Tuesday, October 31, 2017

New isn't necessarily better

Sulfur has been around for centuries. It's in gunpowder and matches and fertilizer. It's so industrial and sounds so harsh that I have avoided using it on my skin.

I'm an idiot.

I felt another one of those ugly cysts forming, this time on the other side of my chin. I was desperate. So I reached for the Principal Secret Blemish Buster I ordered by accident and never returned out of laziness.

I began using it, sparingly, Friday night. By Sunday morning, all that remained was a flat, red spot.

The redness will last for a while. As I age, my skin is slower to heal. I'm not happy about that, of course, but it's sooooo much better than the raised, angry, unsightly cyst!

Salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide failed me. But ancient sulfur came through. Lesson learned.

Monday, October 30, 2017

And this year's winner is ...

The Roberto Clemente Award goes to the major league baseball player who "best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field."

This year, the winner is the Chicago Cubs first baseman (and my favorite) Anthony Rizzo.  Yes, he hit 32 home runs this year and made just 3 errors in nearly 160 games. But he's raised literally millions of dollars for pediatric cancer research. A cancer survivor himself, he regularly visits Lurie Children's Hospital here in Chicago, inspiring kids who are fighting the disease and supporting their parents. His foundation funded the new family waiting room at Lurie. When it became known that a little girl in St. Louis, battling brain cancer, lost the Rizzo picture she kept in her hospital room, he sent another ... and a signed jersey ... and tickets to Opening Day 2018 at Wrigley Field.  As if all this weren't enough to make him a stellar role model for kids ...

He donated his prize money. $25,000 went to Puerto Rican hurricane relief, as Anthony Rizzo's personal tribute to Roberto Clemente.

I've seen Anthony Rizzo apologize to an umpire for his attitude, cry on camera when emotion overtakes him, and even threaten to take on the entire Cincinnati dugout when their reliever beaned his teammates. On the field and off, this kid exhibits nothing but heart.

My friend John teases me that I act as though Rizz "sprang from my loins." I can only imagine how proud his mother must be of this son she raised.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Sunday Stealing

 Monster Mash

ghost: what would you like on your tombstone?
I don't want a tombstone. I'd like to be cremated and put in an urn. Or perhaps my remains will be of use to a hospital or medical school.

dracula: are you afraid of aging? or death?
Neither. I'm afraid of losing my faculties.

nosferatu: what, as a child, did you imagine went bump in the night?
I was afraid of be awoken by either a clown or a fire in my bedroom.

godzilla: what do you do when you are angry? are you ever destructive?
I get hostile and snappish.

the blob: do you collect anything? if so, what and why?

I collect books. Because they're books.

zombie: when was the last time you trusted your gut? was it successful?
Nothing comes to mind. Sorry.

mothra: what is something dangerous that attracts or fascinates you?
Whenever I go to the zoo, I find myself transfixed by the alligators.

king kong: what are some questionable choices you've made lately?

How about farting around on the internet when I could be doing housework, sorting laundry, organizing my bookshelves ...

alien: what is your strangest feature?
My sense of humor. I often find inappropriate things funny.

cthulhu: do you like the ocean? why or why not?
I like the ocean. Because it's vast and it compasses so many shades of blue and green (my two favorite colors).
nessie: have you ever felt invisible to people -- the feeling of not existing?
Yes. It happens more and more often as I get older.

mutant spider: what is one of your biggest fears?
Airline travel.

werewolf: if you could change into any nonhuman animal and back at will, what animal would you change into and why?
One of my cats. That way I would know better how to make my home happier for them.

golem: if you could make up an imaginary friend, what would they be like and why?
I object to this question. Why can't I make up an imaginary friend any time I wish to?

leprechaun: what is your "pot of gold" (or white whale, if you'd rather)
Peace of mind.

sharktopus: what is something you've done that was ridiculous or a bad decision?
I stayed in a relationship way too long. I think of him every time I hear the Huey Lewis song, "If This Is It." There's a line that goes: let me go or make me want to stay. That sums up that relationship.

robot: what is a habit you do without thinking?
I catch myself scratching the inside of my ear with a pen. I do it when I'm lost in thought and not paying attention. It's creepy and I wish it didn't.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodnight

I don't think I'll ever see Napoleon the Cat again. On the one hand, this makes me happy. Of course. Five-month-old Napoleon and his humans had been living in a tent by the Chicago River, and it's simply getting too cold at night for them to be safe and comfortable.

