Friday, August 31, 2018

Saturday 9

She Works Hard for the Money

1) This song is about a woman who works hard as a waitress. What's the hardest job you've ever had? When I was a very young woman, still in my teens, I was the administrative assistant to a very particular, very difficult man. He neither liked nor valued me. The days were so long and felt so hopeless. The corporation we both worked for finally moved me to another department, where I was then much happier. It's important to note that my successor didn't last any longer than I did. He was just too-too.

2) The lyrics tell us she has worked at this job for 28 years. What's the longest you stayed with one employer? The one I'm at. It's been (gulp) 14 years. I didn't think I'd be here 5. I know this is a cliche, but as I grow older, time moves faster.


3) Donna Summer was inspired to write this song during an awards show. She ducked into the bathroom and met the elderly ladies' room attendant, whose job it was to make sure the room the spotless, the complimentary hairspray and moisturizer was abundant, and there was a hot towel for every celebrity who used the facilities. "Wow," Donna thought, "she works hard for those tips." Who is the last person you tipped? The waitress who brought my pigs in a blanket. (See post below.)

4) Early in her career, Donna was in the touring company of the musical Hair. It played in Munich for so long that she became fluent in German. What's the longest you have ever lived away from home? When I was still living with my parents, my family often went to a cottage in Wisconsin for two weeks at a time. I was miserable. I missed my girlfriends! Now, I seldom sleep away from home for more than 5 days at a time. I don't like being way from my home, my cats, or my stuff for long stretches.
 

5) Sam's dad is naturally outgoing and enjoys striking up conversations with waitresses, librarians, the checker at the supermarket, etc. Sam is always polite but more private. Are you more like father or daughter? I suppose I'm more like Dad. I make polite conversation at the counter as I'm being rung up. However, I can think of only two businesses -- the vet and my favorite coffee shop -- where they know me by name.

6) A little more than 10% of the American workforce is self-employed. Have you ever been your own boss? Briefly. I freelanced when I was between jobs. I enjoyed the freedom. I didn't enjoy having to beat the bushes myself in search of assignments.
 
7) Labor Day weekend may offer a golden opportunity for napping and sleeping in. Do you snore? Like sawing wood.

8) Will you be attending a Labor Day picnic or barbecue? Nope. I am cocooning this weekend.

9) Labor Day traditionally marks the beginning of the fall. Will you be adding any new fall clothes to your wardrobe? Maybe. But I just picked up two pieces from ThredUp. So I have to take an assessment and see what I still need. Maybe I'm done until the snow flies.






August Happiness Challenge -- Day 31

Today’s happiness: "Breakfast served all day."  I celebrated my final early Friday -- for the last time this year I got out of work at 12:30 -- with a lovely lunch of pigs in a blanket. Sausage links, wrapped in pancakes and drenched in maple syrup. Accompanied by a bit of chick-lit escapism. All good.


via GIPHY

Each day in August you are to post about something that makes *you* happy. Pretty simple. And, it doesn't even have to be every day if you don't want it to be. It's a great way to remind ourselves that there are positive things going on in our lives, our communities, and the world.



 

Napoleon Update

He goes to work every night, 5 nights a week. Because Caleb has gone back to sleeping in his tent -- he gave up the rented room when his wife went into a recovery facility for cancer patients -- he can't leave the cat when he goes to work. So, when Caleb goes to the grocery warehouse where he drives a forklift overnights, he takes Napoleon with him.

The warehouse manager has been a very good sport about this. The boss appreciates that Caleb is one of the working poor, doing the best he can, and so allowances are made. Napoleon used to spend his shift in his carrier on the floor in the manager's office. But lately, when Caleb clocks out at the end of the night, Napoleon has been perched on the manager's shoulder, "helping" with paperwork.

Today, August 31, is Caleb's birthday. Yesterday I gave him a birthday card with a $10 bill inside. He showed me what he spent it on: a roll of Gorilla duct tape. He was excited because it's better quality than he could have afforded otherwise, and he needs it to repair the tent. While we were talking, I noticed how bad his teeth are. I don't believe they were always this discolored. His wife's illness seems to have taken a physical toll on him.


Thursday, August 30, 2018

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 30

Today’s happiness: Open windows. It's suddenly cooler, and dry, so I can keep the windows wide open.

I know that back on Day 6, I said ac made me happy. And it does, it does! But since I don't have central air -- just a through-the-wall unit in the living room and a window unit in my bedroom -- it can be noisy. And expensive! My ComEd bills have been daunting. And I get tired of breathing recycled air.

