Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Really? REALLY?

I have the most painful, red and angry little zit on my lip. The tenacious little bastard has been hanging on since Friday.

I'm 55 years old and embarrassed by a zit.

This particular hell is never going to end, is it?

It was the strangest thing

As I was walking into the coffee room of our newly renovated office space, preparing to fill my mug with ice water, it dawned on me, "I want to call my mother."

I know my mom is dead. She's been gone nearly a year. I think about her -- and her passing -- every day. As we approach the anniversary, I think to myself, "It was a year ago today that she saw this/that for the last time."

Sometimes when I think of my mom I'm mad at her. I can't believe she put me in charge of her messed up final affairs when she was very aware of what a bitch her oldest child can be. I feel like a pawn in the final disagreement between the two of them and I really resent it.

Sometimes when I think of her I'm sad, because I know how much she loved her grandchildren and tending her yard. I wish she could enjoy being outdoors with my nephew these unusually mild summer afternoons.

But today is the first time I have ever had the impulse to pick up the phone and call her.

I wonder when, or if, I'll ever get used to her being gone.

Well, it won't be today

Today is payday, and it's the middle of the third quarter, so I was more than a little afraid that today would be the day the axe fell. Here it is, mid-afternoon, and so far no calls from HR, no rumors flying down the halls. So I guess I have a two-week reprieve … until the next payday.

This is a rough month for me, financially. And wouldn't you know what project I'm working on is "Money Management 101," a brochure to help young people be more fiscally responsible.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

"Isn't she lovely? Isn't she wonderful?"

The Stevie Wonder song began running through my head when I learned I was given the "One Lovely Blog Award" by Kellee at "Outspoken and Freckled." Kellee writes so very well about movies and TV, especially strong women characters. Scroll down her blog today and you'll see posts about Katie Morosky (Barbra Streisand in The Way We Were) and Mary Richards (MTM's landmark show) and Nora Charles (Myrna Loy in The Thin Man series). So getting this award from her is especially "lovely."

How this "One Lovely Blog Award" works:

1. Add the “One Lovely Blog Award” image to your post

2. Share seven things about you

3. Pass the award on to seven nominees

4. Thank the person who nominated you and add a short blurb about them.

5. Inform the nominees by posting on their blogs

Seven things about me
1) I start every weekday watching Morning Joe on MSNBC. I like how they devote longer segments to important topics, I enjoy hearing diverse points of view (even though I invariably disagree with their civil and smart Republican guests, it's a good learning experience and makes me feel better about our future as a country) and Joe and Mika often make me laugh.

2) I am hooked on Farmville 2. I spent an embarrassing amount of time yesterday constructing a new pen for my hooved animals.

3) I love baseball. I love how fair it is, how traditional it is. I am so fascinated by all the stats, even though I don't often recall them after I hear them.

4) It makes me sad when I flip through US magazine and no longer recognize many of the celebs. (Dianna Agron? Marisa Miller?)

5) I love ribeye steak. 

6) My greatest failing: No self discipline

7) I wish I was more successful at living in the moment.

My seven nominees

1) Boss Nurse. She's a very mature, level-headed, grown up blogger and I enjoy reading her.

2) Endomental. She's a mom and a photographer and a fellow movie lover.

3) Book Mama. She's a big reader (obviously) and a loving mom and a good writer.

4) Kwizgiver. She throws herself into everything she does -- teaching, reading, knitting, napping ...

5) J's Thoughts and Musings. She's back! And I hope this award will be the gentle nudge she needs to post more often.

6) Snarky Pants. She specializes in all the major food groups: Snark, Pants and Cookies.

7) Kathy W. Because she cracks me up.

Monday, July 29, 2013


My niece's college, The Culinary Institute of Michigan, put this on their Facebook page this morning and I love it.

Today I took #2 to heart. I not only worked up a sweat at the health club over lunch, I took a walk after dinner, enjoying the midsummer evening as I dropped some books off at the highschool for this weekend's charity book fair. It does feel good. Why don't I do it more often?

