Sunday, November 17, 2019

Happy Birthday to Me, Part 1

I didn't think Kathy remembered. But she did! She came into town to take me to lunch and a movie. She's on a fixed income now, so instead of a stop at the candy counter she slipped me baggies of Snocaps, Raisinettes and Twizzlers (all my faves!) that she picked up at The Dollar Store.

We were together five hours in all, and I could feel myself getting annoyed with her. I really have to dial that back. People love me and want to celebrate me and I get bitchy. I think I've lived alone too long.

It's just that she's so ditzy these days. She gets times wrong. She confuses the theaters. She's got a lot on her mind -- health problems, money problems, and yet she remembered my birthday, so I shouldn't be such a bitch.

Anyway, we saw The Good Liar, a thriller starring Helen Mirren and Ian McKellan. I was excited to see Jim Carter, Mr. Carson from Downton Abbey, playing a character Mr. Carson would never let through the front door at Downton. (He's at a strip club, for Chrissakes!)

Anyway, it was a nice start to my birthday week. I enjoyed it. I am happy.


Saturday, November 16, 2019

Sunday Stealing

Facebook Questions

1) What is your favorite TV show (currently)? This Is Us
 

2) Would you like to be a child again? Not really

3) Has anyone ever told you that school times were the best period of his/her life? Would you say that to someone? Why? My mom insisted those were her happiest days. I think it's sad that you could peak at 16. Also, I recall high school as a rather miserable time anyway.

4) How's the weather? It's November in Chicago, so you need a winter coat to be comfortable and you should enjoy the sun when you can see it because it sets so damn early.

5) Do you like camping? No

 
6) Do you believe in paranormal phenomena? Not really

7) If you would create a holiday, what would it be called and how would we celebrate it? When would this holiday be? Every February 9, we would celebrate International Beatles Day. We would flash peace signs and remind one another that love is all you need. Best of all, we would revel in the joy and that fabulous music. 

 

8) What word(s) do you dislike? Can you tell why? Anything that ends in "tard." Like "retard," or "libtard." It's mean, ugly and people who use it should be ashamed of themselves.

9) What color do you dislike? What do you associate with it? I have thought about this, and I don't really dislike any color.

10) Do you believe in otherworldly creatures, eg. ghosts, etc? OK, how is this different than #6?

11) Pick two of your favorite fictional characters. Where are they from (what movie, book, etc?) and why are they your favorite? Katie Morosky from The Way We Were and Linda Seaton from Holiday. These ladies were true to themselves.





12) If you could change anything or add anything to your body would you? (this can be interpreted however, but, think, would you like to have fins or extra hands?) I'd rather just have my old waistline back.

13) What are some family traditions you have/had growing up? Do you still continue them, if yes, why, if no, why not? This isn't a tradition, really. But my mom always included a salutation in each Christmas card she wrote. I have adopted that.

14) What do you think of tattoos? Do you have any? I don't have any tattoos and, consequently, don't think too much about them.

15)  What is the most disgusting habit some people have? Smoking. It stinks.
16)  If you could bring back one TV show that was cancelled, which would it be? The West Wing.

17) What was the most unsettling film you have ever seen? The Exorcist
18) What book has impacted you the most? Saving Graces by Elizabeth Edwards. It taught me to share more, to strengthen my relationships by allowing others to see my vulnerability. Needing help does not indicate weakness. It's sharing the bad times that makes celebrating the good ones that much sweeter.

19) You're on Death Row and get one final meal: What is that meal and why do you choose it? I'd like a nice, juicy rib eye steak. Mashed potatoes. Chocolate cake. An unending supply of Coke. It would leave me sluggish, but that wouldn't really matter under the circumstances, would it?

20) What is the first profession you remember wanting to become as a child? I wanted to sing and dance. But since I'm a tone deaf klutz, that really wasn't in the cards for me.


 

Color Me Happy

The Decades Channel is showing 86 episodes of Batman. I am delirious with joy.

First of all, it's just too funny. Adam West is pitch perfect in every scene, both as Batman and as millionaire Bruce Wayne. Frank Gorshin and especially Cesar Romero are all in as The Riddler and The Joker. Their complete commitment could be a master class in comedy.

