Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing: The "18 Questionable Questions" Meme
Cheers to all of us thieves!

1. If your lover betrayed you, what will your reaction be? Betrayed me how? Cheated? Spilled my secrets? Raided my piggy bank?

2. If you can have a dream to come true, what would it be? That this will be The Year.

3. What is the one thing most hated by you? Bullies.

4. What would you do with a billion dollars? Send my niece to school, set up a college fund for my nephew, take care of my mother, spread some of it around among local animal shelters. buy season tickets at Wrigley Field, quit my job, live in a high-rise with a great view and a doorman ... Sigh ... It's a nice daydream, isn't it?

5. Could you fall in love with your best friend? I suppose, if things were very different

6. Which is more blessed, loving someone or being loved by someone? Loving someone

7. How long do you intend to wait for someone you really love? I don't intend to wait for someone I really love

8. If the person you secretly like is already attached, what would you do? Be sad

9. If you'd like to act (movies, stage) with someone, who would it be? Carrie Mulligan. She's very good

10. What do you expect of your loved one? Tenderness

11. How would you see yourself in ten years time? Here. But I'd like to have a new sofa by then.

12. What’s your fear? Losing my independence

13. Would you rather be single and rich or married, but poor? Single and rich. Because I can imagine that. I don't know what married but poor would be like.

14. What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? Stumble into the shower.

15. Do you ever hold back in a relationship? I have ... Is it me, or are these questions more than a little negative regarding relationships?

16. If you fell in love with two people simultaneously, how would you pick? I'd go with whoever is behind Door #2, where Carol Merill is standing.

17. Would you forgive and forget no matter how horrible a thing that special someone has done? Not if it leaves me vulnerable to more horror.

18. What are your three most important expectations in love? Tenderness, acceptance, and laughter.

Nerd Prom

I'm watching The White House Correspondents' Dinner and am pleased to report that Senator Scott Brown also looks good fully clothed.

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?

1. Have you ever been in a situation with a lover where you did not know what tomorrow would bring? Yes. Every time I've been in love there have been moments that I felt that way. I guess it's what happens when you share your life with someone else.

2. What worries you most today? My mom's health and finances.

3. Could I tell if you were lying to me? Not if I don't want you to.

4. What do you miss most about the 80s? My waist

5. What's going on that you can't understand? Why -- even though I'm eating better -- I keep getting fatter and fatter. I've gone up a dress size since I answered question 4.

6. How would I know if you liked me? If I hover and fuss and worry. I'm a worrier when it come to those I care about.

7. If you ever won an award, what would you want it to be for? For being (as Wilbur eulogized Charlotte) "a good writer and a true friend."

8. What would we be surprised to know that you've done? I once rode an elephant.

9. What’s the most exotic mixed drink you remember trying? Did you enjoy it? Kir royale. Yes.

Friday, April 29, 2011

There are lives I'm not having

So here I am, huddled over my MacBook, eating a Chicken of the Sea tuna cup with a plastic spoon as I watch highlights of The Wedding. Glamorous, huh?

I am very happy to see Diana's "Wills" happy. For me, today's a continuation of her story.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Words fail me

But, fortunately, they don't fail the theater critic at the Chicago Tribune. For I saw this show last night (same performance he did) and enjoyed it far more than one could possibly expect. After all, it is a musical about bi-polar disorder. I want to blog about it, but I'm having a hard time explaining the experience. So I'll just let Chris Jones do it for me.

Central performance by Tony-winner anchors emotional tour de force

"Can you keep the cup from tipping?" sing Diana and Dan, the loving but fraught married couple at the center of the emotionally wrenching musical "Next to Normal," "Can you keep your grip from slipping?"

It's just a rhetorical question in a clever song lyric, I suppose, but in modern-day America, a good many of us are not so sure. On some days, at least.

I'd had such a day Wednesday — when overextension comes uneasily close to panic, when the frowns of disappointed colleagues and family members start piling up, when a plethora of inconsequential but time-consuming trees fully obscure whatever woods might be visible this soggy April in Chicago. That could explain why "Next to Normal" hit me so hard Wednesday night, even though it was the second time I've seen the show. There are a lot of superlatives that can justly be applied to this contemporary musical from Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, the winners of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in drama, but surely no other musical has better caught the way we all now try to shove our family time into smaller and smaller boxes, ever more fractured, Blackberry-interrupted segments. Despite our self-assurances that we can have everything, we know that the inevitable consequence is increased isolation in a world where self-sufficiency is completely impossible.

It is concerned with mental illness, but "Next to Normal" is so moving because it paints a picture of a deeply loving suburban family (mother, father, son, teenage daughter), and then proceeds to reveal just had much they fail to help each other. Simple as that, really. Yet it socks you in the gut with the force of recognition.

