Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing: The Fifteen Movie Questions Meme

Cheers to all of us thieves!

1. Movie you love with a passion. The Way We Were

2. Movie you vow to never watch. Lord of the Rings

3. Movie that literally left you speechless. If it left me speechless because it so sucked: Babel. (Ironic, isn't it?)

4. Movie you always recommend. The Godfather

5. Actor/actress you always watch, no matter how crappy the movie. Jennifer Aniston, and trust me, there have been some crappy ones lately. (But not Horrible Bosses. Go see that.)

6. Actor/actress you don’t get the appeal for. Jack Nicholson

7. Actor/actress, living or dead, you’d love to meet. George (sigh) Clooney

8. Sexiest actor/actress you’ve seen. (Picture required!) Paul in Help!

9. Dream cast. Marvin's Room. Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton, Leonardo di Caprio, Hume Cronyn, Gwen Vernon and Robert DiNiro.

10. Favorite actor pairing. Paul Newman and Robert Redford, the coolest guys ever

11. Favorite movie setting. New York City

12. Favorite decade for movies. 1970s

13. Chick flick or action movie? Chick flick

14. Hero, villain or anti-hero? Anti hero

15. Black and white or color? Depends on the movie

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Countdown to My Knight at Wrigley Field

Two wasted days

I really haven't done much of anything yesterday or today. I guess I'm more upset about my upcoming surgery than I thought. I have no new news, I just left a message with my gynecologist this morning but haven't heard back.

Today (Saturday) started promisingly enough. I ran into a former coworker and her new husband at my regular breakfast spot and we blabbed a bit. I'm happy for her. Her man is nice looking, smart and nice to her. I'm glad to see her so serene in her job and her private life.

After that I just napped and blogged and played games and watched TV. I never even made it to the movie theater. I haven't even watched the Cubs play the Cards in St. Louis! Now that's evidence of low energy!

I shall try to make it to the health club ... Yawn ...

Image: Ambro /

A day in the city

My nephew is 11. That's a great age. He's feeling adult and is very smart and conversational. Yet he's still all boy, all childlike enthusiasm. So I really enjoyed spending Thursday in Chicago with him, and treasured it all the more because I know he's growing up and that this phase is so fleeting.

First we went to the Chicago History Museum. I loved all the surviving artifacts of the Chicago Fire, but he was more moved by the Lincoln Death Mask. And the lunch we had at the Museum Cafe. Between bites, he looked at me meaningfully and said, "Thank you for today," adding, "This is the second best sandwich I have ever had." (The first best was a burger in Muskegon, Michigan.)

Then it was off to Navy Pier. We rode the ferris wheel, played miniature golf and went through the Amazing Maze over and over again. He was impressed by the opportunity to ride a water taxi up the Chicago River and I got thinking of all the commuters, every day, who take it and take it for granted, reading their newspapers and texting instead of watching the river go by.

My vacation

God, I love this city! On Wednesday, I had some icky tests done and celebrated my bravery getting a pedicure, manicure and facial at a Gold Coast salon. I also had some yummy chocolate cake at this adorable little Belgian bakery, right there in the same building. I know, I know ... Dr. Phil says I'm not supposed to reward myself with food if I want to lose weight. But then Suze Orman says I'm not supposed to reward myself with impulse spending if I want to get out of debt. Well, what am I supposed to reward myself with? HEROIN?

Then I went into the American Girl store for the first time in a million years. I was inspired by a girl I saw on Michigan Avenue. There was a man wearing makeshift paper shoes going through a garbage pail, right there in front of Water Tower Place. And a young girl, maybe 11 or 12, carrying a big American Girl store bag (filled with a doll and outfits that probably set her parents back more than $150) placed a $1 bill in his hand. He said, "God bless," and she looked down, clearly embarrassed by his gratitude. I found this so moving. I hope her parents were proud.

When my niece was younger, she adored the American Girl dolls and books. In fact, this past summer, when she had a yard sale to raise money for college, the only toys she refused to part with were her American Girl "girls." Walking through the store, I understood why they spoke to her. The messages are plain, "American Girls are proud to work for their goals," "We're all American Girls," "American Girls are Smart and Nice." I could not be prouder of how my niece turned out in terms of drive, intelligence and social conscience.

So I bought two of the stories that she loved best, Kit and Josephina, for my Toys for Tots bag. Maybe this Christmas, two other little girls will be moved, the way my niece and that selfless little girl in front of the American Girl Store were.

Then on Thursday I spent the day with my nephew. More on that later ....

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: I'm Not in Love

1. Have you ever been in love but tried to deny it? Always

2. Someone throws a party in your honor. The only guests are your past lovers. You're current spouse or significant other is cool with this. They ask you to speak and say something good about those assembled. Would there be someone there you could not say something good about? Yes. But just one. Most of those assembled would be very nice men.