And then there are memories it evokes. When it was first run, I believed the action, straight up. I thought Robin was dreamy. My classmates talked about the show at recess every day (it was on both Wednesday and Thursday, so there was always something to anticipate or relive). I was so obsessed that I carefully updated my uncle, then fighting in Vietnam, so when he came home he wouldn't have missed anything this important. He was so amused by my letters that he kept them and when he died in 2010, my mom found them -- pencil scrawled on pages torn from a spiral notebook -- among his personal papers.

This past April, when I was in Los Angeles for the TCM Film Festival, I stopped by The Hollywood Museum and saw The Batman '66 Exhibit. I fangirled so hard!


Friday, November 15, 2019

Saturday 9

Judy at Carnegie Hall (1961)

We're spotlighting this legendary concert because  Bev from Sunday Stealing loves Judy Garland. This week's Saturday 9 is a "thank you," one meme-mistress to another, in gratitude for Bev's willingness to pick up Bud's meme and keep it going.

Song #1: "When You're Smiling." What made you smile this week? I did well at a presentation on Monday.

Song #2: "Almost Like Being in Love." We've all had many crushes, but love is rare. How many times have you fallen in love? Three

Song #3: "This Can't Be Love." This Rodgers and Hart song as introduced in the play, The Boys from Syracuse. Syracuse is the county seat of Onondaga County, NY. What county do you hail from? I've lived in Cook County my whole life.

Song #4: "Do It Again." What's something you'd do again, if only you had the time or money? (A book you'd like to reread, a recipe or pattern you'd like to make again, a vacation destination you'd like to revisit, etc.) I haven't had a solo spa getaway in a long time. I'd love to go back to Colonial Williamsburg, nerd out on some American history, and then unwind at the spa -- being massaged and exfoliated and all that good stuff.

Song #5: "You Go to My Head." Judy forgets the lyrics, but gamely keeps going. Tell us about a recent moment when you chose to keep going, no matter what. Tuesday I spilled an entire cup of hot chocolate down my leg. It got cold, and uncomfortable, very quickly. I sopped up as much as I could -- denim is both stubborn and absorbent -- and tried to concentrate on the task at hand. I know what you're thinking: "This counts as adversity in your world, Gal? You're very lucky." Yeah, I guess I am!

Song #6: "Alone Together." Is anyone there with you as you answer these questions, or are you alone? My cat Reynaldo is on my lap.


Song #7: "Who Cares?" This song was written by brothers George and Ira Gershwin. They had a lesser known brother, stockbroker Arthur. Are you more creative and artistic, like George and Ira? Or more analytical and methodical, like Arthur? I'm with George and Ira on the creative side.

Song #8: "Puttin' on the Ritz." Judy sings that The Ritz is the place in New York "where fashion sits." If we wanted to see everyone "all gussied up" in your town, where would we go? The first one that comes to mind is Shaw's Crab House. It's a very old-school Chicago restaurant, with terrific food. But if you're in jeans, they'll "suggest" you sit on the bar side.

Song #9: "How Long Has This Been Going On?" Judy sings about discovering how glorious romance can be. Have you made any new discoveries lately? It doesn't have to be as groundbreaking as Judy's. A new podcast or a faster route to work counts, too. Netflix. I resisted it, because I already pay for every cable channel known to man, plus Amazon Prime. But Lisa (aka SnarkyPants) was nice enough to include me on her membership, and now I'm hooked!

Feisty and confused

Saturday morning at 8:00 AM, Reynaldo is having blood work done. Hyperthyroidism is common in geriatric cats and Rey is now 15, so it just makes sense to test him.

However, he has to fast for 12 hours before the test.

We're only1:15 into it, and it's not going well. He's knocking everything over and singing (like he's doing in this photo).

I've tried catnip. That gave me about 30 minutes of relief. Now I think I'll try some toys.

I feel bad that he's so frustrated. I know on the one hand he's being a willful little shit, but on the other hand, he's really using the only tools at his disposal to express himself. He thinks I just don't get it.

And I love how lively and engaged he still is at 15.* Because for all that me makes me nuts at times, he can also be very sweet. He's my little man, and I want him in my life for years to come.



*16 in April.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

I think too much about sleep

My sleep schedule is completely messed up! Monday night, I was exhausted as I rode the el home. I thought it was the stress and newness of commuting in cold and snow for the first time this season. (We are setting and breaking November records this week.) I know I'll be used to it again in a day or so. It's just that waiting on the platform in the wind and wet and then scrunching into the seat in my winter coat, surrounded by other down-clad scrunchers, always feels a little extreme at first.