If it were not for the ending — this was a Broadway musical, after all — you could almost consider "Next to Normal" a kind of communal tragedy. As this quartet — with occasional guest appearances by psychologists — try to figure out the right balance between filling your own needs and taking care of the needs of others (good luck with that), this show certainly sends your mind spinning down a lot of lines of existential questioning: Why is pain distributed so unequally across families? Do you always tell your loved ones the truth, even when it hurts them? Are painful memories always preferable to forgetting? How on earth do you move on from an agonizing loss without wiping its memory from your mind, and therefore wiping away your lost loved one at the same time? How? Huh? Huh?

But on deeper contemplation, I've come to think that my experience Wednesday had a lot more to do with Alice Ripley. Ripley, who won the Tony award for her performance as Diana Goodman, the central character of "Next to Normal," and is starring in this top-drawer first national tour, has now disappeared so far inside her struggling, bi-polar character that it is as if she took one of the walks down the dark staircases that one of her procession of doctors, hypnotists and shrinks suggested, all in an attempt to arrive at some intersection between Diana and normal. It is a wholly different experience from the one on offer in New York, a couple of nights before opening. Ripley and Diana are in a wholly different and far deeper place. There are a variety of opinions, there will always be a variety of opinions, about Ripley's unusual vocal approach to this show. It breaks some of the usual rules. It does not blend. But then "Next to Normal," which is about a family struggling with mental illness in its midst and is largely expressionistic, doesn't work unless Diana is genuinely other and genuinely dangerous. Ripley is other and dangerous, all right. With every note that surges from her mouth. Not to mention confounding, quizzical, needy.

This a towering, gutsy, must-see performance — of the kind that a theater city like Chicago should support and that is rarely found in a modern touring show. But then this is the kind of rare tour that delivers the entire original experience — on balance, even a superior experience to the one on Broadway.

For his touring cast (only Ripley was part of the original Broadway cast), director Michael Greif has found comparably exquisite singers (this gently gorgeous, guitar-soaked score deserves no less) while moving noticeably closer to, well, normal.

On Broadway, I remember watching the glamorous Jennifer Damiano (now Mary Jane in SpiderMan) and thinking that her character's problems would never be so bad. But Emma Hunton, who now plays the daughter Natalie, feels much more like a real teenager for whom life really could go either way. Asa Somers, who plays husband Dan, is every inch the standard suburban dad, well-meaning and fundamentally decent, but ill-equipped in so many ways, as many of us are. Curt Hansen also creates a more normal Gabe, if anything about his presence could be said to be normal. Preston Sadleir is guilelessly charming as Natalie's well-meaning boyfriend, Henry. And Jeremy Kushnier — once the star of "Footloose," now a dignified shrink — brings a new emotional force to a doctor doing his best but using only that to which he has access, which may not be any good at all.

Not for Diana, not for any of us for whom normal is both a pejorative and an aspiration.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Thursday Thirteen #121


The advertising agency Euro RSCG first presented "The Most Interesting Man in the World" in their Dos Equis beer commercials back in 2006. Five years later, he's still going strong. I admire the success of this campaign and the incremental buzz and sales it has generated for Dos Equis.

And he still makes me smile. Possibly because ...

1) He is a lover, not a fighter. But he's a fighter, too, so don't get any ideas.

2) Sharks have a week dedicated to him

3) He is the life of parties he hasn't even attended

4) He once visited a psychic -- to warn her

5) Alien abductors asked him to probe them

6) His sweat smells like cologne

7) He aced the Rorschach Test

8) His personality is so magnetic that he can't carry credit cards

9) Even his enemies list him as their emergency contact

10) His organ donor card includes his beard

11) He taught his German Shepherd to bark in Russian

12) Police often question him, just because they find him interesting

13) If he were to punch you in the face, you would have to fight off the urge to thank him

Stay thirsty, my friends, and enjoy visiting other TTs.

To find out more about Thursday Thirteen, and maybe participate yourself, click here.

I have a mom again

I am happy to report that my mother and I are getting along very well again.

As hard as saying that prolonged, painful goodbye to my uncle was for me, it was undoubtedly even harder for her because he was her baby brother. On top of that, she was in the process of watching her tenuous finances flow down the drain. I have been struggling off and on with my own shit, and I guess neither of us has been at our best these past six months or so. Early last month things came to a head and I came right out and told her that she has to think about how she talks to me. That some of her comments and attitudes have hurt me. She was surprised, but said she's work at it.

Well, damn, she has! We had a lovely Easter. She's being more supportive and I'm being more accepting and hopefully we're returning to a more placid relationship.

She's my mother and I always love her. She's also my mommy and sometimes I still need her. Now that we have both healed a bit after the tough fall and winter, I hope we can go forward in this more positive spirit and be a little more mindful and tender with one another.

I Want Wednesday

I want to wake up tomorrow, back in my cozy little house in Colonial Williamsburg. My vacation was a month ago already, and I realize anew that it was nowhere near long enough. I need more alone time in a completely different environment to really restart my emotional/physical battery. But it's not going to happen. So I shall just indulge in my moment of longing and forge ahead.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Who knew?