3. How long can you go without your cell phone? Do you own a so-called “smart phone”? I go days without checking my phone. And no, it's not a smartie.

4. Do you believe everyone deserves a second chance? I used to, but the "bad guy" of question #2 makes me question it.

5. Would you rather spend a whole day with your mom or your dad? (If either or both have passed, answer as if they're alive.) My mom

6. Tell us one thing about your first boyfriend or girlfriend. We have both moved on, and on, and on.

7. Has an ex ever written something about you on facebook or their blog that was nasty about you? No. We're all a little old for that.

8. What was the last thing you borrowed and never returned? I'm sure there's a book or two in my den that do not belong to me.

9. Who is someone famous that you've met? Does kissing Bruce Springsteen count?

If they're good enough for Holly Golightly, why not me?

Did you know that, after certain prcedures, hospitals won't release you, alone, to get in a cab? They consider it the same as driving yourself home and insist it's dangerous. Which means having surgery is even more stressful for singles, like me. Because I will have to ask a friend to take off work, just to pick me up from the hospital and deposit me at home. It's stupid.

Do Holly and Paul look like they're in danger? Of course not.

Well, at least this won't be happening anymore

Getting up at 4:15 AM to pee, that is.

My doctor explained the results of my ultrasounds yesterday afternoon. I have a very large (16 cm long) ovarian cyst, as well some less consequential, small fibroids on my uterus. She says the cyst is likely the culprit for all my complaints, is just over 6" long and not very wide. She likened it to a desk stapler.

The good news? The symptoms of an ovarian cyst are my symptoms:
• Dull pressure or pain
• Pain during urination and bowel movements
• Frequent urination (hence the timing of this post)
• Weight gain
• Fatigue

My GP is not a gynecologist and sent the films to him yesterday. I'll give his office a call in a few hours (not everyone wakes up at 4:00 to pee) and see what our next steps are. My GP did make it clear that if she was my treating physician, she would recommend a hysterectomy. My uterus is compromised and that cyst is too large to disappear on its own. Because it's so long, it's pressing the organs all around it.

And besides, I'm sick of all the symptoms above! That was the point of all this -- to isolate what's wrong and treat it.

HOWEVER, I don't want to be cut open. That means I'll have to inconvenience one of my friends -- right now, Kathleen looks like my lucky first choice -- to take me home from the hospital. I learned before they won't let you take a cab. And it could mean a lot of time (up to 6 weeks!) off work! I know they could get by without me, but do I want them to know they can get by without me?

However, I'm postmenopausal, which puts me at increased risk of ovarian cancer. So this has to be done. At the very least, that cyst has to be biopsied. My GP said I "shouldn't worry" about cancer, but that doesn't mean it's not cancer. That can just mean that worrying does no good. She doesn't know me well. Worrying is what I do.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Thursday Thirteen #134


I have spent a lot of time in doctors' offices lately, being picked and poked and prodded. It got me to thinking ... Does this happen often? What kind of tests get run frequently?

Well, here they are: 13 frequently run tests. Shown here in alphabetical order, not in order of popularity. I mean, popularity with doctors and insurance company. I doubt that any are popular with patients!

1) Blood pressure -- for hypertension
2) Bone mineral density test -- for osteoporosis
3) Clinical breast exam -- to screen for breast cancer
4) Cholesterol -- to test for hypercholesterolemia, for high cholesterol
5) Digital rectal exam -- colorectal cancer screening
6) Eye exam -- for glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts and diabetic retinopathy
7) Fasting plasma glucose -- for diabetes
8) Fecal occult blood -- colorectal cancer screening
9) FSH -- screens for ovarian failure, which leads to menopause
10) HIV -- for HIV/AIDS
11) Mammogram -- for breast cancer
12) Pap Test -- for cervical cancer
13) Sigmoidoscophy -- colorectal cancer screening

To learn more about the Thursday Thirteen,
or to play along yourself, click here.

She's good at times like this

I know that in many of her appearances in my blog, my oldest friend seems like a hot mess. And she deserves to, for she is usually her own worst enemy. But this evening, she earned her "girlfriend stripes." She really came through for me when I needed her, and I appreciate it enormously.

After I had my unpleasant tests this morning (see post below), the tech told me my doctor would get the results within 24 hours. So I went out and put them behind me. Then, when I got home, I saw that my doctor had called me three times (twice at home, once at work) to discuss what she's learned from the ultrasounds.

What?! Did my pictures reveal something so dire that the lab ran them over to my doctor? Is her message so sensitive in nature that she's afraid to leave it on my voicemail? What's going on inside of me?