I watched an episode of Blue Bloods* with dinner and then the CNN Town Hall with Joe Biden. I couldn't keep my eyes open, so I went to bed. It was 9:30.

And then at 2:00 AM, I woke up, feeling head-achey.

I promised myself no soda at home because I drink way too much Coke and not enough water. But tonight, I think I was disturbed by a caffeine headache, so I'm downing a can and going back to bed.

I live alone, so I suppose this wacky sleep schedule isn't disrupting anyone and doesn't really matter. Except it just feels unhealthy and unproductive.

I still believe cutting back on caffeine and sugar is a good idea. (You never hear or read about doctors recommending more caffeine and sugar, do you?) But I think I need to move more. I dug out my exercise bands and, beginning Tuesday, I'm going to do reps in the evening after dinner. Maybe I can make that a habit, the way stretching in the morning is. Good for my spine, good for my adrenaline.

And I think I have to avoid naps after work or going to bed before 10:00 or 11:00 (<<
Because I'm becoming preoccupied by sleep and this annoys me.


*That's twice I've watched it now, and I still don't get it's appeal. So I'm officially giving up. I think I prefer my Tom Selleck as Magnum.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Gazing upon my idol

Two Jackie items captured my attention this weekend.


Who wore it best? That's Tatiana Schlossberg on the left, wearing her grandmother's dress to a tribute to designer Carolina Herrara. The gesture was a meaningful one because Herrara has said that the night Jackie wore that dress to the Kennedy Center in 1972 was the moment her career took off.

Caroline only seems to have worn the dress twice before bequeathing it to her daughter. Still, it leaves me in awe of couture. I don't suspect anything I bought off the rack at Kohl's will look good in 45 years.


A horrible picture. High school aged Jackie wrote, "Dear Mary: I'll blush every time I think of you looking at this horrible picture." If she thought this was unflattering, it's clear once again that Jackie and I experienced puberty differently.


Sunday, November 10, 2019

Requesting permission to vent

She can wait. Last night I posted that I had no emails or calls that had to be answered just now. That's not quite true.

My oldest friend has written me two emails -- one on Friday afternoon, the other on Saturday morning -- reaching out. Chatty emails. Filling me in on her life.

Her blood sugar spiked and she ended up in the ER, but left without being treated ... her anti-depressants have stopped working ... Most interesting of all, she complained about the company that was coming over. She lives rent-free in her cousin's home. Her cousin's husband's family came over to celebrate their son's birthday (the whole clan, including their dogs) and this disrupts my friend. What the ever-loving fuck? Sharon, her cousin, took her in when she had nothing. Literally nothing. Even her car had been repossessed. She's really going to complain when Sharon has company? Plus, unless she's holding out on me, these visitors are the only non-household members she speaks to (medical personnel not included).

Oh yeah, and how are you, Gal?

It was nearly a month ago that she called me, after a long drought, and we reconnected. We laughed -- she can always make me laugh -- and caught up. I felt supported, reinforced, happy. Now I feel silly for thinking it was the start of a more involved, co-equal relationship. A return to the give-and-take she and I shared for nearly 50 years.

Here's the thing: she's doing the best she can. She's bipolar. She makes bad decisions, yes, but no one pays for them more dearly than she does. So I'm going to take the high road and answer her. I'm going to continue to love her.

But I have to work through my feelings first. I'm wounded, I admit it. She goes days, weeks, months without communicating with me. It hurts that I've become so peripheral to someone who used to be at the center of my life. I miss her. I miss us.


How I spent my Saturday

I slept in, shopped, had lunch, and slept some more. I'm tempted to curl up and get back under the covers. It feels both indulgent and wasteful to spend a day this way.

I look forward to days when I have no imperatives: Nowhere I have to go, no one I must call, no chore that positively, absolutely has to be accomplished. It feels luxurious.

But I also feel a little guilty. I was gonna work on my Nanowrimo. Friday night I wrote the beginning of my first-ever murder scene! Lest that sound too ghoulish, it should be noted that I read many murder mysteries and trying my hand at writing the actual dastardly deed is hard! I'm good on most of the forensics -- my villain wants to set the scene to look like an accident -- but I don't know how he's going to dispose of the murder weapon. Then it occurred to me: the story could be told from the prosecutor's POV, and I could just say, "the weapon was never found." Now all I have to do is finish it ... and then write it again for the defense.

Or I could sleep some more.

