, Red Gate Farm, on Martha's Vineyard. She surrounded herself with artists and writers and working girls, her sister "Brides of Doubleday." She was proud of herself and fulfilled.

Greg Lawrence worked with her on Dancing on My Grave, so many of his observations are first hand and all of it is credible. I especially enjoyed the juicy parts about Michael Jackson (let's just say she began as a fan but by the end of their ordeal -- his autobiography Moonwalk -- she thought he was a tacky freak) and imagining her in her office, muttering "Oy! Vey!" when confronted with a daunting task and triumphantly proclaiming "Hot spit!" when things go her way.

Thanks to Snarkypants for gifting me with this terrific book. It was inspiring to read about how Jackie created a world for herself where she was able to find peace, contentment and satisfaction.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I like her

This is Sarah Shahi. She plays Kate Reed on the new USA legal dramedy, Fairly Legal.

I like her. I didn't expect to. The promos for the show had her teetering forever on heels and looking slutty/seductive. There's more to her character than that. She's got a lot of quirky to her, and she's a wee bit unwise in some of her choices, and these make her more dimensional and endearing.

Be still my heart

Jay Carney is going to be Obama's new press spokesman. He's a primo example of geek chic. Sigh.

A tale of two friends

Two important friends have been on my mind a lot lately. Today I got information about them and learned that one is doing well, better than I suspected, and the other ... well, not so much.

First, him. My best friend. He works very hard in a profession he's not that great at. Oh, he does his job well -- better than competently. I can say this objectively and honestly because I was his colleague for a couple of years. He's conscientious and very good at reaching consensus and making both his clients and internal team feel appreciated and happy. However he's not an especially strong strategist. I suspect this isn't where his heart is, anyway. But he's nearing 45, has a family and a million dollar home and it's hard to follow one's heart with an enormous mortgage hanging around your neck. ANYWAY, he had a victory at his office this week. His bosses have entrusted a new client to him, I think exclusively. He's handling the focus groups today. While his soul may not be singing with this new assignment, I know his pride and self confidence are bolstered. The path he's on may not be his heart's desire, but it's the one he's chosen. And because he's a good man and a good friend, I want it to go as smoothly as possible.

Now, her. My oldest friend. Her move to California is looking more and more like a disaster. So far this month: she learned her 14-year-old daughter hid pot in her suitcase when she traveled to Chicago for the holidays with her father. Then my friend's weak ankles (which she refuses to get looked at because she's sure a doctor will embarrass her by telling her to lose 50 lbs) gave out and she slammed her shoulder into a wall, losing a few days of work because of bursitis. Yesterday her bosses "bumped" her from her job at the hospital to a new one because the doctors she works with don't have faith with her. She shouldn't have made this move when she did and how she did, but now that she's out there, we have to figure out a way to make it work somehow. I'm glad she's begun seeing a shrink again, and she has a general practitioner who can help her start getting well. I researched a community action group that devotes their Saturdays to food/coat drives, cleaning up parks etc. Hopefully her daughter will get involved with those volunteers and begin concentrating on something beyond popularity and partying.

Knowledge is power. Now that I know what's going on with these two that I love, I feel stronger. Even if, in her case, I wish the news was better.

Mmmm .... bacon

I have discovered Oscar Meyer turkey bacon and I am in love. This gooey grilled cheese/bacon sandwich is just what I need on this stolen day off.

I haven't been sleeping because of my sinus headaches. This morning, it finally caught up with me. I called in sick and then slept this morning for seven uninterrupted hours. I feel like a new woman.

A new woman who put bacon on her grilled cheese sandwich.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Queen's Meme -- Board Games

Pretend you're 12, pop a big bowl of popcorn, stretch out on the carpet or set up the card table and let's play!

1. Twister

Who would you like to get your arms and legs tangled up with?
My TV boyfriend, Leroy Jethro Gibbs from NCIS.