My oldest friend not only works in a hospital, she's had her share of medical problems. And she said that if my doctor said, "I have an opening tomorrow at 9:00. Be there so we can talk about your ultrasound," I'd have to worry. But the message my doctor left -- "I want to talk to you about your ultrasound," with no next steps -- could mean:

a) She knows what's wrong with me and wants to prescribe meds
b) She suspects what's wrong with me and wants to refer me to a specialist
c) The ultrasounds were blurry and she needs another round
d) The ultrasounds were inconclusive and she needs more views

I like that. I'm okay with that. It's all reasonable and it all makes sense. And after all, I went to my doctor in the first place because I know something is wrong me. We want to find it and fix it, right?

I have my nephew all day tomorrow for our summer outing. I will return my doctor's call as our activities permit. Since my doctor said nothing -- not in any of her three messages -- that implied urgency, I'm reasonably sure that nothing she says will cause me to start screaming in front of my nephew and ruin our day.

And kudos to my oldest friend for coming through in the clutch!

I Want Wednesday

I want this to be over! This morning's ultrasound tests weren't so bad. It's just that it was awful to go through them with a full bladder and bowels! I try to find humor in most things, but this one was hard. It would have been so humiliating to soil myself, and I truly was worried that would happen.

But it didn't! The tech was very thoughtful and tried to make me comfortable. She also assured me that my doctor will have the results in 24 hours. I hope then we know what the culprit is, what's causing all pain and pressure, and we can move from diagnosis to treatment.

It feels good to know he's feeling good

My best friend doesn't toot his own horn often, so I enjoyed hearing from today. In describing today's presentation, his glass wasn't half empty, it wasn't even half full, it was FULL. He got to present the deck he had labored on so long and hard, he fielded every tough question thrown at him, and the client was impressed. So was his rather demanding boss. He was on Cloud 9.

It was fun to see him feeling proud and confident.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I tried, Mr. President

Last night, President Obama took to the airwaves, made his case for resolution of the budget crisis and asked us each to contact our representatives and beg them to get something done.

Well, I gave it a shot.

My congressman was once one of Obama's Chicago mentors and I know he will vote with the President, as I want him to. Still, I emailed him. And got a message back saying that due to the high volume of messages he's received today, he can't respond right now.

My senior senator is Dick Durbin, once one of Obama's mentors and such a lock to vote as I wish him to that I didn't even bother.

My other senator is Mark Kirk, who has turned out to be remarkably rational for a Republican. I'm certain he will put country before party and not be obstructionist to the President, but just in case I emailed him, too. And got a message back saying that due to the high volume of messages he's received today, he can't respond right now.

That's the problem with living in the most progressive district of the President's deep blue home state -- The President doesn't need my support here!

Tomorrow begins my vacation

As my last pre-vaca workday grinds to an end, I'm reflecting on my upcoming 5 days off.

Tomorrow will be a mixed bag. It starts with another trip to the doctor for more tests. The ultrasounds themselves won't be bad. It's just the prep I'm not looking forward to. A full meal by 9:45, 32 ounces of fluid by 10:30, and then NO TRIPS TO THE BATHROOM under any circumstances. I check in at 11:15 for my 11:30 appointment. I appreciate that the pictures won't be of any use to my doctor unless they show my bladder full, but considering that one of my complaints is an increased urgency in my desire to go, this seems a little mean.

Which is why I deserve the facial, manicure and pedicure I have scheduled for late afternoon. My current pedi is all beat up, and my pores can use a nice, deep cleansing. Depending on how I feel after the ultrasound, I may just take myself out to lunch in the groovy neighborhood of the salon.

Image: ahmet guler /

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Movie Monday

This week's movie topic is all about Summer... Share on your blog movies set in the summertime and link back here at the Bumbles.

Meatballs. We are CITs so pity us. The kids are brats, the food is hideous. We're gonna drink and smoke and mess around, we're nooky-bound. We're Northstar CITs! I still remember that camp song from the 1979 Bill Murray movie. Bill played Tripper, the charming, goofy, unexpectedly wise camp counselor. Remember his motivational speech during the Northstar/Mohawk olympics?

"Even if we play so far above our heads that our noses bleed for a week to ten days ... even if God in Heaven above comes down and points his hand at our side of the field ... even if every man, woman and child held hands together and prayed for us to win ... it just wouldn't matter because all the really good looking girls would still go out with the guys from Mohawk because they've got all the money! It just doesn't matter if we win or we lose. IT JUST DOESN'T MATTER!"

I fell a little in love with him in this role. I haven't seen it in years, but now I want to again.

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing: The Twenty-Fiver Meme

Cheers to all of us thieves!

1. Tell us about something that made you laugh last night. Midnight in Paris. While I may not be a fan of Woody Allen the person, Woody Allen the writer is brilliant, and still very funny.

