Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Wisdom of SnarkyPants

"I’m relaxed and peaceful because
I trust the process of life.
All is well in my world."

I have been nervous and worried. It does leave me tired. I need to be more positive from the inside out. Otherwise, as my minister warned on Easter Sunday, I could miss out on the joys of life and become one of the walking dead.

Thanks, Snarkela.

Thank you, John

Photo courtesy of the Chicago Tribune
Sebastian, a guy I like but only barely know through our mutual friend John, got a new, better paying job in 2013 and decided to thank all his loyal friends for their support through the tough times by buying a block of tickets to Diana Ross' concert at the Chicago Theater. One of their Ross-loving crew had unexpected dental surgery. My friend John, who knows I love Miss Ross and that I fit in well with his buddies, got me the ticket. FREE!

I asked John to call his friend again, one more time, just to make sure that he doesn't want the ticket. I really want to go, but not at the expense of someone else. But we're on!

Yea! I could use a nice night out and free makes it all the better.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

When smoking really creeps me out

I don't like smoking. I don't get smoking. I think this is because both of my parents and three of my four grandparents were smokers and I spent my childhood feeling like the canary in the coal mine.

And so it was that smoking distracted me from an otherwise entertaining little movie called Married Life (2007). It's a romantic thriller -- not a triangle but a square, really -- that unfolds slowly and quietly. Set in 1949, it's heavy on period details like clothes and cars and home furnishings. And all the men smoke.

One of the two men at the center of this tale is Richard, played by Pierce Brosnan. He seldom goes an entire scene without lighting up. This disturbed me because I know that in real life, Brosnan lost both his first wife and their daughter to cancer. (Though his daughter didn't die until 2013, long after the film was completed and released.) I wondered how he felt about indulging in behavior that introduces carcinogens into the system. I also always feel a little skin crawly whenever I see photos of Beatle George Harrison puffing away, knowing that the habit would ultimately take his life.

Still, Married Life was an interesting movie with lots of tension and plot twists. If you get a chance to see it, do. (Even though you may wish to leave a window open because of the smoke.)

Monday, April 28, 2014

I'm never alone

Because the shingles virus is always with me.

I had it in 2010. And it reappeared on Easter Sunday. No rash this time, no fever. Just the bitch of a backache. My doctor confirmed today, when I went in for my annual physical, that I can count on getting recurring muscle aches in that same area for the rest of my life. She did bloodwork just to eliminate anything more serious, but considering that the pain went around my back and across my stomach, just like in 2010, it was probably just a milder recurrence.

Gee whiz, I love getting older!

Image courtesy of Ambro/

More than I want to spend

I'm surprised by how expensive tickets are for Sir Paul's summer show at the United Center. I think it's because it's one night only. I was hoping he'd add a second night when the first sold out, but it's not gonna happen. As near as I can tell, all of his appearances this time around are one night only. Not surprising, I guess, when you consider that he's 72 years old.

I'm going. I don't know how I'm going to manage it, but I will be there. Not great seats, like 2011 at Wrigley Field. But I will get in the door. Somehow.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sunday Stealing

TV Meme, part one
1. TV Theme songs. Which is your favorite, and which makes you crazy enough to hit mute on the remote?  I like the themes to Kate and Allie ("Just when you think you're all by yourself, you're not") and Friends ("I'll be there for you 'cause you're there for me, too") because that's how I feel about my friends. I get annoyed by the theme to Big Bang Theory, not because I don't like it but because after hearing it 2000 times I still don't know it. 

2. The Classics. What is your favorite Classic TV show? I never get sick of The Dick Van Dyke Show, and I think I have literally been watching it all my life.

3. What character from a Classic TV show would you like to be? Ann Marie on That Girl. She had the best wardrobe, a career, a great apartment, a supportive boyfriend, signature hair and exciting adventures all around New York.

4. Can you remember a line you liked from a Classic TV show? "To the Bat Cave!" I love Adam West as Batman.

5. Heroes. What show featuring those who protect your country (fiction or non-fiction) is your favorite? I will again go with Batman. You can't go wrong with Batman.

