Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing: My-New-Favorite-Author Questions 

Where do you go to decompress from the world? I go home and lock the door.

If given $10,000, what would you do with it? I'd split it into thirds. $3,333 would go into my retirement account. $3,333 would go to pay down debt. $3,333 would go into my wallet.

What is one major renovation you would love to make on your house? HA! So many things! 

•  Finish my bathroom
•  Repaint my living room
•  Replace the carpet with hardwood floors or tile
•  Add exposed brick to my dining room

What is one movie that you love and didn’t expect to love? Summer Stock (1950). It gets a lot of lukewarm praise from movie experts and is thought of as a lesser Judy Garland and/or Gene Kelly movie. Yet it's one of my favorite movies ever. Yes, the plot is pure corn. But the romantic scenes make me sigh and the musical numbers make me want to sing along. (Don't worry. I won't sing.)

What is the oldest knick-knack you own and what is its sentimental value? It's not my oldest knick-knack, but it's the one in my sightline as I answer these questions. My mother gave me this Japanese lucky cat nearly 10 years ago. It survives, even as my real live cats insist on knocking it over.

Do you own any books you keep out of obligation, but actually hate? Kind of. There's a local author who attends my church and supports local animal charities. She's an all-around good egg. So I picked up two books from her mystery series at our annual library book sale. The first one left me cold and I have no intention of reading the second. But I'm hanging on to them for a while because right now, every local second-hand book outlet has so many copies of her books and I don't want her to feel discouraged.

How many countries have you visited outside of the one you live in now? Five.

Have you ever read only part of a book, but claimed you’ve read the whole thing? Oh, yes. I don't want to hurt the feelings of the person who recommended it.

Have you ever spent a lot of money on something? What was it? The most expensive thing I've bought is my home.

If you could change your name, what would it be? Julie. I feel like a Julie. And when I get older and more stately, you could call me Julia.

What is a nickname a former (or present) lover gave you? Moonbeam.

How do you style your hair? If you just would say "cut" what style is it? It's a short, asymmetrical cut.

How many colors are you wearing now? Two. Blue and white.

What's one piece of fiction that changed your life? Gone with the Wind. Scarlett made me more comfortable with my basic nature. While I can be pushy and loud, I'm nowhere NEAR the bitch she was. And look how she prevailed against war and poverty!

Is there anything that has made you unhappy recently? I don't like, or even feel like I belong with, my family lately. For stultifying detail, read the post below.

Tell us about the job that you did before your current one or last one. I was an administrative assistant. Though back in those days, I was called, "Executive Secretary."

What was the last song to get stuck in your head? King George responding to America breaking up with up him. This always makes me smile.

What is your least favorite thing to do that you have to do everyday? Ride the el to work. I'm always late. It's never comfortable. It's just better than sitting in traffic. I wish I could just teleport.

Best time of your life? November 2016. I literally waited a lifetime for this.

Love, love, love

What are you most looking forward to in the coming year? Feeling better! 2016 was tough for me, healthwise. So far, so good.


¿Esta la familia bastante bien?

"Sí, Señor. Bastante bien." That's about all I remember from high school Spanish.

But no, I'm pissed at my family right now.

"Se's no bien a todos."

Some of it ties back to my mother's death ... more than four years ago. I'm reminded of something Carrie Fisher once wrote, "Nothing is ever over. It's just over there."

When my mother died, she left her three daughters a lot debt.

•  My older sister made it clear she would pay 1/3 of the costs to bury our mother and close out her estate. Not one penny more. AND she wanted to see receipts for everything.

•  My kid sister told me that she would do everything regarding the house -- empty it out, set up the estate sale -- because she had no money.

•  That left me paying 2/3 of the estate costs.

There is more I could say about this situation, but I'll just get myself wound up. These bare bones suitably reflect how unfair it was.

Now my kid sister is taking her entire family on a cruise to Nassau this spring and just yesterday had Lasik surgery.

I wish I could be happier for her than I am. Which is not at all.

Facebook doesn't help. I see my two sisters chattering about how delightful this all is and it makes me want to scream.

Then there's my aunt and my cousin. They each went through landmark changes in 2016. My aunt turned 70. My cousin saw both his kids move out and decided to pursue his dream. He is no longer a music teacher. He is now a full-time, working musician.

They should be happy for each other. Instead, they are not even speaking.

Last June, my aunt and her husband met my cousin and his wife/kids for a long weekend in the Smoky Mountains. It seemed like a good idea. Especially because each household had their own cabin, giving them a chance for time apart. (Maybe I'm projecting here, but I always need "alone time" when I visit people.)

My cousin and my aunt spent one afternoon talking about Donald Trump. Demographics predict the outcome: My aunt lives outside of Tampa, my cousin lives outside of Chicago.

My cousin and his kids came away from the exchange thinking she is homophobic and racist. It really rocked them. For the rest of the trip, the kids -- aged 22 and 20 -- actively avoided their grandmother. They were so saddened and shocked by her political views. She had been the sweet, kind lady who always remembered birthdays and indulged them when they saw her once a year. Now suddenly they discover she's into denying people their basic human rights.

She misinterpreted their reaction as "spoiled brattiness."

The divide has gotten wider. My cousin no longer has a 9-to-5 job, which leaves his days open. And he has spent them protesting Donald Trump at every opportunity. A clip of him appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show, which made him very proud.

His mother is horrified. In an email, she said she was worried about his "puerile behavior."

They are not speaking. At Christmas, he sent them a giftcard. He did not call on Christmas morning, as he always has.

I do not believe my aunt is a homophobic racist. As a teenager, she hung this portrait of JFK beside her bedroom door and kept it there till she married and moved away. That girl simply could not grow up into a homophobic racist.

I do believe that she now takes her worldview from Fox News (her choice) and Rush Limbaugh (which her husband always has on in the car).

I do not believe my cousin's behavior is "puerile." He is expressing his outrage, peacefully and legally. If she didn't object to her neighbors being part of the Tea Party Movement, she shouldn't mind her own son similarly exercising his First Amendment right.

It makes me sad that they are not happier with one another. After all, she's a healthy, active 70-year-old. Yea! He's living his dream with a wife who loves him at his side. Yea!

And yet they are not speaking. It makes me sad.

I'm working to stay as far away from this as I can. As of now, I hear from both of them and I'd like to keep it that way!