Plus, Caleb and his wife are nice people. They deserve this opportunity that has come their way. This window-washing job in Cleveland will make it possible for all three of them to live indoors, in a shelter that has shower facilities. They can save enough money to move into a furnished apartment. Once they have plumbing and an address, she can take her boards, get licensed and resume her career as a hairstylist.

All good.


So why aren't I happy?

I will miss them. These three souls have taken up residence in my thoughts, prayers and imagination. I spoke to them, and watched Napoleon grow, several times a week since Memorial Day. I enjoyed giving them books and then discussing the stories with them. I loved hearing how in love they are with the kitten they rescued, and telling them about my cat. I was happy to help them, with crumpled dollar bills, change, oversized plastic bags to keep their belongings dry, and cat food. I didn't take one of my coats to Goodwill because I thought Napoleon's mom might be able to make use of it.

Still, I hope they're gone from Chicago for good. I prefer the twinge of longing I feel when I look at the spots on the corners where they panhandled daily to the fear I feel about how living outdoors through a Chicago winter would be.

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Monster Mash (1962)

1) In your younger days, did you ever trick or treat while dressed as a monster or ghoul? No. Never anything scary. I was almost always something store-bought, with a plastic mask held on with a very thin piece of elastic that I always broke.

2) Do you enjoy being frightened by celluloid boys-gone-bad, like Michael Myers
(Halloween) or Jason (Friday the 13th)? No. Though I have always wanted to watch Friday the 13th, since Jason's mama was played by Betsey Palmer. I grew up watching her as a smiling, sunny contestant on daytime game shows. I think it would be campy fun (no pun intended) to see her in something twisty.
But she seemed so nice on I've Got a Secret!
3) When you were a kid, did you ever TP a neighbor's house or indulge in any other Halloween acts of vandalism? (Don't worry, the statute of limitations is up.) Nope
4) Will you be attending any Halloween parties this year? If so, will you dress up? No parties, but my movie group is meeting tonight for a special screening of Arsenic and Old Lace. It's a screwball comedy about a handsome young man (Cary Grant) who brings his best girl home to meet his dear old aunties and discovers the old girls are actually serial killers. No, really. It's very funny. And, in its way, wholesome. It was made by Frank Capra -- you know him from It's a Wonderful Life.
They don't look too scary, do they?
5) Can you see any Halloween decorations as you answer these 9 questions? Nope

6) While Halloween is most popular in the United States and Canada, and isn't really celebrated at all in Japan or South Korea. How would you explain our Halloween customs to a visitor from another land? It's all about fantasy. We can believe in the supernatural, or pretend to be someone we're not, and forget that candy has calories.
7) "Monster Mash" is one of Halloween's most played songs. Are you happy to hear it every year? Or does it set your teeth on edge? I'm glad we only hear it once a year.

8) This week's featured artist, Bobby "Boris" Pickett, started as a stand-up comedian who incorporated his imitations of Boris Karlof and Bela Lugosi into his act. Can you impersonate anyone? Nope

9) Dick Clark was an impossibly young looking 33 in this week's featured clip. Are you often told you look good for your age? Yes. I'm lucky that way. It's not like either of my parents or my sisters aged particularly well, so I can't credit it to good genes. Just good fortune.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Friday 56

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that's ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it)
*Post it.

From Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter by Kate Clifford Larson.  This is the biography of Rosemary, JFK's sister, born in 1918. It was obvious to her family that Rosie was "different" (slow and physically uncoordinated). As she watched her younger brothers and sisters pass her intellectually and athletically, Rosemary's frustrations gave way to fits of rage. It was hard for her to live at home with the family.
Her parents loved and wanted to help their oldest daughter. But in 1930s America, there was little if any distinction made between "mentally challenged" and "mentally ill," and Joe and Rose Kennedy were horrified by the options available for Rosemary. From page 56:

Dark, dirty and disease- and rodent-infested, many institutions for the insane and disabled provided little more than shelter and some food. Medical care was spotty; occupational therapy and educational and vocational training was nonexistent. Patients and residents would sometimes spend days and nights caked in their own excrement.


Wednesday, October 25, 2017


WWW. WEDNESDAY asks three questions to prompt you to speak bookishly. To participate, and to see how other book lovers responded, click here

1. What are you currently reading? Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter by Kate Clifford Lawson. Joe and Rose Kennedy's third child and first daughter was an American tragedy. Early on, her parents were aware that Rosie was "different." She was clumsy and a slow learner. Her parents tried everything from prayer to tutors to special schools. Nothing worked. In 1941, her father unilaterally decided on a drastic remedy and, at the age of 23, she suffered a botched lobotomy. The tragedy of Rosemary inspired Eunice Kennedy Shriver's tireless efforts on behalf of the learning disabled and The Special Olympics.
That's the basic outline of the story, and pretty much as far as Kennedy lore takes us. We know very little about Rosemary the person. What was she like as a girl, before the surgery? How was she different after the operation? What was Rosie's impact on John, Robert and Ted Kennedy (and, therefore, our country)? This book sensitively endeavors to answer those questions.

2. What did you recently finish reading? The Starter Wife by Gigi Levangie Grazer.  Though it's written in a hip and cynical style, this is a fairy tale at heart. The Wife of a Producer suddenly, unexpectedly finds herself left behind. Over a summer she rebuilds her life with the help of good friends, a rent-free, luxury Malibu beach house, and a sexy stranger named Sam. And yes, she lives happily ever after.
This is entertaining Hollywood chicklit, nothing more. One of the more interesting things about it was unintentional. Written in 2007, it's already hopelessly dated. Much is made of our heroine's villainous husband's pretentious dependence on his cell phone. In 2017, when many households don't even have landlines anymore, America communicates on mobile. Also, when our heroine wants to know something about her well-heeled Malibu neighbors, she whispers questions to the guard in the gated community. Today she'd just log on and check Google.
3.  What will you read next? It will be time for a mystery.

I got a hug in the mail

I received the loveliest letter from Cousin Rose. Very thoughtful and heartfelt. Of course I'm "a nervous wreck" these days! I'm faced with losing my job! But now, Rose counsels, is a time for faith and positive thinking. She reminds me that God knows what's best, not us,* and shared this quote:

"We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us."

That Joseph Campbell quote is at the beginning of Dan Brown's Origin, which she just picked up after receiving my letter about St. Louis. Coincidence? Maybe. But she thought it was an important quote to share with me, right now.

She believes this all might be a nice challenge for me, a way to shake me up and introduce me to things outside my comfort zone. She reminded me of all the ways her life was turned upside when her husband left her, of how her original plans for retirement had to be revised when her company reorganized. She knows I'll be blessed with right help at the right time.

This letter was Rose at her best. She has loved me forever and has always, always been there for me. She can be inflexible and judgemental. I think impatience with life is a result of her very painful divorce.

But she has been a generous constant in my life for as long as I can remember. Since my mother's death, Rosie is the one who has known and loved me the longest. Eleven years my senior, she looked out for me and was my lifeline when I was a disenfranchised, misunderstood teen. She seems willing to be my sherpa as I navigate the shoals of this life change.

Rose has always had my back. The older I get, the more I treasure that history.

*Something she realizes I believe, but must be reminded of!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Sunday Stealing

Sleepy Rambles

Have you ever eaten at restaurant and you realized you forgot your money? Yes. That's how I found out that the owner knew my name. I offered to leave my cellphone as "collateral" when I ran home to get my wallet but she said, "Oh, Gal, just pay next time you're in the neighborhood." I was so touched that of course I ran home as fast as my pudgy little legs could take me and returned with the money. It seems I was not only one of her first-ever customers, I left the restaurant's first YELP! review, the owner felt a kinship with me, even though we'd never spoken directly. Now, we chat every time we see one another.