6. TV Cops. Who is your favorite (past or present) TV cop? Which TV cop do you think was the most crooked, or the most inept? The cops on Law & Order are my favorite. Lennie Briscoe was kinda crooked -- he had his problems with Internal Affairs -- but I adored him anyway. I was a little in love with Mike Logan, Rey Curtis and Elliot Staebler (SVU). I can't think of an inept TV cop.

7. You need to hire a bodyguard for yourself. Which TV cop do you choose?  He's not a cop, but I'll go with Thomas Magnum. If he's my bodyguard, I must be staying at the palatial estate of Robin Masters in Oahu. I can play with the dogs, Zeus and Apollo, and at some point Magnum and I will inevitably make out on the beach. Once the danger is over, I will fly home with wonderful memories and great stories to repeat whenever I have a tropical drink. (Now if you'll excuse me, I have to spin a similar fantasy revolving around Gibbs and the team from NCIS.)

8. TV Doctors. Which TV doctor would you choose to remove your appendix? Which TV doctor would you not let touch you with a 10- foot pole? Marcus Welby, MD, may remove my appendix. Dr. Frank Burns from MASH must keep his distance.

9. TV Moms. Which TV mom would you have liked to have had for your own? Is there a TV mom you would never want as your own? June Lockhart on Lassie would have been a wonderful mom. I love that the dog was so totally a part of the family. I really can't stand Debra from Everybody Loves Raymond. I seriously can't even look at her.
10. TV Dads. Which TV Dad would you have most liked to have for your own dad? On the flipside, who was the TV Dad you’d have least liked to have had? Sheriff Taylor from The Andy Griffith Show was a great Pa. The worst would be Arthur, Carrie's dad on King of Queens.

11. Comedies. How do you feel about sitcoms? Good, wholesome fun or saccharine inanity? I can't generalize 60 years of TV like that.

12. If your life was a sitcom, what would the title be? The Thing of It Is, because I say that all the time.

13. If you went to a comedy club on amateur night, and they gave you some jokes and a microphone, would you go onstage?  No

14. Reality. Are you a fan of Reality TV? What’s your “can’t miss” reality TV show (or shows), or what reality TV show do you suppose the devil plays on the TV in Hell as punishment? Decades ago I really enjoyed The Real World. (Remember Pedro and Judd and Puck?) And I believe Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian are run on a continuous loop in hell.

15. If you were given a free ticket to be on any reality show, which one would you choose? All tickets to TV shows are already free. The FCC makes it illegal for networks to charge. It would be the airfare to New York or Los Angeles that would make seeing a show expensive. But I'd like to see American Idol live because Harry Connick and Keith Urban are so hot.


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Sunshine and an umbrella

It was my favorite weather today: sunny and in the 60s. I had a lovely walk under clear blue skies, trekking across town to the vet to pick up Reynaldo's prescription food. There's a charmingly retro independently owned grocery store over there that I wandered through, expecting to run into Opie and Aunt Bea.

Then I went to the local Mac store and bought a new power cord ($80!) for my MacBook Pro and had a leisurely lunch at Flat Top Grill, accompanied by a good book and a tropical drink with an umbrella.

Got home and took a nap. A good day!

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Stuck on You (2012)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) This upbeat song is from a CD called The Bright Side. What is brightening your world this fine Saturday? Saving money! This little MacBook Pro died Wednesday night. I couldn't get it to power up, no matter what I did! I feared the repairs would be hundreds of dollars (which I don't have). Instead, it's just the power cord, which I'm replacing today. I don't know what the price tag is, but bet it's less than $30.

2) Our featured artist Meiko sings, "You are the one I can see having fun with ...". When is the last time you laughed hard? Who were you with? Friday I laughed very hard at myself, with my boss. He asked me to cover for him at the end of day because he was going home a little early. "I don't know if I told you, but my wife passed." HUH? She's dead? No, she passed her real estate exam. I can't get over what I dope I was.

