Monday, April 30, 2012

Hey, rah, rah, rah, rah, rah!

As April draws to a close it is worth reporting (and applauding) that I not only achieved my goal of 13 workouts this month, I exceeded it!

If only this was translating to weight loss ...

I tell myself that at least I'm healthier, and that having exercise as a regular part of my life cannot be a bad thing, now can it?


This week's challenge: Using between 3 and 333 words, write a response including the third definition of the word:
thun·der noun \ˈthən-dər\

3: bang, rumble

She used her time in the elevator to look through the day’s mail. The latest Drs. Foster and Smith catalog, a flyer and business card from an unnaturally gleeful real estate agent, and a letter from the hospital. She was confident she knew what it was – that same “all clear” form letter they send every year after her mammogram.

After reviewing the mammogram you had on 4/3/12, our radiologist requested that you return for additional studies for a complete evaluation. Most such findings are benign (not cancerous). A report of your mammography results was sent to your physician, whom you should call to discuss this matter further.

The thunder in her ears left her unable to hear the little “ding!” when the car arrived at her floor. It wasn’t until the doors opened and she looked into the friendly face of a neighbor waiting to board that she realized she was almost home.

And almost to her laptop. Her doctor wouldn’t be in until morning so there was nothing to do this evening except obsess and worry and troll the web.

WebMD: “80% of all breast lumps are benign …” “As many as 4 out of 5 breast lumps biopsied are noncancerous …”
The American Cancer Society: “Thanks to improvements in treatment and early detection, millions of women are surviving breast cancer …”

She awoke the next morning still on her sofa, still fully clothed, with the hospital’s website still on her laptop: “The Breast Care Center has a digital mammography unit for state-of-the-art diagnosis …”

Oh, God, it wasn’t a nightmare. This was real. While showering she noticed a bruise on her left breast where she had been poking it, trying to feel for herself this abnormality that was tormenting her.

The next ten days were among the longest in her life. But ultimately, the news was good. The next letter she received from the hospital began: We are pleased to inform you …

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Borrowed from the Girl with the White Parasol

She borrowed it from him. If you choose to play, please let me know, and credit those two dedicated movie bloggers.

1) Favorite movie featuring nuns. The Trouble with Angels. It made being a nun look so safe and secure. As a pre-adolescent confused by the future and intimidated by growing up, I thought it was terrific. (Except for the "no guys" thing.)

2) Second favorite John Frankenheimer movie
Birdman of Alcatraz

3) William Bendix or Scott Brady?

4) What movie, real or imagined, would you stand in line six hours to see? Have you ever done so in real life?
Without a doubt, Jerry Lewis as Helmut Doork in The Day the Clown Died. First of all, how bad, how utterly tasteless could it be? I'm eager to find out. Secondly, I'd like confirmation of its very existence. After all, we've been hearing rumors about it for decades.

5) Favorite Mitchell Leisen movie
Remember the Night. A holiday movie starring Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck. I think we all agree they aren't the most wholesome couple ever, and yet it's rather sweet.

6) Ann Savage or Peggy Cummins?
Sorry, not familiar enough to answer.

7) First movie you remember seeing as a child.
Mary Poppins. The heavy red curtains opened to reveal the rooftops of London. Thrilling!
8) What moment in a movie that is not a horror movie made you want to bolt from the theater screaming?
Harvey Keitel naked in The Piano.

9) Richard Widmark or Robert Mitchum?
Widmark. Because Lucy scaled his fence when the Riccardos were in Hollywood.

10) Best movie Jesus
Ted Neeley

11) Silliest straight horror film that you’re still fond of
Shewolf of London. C'mon! Lassie's mom and Gidget's dad and a lot of fur in jolly-old! You have to love it!

12) Emily Blunt or Sally Gray?
Emily Blunt

13) Favorite cinematic Biblical spectacular
Sorry, don't like 'em

14) Favorite cinematic moment of unintentional humor.
"Boobies, boobies, boobies! Nothing but boobies! Who needs 'em? I did great without 'em!" The sublime Neely O'Hara from the incomparable Valley of the Dolls.

15) Michael Fassbender or David Farrar?
Sorry, I got nothin'

16) Most effective faith-affirming movie.
It's a Wonderful Life. Yeah, I know. It's corny. But I love it, and I love my friends and believe they make me richer.

17) Movie that makes the best case for agnosticism

18) Favorite song and/or dance sequence from a musical.
Get Happy from Summer Stock.