2. Monopoly
You have just landed on Boardwalk and collected a nice sum in rent payments.
Which Monopoly token do you want to be when you grow up?
The scottie dog reminds me of Toto,
and Toto was clearly the bravest of the five who travelled down the Yellow Brick Road.

3. Candyland
This game is based on The Legend of The Lost Candy Castle. Did you know that? The object of the game is to reach the Candy Castle. But in my game, the object is to avoid the dungeon that is in the Candy Castle. You must swim through the Ice Cream Sea to be victorious.
What is your flavor?

Mint chocolate chip. The more bright and atomic the green, the better.

4. Operation
You are the surgeon. You have the tweezers in your hand. It is time to remove the most irritating person or thing in your life.
What is the name of this organ?
The Kelluranus. Normally it's a cute, pink, girlie little organ, but it is very sensitive and easily irritated -- at which point it becomes tenaciously, perhaps even chronically troublesome.

5. Sorry!
I often say that success is the best revenge. Lucky for you!
Sorry! is a game of sweet revenge.
What is your strategy for success today?
Keep my head down and play my own game, not letting myself get all distracted by the machinations of the other tokens.

6. Wheel of Fortune!
It's your spin. You have just landed on a surprise vacation package.
It's yours if you can name the destination with 3 vowels and 2 consonants.

Adana. It's a town in Turkey, and it has a Hilton.

7. Clue
Miss Scarlet (that's you) is in the Library with the knife. Who did she kill and why?

A certain cute little coworker Kelly. Because she's nowhere as benign as she looks. (I actually took her out in the Xerox room with that big heavy stapler. I moved the body and staged the scene in the Library to throw off the authorities.)

Play along yourself by clicking here.

I Want Wednesday

I want to overcome being ashamed by my love of bubblegum music. At, I set up my very own "Bobby Sherman" channel, which plays the most fabulous saccharine retro crap from the SherMan himself, as well as The Partridge Family and, right now, The Grass Roots. I know why they call this music "bubblegum," it's all forgettable and in no way enriches the soul, it's just an instant, short-lived frivolous high. But on some days, like this one, I really enjoy it. But I'm too self-conscious and snobby to really BLAST "Julie, Do Ya Love Me?"

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

No need to thank me

It's my pleasure

10 on Tuesday

At the Oscars, most doesn't always mean best

Today The King's Speech was honored with the most Academy Award nominations. But history shows us that doesn't necessarily mean it will win Best Picture.

2010 -- Avatar tied with Hurt Locker, with Hurt Locker winning Best Picture

2009 -- Curious Case of Benjamin Button got 13 nominations, but Slumdog Millionaire won Best Picture

2008 -- No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood tied for nominations, with No Country for Old Men winning Best Picture

2007 -- Dreamgirls got 8 nominations, but The Departed won Best Picture

2006 -- Brokeback Mountain earned 8 nominations, but Crash was Best Picture

2005 -- The Aviator got the most nominations and the most awards, but Million Dollar Baby got the top prize

2004 -- The Lord of the Rings: The Return of King received the most nominations, the most awards, and the Best Picture Oscar

2003 -- Chicago received the most nominations, the most awards, and the Best Picture Oscar

2002 -- The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring got the most nominations and the most awards, but A Beautiful Mind got the top prize

2001 -- Gladiator received the most nominations, the most awards, and the Best Picture Oscar

God, I love this stuff!

Baby, Take a Bow

Kwizgiver has declared this blog as Fabulous. Therefore it must be, because I never argue with Teacher.

So five fabulous facts about me ...

1) I have always written, and am fortunate enough to get paid for it. I won $10 when I was in third grade from the village newspaper. It was a prize for an essay I wrote nominating Mrs. Kessell as Teacher of the Year.

2) I happen to know that $10 would be worth over $70 today. That's because I discovered Tom's Inflation Calculator. It's one of the handiest links I've ever come across and am happy to share.

3) I don't get lonely, per se. I miss certain people, but I don't get bored with my own company. My shrink tells me this is unusual. I consider it a blessing.