And I should scrub my bathroom floor, and sort through the papers on my dining room table, and answer some emails for the condo board ...

Or I could sleep some more.





Friday, November 08, 2019

Saturday 9


Heart to Heart (1982)

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


1) With whom did you most recently have a "heart-to-heart" talk? My friend Henry. He seems to want to reconcile with his father, from whom he's been long-estranged, before it's too late. (Dad is 80-something.) I hope he does, and I hope his mother -- divorced from Dad for 30 years -- doesn't make him feel guilty about it.


2) When this song was on the charts, audiences were tuning in to a TV show called Hart to Hart. Are you familiar with it? Vaguely. I watched a rerun from a hotel room while on a business trip and thought it was completely unrealistic. Like it made Murder, She Wrote look like Forensic Files. I never watched it again, but I do recall thinking Mrs. Hart (Stefanie Powers) had great clothes.

I like her earrings, too.


3) In the music video, Kenny Loggins plays an illustrator. It’s said that the hardest thing to draw is a straight line, because all the joints in your hand have to work together in sync. Can you draw a straight line, without the aid of a ruler or a straight edge? It is a dichotomy of my life: I have beautiful handwriting but I can't draw. Anything. Can you figure that? I can't.

4) This video also prominently features teddy bears. A 2018 article in the NY Post estimates that 4 in 10 adults has a plush toy of his/her own. Are you one of the 40%? Yes. As I write this, I'm looking at stuffed animals I received as gifts from my late mother and my friend, Henry.

5) Kenny Loggins performed in a tribute to Aretha Franklin at Carnegie Hall. Do you have a favorite Aretha Franklin song? Enjoy!

 

6) Kenny cowrote this song with Michael McDonald of the Doobie Brothers. You can also hear Michael on the background vocals. Do you have a favorite Doobie Brothers song? I love this one because the music sounds upbeat, but the lyrics are so poignant.

 

7) The third cowriter is David Foster. 1982 was a big year for Foster, since Chicago had a big hit with another of his compositions, “Hard to Say I’m Sorry.” Do you have a favorite Chicago song? I like my Chicago old school.

 

8) In 1982, when this song was popular, Tylenol capsules laced with cyanide killed 7 people in Chicago. In response, tamper-proof packaging was introduced. What’s the last thing you opened that required you break a seal? Salad dressing. First I had to peel away the wrapper around the cap. Then I had to remove the cap to peel off the seal over the bottle. A lot of work for a little honey mustard goodness.

9) Random question – You’re having a party. Which guest annoys you most: the one who arrives 20 minutes early, or the one who shows up 20 minutes late? 20 minutes early, because I will not be ready.



Reflections on Jury Duty

I was called in by The Feds! I was summoned for jury duty at the Federal Courthouse on Dearborn. I've served on two juries, but they were local affairs and this was my first time offering up my wisdom to federal proceedings.

The case at hand was, technically, a bank robbery, which is a federal offense. A man was lurking outside a Chase location before the bank opened. When an armored car arrived to collect cash from the ATM out front, the man used a gun and pepper spray to steal more than $100,000. It falls to the jury to decide if the defendant in custody is the man who committed the crime.

While I was not empaneled, I did sit through voir dire. More than 30 of us were interviewed to get 14 jurors. This gave me, literally, hours to observe my fellow northern district residents and here are my observations:

• Many of my fellow citizens have master’s degrees. I was surprised.
• We were asked what shows we watch, and Blue Bloods is very popular, with people of all ages. Go figure.
• Only women watch This Is Us, and only men watch 2 ½ Men reruns.
• Lots of adult children still live at home
• When asked what the members of our immediate household do for a living, lots of parents and adult children have no idea. As in: “My dad does pipefitting or something, I think” and “My daughter works in an office … and um …”
• I look good for my age. I am proud of that.


They can’t call me again until 2020! Yea! (Wait! That’s less than two months away …)


 


Thursday, November 07, 2019

Why I love the internet


Late 1940. Spencer Tracy, in priest's garb as he reprises the role of Father Flanagan in Men of Boys' Town, gets his copy of Why England Slept signed by the author, 23-year-old John F. Kennedy.

At the time, Tracy was a hugely respected actor, having just become the first man to win back-to-back Best Actor Oscars. Kennedy was a recent graduate of Harvard. His dad had been a movie producer and undoubtedly had a hand in setting up this publicity photo.

I think this is the coolest thing I've seen all week.


