Friday, July 31, 2015

This is a first

I'm filling the first backpack I've ever carried, in preparation for Lollapalooza. Glasses, contact lens solution/case, comb, sunscreen, wipes, towel, meds (bee sting, tummy trouble, migraines), wallet, phone, camera and ID. Water bottle, if there's room. Oh yeah, and our wristbands.


I'm going to see Sir Paul tonight! I'm going to see Sir Paul tonight.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


This meme is no more. And yet I persist in answering the three questions it asked each week. Stubborn, ain't I?

1. What are you currently reading? Being Nixon by Evan Thomas. A far more engaging book than I expected -- and I'm an Evan Thomas fan. For my whole life, Nixon has been either a villain or a punchline. It's easy to forget that he was a person, and the man whom millions upon millions of
Americans voted for as President three times. So there had to be some real-time appeal there that escapes me now, and that's what I hoped to find when I picked this book up.

I still don't know how anyone could pull the lever for NIXON over KENNEDY or HUMPHREY.* But I'm shocked by the compassion Thomas engenders for this man. Nixon faced prodigious personal demons -- shyness, paranoia, fear of intimacy -- and he tried to face them down. When he was successful, he accomplished much. But when he failed, it was on a grand, historic scale.

Usually when I play WWW.WEDNESDAY, I illustrate it with a photo of JBKO reading. Not this week. Nixon never ever got over his obsession with the Kennedys. He and JFK met very early in their careers, and he liked Kennedy enormously. The Kennedys represented the establishment that shunned him, yet he was as drawn to their charms as everyone else. It was a conflict that bedeviled him to the end of his days.

So instead of Jackie, I show Nixon with Pat. Though not always attentive to her, he was always in love with her. And he worked hard at being a good father.

2. What did you just finish reading? Edith Head's Hollywood by Edith Head with Paddy Calistro. I expected Hollywood dish and I got it. Liz Taylor had a beautiful back; Grace Kelly had perfect posture and a penchant for gloves; Redford was shy about disrobing in front of old Edith. But more than that, I learned how a woman coming of age in the 30s could turn herself into a celebrity and a very successful businesswoman. That part of the story was at least as interesting as the movie star stuff.

3. What will you read next? Probably Calico Joe. This Grisham baseball novel was a surprise giftie from my aunt, who knows how I love the national pasttime.

*I suppose I get McGOVERN, as much as I personally admired the man.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

I feel awful

Today my boss called a meeting, a postmortem of sorts to explain what happened with Long Tall Sally. He told us that part of her problem was her inability to get along with Christine.

Oh. My. God. I clashed with Christine and told LTS about it. I may have unwittingly thrown gasoline on the fire. I may have contributed to LTS' dismissal! Because of my actions, this 40-year-old woman who lives with her widowed mother, who has no savings and few friends to turn to or share her troubles with, is now out of a job.

After the meeting, I went straight to my boss and told him it was me. That I had bumped heads with Christine and that LTS was probably defending me. I asked him if he thought I should talk to Mr. Big.

He told me to forget it, that it would have happened to LTS anyway, and he added the names of others
who wanted her gone.

I still feel terrible. My conscience is not clear and besides, I'm worried about LTS. The comments left in a previous post by you blogging buddies have me thinking that she may be bipolar. She needed this job. It makes me very sad that she lost it, even though it may be for the best.

Birthday Girl

“Once you can express yourself, you can tell the world what you want from it or how you would like to change it …  All the changes in the world, for good or evil, were first brought about by words.” Jacqueline Kennedy to daughter Caroline

On this day in 1929, the woman who made it chic to be bookish was born.

Monday, July 27, 2015

It's almost Happy Time

Every year I take the August Happiness Challenge. Here's a brief explanation of the Challenge: "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."

You're invited to join me. Visit me with a link to your daily happy, and I'll come read it. I've found that experiencing other peoples' everyday pleasures is a great mood lifter.

It helps if your Happiness Challenge posts are marked with an icon. Just something that means "happy" to you. Here's my 2015 Happy.

P.S. Thanks for the reminder, Kwizgiver!

Cue "Taps"

Long Tall Sally was let go Friday afternoon. Turns out she simply didn't show up for a client meeting on Thursday, nor did she come into the office.

I am simply relieved.

On the one hand, I realize that this is a career setback for LTS, and I'm sorry about that. She was, in her way, very good for me and I appreciate how she enhanced my profile with the client.

On the other hand, she was simply too much drama and I couldn't bear being around her anymore. She's 40, lives with her mother, has no savings and now no job. She doesn't have a lot of friends because she was working overseas for a few years. She rather glommed onto me, talking ad nauseum about what was wrong with her life and all the work she had to do. It was exhausting. And then, to blow off a client meeting ...

I believe she has a good heart and a generous spirit. I hope she gets her life together so her career can recover from this setback.

And I shall enjoy the quiet.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Odds are good that you annoy me

Everyone seems to be bugging me these days.