2. What were you doing at 8 PM last night? I don't remember

3. What were you doing 30 minutes ago? Slathering my skin with Moringa Body Butter from the Body Shop

4. What happened to you in 2006? (Feel free to republish an old post from '06.) I visited my best friend when he was on assignment in Los Angeles and we had a wonderful time! I stayed in a luxury hotel and got a poolside pedicure, took a tour of the movie stars homes and we saw my beloved future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux pitch in Dodger Stadium! It's a dear memory.

5. What was the last thing you said out loud? "Good girl!" My cat, Charlotte, has been quite affectionate this morning.

6. How many beverages did you have today? Three glasses of two different beverages.

7. What color is your hairbrush? Cream-colored handle with white bristles.

8. What was the last thing you paid for? A small Coke at the movie theater (see question #1)

9. Where were you last night? You really seem fascinated with my trip to the local movie theater! See questions 1 and 8.

10. What color is your front door? A light oak/wood color

11. Where do you keep your change? My pennies go into a piggy bank and my quarters are in a beer stein on the kitchen counter, saved especially for the washer and dryer.

12. What’s the weather like today? Storms and 90º.

13. What’s the best ice-cream flavor? Mint chocolate chip

14. What excites you? How graphic would you like this answer to be?

15. Do you want to cut your hair? No. At this very moment, it's a good length.

16. Are you over the age of 35? And 45, too!

17. Do you talk a lot? Yes.

18. Do you watch Franklin and Bash? I just discovered it on Comcast On Demand. It's fun.

19. Do you know anyone named Steven? No, but I know a Stephen.

20. Do you make up your own words? No. I have not exhausted all the previously established English ones yet.

21. Are you a jealous person? Yes. I don't like that about myself, but there you go.

22. What does the last text message you received say? "Gina got a new cat!"

23. Where’s the next place you’re going to? I have no plans for today, which is a luxurious feeling.

24. Who’s the rudest person in your life? The counter workers at the local post office.

25. Are you crushing on anyone that you shouldn't be? I always am!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Farewell, Amy

Here she is from 2004, performing my second favorite Amy Winehouse song. I'm posting it as my tribute to a performer who was a sharper songwriter and better singer than the tabloid headlines would lead you to believe. God bless your troubled soul. I'll miss you.

"I did not create this problem. But I will solve it."

That's how Mayor Emanuel sounds when he's on message (and he's far more disciplined about staying on message that Mayor Daley ever was), and I'm liking it. I admit I was scared pissless about this changing of the guard, and yes, there have been glitches, but there's something very familiar and comforting about a mayor who can be a stubborn cuss.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Little things mean a lot

I must remember that.

A former secretary, a woman I haven't spoken to in years, friended me on Facebook. Our lives are so different now that we have nothing in common and she's always been just kind of peripheral.

Tonight, when scrolling down through messages from my "friends," something she posted caught my eye. She was begging for a positive sign, anything. So I wrote something about her being nice and deserving nice things. Blah blah. It was nothing.

It meant so much to her that I'm embarrassed. It only takes a moment to be thoughtful. I must do it more often.

Did I mention I'm seeing Sir Paul?

This morning I told my boss that something is going on with my kidneys, I need more tests, and so I'm adding a day to my vacation next week. He was nice about it.

Then I got home and listened to a message from my doctor. The test she ran Wednesday morning came back negative, which is both good and bad. I'm glad no icky, virulent bladder infection turned up. On the other hand, it would be nice if we knew what is causing my twinges and discomfort.

So now I have ultrasounds this coming Wednesday. I'm not happy. The prep is unpleasant. But it's a hurdle that has to be gotten over.

Next weekend, when all this is behind me -- on July 31 and August 1 -- I'm seeing my beloved Sir Paul! At my beloved Wrigley Field, no less. I'll just focus on that.

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Hear me roar

Today I got a ton of work done, came home, did a couple loads of wash and swam for 15-20 minutes. (I'm not sure because I really can't see the clock clearly from the pool without my glasses or contacts.) I feel quite accomplished. Strong. Invincible! WOMAN!

Fat woman, but woman nevertheless. And I won't be fat forever. I won't. I don't accept it as my fate.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

"Because every woman deserves support"

Support 1000 is a group that collects and distributes gently-used bras to schools, churches, and groups that provide appropriate clothes for job interviews.

When I first heard of this organization, I thought, "Huh? Wha?" And then I learned that bras are seldom, if ever, donated to places like Goodwill. People seem to assume that bras are like panties -- not suitable for resale. Consequently this expensive undergarment often remains out of reach to lower income girls and women.

All of us ladies know how important a decent bra is to looking our best, which is so important in the workplace. Who is going to hire a woman who bounces in braless? How are families going to get out of poverty without a parent with a good job?

Bras don't break, so I'm going to send the ones I no longer wear to Support 1000 in an oversized padded envelope.