4) My uncle, niece and I all just happen(ed) to be a little compulsive when it comes to food. Like my uncle, I eat everything on my plate one thing at a time, meaning I won't touch my fries till I'm done with my burger. Like my niece, I have to eat the broken chips or crackers first. I believe this is genetic.

5) I wear one fragrance exclusively -- until I am forced to move on to another. I wore Black Pearls until 2007, when I could no longer find it anywhere but eBay. That's when I switched to Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker, but it's been discontinued, too. Damn! When my stockpile runs out, I'll have to switch to another scent.

Now, to pass the award on to five other Fabulous Bloggers:

Book Mama, who generously shares her life and adorable towheads with us (but hasn't been posting enough lately and may need this little inspiration/bur-under-her-working-mom-saddle)

SnarkyPants, whose blog blends fangirldom with pet parenthood and "woo woo"

SilverNeurotic, because she writes from the heart and does it so well

Vivian, who inspires just by being true to herself as a friend and a Christian and a grandmother and a daughter and an artist

The Bumbles
, because Molly and Andy love movies and baseball and TV and each other

HEY, YOU FIVE! Let me know when you share your five fab facts about yourself so I can learn more about you.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Move Monday -- Sickos

Share movies that contain a form of illness as its theme or feature a character who is sick or diseased, linking back here at The Bumbles. And don't forget to visit your fellow participants!

I'm watching Sex and the City as I write this, and if a broken heart counts as an illness, I'd be happy to include it here. But instead I'll be true to the Bumbles' intent and go with more conventionally-
defined diseases.

One True Thin
g. Renee Zellweger plays the successful daughter of author/professor William Hurt and housewife Meryl Streep. She moves back home to care for her cancer-stricken mother and learns some hard truths about the reality of her parents' life together and discovers how strong and resolute her mother really is.

Love Story. The
Orca of the disease-weeper genre. I cried over the book and had this poster on my wall and could not wait to see the movie with my junior high girlfriends.Oliver begins the film by asking, "What can you say about a 25-year-old girl who died?" Therefore everything that follows -- including frolicking in the snow and being carried across the threshold -- is deliciously tinged with impending tragedy. I haven't seen it as a woman and have no interest in doing so. It was so perfect for me when I was 12, I don't want to wreck the memory by discovering it's really not very good.

Pride of the Yankees. Lou Gehrig was the perfect hero -- he respected his parents, was both a loving husband and one of the greatest ballplayers ever, and accepted the cruel fate life handed him with ultimate grace. When he declares himself "the luckiest man on the face of the earth," I bet even those passionate Red Sox fan Bumbles choke up a little.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing: The Ace Meme, Part One

Cheers to all of us thieve

I have a scar on my left thigh that dates back to The Earthquake of 08. There was a 5.2 tremor in Southern Illinois and we felt it up here in Chicagoland. I don't know if it was the quake that awakened me or my cat's reaction, but we were both frightened and as he leaped off the bed, he scratched me.

2. WHAT IS ON THE WALLS IN YOUR ROOM My favorite is this limited-edition print of the Beatles Anthology artwork, signed by Klaus Voorman.

3. DO YOU SNORE, GRIND YOUR TEETH, OR TALK IN YOUR SLEEP? I'm guilty of two out of three.

4. WHAT TYPE OF MUSIC DO YOU LISTEN TO? Pop/rock, especially those lads from Liverpool.

5. WHAT TIME WERE YOU BORN? I've told this many times, and am glad to report that the fuss about revisions to the astrological signs won't deprive me of my freakazoid birth saga:
I was born at the stroke of midnight between November 21 and 22. The stroke of midnight does not exist legally, so the hospital told my mom she had to choose -- 11:59 or 12:01. She was still quite doped up (I was a big baby) and confused about what she was asked, but she chose 12:01, which made it 11/22. Astrologers love this story because I was born on the cusp of a cusp.