I certainly didn't see this coming

Omnicom and Publicis have merged to form the world's biggest advertising agency ever.

My agency is part of the Omnicom network. My client's #1 competitor has a world-famous advertising agency, too. And guess what -- they're part of the Publicis network.

Though this looks like a conflict of interest, management tells us our clients are all OK with it.

I don't see how that's possible.

So I start yet another workweek scared.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Defending The Big Dog

PREFACE: Bill Clinton's impeachment scandal broke my heart. As a woman, I was offended by the predatory nature of his conquest (though I don't think we can hardly deem that poor, emotionally needy intern much of a "conquest") and I hate, HATE that he has gone on to be one of the most recognized and beloved figures on the planet while her name remains a punchline. As a Clintonista, a campaign worker who gave of my time and money and heart, I felt very personally betrayed. That, Mr. President, is most emphatically not what I wanted you to do in The Oval Office.

That said ...

There is no comparison between Bill Clinton and Anthony Weiner. None. Zero. Zip.

By the time Bill was Weiner's current age (48), he had:

•  Been a Rhodes Scholar (no small accomplishment for a boy who grew up in Hot Springs, AR)
•  Graduated with honors from Yale Law School
•  Served as AR attorney general, where he successfully faced down the utility companies on both rate increases and on environmental grounds
•  Been sworn in as governor at the age of just 32 (youngest in the country)
•  Reformed the state's public school funding, introduced banking reforms and attracted new jobs through support of the burgeoning technology sector (though, to be fair, AR still lagged behind the rest of the country in average income during Gov. Clinton's tenure)
•  Become the second youngest man ever elected President (only JFK was younger)
•  Championed and signed  the FMLA -- The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. Thanks to President Clinton, men and women are able to take unpaid leave to care for new babies, sick parents, and other qualifying medical and family issues without having to worry about job security.

This just brings us to the first term, when Clinton was the age "Carlos Danger" is today.

If Mr. Weiner had anything in common with 42 beyond the narcissistic belief that he has the license to do whatever wishes within the sexual realm, he wouldn't be dead in the water politically. Unfortunately, he doesn't have Clinton's gifts of persuasion and compromise, imagination and vision, to make the uglier aspects of his personality seem remotely worth the spectacle.

If past is prolog, then we have no reason to believe Anthony Weiner's future accomplishments will deserve comparison to President Clinton's, and it's time for him to give the voters of New York a break and just go away.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Sunday Stealing

Massive Alphabet Meme, part one
The Letter A 
  Are you agnostic? No

What is your age?  55

What annoys you?  Good goobies, the list is long just now!

The Letter B
  Do you like bacon? Yes

When is your birthday?  November 22

Who is your best friend?  A former coworker who moved to Boulder

The Letter C 
  What is your favorite candy?  Mary Janes.

Who is your crush?  Mark Harmon

When was the last time you cried? Watching the movie Lincoln. I'm an unabashed Abe-o-phile.

The Letter D
  Do you daydream?  Yes

What is your favorite kind of dog?  Shelter rescues

What day of the week is it?  What? Don't you know?

The Letter E
  How do you like your eggs?  Over easy

Have you ever been in the emergency room?  Sure

What’s the easiest thing to ever do?  Fall. Gravity does all the work.

The Letter F
  Have you ever flown in a plane?  Yes.

Do you use fly swatters?  No.

Have you ever used a foghorn?  No.

The Letter G
  Do you chew gum?  Not often.

Ever tried gazpacho? Yes. I hate it.

Are you a giver or taker? Probably a bit of both. Aren't we all?

The Letter H
  How are you?  Fine, thanks.

What’s your height?  Almost 5'2

What color is your hair? Light brown/dirty blonde 

The Letter I
  What is your favorite ice-cream?  Mint chocolate chip

Have you ever ice-skated?  Yes, badly

Do you play an instrument?  No

The Letter J 
  What is your favorite jelly bean?  Just not licorice

Do you wear jewelry?  Yes.