I did not realize that mommies and mommies-to-be now hand out personalized cards that say --

1) Where they are registered for baby shower gifts and
2) Who's mommy they are and their contact information

I have no issue with this. I'm sure it's efficient and makes a lot of sense. I just had no idea that New Millennium Mommies were so organized!

Monday, April 25, 2011

I miss her

With all the hubbub about the royal wedding, I find myself thinking of Diana. Shy Di. Princess Di. Our Queen of Hearts.

This picture is from the summer of 1982. That's 29 years ago. I can't believe it was that long ago, and I'm so sorry that she didn't get to live happily ever after.

You're gonna hear more from him

James McAvoy. I just saw him this evening in The Conspirator and he does a terrific job. It's a very cerebral, dialog-driven part -- a lot of serious talk in period dialect and an American accent. He was impressive.

This isn't the first time I have enjoyed his work. He was the center of the sweeping epic, Atonement and the voice of reason The Last King of Scotland.

My! Another handsome man with a fuzzy face!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Movie Monday -- Facial Hair

Share on your blog characters in film with memorable beards and or mustaches, linking back here to the Bumbles. (Compiling this week's post was a rather yummy task.)

Brad Pitt as Tristan in Legends of the Fall.

Warren Beatty as McCabe in McCabe & Mrs. Miller.

Al Pacino in Serpico.

Robert Redford as Sundance in Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid.

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing: The "It's All About Four Freakin' Things" Meme
Cheers to all of us thieves!

Four Places I go:

1. Work

2. Grocery store

3. Drug store

4. Coffee shop

Four Crushes I Have:

1. Mark Harmon

2. Johnny Depp

3. Bruce Springsteen

4. Mark Wahlberg

Four Smells that I Love:

1. Cinnamon

2. Lavender

3. Hot apples

4. Bread

Four Favorite TV Shows:


2. American Idol

3. Morning Joe

4. Law & Order: SVU

Four Favorite Movies:

1. The Way We Were

2. The Godfather

3. Valley of the Dolls

4. Mary Poppins

Four Recommendations:

1. Read O Magazine. There's a ton of content, and even the ads are interesting.

2. Remove caps from plastic bottles and tubes before you recycle, as many are made of a different grade of plastic and can't be recycled.

3. Do at least one charitable act every week for your community. It feels good.

4. Think about Easter, rebirth and miracles today. It's important.

Four People that I'd love to read their Fours:

1. Anyone who

2. visits here

3. deserves a

4. return visit

Four Things about me that you don't know:

1. In high school, I was good at archery

2. I can recite Jenny's big monologue from Neil Simon's Chapter Two: "You know what you want better than me, George. You're the one who knows why we behave as we do and react as we do and suffer guilt and love and hate. You read all those books, not me. But there's one thing I do know. I know how I feel. I know I can stand here, watching you try to destroy everything I've wanted in my life, wanting to smash your face with my fists because you won't make even the slightest effort to opt for happiness, and still know I love you. That's so clear to me. That's where I get all my strength from ..." Believe me yet? Cuz there's more if you demand it.

3. When I was in first grade, I attended a taping of Bozo's Circus.

4. I never believed in the Easter Bunny.

Four bands that I love:

1. The Lads from Liverpool, of course

2. Maroon 5

3. Traveling Wilburys

4.Rascal Flatts


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Profiles in Courage

Reading The Help has been fascinating for me because I grew up in The Land of Lincoln. It's not that there isn't/wasn't racism up here -- I'm not that naive. It's just it wasn't institutionalized and accepted here the way it was in the South.* The adults in my neighborhood gave lip service to racism being "bad" and lowered their voices when talking about "them."

Since the book is set in Jackson in the early 1960s, I knew that the assassination of NAACP officer/civil rights leader Medgar Evers would have to be addressed. It would be like telling a story about Chicago in February 1929 and not mentioning the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. Some events define a town and a time. So I anticipated an accounting of the impact the Evers assassination had on the citizens of Jackson. According to author Stockett, life went on in the homes of Jackson's white citizens, regardless of the suppressed heartache and rage felt by the "colored help."

So I did what I do. I went all geeky and looked into the further. I was shocked to see how controversial it was for President Kennedy to allow Medgar Evers to be buried at Arlington Cemetery, with full military honors.

The JFK Library has preserved the telegrams sent to the White House after the announcement. It's shocking to me that people were not embarrassed to bother the President of the United States with their ignorance, that they weren't ashamed to include their full names and addresses!

Arlington is for heroes. Not Evers. Keep Evers out. Rebecca Ratliff. 4424 [street name redacted by blog author]. Baton Rouge, LA

I protest this national disgrace and insult to the heroe buried in Arlington National Cemetery to have the body of Medgar Evers interred therein. This honor should be bestowed only on the deserving and not upon political rabble rousers. Cannot the President and the Congress stop this insult to our national heritage? T. Earl Taylor, DDS, Columbus, GA

It goes on and on.