1) Barb. We go to the theater together. She orders the Broadway on Chicago subscription. That way we have a reason to get together on a regular basis. Otherwise, she reasons, we'll drift apart. I completely laud her intentions, but she forgets to write the playdates down and then I end up scrambling for a seat filler. She's doing it again this coming week for Pippin. Of course she is. Maybe I won't go. Maybe I'll go alone. (That doesn't bother me.) But I don't feel like asking someone else to accompany me. I don't like anyone well enough these days.

2) Rose. Ah, Cousin Rose. Once again exhibiting why I love her but don't like her. We're related on our mothers' side, which gives us each a father's side filled with relatives we don't share. When she goes on and on about cousins, nieces and nephews I either haven't met or don't recall, I feign interest and try to ask polite questions. Most recently, it concerned her taking young-uns to NASA and Cape Kennedy. Again, I don't care. But to be nice, I asked if the name hadn't been restored to Cape Canaveral. She wrote back that was something I could just "look up on Wikipedia." How about you fuck yourself? I took several deep breaths and counted to 10 a few times before answering that letter.

3) Kathleen. Last year, when we celebrated my birthday/her birthday and Christmas, she gave me a card and said we had a date to see a Cub game at the renovated Wrigley Field. The season started in April. When, in May, she still hadn't mentioned it, I sent her a list of games and dates that were good for me through July 26. May ... June ... July. I told her I didn't want to do August because I don't like heat, and September is always iffy because rainouts are notoriously hard to reschedule at that late date.

First she set a date in June. Then she changed it because her daughter's college roommate would be visiting and wanted to join us, so she chose another date. Then she cancelled that one because her husband wanted to take her to a concert that night. Then I had to commit to the first weekend in August, even though I didn't want to go that late in the season, so she could coordinate with both her adult son (he now lives in Detroit) and daughter. Then she cancelled that one because it's too confusing for her son and daughter and what about September? I told her to forget it. If it's too hard, we just shouldn't do it. 'SHUT UP," she emailed back. "I love you and want to see you." That was July 17. I still haven't heard back.

So basically, it seems, she's trying to consolidate my birthday -- which was more than eight months ago now -- with spending the afternoon with her kids. And when it comes to dates and preferences, it's obvious my wishes come in third, after her kids'. I'm hurt and embarrassed. Clearly this is not a priority for her, and it would be less humiliating if we just forget about it.

4) My Clown Car cohabitants and everyone else at work. Can't stand their faces. Need a day off desperately. All I really did today was nap, because the thought of going in and facing them, my grumpy old boss and Long Tall Sally -- who, while well meaning, really is insane -- exhausts me.

I hope I get to work out at least once this week. The lack of physical activity isn't helping my mood.


Face forward, Old Gal. To paraphrase his lordship, it's going to get better, a little better all the time ...

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing: I'll Spread My Wings ...

1. Have you ever had a pen pal? In junior high. It didn't last long and I don't remember much, if anything, about her.

2. What’s your favorite breed of dog? A mixed-breed shelter rescue. Open your heart and look for your next best friend here.

3. Can money buy happiness? It can buy comfort and security, which can give happiness the time and space to grow.

4. Do you listen to music when you’re down? Yes

5. What is one thing you spend way too much money on? Watches. Instead spending $10 to replace the battery in my favorite watch, I'll replace it for $30 or $40. Which is stupid.

6. Can you honestly say you’re okay right now? Yes

7. What was the last thing you spent money on? Movie ticket (see post below)

8. Is your current hair color mostly your natural hair color? Augmented by highlights

9. Who have you texted in the last 24 hours? Nobody

10. Were you in a good mood last night? Yes. I spent a lot of time on the phone, catching up with my oldest friend. Happy to report we're both doing better this Saturday than we were last Saturday.

11. Do you have a reason to smile right now? Yes. My wonderful old cat Joey is sitting next to me, purring loudly and feeling healthy. I'm so grateful he's still with me at 20 years of age.

12. How often do you hold back what you want to say? Not as much as I should.

13. Do you think that in the end, everything will fall into place? Yes

14. Are you currently looking forward to anything? This Friday I'm seeing Sir Paul at Lollapalooza!

15. Do you have any TV shows on DVD? Yes

Oh, yes!

I really enjoyed Trainwreck. Yes, at times it was vulgar (but, at times, so am I) and yes, some of the jokes were a little too raw for me. But on whole, it was a blast.

The POV was unique. Not all women are aching to marry. Some of us are relationship-phobic. As one who spent her 20s and early/mid 30s partying too hard and sleeping with the wrong men (though my body count was nowhere near as prodigious as Amy's), I can relate to much of what the main character had to say. And that's why I doubt that these two continue enjoying their happy ending after the cameras stop rolling. But that didn't stop me from laughing loudly and heartily at this raunchy rom-com.

BTW, Amy Schumer reminds me of the star of the other summer comedy hit, Melissa McCarthy, in that my response to her TV show is lukewarm at best. I think that perhaps the demands of budget and time make it more difficult to produce consistently good TV.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: All the Way

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here. (You'll thank me. It's beautiful.)

