Monday, June 30, 2014

8 innings of no-hit baseball

For real! Jake Arieta came thisclose to completely shutting down the Red Sox at Fenway! How cool is that!

The pitchers are finding their grooves. The hitters are sending the ball sailing. Unfortunately, the pitchers and the hitters are not always good on the same day.

Whatever. Being a Cub fan is not about the winning, it's about the game. And I've been watching some truly awesome baseball lately.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sunday Stealing

Click here to play along ... 


Travel anywhere, where would it be? I've been thinking about Washington DC a lot lately. Aside from being inspiring and educational, it's such a beautiful city.

Meet anyone, who would it be? This is hard because I'm always afraid that if I met someone I really admired, I'd be disappointed. So I'll pick Bill Clinton. President Clinton is someone I admire who has already disappointed me.

 Bring anyone dead back to life, who would it be? My mom.

 Be anyone for a day, who would it be? Mika Brzezinski. I start every weekday watching Morning Joe and I wonder what it's really like on the set.

Get anything for free for the rest of your life what would it be? Cable

 Change one thing about your life what would it be? My incredible laziness.

 Have any superpower what would it be? Flight

 Be any animal for a day which would you be? One of my cats. I wonder how I could make their little lives better.

 Date anyone who would it be? Leroy Jethro Gibbs from NCIS. And don't tell me he doesn't truly exist. I don't want to hear it.

 Change one thing about the world what would it be? Guns. No more handguns or assault weapons.

 Live in any fictional universe which would you choose? I don't read sci fi. Sorry.

 Eliminate one of your human needs which would you get rid of? My food cravings. Very inconvenient and I'm helpless to to resist.

 Change one thing about your physical appearance what would it be? I'm tired of being fat

 Change one of your personality traits which would you choose? My laziness

 Be talented at anything instantly what would you choose? Sing

 Forget one event in your life which would you choose? I have one in mind but I'd prefer not to think about it too much right now

 Erase an event from history (make it so it never happened) which would you choose? Lincoln's assassination

 Have any hair/eye/skin color, which would you choose? I like my coloring (light skin, green eyes, light brown hair)

Be any weight/body type, which would you choose? I wanna be Barbie

 Live in any country/city, where would you choose? I'm good right here in Chicago

 Change one law in your country, which would you change? No more handguns or assault weapons

 Be any height, which would you choose?  5'5

Have any job in the world, which would you choose? Pet sitter

 Have anything appear in your pocket right now, what would it be?  A wad of $50s

 Have anyone beside you right now, who would it be? My best friend

It was a beautiful day for a ballgame

Made my annual pilgrimage to The Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field and, as always, had a wonderful time.

This year I took John to the ballpark to celebrate his birthday. We saw the first game of a double
View from Section 204
header against the Nationals. Our seats were in the upper field terrace, further away from the action than I'd like but they turned out to be fine anyway. We were sheltered from the sun, up high enough to catch a cool breeze, and could see all the action.

The highlight of the game was young Dallas Beeler. He was just called up from the minors to make his MLB debut, and his Cubdom was so freshly minted that he wasn't even listed in our scorecards. Yet he went six innings, threw 90+ pitches, and gave up just 1 run. Since the Nationals were able to keep the Cubs scoreless, he still got the loss. But that doesn't mean he didn't do a fantastic job. He even got a hit at his first at bat! It would have been nice to end the game singing our victory song with the 35,000 other faithful, but it was an involving game nevertheless.

I was so into young Dallas' performance that both the people next to us and the people behind us asked me if I knew the kid. No, but I love him. I love all my heroes in Cubbie blue.

After the game we got John a t-shirt and then went to dinner at Chili's. This amused me. Here we are in a world-class city, and we ended up at Chili's. But it was John's choice. He likes their chicken tacos and this location is right in front of the #36 bus stop. OK.