Open windows, they are good.


via GIPHY

Each day in August you are to post about something that makes *you* happy. Pretty simple. And, it doesn't even have to be every day if you don't want it to be. It's a great way to remind ourselves that there are positive things going on in our lives, our communities, and the world.



 

People can disappoint you, can't they

I haven't posted about these three things because they make me sad. On the other hand, I'm hoping that if I post about them -- release them into the blogosphere -- they'll stop nipping at me.

#1) My oldest friend. I love her, of course. I try to understand what she's dealing with, I do. But sometimes ... She's been incommunicado for weeks because her phone was cut off. Back on August 8, I emailed her a link that explained ways citizens can get free cellphone service in California. She never acknowledged it.

This past week, out of the blue, she texted me, saying she now has a free, government phone.  No mention of my email or my help. Just that she wanted me to have the number, and that she wanted to talk. Naturally, I was eager to hear from her. I want to know that she's OK, and I miss her. She makes me laugh.

Sure, said I. Can we talk at 7:00 your time, 9:00 my time?

She'd prefer 8:00, or 10:00 my time. I let her know that we wouldn't be able to talk long, because I had an early morning meeting the next day.

I called at 9:50 PM and got her voicemail. She didn't even bother to pick up! I left a message saying I was going to bed. She called anyway, at 10:15. No apologies for being late. No acknowledgement that I said I'd gone to bed.

I asked her if she'd been busy today. "No ..." She was just hanging out with her cousin, with whom she now lives.

It nags at me, how thoughtless she can be. She lives with Sharon. Day in, day out. Yet she had to spend an extra 75 minutes (remember, she knew I wanted to talk at 9:00 and she didn't call until 10:15) hanging around with Sharon for no particular reason? Has she become so undisciplined that she no longer refers to her watch, doesn't carry her phone with her, even after setting a time for us to talk?

Next spring, I'm going to Southern California for the TCM Film Festival. I'm not inviting her to join me, and I'm not going out of my way to see her. The festival takes place at three (or is it four?) theaters in the neighborhood of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It requires a lot of walking, planning, getting to and fro. This is important to me, and I'm not going to let her ruin it for me.

It makes me sad that I will be traveling 2000 miles but won't be seeing her. I know that with her meds and her depressive disorder, she has a hard time conforming to schedules. But her inability to even be available at 7:00 PM ... after a day of doing nothing special ... to place a call she instigated ... tells me that I can't trust her not to compromise my festival experience. And the TCM Film Festival is something I've wanted to attend for years.

#2) My coworker. She doesn't approve of my relationship with Caleb and Napoleon. We were
walking together to the train and when I told her I was going to stop and "pet my buddy, Napoleon," she mumbled and kept going. This has happened with us before. She not only doesn't want to be introduced, she seems to think that I've fallen prey to some sort of elaborate scam. That they aren't really homeless? That they choose to be homeless? I'm not sure what's in her head. I don't see how she can begrudge anyone a few bucks and some conversation, making Caleb and Randi feel connected and important to me for a few moments. You know what? I don't approve of her disapproval.

#3) That kid! Thinking of Napoleon ... There was a group of street musicians that play on the corner across from where Caleb and Napoleon panhandle. The youngest -- approximately 14 -- had been watching them closely. Then, as he walked by, he first yanked at Napoleon's leash and then, when Caleb leaped up to tend to the cat, he stole their cup of money. Caleb estimates he got more than $50. Why did the kid do that? Mischief? Hates cats? Just something to do? It makes me so sad.

There. Now it's all out. Let's see if I start feeling better.



August Happiness Challenge -- Day 29

Today’s happiness: The Hallmark card shop. The selection is better, the quality is higher, in an actual card shop.

This was important to me because Emily just had her third baby. (A boy!) For a fashion-forward thirtysomething, she's really old school in some ways. She keeps physical (not digital) baby books. She sends holiday cards, birth announcements and thank you notes on bond paper. Because she appreciates these things,* I wanted to celebrate the occasion with a card Emily will want to keep.

The card I chose had Winnie the Pooh descending from the sky, holding a string at the end of a yellow balloon. The balloon is an actual yellow button. Too cute!

*And because she always, always remembers my birthday, even though we never see one another anymore.


via GIPHY

Each day in August you are to post about something that makes *you* happy. Pretty simple. And, it doesn't even have to be every day if you don't want it to be. It's a great way to remind ourselves that there are positive things going on in our lives, our communities, and the world.