Wednesday, November 06, 2019

It's been days ...

... since I rhapsodized about Anthony Rizzo. So let's remedy that right now. Lookee here!

Rizzo’s Family Foundation just donated $1 million dollars to the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, Florida. Hollywood is just 30 miles from Parkland, where Rizz grew up.

In 2008, when he was still in his teens, Anthony was diagnosed with cancer. At the same time his grandmother was fighting her own losing battle with the disease. He learned the hard way that when a family member has cancer, it impacts the whole clan. He's made helping children and families cope with cancer his off-field career.

Here in Chicagoland, he's been an angel to the parents at Lurie Children's Hospital. In 2017, his foundation built the new waiting room ($3.5 million) so that no parent will ever have to be uncomfortable while visiting their kid. Last year, he donated another $2 million to help families make ends meet while their child is being treated. (I read a note from a grateful mom who said that this donation made it possible for her other children to be in safe, secure daycare while she was at the hospital because no mother can be in two places at once, least of all the mother of a sick child.)

This year, for Christmas, I'm giving as many Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation gifts as I can. I know the money will go to a good cause.




WWW.WEDNESDAY

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
Becoming by Michelle Obama. Am I the last one to read this? It was the best-selling hardcover book of last year, and it's been sitting on my TBR pile, literally, for 11 months!
Shame on me for taking so long to get to it. I'm not very deep into it yet, but I'm entranced. She writes about her girlhood, just 20 miles/20 minutes from where I grew up, and I recognize and appreciate the authenticity of her recollections and her writing. I look forward to the rest of her journey.

2. What did you recently finish reading?  Touched by the Sun: My Friendship with Jackie by Carly Simon. And now I've got another First Lady! Only this book is very different from Becoming. It's not a cradle-to-grave look at Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, it's the story of one specific relationship: the friendship between Carly Simon and her New York/Martha's Vineyard buddy, Jackie.
It's a strange little volume, because Carly Simon is a complicated woman and that colors her relationships. But it has some very poignant, touching moments. Example: Carly unexpectedly hears a song on the radio ("Her Town, Too") by her ex-husband, the love of her life, James Taylor, and it shakes her. She shares this with Jackie, who commiserates. She says for her, it's "Greensleeves (What Child Is This?)" that brings "Jack" back to her, and at the most unexpected times. I'd always assumed it would be hearing one of JFK's speeches, in his own voice, that would bother her. But it was this ubiquitous Christmas carol, his favorite, that touched her most.

It's these "girlfriend" moments -- two women sharing themselves at their most unguarded -- that makes this worth reading.
 
3.  What will you read next? I don't know.

Monday, November 04, 2019

All about Anthony


Sunday was a big day for my favorite Cub. First, he was named the National League's best first baseman. And the Cubs settled his contract, giving him a bump in salary to $16.5 million.

Now that might sound like a big payday to you and me, but in context, he's a bargain. In 2020, Bryce Harper will make $20 million with the Phillies. The Cubs are paying both Jason Heyward ($21 mil) and Jon Lester ($20 mil) more than Rizzo.

But I'm not sure Rizzo cares. In May, when asked by a reporter about his contract, he said into the microphone, "I am set for life. I have a lot of money." And, from the same interview,"I love this city and everything we have done here. The fans, the people, the hospitality we get in Chicago -- I feel like Chicago is home for me ... I can never visualize playing for another team."

Can't you just imagine his agent choking when he heard that? "I don't need money," and "I don't want to play anywhere but here," are not the posture one should take going into negotiations.

Oh well, that's why we love Rizz. He's all heart. He's all Cub.


Sunday, November 03, 2019

Dona Nobis Pacem


Every year, November 4 is the day we blog for peace. This year's special theme: Change Your Climate.

Today we're all so overwhelmed by life, so bombarded by media and messages, that it's easy to allow ourselves to get overheated. To boil over with confusion and fear and worry. When the mercury rises, we get distracted, and our loftier goals can be washed away like a message in the sand.

So today, change your personal climate. Turn down the heat that's firing your resentments. Assume good intentions and respond in kind.

Let's manifest peace beginning with one another. Let's unmake violence and destruction, one heart at a time, starting with our own.

And we must keep at it. Otherwise, just as our coastlines erode, so can any progress we've made toward peace. As an American President said in September 1963, at the height of the Cold War:


LEARN MORE ABOUT BLOGGING FOR PEACE HERE.
We're a community of writers who believe words matter.

