Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Return of the Grumpy Old Man

My oldest friend has been exchanging Facebook posts with Archie Bunker again. Sigh. I can't tell you how worried I am about this.

My oldest friend is very fragile. She has confessed that she is so overwhelmed by depression that sometimes it's all she can do "to wake up, brush her teeth and go to work." She and her shrink agree that she needs to make friends in the Los Angeles area (she has none). What she does NOT need is a grumpy asshole with health problems of his own.

Between his Facebook and Twitter accounts, I have learned that:

•  He blames Obama for his insurance premium going up. Never mind that he's nearly 60, suffers from diabetes and has been hospitalized for several nights this past year. No, it's that damn Obama.

•  He refused to watch the White House Correspondents' Dinner because Obama has no business partying when the country is in such a mess. Never mind that every president since Wilson has attended and participated. I guess Old Archie didn't think the country was in much of a mess during the Depression or World War II. (I did watch the WHCD and must report that no one in the room seemed to miss him.)

•  Conan O'Brien was rude to him each and every day when the rode the elevator together at NBC/Channel 4 in New York. Probably because Archie is such a grumpy old asshole.

•  Jason Collins, the only major league player of any sport in this country to come out of the closet, annoys Archie because it's a "non news story."

•  He suffers attacks of vertigo in the evening but doesn't go to the doctor because ... well, I guess it's more useful to just post about them.

I continue cyber-stalking Archie because I am so protective of my vulnerable old friend. His negativity and his temper are most definitely NOT going to help her through this rough patch. Especially since after they actually did go out, he lied and told her he was too ill to make their next date, and then posted photos of himself playing Hollywood tour guide to attractive young(ish) female friends from the east coast.

I Rock!

Today I worked out, ate a lunch that I brought from home, and gave an internal presentation that went well. Yes, today, this Gal done good.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Little Darling, it's been a long, cold, lonely winter

Today's it's sunny and 70ยบ. The sunniest, warmest it's been all calendar year!

It's amazing how it lifts my mood. Not the sunshine and warmth, per se, but how new it feels. The first snowfall makes me happy, too. I think I feel sorry for folks who live in sun and warmth all year around. They don't get to appreciate the miracle of the changing seasons.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

If only ...

The Company You Keep is a fascinating failure that just misses being good.

All the performances are good. It was great to see Redford, Nick Nolte and the amazing Julie Christie doing what they do best. I wish they all worked more.

But Redford, Nolte and Christie are all frankly, unapologetically, over 70. Nothing wrong with that. But it would make them all over 40 when the events that start the ball rolling take place. Without giving too much away, they were involved in robbing a bank to fund their underground radical activities and bring down evil corporations. 40 is TOO OLD for that kind of behavior. And, considering the way biology works, they were too old for one of the subplots.

Why didn't Redford (who also directed) set the initial bank robbery in the early 1970s, circa Patty Hearst and the SLA? That would have been easier to accept. And the little girl who plays his daughter? She's too freaking young. What is this 70 something man doing with an 11-year-old daughter? It's distracting. Couldn't they have reworked the plot to make her his granddaughter?

Also, with Boston on my mind, it's hard for me to romanticize political terrorism. It doesn't matter to me if innocent lives are lost in support of radical Islam (Boston) or a gun-hoarding religious freak (Oklahoma City) or the end of corporate greed (this movie). It's wrong, wrong, wrong. Americans should never turn on other Americans like this. We have a system. Work within it.

Sunday Stealing

The Wish List Meme, part one 

1.) What are 3 things on your Wish list and why?   Good health, a big lottery win, and more wishes

2.) What do you miss about your childhood? My favorite Grandpa

3.) What do you do on your spare time on the weekends?  I like my alone time. It rejuvenates me.

4.) What do you appreciate most in your life?  The little things that make me smile.

5.) Would you rather be rich or healthy?  Healthy. (Though I think it's easier to be healthy when you can afford good health care.)

6.) If you could go back in time would you and why?  I think I'd enjoy it for a short period of time. But I'd like to come back.

7.) Favorite game as a child?  Outside? Tag. Inside? Yahtzee.