6. WHAT DO YOU WANT MORE THAN ANYTHING RIGHT NOW? To feel better (see the tragic post below)

7. WHAT DO YOU MISS? Long phone calls to my best friend

8. WHAT IS YOUR MOST PRIZED POSSESSION(S)? Right now, I am loving the Hempz® butter I am applying to the chapped skin under my nose.




12. THE LAST PERSON TO MAKE YOU CRY? I don't remember.

13. WHAT'S YOUR WORST FEAR? Losing my autonomy, being dependent on others for day-to-day things.

14. WHAT KIND OF HAIR/EYE COLOR DO YOU LIKE ON PEOPLE YOU'RE ATTRACTED TO? Brown on both counts, though lately I find myself drawn to men who have the salt/pepper
thing going


16. COFFEE OR ENERGY DRINK? Coke. Caffeine and plenty of sugar.


that it's top of mind, sausage pizza


20. HAVE YOU EVER EATEN A GOLDFISH? No. To borrow from Janis Joplin, "and furthermore, I don't intend to."

21. WHAT WAS THE FIRST MEANINGFUL GIFT YOU'VE EVER RECEIVED? There was a red dress that I got in junior high that meant the world to me. It had gold buttons on the sleeves and a gold belt. It made me feel kinda pretty.

22. DO YOU HAVE A CRUSH? Always.




26. DO YOU HAVE A PET RIGHT NOW? My dear old fat tom, Joey, is snoozing beside me
right now. The other two are within sight. Yes, I'm a crazy old cat lady.

27. WHAT KIND IS IT? See above

28. WOULD YOU FALL IN LOVE KNOWING THAT THE PERSON IS LEAVING? Yes. I mean, I never felt I had a choice as to who/when I fall in love.



32. FAVORITE QUOTE? "He who has health has everything." Did I mention that I feel re
ally crummy right now?

The Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field. Cub pitchers arrive at spring training in less than a month, so despite what you see outside your window, baseball is just around the corner!

I don't feel good

Headache, fatigue, stuffy nose, puffy eyes ... ladies and gentlemen, I give you a sinus infection. In fact, I'd love to give it to you, thereby getting rid of it myself.

I took a nice, four-hour nap and am feeling a bit better. Tomorrow I will visit the drugstore for some Advil Cold & Sinus.

This is not how I planned to spend my weekend. However, tonight there's an NCIS marathon on USA, and tomorrow the Bears play the Packers, so I'll be entertained during my hibernation.

It's that most wonderful time of the year

According to my archives, I have had the sniffles in mid-late January 2008, January 2009, January 2010 and yes, now.

I have a fabulously unorganized life. I am grateful that Blogger keeps my memories in order for me.

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: My Woman From Tokyo

1. Have you ever been to Japan? If not would you like to travel there? I've never been, and it's really not a priority. I have nothing against Japan, mind you. It's just there are places I'd rather see first.

2. Have you ever played a game that required removal of clothing? No.

3. Have you ever dated one of your best friends? No.

4. Have you ever kissed someone you didn't know? No. This meme is making me feel as though I've led a very dull life.

5. What is your secret guaranteed weeping movie? Marley & Me. "Goodbye, Clearance Puppy." He was a great dog, wasn't he?

6. What feature are you most insecure about? My unutterably, inexorably round face.

7. What do you miss most about being young? My waist.

8. Who is the most annoying musical artist EVER? Barry Manilow. "I feel glad when you're glad, feel sad when you're sad ..." Barf.

9. Have you ever applied for a job that was an internet hoax, asking for credit history and your social security number? No.

Yes, it's cold

It's 9ยบ outside my window, with a windchill of zero. Do you know why? BECAUSE IT'S JANUARY!!!! To all the people of Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Milwaukee, and all the other millions enduring the arctic freeze, please remember that this happens every damn year, suck it up and quit complaining. If you don't have a big warm coat and serious boots yet, why don't you? All the stores have sales. Now please, shut up!