Sunday Stealing

Stolen from Wednesday Medley


1. All things pumpkin are everywhere. What is your one very favorite pumpkin flavored food or drink?  Do you wish it was available all year or do you only want it in the Fall?
I like pumpkin spice. I'm a big cinnamon fan and I taste and smell it in the pumpkin spice cookie filling, donuts, etc. (I don't drink coffee.)

2. What product would you seriously stockpile if you found out they weren't going to sell it anymore?

Coke.

3. What is the most interesting thing you have seen online this week?

I was reading about Ronan Farrow's book, Catch and Kill. It's disturbing to think that NBC may have warned him away from covering the Harvey Weinstein scandal because Weinstein's team had incriminating information about Matt Lauer. (I wish I had a specific link to share, but I don't.)

4. Is it better to be a "big fish in a small pond" or a "small fish in a big pond"?

I am a small fish in a big pond, and I'm good with it.

5. Do you play chess?  Are you good at it?

No. I think it's boring. (Sorry, chess lovers! I'm sure it's my tiny brain, not your game.)

6. Tell us something random about your week.

My left winter boot rubs the heel. Just the left one. The right one is fine.

7. What is your favorite Frank Sinatra song

I'll go with this one from the movie Irreconcilable Differences. It's not a great song, and his voice isn't what it once was, and it wasn't a hit, but I love it all the same. He sounds like he lived this. Sinatra really gets to me sometimes.




8. Has your state approved the sale of medical marijuana?  In a nutshell, what are your thoughts on the subject?
"Recreational marijuana use" will be legal here in IL in 2020. CBD oil is available in just about everything, everywhere. I suppose this is a good thing. I worry about it in petcare products. I am concerned that there's so little quality control.

9. Einstein’s Theory of Happiness is: “A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.”   Was Einstein right?

What's not to like about that statement?

10. Do you enjoy fresh peaches?  What is your favorite way to use them in a recipe?

I don't cook. Sorry.





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Friday, November 01, 2019

Saturday 9


The Addams Family (1964)
Unfamiliar with this week's song. Hear it here.


1) One of TV's spookiest families was inspired by a series of New Yorker cartoons. What's the last magazine you flipped through? Allure. I was reading about the Two Faced line of mascara and considering the false eyelashes the editors endorse. I really need to update my look, but I'm a little leery of going too far. I want lush lashes, but I don't want to look like Rudolph's girlfriend.
 
Cute, but too much.


2) The Addams' butler, Lurch, was originally conceived as a mute. But then actor Ted Cassidy ad libbed the line, "You rang?" and Lurch had a voice, and a catchphrase. Can you think of another catchphrase connected to a TV character?


The Fonz, from Happy Days

3) Now here's the most important question of the week: Do you prefer The Addams Family or The Munsters? The Addams Family (though I think Herman Munster is very sweet).

4) What's the scariest movie you've ever seen? Psycho. There's so much about it that's fiendishly wonderful. Every time I see it -- and I've seen it a gazillion times -- I appreciate it a little more. Hitchcock was a consummate filmmaker who didn't have to rely on slaughterhouse gore to terrify us.

 

5) Thursday was Halloween.
What goodies did you give the trick or treaters? I didn't get any trick-or-treaters, which made me kinda sad because I was actually home in time to greet them had they stopped by. A combination of factors (snow, plus my village having a party for trick-or-treaters last weekend) kept them away from my door. Anyway, I
have Atomic Fireballs at the ready. Since the expiration date is 4/21, I'll just tuck them away for next year.

6) Are you attending/have you attended any Halloween parties this year? We had one at the office. I drank spiked cider, ate chicken fingers, and voted in the jack o'lantern contest. (I work in an ad agency, and art directors can take pumpkin dcarving very seriously.)

7) Did you carve a jack o'lantern this year? Nope

8) Do you eat candy corn all year around ... only at Halloween ... or never? Never


9) In 1964, when The Addams Family premiered, one of the most popular store-bought Halloween costumes was Bambi. It came with a plastic mask held on by a thin elastic band. Tell us about a memorable Halloween costume from your childhood. You know, nothing comes to mind. My mom chose the costumes for me and my sister, I didn't have any say, and besides, here in Chicagoland I was usually covered by my coat anyway. This is not to say I didn't enjoy Halloween festivities and the adventure of trick-or-treating, it's just that I guess my costume was irrelevant.