Have you heard a really hilarious joke?  My favorite clean joke: A grandmother is planning a trip to the beach with her baby grandson. She buys him a hat to protect his little face and a shovel and pail for play in the sand. She picks up the beloved toddler and they have a wonderful time. And then a tragedy occurs: a tidal wave sweeps him away into the depths of the ocean.
Grandma immediately bows to her knees in the sand and prays to God for the return of her grandson.  "Please, Lord! I have always been a good person and a loving Grandmother. Please return my grandson to me."
Just as she finishes her prayer, a huge wave crashes back on the beach, returning the baby, his shovel and his pail in hand, to his Grandmother's side.
She looks at her grandson, then looks back at the sky and yells, "He had a hat!" 

The Letter K 
  Whom do you want to kill? No one

Do you want kids?  No

Where did you go to kindergarten?  The same grade school attended by my uncle, both of my sisters and my niece and nephew

The Letter L
  Are you laid-back?  Right now, at this very moment

Do you lie?  "No, your ass doesn't look big in those jeans."

Do you love anyone?  Yes

The Letter M
  What is your favorite movie?  The Way We Were
  Do you still watch Disney movies? Sure

Do you like mangoes? Not by themselves. But mixed in drinks, they are yummy. For example, my friends in the Keys introduced me to Mango Mimosas.

It makes me sad

It's been well over a month since I made my first foray into the local resale shop, and they have just now got my stuff on the floor. (Lesson learned: Get my autumn/winter clothes over there early in the season!) Anyway, the handbag that we found in my mother's closet -- tags still attached -- is now visible through their store window. My sister and I suspect it may have been the last birthday present she ever bought me, but she died before she could give it to me.

I have way too much stuff, and my finances are precarious, so I know trying to sell it over there is the wise and smart thing to do.

But seeing it on the shelf leaves me feeling forlorn. Must remember not to walk that way en route to the el.

Saturday 9

 Saturday 9: So Much to Say

1) The lyrics refer to a baby's "one year of crying." When was the last time you cried ... felt weepy ... or at least teared up? This is going to make me sound like such a geek, but that's OK because I am a geek: The ending of the movie Lincoln. As he leaves for Ford's Theater, the President tells his household staff, "I have to go, but I wish could stay." Then the final scene is a flashback to his second inaugural speech from several months earlier, "With malice toward none, with charity toward all ..." What a beautiful soul that man had! 

It makes me sad to realize that some modern-day people get just as angry today when a President speaks out and begins a dialog on moral issues of our time. (Yes, it still confuses me that somehow participating in an open conversation about race makes our first African-American President guilty of "race baiting." Obama said nothing from that podium that my white-collar black and brown male friends haven't said to me privately. George W. Bush didn't receive a lot of kudos recently for trying to discuss immigration reform, either.) What's wrong with shining a light on these topics and discussing them? That is, after all, part of the President's job.

2) Let's lighten it up a little. When was the last time you laughed really hard? Last weekend with my niece. She now lives in a college town/vacation community and I told her I wanted to send postcards from her bucolic new neighborhood. As I was spinning the rack, she grabbed three and said, "Send these. It's a great shot of my campus. It's where I spend every weekday." When we stopped at a coffee shop for me to message the cards, I noticed that the three she chose weren't her campus at all, but the municipal building down the street. When I figured it out, I handed her one of the cards and asked, "Where is it you spend every weekday?" Once our eyes locked we couldn't stop giggling.

3) Do you have "so much to say" that hasn't been said yet? Tell us if you owe someone a phone call, note, email or text. My aunt, my cousin and a good friend have all recently sent missives and I owe them all responses. Just now I realize that all my return messages are going to Florida -- Clearwater, Tampa and Key West.