1) In this song, Frank sings, "who knows where the road will lead us?" Which leads Sam to ask, does your vehicle have GPS? No vehicle. But, since I have no sense of direction whatsoever, I'd like to have one implanted in my wrist.

2) Sinatra introduced "All the Way" in the movie, The Joker Is Wild. During that film he also sang "Chicago (That Toddlin' Town)." A few years later, in the movie Robin and The Seven Hoods, he declared Chicago as his "kind of town." Besides Chicago, can you think of another city Frank immortalized in song? That would be the city doesn't sleep, New York, New York.
3) When Frank was 19, he saw a pretty girl sitting on her front porch, giving herself a manicure. He went and got his ukelele and serenaded her. That girl became his first wife, Nancy. Tell us how one of your romances began. This coworker and I were working late and I thought we were alone at the office. Because he was behind his desk, he couldn't see me from the waist down so I got comfortable. I twisted around and threw my skirted leg over the arm of the chair. Not ladylike, to be sure, but since he couldn't see me I figured, "no harm, no foul." Well, we weren't alone, and Dan most unexpectedly walked by. I'll never forget the look that most fleetingly passed his face when he saw me like that. Our eyes met and we both said, "Sorry," at the same moment as I composed myself. Heretofore he'd been a very cold fish (my nickname for him was "cyborg"). Seeing me like that warmed him up! He turned out to be a very lovely man -- more than a little emotionally shut off, to be sure, but a good person. I enjoyed our subsequent romance very much.

4) Both Frank and Nancy grew up in New Jersey. When you think of NJ, what else comes to mind? That it's a death trap, a suicide rap ... at least that's what BROOOOOCE tells me.

5) Sinatra made Las Vegas as famous for entertainment as for gambling. He was so identified with the Strip, that when he played Caesar's Palace the marquee simply said, "He's Here." Have you ever been to Vegas? Yes. Love it because it's such a silly escape from reality. Celebrating my birthday there again this year. This time we're staying at Excalibur.
My favorite Italian restaurant
6) Thin for most of his life, Frank was blessed with a metabolism that allowed him to whatever he wanted without gaining weight. He especially enjoyed clams posillipo. What's your favorite Italian dish? Manicotti. Especially at LaCantina. "Baked ricotta cheese filled crepes served with tomato or cream sauce." I always choose the tomato sauce. Unfortunately, unlike Frank, I do gain weight when I eat Italian food.
7) Perhaps because of his hardscrabble childhood, Sinatra was a soft touch for charities devoted to kids. One of his favorites was Variety, which sends disadvantaged children on day trips to museums, zoos and sporting events. Here's your chance to tell us about a cause that's near and dear to your heart. Toys for Tots. Every child deserves something from Santa. People forget that they collect all year around, and that early contributions help them plan. To learn more about their wonderful work, click here.

8) Sinatra was a neat freak who couldn't stand dust or clutter and showered at least twice a day. He got this from his mother Dolly, who was compulsive about housecleaning and hygiene. Can you think of a time when you caught yourself doing something and thought, "I'm just like Mom/Dad!" My home is maintained for the convenience and comfort of my cats. I got that from my mom. She taught us that our pets should be loved and respected as members of the family.

9) In 1998, Sinatra was buried with the things he always had in tow: a bottle of Jack Daniels, a pack of Camels, a Zippo lighter and 10 dimes. Why the dimes? According to his daughter, "He never wanted to be caught not able to make a call." Of course, 17 years later cell phones have replaced pay phones. Anyway, tell us what you always carry. I never leave the house without my watch and rings. Oddly, I remove them -- looping the rings on the watch band -- as soon as I get home. But I've always got them on when I go out the door, so I'd want them with me through eternity.

A matinee, a cocktail and an apology

Last Sunday our movie group had our summer outing. We saw Double Indemnity on the big, big screen at the multiplex. Because they had a bar, I took a Cosmo into the theater. Fred MacMurray's character, Walter Kneff, would have wanted me to.

Afterward I was going to head to the office to finish up a little in-office brochure. Between jury duty and Long Tall Sally's blabbing, I was behind on The Big Project. But Joanna, my best movie group bud, convinced me to stop for just one drink so we classic movie lovers could discuss Double Indemnity.

I didn't have a second drink. I still had to go back to work. But Joanna did (or maybe it was her first). At any rate, I've never been around her when liquor was involved. Good God, but it loosened her tongue! I couldn't finish a sentence without her interrupting ... or disagreeing ... or just hijacking the conversation.

I found myself snapping at her. I was brusque and sarcastic. When I got to the Sunday-silent office, I felt terrible. She's a warm and smart woman and didn't deserve that. Especially not when you consider that the topics we'd been discussing were Marilyn Monroe's oeuvre and whether there were five Marx Bros. or six.

So I shot her an email, apologizing and trying to explain how raw I felt after such a rough week. She was very gracious, telling me to forget about it because she intended to.

I'm grateful she was so understanding.

I took the high road

I don't drive, so I don't think about potholes very much. I know that, every spring, they are a major issue throughout Chicagoland. But they really aren't anything I consider.