19) Third favorite Howard Hawks movie
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

20) Clara Bow or Jean Harlow?

21) Movie most recently seen in the theater? On DVD/Blu-ray/Streaming?
Theater: Titanic in 3D. DVD: The Godfather

22) Most unlikely good movie about religion
Two Mules for Sister Sara (it so is!)

23) Phil Silvers or Red Skelton? Red Skelton

24) “Favorite” Hollywood scandal
Le Scandale on the set of Cleopatra

25) Best religious movie (non-Christian)
Sorry, I got nothin'

26) The King of Cinema: King Vidor, King Hu or Henry King? (Thanks, Peter)

27) Name something modern movies need to relearn how to do that American or foreign classics had down pat 
Small movies about real people. Like Holiday Affair. Too much emphasis on special effects and super heroes.

28) Least favorite Federico Fellini movie
Spirits of the Dead

29) The Three Stooges (2012)—yes or no?

30) Mary Wickes or Patsy Kelly?
Mary Wickes

31) Best movie-related conspiracy theory
JFK. Flawed theory but great filmmaking.

32) Your candidate for most misunderstood or misinterpreted movie
Thinking of Oliver Stone: Scarface. You're idolozing a drug-addled loser who died in the end, people!

33) Movie that made you question your own belief system (religious or otherwise)
Bonnie and Clyde introduced me to the idea of moral relativity. ("We don't want your money. Just the bank's.")

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing: The Semi Charmed Meme, Part Two

21. A better name for me would be: She Who Must Be Obeyed

22. I have a hard time understanding: math
23. If I ever go back to school, I’d: appreciate the opportunity more
24. You know I like you if: I bother with you. No doubt about it, I'm becoming a hermit.
25. If I ever won an award, the first person I’d thank would be: dependent on what I won for
26. If I could bring back a TV show for a reunion it would be: Moonlighting. Whatever happened to David Addison?
27. Take my advice, never: allow a friend or lover to hurt you, telling yourself, "he didn't mean it." Trust me, odds are he did.
28. My ideal breakfast is: Eggs Benedict
29. A song I love, but do not own is: "Viva La Vida"

30. If you visit my hometown, I'd suggest: you tour the Frank Lloyd Wright buildings
31. If I could meet a couple of my blog buddies, I'd include: the bloggers at right. Hi, Ladies! Oh, and Bud, too.
32. Why won’t people: respect one another's space? Yesterday at the health club, a woman took up the entire bench with her stuff, even though the bench is obviously intended for six of us.
33. If you spend the night at my house: you better like cats.
34. I’d stop everything for: a chance to see Sir Paul again.
35. The world could do without: paranoid bigots (aka RWNJs)
36. The last time I got drunk I: woke up hoarse. Guess I was noisy. Oops.
37. My favorite blonde is: The Sundance Kid
38. Paper clips are more useful than: binder clips as murder weapons.

39. If I do anything well, it’s: care for critters.
40. And by the way: I wish I was back in my room at The Chiswell-Bucktrout House.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Off the rails

That's where my friend in Key West is, both emotionally and financially. He wants to move away from there today. Right now. IMMEDIATELY! Except he doesn't have another teaching job lined up, and houses in that market aren't moving. It doesn't help that he hasn't even put his up for sale ...

That's the thing of it. Whenever I suggest something that can help him in the short term, he says, "Yes, but ..."

"You could put your home up for sale so when a job on the mainland opens up, you can just jump on the opportunity without worrying about maintaining two households." Yes, but what if sold tomorrow (it won't) where would we live? (An apartment. It's easier to get out of a lease than a mortgage.)

"You could give Spanish lessons on your own." Yes, but having students over to the house would disrupt the dogs. (You could meet at Starbuck's, or anywhere with WiFi.)

"You could use this time to complete your dissertation. After all, a PhD would make you more employable." Yes, but I don't even know where to start. (Well, hell, I don't know either! I'm a community college dropout, you know.)

I'd be completely frustrated except he is such a good, good man. And this immature willfulness is not like him. It's as though losing his job as a professor at the community college broke his heart, broke his spirit. It confuses me, since he wasn't a teacher here in Chicago and he wasn't a teacher when he first moved to Key West. But he sees himself as a teacher, he loves being part of the academic community. I don't understand what he's going through, but I don't question his sincerity or his pain.

I'm worried about him. He has begun saying things like, "Don't worry, I'm not going to kill myself" and "I know you. You want to come down here and hide all the knives." These references to suicide are new and disturbing.