Also in the file is this telegram, written by Evers to the President early in the same month he died, describing first-hand and in real-time what Skeeter's Jackson was like.

President Kennedy stood by his decision to allow Medgar Evers' burial in Arlington. And four months later he joined him there.

When I think of JBKO and The Beatles and Twiggy, it's easy to romanticize and glamorize the 60s. It was also a hateful, violent time. Riots, assassinations. It's important to remember so that it never happens here again. Sometimes, listening to the birther crap, I get a horrible feeling of deja bloodlust.

* While working on Bill Clinton's national campaigns, I remember being told that this outward, perhaps superficial, civility makes it harder to have an honest conversation about race, the way the Arkansas natives were used to. I don't know, because this is the only place I've ever lived. But it's an interesting topic, isn't it?

What's wrong with me?

All I want to do is sleep. Or nap. Or be lazy. It's our first gloriously sunny day in what seems like forever, and I can hear kids playing outside my window, but I can't make myself move from this spot.

Thursday I spoke to my shrink about this, and HRT. She agrees that it's time to look at the role my meds are playing in my menopausal weight gain and complete lack of energy, because something is out of whack. Next stop: my gynecologist. I'll call for an appointment on Monday. While I'll probably have to wait to get in for my annual checkup, I'm lucky in that he'll listen to me. All three of my doctors -- shrink, gyne and GP -- have been very sympathetic and compassionate. I've heard the horror stories about patients who feel herded in an out of their doctors' offices. I'm fortunate to not be one of those patients.

I don't even drive & I remember this commercial is for Highlander

It's the "help me" that gets me. I WAS that kid!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Sex as a Weapon

1. Have you or a significant other ever used sex as a weapon? I try not to.

2. Tell us about the worst date you ever went on. A woman that I volunteered alongside had a party. I attended and met her brother, who liked me very much. She told me as much and asked me if he could call me to "hang out." I said, "sure," because I thought he was gay. Um ... he's not. When I realized that what I thought was hanging out after work was a date, it was ... awkward.

3. If you were a god/goddess who would you be? You mean I'm not a goddess already?

4. What crime from history fascinates you the most? Bonnie and Clyde's crime spree. The reality vs. the fable and why it still resonates.

5. Give us one random, but candid fact about you. I hate Seinfeld. I believe I could be the only one on the planet who can say this, but that show has never even made me smile.

6. Who or what makes you laugh until you're weak? My oldest friend. She is a troubled and troubling woman, true, but oh! We do make each other laugh. Even our arguments crack us up. Once, while vacationing in Las Vegas, we had big fight. I was helpfully pointing out her shortcomings as a traveling companion (at the top of my lungs). She responded by asking if I thought I was so easy to travel with, and pointed out that I need to go to the bathroom more often than she does. She said that she wished she could get the time back that she wasted staring at dirty tiles outside of public restrooms in every casino we visited. Then she hissed that if I'd been a Sioux, my Indian name would have been, "Princess Tiny Bladder." I was quiet a moment, absorbing this colorful criticism, and then I started to laugh until I couldn't breathe. I bet she doesn't even remember this story, but it's just one of a million examples of when she's made me lose it.

7. What is the most exciting adventure you’ve ever been part of? Every time I have fallen in love it's felt like an exciting adventure.

8. Among the people you know, who would you choose to be able to read all your thoughts? My best friend. Though sometimes I think he can read my thoughts.

9. How old were you when you realized that other people's families live totally differently from yours? 8 or 9. My older sister was thwacking me repeatedly with her hairbrush and my oldest friend (question 6 above) was quite surprised by the ferocity and length of this treatment. I could see on her face that what I accepted as normal wasn't.

Doesn't look too inviting, does it?

I just turned down a FREE ticket to today's Cub game! But it's 43º, the rain is now a drizzle but the field is still covered in puddles, beer and hotdogs and peanuts are not what this stomach needs today, it's not wise to leave work early for a ballgame the day after I took the day off ...

Do you think I may finally be growing up?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

More than a little green around the gills

I was on schedule to make it to the office on time -- which, this morning, was 6:45, so we would have plenty of time to get to our client's downstate office for a 9:15 AM meeting. But right around the California el station, I started feeling ... ummm ... URGENT about getting downtown. I made an unexpected stop on our floor and the ladies' room, and let's say it was obvious a 2 1/2 car ride wasn't a wise undertaking for me this morning.

Fortunately my part in the presentation was pretty small. I don't know if someone else took it over for me or if it was postponed to another day. My coworker, Tom, happened to be up in his office picking up the handouts for today's meeting. I handed him my presentation materials and will find out what happened when I show up at work tomorrow.

I was home, and back in bed, before 8:00 AM. Slept until after 11:00, did laundry, had some soup, and started feeling better. Unfortunately there was no Cub game today. It would have been nice to have my heroes in pinstripes here with me a I recovered from whatever the hell it was.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Thursday Thirteen #120 -- A tribute to Miss Myrna

This Thursday 13 -- my first in years(!) -- has been inspired by the book I'm currently reading, The Help. As one of the most domestically-challenged women to ever draw breath, I was fascinated by the "Miss Myrna" housecleaning Q&A column. So here are 13 common tips I found on the Internet.