True or false-you can pat your head and rub your tummy at the same time. Yes. But I never tried until just this moment. Who knew I was so gifted?

Do you prefer to drink out of cans or bottles? I think beer and soda from glass bottles taste better. There's a compelling argument, however, that cans have a smaller carbon footprint than bottles, so I more often buy cans. Just because that argument is convincing, it's not conclusive. So the most delicious and environmentally sound way to enjoy beer/soda is from the tap or fountain.

Do your socks match today? I'm sock free, at least right now. It's almost 70ยบ outside. Unusual for October. I'm taking advantage of it and letting my toes breathe a little.

What was the last book you read? Would you recommend it? The last book I
A life cut tragically short
finished was Helter Skelter. I recommend it because it introduced me to Rosemary LaBianca. She was one of the Manson Family victims, and usually is described as "wife of." She was much more than that. In the 1950s, she found herself a divorced mother of two with no means of support. She went from carhop to entrepreneur, who built a boutique business all on her own that was worth $1 million when she retired and married Leno LaBianca. She was such a good mother and stepmother that Leno's first wife only spoke about Rosemary in the most glowing terms. (How rare is that?) It's a coincidence that as I was reading Helter Skelter, Leslie Van Houten was approved for parole. Van Houten admits to stabbing Rosemary LaBianca at least a dozen times. Right now the only thing between Van Houten and freedom is Governor Jerry Brown. I don't believe in the death penalty, but I firmly believe Leslie Van Houten is exactly where she belongs, and she has no right to live free. Not after her savage participation in denying Mrs. LaBianca the right to live at all.

Are you currently borrowing something from someone? I borrowed money from Chase to buy this condo. I'm more than halfway done paying them back.
Write an extremely random statement. East and east and west is west and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce, they taste more like prunes than rhubarb does. (Groucho Marx)

Are there any major holidays you don’t celebrate? I'm not big on Easter. Oh, I celebrate and revere the Resurrection at church and in my heart. But I don't dress up, don't color eggs, don't eat ham .... If I celebrate it at all, beyond the obvious and overriding Christian significance, it's because it means I'm that much closer to Opening Day.

What is one thing you will never understand? Water displacement and how stuff floats.

Have you ever stepped on a bee? No. Considering I'm very allergic to bee sting, this is serious shit and not a mere hypothetical for me.

What helps you wake up in the morning? Reynaldo. He looks sweet in this photo, and at times he is terribly dear, but he is not shy about letting me know he gets bored and hungry during those overnight hours.

What did you have for breakfast this morning? Pumpkin spice Cheerios.

What is your favorite thing in your room? In this room? My favorite thing is the aforementioned Reynaldo.

Who was your first kiss with? David from up the block.

Do you worry about small things?
  I worry about all things!


Saturday I went to the optometrist to get my contact lens prescription updated/renewed. After examining me, the doctor refused to do it.

Apparently, without my even noticing it, my "dry eye" is back. He says it makes it impossible for him to assess my prescription.

So it's two weeks of eyeglasses and eyedrops. Hopefully in November, I'll get a clear bill of optical health and a new contact lens prescription.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Voices Carry (1985)
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.
This song was chosen because October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Please share this link to The National Domestic Violence Hotline. Let's spread the word that there's help out there.

1) In this song, a woman is "hushed" by her lover. When were you last told to "keep it down?" I can't recall anything recently, but when I was a little girl, one of my grandmothers forever shushed me. I remember her muttering, "that voice!" under her breath. As a result, I'm still self conscious about my speaking voice.

2) Her lover tells her tears are something to hide. Researchers tell us that crying can be good for us, because by releasing emotional stress, it lessens physical stress on the cardiovascular system. Are you comfortable crying in front of other people? Not at all. Maybe I'd be better with it if I cried pretty, like Scarlett O'Hara. I don't. I get all red and my nose runs.

