Saturday, February 04, 2017

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing: The Racquet Questions

01  What is the worst nickname that anyone has ever called you? When we were in junior high, my older sister used to call me "Butchy Boy." Because she wanted to make me feel ugly.

02  Have you got a favorite flower? Marigolds. They were my grandpa's favorite flower.

03  Do you add a sauce, ketchup or other artificial flavorings to your food? Depends on the food.

04  Describe yourself using only words that begin with the letter 'T'. Time-honored (so much more flattering than "old") and talented.

05  What is/was your lover's pet name for you? "Moonbeam."

06  What is your least favorite color? I look terrible in yellow.

07  Who did you vote for in the last election, and did they win? I was with her. Haven't you heard? She didn't win.

08  What is/was your grandfathers’ names? Roy and Albert.

09  What is the best present you ever received? Blaze. When I was 4, I wanted him desperately. Santa came through. I'll always remember coming into the livingroom and seeing him under the tree.

10  What is 17 1/2% of 97 + 42 x (6 / 2) – 137 ? [Editor's note: Holy shit!] I was promised there would be no math.

11  What would be the best possible way you could die? Suddenly and painlessly in an accident of some sort.

12  Given the choice of absolutely anything, what would be your dream job? I think I'd enjoy being a pet sitter.

13  What position do you sleep in at night? On my side.

14  What is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you? Back when I still wore skirts, the wind caught one and blew it up, a la Marilyn. Unlike Marilyn, I wasn't wearing panties under my hose.
15  Who is your favorite fictional character? Jo from Little Women.

16  What food do you hate most in the world? Raw tomatoes. They make my skin crawl.

17  When was the last time you were ill? Last year at this time, I was battling c. diff.

18  If you were transformed into a wild creature, what would it be? An okapi. I love them. So gentle and unique.

19  What was your favorite toy as a child, and whatever happened to it? My plush Lassie dog. She's in my closet.

20  What's the most amazing thing you've ever seen? Game 7 of last year's World Series. I'm still not over it.

Aren't my guys just the best?


I got the "old cat" dish out

Reynaldo is going to be 12 this year. If he were a human, he'd be about 65 years old.

He's still lively, social and affectionate. But I can tell his vision is beginning to fail him. He's always eaten out of the big beige and black bowl, but lately he thinks his bowl is empty when it's not. I don't think he can see the kibble against the black anymore.

So I dug out the blue/white bowl for him. It was a gift to me from my late uncle. Decorated like the tiles at Hemingway's Key West home. This bowl was first used by Tara, decades ago, back in my old apartment. Then by my beloved Joey. And now Reynaldo.

I know this is the natural order of things. We all grow older. But Rey is right here as I post this, and accepting that these things happen does not make it any easier.

"Seven spots on his brain"

I went to see The Bodyguard with my friend Barb. We had a lovely dinner and, since we took it on its own terms, we enjoyed the play. But the news she had wasn't good.

Her husband John is battling lung cancer. His lungs have responded well to chemotherapy, not eradicating the cancer but slowing its growth, but the disease has spread to his brain.

"Seven spots on his brain," she said with an apprehensive casualness. She reminded me of a toddler who falls down and watches for your reaction before she starts to cry. I tried to remain impassive.

"Oh, I didn't know it had spread. How will they treat it?"

She told me they "zapped" his brain -- I didn't ask how many times -- and think that "did the trick." They're waiting for test results. It's not the brain cancer that's the problem, it's the fact that the lung cancer spread that is disturbing to his oncology team.

Then she went on to tell me about the house they're building in Hilton Head. It's already $20,000 over budget and still nowhere near done -- mostly because of the elevator she added. He will never be able to walk up stairs again. So she's come out of retirement to freelance. Between his doctor appointments and her new job, she's fallen behind in preparing their current home for sale. She's simply too tired to keep packing as she'd planned.

I feel like telling her, "You're never moving to Hilton Head! He'll never be strong enough!" But I am her friend. My job is to be supportive, and so I simply let her talk.

We never talked about her surgery. She had a mastectomy last year, which went well. Her breast cancer is, blessedly, in remission. But her reconstructive surgery has been very complicated. She's suffered infections and setbacks. It was scheduled for last November but had to be postponed.

I couldn't bear to talk about that over dinner. Instead I let her complain about Donald Trump. She hates Donald Trump, and I think ranting about Washington gave her hectic, complicated and suddenly sad life a veneer of normalcy.


And I will always love him ...

… until I move on to my next crush.

HE is Judson Mills,  the best thing in the touring company of The Bodyguard. Maybe he is a good actor. I'm willing to believe he is. He's just not called upon to do much in this show -- except be strong and studly and look good without his shirt. And he was sublime in those areas.