These all make sense to me, but try them at your own risk, as you cannot underestimate my knowledge of these matters.

1) Try vinegar to remove hard water stains from coffee pots.

2) Rub baking soda into your stainless steel sink with a nylon sponge to remove stubborn water stains.

3) Granite countertops will look good longer if you use a store-bought cleanser developed especially for this purpose.

4) It's important for your health to keep your refrigerator clean. Regularly remove everything from your frig and wipe the interior with a mix of baking soda and warm water. Wipe it down again, this time with plain water, and let it dry before replacing items.

5) Remember to clean the freezer once a year, too. Turn off the refrigerator and follow the directions that came with your refrigerator.

6) Vacuuming the coils keeps your refrigerator working more efficiently.

7) You can combat build up on glass shower doors with a fine mist of rubbing alcohol and water every day.

8) To reduce soap marks on your bathroom mirrors, switch from bar soap to liquid soap. The typical bar soap includes talc, which causes the residue to adhere to surfaces like tile and mirrors.

9) If you wash your clothes at a laundromat, you may wish to to use a disinfectant wipe on the tub and agitator. Wait at least 90 seconds before adding your laundry.

10) White vinegar is often successful at removing perspiration stains. Dab it directly onto the spots before tossing the garment in your washing machine.

11) Reduce the rub off from new blue jeans by washing them first, and adding a little white vinegar to the water.

12) Regular shampoo can be effective for pre-treating tomato/catsup stains.

13) Towels will remain more absorbent longer if you don't use fabric softener on them.

To find out more about Thursday Thirteen, and maybe participate yourself, click here.

I Want Wednesday

I want to focus on and appreciate the Cubs game. Garza is facing the Padres today and the score is 1-0 in the 4th. Few things lighten my mood more dependably than my heroes in Cubbie blue!

Well, that was dumb

I had the worst hiccoughs in North America this morning, and was worried about offending my fellow commuters. So I popped a Xanax. It relaxed the involuntary reflexes that caused my rhythmic "hic," but it also relaxed me. To a very great extent.

Note to self: Don't take Xanax on a morning when you'll be reviewing a deck on trends in financial marketing. This job can sometimes inspire somnambulism all on its own.

Image: Darren Robertson /

So the phone rings ...

It's my mom. At 9:00 on a Tuesday night. To tell me she's filing for bankruptcy and is worried that by being an authorized user on one of my credit cards* could have a negative impact on my own credit rating.

By filing for bankruptcy, she will have $500/month to help her meet her property taxes, utility bills, etc. My dad died in 1992 and left her with nothing but debt and a small life insurance policy (which went for the funeral). She has $20,000 equity left in the house from her reverse mortgage, social security and whatever I give her each month. That's it.

I already pay her medicare part B insurance premiums and her snow removal and help her with her little gifts -- that's $225/month over the course of a year. My kid sister and brother-in-law don't contribute anything, but they are enormously helpful driving her places and helping her keep up with the house. My older sister, who lives very well in Southern California, no longer gives my mother any gifts at all anymore -- not for her birthday, Christmas, or Mother's Day. She explains this by saying that now that she has remarried, with her new bridegroom approaching retirement, it wouldn't be fair or wise for her to spend money on her family that he doesn't spend on his.

I resent this. Not the money I give to my mother -- she gave me life -- but that my older sister can't see her way to pitching in.

My older sister is coming in to stay with my mom over Memorial Day weekend. I hope that she gets it that my mom needs help, and that my younger sister and I need help with her. My mom's house smells overwhelmingly of cat urine and she needs a new chimney. I have offered to pay my niece (a very industrious young lady) to go over there with a Rug Doctor carpet cleaner but my mom refuses. She's worried the machine will damage the rug. (As if the carpet isn't already ruined by Ethel the Cat's pee.) My brother-in-law is repairing the chimney.

But what about when my mom's refrigerator goes? Or if one of her cats gets ill? By filing for bankruptcy, my mother will be losing her credit cards and it goes without saying that she has no emergency fund.

I am so sick of worrying about money.

Remember the good old days, when the phone rang with good news?

* I had given her permission to charge $25/month on my American Airlines Citi Master Card but she kept going over so we agreed she should cut the card up and I give her gift cards instead.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My conundrum

I am fat. Fatty McPhatterson. Peppermint Fatty. And this book, Between a Rock and a Hot Place, came out at the perfect time for me.

It's about one woman's journey through menopause. And "the change" has unquestionably contributed to my burgeoning waistline.

When I was at the lowest point in my struggle with depression, both my shrink and my GP agreed that the uptick in my downward spiral was tied to a dip in estrogen and my now compromised serotonin delivery system. Because I heard so many horror stories about HRT, I told both of my doctors that I reject it out of hand. So they conferred and agreed I should be on Lexapro. And now I'm fat and happy. Or as happy as I can be, being fat.