4) Earlier this summer, Dave took a bike ride before a show and his tire blew out. He didn't have a cell phone with him and was afraid of missing that night's performance. Fortunately two fans -- driving to see Dave Matthews Band in concert -- recognized him by the side of the road and gave him a ride to the show. Share a recent act of kindness you either did, or received. This past week, a homeless man on the el platform asked me for $4 so he could get a sandwich. I told him I couldn't/wouldn't take my wallet out, right there in public, and that I can't afford to give $4 to everyone who asks. I did give him all the change in pocket, which wasn't much, and then I listened to him. He told me it was scary to sleep in the park and that his stomach hurt after days of not eating. I told him that Wednesdays my church sponsors a walk-in ministry with free lunch, but it was only Tuesday. I know he would have preferred the $4, but I do think it helped him to have someone make eye contact with him and listen. I know it helped me to hear him, too. These people are our neighbors, after all. We lose a bit of our humanity when we pretend they're invisible or that it couldn't happen to us.

5) Before he hit it big, Dave Matthews was a bartender. What job did you have right before the one you have now? I was a writer, just like I am now, just at a different agency.

6) The Dave Matthews Band recorded an album live at the Red Rocks Amphitheater, in the mountains near Denver. Is there a trip to the mountains in your future? Chicagoland is flat as flat can be. I don't see a mountain visit in my future any time soon.

7) Do you suffer from hay fever or allergies? Yes, I have a few allergies.

8) What's in your pocket right now? A balled-up tissue and a receipt from CVS.

9) American Express promotes "Small Business Saturday," and encourages us to shop at local, independent retailers. Is there a shop, boutique or restaurant in your town that you're particularly fond of? Delia's Kitchen. There's always been a restaurant in this spot, for as long as I can remember, but this is the best one. Delicious breakfasts!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Summer Movie Blogathon!

Once again this year I'm participating in the TCM Summer Under the Stars Blogathon! Turner Classic Movies features one star every day in August, and the 23rd is La Liz, Elizabeth Taylor. I'm going to get my geek on by writing about one of my favorite Taylor movies -- Suddenly, Last Summer, also starring (get ready) the Great Kate herself, Katharine Hepburn.

For more about the blogathon, and to maybe claim a movie or a star as your own post topic, visit or

Lest you thought this was a high-brow blog ...

TVLand just played one of my favorite Friends moments ever, when Joey does a soft shoe as Sigmund Freud:

All you want is a dingle,
What you envy's a schwang,
A thing through which you can tinkle,
Or play with, or simply let hang...


My oldest friend is coming in on Friday, August 9 and staying through Monday, the 12th. We will spend the entire time at the Fest for Beatle Fans at the Hyatt. This is good news. Better than good news, it's a relief!

Earlier this year, she rather told me we were spending that week together. That we would "do the Fest" on Friday and Saturday, then hang around my house on Sunday and then take the Amtrak down to Springfield to see the Lincoln sites on Monday. Wednesday we'd ride the rails back and Thursday she would fly back home.

I sooooooo didn't want to do this.

First of all, I wanted to be asked. There was no asking. It was all, like, "I miss Chicago! I'm coming out there! This is what we're going to do!" I felt trapped.

Secondly, I was just in Springfield last summer with my nephew, and Abe steadfastly remains dead. There's nothing new down there for me. It's feels like a waste of vacation time when I'm trying to hoard it -- if I lose my job before Labor Day, they will include vacation pay in my severance.

Plus, she told me about this trip we were taking after I'd booked my trips to Williamsburg, Muskegon and Key West. I didn't consult her on any of those because, well, they don't involve her. But there's a limit to how much money I want to spend when my job situation is precarious.

I am flattered that she thinks it's a party to be around me. I truly am. As other connections feel less solid (see post below), I value her friendship all the more.

On the other hand, I was soooooo annoyed by this!

It's too complicated to go into, but with her new job, my at-risk job, her family and legal troubles, it's just not a good idea to do this now. She finally came to that conclusion, and now it's a truncated trip but we both think it's the right decision.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Worried about him, worried about us

   Heard from my best friend today for the first time in two weeks. It was a quick email, apologizing for being so quiet for so long and giving me a brief overview of what he's been up to -- a stay at his father-in-law's house in Long Beach and visiting colleges with his oldest daughter, barbecues with friends. Today he and his family are off first to Las Vegas and then the Grand Canyon.

