Friday, March 30, 2018

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Easter Parade ("In Your Easter Bonnet") (1948)

1) This song is about a special Easter hat to be worn with your "Sunday best." Will you be getting dressed up this weekend? I'll wear something appropriate to church. "Appropriate" is the best you can ever expect of me.

2) Judy Garland's partner in this movie was supposed to be Gene Kelly, but he was unavailable because he broke his ankle playing volleyball. Have you ever lost a big opportunity because of a medical issue? No. The closest I came was when I broke the little finger of my right hand on a Saturday night when I was starting my first-ever, 40 hour/week job on Monday. I was playing volleyball in the indoor pool at the apartment complex where my uncle lived. My finger bent back and, without thinking, I just popped it back. It never really hurt, but it did get massively swollen and felt hot to the touch. The first few weeks at work, I had to be careful when I hit the letter "a." (If you're a touch typist, you know what I mean.) I still have a bump to remind me. A doctor told me once the only to fix is to break it again. No, thank you.

3) Garland later confessed that, at first, she would have preferred Kelly because she knew him well and was intimidated by Fred Astaire. By the end of filming, she found she enjoyed Astaire a great deal. Can you think of a friend with whom you had a rocky relationship at the beginning? Nope.
4) This song was inspired by New York City's Easter Parade. Does your community host a similar event? No. But my town does have an Easter egg hunt today for kids between the ages of 3 and 10. It's B-Y-O-B (bring your own basket).

5) The biggest chocolate Easter egg was made in Italy, measured 34 feet tall and weighed a staggering 15,000 lbs. Do you thinks it's possible to have too much chocolate? Yes. If I eat too much chocolate I just feel sluggish ... and mad at my complete lack of self discipline.

6) Jelly beans are also popular this time of year. A 2013 poll tells us that red is by far the favorite jelly bean color, with yellow a distant second. Do you have a preference? Just not black licorice. I hate black licorice.

7) We've been talking a lot about sweets this morning. The only holiday that generates more candy sales is Halloween. When do you eat more candy: Easter or Halloween? Halloween.

8) Easter is considered the season of rebirth. What makes you feel refreshed or rejuvenated? I reach for the shampoo bottle! A nice shower and clean hair make me happy.

9)  This year, April Fool's Day happens to coincide with Easter Sunday. Do you expect to fall victim to any pranks this weekend? No. Please, no. I really don't care for practical jokes.

Hope it's good for what ails her

I saw Napoleon today! For the first time in nearly two weeks! He looks happy, hale and hearty. His humans, on the other hand ... 

His mother was rushed back to the hospital. She was bleeding from her nose, and internally, and she had very a high temperature. It was not because of cancer -- she had a total hysterectomy and the doctors believe they got it all. Instead it was "a retained surgical item." Her surgeons left a sponge inside of her!

I don't know all the details, only what Caleb told me on a busy street corner. But as I understand it, the goal is to get her healthy enough to undergo another surgery when they retrieve the sponge.

I know Napoleon's people are indigent. But poor people are still people. This shouldn't happen to anyone.

She's resting at home and, according to Caleb, planning to sue the hospital. He thinks this is silly. I don't think she's wrong. What happened to her is inexcusable.

Their landlord is giving them shit. "When is she going back to work?" and "Can you make the rent without her working?" The money Caleb makes driving a forklift overnight is enough to make their rent. But they need the money Randi made sweeping at the salon, as well as their panhandling money, to pay for food and meds. "Now that it's getting warmer,maybe it wouldn't be so bad to be back by the river," he said sadly. They had been living in a tent by the river for most of last year.

"Wouldn't having you pay him (the landlord) something be better an having an empty room and no rent?" I asked.

"He likes money," Caleb said. "It's changed him." Since it's an illegal rental, it's not like these struggling tenants have any recourse to protect them.

Caleb is tired and in some discomfort, too. I wasn't following exactly what was wrong, but he can't miss any work and he has to make money on the street corners. He simply has to.

On my way back from lunch, I stopped at CVS and checked out what was on sale. I picked up a can of Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup (88¢) and a box of saltines (99¢) and a $10 gift card. I told him to pretend it's an Easter basket.