So to review this turn of events:

1) I had refused HRT because I have heard about increased risk of cancer and heart disease
2) HRT would have (among other things) helped the moods and bloating
3) The anti-depressant I take contributes to weight gain
4) Bloating contributes to weight gain
5) Weight gain increases risk of cancer and heart disease

So am I not right back where I started from?

I think I shall have to revisit this with my shrink and GP. This time I'll add my gynecologist's opinion to the mix.

Monday, April 18, 2011


I don't know what's wrong with me today. I just can't sit still!

We aren't especially busy. Yes, we have deliverables, but even our art directors (not the most ambitious folks you'll ever meet) feel that we're in very good shape. We're all getting along well -- no tension in our inter-team dynamic. So why am I forever chewing a nail or jiggling a foot?

Image: africa /

Movie Monday

This week's movie topic is all about Running...

Monday marks the 115th running of the Boston Marathon - the oldest annually contested marathon in the world. In honor of this event, share movies that make your feet tired just watching and link back here.

Blair Witch Project. Remember that band of film makers, wandering around in circles in the forest forever? As the tension grew, even the sound of their tennies breaking fallen twigs was scary.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing: The 65 Questions Meme
Cheers to all of us thieves!

1. Tell us who the last person that you took a shower with. It was a bath. His name was Scott. It was very romantic.

2. Tell us about your favorite tee-shirt. Extra points if you show a pic. (We know. What can you do with freakin' extra points?) One of my Cubs shirts, it's well-worn, well-loved, and a tribute to the most beautiful place on earth.

3. Has anyone ever hit on you even though they knew you were taken? No.

4. Do you plan what to wear the next day? Not specifically. Just general color. (Blue or black or neutral ...) So I can make sure I'll have the right bag. I don't like to change bags in the morning rush. Something always gets left behind.

5. How are you feeling RIGHT now? Why? Frustrated. Because I think I may be growing a pimple on my chin.

6. What's the closest thing to you that's black? Simply Dusty. It's the hard-cover coffee table book that came with the 4-CD set. I love Dusty Springfield.

7. Tell me about an interesting dream you remember having. Last summer I dreamed that my bathroom was out of commission and I had to shower in a stall with a dirty slat-wood floor and worn shower curtain. According to Dream Moods, this means that at the time I had a need for "self renewal."

8. Did you or might you meet anybody new today? Not yet.

9. If you could be doing anything right now (or perhaps after you finish this ridiculous meme) what would it be? Anything? I'd like Special Agent Leroy Gibbs to apply some Honey Dust.

10. Can you think of a meme question that's never been asked? Which host from The View is the most obnoxious?

11. What comes to mind when I say China? Global economy and debt.

12. Are you overly emotional? I can be. Depends on the situation.

13. If you could listen to just one rock album (CD, vinyl or mp3) which one would you pick? The Beatles White Album.

14. Do you bite into your ice cream or just lick it? Lick.

15. Do you like your car? I don't have a car.

16. Do you like yourself? At times.

17. Would you go out to eat with Charlie Sheen? Yes. Because at a restaurant he wouldn't be able to smoke (which he seems to do the way others breathe) and I could ask him about his teeth. Did those missing teeth rot out on their own, did he lose them in a fight or mishap, or did he have to have them all pulled out after the Savoy Truffle?

18. What was the last song that you listened to? "Come Back to Bed" by John Mayer

19. Are (or were) your parents strict? No

20. Have you ever wondered what attending a wild orgy (if only to watch or...) would be like? Yes

21. I say cottage cheese. You say: ICK!

22. Have you ever met a celebrity? Bruce Springsteen, but I've told that story here many times. So here's a new one: Tim Russert and I talked about Seymour Hersh's book, The Dark Side of Camelot, and whether something that sensational could be considered journalism. It was at a book signing, promoting Russert's own book (Meet the Press: 50 Years in the Making) and yet he was passionately discussing another book, then currently on the best seller lists. I really appreciated how seriously he took his role as moderator of Meet the Press ... and how nice he was.

23. What was the last movie that you watched at home? Mildred Pierce with Kate Winslet on HBO

24. Is there anything sparkly in the room you're in? Nope

25. What countries have you visited? Germany, France, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Canada

26. Have you ever made a phone call while you were drunk that you've regretted? If yes, do tell. I called the man I consider the great love of my life and left a message that said, "You were the great love of my life. I thought you should know." My friend Kathleen was standing there, she talked me into it, saying anyone would like that kind of closure. I'm not so sure, and my cheeks still get hot at the memory.

27. Where were you going the last time that you were on a train? I was on one Saturday, going to and from the Loop.

28. Bacon or sausage? Bacon

29. How long have you had a cell-phone? Long enough that I'm on my fourth phone. 7 years maybe?

30. What other memes do you do regularly? Saturday 9 and Movie Monday with The Bumbles.

31. Who is the craziest meme host? Why, Bud, of course. I have to snake my way past an "objectionable content" warning just to get to him.