P.O. Box 412406
Chicago, IL 60641

Support1000 is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization, and accepts monetary donations as well as bras, because shipping to worthy women's groups in all 50 states (and faraway places like Jamaica and Kenya) is expensive.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Thursday Thirteen #133


Yeah, yeah ... I know that there are people who will tell you I am indeed a witch. Or did they say "bitch?"

Oh well, I'm not talking about mere moods here. I'm thinking about being a broomstick riding, cauldron stirring, spell casting witch. I'd also like to be blonde, thin and really pretty and, when I'm upset, say cool things like, "My stars!" You know, like Samantha Stevens of Bewitched. And like Sam, I'd move among you mortals, only using my powers to do these 13 things.

1) Enjoy the occasional picnic on a cloud.

2) Be magically able to tell if there's a washer available without having to go all the way down to the laundry room.

3) Twitch my nose and voila! Laundry folded.

4) Speak to my cats in fluent feline.

5) It would be so much less icky to clean the litter box with an incantation instead of a scoop.

6) Freeze time for a few seconds. You know, like if the train is about to leave the platform and I'm not quite there yet, I could stop time for a moment or two.

7) Organize all my paperwork with a clap of my hands.

8) Press my fingertips to my temples and de repente puedo hablar español.

9) I'd make a little gesture toward the tv screen and guide balls hit by Cub players to go from foul to fair.

10) I'd also make the Yankees General Manager want to take Carlos Zambrano and his ginormous contract of our hands.

11) I could wipe away sink, tub and toilet stains -- no more scrubbing!

12) Watch my hair go from short to long without that awkward growing out stage.

13) By merely touching my throat I can make myself sing like Barbra Streisand.

To learn more about the Thursday Thirteen,
or to play along yourself, click here.

I Want Wednesday

I want to never, ever be catheterized again. I'm still all sore. I hate it, hate it, hate it. But it was necessary to confirm that I don't have any kind of serious kidney obstruction, so I guess this morning's procedure was a good thing. So far, all my doctor can detect is a bladder infection, but she suspects there's something more going on. So next week I have an ultra sound. Whatever it is, she's confident that we'll isolate and treat it.

The mercury actually hit 100º today, and that could be part of why this was so wildly unpleasant and the inconclusive news hit me so hard. I don't handle heat well at all. I also just want to be well.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


I'm only posting about this because I promised myself I'd be honest about myself on this blog. And it's time to confess that I have been needlessly worried about something that I was just inept and stupid about.

I got my tickets to see Sir Paul on two different nights from two different sources. The first ticket (from a ticket broker) arrived via Fed Ex, safe and sound and perfect. The second ticket (from Wrigley Field) came electronically. I opened the email and clicked on the link but instead of a ticket, all I saw was a virtually empty page with just a code on it.

This is Sir Paul we're talking about here! I wanted the frigging ticket! So I emailed Wrigley Field and asked them to resend a corrected link. They answered me promptly, saying that the link worked just fine.

I tried again, saw the same empty page with nothing but a code. I started to panic. What if I was out the money? What if I couldn't get another ticket for Sunday? What then? Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria?

So this afternoon I called Wrigley Field. There's a game tonight (against the Phils) so I was on hold for a long time. The young man finally came on the line and told me to open the email and tell me what I saw.

"A link," said I.

"Click it," said he.

I did, and the sadly familiar blank page with the code appeared.

He advised, "Now click that link."

Oh, shit. The code's a link?

I clicked on it and there before me was my ticket to ride.

But I can't believe what a dolt I was! I spend my damn life online, clicking links, embedding links ... most of the time doing stupid things like staying up to date with the woman who has a hairy nipple on her foot. (See?) But when it's something important, I get as stupid as Aunt Pitty in Gone with The Wind.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A small victory

My best friend got a new dog over the weekend -- from a shelter! She's a chihuahua mix named Bella, and she has a big house, a yard, another chihuahua, two girls and their mom and dad to call her own.

The dog he and his wife got 15 years ago, the recently departed Gumbo, was a rescue and she was a lovely and beloved member of the family. But three Christmases ago, when they got a second puppy exclusively for their oldest daughter, they went to a breeder recommended by a neighbor.

I just hate that. Of the 8 million dogs and cats that enter American animal shelters each year, more than half won't make it out alive. That is completely heartbreaking. Especially to anyone who has known the love and loyalty and sheer joy that comes with a shelter rescue. And then there's the moral imperative: what message does it send a child when you value a living being more for its blood line than for its own unique personality?

So I have been working on him, constantly, like water torture. Sending him puppy-cams from animal shelters to share with his daughters. Reminding him how, when Gumbo died, he should be proud of himself for giving a home to a wonderful dog someone else had heartlessly disposed of. Drip, drip, drip.

Now I don't take COMPLETE credit for this happy turn of events, but I believe I'm not overstepping my role by saying, "You're welcome, Bella."