"Sometimes, when a girl is sick, chicken soup is just what she wants," I said. I told him he might want to use the gift card for Advil for his own aches and pains.

At the very least, Caleb will have a quick, nutritious and free snack before he goes to work tonight. And Randi will know I asked about her.

It's Easter weekend. I had to do something. God is watching all the time, of course, but it's Easter. I suspect this little family has been placed in my path for a reason. 

It's the most wonderful time of the year

Thursday was Opening Day. The Cubs played the Marlins in Miami. At 12:35 PM (EST), it had the earliest start time of any game in the league. When the Marlins' pitcher made his first pitch at 12:43, it was the first pitch of the 2018 MLB season.

When Cubs' lead off man Ian Happ hit it out of the park, it was the first homerun of the 2018 MLB season.

How perfect is that? A Cub player got a homerun on the first pitch of the year!

Amazingly, it got more perfect from there. My favorite-most Cub, first baseman Anthony Rizzo, is a Florida native. A graduate of Stoneman Douglas High School, the site of the deadly Valentine's Day school shooting. After the tragic event, he left spring training to spend time with the traumatized students of his alma mater. And on Opening Day, to show support for the kids, he persuaded the Cubs players to wear official Stoneman Douglas t-shirts on the field during warm-up.

He also earned the ire of The Breitbart Crowd with his support of the activist students. "I think it's amazing these kids are standing up for what they believe in. They are motivating everyone to register to vote, which is amazing. That's a powerful way to get your voice heard, to go out and vote. They're holding the throttle down on all those politicians, holding them accountable. It's just unbelievable how the entire nation is rallying around them." Naturally, the gun fetishists attacked him in the comments section.

I bet Rizz knows better than to look at it. But if he did, he answered them perfectly. 
With a homer of his own.

I love when life imitates art, and a baseball game is like a scene out of The Natural.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

So Why Did It Take Four Calls and 24 Hours?

Terrified. Weepy. Furious. My moods swung like mad last Monday, and all those moods were passionate. My doctor was supposed to get back to me with my test results, and my next steps, once she reviewed the lab report.

I took Monday off as a Personal Day because I didn't want to discuss my health in open forum. We have what is euphemistically called "open seating," which means there's no privacy whatsoever. If I had bad news, I didn't want an audience.

So I spent Monday waiting to talk to my doctor. Waiting for a conversation she and I never had. And that left me bubbling over with anger.

I got up Monday, took a shower, and called my doctor's office. It was about 10:15. The receptionist said that either the doctor or Gwen, her nurse, would call me back as soon as my results were available.

Around 11:00, Nurse Gwen called and said, "It says here there was blood but no infection, so don't worry."

"But the doctor told me that infection was the most likely option because it would explain the blood." That's what I said. What I was really thinking was: Cancer bleeds but cancer is not infection. I also asked if I was supposed to keep taking the prescribed antibiotics. After all, they treat infection, and she just told me there was no infection.

"Oh," Nurse Gwen said, sounding a little less confident. "I'll have Doctor call you."

"Thank you," I said, looking forward to the conversation. I love my doctor. She helped change my attitude toward my health care. I'm a better consumer now. After all, my doctor is the one who has said, "It's not enough to know what's not causing this. We need to know what the problem is." She's the one who always gives me "next steps," even if that "next step" is "Remember to make an appointment because I want to see you again in six months."

All afternoon, my phone was silent.

All day, my thoughts and fears bounced around like a pinball. It's nothing. I'm going to die. I have no one to call for help if I need surgery. If I have something serious, I hope we find it before I lose my job and my insurance. I'm fine, there's nothing to worry about.

And why the fuck isn't my doctor calling me?

After a day of this -- after a wasted day off -- I called her office again at 4:00. "I asked her to call me," I said, "and she never has. When can I expect to hear from her."

"Oh, don't worry!" the receptionist said. "Nurse Gwen is in there with her right now. Doctor will call you before she goes home. But Monday is her late night. She sees patients until 6:00."

At 5:45, I called the office a fourth time. I got the answering service! She had gone home for the day. Oh, and guess what! Tuesday the doctor doesn't have office hours! She and Nurse Gwen are at the hospital all day every Tuesday.