We caught up on each other lives and he spontaneously hugged me a couple times. Maybe it was the 5 beers over 6 six hours, or maybe it was an appreciation of a nearly perfect day, or maybe he was just appreciating our 30+ years of friendship. Maybe it was all three.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: I Feel the Earth Move (recommended by Blue County Magic)
If you're not familiar with today's song, you can hear it here.

1) This song is from the album Tapestry, one of the all-time best-sellers (more than 25,000,000 copies sold worldwide). Is it in your collection? Yes.

2) It's about that glorious passion you feel when you first fall for someone. How many times have you been in love? Three times, and I hope I'm not done yet.

3) San Francisco radio stations briefly removed "I Feel the Earth Move" from their playlists after the 1989 earthquake. Have you ever been in an earthquake and literally felt "the earth move under your feet?" I remember the 5.2 tremor in Southern Illinois that rattled me all the way up here.

4) Carole King is the first and only woman to win the Gershwin Prize for songwriting from the Library of Congress. Here's your chance to brag a little -- tell us about an accolade you have received.  Gave a presentation Thursday afternoon that our client deemed, "Terrific!"
5) Carole wrote "You've Got a Friend," which was a mega hit for her good pal, James Taylor. King and Taylor have known one another for more than 40 years, but have never been romantically involved. Do you have any platonic friends of the opposite sex? Yes, many. 

6) Like more than 80% of the population, Carole is right handed. Are you right handed, left handed (10%) or that most rare of all, ambidextrous (less than 10%)? I'm all rightie, all the way. Completely helpless with my left hand.

7) One of Carole King's earliest hits was Little Eva's "The Loco-Motion." Little Eva was the teenager King hired to care for her young children. Tell us about a sitter who cared for you when you were little. First there was Georgie, then Susie (who briefly dated my Uncle Ted and I wanted them to get married) and Susie's sister, Marilyn. I adored them all. I thought they were highly sophisticated and worldly, which is how a 16 year old looks to a 4 or 5 year old.

8) Beautiful is the title of the Broadway play about Carole King's life. If we were producing your lifestory, what would you want us to call it? The Thing of It Is … because I say it all the time.
9) Carole wrote "Pleasant Valley Sunday," the Monkees' song about conspicuous consumption. When Crazy Sam looks at her crowded shelf of hair products (paraben-free conditioner, keratin-restoring conditioner, hair masque, hot oil conditioner …), she realizes she's guilty of it herself. Have you bought anything recently that you later decided was a waste of money? I used to spend a small fortune on Living Social and Groupon offers that I really didn't need. I was so swept away by the SAVE 35%! SAVE 80%! that it didn't occur to me that I really wasn't saving anything if I was buying stuff I didn't truly want.

Something to think about on a summer day

With kids out of school, it means no school lunches. For a lot of our neighbors, that school meal is important to keeping kids healthy and staving off hunger. So this week, when you do your grocery shopping, toss something in the cart for your local food pantry.

I find that, if I pick up something for less than $1 every time I shop, I can fill up a grocery bag in no time. Right now I've got spaghetti, tuna, green beans, powdered lemonade and fruit cocktail ready to go. Of course, tomato soup is always welcome. A can goes along way in spicing up a ground beef recipe. Since hot dogs are popular and affordable this time of year, condiments are appreciated, too.

As this Recession grinds on, so does need. It feels good to look out for one another. If you don't know where your local food pantry is, try this Food Bank Locator.

What I've known all along

I've been a Clintonista for decades now. But the umbrella of my devotion only shields Bill. Hillary has never had the same emotional hold on me, my loyalty, my checkbook or my vote.

I know what Bill Clinton is. I have no illusions about the Lewinsky scandal and to this day it turns my stomach. But I get it.

Growing up near Hillary's hometown of Park Ridge, I think I get her, too.

Put too simplistically, his weakness is sex and hers is money. I understand lust better than greed.