I didn't bother to answer it because I was very busy at work today and by the time I got time (which would be now) it hardly seemed worth it. After all, in a few hours he's going to be on a plane, surrounded by his wife and daughters.

He asked me what was up at work, whether or not I'm still scared of losing my job. (Yes.) He asked if my oldest friend's life is still filled with drama. (Yes.) I'd love to tell him about that. I'd love to tell him about my visit with my niece in Muskegon -- how alternately nice and uncomfortable our visit was. I'd like to tell him how worried I have been about Carol's heart attack and all the feelings that has stirred up.

I am lonely and I miss him.

But something has stopped me from reaching out to him. When my niece and I were sitting in a coffee shop, and I was writing up postcards with photos of downtown Muskegon and the Musical Fountain to get a Michigan postmark, I didn't include one to him. I thought about it -- I had enough cards and stamps -- I just didn't and wrote a "thank you" note to my niece's boyfriend instead.

I just don't feel like being the one who does all the heavy lifting any more. It's not the same between us anymore.

Part of it is his attitude toward money. His father-in-law went from wealthy to multimillionaire in early 2006 when the company he worked for went public. My best friend never liked what his FIL stood for and resisted being sucked into his sphere. He was so was proud of his independence.

But over this past year, when he's been unemployed ... well, my friend has gone to Long Beach twice, spent Thanksgiving in Mexico, and Easter in New York, and now they're off to the Grand Canyon. And he lives in a 5BR/5BA house with multiple fireplaces. His daughters go to a private school. He's diabetic, so there's his insulin pump and testing strips and hefty medical insurance premium payments.

Yet he's taken 5 vacations in 12 months. I hear about trips but not much about job interviews. I know he's been blue and even a little embarrassed about his difficulty in finding a job, but now I wonder how hard he's trying.

It's not so much that I disapprove of my best friend, it's that I don't know him anymore.

I am lonely and I miss him.


This week I am soooo busy at work! The days are just flying by because I have three projects going simultaneously!

Three at once is not unusual in advertising. Early in my career -- even earlier during my tenure at this agency -- it was standard. But over the last year it's been so very slow that this feels unusual and exhilarating.

While I'm at work, that is. Unfortunately, when I get home, I'm exhausted and crash on the sofa. I had meant to be do serious housework and take walks in the evening -- the weather has been unseasonably cool and beautiful this week -- but it just hasn't happened. Between being tired from work, and staying up late with my Cubs during this Western road trip, I'm feeling kind of sluggish.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Good news!

Carol, the older sister of my best friend from high school, is on the mend. She had a major heart attack on June 30, which required major surgery. It was touch-and-go for a while. But she's now able to get out of bed, sit in a chair and whisper occasionally. Her throat is very raw from the ventilator tube she had for weeks, and until it heals a bit more she's still on IVs.

But she's going to be OK. I don't want to actually interact with Judy and Carol, but I am glad she's going to recover.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Missing her today

His Royal Highness, the Prince of Cambridge, was born Monday. I am unashamedly excited about this, and have found my thoughts wandering back to the Princess who is no longer with us.

I wasn't a Royal Watcher before Diana, and wouldn't care about Prince William except that he was one of her boys.

Diana at 52. Diana as a grandmother. I can't imagine it.

While I admired her and felt tremendous compassion for her, I also realize she could be a hot mess who often acted without thinking. (Remember the Panorama interview with Martin Bashir? The authorized tell-all with Andrew Morton?) So I guess it's a good thing that she missed social media. I worry about her on Twitter. I mean, Diana instant and unfiltered would probably be a very bad idea: "London Zoo called and the baboon wants its butt back. #Camilla"

But TIME was right. She was a charmer. I still miss her, hope she's resting in peace, and know how proud she is today, looking down at her Wills, his Princess and their new baby.

Monday, July 22, 2013

It's almost time

Forget Your Troubles! C'mon, Get Happy!