I tried not to start screaming. I'm not entirely sure I successful. I made it clear that I wanted my doctor to get this message in the morning -- somehow, some way -- and that she should know I've called four (count 'em! 4!) times.

I slept about a half hour Monday night. Tuesday, as I was getting ready for work, I called the doctor's office one more time. I explained my situation -- my day and night of terror and my concern about privacy at the office. The receptionist put me on hold and came back with my chart.

"Your file has a note that says you spoke to Gwen and there's no reason to call you back."


"So," I blurt, "I could have cancer and no one wants to answer my questions about it?"

"No. No, no," she said. "That's not how it works! If there was anything serious in your results, the doctor would have called you herself."

"I have questions that Gwen didn't answer."

"I'll see what I can do," she said.

Another physician in the practice called me back. Dr. Burn had seen me in 2016, when she was subbing for my doctor during my battle with c diff.

"First of all, stop taking the antibiotics," she said, as imprudent use of antibiotics has been tied to c diff. Nurse Gwen didn't tell me that.

"Your results don't show 'no infection,'" she clarified. "The results are inconclusive for infection." Nurse Gwen didn't tell me that, either. The doctor said it could be all the fluids I'd been drinking or the OTC meds, but while blood was evident, there was no clear reading on infection.

"This is consistent with kidney stones," she said. My age, my weight, my diet all put me at risk for kidney stones. My symptoms, the location of my pain, the blood in my urine  .... that's what she thinks the problem is.

"But to be sure, let's wait a week and run another test."

A next step! I love having next steps!

Looks like Door #4

When I went to the doctor last Friday morning, I thought I'd been suffering cramps and bloody urine for one of these three reasons:

•  A bladder infection
•  Prolapsed bladder
•  Bladder cancer (gulp!)

The results were inconclusive, and that gives us a fourth possibility: kidney stones.  My second doctor looked over my chart and says it's likely that last Tuesday I passed "a minute one." She wants me to wait until next week, submit another urine specimen, and see if she's right.

We have a plan. I love a plan.

Plus, I feel better. I love feeling better.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

A lovely way to be remembered

Here in the blogosphere, it was Kwizgiver. On Facebook, it was an old boyfriend. I am glad that when people saw this, they thought of me.

Sir Paul in New York
Paul McCartney participated in the New York March for Our Lives because "one of my best friends was killed in gun violence right around here."

Separately, young Emma Gonzalez, Parkland shooting survivor turned activist, chose to wear the Lads emblazoned across her chest during her first CNN interview. This made me happy, too.

The sins of the father

In 2011, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg did press in conjunction with the release of Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy. I recall ABC's Diane Sawyer asking Caroline about Jackie's reaction to John Kennedy's legendary infidelities. "I couldn't be her daughter and answer that question."

The late rancher/Dead Head/Renaissance man, John Perry Barlow, was a longtime friend and confidant of John Kennedy, Jr. Barlow says that JFK, Jr. dismissed the "great man" mantle that many felt was his birthright. "I think it will be more interesting to see if I can be a good man."

"I couldn't be her daughter and answer that question."
"I think it will be more interesting to see if I can be a good man."
Quotes from children who had been raised by a broken-hearted, widowed mother.

I thought of John and Caroline tonight when I was watching the Stormy Daniels interview on 60 Minutes. Our President was spanked with a magazine that had his face on the cover. By a porn star. Who came forward, in no small part, because he tried to bully her into silence. She dissed him as a lover ("Ugh. Here we go.") and reported that he spoke more glowingly of his eldest daughter, Ivanka, than he did of his wife, Melania. Who had just given birth to their son, Barron.

And so tonight I was very sad for our First Lady. Not because she now joins the ranks of publicly betrayed political wives. After all, Melania is Donald Trump's third wife.

I can't imagine what it's like for her to look into the face of the very young man she is trying to raise.  The 12-year-old boy who undoubtedly loves her. How does she explain Stormy Daniels (and Playboy Bunny McDougal and the Access Hollywood references to "pussy grabbing")?

I don't think it was an accident that the First Lady didn't return to Washington tonight, that she and her son stayed behind in Florida. That they are alone together as Stormy Daniels' revelations are broadcast.