8.) What is your dream career?  I'd love to be Doris Kearns Goodwin. Her books are wonderfully written and I bet she has a gas researching them.

9.) What do you do in your free time?  Read, go to movies, fart around on the internet ...

10.) Favorite clothing stores?  Carson's (or Bergner's, depending where you live) or Macy's

11.) What TV shows can't you live without?  Mad Men! Oh, Don!

12.) 3 things you need in your life are:  Books, cats, the internet

13.) What can't you sleep without?  Nothing comes to mind. Sorry.

14.) What are you currently a nerd for?  See #8. I loves me American history!

15.) What is your favorite seasoning?  Salt. I'm rather old school in my culinary taste.

16.) What is your favorite wild animal?  Okapi. They're fascinating.

17.) Name 3 of your favorite childhood shows:  I believe these were all segments of the same show, but I'm sticking with them: Rocky and Bullwinkle, Mr. Peabody and Fractured Fairy Tales.

18.) If you could live as a character in a movie who would it be?  Katie from The Way We Were. There were times when I felt like I was living that plot out anyway.

19.) Favorite vegetable?  Peas. With butter.

20.) Favorite Fruit?  Apples

21.) If you had a dragon what would you name it?  Puff. I'd bring him strings and sealing wax and other fancy stuff.

22.) What do you put on hotdogs?  I like relish. Bright, atomic green relish.

23.) Do you play online games?  I love Pogo.com

24.) What's your favorite way to get inspired?  Washing my hair helps.

25.) Do you have a middle name? Yes

A haircut and lunch

I'm a little blonder today than I was yesterday. My stylist went a little further with the highlights. But
I think it's OK. And if it's not? Well, we don't do it again next time.

My nephew stopped by while I was getting my hair done. He kept me company and then we had lunch afterward. Oh, how he can eat! Pizza, chocolate shake and mozzarella sticks. It was a late lunch, too. He was going to go home and have dinner in just a few hours.

He told me about his morning as a volunteer, setting up rain barrels in a local park. He seemed rather proud of the swath of mud across his chest. I was downloaded on his school trip to Springfield and the Lincoln sites, where he and I have visited twice in the past. We laughed a lot. He's a very interesting, sensitive kid.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Saturday 9

1) In the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Ferris climbs up on a parade float and enthusiastically lip synchs this song, encouraging the entire crowd to join in. Do you know the lyrics of "Twist and Shout" well enough to sing along? (Watch the impossibly young Matthew Broderick as Ferris here.) "Shake it up, Baby, now … Twist and shout … C'mon, c'mon, c'mon, Baby, now … Come on and work it on out …" I've got the lyrics down. Unfortunately I'm tone deaf, so I'd lip synch along with Ferris.
2) What other Beatles' song do you know all the words to? All of them. I have loved the Lads ever since this moment, when I first heard his Lordship warble, "Close your eyes and I'll kiss you ..."

3) 49 years after their American debut, The Beatles are acknowledged as having a lasting impact on both music and culture. What performers on today's music scene do you think will be remembered 50 years from now? As much as I cannot stand her -- and she may be the celebrity that annoys me most -- I have to give it to Madonna. She has ridiculous influence and staying power. Obviously there have been more talented singers since she arrived on the scene 30 years ago, but I can't think of anyone who has had her impact. 

4) Paul McCartney is an enthusiastic advocate of the vegetarian lifestyle. Could you/have you tried to "go veggie?" Nope. I saw him at Wrigley Field one hot summer night in 2011 and was in awe of his stamina. At almost 70, he played for hours in that heat without his energy waning, so maybe there's something to that veggie lifestyle.
5) As a young boy, Ringo Starr suffered a severe attack of appendicitis and almost died. Do you still have your appendix? What about your tonsils? Appendix: check. Tonsils: check. Yes, the gang's all here.
6) John Lennon sketched and doodled when he was bored or nervous. Do you have any nervous habits? I play with my hair when I'm nervous, bite my nails when I'm bored.
7) George Harrison loved Hawaii so much he bought a 63-acre estate in Maui. Have you ever visited our 50th state? Yes, twice. Honolulu, Maui, Kona, The Big Island … It's all beautiful. If the airfare wasn't so expensive, I'd like to go back.