32. Who invented chop sticks? Someone I hate. Can't figure those fuckers out.

33. Who are you going to be with tonight? Nobody. It's laundry night. Not an activity people come from miles around to observe.

34. Are you too forgiving? No.

35. When was the last time that you were in love? Please! I hope it wasn't the last time! Can't we say, "most recent" instead?

36. Tell us about your best friend. He has a great deal of personal integrity, he works very hard at being a good dad, and he can make me laugh.

37. What was the stupidest thing you learned in high school? Anything regarding Ahab and madness/obsession. Geez, I hated Moby Dick! Reading that sucker was painful and I never did finish it.

38. What was the last thing that you cried about? I don't remember.

39. What was the last question you asked? "How much do I owe you?"

40. Favorite thing to do this time of the year? Cheer for my Cubs.

41. If you had to get a (or another) tattoo, what would it be? Whatever Gibbs would like licking Honey Dust from.

42. How would your best friend describe you? He says I'm curious, enthusiastic and loyal. I also suspect he finds me difficult at times, though he is smart enough to not say this to my face.

43. Have you ever seen all three Twilight films? No, not a one.

44. Ever walked into a glass door? Once, when I was a little girl.

45. Favorite color on that person that you are attracted to? Green

46. Have you ever slapped someone? Yes

47. What hair style (for you) would you like to see return? Dorothy Hamill's. I rocked that wedge!

48. What was the last CD you bought? I don't remember. Sorry.

49. Do looks matter to you? Yes.

50. Could you ever forgive a liar? I have.

51. What's the hardest bill to pay every month? Well, I resent having to pay for electricity. It's an essential, it's no fun, and it's not like I have a lot of choice about it.

52. Do you like your life right now? Yes

53. Do you sleep with the TV on? Yes

54. Can you handle the truth? It depends on the subject

55. Do you have good vision? No

56. Do you hate or dislike more than 3 people? Yes

57. How often do you talk on the phone? Daily

58. What celeb would you like to come home to? Mark Harmon, with Honey Dust
59. What are you wearing? A night shirt

60. What is your favorite wild animal? The okapi

61. Where was your facebook picture taken? It's a comic that I stole from somewhere, so I don't know

62. Can you waltz? No

63. Do you have a job? Yes

64. What was the most recent thing you stole? The hearts of my adoring public

65. Have you ever crawled through a window? No

A delicious time was had by all

My niece and I took a guided walking tour of the sweeter side of Chicago. For two hours we moved from shop to shop, visiting restaurants and shops and their kitchens, sampling champagne truffles and chocolate cupcakes and Belgian waffles and crunchy peanut butter cups.

Since she's a budding chef, my niece took it all in like the semi-pro that she is. Me? I just enjoyed the sweets and being in Chicago neighborhoods I don't get to very often. But now that I'm crashing from the sugar buzz, I'd like a nap.

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out

1. What is the most “down and out” that you've ever been? When I first moved into my own place, I thought I could get by on what I was making and I was almost right. Then I got a wretched toothache and needed a root canal and a crown. I didn't have dental insurance. I also didn't have enough for the down payment required before I could finance the procedure. I was $160 short. My uncle sent me a check for that amount. (My mom told him of the situation and how worried she was about me.) I called and told him I couldn't accept it because I couldn't pay it back. He said that attitude was why he was willing to give it to me -- he knew I wouldn't take advantage of his generosity.

2. Do you believe there is only one "right" religion? No. I'm a One God -- Many Paths kinda gal.

3. If you could get back in touch with one person you've lost touch with, who would it be and why? There's a former coworker who was really smart and interesting that I drifted away from. I miss him.

4. Has anyone ever held the key to your heart, but did not know it? Yes.

5. If your lover cheated on you and profusely apologized, might you accept them back into your life? I did. There was so much wrong with that misbegotten relationship that I can't honestly say it was his cheating that broke us up. It didn't help, certainly, but he committed many worse sins as well. I was a ninny. Not for accepting him back into my life, for letting him in in the first place.

6. Have you ever gone to work/school drunk or stoned? If yes, do tell. No.

7. Who is your favorite relative? The uncle in question #1. I lost him last November.

8. What annoys you most? Space hogs. Your backpack or grocery bag should not get it's own seat on the el.

9. Tell us of one thing you used to do that you are not proud of. When I was little I picked my nose.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Gone! My babies are gone!

Mozilla took the Firefox Live webcam down on Thursday. The cubs are going to separate zoos -- Spark to Cleveland and Ember to Garden City, KS. They're adults now, and it's time. I know it's time. There were moments over the last few weeks when I almost felt sorry for them because they were getting so big to be in that pen, and with spring coming I nearly agreed that they would be happier outdoors.

And then I thought about how close they were to leaving me, and decided that my selfish needs were more important than the continuation of their species. I needed that daily dose of cute!