 

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 28

Today’s happiness: I'm going to Hollywood! If I had a bucket list, going to the TCM Film Festival would be on it. And in 2019, I'll be joining "My Tribe" in Hollywood for a wallow of classic films. As soon as the announcement was made, I booked a room* for just $88/night. I'm using my AA miles to get to and fro. I'm going to spend a long weekend hanging out with classic movie fans! 

*A studio apartment through Airbnb. If I choose to, I can cook and save myself a little more money.





via GIPHY

Each day in August you are to post about something that makes *you* happy. Pretty simple. And, it doesn't even have to be every day if you don't want it to be. It's a great way to remind ourselves that there are positive things going on in our lives, our communities, and the world.



August Happiness Challenge -- Day 27

Today’s happiness: The kindness of strangers. As I was unhappily hauling my fat ass up the steep stairs to the train, a woman on the way down passed me. 

"I have a crush on your haircut," she said. "I want your hair." 

"Thanks." 

I went on up to the platform. She headed down onto the street. We will never see each other again. But she made me happy.


via GIPHY

Each day in August you are to post about something that makes *you* happy. Pretty simple. And, it doesn't even have to be every day if you don't want it to be. It's a great way to remind ourselves that there are positive things going on in our lives, our communities, and the world.



 

Monday, August 27, 2018

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 26

Today’s happiness: Rizzo. Today Anthony Rizzo went 2-4 against the Reds and scored 3 runs. He was flawless, as usual, with his mitt. All this, even though it was over 90Âș on the field. It was thrilling, but not surprising. That's what he gets paid for.

Earlier today, I saw this video of him. Last night he was eager to look foolish, singing "Piano Man" (with former Cub pitcher Ryan Dempster) for charity. 



Rizz regularly donates his time and his money to Lurie Childrens Hospital. His Foundation built the parents' waiting room in Lurie's pediatric cancer ward. He raised money for hurricane relief in Puerto Rico, seeded with his $25,000. He's worked with kids in Parkland, FL, who were traumatized by the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, his alma mater. (And that's just what I know from memory. I'm sure I could list more if I looked it up.)

And last night, he sang for the Chicago Public Schools.

His joy in everything he does and his oversized generosity lift my mood whenever I look at him.

I love this kid.


via GIPHY

Each day in August you are to post about something that makes *you* happy. Pretty simple. And, it doesn't even have to be every day if you don't want it to be. It's a great way to remind ourselves that there are positive things going on in our lives, our communities, and the world.



 

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Sunday Stealing

Misc. Questions

1. How has your life most benefited from the Internet? Whether it’s meeting people, cutting business overhead, finding rare collectibles, or simply sharing funny cat pictures, share how the web has made life easier. It has certainly made work go more smoothly. I am a writer. Being able to electronically send my manuscript to an art director is so much faster, and so much accurate, than old-school typesetting was.

2. The getaway car is waiting outside – where is it taking you?
To the border! The northern one. I don't speak Spanish, so I'm off to Canada. Can we stop at Niagara Falls?

3. Do you reply to comments on your blog? All of them? Or just the really interesting ones?  Do you go back to check if the authors or the blogs you comment on reply to your comments?
I don't often reply to comments, but I try to visit everyone who visits me.

4. On average, how long does it take you to make an important decision?
I can be pretty decisive on the big things.

5. Do you gather a lot of information prior to making the decision, or do you go with your gut in the heat of the moment? 
Depends on what we're talking about.

6. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned recently?
That not everyone needs to hear every single thought I have. (That's what this blog is for!)

7. What’s your hidden talent? Are you double-jointed? Can you sneeze the alphabet? Share your unique skill.
I can wiggle my ear.

8. Rate the level of intensity you have about wanting to know God – no desire, low priority, curious, great desire, high priority, desperate to learn more. Explain your answer.
I don't get this question. I feel like I know God. I don't feel there are degrees -- at least not for me,

9. What’s one of your nicknames?  How did you get that nickname?
"Gal." I gave it to myself.

10. What do you have to have with you when you travel? Why?
I must have all kinds of things. I pack like Thelma.


.

 


11. What do you think about reading books on an electronic reading device? Do you have an electronic reading device? Do you love it? Why? If you don’t love it, why not?  I like books. With binding and pages.

12. Do you prefer writing on paper or a keyboard? Why?
Keyboard. When I write in long hand, my mind works faster than my hand.