3) In this video, the woman makes a scene by speaking up in a theater. Today theater goers are more likely to be disturbed by a cell phone ringing or its screen illuminating. Are you careful to turn your phone off in the theater, church, etc.? I'm careful in theaters and at church. I should remember to shut it off when I get to the office, but I forget. 

4) When this group, Til Tuesday, was still struggling, Cyndi Lauper was already a star. Cyndi offered to record this song, which would have brought the group some fast cash, but only if they agreed not to record it themselves. Obviously they didn't take the deal. Tell us about a time you took a risk on yourself, and it paid off. Back in 2002, I was exhausted. Burned out. When management asked me who on my team I wanted to let go, I raised my hand and said "Me." At first I enjoyed freelancing and having all my time to myself. Then I started to worry a lot about the cost of health insurance and panicked that I'd never find another full-time job. I finally did (after 15 months). I learned a great deal about myself and my priorities during this period and am glad I did it.

5) Til Tuesday's lead singer, Aimee Mann, went to Open High School in Richmond, Virginia. This charter high school is dedicated to helping students become "self-determined thinkers and learners." Do you recall your high school as permissive or regimented? I remember it as regimented. In retrospect, it probably wasn't all that strict. I was just really unhappy there.

6) Aimee has been on the road through 2017 and, like most artists, sells tour merchandise. Her line includes reusable tote bags. Do you bring your own bag to the grocery store? Yes.

7) Aimee has tried her hand at acting and appeared on Buffy, The Vampire Slayer. From Dracula to Barnabas Collins to Lestat, vampires are a popular culture staple (especially in October). What do you suppose accounts for their enduring popularity? They can be very sexy. After all, vampires are oral and the neck is an erogenous zone. See below and prepare to sigh.

8) In 1985, when this song was popular, Bruce Springsteen was at the top of the charts with Born in the USA. A massive commercial success, Born in the USA has sold more than 15,000,000 copies in the United States alone. Is it in your collection? I bought this one often. First on vinyl. Then again on vinyl to replace the one that got scratched when someone fell into the stereo during a party at my boyfriend's apartment. Then on cassette. Now on CD. (You're welcome, Boss.)
9) Random question: In which race would you do better -- the Iditarod, with sled dogs in Nome, or speeding in a car at 200+ mph at the Indianapolis 500? Gimme the dogs.

Sight seen

What was this awesome and pristine Oscar Mayer Weiner Mobile doing parked in the cab stand? I don't know, but it made me happy.

I really wanted to hitch a ride. It would have been the most deluxe Uber home I've ever taken.

Sad, then happy, then sad, then happy

I really expected never to see Napoleon the Cat ever again. At least I hoped I wouldn't. It rained like mad last weekend, and I hated the thought of the kitten and his people in a flimsy tent by the river -- battling mud, rain and a shrinking riverbank. So I wanted to believe they were safe and dry on a bus to Cleveland.

That didn't stop me from looking for them on Monday. Their usual spots beside the street light were empty in the morning. Empty in the evening. Get over it, Gal. They're off to a better life. Just be happy for them.

Then on Tuesday, when I was en route to the bank, I saw Caleb and Napoleon, sitting in the sun, panhandling. Napoleon was alert and awake and tried to climb into my purse as Dad and I chatted. I was happy to see how snowy white his little paws were. Obviously the mud wasn't too bad over the weekend.

They just couldn't come up with the money needed for busfare for three to Cleveland, and Caleb didn't like the idea of leaving his wife and kitten alone here indefinitely. I hadn't thought of that, but I'm sure there is an element of danger involved in being a woman alone and homeless.

So while the little family is disappointed, it's just a temporary setback. The man for whom he'll be working faxed* a contract to Caleb that states how much he will make when he gets to Cleveland. Obviously he has to get there sooner rather than later -- November 1, actually -- but the commitment is there. Their hearts don't have to sink every night when they come up short for busfare. It's cool.