The dynamic between these two is complicated. If she hadn't taken the more conventionally "grown up" role and been the breadwinner, he wouldn't have been free to so doggedly pursue his political ambitions. If she wasn't so disciplined, he couldn't be free to be so emotionally resonant. I appreciate that without her, he wouldn't have gotten as far as fast as he did. And I truly believe we'd all* be the worse without him.

So I know it's unfair for me to hold such affection for him and antipathy for her.

But when I listen to Hillary talk about being "dead broke" and how hard they worked to dig themselves out of debt, my skin crawls. Whether it's White Water, commodities trades, or Wall Street, Hillary Clinton has always been too easily seduced by a buck.

I haven't ruled out voting for her. The Clintons have always been very lucky in that the people who attack them tend to more repellant than their own worst acts. I may become an ardent supporter because the attacks on her will become so egregious and disgusting.

But I don't like her and I don't trust her.

*Except, of course, Ms. Lewinsky.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


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

• What are you currently reading? Tropical Quests by Wesley Sizemore. Set in the mid-1970s, an American ex-patriate is tired and discontented. He didn't belong in the Vietnam era Midwest, he didn't belong in Paris or Toronto, either. On impulse he takes a long weekend in Key West and finds his home. So far (less than 100 pages in), I'm enjoying it. Mr. Sizemore is gifted at evoking time and place and at times I can almost taste the Cuban bread and smell the ocean.
• What did you recently finish reading? Cop Town by Karin Slaughter. Coincidentally also set in the 1970s, this is a brutal, shocking and compelling thriller. It's about an Atlanta cop killer and two young female cops on his tail. There's a lot of racism, sexism and hate in this book. It's true to the time and appropriate to the plot, but it was jarring.

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

To see how others responded, click here.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


I like artichokes. I enjoy them in dip and I like the hearts, too. This makes me happy since they are such a good source of fiber.

My friend Barb turned me on to the dip, and I had the hearts mixed with cheese at the salad bar today at lunch.

I like that I can still be pleasantly surprised by something this ordinary.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Hanging out

My cat Joey is a gentle giant, a happy soul who loves cuddling and sleeping in the sun. His purr is so deep and resonant that when he meows, it sounds like a gurgle.

When my girlcat, Charlotte, was alive, she hated Joe. Just hated him. She was every inch the diva, and this was her prerogative. Every morning at mealtime, Joey would approach Charlotte and she would hit him in the head. She also forbade him from sharing furniture with her.

Connie likes Joe. She plays with Reynaldo, running to and fro, but she likes hanging with Joey. Every now and again he'll groom the top of her head, but for the most part, he just enjoys her nearness. As if that wasn't wonderful enough, he still has Rey to play with every morning after breakfast.

Joey is very old. I'm glad that at this time of his life, he shares his home with two cats that appreciate his inherent Joey-ness.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

They are good people and I worry

Both my Oldest Friend and my Best Friend are on my mind a lot these days. Their lives are not going well and since they aren't sharing the details with me, l am left to worry.

Oldest Friend. She has money trouble. She has kid trouble. She has health trouble. None of that is new. Her life has been a disaster since she moved to California. What's new is the complete lack of joy in her life. She claims to be a rabid Black Hawk fan, and yet she paid no attention to the Stanley Cup play offs. She claims to love Mad Men, but missed several episodes of the short season. She became obsessed with Michael Jackson after his death, but has not listened to the latest CD. She claimed to move to California to be near her cousin, who lives 90 minutes away in the mountains, but hasn't visited in weeks. Each of us needs something to make us happy each day. I'm lucky: no matter how bad my life gets, no matter how much I worry about career or finances, I always have The Lads and the Cubs and my cats and another book about JBKO. I wish her the same dependable joy.