Which, according to the City of Chicago, made me an acceptable juror. The lucky individuals who weren't impaneled were the ones who said they hated potholes and had elaborate, gruesome stories about the damage done to their cars.

The case I got was a woman who sued the city because she fell in a pothole and messed up her knee. She requested $17,000 for medical bills, pain and suffering and loss of ordinary use. We awarded her just over $9,000. As a jury, we felt that her accident was more than half the City's fault, since the law states that maintaining the roads is their responsibility. On the other hand, $17,000 was steep and "loss of ordinary use" felt to me as though she was gilding the lily. She didn't lose her leg, after all.

I feel good about the verdict, the award, and our ability to reach consensus. But I hated jury duty.

Too many people (12 jurors, 2 alternates and, at times, a sheriff's deputy) in one small room while we waited for court to begin and while we deliberated. And some people are such assholes.

The judge told us not to consider the woman's health insurance. It was in writing, too, in the jury instructions. Insurance is a private contract and has no bearing on whether or not the City was responsible for the woman's injuries.

So what's the first question that comes up? "I wonder how much her insurance paid ..." The man who asked made it clear he thought she was "double dipping."

"We're not supposed to consider that," I said.

"I think it's important and so I'm putting it out there."

"And I'm batting it back because the judge said we're not supposed to consider it."

Good, Gal. You just caused tension in this tiny room. I didn't want to, but I couldn't help it.

He also wanted us to do this "in a hurry" so we could "get out of there." After all, we jurors had trains to catch and this wasn't "that big a deal, anyway."

I countered that I was going to take my time. I pointed out that it was a big deal -- this case had taken two years to come to trial -- to the plaintiff. And I reminded him I'd taken an oath. One of the other female jurors actually said, "amen," and that's when I saw I was speaking for the women in the room. Here I was afraid I'd made the high road so high that I would get a nosebleed, and it turned out I was doing something important.

But it took me days to shake how angry I was at that man, my fellow juror. At least I know I'll never have to see him again. (Though actually, I might. He happens to work at the hospital just up the street, the one where I go to get my annual mammogram.)

Friday, July 24, 2015


I am the world's worst housekeeper. I believe that's indisputable. And yet what happened last week freaked even me out.

First, my bathtub was stopped up. So I snaked and plunged it, loosening stuff and letting it come from the drain into the tub. I identified hair and globs of the clay mask I use a couple mornings a week. A lot of it I couldn't identify, and didn't want to. Before I could rinse and scrub it away I had to wipe away the big stuff. So I grabbed the white towel from the rag drawer. When I was done, it was creepy/ooky.

Then I went out for brunch. On the way back, a pigeon pooped on my head. Talk about creepy/ooky! The birdshit felt warm as it ran down my face! I couldn't get home fast enough to wash it off. Once again, I reached for the big, dirty white towel because I didn't to ruin my linens with pigeon poop.

I washed the big white towel and not all of it came out. That's how filthy it was. It went through the washer and still came out filthy.

This weekend, it gets bleached. If any of the creepy/ooky is still visible, I'm giving it up to the dumpster.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Being grown up is for the birds

... Like the pigeon who pooped on my head, literally, as I walked under the el tracks Saturday.

Last week was a rough week. This week doesn't look to be much better.

I'm trying to take Sir Paul's advice and accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative and latch on to the affirmative.

But what I'd really like is alone time to relax and recharge. To lay around all day, dreaming of my
cowboy, catching up on my blogging and playing Farmville.

Unfortunately, I've got to go to work. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sunday Stealing

Let's Not Be Difficult

1. Do you like your movies and books to be more lighthearted or serious?   Depends on  my mood.

 2. What’s more important, first impressions or lasting impact? 
Lasting impact.

 3. Order these areas of psychological health from what you need the least improvement into what you need the most improvement in: physical, emotional, social, intellectual, environmental, spiritual.
I have a hard time discerning the boundaries between emotional/intellectual/spiritual. So I'll make my own life easier and say physical. I haven't worked out in more than a week.

4. Do you react appropriately to things and control your feelings? 
I try to control my feelings. I am not always successful, and  often  doing so costs me. Maybe I'd do better to just say "fuck it" more often.

5. Do you have stable relationships? 
Some. Not all

6. Do you need to be in a relationship to feel good about yourself? 
Of course not.

7. Which is the clearest and most concise, your thoughts, your speech or your writing? Which is the least clear and concise? 
I'm very verbal. I'm best  in writing, but I'm clear and concise in conversation, too.

8. Are you always trying to learn new things?
Yes. Like right now, I'm learning all kinds of things about Richard Nixon, the villain of my girlhood years, and I find myself surprised by the compassion I feel for him.

9. Do you feel at peace?
More often than not. But not always.

10. Do you have strong morals and ethics that you believe in and adhere to?
Yes. I'm not always successful, but I try. I believe in God's grace, and I try to deserve it.