I don't like you, but I love you

Last night, Henry literally growled at me. That's how angry and frustrated he was with me. I lost my temper and told him if he was going to treat me like shit, I was hanging up. Considering that he's recovering from a traumatic brain injury, it was not my finest moment.

However, in my own defense, I think Mother Theresa would have yelled at him last night.

For the past month, he's been obsessing over the pain in his left nipple. He says it hurts so bad he cannot stand up straight. He reports that when his doctor touched it, he yelped so loud the doctor literally jumped back. He is convinced it's breast cancer, and is upset that no one takes his pain seriously. He was waiting for the paperwork so he could have a sonogram, but that the waiting is torture.

I listened patiently. Then I told him I thought it was a clogged duct of some sort that's become infected. So of course it hurts. But it should be pretty easy to cure.

Last night, he resumed complaining about "his teat." I asked him what the sonogram revealed.

"I have not gone. Reg has the paperwork."

Then he started complaining about his back. "The scoliosis" his mother told him he inherited from her. His GP can't find anything wrong, but his back hurts so bad! We talked about this before, when I walked him through my own back problems. I convinced him to get a referral to a chiropractor.

So last night, I asked him how it went with the chiropractor.

"I have not gone. Reg threw the phone number away."

I told him he needed to get serious and take control of his own care. That once he had answers, and a treatment plan, he would feel better.

"Why can no one help me?"

"Because you haven't been to the chiropractor or had the sonogram!"

He complained about his depression. He said he longs to talk to his psychologist, but he's out of free appointments from "the county plan." I think that's the Employee Assistance Program. I told him to use his insurance, that Blue Cross will cover at least a portion of a therapy session.

"But then I would have to pay and I have no money!" Never mind that I could tell he was drunk. If he gave up one bottle of wine/week, he'd have more than $50 in a month to put toward a session.

"Why don't you call your shrink and ask her how to deal with the insurance company? She's probably had experience with situations like this."

"You do not know how much money I owe! You do not know! Why do you not understand?" That's when he growled at me. Literally. Like, apropos to the day, a werewolf.


"I'm not a moron, and if you you're going to treat me like shit, I'm hanging up." I have the soul of a poet, don't I?

He insisted he was sorry, told me he only talks to me like this because Reg and I are all that he has, that I am his own true sister.

We talked a little bit about Halloween -- which, of course, was a depressing disappointment -- and then, blissfully, he said he was tired and needed to sleep. Me, too, Henry, me, too.

When Henry is sober, he's better than this. I know he drinks because he's self-medicating, but it exacerbates his worst qualities. The man on the phone last night was not my dear, darling Henry, who puts others first and looks for ways to support his friends. (At no point last night did the words, "How are you?" cross his lips.)

But this is who Henry is, right now. For now. I'm not equipped to handle this, but I'm doing the best I can. I'm hanging on.

And forgiving myself for cringing when I see his name on Caller ID.






Thursday, October 31, 2019

October Challenge -- Day 31



I'm joining Ms. Kwiz for her October blogging challenge.

Day 31: Favorites for Halloween

My best trick-or-treat memories ...

•  My favorite candy was Mary Janes. My mom couldn't find them in any store -- and, come to think of it, she wasn't one for having candy in the house anyway -- so the only time I got them was trick-or-treating, or at the penny candy store we visited on our way to the little lake house we visited every year. My older sister thought I was a geek for loving Mary Janes, so she willingly traded them for my chocolate. (I thought she was dumb; you can get chocolate any time.)

•  The convent gave popcorn balls wrapped in blue cellophane. That was pretty cool. But even better, after they ran out of popcorn balls they handed out quarters. I could buy a Beatles 45 rpm record for $1 or a copy of 16 magazine for 35¢, so that quarter helped bring me closer to Sir Paul.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

October Challenge -- Day 30



I'm joining Ms. Kwiz for her October blogging challenge.

Day 30: What's in my bag?

Oh, good goobies! How much time do you have?

Wallet, makeup bag, a hairbrush, planner, lotsa pills (anti-diarrhea, Advil for aches, Naproxen for migraines, Xanax for just in case, Vicodin in case my kidney stone suddenly bedevils me again), wipes, prescription glasses, reading glasses, contact lens solution and case, my phone and a thumb drive.

I always carry my train pass, work ID and keys in my pocket. If my purse is stolen, I want to be able to get home or to the office.