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pretty is as pretty does

According to the Biography channel program on Casey Anthony:

One of her bodyguards said that Casey was (less worried about Caylee and) more concerned about whether she made it as the top story, how many helicopters were out there, the trucks. And when wearing her white sunglasses, asked her bodyguard "if she looked like Jackie Onassis."

Aside from the fact that they both walked upright and neither had a tail, I can think of no similarities between Casey and JBKO.

By the age of 25, Jackie had gone to Vassar, the Sorbonne and GWU. She spoke fluent French, as well as Italian and Spanish. She'd been Debutante of the Year and had her own byline with the Washington Times-Herald. She was the bride of Senator John F. Kennedy and had suffered a miscarriage. That's the desperate cruelty in Casey's self-serving comparison: Jackie endured 5 difficult pregnancies in her 10 years of marriage to JFK, resulting in a miscarriage, a still-birth, Caroline, John and Patrick (who lived only hours). One of the most famous women of the last century, even her detractors agree she was a loving, dedicated mother.

Casey Anthony at 25 is a high-school dropout and twice-convicted felon who has just been released from prison owing the IRS more than $70,000. What's left to be said about her parenting skills?

Movie Monday

This week's movie topic is all about Favorites...
Share your favorite YTD movie - not necessarily one released this year, just a new-to-you film viewed this year, and link back here at the Bumbles.

The Fighter. Christian Bale and Melissa Leo had the showy, Oscar-winning mother/son roles, but I found the quieter, more tentative relationship between lovers Mark Wahlberg and Amy Adams more moving. These two may be less aggressive and in-your-face, but I think they played the tougher ones, the couple that ultimately prevails. I admired their strength and decency.

To cool you off during the dog days of summer

Think Christmas!

My local Border's always has fun stuff for kids marked way, way down. (And, if the rumors of the chain's demise are true, more reductions are in the offing.) Yesterday I bought this book and a diary with a lock for less than $8! And we all know that there will be holiday toy drives to help needy children ... and, with this economy, there will probably be more needy children than ever. So I consider this an investment in the future.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing: The Honesty Meme

Complete the Sentences:

Right now I'm feeling... a little wistful

When I'm alone I feel... serene

When I'm surrounded by people I feel... crowded

One thing I hate is... second-hand smoke

One thing I really like about myself is ... my ability to think fast on my feet

When I'm feeling sad I... retreat

When I daydream it's usually about... an idealized future

I'm afraid of... being dependent

I'm happiest when... I'm with my best friend

One thing that really worries me is ... my mom's health and well being

If I could change one thing about myself it would be... to be more organized and together

If I could be with anyone right now I would be with... my best friend

The family member I am closest to is... my mom

If I was really honest with my father I would tell him... My dad died in 1992

One thing I regret about my life is ... not taking better care of my gums. Floss, people, floss!

If I only had one more day to live I would... make sure everyone knows I love them.

If I was really honest with my mother I would tell her... there's a lot that hurts me

One thing about me that nobody knows is... there's a lot that hurts me

I hope that someday in the future... I'm more disciplined in my personal life

When I think about my family I feel... conflicted

Something I'm really embarrassed about is... my singing voice

One thing about me I never want to change is... my eye color. I have pretty green eyes.

One thing I feel really proud of is... the loving home I've provided my shelter rescues.

Blogsville has helped me to... express myself more accurately.

One thing I like about blogsville is... my regulars.

And me without my headphones!

It was so hot today that, instead of sweating it out waiting at the train station and bus stop, I was going to cab it to and from my haircut. Well, as luck would have it, the timing worked out and making my connections home was easier than I anticipated so I was able to forgo the cabs and go with public transportation.

But since when I left in the morning, I anticipated going from cab to salon to cab, I didn't bring my iPod.


First on the bus I encountered a young man (maybe 3?) in a full-on tantrum. Twisting, screaming and stomping on his mother's foot, unsuccessfully trying to get her to release her grip on his arm. "Puppy!" I thought he was yelling. Only I'm wrong, because he soon began alternating "Puppy!" with "Mc-Don-ald's!" Clearly this determined young man was under the impression that a stop was going to be made at the golden arches, and his mother had, much to his chagrin, changed the itinerary. I admired his tenacity, but I did wish he'd just shut the fuck up. When he finally did, and his face became sunny, the bus pulled up to their stop and he was gone.

But no sooner had they departed than a grown woman, who should have known better, began shouting into her cell phone. "That's how she was to like to give William a heart attack!" I thought she was using "heart attack" as a synonym for "hissy fit." No, as she shared with all of us on the bus, William suffered real-live, honest-to-goodness cardiac arrest. Fortunately my stop came up before any more of William's sad tale was imparted into my barren-of-headphone ears.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: The Devil Went Down to Georgia

1. Do you believe in the concept of the devil? Nope.

2. What's your favorite nickname that you're called? My dad called me "Andy Panda" when I was very little.

3. What would you do if someone cheated on you? I forgave him. No, let me rephrase: I overlooked it. To be honest, I never forgave him.