13. If the shoes make the man (or woman), what do your shoes say about you right now? (Assuming you’re wearing shoes. Although if you’re not, that certainly says something, too.)
I'm barefoot. Judge me as you will.

14. Describe your favorite pair of shoes.
Traditional Birkenstock Arizonas. Reinforced heel well, two straps. Comfortable and durable.


15. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one ability or quality, what would it be?
Self discipline.


BONUS:  When they "cool sculpt" your body, where does the fat go? Apparently it dissolves into your system and you eventually piss it away. Of course, I may not know what I'm talking about.



No, they most certainly do not

Rest in peace, John McCain.
I worked on John Kerry's 2004 campaign. In those days, campaign contributions were all checks, very little was done online. The required reporting was arduous. Forget cutting corners; in some ways John Kerry is a true Boy Scout.

We were warned against complaining about the campaign finance reporting: "Remember, it's called MCCAIN-Feingold." Volunteers 980 miles outside of Boston knew not to say anything negative about John McCain while in a room with John Kerry's name on the door.

Don't believe it for a second when today's dirty political doings are explained away with "everyone does it." No, they don't. These two Vietnam-era public servants didn't.



August Happiness Challenge -- Day 25

Today’s happiness: Nancy's husband, Paul. I had lunch on Saturday with my friend, Nancy. She has moved into my old hometown, where I still go to get my hair cut. Now that my nephew is away at college, I no longer see him after getting my locks shorn. And since I'm there, why not see Nancy?

Well, I'm glad I did. Short story: we met at a new (to us) burger place and I had some fantastic grub as we caught up. Who knew you could get a peanut butter and jelly hamburger? Long story follows ...

Nancy is unemployed. Her father died a year ago and they just observed the anniversary, her daughter is going back to college this week and her son is in rehab ... for heroin. She knew he'd been fighting a losing battle with alcohol since his teens (he's now 22). It was his way of self-medicating as he dealt with his parent's divorce, ADD, and now the slow pace of his music career (he'd been working as a bus boy). The heroin was a shock. She's bereft. She is overwhelmed.

That's why I am so happy she has Paul. After lunch, she took me to her home and I met him again for the first time in years. The three of us sat around and talked for two hours. He is, like me, a pop culture nerd and we compared notes on old TV shows. And the Cubs. Nancy seemed to enjoy watching us interact, and at one point she curled up next to him, looked up at him and said, "I love you."

I'm so happy she has him. With everything going on in her life, I'm glad she has someone can, literally, lean on.


via GIPHY

Each day in August you are to post about something that makes *you* happy. Pretty simple. And, it doesn't even have to be every day if you don't want it to be. It's a great way to remind ourselves that there are positive things going on in our lives, our communities, and the world.



 

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Saturday 9

Think (1968)
Unfamiliar with this week's song. Hear it here.

In fond remembrance of The Queen of Soul (1942-2018).
 
1) As befits one of America's premiere artists, Aretha Franklin sang at three Presidential inaugurations. The first was Jimmy Carter's in 1977, when she sang "God Bless America." What's your favorite patriotic song? "America, The Beautiful." If anyone asked me -- and no one has -- I'd suggest making this our national anthem. "And crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea!" C'mon. How does that not get to you?


2) The daughter of a Baptist minister, Aretha grew up with church music. She told Rolling Stone one of her favorite songs was the hymn, "Victory Is Mine." What's your favorite religious song?  I'll stick with "America, The Beautiful." It's in our church hymnal, and one of the later verses especially applies today: "O, beautiful, for heroes proved in liberating strife, who more than self thy country loved and mercy more than life." There's so much macho chest thumping these days about being "tough" on our allies, "tough" on NFL players, even "tough" on mothers who enter this country looking for asylum for themselves and their children (which is legal). It would help us to remember that heroes can be merciful.

3) She welled up a bit when President George W. Bush presented her with the nation's highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005. When is the last time you shed a tear? Last week. Streisand Day on TCM.




via GIPHY

4) In 1980, the Queen of Soul sang for the Queen of England in a Command Performance at The Royal Albert Hall. Have you ever been to London? Nope.

5) Since Aretha had many honorary degrees, it would have been appropriate to refer to her as Dr. Franklin. Who is the last person you referred to by his or her title (Officer, Father, Sgt., Dr., etc.)? Golly, I can't remember the last time I addressed anyone directly by title. I referred to my GP as "doctor" when I was talking to her office staff, last week, over the phone.

