Sunday, June 19, 2016

Welcome to the Big Leagues, Mr. Contreras!

His teammates all seem to adore Willson Contreras. The kid impressed everyone and made a lot of friends at spring training, and so there was a lot of excitement when he was called up late last week.

Tonight, he had his first major league at bat. Pinch hitting. Within the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field. The Cubbie faithful gave him a standing ovation, just for being here. It was a sweet moment.

Then it got freaky wonderful. He hit a two-run home run! His first at bat! I mean, really!

The fans just gave him a standing o. Did I mention this was his first-ever game?

Magic. This season is magic.

A happy Father's Day memory

My late father didn't much like being a dad. We girls were too noisy, too unpredictable, too demanding of time and attention. We didn't appreciate the things he was interested in when we little. By the time we were older we didn't feel very connected to him, nor he to us. I remember him as forever angry, disillusioned and disappointed.

Which is why this particular Father's Day memory fills me with such warmth. There was a miniature golf course not far from my grandparents' house. It was 9 holes and, in retrospect, in terrible shape. Very rudimentary. No clown's mouth, no windmill. Yet I wanted to go every time we passed it. More often than not I would just watch it disappear as our car turned the corner.

Except a couple times every summer, my father would surprise us by pulling in. For some reason, this silly little hometown course brought out the best in him. When we played miniature golf, he was the patient, compassionate father I always wanted.

"Hit it over here," he'd explain, standing where he wanted me to aim, "and it will bounce where you want it to go." Then, when it was time for a short putt, he'd stand by the hole and frame it with his feet to help me focus.

Memories of the miniature golf course with my dad came back to me last weekend. As part of our family celebration of my niece's graduation, we went miniature golfing. It was the first time in a long, long, long time I thought to myself, "My dad would enjoy this."

Then I realized my nephew was wearing a Bernie Sanders t-shirt and knew that would make my dad shit a brick. "A Socialist!" But this is Father's Day, so let's just let my mind wander back to the 8th hole. The hardest one, because you had to maneuver straight between two (2!) water hazards. The sun is setting. The mosquitoes are coming out. But for once, my dad is not in a hurry.

"Take your time, Tiger," he'd say. And when my ball inevitably went into the drink, he'd fish it out for me and put it on the orange dot.

Sometimes we'd cheat on the 9th hole and just roll the ball in with our hands. Then my dad would run his fingers through my hair as we went to the whitewashed shack to turn in our clubs.

Happy Father's Day, Daddy.

The Creepy Continues

My 90-year old neighbor fantasizes about me. I am totally creeped out by this.

This unpleasant chapter began last month. My across-the-hall neighbor knocked on my door. I tried to talk to him through the chain but he insists on coming in because he has a problem of some sort that he doesn't want to discuss in the hall. Thinking he may be in some sort of peril -- after all, he's a senior citizen on his own -- I reluctantly let him in. I was in my bathrobe, which reaches to my ankles. I was more covered than I am at the beach or the health club.

Turns out his terrible problem is his Comcast bill. As I review it, he tells me I look sexy. I told him that made me "uncomfortable" and ask him to leave. The next day he slipped a note under my door, apologizing and taking responsibility. I thought this was in the past.

More than a week ago, someone was insistently ringing my bell pre-dawn. Our intercom is broken, so I grabbed the robe and started downstairs to see who it was. (Another neighbor's daughter who couldn't reach her mother so tried me instead.) Walt had been wandering the halls, waiting for the paperboy, and saw me in my robe. My gray flannel, ankle length robe.

He left a note under my door, detailing that after he saw me in the hall he took a nap and dreamed of kissing me. How at first I resisted but then gave in.


I wrote: THIS IS UNWELCOME. PLEASE STOP! and returned it to the area in front of his door.

I dearly, dearly hope this ends it.

After the Orlando shooting I changed my Facebook avatar to this:

I do try to live this. I do want to lead a more Christian life. I do try to remind myself that everyone is just doing the best he/she can.

But it's hard when you don't feel relaxed in your own home. I'm pissed at Walt for being such a filthy old pig. I really am.

Sunday Stealing

A nice photo for Father's Day
Question 1: Who is your favorite Musical Artist? This weekend's birthday boy, Sir Paul McCartney.

Question 2: What is your favorite album by that Artist? This is so hard. If absolutely forced to, I'd choose the Beatles' White Album.

Question 3: Who is your Favorite Blogger? Kwizgiver. I feel like I know her, and yet we've never met.

Question 4: If you could meet anyone (dead or alive), who would it be and what is interesting about them? My all-time idol, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. No one has ever made intelligence and steel strength look so feminine. I have so many questions to ask her! Most of all, I'd like to know where her strength came from, and how she managed to make an often very painful life look so enviable and graceful.

Question 5: What did you want to be when you grew up? It changed often. But when I was in high school I settled on journalist.

Question 6: What is the most interesting piece of Trivia that you know? Abraham Lincoln and Tom Hanks are related. On Abe's maternal and Tom's paternal sides.

Question 7: If you could live in any point of history when would it be and why? The 1860s. I think it was a romantic, turbulent time. Of course, I'd want to 1) live out West where there was no Civil War and 2) be able to come back to air conditioning when the weather got hot.

Question 8: What do you think of the election in the U.S. so far? "I'm with her." And all things considered, I'm good with that.

Question 9: What is your favorite TV drama? What do you like about it? NCIS. Him.

Question 10: What is the most interesting job you've ever had? In the marketing department of a major haircare company. Loved the work! I learned about polypeptide chains and how products work on our hair and skin. It was fascinating.

Question 10: What is the most interesting job you've ever had?

June Challenge -- Bringing It Up to Date

Click here to see what it's about
16. If you could go into an alternate universe, where would you go and what would it look like? This is hard for me because I don't like fantasy or scifi. Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter simply do not interest me. So instead I'd like to revisit a Nanowrimo I wrote years ago, imagining my life at 50 with each of the men I loved and thought I wanted to be with forever. It was a very enlightening exercise. Playing it out in my head, I had to admit that none of the scenarios was particularly comfortable for me. If I'm honest with myself, I realize that my life's turned out exactly the way it was always supposed to.

17.  What can you guarantee will always be there?

18.  What’s your passion? Books and cats. :)

19.  Write a letter to yourself in 30 years. I hope that, at age 86, you're still independent and cognizant. Otherwise, I hope you're not still here.