3) She also sings, "I must confess when I wear this dress I feel like dancing ...". Does your mood have an impact on what you wear? I suppose. More often the reverse is true. What I'm wearing effects my moods in that if I believe I look nice, I'm happier.

4) In this video, she accidentally drops one of her meatballs on the floor. Do you believe in "the five second rule," which states that if food has been on the floor less than five seconds it's still OK to eat? Or, after it hits the floor, is the next stop always the garbage? I'm a ground to garbage Gal.

5) Despite her exotic-sounding name, Meiko was born in Atlanta, home of the Braves. Do you plan on going to the ballpark this season? I'm taking my friend John to see the Cubs. We're celebrating two birthdays -- his and Wrigley Field's.

6) Meiko recently posted a photo of herself in DisneyLand posing with Goofy. Who took the most recent photo of you? What were you doing? It was a selfie for my LinkedIn page.

7)  Are you stubborn? I can be.

8) Let's visit your bathroom: What color is your toothbrush? Purple and white.

9) Which would we find: bar soap or liquid soap? Bar. A paper wrapper is easier to recycle than a bottle and pump.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Let's see ...

Why am I happy today?

•  I've been emailing regularly with my best friend these past two days. We hadn't been getting along well lately and it's confused me. He's been unemployed for 21 months now and is just so closed-mouth about his life! I assume his wife his working, but he hasn't told me. I have no idea how he spends his days. His communication has been infrequent. He mentioned that it's "weird" that I don't email him like I used to. I told him that, since he doesn't answer, I've simply gotten out of the habit. That I don't feel like I know him anymore, and that our friendship doesn't seem relevant to him anymore.

Well, I discovered that if he can't talk about work, if he can't discuss job leads or employment opportunities, he doesn't think he has anything to say. Straight men! Go figure! So we got past that and have been comparing notes on books we've read and shows we watch. You know, stuff friends talk about.

As always, I'm happier when my best friend is in my life.

•  My back no longer hurts. YEA! I don't know what the cause was, but the horrible icky pain is gone, replaced by a barely noticeable ache. I'll mention it to the doctor when I see her on Monday, because I want her to rule out anything serious. But I'm happy I'm no longer creaky.

•  Good workouts. Maybe those stretching exercises DeWayne the Trainer showed me are part of why my back doesn't hurt. But this week I've worked out three times and I'm actually starting to feel better (more energy, less lethargy).

•  It's sunny. I skipped the pedway and walked outside to the healthclub. No jacket! I suspect all of us Chiberians looked like moles, venturing out and above ground for the first time in months. We were probably all wriggling our noses as we sniffed the fresh air.

•  $45.36. That's how much my trench coats and blouses earned me at the local resale boutique. I'm glad, because my MacBook died Wednesday night and I was worried about how I could afford to have it repaired (something tells me I'm going to hear the word, "motherboard" from the tech) and give my nephew cash for his upcoming 8th graduation. I've cashed in my Discover rewards for a $50 GAP/Old Navy giftcard and now I'll give him $50 cash. At 13, $100 is still very impressive to him, and it really won't cost me anything out of pocket.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

It's a beautiful day

The sun is shining on Wrigley Field's 100th birthday. Which is, of course, as it should.

I have many, MANY wonderful memories revolving around The Friendly Confines. In 2005, I sat with my best friend and saw my beloved Greg Maddux make his 3000th strike out. In 2007 I became the only member of loyal Cub fan family to see a playoff game here. During the early-mid 1970s, I spent so many exciting afternoons -- sometimes with my girlfriends, sometimes with my Cousin Rose -- enjoying the independence of going from burbs to the Big City for a day. And I had the honor of seeing that most iconic Cub team (Jenkins, Santo, Banks, Hundley, Kessinger, Beckert) live and in person.

My most amazing memories, though, were of seeing Sir Paul here in 2011. The only thing that has
dependably brought me as much joy as the Cubs and that is, of course, The Beatles. I was thrilled when I got seats close to the stage because it meant close to Paul. I was unprepared for how thrilling it would be to walk onto Wrigley Field, to step foot on the infield where my heroes in pinstripes played.