So yesterday I did something I normally wouldn't. I called his long-time lover and partner. We talked for nearly an hour. On the one hand, he told me that my friend is, indeed, "only interested in one-sided conversations" and isn't in a good place emotionally. On the other hand, I came away reassured that my friend has the support of a partner who loves him very much. He acknowledges that being with my friend right now is not easy, but they are a couple and they will make it through.

They have been together for decades now. They are not (and cannot be) legally married. They don't have any children to stay together for the sake of. And yet here they are, weathering a storm together. For no other reason than that they are in love. I find this very moving.

Mourning the Golden Girl

Watching Almost Golden on Lifetime, a made-for-TV movie about Jessica Savitch, the trailblazing but tragic NBC anchor who died in 1983. Sela Ward did a terrific job as the doomed golden girl, in tumultuous love with Ron Kershaw (also well played by Ron Silver). If you get a chance to see it, you should.

A little history lesson for anyone too young to recall her, or who isn't the news junkie I am -- the missing link in broadcast news between Barbara Walters and Diane Sawyer was Jessica Savitch. She anchored NBC News Update, 60 seconds in primetime every night, which made her one of TV's most visible newspeople in those pre-cable days.

Here she is at her best. You Tube also features her rather infamous on-air meltdown, when her speech was so slurred that the control booth interrupted her minute broadcast with a mattress commercial. But you'll have to look that up yourself. I like this Jessica.

Beautiful and blonde and smart, she connected with the camera and had a gift for making the average viewer believe she was telling him a story, not reading from a script. She was such a gifted performer that people felt they knew her, just from one minute each night and the occasional story on the nightly news or subbing for the vacationing Jane Pauley on The Today Show. Viewers felt a personal connection to her that they didn't feel for Barbara Walters or John Chancellor. In terms of her ability to perform on camera, she seemed like a younger, prettier Walter Cronkite.

Only she wasn't. She was a star before she could learn how to be a journalist. And it helped kill her.

Jessica Savitch deserves to be remembered. Nearly 30 years after her death, she has something to say to today's women. She believed that we can have it all, but she didn't accept the price attached to that. She tried to be what "they" wanted her to be, before finding out who she was herself. Instead of accepting the past, especially the loss of her father, she kept trying to repair it.

I have an autographed copy of her autobiography, Anchorwoman. I got it on eBay. I have never read it because it's generally regarded as a whitewash of her painful life. But now I think I want to dust it off. I want to spend some more time with her. There are two other books, Golden Girl by Alanna K. Nash (my favorite) and Almost Golden by Gwenda Blair. Here's a link to the PEOPLE cover story on her death.

I don't want her to be forgotten.

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: That's Why God Made The Radio

1. The Beach Boys are back together (everyone alive, Dennis and Carl have passed, including Brian) for the first time in 25 years. It's their 50th Anniversary tour. Their new single is called, “That's Why God made the Radio”. Did radio play a huge part of your growing up years? Yes! As a kid I loved listening to Animal Stories with my "charming and delightful old Uncle Lar" (Larry Lujack) and his sidekick, "Little Snotnose Tommy." And then in my 20s, I was devoted to Steve Dahl and Garry Meier.

2. What is something that you are disappointed about right now? Since we're talking radio, I'll say Jonathan Brandmeier. He was a monstrously popular morning jock here in Chicago in the 90s. He's made something of a comeback but, to borrow from Carole King, one of us is changing, or maybe he just stopped trying. I tried listening to him for a week and found him more than slightly mean and definitely no longer funny. And his callers! That degree of fawning is really unattractive in 40+ year old men.
3. What are you really anticipating right now? My annual eye exam is at 1:30.
4. When was the last time you watched your favorite movie? What is it? It's The Way We Were. I watched it while taking down my Christmas tree, so it must have been in January.

5. If you could bring one person back from the dead, who would it be? My grandpa. I really miss him.
6. Who was the last person you hung up on? My mom. But it's not as it sounds. We were done talking.
7. Does it bother you when meme makers separate questions that could've been combined? You know, I have never thought about this. Hmmm .... No, it doesn't bother me.
8. What is the first animal you would run to see if you went to the zoo? The okapi.
9. What is the food you always buy at the grocery store that you can't live without? Coke.

Friday, April 27, 2012

I wish she wouldn't

She's baaaack! Kathy, that is. First she called when my mom was in the hospital, offering to give me a ride to visit. I thanked her but told her I was good.

Now she bought me The Presidents Club. No reason, just because. She's heard a lot about it and the more she hears, the more certain she is I would like it.