That's why it's good that I wasn't in charge of this project. Spark and Ember will probably adjust better to this change than I am. But here, from YouTube, is a video so we can all remember the good times.


I want salt. I need salt. I must have salt.

Because I am too nice to deny myself anything I want this badly, I have had two little bags of Ruffles with a Fritos chaser.

Let's never let THAT happen again!

I don't know how it happened, but it did. I came to work today without makeup. Didn't notice until I was in the health club, under those awful fluorescent lights, preparing to come back to work. And you can bet I remedied it right quick.

I hope no one was scarred for life by witnessing this sad event.

Image: Ambro /

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I want to pet them sooooooo bad!

My "office pets," that is. Spark and Ember. They live at the Knoxville (TN) Zoo, but they're mine for as long as keeps streaming their antics live.

They really are too big for their indoor playroom (much older than when this photo was taken) and I know that soon they'll go into heat and must be let go outdoors to mate and go about their natural lives. I know. I know.

But I will miss them so! During the day, it's been such a delight to watch them romp. Especially Spark. He's the showman who spends more time on the sawhorse in front of the camera. His fur looks sooooo soft.

A good use of $95

This morning I signed up for This service will request that personal information be removed from sites like spokeo, bing, google, yahoo, etc. It's got a high rating from the Better Business Bureau, so I feel safe about using it. And, though it takes up to two weeks for the service to work it's magic, I'll feel safer about going about my life.

If that's not worth $7.95/month, what is?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I Want Wednesday

I want to feel better. I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. Physical activity that I barely noticed before is now dreary. Sigh ...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Stephen Doe has contacted me again via Facebook. This time he used the "message" function. It's the same old thing -- he wants to apologize to me, will do so in person if I wish, and hopes I will remember the good times and forgive the others. He closes with, "If you don't want to -- understood." Apparently it's not, though, since this is the fourth time he has tried.

He never was real bright.

He seems frightened of the afterlife, of facing God after what he did to me. And frankly he should be. The thing of it is, he still hasn't learned a thing about selflessness or decency. He still isn't remotely concerned about me and how I feel about this as a woman, as a person, as an individual.

Because this getting forgiveness thing? It's about him. It doesn't matter to him how painful dredging up all this is for me. After more than 20 years! It's unimportant that I'm confused and confounded anew by how much I loved someone who was so unworthy of me. As always, it's about him.

His attitude is not what God has in mind for us, anyway. We aren't supposed to do the right thing because we're afraid of Hell. We're supposed to do the right thing because of the Golden Rule.

Now that he's mentioned coming up to see me (wonder how that will play with the Mrs.?), I am trying not to freak out. He probably won't bother, and even if he does, there's security at both my office and my home.

But I don't want to piss him off either. His temper is memorable, and I don't believe he's changed. So I have channeled my all-time idol, JBKO. I have asked myself, "What would Jackie do?" And I think the answer is to rise above it. Not engage him in any conversation at all, but not block him, either. For if I block him, he could get mad. And by not blocking him, I maintain my plausible deniability. Since neither I nor my friend John (the first avenue Stephen used to try to reach me) have ever answered any of his messages, I can just deny having ever received them. As Jackie would say, not lying but making her point, "One receives so many messages online these days!"

In short, I put on my metaphorical sunglasses and just keep going, keeping to myself and keeping to my own path, living my life my way, continuing to leave him alone until he gets the message and leaves me alone. He doesn't have a place in my life.

10 on Tuesday

Ten Do's and Don'ts for Avoiding Crime

We've had a bit of a crime wave here in town. Women have been separated from their purses between two particular el stops in the wee small hours of Saturday mornings. It's very frustrating to the police because it's obviously one person doing this and somehow they are unable to catch him. Since he sneaks up on his victims from behind and puts them in a chokehold, they are unable to identify him beyond his voice and approximate height. (Because of the hour, they can't be 100% sure of race or size/weight because there's no shadow.)

Anyway, even if you don't live in my village, here are 10 recommendations from the local police department that can help keep you safe.

1) DO obey an offender’s instructions when it’s practical to do so – particularly when they threaten to hurt you. Property can be replaced – you cannot.

2) DO pay attention to your environment and what’s around you.

3) DO keep cash in a separate money clip or pouch so you can hand it over to a criminal without sacrificing credit cards, identification and other important items.

4) DON'T be distracted while walking or waiting for public transportation. Someone listening to music can be enticing to a would-be robber.

5) DON'T carry your purse loosely around your shoulder.

6) DON'T sit alone on a bus or train. If you have to travel alone, sit near a transit employee.

7) On public transportation, DON'T sit with your belongings on the empty aisle seat beside you.

8) DO moderate your alcohol intake. Offenders target those who are most vulnerable.

9) DO walk near the curb, away from shrubbery or bushes.

10) DO walk briskly and with confidence. Suspects look for victims who are in familiar territory.

And let's all be careful out there.