Best Friend. We used to talk several times a day. Then we morphed to emailing several times a day. Then every day. Then every few days. Now it's sporadic. The thing that bugs me about this is -- he always sets the pace. He always has. I sent him a birthday gift and he let a week go by without acknowledging it. Then he wanted to know why I didn't respond to his email right away. AARGH! I know how hard his protracted period of unemployment has been on him, both financially and on his ego. I know that he can get to feeling low and, remarkably, worries when that happens that he has nothing to share with me. (As if feeling low isn't something to share with a friend!) But I hate that I don't know about his life anymore. Makes corresponding that much harder. And I hate feeling like I'm at his beck and call. I realize now, after a decade, that I've always resented this.

I feel better now that I've gotten this down. For while I'm pissed at both of them right now, I love them, too, and seeing it all written out reminds me that loving them is all I can do.

Sunday Stealing

90 part 3

61. Do you like current pop stars?  Don't know many of them. The last one that captured my imagination was Amy Winehouse, and she's been gone for three years.

62. What is your least favorite chore? Vacuuming

63. Last place you drove your car? Never, since I don't have a car

 64. Ever been out of the country? Yes, though not in decades

 65. Where were you the last time you used a public bathroom? Yesterday, at the movie theater

 66. Could you handle being in the military? No. I'm a fat, out of shape old lady with a bad attitude.

 67. What is your average cell phone bill? $65. And not worth it. I really need to shop around when my conract is up.

 68. Who or what are you thinking about right now? My tummy hurts

 69. When was the last time you laughed REALLY hard? Friday

 70. How many pairs of shoes do you own? Countless. Literally. I've never counted and don't intend to.

71. Are your toes always painted? Yes. Well, the nails at least. The current color is Revlon Optimistic.

 72. How many piercings do you have? Two. One in each ear.

 73. What are you doing today? Not much on the schedule

 74. Have you ever been gambling? Yes. I like slot machines.

 75. When is the last time you updated your blog? This morning.

 76. Do you like roller coasters? Yes

 77. Have you ever been to Disneyland or world? Yes, both

 78. Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Mr. Magoo

 79. Last thing you cooked? I made a bowl of cereal yesterday

 80. How's the weather? Humid and about 80ยบ

 81. Do you e-mail more than snail mail? Yes, but I miss snail mail

 82. What's the funniest picture you ever took with your cell phone?  I don't take pictures with my cell

83. Last time you were sick? I'm battling a tummy ache right now

84. What states have you lived in? Just Illinois

 85. Do you wish you could move? Not really

 86. Do you take a lot of quizzes? No

 87. What is your dream car? One with a chauffeur

 88. Have you ever wanted someone you cant have? YES!

 89. If you could be anywhere right now where would it be? At the Spa in Colonial Williamsburg

 90. Are you happy with your life? Happy but not satisfied

Are demographics destiny?

Went to see the film version of Jersey Boys, surrounded by a theater full of bald spots and dye jobs. I can't recall the last the time I saw such an exclusive collection of baby boomers. I'll be interested to see how the movie does at the box office. I wonder if there is a real market for movies aimed at my age group.

I saw it on stage a couple years ago and then the audience was more mixed. I don't know why. Maybe it's the combination of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and director Clint Eastwood that makes the movie For Boomers Only.

It's an OK movie. Not great. The stage production was more engaging and displayed more imagination. But John Lloyd Young (who won a Tony for the role) as Frankie and Christopher Walken as gangster Gyp are completely charming. And I love the music.

I'm unhappy that it went so well

Went to a new dentist yesterday. Less than 5 minutes away -- on foot -- from my home. He accepts my insurance. He didn't do any unnecessary procedures. He found no cavities and gave me tips for improving the condition of my gums. He cleaned my teeth efficiently and painlessly. I was in and and out in less than an hour.

So why am I sad?

I began going to my mother's dentist at least 15 years ago. He took me as an emergency over the 4th of July weekend when my own dentist was incommunicado. He was warm and funny and a Cub fan. Consequently I have been very loyal to him.

But he's several towns over and it takes at least 90 minutes for me to get there. And another 90 minutes to get back. And then there's the time spent coordinating the public transportation. Or I could spend $40 in cab fare. It's a huge hassle to get over there if there's an emergency.