I hope they're OK.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Weird day

I woke up this morning thinking I was fine, that my gut troubles were behind me. I felt good! Then, after about an hour, the bloating/ache kicked back in. I still wasn't feeling well when my Uber arrived to take me for my hair cut. Fortunately, the Excedrin took effect just as I got into the chair. Since I was there for color, highlights and cut, it took more than two hours.

By the time I got home, I started to feel ooky again. I took my antibiotic and tried to regroup. I mean, it's Saturday! I deserve a better time than this on Saturday! I went to my favorite coffee shop -- just a few blocks away -- for a late-lunch burger and another chapter of chick-lit. I was fine when I was sitting there, but then, when I got up to walk home, OW! It felt like the longest couple blocks of my life.

I got home, took a nap, felt fine. Started to do laundry because, why not? It's not how I want to spend my Saturday, but I can't drink and I can't socialize because I feel creepy, so laundry seems like a reasonable thing to do. The thing is, going up and down stairs seems to make the cramping worse.

So this is what I've learned today -- I'M NOT SUPPOSED TO MOVE! I need to find a place, plant myself and I'll be fine.

I hate this.

Saturday 9

Sweet Disaster (2016)

Unfamiliar with this week's song. Hear it here.

1) This video begins outside a convenience store with a sign advertising beer, produce, lotto and an ATM. Will you buy beer, produce or a lotto ticket this weekend? Will you visit an ATM? I must remember to pick up a lottery ticket, as winning the lottery is my retirement plan. I went to the grocery store and ATM on Friday afternoon.

2) As the video progresses, fountain drinks and donuts are consumed. When you stop for a snack during a road trip, what do you usually grab? Coke and chips.

3) The lyrics reference "a river of champagne." When did you last enjoy a spot of the bubbly? About two weeks ago, I had a thimbleful of the stuff at a work celebration. I woke up with a headache! From less than half a glass! So I don't intend to drink it ever again.

4) The end of the video features sci-fi/horror images. Is that a genre you enjoy? If not, what kind of books do you read most often? I simply don't get sci-fi or horror or fantasy. The just feel like such an incredible waste of time. Lately I've been reading a lot of non-fiction (though I have chick lit in my purse right now).

5) The trio that makes up The Dreamers are dyed-in-the-wool New Yorkers. If you could live in any city or village in the world, would you move or stay right where you are? I'd stay in Chicagoland, because, you know ...

Opening Day is Thursday! Go, Cubs, Go!

6) The Dreamers describe themselves as "impractical."  What about you? Do you consider yourself practical or impractical? A cursory review of my checkbook would reveal me to be impractical.

7) They also won't "listen to those who doubt" them. Sometimes we find the ones who doubt us most are ourselves. What about you? Are you confident, or do you suffer from self doubt? I'm my own toughest critic.

8) Do you often remember your dreams? No.

9) Random question: Would you rather get $100 today, or $250 on this date a year from now? $100 today. Who knows if we'll be here a year from now?

Friday, March 23, 2018

Positively Biblical

There's a passage from the Old Testament that came to mind today: Your words are what sustain me; they are food to my hungry soul. 

I shot my boss an email this afternoon, reiterating that I'd been at the doctor today and the test results won't be back until Monday. I told him that, since I didn't want to hear the news out in public, I was indeed taking my long-scheduled Personal Day on Monday I gave him a quick overview of all my projects and noted that, since I worked ahead, no one should be inconvenienced by my absence.

His response? Here it is, in total.


Thanks, Boss. That will sustain me and feed my hungry soul.

My morning trip to the doctor

The pain has been unrelenting since Tuesday night. Not debilitating, mind you. Just inescapable. The blood is less visible today, and my urethra has never burned/stung (so I don't think it's a UTI). But there's an awful pressure. Very deja menstrual cramps. It's as though my guts are filled with iron filings and the earth is a giant magnet.

So I went to the doctor this morning. She was wonderful, giving me one of the appointments she leaves open each day for emergencies. She spent as much time with me as I needed, explaining carefully and answering questions.

Behind Door #1, we have a bladder infection. This is the most likely culprit. She says that's the single individual ache that brings most post-menopausal women to her office. Sometimes, she says, it manifests itself as back pain. But just as often, it's bloody urine and abdominal cramps. She's so confident that it's a bladder infection, and so eager to get it cleared up, that she prescribed an antibiotic for me, starting today, even before the test results are back.