On August 1, this year's August Happiness Challenge begins. The idea is very simple: "Each day in August you are to post about something that makes *you* happy. Pretty simple. And, it doesn't even have to be every day if you don't want it to be. It's a great way to remind ourselves that there are positive things going on in our lives, our communities, and the world."

Really. That's all there is to it. No rules.

I like finding an icon that will make me smile every time I see it for 31 days. I *think* I'm pretty much in love with this year's. Here are the ones I've used in the past. You know what? They all still make me smile.

Judy performing the original version of "Get Happy"

I still love the swings

Ren and Stimpy

Sir Paul performed for me at my favorite place in the world

Good Day, Sunshine!


The Gal Goes to Michigan

My flight to Muskegon was, thankfully, on time and uneventful. My niece picked me up at the adorable little airport.We checked me into my nice, clean room at the local Rodeway Inn and then she showed me around the off campus apartment she shares with her boyfriend, Jason.

She's so proud of the place, which is spotless. The serving platter I gave them for Christmas was brought out for the occasion and displayed proudly on their kitchen table. She complained a lot -- about the local electric company and the interruption to their cable service when she and Jason needed it most. But I could tell that she enjoys feeling womanly and adult.

Then we went to see the Grand Haven Musical Fountain. It's a free show on a hill near the mouth of Lake Michigan. The water and lights are synchronized to music. It's a lovely, family-friendly half hour that means a great deal to my niece and her boyfriend. He helps program the performances every night. Afterward, the three of us and Jason's friend John went out to a late dinner at a diner that serves breakfast 24/7. John picked up the tab for all of us -- $28. 

My niece adores Jason and he's very good to her. Their friend John looks to be about my age and lives on a farm outside of town. She's living a life that seems right out of The Andy Griffith Show, but she seems happy. It's not what I had hoped for her -- a culinary degree followed by a position as a sous chef at a big hotel or a five star restaurant. Instead she'll probably end up the manager of a Culver's or Chili's or Olive Garden in this small town, or one like it. And that's fine, because (as I kept reminding myself) it's her life, not mine.

Saturday she showed me around her campus -- tinier than Kendall, the one I wanted for her here in Chicagoland. But she knows her way around and feels quite at home. We had lunch at the restaurant run by and staffed by students at CIM. I was pleased to see that she knew some of the students (I didn't like the idea of her best friend being a 50-year-old farmer -- pleasant though he was. I mean, she's 20!). The meal was delicious and the prices reasonable.

Then we walked the beach at Pere Marquette Park and it was gorgeous. So clean! You can have your oceans. Lake Michigan is a very great Great Lake and I love being around it.

While we walked and played in the water, she told me how she and her boyfriend are talking wedding. Nothing is in the immediate future -- they don't have the money for a wedding and she's got at least one year of school left -- but she made a rueful comment about not being able to seat me and my older sister together. I told her that, for the sake of her day, I'd suck it up and put a good face on it. I promised, in fact. But I was so upset inside that I wanted to vomit onto the rocks along the lake. I had really hoped that once this legal rigamarole was over, I'd never have to deal with my older sister again. In fact, I was counting on it.

It always feels that, within my family, my older sister is allowed to treat me any way she wants and there's no downside. It doesn't seem to bother anyone. I know that's not how my niece looks at it -- she's close to her cousin Beth and the only way she can have Beth at the ceremony is to invite Beth's parents. But I can't imagine an afternoon and evening with my older sister, a woman who aggressively wishes me ill. Right now my head is spinning, trying to figure out how I can get out of my niece's as-yet unplanned wedding without hurting her feelings.

Oh well, nothing is happening right away. No reason to borrow my dread.

I was also a little unhappy to hear that my niece is trying to plan her life around where her mom and dad want to live. There's a little town in Wisconsin they like ... they like this area of Michigan ... I told her that she and Jason need to go where their lives take them. That her parents aren't victims or invalids, they can travel to see her for holidays and they can email and call. She seemed dubious. Then I mentioned my nephew. What if his life takes him to Vermont, or Alabama? Her parents may decide they want to be near him, too! She can't make these decisions based on her folks, and I said they don't her to. I'm not sure I believe that part -- I suspect my kid sister would want her next door. But that's not the point, is it?