11. Do you think of the needs of all humanity or just the needs of yourself and those you know? 
While I believe in the needs of all humanity, I also think charity begins at home, so  it becomes a question of whose needs get top priority.
12. Do you recycle?
Of course.

13. Are you active in your community?
Not as active as I should be.

14. Are you sensitive to the needs of others?
I try. Every day  I do try.

15. Do you dress up to go out?
As seldom as possible.

16. What could make you lose respect for someone? 
Small mindedness. The inability to walk a mile in the other guy's shoes.

17. If you won $1,000 every week until you die, would you still go to work?
Before I answer, tell me if that 's $1,000 before or after taxes.

18. What trend has been getting on your nerves lately? 
Donald Trump. I hope that yesterday's ugly and stupid comments about John McCain put an end to his stunt candidacy.

19. Do you forgive yourself when you make a mistake?
Depends on the mistake.

20. Is ignorance really bliss? 

21. What can be described as ‘even better than the real thing’? 
Huh? You mean, like margarine vs. butter? I really can't think of anything.

22. What’s in your wallet right now?
Money, credit cards, store discount cards, and way, way too many ATM receipts.

23. Do you write letters that you never send

24. Do you ever get the feeling people are laughing at you? 
On occasion.  And I'm not sure they're wrong.

25. Who’s the one person you’d like to drop a house on? 
Just one?

Our $155,000,000 Man Comes Through

Jon Lester had a NO HITTER going into the 8th inning last night!

He's our new ace, the Christmas gift management bought us Cub fans during the off season. He came with that massive price tag (though the $155 million is over six seasons) and lots of high expectations. Expectations he hasn't met yet. He had a slow spring and, while things picked up for him in July, he still wasn't winning.

Until last night! Wow! Was he good last night! His first game after we hit the halfway mark and he was un-freaking-stoppable. Maybe he needed the weather to get really hot -- it was in the 90s yesterday in Hotlanta, while it's been unseasonably chilly here in Chicago* all season. Maybe he needed to get used to NL rules -- pitchers get pulled earlier on this side because we don't have the DH. Maybe something just clicked. But he was great.

So Saturday night, we saw the pitcher Theo Epstein -- who doesn't necessarily believe in big contracts -- is worth that massive paycheck. And now I get it.

*Though Friday and Saturday, it was 90º+ here, as well.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Shut up!

I am a blabby person. Chirpy, even. I think I use up my day's allotment words at the office, which is why I'm so comfortable being alone evenings/weekends. I've talked enough Monday-Friday.

But Long Tall Sally (aka The New Girl) leaves me in the shade. She's not only verbose, her conversation is always drama laden. And inopportune. And she took an already bad week and made it far worse.

Wednesday was my first day in the office after two days of jury duty (more on that in another post). I had a lot of work to do, many emails to catch up on. And yet, after everyone else had gone home, LTS chose this time to sit down and start taking to me about Life at The Agency. What I like, what I don't like. She asked a lot of questions but didn't do much listening (as we will see later). I told her how claustrophobic our seating is in The Clown Car … how tense the atmosphere among the four of us becomes, and why … how hard I try to keep things copacetic … how tired I am when I get home each night, that I'm too exhausted to talk to anyone … Then she took over and told me about her travails with her boss and Christine the Mole. I know she's lonely and doesn't have a lot of friends, and I do appreciate how supportive she is of me professionally, so I listened. For hours. Until well after 8:00. I'd say I resented the time I put in with her, but emotionally I was too empty to screw up that much feeling.

So what does Long Tall Sally do on Thursday? She brings her computer in to our little Clown Car, parks herself and starts asking one of our coworkers incredibly provocative questions. Questions she knew the answers to, because he's an outspoken RWNJ. About religion (dislikes this new Pope), global warming (doesn't accept it), homosexuality (the choice of the depraved), and rape (all about sex, despite what "they" want you to believe about rage and power). It was so loud, went on so long, and was so offensive that one of our teammates from across the aisle sent me this gif.

I was upset, highly upset. So were two of the coworkers who also share The Clown Car. I told LTS it was unwise and upsetting.

"Why?" she asked. "He's got free speech."

I was beyond exasperated. "I'm not talking about imprisoning him! I'm talking about my right to do my work without listening to his bile!" I told her how I was going to have to spend all evening trying to figure out how to forgive him. After all, this is a man I can reach out and touch for 40 hours/week. I already have to overlook the picture of Obama as a rodeo clown and the cartoon mocking Mohammed he tacked on his bulletin board, in my sight line all day/every day. Now this.

When I tried to explain this to LTS, she said, "So I suck. That's it, right?"

"Why are you determined to make this about you and me?" I asked. And then I went home.

On Friday, the office closes at 1:00. I didn't get out until 3:30. Why? Guess. Go ahead. Guess. She went on, and on, and on ... just wanting to make sure she and I were still OK.

And I had work to do! 

I'm tired. Tired. Tired.

Tired of all of it.

Of the Big Project. Of last summer's Big Project, which has now sprung back to life and is now on my plate. Of my coworkers. Of my friends. (I should do a post about them, too, but I'm too tired and it makes me too sad.)