Over the past decade plus his practice has grown and I never see him anymore. The dentists he works with have done good work, but it's not him. With their success comes the problem of how few and far between their Saturday appointments are.

So this is better. But I feel unfaithful. And I know I have to contact my now-former dentist so that office can send my records to my new dentist, but I'm dreading it.

I need to suck it up. This is a professional decision.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: LIttle Red Corvette

1) The subject of this song is frankly sexual. Do you blush easily? I don't think so

2) Prince is his real name (Prince Rogers, to be exact). Growing up, his relatives called him "Skipper." Do you have any nicknames within your family? When I was really young, my dad used to call me "Mouse" and "Andy Panda."

3) Prince says he's "obsessed" with Mozart and reads whatever he can find about the composer. What's the last book you read? I just finished Cop Town, by Karin Slaughter. It's a compelling thriller, but very violent.

4) Between Prince and The Beach Boys, the Corvette is a much sung-about car. Tell us about your vehicle. No car

5) In the 1980s, when Prince was popular, MTV could turn a song into a hit. In 2014, how do you hear new music? At the the health club or while watching TV. I listen to the oldies station in the morning, so no new music there.

6) In 1982, when "Little Red Corvette" ruled the airwaves, Braniff Airways shocked the travel industry and threw passengers into chaos by declaring bankruptcy. When did you last fly? Did your trip go smoothly? It's been six months. I was in the Keys for Christmas, and I don't recall any hassles going to or fro.

7) 1982 is also the year Disney opened Epcot. Have you ever been to a Disney park? I've been to both DisneyWorld and Disneyland. Loved them both. And really, how could you not?

8) 1982 is the year Cheers premiered. The sitcom was set in a bar where "everybody knows your name." Tell us about your favorite local bar or restaurant. There's a rather upscale coffee shop here in town that I like. They add creative touches to old familiar recipes (so far, my favorite is the salmon benedict).

9) The 1980s were considered a highpoint in professional tennis, with Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe dominating the sport. Do you play tennis? No. I'm the most remarkably uncoordinated person you'll ever meet.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Suddenly swamped

We're very busy at work all of a sudden.

My individual project is updating and refreshing our client's web pages, and it's been challenging. Our account exec is highly political and very tightly wound. Plus this is a medium I'm not very adept in (yet). But I'm learning a lot and I completely adore one of our digital guys, Joshua. Best of all, I feel I'm definitely adding value and helping to build our client's business. That is, after all, what I'm paid to do!

My boss has joined the rest of management one layer above me to work on a big presentation, noon on Monday, to try to win more of our client's business. (Or at the very least preserve what we have.) When I left today, they all seemed to feel good about the deck. Which is good because this is important.

So while it's been stressful, it's made the week zip by and left me feeling productive.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

There'll be some changes made

I liked my original trainer, DeWayne. He was equal parts cheerleader and task master. I wanted to do better each week so I could show him my improvement.

After four weeks I fell off the personal trainer bandwagon. I got busy at work ... I got a cold I couldn't shake ... I didn't schedule an appointment with DeWayne at all in May.

Apparently I'm not the only one who liked him. His schedule is now full with new clients and he doesn't have space for me anymore!

Last night I met my new trainer, Alex. He's a baby-faced, doe-eyed sadist.

The moves he had me doing were too complicated. He jumps he suggested were too ambitious. I left last night feeling like a failure.

That's not right. After all, I'm paying for this abuse.

I want to be challenged. But I also want to feel like I'm accomplishing something, not disappointing the populace.

So next week, at the beginning of our session, I'm going to explain my concerns to Alex. Hopefully he will hear me. If not, I'm going to request a different trainer.

BTW, that photo is of Marilyn Monroe, showing a LIFE magazine photographer how she maintained those famous curves. Actress/model Elizabeth Hurley started a rumor that MM was fat by today's standards. Marilyn was (usually) a size 10 and a fit one, at that. And Elizabeth Hurley is a bitch.