Got to the airport and as smooth and uneventful my flight to Muskegon was, the flight back home was complicated. First, there was a problem with the plane that was arriving from O'Hare, so we had to wait for a new one to arrive. Then, when we finally took off, there was a flash summer storm over O'Hare and we were diverted to Milwaukee. Then we refueled in Milwaukee and made the 15-minute flight to O'Hare. Sigh. Oh, well. It's better to be safe than on time!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sunday Stealing


Have you ever clicked on an ad on the side of your screen by accident?: All the time. And I always get mad at myself.

When was the last time you were disappointed?: The reaction to the Trayvon Martin verdict.
People are actually saying that an unarmed boy deserved to be murdered because he had tats and posed flipping the bird for his friends on Facebook! (Let me be clear: I don't dispute that the jury did their best and followed the followed the rule of law. I respect their hard work and I respect them. Just not my angry, hateful fellow Americans.)

I'm old enough to remember those not-so-long ago days where it was often said a woman somehow brought upon her own rape for wearing "provocative clothes." This retro, "blame the victim" thinking leaves me so very, very disappointed in our society. I am a 50+ year old white woman who walks alone at night, and I am Trayvon. I deserve to travel my street on foot without some guy with a concealed weapon intimidating me! And believe me, if I had been Travyon that night, I would have been frightened and angry, too.

Do you like the smell of rain?: Unless people are smoking. The smell of cigarette smoke hanging in the rain is EXTREMELY barfilicious.

What was the last thing you took a picture of?: I went to visit my niece in Muskegon, Michigan. It was lovely to see the other side of Lake Michigan for a change. And yes, this beach was outstandingly clean and beautiful!

When you go to McDonald's, what drink do you usually get?: Medium Coke

What were you doing today at 2:15 in the afternoon?: It hasn't happened yet today. But yesterday I was taking pictures at Pere Marquette Park.

What's the nickname of your home state?: The Land of Lincoln. As an Abe-o-phile, I am very proud of this. He arrived here as a young man of 22, stayed and raised a family and became a national
spokesman against the proliferation of slavery, left here for DC in 1861, and came back for his eternal rest less than 5 years later. Abe so rocks! One of my favorite authors, Doris Kearns Goodwin, has often said that there are so many books about Lincoln because it's so easy for authors to fall in love with him. I agree!

What's the worst type of weather in your opinion?: When the mercury tops 85ยบ, I start suffering.

Do you have a Kindle, Nook, iPad or none?:  Kindle. It's fine. It just hasn't rocked my world the way I thought it would.

Would you rather read or write?: Read

When was the last time someone took a picture of you?: Like Garbo, I try to avoid photos

Do you own a pair of slippers?: Yes. I never wear them, but people keep giving them to me.

Name something negative that you hate about yourself: Lack of discipline

Is your house currently hot, cold or just right?:  It's a wee bit chilly

Is there a Dead End road near where you live?: Yes. Well, maybe. Maple Avenue turns into a cul-de-sac just past the hospital. Does that count?

Do you roll your eyes often?: Yes. Lately when people say George Zimmerman was found "innocent." There's a humongous difference between "innocent" and "not guilty." (My heart goes out to those poor jurors as they watch this ongoing debate.)

Growing up, did you see your cousins often?: I saw my cousin Kathy a lot.

Where was your first job at?: I was a secretary in the newspaper advertising department at Sears Corporate Headquarters.

When's your birthday?: November 22. Please feel free to make a note of it so you can send regards. :)

Is life a party to you?: I think of it more as a journey or adventure than a party. I am a woman of faith, and know that Christ promises us Eternal Life, not an easy trip en route.

Who are you tired of seeing in the news a lot? : Wayne LaPierre

When was the last time you flew a kite?: Never

How long have you had a blog?: Since 2006

Have you ever had to call and complain about a product you bought?: I'm sure I have, but nothing springs to mind. Sorry.

Name something positive you love about yourself: I try.