Sunday, April 21, 2019

Sunday Stealing

1. What Did You Have For Lunch? Saturday, I had breakfast for lunch. Two eggs, over easy, bacon, hashbrowns and wheat toast.

2.  Do You Dance In The Car?
No car.

3.  Favourite Animal?
These two. (Though I consider them more roommates than animals.)

4.  Do You Watch The Olympics?

5.  What Time Do You Usually Go To Bed?
Sometimes 8:00. Sometimes 1:00 AM. Or anytime in between. Depends on how I'm feeling.

6.  Are You Wearing Makeup Right Now?
Remnants of yesterday's makeup.

7.  Do You Prefer To Swim In A Pool Or The Ocean?
Now why aren't lakes even included in my choices?

8.  What Was The Last Thing You Ate?
A bowl of cold cereal.

9.  Bottled Water Or Tap Water?
I don't care.

10. What Makes You Happy?
Seeing the W fly high!

11. Did You Like Swinging As A Child? Do You Still Get Excited When You See A Swing Set? Yes and yes.
12. Do You Work Better With Or Without Music?
With music. Too much quiet freaks me out.

13. Do You Make Your Bed In The Morning?

14. Do You Like Your Music Loud?

15.Do You Fear Thunder / Lightning?

April Prompt -- Day 21

"How do you show people you care?" 

I believe it's little things, done consistently. For example, every time I spend the night out of town, I send postcards to my cousin, my aunt, my niece* and a handful of my friends. My oldest friend had a medical procedure scheduled for this week, so I sent her a little get well gift: a little Lego of her favorite hockey player ($7.50). I've sent Easter greetings to Henry with a Walgreen's gift card inside to help with his prescriptions.

It's just my way of letting people know they're on my mind.

*My nephew doesn't check his mailbox.

For more about the April Challenge, click here.
Image courtesy of Youngkeit at

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Mighty Clouds of Joy (1974)

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

1) This song celebrates serenity. Are you feeling peaceful this morning? No. I'm off to a dentist appointment and I really, really hope it goes well. I'm not a dentalphobe, but I can't afford even a filling right now.

2) The lyrics include allusions to sun and clouds. How does the world look where you are? Is it sunny or cloudy? The sun isn't up yet, but the weatherman predicts sunny skies.

3) This week's featured artist, BJ Thomas, is in the Grammy Hall of Fame for another hit record that uses weather as a metaphor, "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head." Make up a Hall of Fame that you believe you should be inducted into. (For example, Crazy Sam has inducted herself into The Meme Mistress Hall of Fame for her service to Saturday 9.) I believe I qualify as a Hall of Fame Cub Fan.

4) When Crazy Sam hears this song, she always sings along ... loud. Is there a song you simply cannot resist singing along with? So many! How about this one? "He walks away, the sun goes down. He takes the day but I'm grown ..."

5) BJ Thomas has performed this song at The Grand Ole Opry. The Opry has been broadcast on the radio every week since 1925, nearly 95 years ago! Of course, back in the 1920s, radio was the only broadcast media. Today we have other choices. Is listening to the radio part of your daily routine? I sing along with my shower radio every morning.

6) Though their dress code is lenient, country music fans who attend the Opry for a live show are warned: "Just remember, there's one rule we take very seriously here at the Grand Ole Opry -- you must wear something." Easter Sunday is a day many of us dress up. What will you be wearing today? But today is Easter Saturday, so I'm just wearing jeans/tshirt. I'll wear a nicer blouse to church tomorrow.

7) Easter is recognized as the start of the spring season. What are you looking forward to this spring? Baseball!

8) Lilies are popular at Easter. Do you have a favorite flower? Carnations. They come in so many colors and smell so good.

9) Which would rather find in your Easter basket: yellow marshmallow chicks (aka Peeps) or a plastic egg filled with pennies? Pennies. Lots of pennies. I will put them toward a nice, chocolate bunny.

April Prompt -- Day 20

"What would you like to know about the future?" 

What's going on with the condo deconversion? Am I selling my unit as part of the building sale? Am I moving? Or should I upgrade my unit by replacing the windows and ceiling fans (and, later, the carpet).