8) Yoko Ono was a polarizing character in the Beatles' saga. Has any of your friends ever dated/married someone you just could not stand? Oh, yes! A former coworker, an adorable guy who I'd known since he was very young, fell head over heels for a remote woman I simply didn't trust. It's with great pleasure that I report that today they are very happily married and trying to get pregnant with their second baby. (I eat crow here.)
9) Paul has had dogs his entire adult life, including a sheepdog, Martha, and a black lab, Jet. John was especially fond of a cat named Elvis and a tomcat he found in the snow and named Tim. Tell us about one of your pets. Beside me as I answer this is my cat Charlotte. She is a Woman of Mystery -- she joined our household rather suddenly, and sight unseen, when there was a fire at the local animal shelter and they had to find a place for all the critters -- so I know little about her background. She is dainty, mostly white with calico coloring around her ears, and quite the diva. She keeps my boy cats, and me, in line.

Friday, April 26, 2013

A Day with Doctors

I took today off and filled it with doctor's appointments.

First with the vet. Reynaldo has been behaving TERRIBLY ever since I came back from vacation. Peeing outside the box, hollering, leaping at nothing, eating my hair ... it's been a nightmare. I found out today that he has been trying to tell me that he's not feeling well. He has a urinary tract infection. Whereas another cat in discomfort would be quiet and lethargic, Reynaldo is agitated. But he's been trying to get and hold my attention, trying to help me help him feel better! Well, it worked. Beginning tomorrow, and perhaps for the rest of his life, he will be on prescription cat food. Hopefully this will bring him comfort. Poor crazy cat!

Then in the afternoon I went to the dermatologist. He froze some little bumps -- congested oil glands -- from my cheek and temple. We talked about removing the mole on my lip and one on my back and he referred me to a (gulp) plastic surgeon. This surgeon is in the same building my shrink used to inhabit, so I take that as a good sign -- even though I'm not looking forward to it.

I also bought a new air conditioner at Sears today. I always like to make major purchases at Sears, when I can, since my first job was as a catalog copywriter for Sears. They have earned my loyalty.

So in all, it was a productive, but expensive, day off.

Image courtesy of  FreeDigitalPhotos.net

And a fine time was had by all

My friend John and I went to see Anything Goes at the Cadillac Palace Theater. It was performed by the completely awesome touring company of fabulous Broadway revival. There were Cole Porter songs and lavish production numbers and a "de-lovely" star turn by Rachel York. (As you can see from the post below, I have a weakness for leather-lunged singers.)

John and I always have a good time together. I'm lucky to have him in my life.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Thursday Thirteen #218


I'm revisiting/revising a TT I did way back in 2008, because Judy Garland has been popping into my head a lot lately. I saw a photo of her taken near the end of her life and was shocked to realize that, when this was snapped, she was only 47. How did the Dorothy that we all know and love end up sick, old and dead before her time? I also did a "Fashion in Film Blogathon" post about Valley of the Dolls, one of the most delightfully wretched movies ever made. Garland's behavior had become so erratic by then that she was fired. How does a star of her magnitude find herself dismissed from that piece of crap?

This TT follows her life and career, taking us through the decades of divorces and drinking and drugging and smoking and suicide attempts ... as well as remembering the authentic, ferocious talent that makes her indelible. No less an expert on these things than Katharine Hepburn once declared that Judy was one of the most gifted individuals she'd ever met. Kids not even born yet will watch The Wizard of Oz and follow that yellow brick road with her. To borrow from Arthur Miller, attention must be paid.

1. She was a major star in MGM’s Golden Era. She made more than 25 films for the studio in just 14 years. She was still in her 20s when they fired her after too many sick days, late days, days when she wouldn’t/couldn’t leave her dressing room at all. After all, it’s called show BUSINESS, and Garland no longer was a good ROI.

2. In her MGM heyday, she was awarded a special Oscar. Unlike Haley Joel Osment and Abigail Breslin, among others, child stars in those days simply weren’t nominated for “competitive” Academy Awards. Instead they were given mini Oscars. Garland received hers in 1940 for her “Mickey-Judy” musicals and for the immortal Wizard of Oz.