So it's only fitting that this morning, on Wrigley's 100th birthday, that Sir Paul would add Chicago to his summer 2014 tour. No, it's not here at Wrigley, it's at the United Center. But that's OK. Summer is coming to Chicago and I have the Cubs and Sir Paul!

Oh, I don't know

I recently caught my oldest friend in a lie. A small lie that doesn't really have anything to do with me. But it disturbs me because I don't know why she bothered.

She told me she spent Easter with her cousin in the hills and that it took three hours to drive home (instead of the 90 minutes she expected) on Sunday, causing her to miss Mad Men.

But her cousin posted a family Easter pic to Facebook on Saturday, saying they celebrated early, and my friend peppered me with Farmville requests all day Sunday.

So they celebrated on Saturday and my friend was alone at home on Sunday. I don't know where her kids were. They were not in the Saturday Easter photo.

I don't know why she'd bother to lie about this. I'm not going to bust her because it's really none of my business.

She's unhappy with the way her life is going. In three years she's had four jobs, so she just HAS to make this one work. Her daughter failed her high school proficiency test. Her 22-year-old son still hasn't moved out, and he and his buddy are crashing on her living room floor. She has health problems. I'm not going to mention the lie because it really doesn't matter and I don't want to hassle her and add to her troubles.

But it bothers me.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The game was closer than the score would indicate

That's a venerable old sports cliche and one that we Cub fans are used to reciting almost by rote. But it's true of today's 8 to 2 loss to Reds.

This team never game up. They scored their only two runs in the bottom of the 7th when the game was already out of reach. The offense took each at bat seriously. Their hearts were still in it.

Yes, we're in last place. But it's still only April. The heart I'm seeing from this team makes me hopeful that this season won't be as bad as last year.

The Easter Story and The Walking Dead

My minister gave a memorable sermon this morning. One of his best. And it wasn't the one he intended to give.

Word came to him last week about an interesting exchange in the pre-school Sunday School class. The teacher gave the 4 year olds a high-level explanation of the upcoming holidays. First Passover, when the Hebrews gained their freedom, and then Easter, when Jesus was killed and rose from the dead.

"So," one of the kids asked, "Jesus was a zombie?" The question caused quite a stir because the little boy who asked that question last weekend was Martin, who happens to be our minister's son.

Our reverend and his wife were surprised to learn how much their young son knew about zombies and how fascinated he was by the concept of "the walking dead." Mom and Dad vowed to redouble their efforts to monitor their son's pop culture influences, and this week's sermon was born.

He warned us not to be spiritual zombies, not to let cynicism or the complexities of today's life turn us into "the walking dead." With Jesus as our guide, our hearts can continue to be filled with love and enthusiasm.

So when I feel the joy slipping away from my life, when I start to get angry over things I can't change or re-litigate old battles, I'll remember young Martin's question: "Jesus was a zombie?" No, He wasn't. And neither am I. I need to be alive and present and in love with my life.

Happy Easter!

Sunday Stealing

The Easter Meme
What are your Easter traditions? I don't really have any anymore, beyond sending cards to my niece and nephew.

Do you hard boil and decorate eggs? No.

How do you decorate your home for Easter? I don't.

Do you make/buy special outfits for yourself and your kids on Easter? No. I'm sorry, I don't mean to sound like such a bummer but I don't have kids and I just wore a sweater and jeans to church.

What is your favorite Easter dish? Ham.

When did you learn the truth about the Easter Bunny? I don't think I ever really believed in the Bunny. I had too many questions. What's the connection between a rabbit and eggs? Does he have a workshop filled with chickens like Santa and his elves? And what was his delivery system, a la Santa's sleigh?

Do you spend Easter at home, on vacation, or with family? I go to church, and that's it. I feel like I'm a tremendous disappointment to Sunday Stealing memedom today.

First one up on Easter morning? Me.