Friday, January 21, 2011

The next best thing

They don't have a "Bring Your Cat to Work Day," which is a loss for everyone here because my Reynaldo really is an experience. And who couldn't use a little furry therapy during their workday?

In lieu of that, I have been visiting, a 24/7 live feed of two firefoxes at play at the Knoxville Zoo. Thanks to Mozilla for providing me with some seriously warm and fuzzy entertainment when I'm here at the office.

The firefoxes in question are Spark and Ember, shown here in their younger days. They're growing pretty fast, and right now I am looking at Spark's ass (he's not very camera savvy) as he wrestles with a tree branch. He's working hard to first subdue and then, I presume, eat it. His coat looks soooooo soft! His more tranquil sister, Ember, is napping on a perch in the corner.

To anyone walking by the office, it looks like I'm working ...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Yesterday was Dolly Parton Day in Illinois

And I celebrated accordingly.

My friend Barb and I went to see the Chicago premiere of 9 to 5: The Musical and the lady herself was in attendance. Here's the Chicago Tribune photo of her arrival. She also appeared on stage before and after the performance. She really is adorable and gracious. Since yesterday was also her 65th birthday, we serenaded her. It was fun.

More fun than the actual show. Maybe because it was opening night, but the staging seemed really ragged for a road show production of a major Broadway musical. Dolly wrote all the songs -- music and lyrics -- and they were charming. Here's my favorite number, "One of the Boys," as performed by Alison Janney as Violet (Lily Tomlin in the 1979 movie) on The Great White Way.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I Want Wednesday

I want the easy assignments to not become such huge, hairy-assed deals. Our client asks us to do simple things and somehow we manage to make them all so complicated on our end.

I also want to not stress over this. It is what it is. As long as the work gets done, and done well, I guess it's all OK.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

10 on Tuesday

10 Oscar Winners from 10 Years Ago

Watching the Golden Globe Awards Sunday just got me even more excited about the Oscars. To keep up the momentum, I'm revisiting the Academy Award winners from a decade ago, when the sure thing was Julia Roberts instead of Natalie Portman, and the question wasn't whether Jeff Bridges could repeat as Best Actor, but Tom Hanks.

Best Picture: Gladiator
Best Director: Stephen Soderberg, Traffic
Best Actor: Russell Crowe, Gladiator
Best Actress: Julia Roberts, Erin Brockovich
Best Supporting Actor: Benicio del Torro, Traffic
Best Supporting Actress: Marcia Gay Harden, Pollack
Best Original Screenplay: Cameron Crowe, Almost Famous
Best Adapted Screenplay: Stephen Gaghan, Traffic
Best Foreign Film: Taiwan, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Best Song: "Things Have Changed," Bob Dylan, Wonder Boys

Just call me "Mommy"

Take a deep, cleansing breath. Hang on to your temper. It's just annoying, that's all.

Last week, on Thursday, we were given a new assignment. Kind of a no-brainer. Revise a folder -- giving it a new photo and adding a new logo. These directions were in writing. We were told that it needed to go out end-of-day today. During the initial Thursday meeting, I reminded everyone that we had Monday off for Dr. King's birthday. No one thought losing a day would make any difference -- this project is that easy.

Friday I left the office early -- at 3:45 -- because I had an appointment to donate blood. Before my departure, I asked my art director if he had any new photo options for the cover to show me. "Not yet," I was told. I reminded him that we needed to show it to the team internally first thing Tuesday morning so that it could go out end of day Tuesday.

I got in this morning and he had parts of it done. He'd completely forgotten about dropping in the new logo. I asked him how long it would take him to be ready to present internally. He said an hour. We gave him extra time, an hour and a half. He still wasn't ready.

The account team made some small changes/suggestions. Some I agreed with, some I don't, but we're a team so we incorporating them all and letting the client decide. None of this is hard, none of this is unusual.

My art director wanted another day. Um ... no. We all agreed last week on end of day Tuesday. The time to ask for a different deadline was last week, when we discussed end of day Tuesday and the impact Monday's day off would have. Besides, this art director has nothing else on his plate. There's no reason why he can't get this all done in the remaining four hours of the work day.