Behind Door #2, there's bladder prolapse. Since I had a total abdominal hysterectomy, it's possible that my bladder may have dropped toward my vagina. This is not likely, but it is possible. There are many ways to treat this, not all surgical. If the urinalysis points to this, we will discuss this further.

Behind Door #3 is cancer. She's 99% sure it's not cancer. That's why she prescribed the antibiotics. Bladder infections are terribly common in women my age, bladder cancer is not. If the test results come back, as expected, conclusively pointing to a bladder infection, we need not discuss this again.

I'm cautiously optimistic. Not hubristic -- I know too many people whose lives have been touched by cancer to think that it can't happen to me. But I'm determined not to freak myself out about this until the results come in on Monday.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018


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? Love the One You're With by Emily Giffen. Newly wed Ellen is very much in love with her groom of three months, Andy. So why is she so very rattled by a random encounter with her long-ago love, Leo?

Yes, it's chick lit. It's about pretty people who are lawyers and photographers and sports agents. They live in cool neighborhoods and eat out every night. They have no money worries but tremendous romantic complications.

Giffen writes well. She's not Jane Austen, but she elevates potentially sudsy material above soap opera level. And the last three books I've read have been pretty heavy. I deserve a little tasty junk food once in a while.

2. What did you recently finish reading? Vulgar Favors by Maureen Orth. A compelling but ultimately very frustrating book about Andrew Cunanan, the subject of the current Ryan Murphy/FX American Crime Story mini-series. This book was the source material for The Assassination of Gianni Versace.

It's a fascinating story because we'll never know why Andrew took out five well-loved and completely decent men. He wasn't your typical mass murderer. He was handsome, bright, funny and well educated. He had a gift for making (though not keeping) friends. He had talents and could have had a successful career (if he'd had any appetite whatsoever for work). There was no prior history of violence. So why in April did he suddenly begin a killing spree that ended with his own suicide in July?

Orth breathlessly tries to explain it away by pointing to his fondness for porn and drugs. Even in the pre-internet 1990s, porn was easily accessible. So were drugs. And yet somehow, South Beach wasn't crawling with serial killers.

There was one passage that stayed with me, that went further toward an explanation than any of her tsk-tsk-ing about gay porn and tweaking. His killing spree may have begun because his life of lies was about to be exposed. " ... the men he cared for most were turning their backs on him, banishing him to struggle alone, insecure, depressed and overweight. It was all their fault. They were forcing him to expose the sham of his grandiosity like a mangy peacock."

He had no faith, no sense of values, no sense of self. All Andrew Cunanan had was grandiosity. Perhaps that final, pitiless exposure was simply too painful for him to bear.  

3.  What will you read next? Maybe another biography? Or a mystery. My TBR pile is stacked dauntingly high with both. 


My gut hurts, and there's blood in my urine. I took a pair of Excedrin, soaked in the tub, and scoured the internet for possible causes.

It could be cancer, which is always on my mind. After all, my friends (Barb, Kathleen and Ed) have all battled it. Instead of "why me?" I tend to think, "why not me?"

It's more likely a urinary tract infection. A painful, but rather common, malady. Fortunately I already have a doctor's appointment scheduled for Monday.

Napoleonic Update

Monday I saw Napoleon's dad, Caleb. He reports that his wife is home and resting in their indoor, above-ground bed. He's worried about her moods -- but I told him that after a hysterectomy, any woman's hormones are going to be messed up -- and he doesn't think her pain meds are doing the job. For reasons I didn't quite follow, he "lost" his phone. (Has he misplaced it? Or did his carrier shut it off? I wasn't sure what he meant.) I let him use my phone to contact Kaye, a woman who has been helping them out.

Napoleon is quite a comfort to Randi. Caleb says he's very protective and sensitive to her during her recuperation. That made me smile. Fingers crossed that things continue to improve for this little family.

She's Ba-ack!

My oldest friend contacted me! Suddenly her cousin's house required a router. Now that they have one, their internet is up and running. She sent me a link to the MeTV March Madness poll where we viewers will pick our favorite classic theme. No doubt about it, here's mine:

Look how cute and charming The Tommer was back in the day. Now, whenever I see him either on Blue Bloods* or in those reverse mortgage spots, he looks so serious. Why so glum, Tom?