Go to mass or church? Yes. It was a lovely service.

What are your favorite Easter hymns and/or choir arrangements? This morning at church we all sang this. It was inspiring. And I always feel like a rockstar when I can sing without the hymnal.

How many Easter egg hunts does your family usually participate in? That would be none. I'm sorry, Kwiz.

Do you make deviled eggs out of leftover Easter eggs? I did, years ago, when my family celebrated together. But with my mom gone, my niece living out of state and my nephew a teenager …

Are you tired of eggs by the end of the Easter Season? No.

Are Peeps good or gross? One day a year I can stand them.

What company makes the best chocolate for Easter time? Fannie Mae.

Lots of candy or not? Haven't had much this year.

What is your favorite Easter candy? Hollow chocolate bunny.

Do you find plastic Easter grass hidden in places for months after Easter is over? Again, I'm sorry but there's never been an Easter egg hunt in this condo since I've lived here.

What’s your favorite color for fake grass? Atomic green.

Really, I like Easter. Church was lovely this morning! I love redemption and renewal. I'm not in a bad mood at all. It's just I'm not into the Bunny.

Ow, ow, ow!

It's a sunny Easter morning and I had so many spring cleaning plans for today! So imagine my surprise and distress when I woke up with a bitch of a backache.

I don't know what caused it. I didn't really do anything on Saturday but take it easy.

Oh well, I swallowed some Advil and maybe a shower will help. After church I still want to get something meaningful accomplished today!

Image courtesy of Ambro/

Friday, April 18, 2014

Saturday 9

1) Which do you prefer: colored hard-boiled eggs, chocolate marshmallow eggs, or plastic eggs with coins inside? I'm my own girl, a rebel, a free thinker, so I'm going rogue and choosing a hollow chocolate bunny.

2) What's your favorite color of Peeps (yellow, purple, or pink)? Yellow chicks.

3) All this talk of sweets is making Sam hungry. What's for lunch? I don't know, but I suspect beef will be involved.

4) This song was introduced by country singer Gene Autry and it's still a favorite. Please share some of the lyrics. (And you're on your own; Sam didn't include a link to the song this week.) "Hippity hoppity Easter's on its way!"

5) Gene Autry was so popular that a town in Oklahoma named itself for him. Have you ever been to Oklahoma? Nope.

6) In addition to singing, Mr. Autry made 93 cowboy movies. What's the last movie you saw? Last Saturday I saw What's Up, Doc? with my classic movie group.

7) He and his horse Champion also had a TV show. Can you name another famous horse? The famous Mr. Ed

8) Gene Autry also recorded "Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer," and it was, of course, wildly popular, too. Who is your favorite recording artist? John, Paul, George and Ringo

9) Back to the holiday celebration at hand -- Easter is considered the season of rebirth. What leaves you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated? Washing my hair.

Lunch was just lunch

Rick, a coworker from three jobs and 16 years ago, called me for lunch. I truly haven't heard from him since Bill Clinton was President. It's a long and not very interesting story, but he ended up talking to my friend Tom and, since advertising in Chicago is a pretty small world, they played that, "Do you know so-and-so game?" and that's how my name came up and I reappeared on Rick's radar.

I figured he was looking for a new job and wanted to network.

I was wrong. He didn't ask for the name of our HR contact and he didn't even give me is card. I guess he just wanted to talk. It was nice.

He's divorced now. The little boy he talked about back in the day is now 24 and struggling mightily. The newborn twin daughters? One is severely autistic and in a custodial care facility in Michigan. Gulp. He said that while other dads have joyous parenting stories, he's had a lot of heartache. He seemed to really want to talk about it, but I admit it was hard to hear. I hope my responses were sensitive and that I didn't screw it up.

Oh, well. It was an unexpectedly pleasant lunch and sometimes people don't want anything from us except our time and focus.

I have resources. I should use them.

Wednesday was a bad day. It left me blue (see below).

I don't like being blue. I don't like accepting that I just have to take life as it comes. I wanted to do something about it!