Even though the art director was in all the same meetings I was, has all the same notes I have, he still has tons of questions about what he has to do. Every time I look up, he's in my doorway. He's even come by as I write this.

He's a 50 year old man, and I'm spoon feeding him as though I'm his mommy. It's making me nuts. NUTS!

I must remind myself that he's very nice, very kind, very sincere ... as well as hard of hearing. Why this means he can't read this notes he's been given, I don't know, but that's not the point. This isn't a serious problem, everything will get done. It's just annoying, that's all.

Monday, January 17, 2011

"Hello, Gal"

So my niece said to me as I was cutting through the Old Navy parking lot, on my way home after stopping at Walgreen's and Petco. I'm not used to her being able to drive and turning up in my neighborhood (though you can't blame her, since it is much cooler than hers). And what are the odds that I would be running errands just as she was finished shopping the after Christmas sale at Old Navy?

We had hot chocolate together at the coffee shop inside Border's and she updated m
e about college. She's trying to make peace with not being able to go to school in Denver. Even though she has been accepted and has earned a $9000 grant to cover her room and board. It's frustrating because my sister will not help by filling out the required financial paperwork because she equates giving her money for school with cosigning for the loan. It's pure stubbornness and ignorance. My sister could talk to the counselors or my niece's favorite teacher so she could better understand the situation, but she won't. I think she's embarrassed or ashamed of their finances. Which is stupid. And selfish. And annoying.

I don't know what to do about this. It's frustrating, because there's not much I can do. I would love to cosign a loan for her, using my condo as collateral, except that I know at some point, sooner rather than later, I'm going to have to use it to care for my mother as her health deteriorates. My mom is broke and there is no one else to help her but me.

I'm so sick of thinking about money.

So instead I'll just concentrate on how happy it was to just run into my niece like that, and how much I enjoy spending time with her.

Movie Monday -- Roles of Reverence

Share movies that feature a religious character role, linking back here at The Bumbles.

This movie made me want to be a nun. Realizing that one has to be a Catholic to take that step was very disappointing. Mischievous teens Mary and Rachel enjoyed such "scathingly brilliant" but ultimately wholesome hijinks at St. Francis, the sisters who taught them were so wise and compassionate, everyone seemed so compatible and content ... and there was a self-contained quality to their lives that appealed to me as I approached the scary and daunting world of adolescence. To be completely honest, it wasn't dedicating my life to God that attracted me. It was the "cocoon" aspect. I imagined that living my life at a convent school like St. Francis would be fun and safe, free of intimidating and overwhelming issues like sex and drugs and gender roles and ambition.

While I outgrew my desire to hide from life at St. Francis, I still watch The Trouble with Angels whenever it comes on. A warm and charming little comedy, it dependably makes me feel safe and sound again.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing: The Stupid Evil Bastard Meme

Cheers to all of us thieves!

1. What time did you get up this morning? 7-ish

2. How do you like your steak? Medium

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? The Fighter. Mark Wahlberg. Sigh.

4. What is your favorite TV show? NCIS. Mark Harmon. Sigh.

5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? That one town that won't let you down. Chicago -- my kind of town.

6. What did you have for breakfast? Salmon omelet. (I went out.)

7. What is your favorite cuisine? Lately I've been very into Italian.

8. What foods do you dislike? "I don't like beets," she said, remembering SCTV.

9. Favorite Place to Eat? Monk's Pub.

10. Favorite dressing? French

11.What kind of vehicle do you drive? Public transportation

12. What are your favorite clothes? Jeans

13. Where would you visit if you had the chance? Manhattan

14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full? Yes. Meaning my optimism/pessimism depends on the circumstance

15. Where would you want to retire? Here.

16. Favorite time of day? Noon

17. Where were you born? In a hospital about 40 miles from Chicago

18. What is your favorite sport to watch? Cubs baseball. (If you have to ask, you don't come here often.)

19. Who do you think will never call you again? There's an ex that I would love to say will never call me again, but he does have an unfortunate and distressing tendency to reach out to me every now and again. I think his conscience bothers him and trust me when I say: it should.