He's in the Kevin Costner part. A leather-lunged lass named Deborah Cox is in the Whitney part. She sings well, but it's something of a suicide mission. The producers added some of Whitney's other hits to the show -- "So Emotional," "The Greatest Love of All," "All the Man that I Need" and "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" -- and those songs are so indelibly connected with Houston that it's hard not to hear the original in your head when someone else sings them.

The play itself is dumb. A bad idea, poorly executed. The source material isn't that good. The staging is ham-handed (the audience actually giggled at the video image of the cartoon-crazy stalker).

And yet I really had a nice time. Judson Mills/Frank Farmer is hot. He has a moment during the encore when he snaps his cuffs and grabs Ms. Cox for a twirl and my old heart went pitter patter.

Also, it's because we bought tickets to this turkey that we got face-value tickets to Hamilton the moment it opened in September. Hamilton was as innovative and smart as this was predictable and dumb. As wonderful as Hamilton was, not a single person in the cast made my old heart go pitter patter.

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Some Guys Have All the Luck (1984)
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) Do you consider yourself lucky? Want to hear how lucky I am? So far this year I've won a whopping $6 in the Illinois State Lottery. And it only took me $10 in tickets to do it!

2) When did you last risk money in a game of chance (lottery, raffle ticket, slot machine, etc.)? How did you do? This very week I won $1 on $2 worth of lottery tickets. Jealous, aren't you?

3)  There's a major football game this weekend. Will you be watching? Do you have any money riding on the outcome? I won't be watching. And now that I think of it, no one came around selling squares for a pool at the office this year.

4) The composer of this song, Jeff Fortgang, is an interesting guy who's had two disparate careers: first pop musician, then Yale-educated clinical psychologist. It's possible that many of the patients who see him for help with anxiety or depression have no idea that he wrote this song. What's something your coworkers (or, if you're not working, casual friends) would be surprised to know about you? Most everyone I know in real life would be surprised to know this blog exists.

5) Similarly, fans are often surprised to learn that this week's featured artist, Rod Stewart, is a history buff who loves reading about WWII. Is there a period of time or historic event that has captured your interest? I'm a mid-century girl. The 1860s and the 1960s both fascinate me. Talk to me about Kennedy and Lincoln. Let's discuss Mary and Jackie. I love immersing myself in those eras.
6) Rod met his current wife as the result of a dare. Penny Lancaster, then in her 20s, spotted the decades-older celebrity in a bar and only approached him because her friends bet her she didn't have the guts to talk to him. Are you, like Penny, vulnerable to peer pressure? Can your friends talk you into doing things you might not otherwise do? Not anymore. I'm too old for that.

7) Rod vividly recalls being 11 years old and going to see  Little Richard perform in a film comedy called The Girl Can't Help It. When you were a kid, did you enjoy going to the movies? What do you recall seeing? One of my more vivid cinematic memories is the re-release of The Parent Trap. My oldest friend and I were in third or fourth grade. Her mom was in the hospital and her dad got the idea of dropping us off at the movies while he visited her. Her dad and my mom had a summit and my mom agreed to this and so it was the first time I ever went to a movie without an adult. Thrilling! My friend and I felt soooo grown up and sophisticated, sitting together surrounded by those babies who still needed their parents to see a movie in the theater. And it took my friend's mind off worry about her mom, which in retrospect I see was probably the point.
8) The lyrics tell of when Rod's car overheats and he calls a friend, who doesn't come through. Tell us about a time recently when you were there and helped a buddy out. He's not a buddy, I don't even know his name. But I hung around in the laundry room a minute or two after I finished folding, waiting for the neighbor whose clothes were done and sitting in the washers. I wanted him to know there was time left in the dryers. I probably saved him 50¢! But it wasn't the money, of course. Washing clothes in our laundry room can be depressing, and I was happy to provide even a tiny bright spot.
9) The lyrics mention that "some guys do nothing but complain." Who do you know who is like that? Do you have a friend, relative or coworker who just always seems to find fault? A different neighbor. Peter. The Saddest Boy in the World. I ended up waiting on the platform with him as we were both leaving work. We had to wait two minutes in the cold for the next train. He was complaining but I reminded him 2 minutes is less than the time it takes to microwave popcorn. Then he started complaining that the train was pausing too long at the stops. We're dry and warm, I reminded him. He complained about the new construction around our condo building, how he can't breathe for all the dust and debris it's kicked up. I told him I was sorry but I hadn't even noticed it. Every moment of our 45-minute ride together was like this. By the time we got home, I wanted to kill myself.