6)  In this week's song, Aretha tells her lover that it doesn't take a high IQ to understand what's going on in their relationship. Do you know your IQ? Nope.

7) A sculpture of Aretha is on display at Madame Tussaud's in New York. Do you think wax museums are cool, or creepy? I don't see this as an either/or.


8) Aretha and Motown legend Smokey Robinson were literally lifelong friends, since they were playground buddies in Detroit. Smokey is one of the only people who can claim to have seen The Queen of Soul with a bucket in a sandbox. If we went to the playground today, would you head for the swings, the slide or the jungle gym? Or, like Aretha, would you play in the sand? Swings! By the way, my mom never let us go near the sandbox. She maintained it was "filthy." When I was a wee one, I thought she was crazy. "Other kids use it!" But now, I see her point. Who patrols it to make sure that outdoor cats won't do what cats do in sand?

9) Random question: Do you like pumpkin seeds? I don't not like them.




Friday, August 24, 2018

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 24

Today’s happiness: Grilled cheese with bacon. This was one of my last "Summer Fridays," one of the last times I can end the workweek at 12:30 on Friday.

Today, I got off the train and took myself to lunch at my favorite summertime coffee house. They have the best clam chowder, and you can get a small bowl for free with their lunch special. Today is grilled cheese with bacon. Can you think of a better lunch for stolen, rainy Friday afternoon?

Even better, I'm really into my book. Put me in a quiet booth by the window, immerse me in a big biography, add in good soup and a gooey sandwich, and I am happy.


via GIPHY

Each day in August you are to post about something that makes *you* happy. Pretty simple. And, it doesn't even have to be every day if you don't want it to be. It's a great way to remind ourselves that there are positive things going on in our lives, our communities, and the world.



 

Here comes that rainy day feeling again

Earlier this week, I received preliminary word from Chase that my mortgage payment was going up, up, UP! Well, today I saw the actual statement that detailed all the elements of this increase ... and how it could be avoided.

Some of it is an increase in my property taxes. The reason for this is two-fold: my neighborhood has gone up in value (yea!) AND the State of Illinois raised my rate. OK. It is what it is.

But then there's this: my property taxes are paid by Chase from my escrow account. That means Chase can increase the monthly escrow amount deposit. Or I can pay Chase all or part of that increase as a lump sum now. Doing that would reduce my monthly mortgage payment and keep it manageable.

I have accumulated $1480.00 in my "rainy day" emergency fund. I figured I'd use it when my refrigerator or air conditioner craps out, or if there's another special assessment from the condo association.

But, it turns out, rainy days can take different forms. And I'd say this turn of mortgage events constitutes a shower, if not a storm. So I wrote a check for $800 on that emergency fund and sent it to Chase. Now, my monthly payment will go up just $80. I can handle $80.

I still have $680 in my emergency fund. Sears sells a through-the-wall air conditioner like mine $550 and a refrigerator for $450. So I still have enough if one (but not both) fail me.

Adulting is hard. But I'm doing it.



August Happiness Challenge -- Day 23

Roomy Alana
Today’s happiness: Alana and Elsa. I love Miche purses because you just simply swap out the outer shell, placing it over the plain, black cloth bag. (Here's a video that explains it all.) I got into Miche when my mom called me, many moons ago, and alerted me to their infomercial. And Kwizgiver is a fan.

I used to buy shells all the time. But then I stopped, because reckless spending is not good for me. I haven't purchased a new one in a year.


Textured Elsa
But Miche is still my day-in/day-out bag. Two factors contributed to my deciding I needed to shop. First, the company has gone out of business and second, two of my favorite "shells" were just so damaged I had to toss them. (OK, Reynaldo peed on one of them.)

I found three on sale on eBay, and two arrived on Thursday. Miche named their bags after women, so I feel like I made two new friends: Alana and Elsa. A third shell, Cheryl, was purchased from another seller so it (she?) hasn't arrived yet. I'm less excited about that one because it's a replacement and familiar to me.

Taking advantage of the eBay close-outs, I got all three bags for $71.25, including shipping. Or $23.75 each for my perfect handbags.


via GIPHY

Each day in August you are to post about something that makes *you* happy. Pretty simple. And, it doesn't even have to be every day if you don't want it to be. It's a great way to remind ourselves that there are positive things going on in our lives, our communities, and the world.