3. Those teen musicals are still fun to watch today. Directed by Busby Berkeley, the big production numbers are amazing. Garland is unfailingly sincere, even spouting ridiculous dialog like, “Hi! I’m Betsey Booth. I sing!”

4. She put her indelible mark on classic songs in those silly movies. I Cried for You, I’m Nobody’s Baby, How About You, and But Not for Me. Once Judy sang these songs in her strong yet tremulous voice, they should have just been retired.

5. Her version of You Made Me Love You was initially an MGM novelty song. In Broadway Melody of 1938, a teen Judy sings this to a photo of MGM’s greatest star as she pens him a fan letter. It begins, “Dear Mr. Gable, I am writing this to you …” She sings with such aching sincerity, it could have been me warbling to Bobby Sherman or David Cassidy.

6. She worked with Vincente Minnelli on Meet Me in St. Louis. Together they created famous musical numbers like The Trolley Song and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. They later married and created Liza.

7. She helped launch Gene Kelley’s film career. He was a critically acclaimed Broadway performer, and Judy lobbied for him to be her costar love interest in his film debut: For Me and My Gal.

8. They also appeared together in my favorite Garland film, Summer Stock. It’s kinda dopey, actually. A Mickey-Judy/”Let’s do the show right here” musical with an adult cast. But it’s got great songs like If You Feel Like Singing, Sing! and the unforgettable Get Happy! Love her in that fedora.

9. The backstory makes that number even more interesting. Throughout the movie, Judy is … well … fat. It works for the story because she’s cast as the diligent sister who works the family farm and supports the glamorous, frivolous sister with show biz aspirations. Suddenly, in the iconic Get Happy! number, she’s sleek and svelte. Then, for the remainder of the film, she’s heavy again. As the story goes, after the film was shot, Garland was hospitalized for a time (there were definitely pills, most certainly booze and perhaps a suicide attempt involved) and during her convalescence she lost a ton of weight. While she was trying to get well and clean, MGM was editing Summer Stock and decided it needed another big number. So when Judy left the hospital, she was summoned back to the set to shoot Get Happy! It was the last number she successfully completed at the old Dream Factory.

10. After she left MGM, she began performing on stage. She needed money. She had fame, but no job. Instead of doing plays, she developed a one-woman musical show. It’s still available today as a 2-CD set, “Judy at Carnegie Hall.” If you’re curious to hear what all the fuss is about, take a listen.

11. Then there’s A Star Is Born. She acts, really acts, in this one. “Hi, everybody. This is Mrs. Norman Maine.” Gulp. Oh yeah, she sings, too. Most notably Swanee and The Man that Got Away. She was nominated for an Oscar for this performance. Groucho Marx referred to her loss that year as “the greatest robbery since Brink’s.”

12. Judgment at Nuremberg. Another Oscar nomination for her heart-wrenching courtroom scene. (NO! There’s no singing! This is Judgment at Nuremberg, not Springtime for Hitler!)

13. Her variety show on CBS featured some amazing duets. It didn’t last very long because the network couldn’t sustain high production costs (due to their star’s late days, sick days, etc.) and middling ratings. But the series gave us Judy singing with Liza, Peggy Lee, Lena Horne and best of all, an unbelievably young Streisand. Their duet of Happy Days Are Here Again and Get Happy! still leaves me with goosebumps. Streisand, barely out of her teens and at the beginning of her career, looks stronger and more self possessed than Judy, who keeps touching Babs as they sing. The veteran looks like she's getting support from the rookie. Watching this, you're not surprised that Streisand is the one who never went to rehab, or was multi-married, or went bankrupt. (BTW, on April 24, survivor Streisand celebrated her 71st birthday.)

Ok, so I left out most of the really lurid stuff. If you want to read about the sex and the drugs, there are plenty of biographies out there. Some are harrowing, some are really juicy, and all are entertaining. Even when Garland was at her worst, she was imaginative , funny and rather brave, so her life has attracted successful biographers like Gerald Frank and Anne Edwards. But her chaotic and self-destructive personal life can’t overwhelm her sumptuous body of work.