But I digress.

My oldest friend wants to keep things light, so we'll keep them light. I sent her the online pics I found of Sir Paul's recent trip to Beverly Hills. I'm just glad the lines of communication are open.

*I've never been able to get into Blue Bloods. Yet for a network show, it's crazy popular. Maybe it's me.

First the good news

Ladies and gentlemen, I present Sir Richard Starkey (who prefers to be known as Sir Ringo Starr). He was knighted by The Duke of Cambridge (aka Prince William).

I love The Lads from Liverpool. I love Diana's Boys. I love this picture.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Worried. Relieved. Guilty.

I haven't heard anything detailed from my oldest friend in weeks. This is the longest we've gone without keeping in touch in, literally, decades. This worries me because she has been battling health and severe depression. She has no income, and she was wrestling with California's welfare system so that she can get the pharmaceuticals and medical attention she needs.

Her recent emails were always chatting, superficial affairs. Mostly they were about how long it was taking her to unpack. I never understood this. She began the new year moving in with her cousin, into the attached "mother-in-law's" apartment. As I understand it, she has her own kitchen/dining room, bedroom and bathroom. My first place was a two-room apartment. I can't for the life of me figure why such a place would take two months to move into. A weekend, of course. A week, perhaps. But two months?

She said she was online all day looking for jobs. And getting rejections, which was breaking her heart. Then all of a sudden, I got a text that said their internet is out. That was March 7. I haven't heard from her since.

I know she doesn't like to talk on the phone anymore. At least not to me. I've heard her, in her own words, "blab away" with her kids and her cousin, but whenever I call, she doesn't pick up. So I don't bother to call anymore. So it's been radio silence since March 7.
On the one hand, I'm worried. She doesn't have resources for handling adversity. She copes by staying in bed. Getting up to eat and smoke*, but not to bathe. I'm afraid that the months she went without meds or a shrink have only exacerbated her depression. Then there are her other physical problems -- bad teeth, bad knee, incontinence. Pre-diabetes and ongoing heart trouble. She should be moving a little every day. It disturbs me to contemplate what she's doing to her health.

But then, I'm relieved. She loves her cousin so. She's always idolized this woman. In fact, it was one of my late mother's most vivid memories of my friend: When we were kids, my friend came over with some dimestore trinket anyone could have purchased anywhere in the country. But my mom remembers my friend saying, with a heartbreaking mix of pride and awe, "This is from my cousin. In California."  Now she's living with that cousin. If anyone can get through to my friend, it's her golden cousin.

And I feel guilty. I just saw a picture of my friend on Facebook, celebrating St. Patrick's Day with a Trump-loving friend of Cousin's. Seriously, here's what else is on their hostess' page.

I mean, really! How does this shit help anything?

ANYWAY, clearly their internet is back up, or Cousin couldn't have posted the photo of the St. Patrick's Day soiree. But I don't feel like reaching out. I'm not liking my own life right now, and I don't want to be weighed down by my friend's. Isn't that awful of me? We've been friends since Kindergarten. I know I should reach out.

But not tonight. I don't have to do it tonight, do I? I know she's surrounded by her cousin and her cousin's family and friends. If she wanted to talk to me, she could email or pick up the phone. All the work shouldn't be mine, should it?

OK, with her health issues, the heavy lifting has to be done by me. But I don't feel like it tonight. And, in my own defense, I sent her a little newspaper article via USPS last Wednesday, so she knows I've been thinking of her.

I love her, I do. I understand and accept that, for the foreseeable future, our relationship is going to be one sided. But I think tonight, I'm going to input my 3/15 finances into Quicken and wash my kitchen floor.

*Or vape, which she insists is "just steam," no matter how many articles to the contrary I send her.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Sunday Stealing


1. Do you tend to have a guilty conscious? No

2. Do you still have your wisdom teeth?  No

3. Peanut Butter - creamy or crunchy?  Crunchy

4. Get up off your butt. Take 5 steps. Which leg did you start out on?  Right

5. What color is your favorite kitchen utensil? It's a a can opener with a white handle.

6. Did you watch the Michael Jackson memorial/funeral?
Yes, I streamed it online. God, that was a long time ago. I can't believe I actually cared.