 

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 22

Today’s happiness: Talking to contractors. I interviewed a pair today -- one recommended by my friend, Nancy, the other from Home Advisor. They are each putting together proposals for renovating my bathroom.

I'm leaning toward Nancy's guy because he seems to be willing to do more for me, whereas Mr. Home Advisor is leaving some stuff to me. Of course, I haven't seen their estimates yet. So maybe that painting and prep will cost me a lot. I simply don't know yet.

But here's the thing: the two consults went smoothly. This is a very big deal for me. I've never done anything this expensive and consequential before. Yet neither contractor seemed even remotely rattled by how crappy my bathroom currently looks. Neither seemed appalled by the clutter in my living room (though they weren't able to see in the den, which still looks like a disaster area). Neither seemed to be taking advantage of my frankly admitted naiveté.

I'm so relieved.

via GIPHY

Each day in August you are to post about something that makes *you* happy. Pretty simple. And, it doesn't even have to be every day if you don't want it to be. It's a great way to remind ourselves that there are positive things going on in our lives, our communities, and the world.



 

Who's a good boy?

Reynaldo is a good boy! This morning, after breakfast, he took a nap and he was so cute. He was dreaming, and suddenly sat upright, turning his head this way and that, all while still sleeping. Finally, he curled back into a fur shrimp.




He is 14 now. That makes him about 72 years old in human years. He is still exasperatingly naughty at times. Still lively -- as you can see above, even in his sleep. But he naps now, more than ever. So much so that his partner in crime, Connie, is getting bored. And he's had some health problems. Easily handled, but still, they make me realize our time together isn't long.

This afternoon, I made him happy by putting him in his carrier and taking him to the park. From his vantage point in the shade, he saw a squirrel and a bird and blades of grass moving. Being Rey, he was fine as long as he knew as I was there beside him. I'm still his obsession.


August Happiness Challenge -- Day 21

Today's happiness: This blog. Sometimes I'm just so grateful to have a place to express myself, and to know people out there are hearing me.

Earlier the year I sent out a valentine to Kwizgiver and Snarkypants. They came through when I had the blues and it was the sweetest, most unexpected rescue.

Today I want to shout out to BookMama and Lisa G. BookMama is in Chicago with her children, seeing Hamilton. I have been following their activities via Facebook, but I've been enjoying them so much because we got to know each other here, on Blogger.

Lisa G. gave me a heads-up at the perfect moment. She sent me a link to a credible story about the FDA extending the expiration on some Epipens ... including the one that's in my purse! That will save me a ton by allowing me to wait and order my Epipen from my insurance preferred vendor. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

via GIPHY

Each day in August you are to post about something that makes *you* happy. Pretty simple. And, it doesn't even have to be every day if you don't want it to be. It's a great way to remind ourselves that there are positive things going on in our lives, our communities, and the world.



 

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 20

Today's happiness: Sir Paul. James Corden ran an extended episode of "Carpool Karaoke" in prime time tonight. An entire hour of Paul McCartney riding around with Corden, singing and giving us a tour of Liverpool.

At 76 years old, he's no longer the heartthrob of my girlhood. His hair is streaked with white. His voice is strained when he reaches for those high notes. 

But he's still making new music. (New CD is released in early September.) And he's enjoying who he is. He accepts that he's what's left of "the act you've known for all these years." (Sorry, Ringo.) He handles the adulation with grace and ease. He appears healthy, happy, and energized.

When I think of rock's lesser lights who have fallen by the wayside, and of his peers (like John and Elvis), I am so happy I get to witness this stage in his life, his victory lap.


via GIPHY

Each day in August you are to post about something that makes *you* happy. Pretty simple. And, it doesn't even have to be every day if you don't want it to be. It's a great way to remind ourselves that there are positive things going on in our lives, our communities, and the world.



 

One step up, two steps back

That's the story of my finances these days! I finally figured out a way to pay for my bathroom remodel and scheduled two contractors to estimate the work. They're coming by Wednesday.

But then Chase tells me that my mortgage payment is going up $150/month. It's escrow, reflecting an increase in my property value and famous Cook County taxes. I can pay this -- shit, I have to pay it, I have no choice -- but it will be a pinch. Just when I was figuring my budget was going to feel less pinched!

And then there's the Epipen shortage. I am allergic to bee sting. If I get stung and I don't get fast treatment, I could die. The Epipen I've been carrying in my purse is expiring on September 1. Last week, I called Walgreens -- the pharmacy chain preferred by my insurance company -- is completely out of Epipens and has no idea when they'll get more. I asked the pharmacist what he suggested I do. He told me not to bother with CVS, as they don't have any either.