For more about the Thursday 13, 

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I Want Wednesday

I want to always be this busy! Things have really been humming around here lately. Makes the days just zip by.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


I admit it: I've had the blues lately. Which is why I was so happy to see my oldest friend over the weekend.

She exasperates me. She makes questionable decisions and doesn't accept responsibility. That's true. But she also loves me. She's smart and funny. And oh! How she makes me laugh!

She was in town for a convention. We met Saturday for drinks in the hotel bar, then we went to dinner, and had more (this time soft) drinks. In all we spent 8 hours together.  I laughed so hard I was hoarse.

We've known each other since Kindergarten. We've been friends since we bonded over our love of The Beatles after their appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. We have so much history, and she gets me.

I am grateful for her for showing up when I needed her.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Movie Liebster Award

Here's the familiar Liebster with a twist -- it's all about the movies. And how I love the movies! To thank you to Aubyn Eli at The Girl with the White Parasol for singling me out. I'm tearing into her questions with the enthusiasm I usually reserve for a good ribeye.

1. Olivia de Havilland or Joan Fontaine? Olivia, definitely. I don't know why, but Fontaine leaves me unimpressed.

2. What are your top 5 favorite movie scores? My Best Friend's Wedding, The Godfather, HELP!, Bonnie and Clyde, A Star Is Born (1954)

3. What film gets your vote for "most perfect casting?" The Godfather. It always amazes me anew how wonderfully made it is, including the bit players and extras. I don't like Keaton as Kay, but then, you wisely asked for the "most perfect casting," not entirely perfect casting.

4. Do you watch the Oscars? OF COURSE!

5. Mother's Day is next month. Name 5 of the most memorable movie mothers (note that I did not specify good or bad). M'Lynn in Steel Magnolias, Kate in One True Thing (reminds me of my own mother),  Aurora in Terms of Endearment, and naturally, Stella Dallas and Mommie Dearest

6. What is your favorite "comfort movie" for when you're feeling blue? Breakfast at Tiffany's

7. What is a movie star/director collaboration that you wish had happened but never did? Katharine Hepburn and Sydney Pollack. I believe he was the Cukor of his time, and she was the ultimate Cukor actress, wasn't she?

8. If you could choose any movie star, past or present, to star in the biopic of your life, who
would you choose? Garland. I believe that, when she was on her game, she could do anything, and that she could portray some of the more complicated areas of my life in a sympathetic light.

9. Name an author that deserves more film adaptations of their work. Doris Kearns Goodwin. Look how well Team of Rivals/Lincoln did, both artistically and commercially. I'd love to see her Roosevelt book -- No Ordinary Time -- on screen.

10. Do movie remakes make you cheer, shrug, or shudder? Depends on the remake. I prefer Heaven Can Wait to Here Comes Mr. Jordan. I'm curious about upcoming The Great Gatsby. But a lot of them do seem like a waste of time.

11. What is your favorite "so bad it's good" movie-watching experience? Valley of the Dolls!

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing: The Unlucky 13 Meme

1. On average, how long does it take you to get ready for work/school/a day or night out? Probably a little over an hour. Most of that is spent on letting my hair air dry. I don't like using the blow dryer.

2. If you could ask your favorite author one question about the book(s) they wrote, what would it be? I'd ask Doris Kearns Goodwin about The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys. I want to know what fascinating tidbits she found in her research that didn't make their way into the manuscript. (I know, I'm such a geek.)

3. What do you think is the hardest thing about growing up? Learning to be yourself, accepting who you are.

4. Who would you rather switch places with for a day: your favorite celebrity, or your favorite fictional character? Oh! What a cool question! I think my favorite fictional character. Jo March from Little Women lived in the 1860s. I think it would be fascinating for one day.

5. Who would you rather have point out a flaw that you weren't aware you had: a close personal friend, or a total stranger? A stranger. Then I could blow it off more easily.

 6. Do you get jealous easily? If so, what sorts of qualities or characteristics in other people are you most likely to be jealous of? I get jealous when I feel insecure in a love relationship, so it's not the kind of jealous that makes me wish I had someone else's traits.