I am dying to read it. I'm just not dying to see Kathy again.

I don't want to hurt her feelings. I don't want "revenge" for what she did. I just want this relationship to fade away.

I thanked her for thinking of me but was completely noncommittal about getting together. I can't very well say, "mail it to me." That would be mean and again, I don't want to be cruel. But I don't have the stomach to deal with her anymore.

I know I'm being passive-aggressive, which isn't normally my style, but you know what? I already feel like she's victimized me enough and that I do resent. I'm pissed that she's putting me in the position of having to deal with this unpleasantness. And so I'm not gonna. I'm going to do the bare minimum to be polite and hope she gets the message.


This weekend's challenge: Create a scene that involves (or affects) at least three people. Write it from the point of view of three of the characters, using 33 words for each character. 


Why is it all I ever see is the part of his hair? We’re at the restaurant where we had our first date, and is he gazing into my eyes? No. He’s TEXTING.

Re: FTD Order #F218810. The Deeply Devoted roses & vase arrangement. Confirmation email said it would be delivered to the Atwood Café 1 W. Washington before 7:00. It’s not here. WHERE IS IT?

Look at that couple in the candlelit booth with a view. His thumbs are working overtime on that Blackberry and she looks mad enough to spit glass. They make me grateful I’m single.

Tribute to Abby

Ever since 2012 dawned, I have started my workday walking past the card shop in our office building. And little Miss Abby Cadabby of Sesame Street fame has greeted me from the window. I actually looked for her, and enjoyed seeing her. But apparently so did someone else! In the words of Hall & Oates, "She's gone!" I even went into the store and checked all the shelves, but my Abby is gone. I hope she's bringing happiness to a little girl a little more demographically appropriate (like 51/52 years younger than I).

Lyrics | Hall & Oates - She’s Gone lyrics

Thursday, April 26, 2012


This week's challenge: Using between 33 and 333 words, compose a piece using the third definition of this word "confidence."

3 a: a relation of trust or intimacy >
   c : support especially in a legislative body

I had a little more trouble than usual with this week's challenge because the only thing that came to mind was a memorable afternoon of my own life, and somehow it seems like cheating to draw almost literally on that. But I got nothin' else. So here it is.


Chicago's House of Blues restaurant was busy with the distracting din of lunch hour, yet I was able to focus completely on the paper in my hand.

“Well,” I said cautiously, realizing these words could not be taken back and would not be forgotten, “I appreciate the vote of confidence this represents.”

My boss’ face went from light to dark. “That’s not exactly the enthusiastic response I expected.”

I fought to not let myself get angry. Looking at the org chart he presented me as though it was gold, I just now learned I'd be managing a staff four. Starting tomorrow. Tomorrow!

“I’m sorry,” I said, not meaning it. Why should I be sorry for not being happy enough to suit him? I became a copywriter because I wanted to write – not to sit in meetings, conduct performance evaluations and justify the billable utilization of a creative team. I did not ask for this. I did not want it. He went ahead and maneuvered me into this promotion without even asking if it was how I saw myself. And now it was a done deal: BBC (Blessed by Corporate). “It’s just, you know, tomorrow. Wow.”

Placated, my boss smiled sympathetically. “Now don’t go second guessing yourself, thinking you can’t do this. I know you can. And I know you’ll love the bump in salary, too.”

“Thank you,” I said, appearing grateful but feeling desperate. Oh, I knew I could do this new job. I also knew how much I didn’t want to. I hate bosses, and, now starting tomorrow, I would be one.

It took me 18 months to get my finances in shape so I could resign. Too bad. I really enjoyed my erstwhile job there as resident underachiever.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012



The press coverage that accompanied the passing of Davy Jones and the fatherhood of Barry Williams leads me to believe that the spot our girlhood idols hold in our hearts is enduring. With the help of the Huffington Post and back issues of 16 Magazine, here's a list of 13 beloved teen dreams.

There are many who started as fave raves (Elvis, Sir Paul, John Travolta, Johnny Depp) but went on to accomplish much more. They're not included on my list because I'm focusing on those whose careers peaked with the love of 13 year old girls.

And now, in reverse chronological order, I give you 13 beloved dreamboats. Did you doodle one of their names alongside yours?

1) Jason Priestly. The good boy, Brandon Walsh, on 90210. Girls followed his adventures at The Peach Pit and in his beloved car "Mondale," all the while dreaming of a career as a journalist. Oh, and he had the prettiest eyes in prime time! Since that show went off the air in 2000, he's worked regularly in both TV and movies.