I won't be able to take any real time off until September. I have a ton of vacation time, but I haven't been able to take it.

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Bubbly

1) Singer Colbie Caillat says this song was inspired by a trip to "the beach and having a wonderful day with a person you like." Have you been to the beach yet this summer? No. I don't really enjoy baking in the sun.

2)  Are you careful about applying sunscreen? Not as careful as I should be.

3) Colbie made her TV debut in a 2009 episode of Saturday Night Live. Are you a big SNL fan? When both the show and I were young, I watched it religiously. But now I forget to put it on.

4) "Bubbly" is often a synonym for champagne. When's the last time you enjoyed a glass of bubbly? I don't remember exactly. It was probably a breakfast mimosa. Straight up champagne gives me a headache.

5) Colbie sang the National Anthem at the third game of the Red Sox/Cardinals
World Series in 2013. How is your favorite baseball team doing so far this season? OH, I'm so enjoying my Chicago Cubs this season! Loving the new manager (Joe Maddon), loving these two All Star sluggers on the corners (Rizzo and Bryant), loving our renovated park. It's all good.

6) In 2005, Ms. Caillat tried out for Season 4 of American Idol but was eliminated very early in the process, before she could even audition for Simon, Paula and Randy. The winner that year was Carrie Underwood. Are you a Carrie Underwood fan? Not really. But then, I'm more familiar with her eye shadow commercials than I am with her music.

7) In 2007, when "Bubbly" was popular, actress Yvonne deCarlo died. She was best known as Lily on The Munsters. If you had to choose (and yes, this Saturday you have to), would you rather hang out with Lily Munster or Morticia Addams? This is a tough one. While I definitely prefer Gomez to Herman, upon deeper reflection I must admit I like Lily better than Morticia.

8) In 2007, MySpace was faced with a serious challenge from Facebook, and it's obvious which social network won. Did you have a MySpace account? If so, do you still post to it? Never had a MySpace account.

9) Random question: Which have you had longer, your ironing board or your plunger? I can't recall purchasing either one. Though I know I paid $2.49 for the plunger at Woolworth's because the price display is painted on. (I just used it last night to unplug my shower drain.)


Saturday, July 11, 2015

Sunday Stealing

I want to be famous ...

1. Would you like to be famous? In what way? I'd like to be just famous enough to always get a table when I call a restaurant. Like Gene Cernan. He was an Apollo astronaut, one of the few men to actually walk on the moon. I was in line at a popular pizza place in the Chicago suburbs and had to wait a little longer because he was coming in. The hostess had no idea who he was ... exactly ... but she knew she knew the name. I think this would be a good level/kind of famous. No paparazzo and actual accomplishments to be proud of (meaning: far better than any Kardashian) and the ability to get a good table whenever he wants at the local Italian restaurant.

2. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why? Only if I'm calling directly to voice mail -- which I often do when I don't feel like talking to you directly -- and I know it might be listened to more than once.

3. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you? Doing nothing. No appointments to keep. No reason to look at my watch. Naturally, being able to watch my Cubs would be a nice addition.

4. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else? This morning. I sang along with John Waite in the shower. (Not that John Waite was in the shower with me, except via my shower radio.) "There's a storm that's raging through my frozen heart tonight … I ain't missing you at all ..."

5. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want? Mind. I want to retain my mental faculties. Losing them frightens me enormously.

6. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die? It's not secret. If you read this blog regularly, you know I can see myself dying suddenly and violently in a plane crash. It's my most potent, least rational fear and I have to battle it every time I travel by air. It takes prayer, courage, and three carefully timed .25 mg doses of Xanax to get me into my seat. But I get there!

7. For what in your life do you feel most grateful? That I see humor in most things. I look at friends who have also battled depression and I know they consider me "stronger" than they are. I don't think that's it at all. I think it's a combination of my Christianity and my ability to laugh that has saved me when things have been darkest.

8. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be? I wish that our household had spent more time with my dad's family than with my mother's. In retrospect, I can see that my mother's family was the one with the toxicity and the ugly secrets that had to be kept, no matter what the personal expense. My dad's family -- while not perfect -- offered a lot more love with many fewer strings attached. I think if we'd celebrated Thanksgiving, Christmas, 4th of July, etc., with them, I wouldn't recoil at the notion of a family gathering.

9. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be? I'd love to be able to sing.

10. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know? How long will I keep this job.

11. What does friendship mean to you? Support, love, laughter.

12. What roles do love and affection play in your life? I know this is a daring stand to take, but I'm solidly, four-square in favor of love and affection.

13. When did you last laugh? Earlier today.

14. Are you a morning person or a night owl? Yes. I enjoy both late night and early morning.

15. Seen anything weird lately? This week on the el, I saw a woman of about 30 acting out the scenario of President George W. Bush in a Florida classroom, getting word about the 9/11 attacks, and then going on to read The Pet Goat to the children. She was doing this for the benefit of a girl in her teens who simply didn't believe that could possibly be how it happened. How these two knew each other, or how they happened upon the topic of Bush, 9/11 and The Pet Goat, I don't know. But the woman's performance was really rather good.