7. Which version of yourself would you rather have a conversation with: the one from ten years ago, or the one you turn into ten years from now? The future. Definitely.

8. Were you ever bullied in any way as a child? If so, how has it shaped you today? My older sister bullied me often and my parents unfortunately let her get away with it. The result is that I sometimes feel very vulnerable.

9. What is one fear you would like to overcome in your lifetime? I hate flying. I'd like to get over that fear.

10. What is one food you haven't tried yet that you would like to? Nothing pops into my head. Sorry.

11. Is it easier to forgive someone for the wrong they've done you or to seek forgiveness from someone that you've wronged in any way? I'm not good at either one, but I suppose it's easier to ask forgiveness. I can carry a mean grudge.

 12. Let’s go random: What did you do for New Year’s Eve for the turn of the millennium? I was with my friends in Key West.

13. What else around here have you noticed? "Around here" would be home, and I guess I've noticed anew what an incredibly lazy housekeeper I am.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Saturday 9

1) Crazy Sam is beyond sick of all things Kardashian! What's a topic you're just tired of and don't want to talk about anymore? The Twilight Saga. It seems every time I turn on one of my movie channels they are premiering another sequel or talking to another of the young hot vampires. That Kristin Stewart is especially annoying. Enough!
2) Rod Stewart has been recording for more than 40 years. Do you have any of his music on your iPod/mp3 player? "Maggie Mae," "Reason to Believe," "You Wear It Well," and "Stay With Me." He's become such a cartoon that it's easy to forget how good Roderick once was.
3) Rod Stewart is known for his coif. How much time do you spend on your hair each morning? About 10 minutes. Shampoo, condition, brush. I brush it alot during the day as a nervous habit
4) Rod's first child, a daughter, will turn 50 this year. His most recent child, also a daughter, is 2. How close in age are your children? If you don't have any children, how close in age are you and your siblings? If you don't have children OR siblings, well, tell us what's immediately to your left as you respond to this meme. If you don't have anything to your left ... Oh, hell, I give up! My older is sister is 17 months older than I am, my kid sister is 8 years younger.
5) Which do you prefer -- french toast or pancakes? French toast, please.

6) When was the last time you lost your cool? Don't let his sweet countenance fool you. My cat Reynaldo has elevated getting on my nerves to an art form.
7) Crazy Sam once had a pet hamster she named Bart. Have you ever cared for a hamster or a gerbil? Nope. Just cats, parakeets and a turtle.
8) Are you ticklish? Yup. My underarms.

9) Ouch! You have a headache! What's your go-to remedy? Ibuprofen


You Are an Owl
Like the owl, you are highly intuitive. You can trust your instincts above all else, and you listen to your inner guide.
You can see what others don't or won't see. You see everyone for who they truly are, and that frightens them.

You are a natural lie detector. You can see past masks and facades. No one can hide from you.
You have a quiet and gentle wisdom. You don't go around bragging about how smart or wise you are.

You are good at uncovering potential in yourself and others. You are a catalyst for positive growth and change.
You have a lot of creative and dynamic energy. You are focused on all of the possibilities in life.

Oh, break my heart!

I have spent so much time fixating on Suspect #2 (below) that I neglected to show props to the little boy who symbolizes what Monday cost us all.

That's Martin Richard. He was 8. Look at the gap tooth smile. Look at how he's mixed his capital and lower case letters. You know this little boy. He's as familiar and comfortable a little fella as Suspect #2 is strange and confusing.

And at left is a photo of the two of them as Martin's life ticks away. Circled are #2, Martin and the bomb. I have an overwhelming urge to reach into the shot and stop it from happening. Don't you wish you could just make it Monday morning again?

Krystle Campbell was 29 and loved her Nana very much. And now she's gone.

Lingzi Lu was just 23. This grad student was the pride of her family in China. And now she's gone.

Sean Collier was 26, a law enforcement officer on the job, a brother and a much loved member of his community. And now he's gone.

The world is a sadder and more confusing place.

Where is he?