2) Jonathan Taylor Thomas. JTT broke hearts as Randy, son of Tim "Tool Time" Taylor on Home Improvement. It's no surprise, since he began his career as the son of no less a heartthrob than Greg Brady (Barry Williams) on a Brady Bunch spin-off. While adored for his All-American Boy looks, he's not visible in one of his most memorable roles -- the voice of young Simba in The Lion King.

3) Kirk Cameron. Growing Pains was a Top Ten show in the mid 1980s in large part due to "Seaver Fever," the affliction that kept little girls up nights, dreaming of kissing Mike Seaver. Kirk was considered so hot among the Teen Beat set that he was the star that commanded attention, not Leonardo di Caprio or Brad Pitt -- two actors who shared the screen with him on that show.

4) Malcolm-Jamal Warner. Theo Huxtable grew up before our eyes as the only son of TV's most beloved family. On The Cosby Show, he thought he was sooo smooth, and a generation of young girls agreed. Theo's academic struggles in a family of overachievers (dad a doctor, mom a lawyer) made him especially compelling and lovable. Warner has enjoyed a career, if not ongoing superstardom, after Theo, starring in Malcolm & Eddie on the UPN. Now in his 40s, he's still a working actor and has added "poet" to his CV.

5) Rick Springfield. Oh, Dr. Drake! Noah was of the sexiest doctors to ever don scrubs on General Hospital (and, I suspect, the inspiration for Joey's Dr. Drake Ramoray character on Friends). His recording career was very respectable. I love "Jessie's Girl," which won him a Grammy in 1982. I was surprised to learn while researching this that he was nominated an additional 3 times before the 80s ended.

6) Willie Aames. Curly hair. LOTS of curly hair! First he was Tommy Bradford on Eight Is Enough. Then he was Charles' best friend on Charles in Charge. He did a stint on a soap (The Edge of Night) and wrote an autobiography, Grace Is Enough, that chronicles the rise of his TV star, his descent into sex and drugs, and redemption through Christ.

7) Shawn Cassidy. The pretty Hardy Boy went gold with bubblegum remakes like "Da-Doo-Ron-Ron." David's younger half-brother has said that, for him, having a TV show and recording career was a rite of passage in the Cassidy household, something a boy did, like making the softball team. I think if David had taken it all as lightly, he'd have been happier.

8) David Cassidy. He was very nearly the Thinking Girl's Fave Rave. Life Magazine put him on the cover, christening him "Teenland's Heartthrob." Rolling Stone gave him a platform to express his angst. He was nominated for a Grammy as Best New Artist. Keith's role on The Partridge Family sitcom was negligible -- Danny was the catalyst for almost every plot -- but we all tuned in to hear him sing on what was undoubtedly a precursor to music videos at the end of the episode. Could anyone else make velour jackets or puka shells so dreamy?

9) Bobby Sherman. I admit it -- this one was mine. His photos covered my locker, my school folders, my bedroom door. I may not be able to remember where I left my sunglasses, but I will never forget him as shy, sensitive young Jeremy Bolt from Here Come the Brides. Also, Bobby Sherman was my first concert. My ticket was $3.50. Adjusted for inflation: $20.75. (You know, it still sounds cheap. Considering how badly he sang, it also sounds about right.)

10) Barry Williams. Ah, Greg Brady! We loved watching you work on your bike, learn to drive and accidentally dye your hair orange. The Brady Bunch never cracked the Top 20 Neilsen ratings in its five-season primetime run, but Greg's dreaminess has helped ensure its place in TV history.

11) Davy Jones. A naturally gift singer and mimic, he had a  career on the London and Broadway stage. But it was on TV, as one of the "pre-fab four" that he won international fame. The outpouring of love and sadness that accompanied news of his death tells us how important he was to a generation of girls who had his photo in their lockers and carried a Monkees lunchbox to school.

12) Paul Petersen. First as a Mouseketeer, then as Donna Reed's TV son, he regularly enchanted little girls until he was 20. To hear him tell it, being a child actor was a sad and bruising experience. He began an organization called A Minor Consideration to protect young performers and has been  upfront about insisting Kate Gosselin and Nadya Suleman to do right by their broods.

13) Ricky Nelson. Including him on this list breaks my heart because I think it broke his. He shared the screen with John Wayne. He successfully fused rock/country/folk. No less than Paul McCartney proclaimed him a great and even influential balladeer. And yet he never overcame being the dreamy baby brother who came into our homes every week with Ozzie and Harriet.