And I love him

It's Sir Paul's birthday. Celebrate accordingly.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Something you don't see every day

I rode the el this morning sitting across from two typical suburban dads. Between 45 and 55, wearing
open-necked shirts. One wore jeans and a baseball cap, the other was khaki clad.

First they talked about Kansas City (the Royals, I suspect). Then baseball cap dad said he'd read Hillary Clinton's new book over the weekend. "It wasn't as good as her other one, It Takes a Village," he reported. "I thought I'd get a book for Father's Day, but I didn't," khaki replied. Then they began talking about baseball cap dad's "old school" lawnmower and how he keeps the blades so sharp.

It occurred to me that this was the first time I have ever heard men spontaneously talk about Hillary. What I found heartening was the context. She was an author. Not a female author. Not a woman writer. Her gender was not remotely the issue

I have always been lukewarm toward Mrs. Clinton. I appreciate her, but I don't like her. I understand her intellectually, but I don't trust her. I'll vote for her vs. just about any Republican, but I'd like to see someone run against her.

And if she wins in 2016, I'd like it to be because she's the most powerful candidate, not because she's a woman.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Sunday Stealing

Click here to play along

30. Do you read your horoscope? Not often anymore.

31. Where was the last place you bought something? A hot dog at Paisan's Pizza.

32. How do you feel about your hair right now? It's adorable. Just got it cut and colored today.

33. Do you bite your nails? When I'm bored.

34. Do you have any expensive jewelry? I have my mother's engagement and wedding rings put away somewhere.

35. Have you ever been told you speak fast? Often

36. Is your laugh usually hearty? Yes

37. How fast have you driven a car? Over 70 mph. I was practicing driving along Route 66. It was a stretch of empty road. I was amazed by how easy it is to develop a lead foot.

38. Have you ever smoked? No

39. What was your favorite subject in school?  History

40. Do you have cell phone provider loyalty?  Not especially. I don't change more out of laziness and loyalty

41. What type of boy or girl do you usually fall for? A boy whose hair I want to touch

42. Do you have any hidden talents? I can wiggle my ear

43. Favorite Song? 

44. Do you like to sing at all? I like to sing. But trust me, you don't want to hear it.

45. Dream Job? I'd like to be a pet sitter

46. Where does most of your family live? My sister's family lives a couple town's over. My cousin and aunt live in Florida.

47. Are you an only child or do you have siblings? I have two sisters.

48. Would you consider yourself to be spoiled? I prefer willful.

49. What was the first thing you thought when you woke up? "My throat hurts."

50. Do you drink? Yes

51. Know any other languages? Not well

52. Ever write a coded message? Not since I was 9.

53. Have you ever been in someone else's wedding? Yes

54. Do you have any children? No

55. Did you take a nap today? Yes

56. Who has the same birthday as you? Jamie Lee Curtis

57. Ever met anyone famous before? Yes.

58. Do you want to be famous one day? No. I think rich would be fun, though.

59. Any Pet Peeves? Space hogs. If you think it's ok for your purse or backpack to have it's own seat on the train while others stand, you're selfish.

60. Are you multitasking right now? Not really

Sick and tired of being sick and tired

Got my hair cut/colored today. Left at 10:00 and didn't get home until (gulp!) 3:00. The train I was supposed to take ran express past my stop and I ended up waiting an hour (gulp! gulp!) for a cab. It was exhausting.

Sitting outside on a sunny day, eating a hot dog and reading People magazine, shouldn't have been so tiring. But I've been battling a cold for 5 days now and I'm tired. I'm tired of having a scratchy throat and a cough and a red, stuffy nose.

I got home and slept. And slept until my oldest friend called me hours later. Hopefully I'm putting the ah-choo behind me finally.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Saturday 9

1) Eddie Fisher starred in a popular 1950s TV show, which was sponsored by Coca Cola. Do you have a favorite soft drink?  That would be Coke.