7. Do you know anyone who graduated from high school this year?Were you invited to their graduation party? Did you go?
I didn't know any 2017 grads. My nephew will be graduating this spring and I intend to go.

8. White with black stripes or black with white stripes?
Black with white.

9. If we were to call your 6th grade teacher, what would they say about you?
Since that was decades and decades ago, I don't think you'll be able to find any of my sixth grade teachers.

10. Can you draw a perfect circle?

11. What was your favorite scratch & sniff sticker scent? Strawberry

12. What does your sibling do for a living? My older sister is a CPA. My kid sister is a lunch mom.

13. How many light switches and electrical outlets are in the room that you are in right now? One light switch, two outlets.

14. Do you know sign language? A little. I had to learn the alphabet for a Girl Scout badge and I still recall much of it.

15. Do you step on cracks in the sidewalk? I suppose. I don't pay attention.

16. And the sheets on your bed look like....? They have a sea shell print.

17. What is something that everyone else has, but you don't? Netflix.

Feeling good about helping

One of the reasons I worry about losing my job is that a precipitous drop in income will mean a reduction in what I can give to others. Lest you think I'm too saintly, let me tell you that giving to others gets me high. It's right up there with a can of caffeine and sugar laden pop. When I'm too much in own head, giving snaps me out of it. So being unselfish can be very selfish for this gal. As I watch others close to me battle with depression, I realize how lucky I am that I know a quick, reliable way to lift my mood when it veers toward darkness.

Our office is collecting professional attire to donate to Dress for Success, so women on a limited budget can look good and feel confident at their next job interview. I brought in a 12P, fully-lined Lauren skirt that I never wore (and never will). It retails for about $50. I was a little disappointed by how empty the rack for donations was, so I made a mental note to visit the neighborhood rummage sale this weekend. The sale is held in a big old Victorian house, and there's a room devoted to "Women's Better Clothes." I hoped to find something there for Dress for Success. And, since proceeds from the rummage sale go to local charities, I thought it's a win-win.

Well, it was a win-win-win. For not only did I find a pair of gray Lauren slacks (like new and just $4), I got myself this coat! $178 new at Nordstrom (of course, it's not new) but it's now mine for only $14. I have a belted, hooded black trench! Happy, happy, happy!

Then I found out, much to my dismay, that my local camera shop is closing its doors at the end of the month. I love this store. But, as digital revolutionizes photography, their business model has changed. First they gave up half their floor space to a toy store. Now they've decided to move a much tinier storefront in a far off suburb, and concentrate only on photo finishing.

I understand their decision, and wish them well, but it still made me sad.

Until I saw that all the toys are 50% off! So now some little kid is going to get the Cha-Cha Chihuahua board game from Santa and Toys for Tots ... and me.

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Danny Boy (1956)

1) This is a sad song of farewell. Who is the last person you said "goodbye" or "so long" to? One of my coworkers is moving on to greener pastures and Friday afternoon, I wished him goodbye and good luck.

2) According to the 2000 Census, Massachusetts is the state with the largest percentage of residents of Irish descent. Have you ever been to The Bay State? Yes. Twice. I really enjoyed it and would love to go back.

3) "The wearing o' the green" is one way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Will you wear something green in honor of the day? I have two green sweatshirts. I will don one of them.

4) What color makes you look best? I'm fair skinned with green eyes, so green flatters me.

5) Will you drink something green in honor of the day (like a Shamrock shake or a green beer)? No.

6) A four-leaf clover is considered good luck. Do you have a lucky charm? A friend gave me a Guatemalan worry doll. When I fly, I transfer my terror to her.

7) Though she's singing an Irish ballad, this week's featured artist, Joni James, is of Italian heritage. Can you think of a song as identified with Italy as "Danny Boy" is with Ireland? The first one that comes to mind is "That's Amore." But I don't know if it counts, since Dean Martin was from Steubenville.

8) Soda bread and potato bread are popular in Ireland. Are there any rolls or bread in your kitchen right now? No. I've been eating a lot of crackers lately. Ritz, saltines, graham crackers ...
9) Ireland is known for its whiskey. Do you enjoy Irish coffee (black coffee, whiskey and whipped cream)? No! I really hate all manner of coffee.