OK, that's what I shouldn't do. But what should I do? After all, the one in my purse expires on September 1. Will neighborhood drugstores have a fresh supply in the next 10 days.

"I don't know."

I found a local, independently-owned pharmacy that had one in stock. One. They were nice enough to call my doctor and get my prescription, even though they know I'm kinda contractually-bound to Walgreens. But, because they aren't a preferred pharmacy, I have to pay a steep price.

Like $500.

Now that's a year supply. And it's $100 less than it would be without insurance. And I'm lucky to get one, because there's a drought in my area.

But this is $650 that I have to come up with ... NOW. $650 I wasn't planning on spending at all.

I'm 60, and I still don't have this money thing figured out. I guess that means I'm never going to have this money thing figured out.



Sunday, August 19, 2018

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 19

Today's happiness: Abe. He's iconic. He's patriotic. And, unless you have some kinda creepy Confederate fetish thing going, you simply gotta love him.

My nephew certainly does. When he was a little boy, we talked Lincoln all the time. His first train ride was with me when we went down to Springfield to see the Lincoln sites.

That's why I was so happy to find this greeting card. It's a cutout of Mr. Lincoln himself with a sheet of stickers. I put "GOOD LUCK" on the inside, along with a $20 giftcard to Burger King (the anchor of the student union). I put Abe's stovepipe chapeau and "NICE HAT" on the back of the envelope.

It will make my nephew happy to get mail. It will make him happy to be able to eat free burgers. It will make him happy, during this first week in the new away-at-college chapter of his life, to get something from home.

And that all makes me happy.


via GIPHY

Each day in August you are to post about something that makes *you* happy. Pretty simple. And, it doesn't even have to be every day if you don't want it to be. It's a great way to remind ourselves that there are positive things going on in our lives, our communities, and the world.



 

Sunday Stealing

Stolen from Penny Royal Princess 

1: 3 Fears
•  Air travel
•  Clowns
•  Highways during nighttime storms (this is new; I can't pinpoint when I started being afraid of this)

2: 3 things I love

In alphabetical order:
•  The Beatles
•  Cats
•  The Cubs

3: 4 turns on

•  Beatle fans
•  Cat lovers
•  Cub fans
•  Classic movie fans

4: 4 turns off

•  That myopic "I-hate-the-media-they're-the-enemies-of-the-people" crap. Journalism is the rough draft of history. And it's always bad form to let those in power determine whether the press is "fair." They never think it is! Quoting Stalin tends to be a bad thing, too, folks. Oh, and by the way, how do you know your President demeans the press at every rally he attends? Because the media covers him doing it. (Sigh. I'll get off my soapbox now.)
•  "Dog people" who think that you can't love cats; "cat people" who disparage dogs
•  Bullies
•  Hypocrites
Turn offs make me grumpy. I wish we could have stopped at turn ons.

5: My best friend
It changes. These days it's Henry, my Key West buddy. No one sees the good in me the way he does. I treasure that so. It's like being wrapped in eiderdown.

6: My favorite book

Saving Graces: Finding Solace and Strength from Friends and Strangers. Elizabeth Edwards' memoir is a searing saga of spirituality, vulnerability, and finally, acceptance.



7: My best first date

Are you asking me to describe a generic first date? Or to recall an actual outstanding first date? The answers would be different.


8: How tall am I

Nearly 5'2


9: What do I miss

Actually being 5'2. I think I may have shrunk!

10: What time were I born

I was born at the stroke of midnight between November 21 and 22. The stroke of midnight does not exist legally, so the hospital told my mom she had to choose -- 11:59 or 12:01. She was still quite doped up (I was a big baby) and confused about what she was asked, but she chose 12:01, which made it 11/22. Astrologers love this story because I was born on the cusp of a cusp.

11: Favorite color

Pantone 294. Cubbie blue. It's my special favorite when worn by Anthony Rizzo, my favoritest Cub.

First baseman, cancer survivor, children's advocate, GREAT GUY!
12: Do I have a crush Always


13: Favorite quote

I'll go back to Philip Graham: Journalism is the rough draft of history.


14: Favorite place

This changes, too. These days, my mind likes to travel back to the holidays in Key West. This year, I'm returning to the same hotel, and the same pool.

Those are my toes, CHRISTMAS MORNING!