2) He was notorious for leaving his famous first wife for his very famous second wife. Can you name either of the women involved in this Hollywood scandal? He left Debbie Reynolds for Liz Taylor. Who left him for Richard Burton.

3) His oldest daughter, Carrie Fisher, is best known as Princess Leia from Star Wars. Are you a sci-fi fan?  No.

4) Since Sam's father is particular about his footwear and likes "a good pair of Cole Haan loafers," her Father's Day present to him is a DSW gift card. If we were to give you a gift card to any store or restaurant, which would you choose?  CVS. There's always something I can use from CVS.

5) Sam's father hates it when she swears. When is the last time your cursed? I have a potty mouth, so undoubtedly it was yesterday.

6) Sam's father is a voracious reader. So much so that the local librarian knows him on sight and by name. How often do you visit your neighborhood library? 
Not often enough. There's a big, beautiful library two blocks away and I should use it more.
 7) "A good used car is a better investment than a new car." That's what Sam's dad tells her when she's in the market for wheels. Share some other words of financial wisdom with us.  Pay attention to ATM fees! The average person wastes more than $150/year on those fees. If you can't find an in-network ATM, then go to Walgreen's or CVS, pick up something you need anyway and get cash back.

8) Every car her father has ever owned had a pro-union bumper sticker. Do you have any bumper stickers on your vehicle?  No car.

9) To celebrate Father's Day, Sam is giving away her father's favorite candy: LifeSavers. Would you prefer a roll of Wild Cherry, Butter Rum, Winter Green or Peppermint?   Mints, please.

Cats aren't supposed to pant

And yet this afternoon, at almost exactly 1:45, Joey was panting. I kept careful track of the time because we had a vet appointment at 4:00 and I wanted to be able to report everything to him.

The vet thinks it may have been stress/exertion. Poor Joey's anal glands had become impacted, which made it painful and difficult to defecate. The vet took care of it and gave Joe a once over. Except for some gum trouble, he seems sound as a dollar.

But, like Charlotte, he's 17 or 18 years old. He enjoys sleeping and cuddling and napping and purring, but that's it. He doesn't run or play much anymore. If he was a person, he'd be between 85 and 90.

He hates going to the vet. It terrifies him (though it's the trip, not the vet visit itself that upsets him; for poor Charlotte, the whole episode was always terror). Getting a shot, having his glands expressed, riding to and from in a cab, it all exhausted my poor boy.

So I'm waiting until August to consider his dental work. If he's still feeling good, if he's still strong enough for anesthetic, we'll get those gums taken care of. But I don't want to turn around and drag him to the vet again next week. It doesn't feel fair.

Joey is a good boy. A dear, sweet old tub of guts. He's earned the right to be comfortable and happy. I'm trying to do right by him.

"Leave no comrade behind"

As I was headed home on a late train Wednesday night, I couldn't help but notice the three guys in the car's vestibule. Late teens. Not talking, but clearly together. Two could not have been standing closer, the one in the rear had his arm around the neck of his friend. I just assumed they were lovers -- a little drunk to be this public in their affection, but what the hell.

Then the one in the front started retching. Oh, but he was drunk! And the other two were so protective of their boozed up buddy. Since one of the kids was wearing a camouflage hat, they reminded me of partytime comrades in arms.

They got off in my town and I kept an eye on this grave trio for a couple of blocks. I was confident they were OK. Wednesday night. My prediction about their condition Thursday morning is not as rosy.

Me and Sting

Wednesday I saw The Last Ship, enjoying its world premiere here in Chicago. It's definitely still a work in progress -- a little too long, a little too slow, a few staging problems --  but it's moving. A small town is about to lose the shipyard, the business that employed almost all the village's men. A man returns to the town after more than a decade at sea, and finds everything in a state of flux. It's not a fun show, nor an exciting show, but it's emotionally resonant. And the score is high quality pop, just what you'd expect from the composer, Sting.