4. Do you ever cry at a movie? Let's see ... "I love Brian Piccolo. And tonight, when you hit your knees, please ask God to love him, too." Sniffle, sniffle. "He's my dog. I'll do it." Full on sob. (That's Brian's Song and Old Yeller.)

5. Have you got “a ball & chain” or are you single? Are you happy with your status? I am single and I am happy. I view them as independent states.

6. Who do you got to for advice? My best friend. He's got a way of making sense.

7. When was the last time someone yelled at you? I don't remember.

8. When was the last time you spoke with someone that you met online? I haven't.

9. Where did you go on your honeymoon? OR Where would you like to go on your honeymoon? Manhattan! I'd love to honeymoon at the Plaza.

Think twice, Rob Lowe

The former Brat Packer is playing Chicagoland's own Drew Peterson in a made-for-TV movie. For those of you who aren't up on these things, Drew is our Casey Anthony.* We all just know in our bones that he's guilty of double homicide, but can it be proven?

His third wife, Kathleen, somehow drown in an empty bathtub during their contentious divorce. Then, wouldn't you know, unlucky Drew's fourth wife Stacy, disappeared! She's been gone for almost four years now. Poor Drew says she left him and her children for another man, though no other man of their acquaintance has come up missing. The pesky police refuse to just take his word for these things and now he's in prison, awaiting trial for the death of Wife #3. Wife #4 hasn't been declared dead yet.

Rob Lowe can be a funny actor and he has displayed kind of a creepy edge, as evidenced by Bad Influence. So he might be very good as Drew. And it could damage his career.

After all, the first I was aware of Mark Harmon was in the 1986 TV movie The Deliberate Stranger about Ted Bundy. He was so effective at evil that it took me 22 years to get over being terrified and fall in love with him anew as Gibbs.

*Come to think of it, I think Drew and Casey might make a cute couple. No, never mind -- at 25, she's already too old for him.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Donating platelets

It's called apheresis. Did it again this evening, right after work, and am surprised anew by how easy it is. I just sat in the chair and squeezed a ball, on and off, for 45 minutes to an hour. Every once in a while my lips tingled, and now, hours later, my arm's a wee bit sore where the needle resided, but really, that's nothing.

Especially when I think about the people I can help. Patients with bone marrow transplants, cancer, leukemia and other blood disorders are susceptible to infection, bleeding and brusing because their treatment kills the healthy as well as malignant cells. My platelets can help them stay strong.

My friend Ed's daughter is battling leukemia, and has just been in and out of the hospital again. My friend Kathleen successfully battled breast cancer last year. Knowing how important donations were to them, how can I not share my healthy AB platelets with others in need?

Do a little research on donation centers in your neighborhood and consider doing this yourself. You won't regret it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Thirteen Facts about a Great Lady:
Betty Ford

I admit it -- First Ladies all fascinate me. It's a high-profile role with no job description, with tons of responsibility and little authority, and watching how each woman approaches it is like a Rorschach test into their personalities and their relationships with their powerful husbands.

One of the most influential First Ladies of my lifetime has been Betty Ford. I loved that she specified that at her funeral, Rosalyn Carter eulogize her. Rosalyn's Jimmy beat Betty's Jerry, of course, and even after that hard-fought campaign, a friendship developed. Betty brought people together and healed. Here's my tribute to her.

1) She was a Chicago girl, born Elizabeth Bloomer in April, 1918

2) When the stock market crashed, her family went broke. When she was 14, Betty went to work, becoming a department store model and giving dance lessons.

3) She also entertained the young patients at a hospital for children with disabilities by dancing.

4) After high school, she studied briefly with the great Martha Graham in New York. She financed her love of dance by becoming a photographer's model.

5) She had an early marriage to a childhood friend. That union lasted only five years and produced no children, but it did bring her to Grand Rapids, MI.

6) There she met a lawyer who was about to run for the House of Representatives. Her marriage to Gerald Ford lasted 58 years, until his death, and produced three sons and a daughter.

7) She became First Lady overnight, without a campaign, when her husband took over the Presidency after Nixon's resignation.

8) She captivated the public with her informality and charm. For example, this was the height of the 1970s CB craze, and she revealed her "handle" was "First Mama."

9) Betty Ford was openly pro-choice, even as First Lady. Daring for any political figure, but especially the wife of a Republican President. But she believed contraceptive choice and legalized abortions would save women's lives.

10) The First Lady's concern for women's health issues became more personal in 1974 when she had a mastectomy. Her frank discussion of breast cancer raised eyebrows because, believe it or not, back in those long-ago days it was considered vulgar to talk about one's breasts. Betty Ford believed that early treatment and frank talk could save lives, and so she that's what she advocated -- yes, right there from the White House.