15: Favorite food

This changes, too. Lately it's chocolate ice cream.

16: Do I use sarcasm

Why ever would I?

17: What am I listening to right now

Aretha Franklin. There's a tribute on NBC's Sunday Today.

18: First thing I notice in new person

Hair. I'm extremely hair-motivated.

19: Eye color

Green


20: Hair color

Light brown with blonde streaks

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 18

Today's happiness: An afternoon nap. A luxurious high point of a lazy Saturday.

via GIPHY

Each day in August you are to post about something that makes *you* happy. Pretty simple. And, it doesn't even have to be every day if you don't want it to be. It's a great way to remind ourselves that there are positive things going on in our lives, our communities, and the world.



 

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Saturday 9


Saturday 9: It's a Jungle Out There (Theme from Monk) (2003)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) This week's song is the theme from the detective show that ran from 2002-2009. Were you a fan? Love Monk. I watch the reruns on Sunday on WeTV.

2) The song warns us about the air we breathe and the water we drink. Does your home have an air or water filter? I have an air filter right here beside me, but it's not plugged in. When it gets cooler and the air conditioner isn't running all the time, I'll put it back to work.

3) The lyrics say, "People say I'm crazy to worry all the time." Are you a worrier? Or do you just take things as they come? I'm a worrier.

4) TV's Adrian Monk is known for his outstanding deductive powers, an homage to Sherlock Holmes. Have you read any of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's books featuring Sherlock Holmes? Nope. They were written early in the last century and the style confuses and irritates me. (My fault, not Sir Arthur's!)

5) Monk was also known for fastidiousness and precision, an homage to Hercule Poirot. Have you read any of Agatha Christie's books featuring Poirot? Yes. I'm reasonably new to her books -- last decade or so -- and the 1970s Murder on the Orient Express is one of my favorite movies. Albert Finney is freaking awesome as Poirot. The more Poirot I read, the more I appreciate his performance.



6) This song was written and performed by Grammy and Emmy winner Randy Newman. Do you have any trophies or plaques? I won a Clio, which is a very big deal in advertising. But I won it back in the 1980s, so I keep it hidden away because I don't want to emphasize what a dinosaur I am. After I retire, the plaque comes out of the closet and goes up on my wall.

7) Before winning an Oscar in 2001, Mr. Newman had the distinction of having the most nominations (15) without a win. Do you consider yourself a graceful loser? I'm a lifelong, do-or-die Cub fan. One World Series in 108 years. So I have a great deal of practice.

8) In 2003, when this song was introduced, Lance Armstrong won his fifth Tour de France. Later, he was disgraced in a doping scandal. Can you think of a time when a hero disappointed you? Years ago, this was one of the prompts of a blog challenge. Here's what I wrote then. Even before #MeToo.

9) Random question -- We're catering lunch. Should we put you down for a burger or a taco? Burger, please. And may I have cheese?



August Happiness Challenge -- Day 17

Today's happiness: The "W" flag. I saw it twice today.
First, when my nephew texted me a photo of the wall of his college dorm room. He just moved in today, but he wanted to share with me that he decorated with a poster of the Beatles crossing Abbey Road, a tin replica of the Wrigley Field marquee (which I gave him), and the "W" flag. 

I was pleased that, as he enters this new phase of his life, he's taking the things we share with him. And I was touched that, on this first night in a new place, he reached out to me.

Then, when the Cubs beat the Pirates 1-0. Chicago fans who made the trip to Pittsburgh displayed the flag in the stands. Our heroes in Cubbie blue have won 7 of their last 10. This is the way to enter the home stretch!

via GIPHY

Each day in August you are to post about something that makes *you* happy. Pretty simple. And, it doesn't even have to be every day if you don't want it to be. It's a great way to remind ourselves that there are positive things going on in our lives, our communities, and the world.



 

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 16

Today's happiness: crispy Asian chicken wings. It's the main course of my favorite lunch. Two wings, a side of fried rice, some fruit and a Coke. Enjoyed alone in a booth with a good book.
 
The cafeteria in the building where I used to work has become my refuge. They have the best Asian chicken wings in their buffet, and now that we've moved across the street, no one from the office goes there anymore. So I get a delicious, private lunch.

via GIPHY

Each day in August you are to post about something that makes *you* happy. Pretty simple. And, it doesn't even have to be every day if you don't want it to be. It's a great way to remind ourselves that there are positive things going on in our lives, our communities, and the world.