So I articulated my worries about my job to the one person who can do something about them, the one person whose very job it is to listen and to help: my boss. While I was talking to him, I realized that I felt let down by my two teammates, but that I haven't been holding them accountable for their performance because I want us all to feel upbeat.

In short, I've been concentrating more on us being happy than I am on us being good. I am so worried about not being the bitch who can't get along with The Chocolate Covered Spider, not being the one who argues with everyone, that I've let standards slide. And yet feeling as though my coworkers are not doing their best makes me feel vulnerable.

Part of this comes from four of us sitting together in the Clown Car. I soak in everyone's emotions and feel responsible for the mood, for keeping us upbeat. It's exhausting.

And it ends now. I can change what I can change: I can make my boss more aware of our issues, because that's his job. I can insist that our account executive schedules the time it takes to get our work proofread, because that's her job. I can treat my art director like an adult and hold him responsible for his screw ups, because that's his job. And I can be more vigilant myself, because providing the client with our best product is my job.

But it's not my job to excuse bad behavior or take the fall when mistakes happen.

After talking with my boss, after dumping his fair share of the responsibility on him, I felt better. It's strange that sharing responsibility, I feel more empowered, but there you go.

And in the words of my fantasy older sister, Nora Ephron, I'm working on being the heroine and not the victim of my work story.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


I can't shake the feeling that something bad is going to happen.

We -- meaning the three of us who touched a recent project -- let a typo slip through. It never got to print, so it's not catastrophic, but it's also not good. I'm worried that this will get our client thinking about taking this portion of our account work -- the part I work on! -- back and handling it in house. The fact that the one heading this on the client side is the troublesome newbie doesn't help allay my fears. Have I mentioned lately that I really need this job?

Oh, and then there's the stove thing. I admit I'm still rather shaken by that near miss. When I'm home I keep compulsively touching the burners to make sure they're off. And I've covered the on/off console in bubble wrap, just in case Reynaldo gets the the itch to go wandering again. I know it only happened once in 10 years, and no damage was done, but still, it scared me.

My stomach hurts. So I cancelled workout #3 with trainer. I was afraid that, even after Pepto and ginger ale, bouncing around too much could end embarrassingly.

But that still leaves me feeling fat and undisciplined.

My life is really no different than it was a month ago, but I'm frightened again.

I keep thinking of that lyric from "American Pie" --  I met a girl who sang the blues ... and she was this Gal!


To play along, just answer the following three questions ...

• What are you currently reading? Mary by Janis Cooke Newman. Sorry if you're already sick of hearing about Mary Lincoln's fictional memoir; I haven't even hit page 300 of this 600+ page tome. But I am enjoying it immensely. Mary is reflecting on her life from the looney bin in Batavia, Illinois. The daughter of privilege, the belle of Springfield, the first President's wife to be referred to as First Lady -- she seems determined to figure out how the hell she ended up residing in a "rest home" with one woman who speaks to croquet balls and light fixtures and another who spends her days trying to memorize and recite the Bible. After all, to use her own word, Mary Lincoln is "unlunatic."

As portrayed in this "autobiography," Mary is smart, passionate and ambitious. These qualities both attracted and frightened our 16th President. Her ferocity balanced his melancholia and drove him to greatness. It's a marriage of formidable and flawed individuals who loved their sons and loved one another. It's easy to forget that against the backdrop of epic events like the Civil War, slavery and assassination.
• What did you recently finish reading? Another memoir, only there's nothing fictional about    After Visiting Friends by Michael Haney. The early death of Mr. Haney's father cast a pall over his entire life -- not only for what happened but for what his family conspired to never talk about. A beautiful and painful book that my own family prepared me to appreciate.

• What do you think you’ll read next? I don't know.

To see how others responded, click here.

Well, that's over

I've been out of sorts all day Tuesday.

A lot of it had to do with our bitchy new client. She met Tuesday with the coworker known as The Chocolate-Covered Spider, and I can't help but worry that no good is going to come from that combo platter.