Then last evening I saw Napoleon again with his "mom." (I never can remember her name!) She was sad to report that while most of their belongings made it through the weekend storms OK, the Patty Hearst book was ruined. Oh well, it was a well-worn paperback, nearly 30 years old (!) that I picked up at a second-hand store. I was just glad it gave them some pleasure.

But they hadn't finished it yet! Napoleon's parents are only in their 20s and truly had never heard the Patty Hearst saga before. Mom wanted to know how it ended. She told me she just got to the trial, and that Patty had just been found guilty.

I was happy to tell her that the book ends with President Jimmy Carter pardoning Patty Hearst after she served a portion of her prison sentence, that Patty married a bodyguard and has lived a happy if unconventional life ever since.

"I'm reading it and I'm thinking to myself, 'did all this really happen?'"

I assured her it all did. I even told her about that long-ago Friday evening when I was babysitting and watched the SLA house fire on live TV. I said, "It was a bigger deal than Jodi Arias or Casey Anthony." I didn't invoke OJ because it occurs to me that she might be too young to be very familiar with the Simpson case.

I've learned a lot by befriending Napoleon and his parents. One is that they seem to appreciate being related to as people. They like talking about cats, and the Cubs, and Patty Hearst, not necessarily whether they have enough to eat, or are warm enough at night. Homeless people are just that: people. I must always keep this in mind.

*Where did he send the fax? The UPS Store? The public library? There are aspects to day-to-day life among the homeless that I'm so curious about, but I don't ask because I don't want them to feel like lab rats or a case study. 

Ow! Ow! Ow!

It wasn't really a zit. It was more of a cyst. A growth. A red pocket of pus, pain and embarrassment.

I felt very sorry for myself. I felt very sorry for everyone who has had to look at me this week.

I wish it would have been acceptable for me to work from home this week while it healed, but, alas, I had to inflict by unsightly countenance on the populace.

First things first

Bryzzo: Thanks for everything and have a good off season!

I haven't posted this week and consequently have much to get down. But mostly I've been Cubbie obsessed. My guys reached the National League Championship Series for the third year in a row! Yes, they fell rather ignominiously to the Dodgers, but they got to the NL finals. That's the important thing.

So now this season is over. I feel a loss. Not sadness or disappointment. While the LA series was painful, the Nationals games were thrilling. That's all a girl can ask for. So what if they fell to a better team? No shame in that. Especially when there are 30 teams in the MLB, and the Cubs were among the last four.

But I've come to adore each one of these guys. It'll be a long, cold, lonely winter without them. Some of this year's players won't be in Cubbie blue next year. I'll miss them.

Now we wait till next year.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

That went well

Expedia gave me a great price on my Christmastime vacation to Key West. And I planned the flights and the hotel all with my fingertips. Convenience and value ... yea!

But that was back in the spring. Since I booked the trip, Delta has changed my flight times over ... and over ... and over. I'm generally a good sport about this. As long as I get aisle seats and I don't have to change planes in Miami, I'll go along with just about anything.

Just about anything. With their last change, Delta had me changing planes in Atlanta, during Christmas week, in less than an hour. Sorry, not acceptable.

So I got on the phone and called Expedia. I dialed the 800#, sat on hold listening to Muzak, and spoke to an actual person.

In less than an hour, the Expedia sales rep gave me my choice of two other options and booked me on the one I preferred -- getting me that coveted aisle seat -- and it didn't cost me a cent. I suspect if I'd dealt with Delta directly, fees would have been invoked.

1-800-319-4834. That's the number. Sometimes doing it old school ends up being easier. Sometimes the human touch is just what you're looking for.


Sunday Stealing

Questions to Ask Your Crush

1. What do you find hilarious, but most people don’t find funny? My favorite joke: "Lou Gehrig died of Lou Gehrig's disease. What are the odds?" Or the baseball equivalent: "Tommy John needed Tommy John surgery. What are the odds?" My friend John simply does not understand this joke and it annoys him.

2. What was the best year of your life so far? When I was 35. I was in love and felt sexy and womanly, and I was hitting my stride professionally.