The happiest thing that happened all week

I love this sweater. I found it over lunch on Tuesday at Macy's ... for $12. 80% off! And it was just what I needed!

I had tickets to see the touring company of Kinky Boots that night, and had forgotten my little denim jacket at home. The mercury dropped into the low 70's by lunchtime and would undoubtedly go even lower when the play let out around 10:00. The 3/4 length sleeve, blue/white print blouse I was wearing was not going to be enough.

A blue cardigan! My kingdom for a blue cardigan!

First I ran over to Ross. They are new to the Chicagoland area and their commercials are running constantly. I know, I know ... I should know better than to believe advertising. Ross turned out to be quite a disappointment. Not much merchandise, not well organized. I gave up quickly and was sad.

Then I went to Macy's on State Street. I should have gone there in the first place. I can almost always find something at Macy's, and this one was perfect. Just warm enough, just dressy enough.* It had originally been $59.50. Marked down to $41.99. Marked down to $29.39. Marked down to $11.99.

Plus, shopping at Macy's State Street is always pleasant. It's a beautiful old building -- the original State Street Marshall Field's -- with a lovely old fountain in the main lobby. The salespeople are nice, and wrap even a purchase made at 80% off in tissue.

Sigh. When retail therapy works, it feels soooo good!

*My theater buddy, Barb, and I tried a new restaurant before the play and I had no idea how far I could push the "casual" thing and still feel comfortable. This little sweater jacket was a nice little addition. Better than the hoodie I almost invested in from Ross.

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Crazy Little Thing Called Love (1980)

1) In this video, Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury is wearing a leather jacket. Do you have a leather jacket? I used to. I still may have it somewhere. It wasn't a Freddie Mercury-style jacket. It was tailored with knit accents and I used to dress up jeans/slacks.

2) There's a statue of Freddie in Switzerland. There's another statue of him above the Dominion Theater in London. Tell us about a statue or memorial in your town. The one I pass the most often is dedicated to the memory of the soldiers my community sent to WWI and never came home. (I know it was WWI because of their helmets.)

3) Mercury said this song was inspired by Elvis Presley. What's your favorite Elvis song? Oh, I love Elvis. Especially sad, sincere Elvis. "Seven lonely days and a dozen times ago, I reached out one night and you were gone." Breaks my heart every time.

4) This song was covered by the animated Alvin and the Chipmunks. Do you still watch cartoons? Yes. If I happen upon Mr. Magoo or Rocky & Bullwinkle, I still stop and watch.

5) The members of Queen met while attending Ealing Art College in London. Are you still in touch with the friends you had in your late teens and early 20s? I met John and Mindy when I was 23 and they're still my friends to this day.

6) During Queen's hey day in the 1980s, Mercury stayed in shape with tennis and swimming. Are you more accomplished on the court or in the pool? I am a good swimmer. Not fast, but I have endurance. I only played tennis once and it was not pretty.

7) In 1980, when this song was popular, Brooke Shields made a jeans commercial where she said, "Nothing comes between me and Calvins." It actually only aired for a short time because so many viewers called and complained about it. Have you ever called or emailed to protest something you saw on TV? Nope. But I can tell you, working an ad agency, that companies do listen. Your letters and emails are read. As far as Facebook and Twitter go, it's not what you say (since so many people are anonymous trolls), but it's the total tonnage of posts that gets attention.

8) 1980 is also the year the Post-It note was introduced. What's the last Post-It you wrote? "We're still tweaking two of the letters." OK, it's not a compelling answer but it is an honest one.

9) Random question: Do you blush easily? Not so much.

F as in "Foxtrot" ...

... through N as in "November."

We're the citizens who have been called as jurors on Monday. At the Daley Center, which is in the heart of the Loop. As Cook County courthouses go, it's the best place to be assigned. Easy to get to by public transportation, surrounded by lunch places I'm already familiar with, and usually the home of not violent trials.

I can't honestly say I want to do this. I'll probably be stuck sitting in an uncomfortably chilly room all day (with no wifi) and not even be interviewed to sit on a jury. Or if I get through to voir dire, I'll be one of dozens interviewed and therefore not likely to be chosen. Meanwhile, at the office, I have to trust others with my 2:00 presentation, and I hate trusting others with my work.

On the other hand, I can't honestly say I don't want to do this. I still think the system is very cool. I am that corny. "Trial by a jury of your peers." It rocks.

One month later ...

Christine is staying through the end of the month. She's wrangling to stay even longer.

She still annoys me every time she opens her mouth. She's still a freelancer with an agenda. I still hate her. I just get along with her to make my own day easier.

And, it must be said, she's a bit more deferential to me than she was. She's no longer all bossy pants on my ass. Part of it is because she's learned my boss trusts me with The Big Project, and part of it is that she sees that the client likes me. So while I'm under no illusions that she likes me, either, at least there's not a lot of stress.

But here's why I don't like her, won't like her, can't like her.