THIS JUST IN! Captured before 8:00 PM (CST)

This is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. "Suspect #2." The younger of the brothers suspected of carrying out Monday's bombing.

I have been staring at his face for about 24 hours now. The more I look at him, the more curious I become.

I'm still afraid of him. He's desperate and frightened and without his older brother to call the shots. I realize he's capable of anything. A dangerous, dangerous 19 year old with a penchant for firearms and explosives.

But I look in those eyes and I don't hate him. I see a kid who has somehow gone all wrong and can't possibly right it. Not anymore. Not after the body count that's been racked up.

How does an aimless, off balance kid like this become a terrorist who kills, who holds one of my favorite cities hostage? I'm obsessed and want to know how he became a murderer. I want him found before dark today before no one else gets hurt … and so I can get the rest of the story.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Thursday Thirteen #217


This week, we're all Bostonians. Here's my tribute to one of my favorite cities.

1) It was founded in 1630.

2) It has a rich heritage of education. In 1635, it became home to America's first free public school, Boston Latin.

3) Today it can claim more than 100 colleges and universities. That doesn't include the two most famous -- Harvard and MIT -- which are actually located across the river in Cambridge.

4) Boston Public Garden, designed by Frederick Olmstead, is America's first public garden. Nature lovers can enjoy literally hundreds of varieties of trees and flowers, and families enjoy the famous swan boats.

5) Right next to the Garden is the Boston Common. The Frog Pond provides relief from the summer heat and during the winter it's frozen for ice skating.

6) Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, opened 100 years ago and is the MLB's oldest ball park and has an honored spot on United States' National Register of Historic Places. 

7) It's a terrifically easy city to navigate. Trust me, I have done it as a tourist with no problem at all. The MBTA (or "The T") carries more than 165,000,000 commuters annually.

8) Every year more than one million visitors see works by Monet, John Singer Sargent and Gaugin at Boston's famous Museum of Fine Arts.

9)  For more than 100 years, shoppers looked for deals at Filene's Basement, which was a Boston-born phenomenon. It got started, literally, in the basement of high-end Filene's Department Store and gave birth to the term, "bargain basement."

10) Newbury Street is 8 blocks of retail delight. You can find jewelry, clothes, books, art ... all in beautiful buildings from the late 1880s.

11) The TV show Cheers made Boston's bars famous. Today drink aficionados recommend the sophisticated Avery Bar at Ritz Carlton Boston Common for the best martini in town.

12) It's also home to the Boston Marathon, which has been held every year since April, 1897. And make no mistake -- there will be a Boston Marathon next year, too!

13) Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Tom Menino have announced the formation of The One Fund Boston to help the people most affected by the tragic events that occurred in Boston on April 15, 2013. It raised more than $6 million in just 24 hours. But that doesn't mean your donation wouldn't be most welcome.


For more about the Thursday 13, 

or to play along yourself, click here.

Much Ado about Nothing

The bombing in Boston upset me more than I anticipated it would, probably more than it should have. It's thrown me off my game emotionally and mentally, and it's kept me from blogging because these feelings are not something I want to examine.

Which means I never updated the summons story. I was served with my own summons on Saturday, and I spent the weekend worrying about nothing. It was, in my lawyer's words, "pro forma and expected." The mortgage company has to serve notice to all involved parties and, since my mother is gone, my sisters and I are the remaining involved parties. We have no personal liability. We need take no action.

In short ... YAWN!

I stopped by the lawyer's office Monday morning to drop the packet off and was delighted anew by how pleasant and good looking he is. He's not young, and it's interesting how the gray mixes with his blond hair. And I think it was freshly cut. Sigh.

So Monday I got comforting news from a handsome man, I moved into my new, solo (albeit short term) office, so I should have been happy, right? No, because right after my 2:00 meeting, I heard what happened in Boston.

I was actually kind of frightened to take the el home on Monday night because it runs over the Chicago River. Because if I was a terrorist trying to destroy Chicago, that's where I'd hit. I hate that my mind went there. 

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at  FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I don't accept what happened yesterday. Not Copley Square. Not Boston. No.