3. What’s your favorite thing to do on the Internet? Farmville

4. What fad have you held on to even tho it isn’t popular any more? Farmville

5. What do you spend most of your time doing? Farmville

6. What do you spend way too much money on? Everything, it seems. (I bet you thought I'd say "Farmville," didn't you?)

7. What event, large or small, has changed the course of your life most? That moment in my 20s when I met the guy I spent too many years with. I made life and career decisions based on his happiness, and he simply wasn't worth it. I often wonder how my life would be different today if I'd taken the job as an admin/receptionist in a dental office, instead of the one that put me in his path.

8. Who do you have a hard time taking seriously? Myself

9. What do you judge people for most often? I'm intolerant of intolerance. Especially intolerant Christians. I'm a Christian, and when I hear politicians merchandising faith in exchange for votes, I want to remind them of the story of Jesus and the money changers. I can just imagine Him at last week's Values Voter summit, overturning the podium.

10. What was the most beautiful view you have ever experienced? Early one morning, I watched the sun rise over the Swiss Alps. The sun actually bathed the snowy mountains in pink. Amazing! 

11. What is something you read or heard that has stuck with you for a long time? JFK: Reckless Youth. There are a gazillion books about John Kennedy, and I've read most of them, but this one is different and really quite moving. It takes him from birth to age 35. There's family dysfunction, grave illness, lots of girls and women, dear friends and genuine heroism as he finds his voice along the way. The thing is -- to age 35 his life was difficult and painful. And he had little more than a decade left to live. Despite the money, the charm and the power, his was not a life any of us would want. I learned an important lesson: the way a life looks on the outside is no indication of how it feels on the inside.
12. What’s your favorite thing to shop for. Why? Books. Because they're books.

13. What’s the best compliment someone can receive? I try to be a good person. Any compliment in that regard is most appreciated.

14. What’s something people go on and on about and you just can’t stand sitting through? Game of Thrones

15. What’s something you can do that most people can’t? Roll my tongue. Wiggle my ear. (Jealous, aren't you?)

16. When was the last time you tried to look cool and ended in embarrassment? I'm old. Every time I try to look cool, it ends in embarrassment.

17. What is the most ridiculous rule you have to follow? At the auditorium where my movie group screens classic films, there is a ladies room labeled, "Children Only." So I have to pass it and use the commode all the way on the other side of the theater. Now on weekdays, the building houses a daycare center so I suppose the "Children Only" rule makes sense. But on Tuesday and Saturday nights, the youngest person there is 19. WHY? WHY CAN'T I GO IN THERE? PS I did sneak in once. No, the toilets and sinks aren't exceptionally close to the ground.

18. What country do you not know the location of, even though you should? Guyana. I can never remember where it is, so it's placement on the globe always surprises me.

19. What do you have a hard time with but most people find quite easy? Math.

20. What’s the most impressive skill you have? It's a tie between ear wiggling and tongue rolling.

Saturday, the Cubs played the Dodgers

And I believe Joe speaks for us all.


The only good thing to say about this game is that I didn't see most of it. A storm knocked out my cable and internet. It was cool to press my old-school AM/FM Walkman back into service.

Oh, well. It was only Game One of a Best of Seven Series. The Dodgers are a very good team, so while this is unpleasant, it's not surprising.

A good color for autumn

I got an Eddie Bauer one-pocket "boyfriend" shirt in this color today for just $3.50. I found it online on sale for $50, so I am feeling quite proud of myself.

I picked it up at a community sale that benefits infant welfare, the food pantry and the animal shelter. I also got a pair of black sunglasses for $1.00. This made me happy because I can lose $1 sunglasses just as easily as I can lose expensive sunglasses.

I treated myself to a lovely lunch at the nearby Italian restaurant -- just me, butternut squash ravioli and The Starter Wife -- and waited for the first Cubs-Dodgers game.

It was a challenge to stay dry. It rained and poured and stormed all day. Which left me worried about Napoleon. I hope they made it to the safety of the bus to Cleveland. This was not a day for living in a tent by the river!