Friday, November 29, 2013

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Back to Black

1) Black is this week's signature color because Friday, November 29, was "Black Friday," when retailers cut their prices and consumers flock to the stores. Did you score any "Black Friday" bargains? Well, not a bargain exactly. Our local, independently owned bookstore donated 10% of all of today's sales to the local homeless shelter. Naturally, I had to go out and get behind that!
2) Legend has it that Black Friday began as a neighborhood phenomenon among storeowners in Philadelphia back in the early 1960s. What else comes to mind when you think of Philly? Cream cheese

3) Feasting and football are also popular Thanksgiving weekend pastimes. Do your Thursday-Sunday plans include pigging out or watching a game? Nope

4) At Thanksgiving dinners, Crazy Sam's homemade gravy is always a hit. (Probably because she's so generous with the cognac, which gives the gravy a nutty taste.) Do you have a signature dish? I'm sorry but I'm not much of a cook.

5) Among the biggest the Black Friday advertisers are Target, Kohl's, Macy's and

Best Buy. If you could have a $100 gift card to any one of those stores, which would you choose? Macy's. And I think I would use it for some more sweaters. I like their Charter Club sweater collection.

6) You're in a public restroom that offers both paper towels and a hot air hand dryer. Which one do you choose?
Paper towels. My hands just never feel dry otherwise.
7) While Back to Black is the best-selling Amy Winehouse CD, her first was called Frank, named for her hero, Frank Sinatra. Tell us about someone you inspires you. I was just thinking about this! (See the post below) Streisand.

8) Do you consider yourself a pessimist or an optimist? Optimist

9) Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone (a verbal conversation -- not an exchange of texts)? My oldest friend called me just to blab yesterday.

We're the luckiest people in the world

Those of us who have seen Streisand live, of course.

I'm watching the PBS/Great Performances telecast of her Back to Brooklyn concert. I saw her a year ago and I still think about it. She is an inspiration: 71 and still uncompromising and original.

As I look at that unforgettable profile, as I hear that crystalline voice, I think, "You go, girl." Here in Chicago, I saw more than a couple moms guiding little girls (10 or under) to their concert seats. She means so much to so many of us, showing us that there isn't only one way to be a successful woman. I'm glad that Babs hit the road so that she could experience that phenomenon for herself. She deserves to know.

November Challenge

Day 28 -- Somewhere I'd like to move to or visit

I feel more at home on the eastern side of the country than I do on the west. If I had unlimited time off and endless funds,* I'd be very happy getting my geek on by bouncing from Colonial Williamsburg to Boston to Washington, DC.

*and I don't

Day 29 -- Five weird things I like

Behold my guilty pleasures:
1) Jack Webb, Harry Morgan and Dragnet; 2) Arby's and Wendy's and Burger King and McDonald's; 3) Miller Lite; 4) court shows like People's Court and Judge Judy; 5) 1970s bubblegum music.

Who are these people?

I don't know about you, but this illustration looks nothing like any Thanksgiving celebration I can recall.

At my family gatherings, guilt was always the main dish. Ladles of tension were always poured over the guilt. And I could count on a soup├žon of passive aggression. (That's because, to be honest, I often supplied it.)

I had a lovely time last night with my friend, John (battling a very bad cold) and his friends Gregory and Sebastian. We laughed a great deal, ate a lovely buffet, people-watched, and enjoyed the kind of community the day is supposed to be about.

We all fussed over John's cold. Gregory introduced us to affordable, safe travel with his tales of Megabus. Sebastian is preparing to spend this Christmas -- the first one that doesn't find him scheduled to work at a hospital and, unfortunately, without his longtime lover -- solo in Hawaii. I found talking to him enormously touching. He's always wanted to see Hawaii, he needs time to reflect on his new job and new life alone, and he needs time to mourn his loss. I think he's very brave.

My heart was very light last night as I got on the train and headed home. I was with people who WANTED to be with me, who weren't there out of obligation. They like me and they get me. Unfortunately, these three men are not my family.

But then again, last night they were.

I miss my mom. I miss my uncle. But I don't miss the guilt and tension of our family Thanksgivings. I am sad that I am 56 and will never enjoy the Norman Rockwell ideal I was promised.

I did enjoy last night. As we parted, Gregory said, "I like this tradition. Let's do it next year." Sebastian worried about my safety on the train home. John, of course, was our gracious hub. I felt wrapped in harmony and affection. It's more productive to be grateful for what I do have than to mourn what I never had.

Happy Birthday to me, Part 7

Yesterday was not only Thanksgiving and the first day of Hanukkah, it was the day my dear old friend John and I celebrated my birthday. He gave me Cubbie earmuffs! I already had a Cubs purse and a necklace and several t-shirts and a sweatshirt and a jacket, but as he noted, no Cubbie winterwear. He also included a Wrigley Field centennial magnet and a Cubs ornament, which are nice, but I was most excited by the earmuffs.