For more information about the Thursday Thirteen,

or to play yourself, click here.

Is this what they mean by "win-win?"

Last time John and I had dinner together, he was affectionately amused by the Cubs logo on my phone screen and the one on my jacket. "Promise me we go to a game this season!" he said.

Well, as luck would have it, The Houston Astros will be in town, within the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field, the week of John's birthday! I got us OK seats (infield terrace) for Saturday and if we get there early enough (yeah, right) we'll get free Cubs wristbands.

He was so happy, telling me what a generous gift this is. Yeah, for ME, as well. There's no where I'd rather be than Wrigley Field.

Just call me Peppermint Fatty

It's a warmish, drizzly spring day, so I went into my closet looking for the little hooded golf jacket I've had for years. Imagine my shock, dismay and heart ache when I couldn't get it to reach around my big, fat middle.

This is a man's jacket!

I have been working out. I know I still eat more than I should, but I am eating less than I used to and better than ever before. And yet I think I have actually gained weight.

How depressing is this?

Because if I don't do it, it doesn't get done

Today is Administrative Professionals Day. I wasn't aware of it because I didn't pick up flowers for my own desk this week. It's the signage at the florist shop that has given me a heads-up in the past.

The head of HR sent an email to everyone in the agency saying that since all of our admins had enjoyed mimosas for breakfast, courtesy of the company, we should cut them some slack if they seem a bit loopy. So everyone who works here got a subtle reminder that today's the day we're supposed to say "thank you."

Today in our status meeting, I announced that I was going to Macy's (which is attached to our office by a pedway) to pick up a box of Frango Mints and a giftcard and I'd put everyone in the room's name on it and everyone owed me $5. That would give our secretary 4 pieces of chocolate and a $30 Macy's gift card. THAT I was very willing to do because there are only 7 people in our immediate group. That seemed imminently manageable to me.

No, my boss said, there are other people on our account who would contribute if only they knew about it. Um, they DO know about. Everyone got the email from HR this morning. For me, it was the principle of the thing. I'm not going to run around to *23* people, begging for money and getting signatures on a card. I'm just not. Who died and left me Mommy?

My boss realized he was pushing it and he did the incremental collection and he got the card signed. All I did was buy a bigger box of chocolates (I traded up to Godivas) and a more expensive gift card ($100).

I dunno ... maybe I'm still mad because I didn't get flowers from my teammates last fall when I was in the hospital. Because, since I was busy having internal organs removed, I couldn't run around collecting cash and signatures for the card.

I Want Wednesday

I want to be back in Williamsburg. My vacay zen feelings are gone, gone, gone. I keep fingering my Bruton Parish charm, hoping it will help me feel like I did when my biggest decisions were where to eat lunch and whether to see the presentation on Jefferson or the one on Washington. Sigh.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

But I don't wanna!

The rumors are true. I'm about to lose my office. We all are. In an effort to save money (squeezing 3 1/2 floors of employees into 3 floors of space) and to be cutting edge (open work areas are thought to be "edgy" and "buzzy" and "collaborative"), we're all going into cubes.

I alternate between thinking it's really not that big a deal, that I'm being childish, and being sad for my plant and how he'll suffer with a dearth of direct sun, and how I'll suffer my own lack of the privacy I need to write … and maybe this just may be another kick in the pants that encourages me to switch jobs.

Cubs win! Cubs win!

A two-run single in the bottom of the 9th! Against the Cardinals, no less! And I missed it. I closed my eyes for a moment after work and woke up after midnight.

So far this season has been a challenging one. Maybe my NOT watching it live is really the secret to enjoy it.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing: The Semi Charmed Meme, Part One

1. My uncle once: had a tortoise named Dog. It grew so big that he donated it to the Morton Arboretum. My uncle is no longer with us, but Dog may be. Tortoises can live to be over 100 years old!

2. Never in my life: have I smoked anything.

3. When I was five: I brought my Lassie dog with me wherever I went.

4. High School was: hell.

5. I will never forget: seeing Sir Paul at Wrigley Field last summer.

6. I once met: Bruce Springsteen. I know, I know. I have told this story online at least three times and you may be sick of it by now. If you still crave the details, here they are.

7. There’s this girl I know who: is in loooooove for the first time. I just saw my college-age niece's new Facebook pic. You can see it in her eyes as she gazes up at the camera and plays with her hair, her photographer thinks she's pretty and she revels in it. I am so happy for her.