Mr. Big and Christine
Christine is a mole. She reports to Mr. Big, twice a week, about Long Tall Sally, aka The New Girl,her immediate supervisor.

Long Tall Sally, aka The New Girl, went through a period there where she was, to be honest and fair, nuts. The client complained about her to Mr. Big and Mr. Big freaked out. Long Tall Sally is his first-ever hire, in a high profile position, and it would be very bad for him if she didn't work out.

Right about the time the client complained, Christine showed up. Once a VP, long out of work and available for a much lower position. Hungry to, in her own words, "get back into it." She meets with Mr. Big "on the sly" -- or so they think, one of the downsides of our current open seating arrangement is that everyone sees what everyone is doing, all day long -- twice a week. And reports on LTS.

I don't respect that.

I have no doubt she's done the same to me with my boss, only 1) my boss is lazier than Mr. Big and 2) my work this year really has been very good. So I'm not worried. But I still want her gone.

PS This is why I miss Mad Men with every fiber of my being. That show was so knowing about my world, I found it comforting.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Here we go again

Ok, I admit it. I'm not a fan of Hillary Clinton's. And yet, I find myself defending her and even becoming more enthusiastic about her.

Why? I mean, neither she nor I has changed much since I wrote this post back in June 2014.

Because the people who attack her are so freaking unfair! And sexist. And mean spirited. Here are just some of the things floating round out there:

• Her marriage is a sham (either because she's a lesbian or because she's frigid)

• She "allowed" our embassy in Benghazi to come under attack because she was with her mistress, Huma Abedin (lesbian again)

• She has suffered several "minor" strokes and her deleted emails were all from doctors, advising her on how to conceal her weakened condition from the public

• She only wants to be President so that she can make Sen. Kristen Gillibrand either Vice President or maybe a federal judge, thereby enabling her to make Chelsea a Senator and guaranteeing a third Clinton will eventually be President

• She is paranoid and keeps an "enemies list," a la Richard Nixon's

• She had an ongoing affair with White House Counsel Vince Foster, and his inability to protect the then-First Lady from legal problems drove him to suicide

• She had a brief affair with Vince Foster years earlier, when they were both partners at the Rose Law Firm, and she had him murdered to keep him silent

• She encouraged her brothers to "sell" pardons as her husband was leaving office

I could go on, but I don't have the stomach.

There are a lot of reasons not to support HRC but not a one is bullet pointed above.

People who are so cynical as to spread this toxicity, and those blindly hateful enough to believe it, do not enhance our political discourse and may just persuade me to cut a check to Hillary for America.

PS Plus I'd love to see Bill rock the role of First Lady.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Dreaming of the vaunted Walla Walla-Kalamazoo corridor

This corny bit of Americana heralded the start of  each WGN radio Cubs broadcast of my girlhood, and explains why every time we heard from my cousins in Kalmazoo, I wished we had people in Walla Walla, too.

This song has been on my mind all day because the Cubs are starting two very important series. Tonight we take on the Cardinals -- a team that's been scary good so far this year, and are historically our #1 rivals. After the Cards leave town, the White Sox stop by. My feelings about the Sox are a bit more complicated. I don't actually care about them, and since it's interleague play those games won't have much impact on the standings. It's just Sox fans are so hostile to Cubs fans and our Wrigley Way of Life that I'd really like to see my heroes in pinstripes kick ass.

I'm told there are people who don't love baseball. I'm sad for them. For I wonder if they know the joy that comes when you "cheer ... and boo ... and raise a hullbaloo."

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Sunday Stealing

1. What’s overdue for a good cleaning? My carpets. They're enormously funky.

2. What’s overdue for some kind of professional examination, service, maintenance, or upkeep?
I need to go to dentist.

3. Who’s overdue for a phone call or letter to you? My Cousin Rose and my friend Tom. (Tom and his young family just moved to their first house and I want to send him a snailmail Hallmark card, not just an e-card.)

 4. What’s overdue for an appearance in your neighborhood?
You mean where should I go that I haven't been? Public library. I don't use it as much as I should.

 5. Who’s overdue for a good comeuppance?
So many people!

 6. What’s a gross food you like anyway?

 7. Who’s an unlikeable person you like anyway?
Nancy Grace. I don't like her, but her show is the television equivalent of Cheetos.

 8. What’s an unpleasant task you enjoy performing anyway?
Grocery shopping

 9. What’s a dumb song you enjoy anyway?
His life, his love and his lady is the sea. (Even the lyric's grammar is lousy, yet I love it.)

 10. What’s a lousy restaurant you frequent anyway?
Red Robin. YUM!

 11. What's your favorite Sci-fi film/program, etc?
I'm sorry if you're a fan, but scifi really feels like a tremendous waste of time.

 12. Have you ever had a proper Tarot reading?

 13. Have you ever used the phrase "back in my time" to someone younger than you?

 14. Have you ever done something really unbelievable, only to have no one around to see it?
Nothing springs to mind.

 15. If you were famous, would you want a statue or a building names after you?
Couldn't I please just have the cash?