As a Chicagoan, I have always felt a great affinity for Boston. The neighborhoods, the public transportation, Fenway ... it's like a smaller, slightly more manageable version of home. Los Angeles feels alien to me, Manhattan intimidates me, but Boston welcomes me.

I have been on the verge of tears since I heard yesterday.

My only small comfort is that the "explosion" at the JFK Library was, in reality, a rather benign electrical fire.

Watching the news coverage this morning I see Bostonians driving and walking and riding their bikes, heading to work and getting on with their lives. You GO!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing: The "What's Your Story" Meme

1. What is the strangest thing you have ever eaten in public? I once had shark at the Taste of Chicago. I don't even remember how it tasted. I just recall feeling very brave for eating it.

2. If you had to go on an adventure, with elves, dwarves, or hobbits, who would you take and why? Elves, definitely. Elfin heroines always seem to have so much fun, from Snow White all the way to Zooey in the movie Elf.

3. You are at a rural retreat lodge somewhere deep in Wisconsin or Canada. You are approached by a taxidermist who hands you a stuffed badger and asks you to put it in your lap. What do you do next? Hightail it outta there before his mother can stab me to death in the shower. I've seen Psycho. I know all the signs.
4. If you were given biscotti, would you prefer it with coffee, tea, or hot chocolate? Hot chocolate.

5. In your opinion, who is the funniest man or woman alive today Stephen Colbert
6. If you were given thirty seconds on television to say something, what would it be? Let's celebrate lawmakers who reach across the aisle to get things done.
7. What is your idea of the most romantic date setting ever? I know it's old school, but I still like a movie and then dinner afterward to discuss it. You can learn so much about what one another that way.

8. If you could go on one date with a movie or television star, who would it be and why? Mark Harmon. Because he's Gibbs, my TV boyfriend. Because it took him until he
was in his late 50s to become a TV's highest paid star, so I'd like to hear about his journey. Because he very nearly went into advertising instead of acting. And because he knows Bruce Springsteen.

9. What is the worst song you have ever heard? This is a close call, because the 1970s gave us Barry Manilow. But #1 is the jaw-droppingly bad "Muskrat Love" by Captain and Tennille. Here's the official music video. Everyone involved with it MUST have been stoned. There is no other excuse or explanation. 

10. If you could live anywhere else, where would it be? If I had the money, I'd like to live a few miles north on Chicago's Gold Coast. Particularly the art deco Palmolive Building. I love its style and history. It was completed just before the Depression and has ties to men as diverse as Charles Lindbergh, Hugh Hefner and Vince Vaughn.

11. Who- in your opinion- was the greatest person to ever live? Jesus Christ

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: You Belong with Me

1) Like the girl in this song, have you ever been in love with someone, but was afraid to tell them? Yes. I'm glad I didn't tell him. Our timing was simply wrong, and sharing my secret would have complicated everything.

2) Taylor Swift has been known to write songs about her real-life lovers. If you were to write a song about the most recent person you were romantically involved with, what would the title be? "Thanks for the Memories." Oh wait! You mean it's already taken?
3) Ms. Swift recently turned 23 and has already won VMAs and AMAs and Grammys. What were you doing when you were 23? (If you aren't 23 yet, where do you see yourself when you hit it?) I was in love with the wrong man and working too hard to make it work.

4) When you were a child, did you sleep with a plush toy? (If yes, please include its
name in your answer.) My Lassie dog, who, before all our adventures and all my affection, looked much like this one. She's still in my bedroom closet. I could never part with her.
5) I'm making a Starbucks run. What can I get you? Tall hot chocolate, no whipped creme, and if you could add a dash of cinnamon I'd be especially grateful.
6) It was 60 years ago that Clarence Birdseye first marketed frozen vegetables. Now it's your turn: Share something you learned recently. North Korea only allows its citizens a certain selection of haircuts. No, really!

7) In junior high, were you class clown, teacher's pet, a geek, a jock ... or did you just melt into the background? My guess is that I melted.

8) Was your most recent ticket for parking illegally or was it a moving violation? I don't drive.

9) Tell us about the last museum you visited. All of Colonial Williamsburg is a museum, and it really appeals to the geek in me. My favorite building to tour is the Peyton Randolph House.