8. Once, at a bar: I had a beer. I'm sorry, I got nothing else.

9. By noon, I’m usually: either ferociously busy or bored. That's the way my workdays seem to go.

10. "Last night: is the night I will remember you by. When I think of things we did, it makes me want to cry." For everyone who's not Bud, that's Sir Paul from Help!

11. If only I had: the freedom to reword this, I'd change it to, "My head I'd be scratching while my thoughts were busy hatching if I only had a brain."

12. Next time I go to church: I must thank God for my mother's recovery.

13. Jonathan Frid: was both cool and achingly sensitive and I hated how Angelique was so vindictive toward him. And he deserved so much better than that drippy Victoria Winters. (Yes, I was a fan. Big time.)

14. What worries me most: is that my oldest friend just won't do what it takes to get her daughter back on track.

15. When I turn my head left, I see: my living room window.

16. When I turn my head right, I see: my dining room table.

17. You know I’m lying when: .... I don't know how to answer this one. If I have any "tells," I'm not aware of them.

18. What I miss most about the 80s: My waist.

19. If I was a character in Shakespeare, I’d be: Katherina.

20. By this time next year: I hope my cat Reynaldo will finally be a good boy.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Bruce & Me & Wrigley Field

I'm in! My friend Mindy got us tickets. Not nosebleed,  but not on the field, either. But that's OK. There will be jumbotron screens. And The Boss, God bless him, is not my knight, and therefore some expense must be spared. So in all, this is good news. Very good news.

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: 'Til I Hear It From You

1. If someone, that you trusted, told you that your lover was cheating, would you believe them or not? There are so many variables here! I have been involved with a man I'd never believe it of, no matter who told me, and a man I'd know it was true about, no matter who told me.

2. What is something that you are disappointed about right now? Myself. I can be very lazy.

3. Jonathan Frid, who was the original Barnabas Collins on Dark Shadows from 1967-1971, passed away in Canada at the age of 87. Who is your favorite vampire? Barnabas, of course! I ran home from school every day to catch up with him. The Dark Shadows/Where the Action Is combo was the best hour of TV EVER! (BTW, Where the Action Is was a Dick Clark show, and we just lost him this week. Coincidence? Not with Barnabas involved!)

4. Should there be age limits on social networking sites such as facebook? Are you implying I'm too old for Facebook?

5. Tell us about your pets. Do you have one that you wish would run away? Three cats: Joey is a big old loving tub of guts. Charlotte is a lively and feminine little lady. And then there's Reynaldo -- the worst cat ever. I don't wish he would run away. I do wish he'd finally, FINALLY chill out.

6. Do you ever have a hard time with morals? I think at times, every one does.

7. Did you make 'a plan' the first time you made love or did it just happen? A certain amount of planning went into it -- I mean, contraception and privacy weren't standard issue in those days.

8. Do you agree that fame is lousy or would you love to give it a try? Why? I'd rather be rich. I can't imagine having my every move scrutinized, published and judged. I remember a most unflattering photo of Maria Shriver picking her teeth in her rearview mirror when she clearly thought she was alone. I thought, "God, how can anyone live that way?"

9. Do you believe in forever, as in 'love forever'? Yes. I still love every man I've ever loved. Relationships become untenable, but love doesn't die.

Friday, April 20, 2012


This weekend's challenge: A re-telling of the classic Goldilocks and the Three Bears story.

With Apologies to Robert and Danny and Gary

Oh, he was messed up all right. Here he was, predawn, wandering through Beverly Hills, and he had no idea why. Or how he got the beer in his hand. He remembered puffing some white widow before going to the club. Then he had a Courvoisier courtesy of his favorite bartender. A fan who remembered him from The Fillmore Family palmed him a pill of some sort, which he downed with Schnapps’. He needed a smoke and went outside. He bummed a cig from a stranger who knew him as “Buddy” and … somehow ended up on Burton Way with a light beer in his hand. He took a swig and wondered how people drank this shit.

Years ago, when he still had a career, he lived on Burton. Maybe that’s why he’s here. Maybe it’s time to go home and get some sleep.

When he lived here with his mom, he was the most popular child in America. TV Guide called him, “The Kid Who Saved NBC.” Tow-headed, smart aleck Buddy Fillmore, the precocious middle son of The Fillmore Family. Then his voice changed, his hair got darker and he sprouted up like a weed. He was 16 when the show was cancelled. Drinking went from his hobby to his avocation.