20. Person you expect to call you next? My nephew

21. Who are you most curious about their responses to Stealing? Bud

22. Bird watcher? No

23. Are you a morning person or a night person? Morning, I guess

24. Do you have any pets? Joey, Charlotte and Reynaldo -- three cats who liven up my home

25. Any new and exciting news you’d like to share? My friend John is on the mend!

26. What did you want to be when you were little? A great singer. As in, "Every task you undertake becomes a piece of cake ..."

27. What is your best childhood memory? Going to see the aforementioned Mary Poppins was a huge, big, magical deal

28. Are you a cat or dog person? Well, cats fit my lifestyle right now. But I love dogs, too, so I guess I struggle with the concept.

29. Are you married? No.

30. Always wear your seat belt? In the front seat.

31. Been in a car accident? Little fender benders. Nothing major.

32. Any pet peeves? People who take up more than one seat on the train. "Excuse me, did you pay an extra fare for that backpack?"

33. Favorite Pizza Toppings? Sausage

34. Favorite Flower? Marigolds

35. Favorite ice cream? Mint chocolate chip

36. Favorite fast food restaurant? Five Guys Burgers and Fries

37. How many times did you fail your driver’s test? Passed on my first attempt

38. Who did you get your last email from? Oh, don't make me toggle over there to check! It was probably spam.

39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? Nine West

40. Do anything spontaneous lately? Ducked out and went to see The Fighter this afternoon
41. Like your job? Most of the time

42. Broccoli? It's OK

43. What was your favorite vacation? A trip I took about four years ago, to visit my best friend and to see Greg Maddux pitch in LA

44. Last person you went out to dinner with? John

45. What are you listening to right now? Streisand

46. What is your favorite color? Cubbie blue

47. How many tattoos do you have? None

48. How many times have you tagged someone to do a meme? I don't recall. It's been quite a while

49. What time did you finish this meme? 11:54 PM on Saturday

50. Coffee Drinker? Nope.

So, Hello, Gorgeous!

I don't know why it always surprises me, but my all-time favorite underwear model is really very good on screen. I saw The Fighter today, and while yes, Christian Bale* is as good as you've heard, I found myself appreciating how quietly controlled Mark Wahlberg is, how he anchored the film. And, oh yes, his physique is still a thing of beauty and a joy forever.

*He bears no resemblance to Batman, none whatsoever. Not physically, not vocally. Impressive.

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Wouldn't It Be Nice

1. What's the nicest thing a complete stranger ever did for you? I had just purchased a new microwave and was trying to get it home on the train. The box wasn't heavy but it was unwieldy, and as I got out of the cab at the train station, I tripped and fell hard on the curb. So I rode the train bloody and bruised with this enormous appliance box. As I prepared to get off the train, a gentleman (in every sense of the word) insisted on carrying the box for me ... off the train, onto the platform, down the stairs and all the way home. Really just a block, but a block out of his way. It was even nicer because he was kinda cute.

2. What one thing always speaks deeply to you, to your spirit, no matter your mood or what else is going on in your life? Music. For example, I find it impossible to be unhappy whenever I happen to hear "September" by Earth, Wind & Fire.

Lyrics | Earth, Wind & Fire - September lyrics

3. How many jobs have you held in your life? How many of those were part of your chosen career field? Eight jobs, six in my field.

4. Of those jobs, how many did you leave voluntarily? I left seven of those jobs voluntarily. Though since the other company went belly up, I suppose you could say that they quit me more than the other way around.

5. How did you discover Saturday 9? How long have you played? (Thank you for joining in!) I began playing in September, 2008. I discovered this meme through Mimi Lenox and/or Bud Wiser.