Friday, March 16, 2018


Here's the skinny on Napoleon and his family: I saw a very, very sleepy Caleb Tuesday evening. He told me that this week, his wife was undergoing a hysterectomy. The hospital feels that this is the best way to combat her cervical cancer. Many details fell through the cracks as we spoke, since he was just so tired. (For example, he kept saying "artery" when he meant "ovary.") But of course he's exhausted. He works overnights, visits his wife in the hospital, sleeps a little, panhandles on the corner, visits his wife again, and goes back to work. It's a grueling and uncomfortable life.

But at least they've moved indoors. They had been living in a tent with a flap that never stayed completely closed, but now Caleb can safely leave his much adored Napoleon in the bedroom they now rent while he's working or at the hospital. For himself, he's got a sleeping bag on the mattress, but he's saving for sheets for Randi when she comes home to recuperate. It's important to him that she have clean sheets as she recovers from surgery, possibly four weeks.

Randi's boss at the salon sounds like a nice woman. She sent cosmetology books for Randi to study during her recuperation. She can't afford to pay Randi for work not done, but sending the books is a gesture of support. The boss is letting Randi know that when she's well, her job will be waiting for her.

I am cautiously optimistic for this little family. Snarkypants suggested crowd funding and it's a good idea. But it's hard to do because I wouldn't be raising the money for myself, it would be for Napoleon and his parents. How would I transfer the money to them? Or could I get their banking information? And what about photos? Caleb would have to bring Napoleon downtown or I'd have to go to their new home to take pictures? It's worth exploring, but I need Caleb to be able to focus, and he was just too tired to be my partner in this right now.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

I soooo get this

Last week, two-year-old Parker Curry became a media sensation because she was caught staring, transfixed, at the portrait of Michelle Obama at The National Gallery. The little girl became so popular that word reached the former First Lady, who invited Parker to her office for a dance party.

I was her once. I was Parker. I was a little older -- perhaps 4. I know it was before Kindergarten and before I could really read yet. I could make out words here and there but I still needed help.

My grandparents always kept glossy magazines on the lower shelf of their TV cabinet. While the rest of the family was blabbing the kitchen, which was the real heart of my grandparents' home, I sneaked into the living room to peruse the magazines.

It was a thin, bound oversized softcover volume that I guess was about the Presidents and First Ladies of the 20th century. Lying on my tummy, flipping through page after page of black and white photos, I was distinctly bored. And who could blame me?

Florence Harding. Grace Coolidge. Lou Hoover. Eleanor Roosevelt. Bess Truman. Mamie Eisenhower. Even if the photos had been in color, these women would have looked black and white.* Then I got to the end and I saw her. Jackie.

If it wasn't this very photo, it was one similar. She wasn't portrait posed, like the others. She wasn't wearing "grandma" clothes and jewelry, like the others. She didn't look like she would smell of mothballs, like I was sure the others would.

Whereas little Parker said Michelle Obama looked like a queen, I thought Jacqueline Kennedy looked like a doll. A Barbie doll that I would send on glamorous adventures.

I quickly moved on, of course. Pre-schoolers have notoriously short attention spans. Besides, at that stage I was seriously into my collection of model horses. But that moment on my grandparents' living room carpet had an indelible impact.

In a few short years, when her husband was murdered on my birthday, thereby disrupting my 6-year-old life and completely ruining my party, I felt that God gave JFK to me. Obviously I was supposed to learn all I could about him. And while reading about him, I naturally learned about her.

She never broke down when her husband died in her arms, so she was tough. But also beautiful. She spoke French, Spanish and Italian, so she was smart. But also feminine. She cared about Important Things, like art and ballet, but she dressed just as well, if not better, than my Barbie doll. So she could still be cool and fun.

First Ladies matter. I realize that there's a racial component to Parker's adoration of Michelle Obama, and I appreciate it. But that doesn't diminish Jackie as my early role model. I predict Michelle Obama's impact will be felt for decades to come, just as Jackie came to represent the ideal American woman to many of us Baby Boomers.

*As an adult, I realize how unfair this assessment was. Especially about the esteemed Eleanor. But I was not much older than Parker, so you have to cut me slack.