Part of it has to do with yesterday's stove thing. Like when I almost got hit by a cab, this stuff stays with me for a while. It's a mixture of gratitude and wonder about how life unfolds.

Then there's the significance of April 15. It's the anniversary of the Boston Bombing, the sinking of the Titanic, and Lincoln's death. It all demands observance.

“A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces, but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.” – President Kennedy

Monday, April 14, 2014

Wow. Just wow.

When I was a kid, my oldest friend and I used to play with her Mattel Creeple People Thingmaker. We poured plastic Goop into trays, heated it in the Thingmaker, and then had creepy plastic people to play with. Actually, we never played with them. The fun was in the making, not in the playing. I've never forgotten the smell of the Goop in the Thingmaker.

Good thing. Because when I got home this evening, I smelled it in my kitchen. Accompanied by an unfamiliar hum.

Much to my horror, I discovered that one of my stove burners had been on. Perhaps for hours. And the Creeple People smell came from my bag of laundry supplies, which was perched atop the stove. My guess is that Reynaldo walked across the back of the stove, where the on/off buttons are, and turned it on.

Thank God I didn't work out after work Monday night. Thank God I didn't stop at the store on the way home for milk.

Thank God.

My memory isn't blurred

Pharrell Williams is suddenly adorable. Nominated for an Oscar for 2014's feel-good song "Happy" from the children's movie Despicable Me 2. Newly married to his long-time girlfriend. A proud papa to son Rocket. A philanthropist who willingly auctioned off his famous Grammy hat for charity.


The thing of it is, last year he was one of the fully-clothed strutters surrounded by nude women in Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" video. He sang on that ode to "no doesn't always mean no" and shares a writing and producing credit. So every time I see him, my skin crawls a little.

Mr. Williams says that not only do my lying eyes deceive me, so do my lying ears, and that when I hear lyrics about giving the girl "something big enough to split her a** in two" after getting her high whatever it is that they got from Jamaica, the stuff that "always works from Dakota to Decatur," it's not sexist.

"People who are agitated just want to be mad, and I accept their opinion. I appreciate everything “Blurred Lines” became."

I get it. I'm just a humorless feminist. So pardon me if I don't melt at the clip of him welling up as he and Oprah watching children sing "Happy." His attitude about how men and women should regard and treat one another doesn't leave me happy at all.

Last night I fell in love again

Mad Men is back from hiatus, and its return is very welcome. And not just because Jon Hamm is so very dishy.

It's consistently the smartest, best scripted show on TV. Even when the characters surprise me, their behavior is completely in keeping with the personalities as established. I can only imagine how hard that must be for a show with so many characters and plotlines.

It's also very true to the period and takes such pains to get the little details right. Last night the second Mrs. Draper, Megan, got a callback for the pilot of this show. It was much hyped but little viewed and virtually forgotten by everyone ... except the good people at Mad Men. It's just the type of project a New York soap opera actress would audition for in 1969's Hollywood.

I also liked how the women are still being treated. The changes that came about in the workplace didn't happen because men became enlightened. They occurred because women got fed up. Peggy and Joan are rapidly approaching their boiling point and the show depicted this beautifully. (It doesn't hurt that I, like Peggy, began my career as a secretary and worked my way up to creative director.)

I can't think of another show that treats its characters and its audience with as much respect as Mad Men does. Which doesn't mean last night's season premiere didn't provide me with more than couple smiles. My favorite: "There's someone above you and someone below you and everybody's buying everybody dinner." Welcome to advertising!

I'm so gonna miss this show when it's over.

PS My agency was mentioned within the first 10 minutes. Hope my new client was watching.

Just what I expect in 2014

I spent three hours doing laundry yesterday. Mixed, darks, greens and purples. The last two loads were because I bought so many lovely little green and purple pieces for spring.

Now that my new blouses and t-shirts are freshly laundered, it's 30º and snow is predicted for this evening.

This evening -- Monday, April 14. The average high for this date is 57º.

Of course, there's been nothing average about the weather in 2014.