6. What's the worst beverage you've ever tasted? I have always hated tomato juice.

7. Is there anything in life you are "certain" about? Firm in your beliefs? Strong in your convictions? Lots of things. As my best friend likes to say, he wishes he was as sure of anything as I am of most things.

8. How did you come up with the title of your blog's posts? Often (like now) they just seem so obvious.

9. Would you consider yourself a good cook? That's funny. No. Emphatically no.

Friday, January 14, 2011

My dinner with John

This happened days ago -- Wednesday -- but it's taken me this long to figure out how I wanted to post about it. I wanted to do more than just recount the facts, because it represented more than just pizza and ginger ale to me.

But the ginger ale is a good place to start. John has been very ill for more than a month, and even though he's been home from the hospital since Christmas night, he's still on intravenous antibiotics. That means he can't/shouldn't drink. I believe this is the first time in more than 30 years that we have spent hours together without alcohol. I am pleased to report we're pretty much the same. We still bounced easily from subject to subject, we still laughed a lot.

Which is not to say he's fine. He's anything but. His foot still can't support his weight and so requires a walker. A nurse comes by twice a week to check on the drip and change the bandages. Unable to bathe or wash his hair, he sits around in grungy old pajamas and a cap, dreaming of the days -- still perhaps weeks in the offing -- that will have him luxuriating in a hot shower. Physically fatigued from both the surgery and fighting the infection, he gets exhausted just moving around his apartment, yet he's bored ... bored ... bored!

And notably grateful for my attention. All I did was send this box of penny candy and stop by for pizza and to deliver the essentials he requested: Earl Grey tea bags, skim milk and Chips Ahoy cookies. It hardly seems like too much at all, not after 30 years of friendship.

As John recounted his long, dull days, the names of many friends came up. Kathy, Steve, Lori, Gregory ... I hope he realizes that as much as he appreciates all of us, we are just as glad and grateful that he will get well and remain in our lives.

Fall down, go boom

Someone fell off her diet wagon yesterday! Crunchy peanut butter was my downfall last night. Fortunately I walked an extra half hour/1.5 mile at lunchtime yesterday to mitigate it. But I must be more careful. Just because I stumbled yesterday doesn't mean all is lost. Back to it today!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Greetings from Geek Heaven

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Kennedy's inauguration, The JFK Library has opened up their digital archives! I can browse to my heart's content, indulging my fascination in how President Kennedy's elegant and nimble mind worked.

So far I have read letters he dictated on the same day in August 1963 that thank General Francisco Franco of Spain for a "generous message of sympathy" (shown) on the passing of the Kennedys' premature baby, Patrick, and express his wishes -- in detail -- to powerful Arkansas Congressman Mills ("Dear Wilbur") for a tax bill to go into effect in January, 1965.

I may never leave the keyboard again ...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I Want Wednesday

I want to feel better. I hate feeling winded when I run up the platform stairs in the cold to catch the train. However, simply wanting ain't getting. So today I returned to the health club for the first time in like forever and the half hour of cardio felt good.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The luckiest girl in the whole USA

Behold CGCIS Special Agent Abigail Boren.* This is her second appearance on NCIS, and she and my beloved TV boyfriend, Gibbs, have a certain chemistry. I hope that she becomes a regular. I'd like to see Gibbs settle down and find happiness ... so I can get all swoony when she kisses Mark Harmon.
*Actress Diane Neal, previously of Law & Order: SVU

10 on Tuesday

Ten double Oscar winners

The nominations will be announced later this month, and so I'm working myself up into a frothy Oscar lather. Let me share some of the soap bubbles with you.

These performers have all won more than one Best Actor/Actress Award

1) Dustin Hoffman
2) Elizabeth Taylor
3) Jack Nicholson
4) Daniel Day Lewis
5) Hillary Swank
6) Sally Field
7) Jane Fonda
8) Tom Hanks
9) Jodie Foster
10) Sean Penn

In a class by herself is Katharine Hepburn, who has won four awards in the top category.