Even more exciting than the play, I nearly ran into Sting, literally, early Wednesday evening. I was headed over to Italian Village, across the street from the B of A Theater, to meet my friend Barb for a pre-play dinner and birthday celebration. Sting was turning from Monroe onto Michigan Avenue, taking a stroll before the evening's performance. He was wearing a tight t shirt and hoodie. He's very bald, very buff, and very handsome. More handsome than I expected. I'm proud to report I respected his privacy.

Enjoy my city, Mr. Sumner!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Good News for a Change

I saw a series of three reports on Monday, written by my client's data analysts for their internal use. Compiled quarterly, they are obviously available to us if we ask for them. We only asked for them now because I insisted -- performance appraisals are coming up and I want to be able to point to something tangible when I make the argument for keeping my job.

Oh. My. God. The worst we did in the last 18 months was performing to forecast. The best? We beat the projection by 25%. My efforts represent the brightest spot on my client's business plan, what they point to as the area that helps keep their other, more fledgling projects afloat.

And they are my efforts. My boss couldn't stay further away my projects because they're boring. Some are attracted to advertising because they think it's cool. Not me. I'm a geek. I get excited by these boring projects because I can point to real, measurable results and say, "Look what I did! I helped move the needle for the client!"

The timing of my receipt of these reports couldn't be better. I'm not saying they will save my job, but they will give my boss a reason to keep me, if he wants to. I'm going to spin the hell out of it in my self appraisal.

I wonder what's wrong with us as an agency. I wonder why it took ME to request these reports. I wonder how many others like them are floating around our client's offices. They could be valuable as we try to justify our place in their business plan and budget.

It scares me that I'm the one this occurs to.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Sunday Stealing

90, part 1

1. What was the highlight of your week? Time spent with my nephew. First his 8th grade graduation (Tuesday), then our trips to the animal shelter to adopt Connie (Friday).

2. Whose car were you in last? It belonged to the cab company.

3. When is the next time you will kiss someone? Your guess is as good as mine.

4. What color shirt are you wearing? Hunter green.

5. How long is your hair? It's short, but it's a bit unkempt. I'm getting my locks shorn this coming Saturday.

6. Are you good looking? I haven't frightened anyone.

7. Last movie you watched? Chef. It was completely charming. If it's playing near you, go see it.

8. Who were you with? I slipped in and out of the theater by myself. It's one of the benefits of having it less than 5 minutes away.

9. Last thing you ate? I'm right now eating Edy's Slow Churned Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream.

10. Last thing you drank? Lemon lime soda.

11. When was the last time you had your heart broken? When my cat Charlotte died last month. She was a very good girl.

12. Who came over last? The mailman.

13. Are you happy right now? I'm OK.

14. What did you say last? "NO!" My cat Reynaldo is in a mood and wants to tear up the dining room again.

15. Where is your phone? My cell is charging in the kitchen. My landline is on the end table.

16. What color are your eyes? Green

17. Are you left-handed? No

18. Spell your name without vowels: Th Gl Hrslf

19. Do you have any pets? Three cats: Joey, Reynaldo and Connie.

20. Favorite Vacation? I'd love to spend a week at a destination spa.

21. What do you dislike currently? Manufactured drama. Life tosses enough curves our way, we don't need to create upheaval.

22. What are you listening to? The TV is on

23. If you could have one thing right now what would it be? Mark Harmon

24. What is your favorite scent? Cinnamon

25. Who makes you happiest? I'm sure Mr. Harmon could, given half a chance

26. What were you doing at midnight last night? Sleeping, Unfortunately not with Mark Harmon.

27. When is your birthday? November 22

28. Who has the same phone as you? Many people. Many cheap people. It's not a very good phone.

29. Last time you went swimming in a pool? Christmas Eve in Key West. This is the pool. It was adorable.