11) In 1978, after she left the White House, the Ford family confronted Betty about her dependence of alcohol and prescription pain killers. After she won her battle with her demons, she came forward and wrote two books about addiction. Betty viewed addiction like breast cancer -- a disease and not a moral deficiency, something to be confronted and overcome.

12) In 1982 she founded The Betty Ford Center, a 100-bed hospital devoted to treating the disease of chemical dependency.

13) Most touching for me was her love affair with Gerald Ford. Imagine what it was like for a Congressional hopeful in the 1940s to marry (as Betty referred to herself) "a divorced dancer." He could have viewed her as a liability, keeping her tucked away, but he was proud of her strength, compassion and candor. And in turn, she thought he was a great American and a terrific husband. The love of her life. When attacked for her plain-spoken honesty in the White House, she was sneeringly asked, "If a reporter asked you how often you had sex with your husband, would you answer that, too?" Her response: "I'd say, 'as often as possible!'"

This week, when so much media has been devoted to a woman her own lawyer dismissed as "a liar and a slut," it's refreshing to spend a little time with a lady who was honest and loving. Rest in peace, Mrs. Ford.

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

Hot town, summer in the city

Reflections on Summer in Chicago, 2011

• Crime is up. Much of it is Apple-related, with iPhones being separated from their owners in record numbers.

• I have yet to enjoy Puppet Bike in action! My favorite warm-weather street attraction is virtually MIA. I saw the unmanned bike itself in front of the Cultural Center one afternoon, but that was it. The corner where I usually see him is now taken by an Asian gentleman playing a rather exotic looking stringed instrument. I suppose there's value in that. But I'd much rather see mangy puppets dancing to zydeco music.

• There's a dearth of Farmers' Markets this year. Is it the economy?

• I believe I saw my first-ever pimp yesterday! A tall man in a deep red suit with a black shirt, black hat in hand. I feel more sophisticated now.

• The most popular White Sox players must Buehrle and Konerko, for these are the jerseys I see on fans on the street most often.

• Cubs fans have greater regard for heritage. Lots of Lee, Santo and Sandberg jerseys.

• I hate watching people walk their small-ish dogs across busy streets. Please, if your dog is too small to be easily spotted over a car bumper, carry him!

• Is there anything more attractive than watching and listening to a dad being attentive to his young daughter? Aw ....

Image: porbital /

I Want Wednesday

I want to be well. I don't feel great, and I should. After all, I'm moving more and eating better. And yet I feel some constant but hard-to-define pressure somewhere south of the navel. Is it because my diet has changed? Or is it an infection? The problem could be my kidneys or urinary tract or bowels or bladder.

I'm not trusting it to just go away and I'm not waiting until awareness moves to discomfort and then pain. I made an appointment to see my doctor one week from today. (Though the nurse told me my doctor could squeeze me in if my condition worsens. I love my doctor.)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Good news/bad news

Once again this summer, my niece is serving an internship in the kitchen at a resort in Wisconsin.

Good news: The chef is so impressed with her talent and work ethic that he gave her permission to come up with the special last Tuesday night, his night off. After checking what was in stock already and considering costs and prep time, she proposed London Broil with pearlized onions. The chef gave this his enthusiastic approval. She was so excited.

Bad news: No one ordered it. Except the chef, who stopped by to see how she was running his kitchen in his absence. She will only acknowledge being proud of the faith the chef showed in her, not disappointment. Well, I AM DISAPPOINTED.

Image: Simon Howden /

All the way from Milwaukee!

The dollar bill I received as change today was once on a coffee table in some guy's apartment in Milwaukee. How do I know this? Because he registered it on I love entering bills and seeing where they have been.

If you come across a bill with either the Where's George stamp or, as in the case of today's bill, the Where's George web address scrawled over it, please indulge geeks like me and enter it at the site.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Movie Monday

We're Having a Heat Wave. Share movies that turned the heat on their characters and link back here at the Bumbles.

Cool Hand Luke. I don't know what state prison camp Luke was sent to, but it was somewhere south where it never, ever cold. Or even cool. Just thinking about that scene where the chain-gang boys pave the road under the blistering sun exhausts me!

Suddenly, Last S
This movie, written by Tennessee Williams, is the very definition of "crazy from the heat." Every year, brilliant Sebastian would go on holiday and compose a critically-acclaimed poem. Usually
he took his charming, aristocratic mother, Violet (Katharine Hepburn). But suddenly, last summer, he invited his beautiful cousin, Cathy (Elizabeth Taylor) instead. During that vacation to the tropics, Sebastian dies under mysterious circumstances and Cathy's account of what happened on the beach is so gothic and horrible and scandalous that Violet wants her lobotomized to keep her quiet and preserve Sebastian's reputation. It also gave us this iconic shot of Liz in a white bathing suit.