Somehow it didn’t make sense to finish high school. Not when you can have a gig with an entertainment news show, interviewing celebs at red carpet events. But that ended when leered down a starlet’s dress and copped an on-camera feel.

Then he did midmornings on local radio for a while. He liked that. Cigarettes and puberty gave his voice a great sound. But there was that controversy when he made fun of a sponsor during a live read and she sued. Hey! Who knew that Lebanese pastry chefs, not to mention the GLBT community, would be so sensitive?

So right now he was, as they say, “between engagements.” He felt sick. It would be nice to lie down. Good thing he was nearly home in his luxury apartment on Burton Way.

What they hey … Why doesn’t the key work in the front door? Oh, looks like he needs a key card of some sort now. Wonder when that changed. Was it like this in the morning? He couldn’t remember this morning. He really needed to lie down.

Fortunately he knew how to get in without a key. When his mother tried to get him to rehab the first time, she used “tough love” and locked him out of their Beverly Hills apartment. The one he paid for with the $100,000 per episode he made as that rascal, Buddy.

So with a jaunty wave at the lobby security camera, he went around to the back of the building. Since this would require both hands, he finished the light beer in greedy gulps, belched, and proceeded to remove the slats of one of the laundry room’s louver windows. He climbed in, bounced off a dryer and landed on the cement floor. He couldn’t stop laughing. Until he threw up in the wastebasket. Or maybe near the wastebasket.

Now how to get into his apartment? He stumbled into the hall and pressed his cheek against the cool wood of the first door he came upon. He knocked but there was no answer. Maybe Mom isn’t home. He tried his key and it didn’t work! Shit, he really needed to lie down. He went back to the laundry room, opened a supply cabinet and got out the janitor’s toolbox. You’d think the old fool would have moved it after the stink his mom made about him using the flat blade screwdriver. “Breaking and entering,” she called it. His mom always made such a big hairy deal out of everything.

It was so easy to get in with the screwdriver. “Mommy?” he whispered in to the darkness. He didn’t want to startle her. He’d just lie down on the sofa and catch a few winks. Except the sofa was different somehow. So soft! So many stupid pillows! What was his mother thinking, changing the sofa like this?

He stumbled up the short hall and hung a right. The master bedroom. His bedroom. Only fitting because he got the big bucks. He threw himself across the bed and lay face down a moment but the mattress was uncomfortably firm. What all had his mom changed since this morning?

He felt his way down the hall to the smaller bedroom. He burrowed under the comforter and pulled the pillow to him. Ah, just right! The last thought before he closed his eyes: Why does my mom have a Kung Fu Panda pillowcase?

The next day the grainy security camera footage and his mug shot made their way across the Internet and cable news: “Former sitcom star found unconscious in child’s bedroom.”


Both my best friend and I are thinking about changing jobs. And this makes me sad because if I make the move I'm considering it will be hard to ever see him again. If he makes the one he's considering it will be impossible.

We each have to do what we have to do. I understand all of it.

But the thing of it is, some of my most relaxed and genuine moments have been with him. It makes me sad to think they may be coming to an end.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012



I have been watching Smash, the NBC show about the launch of a Broadway musical about Marilyn. One of the things that fascinates me about it is how it seems Marilyn -- a woman who died 50 years ago -- has never really left us. So this week's TT is a tribute to that beloved doomed icon. Her voice is so familiar to me, I can almost hear her say some of these things.

1)  “Ever notice how 'What the hell' is always the right answer?”

2)  “Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.”

3) “A wise girl kisses but doesn't love, listens but doesn't believe, and leaves before she is left.”
4) “I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.”

5)  “I am good, but not an angel. I do sin, but I am not the devil. I am just a small girl in a big world trying to find someone to love.”

6)  “If you can make a girl laugh, you can make her do anything.”

7)  “If you're gonna be two-faced at least make one of them pretty.”
8) “Beneath the makeup and behind the smile I am just a girl who wishes for the world.”

9)  “I don't mind living in a man's world, as long as I can be a woman in it.”

10)  “Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.”

11) “We are all of us stars, and we deserve to twinkle.”

12)  “It's often just enough to be with someone. I don't need to touch them. Not even talk. A feeling passes between you both. You're not alone.”

13)  “Success makes so many people hate you. I wish it wasn't that way. It would be wonderful to enjoy success without seeing envy in the eyes of those around you.”

Thanks to Good Reads for the quotes.

For more information about the Thursday Thirteen,

or to play yourself, click here.