For more about the April Challenge, click here.
Image courtesy of Youngkeit at

Friday, April 19, 2019

At the Moves -- Part Two

Last week I went to the TCM Classic Film Festival and had a freaking awesome time. A wallow for movie lovers, like me. It was about the camaraderie of meeting fellow buffs in line, of watching classics I love with others who love them, too, and on the BIG screen.

SATURDAY. I made my pilgrimage to The TCL IMAX Chinese Theater. It's the granddaddy of movie palaces, with more than 900 seats and the biggest screen I have ever seen. And it's steeped in Hollywood history. This is the theater that hosts the Oscars each year. This is the one with the iconic hand/footprints in its forecourt.

This is where I saw From Here to Eternity (1953). A grand black and white epic that is just literally awesome on the big screen. This movie is iconic for the oceanside clinch between Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr. But their love story isn't what grips me. It's the one between overly earnest Pvt. Robert E. Lee Prewitt and Lorene, the "hostess" at the New Congress Club.

Prewitt is a ridiculously handsome Montgomery Clift and Lorene is a decidedly unwholesome Donna Reed. She very nearly steals the picture with her Oscar-winning performance. But for Frank Sinatra, who also won an Oscar for his comic, heartbreaking supporting role as Maggio.

I sat behind two young (late teens? early 20s?) women who clearly knew nothing about the movie before it started. They were sitting alongisde their parents, who told them it was about soldiers stationed at Pearl Harbor in December, 1941 ("and you know what that means"), but beyond that, it was all new to them. One of the girls started to really cry when Maggio meets his unfortunate, inevitable end. I was jealous of them, experiencing this for the first time and in such a great theater. And I thought, "Good for you, Francis. You deserved that Oscar."

The movie was introduced by Donna Reed's daughter, Mary. She talked about her mother's role in this movie and, with great pride, about how Donna Reed supported the war effort in the 1940s. Hearing from her enhanced the movie.

Then I went to the Chinese Multiplex for Father Goose (1964). This movie is not high art, but it's dear to me all the same. When I was a kid, I watched it on TV with my dad, and it made him laugh out loud. My father was not an especially happy man, and sharing this joy with him is an indelible memory.

It's one of Cary Grant's favorite films. He plays Walter Ecklund, a scruffy loner who loves his whisky and his boat. He ends up on a secluded South Seas island, watching for Japanese ships and reporting back to the British Navy. For reasons too complicated to go into, he suddenly has to share his primitive island with a straight-laced French school teacher and seven little girls. It's funny and silly and romantic.

It was delightful to watch it with a theater full of Baby Boomers who remember it as fondly as I do. It was introduced by three of the seven little girls, who are now all older than I am!

Back to the big screen for one of the highlights of TCM Film Festival: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969). Introduced by Burt Bacharach!

I Say a Little Prayer for You ... Alfie ... Do You Know the Way to San Jose ... Arthur's Theme (The Best that You Can Do) ... I'll Never Fall in Love Again ... This Guy's in Love with You ... He wrote 'em all. And, of course, Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head. What a thrill to see him and hear him talk about his work! He's 90 now, but he moves well and is sharp as a tack. And quite willing to let the chips fall where they may.

And then, of course, the movie! It was written by one of my all-time favorite authors, William Goldman. And then there are Newman and Redford, the two coolest guys to ever appear on screen. Period. They made me laugh, they kept me intrigued and exhilarated, and then, at the end, they broke my heart. And you haven't lived until you've seen those two glorious sets of blue eyes on that big, BIG screen!

My seatmate was TCM's Alicia Malone. She couldn't have been sweeter. At first I didn't want to bother her because she wasn't working this event, she was just there as a fan. But we talked about Leonardo diCaprio/Robert Redford and our cats. I missed Reynaldo so much and she missed her Fur Monster. We scrolled through our phones, sharing kitty pix like two crazy cat ladies.

I have so much more to post about this vacation, but I must back away from the keyboard for a moment. 

At the Movies -- Part One

Last week I went to the TCM Classic Film Festival and had a freaking awesome time. A wallow for movie lovers, like me. It was about the camaraderie of meeting fellow buffs in line, of watching classics I love with others who love them, too, and on the BIG screen.

I'll split my Thursday-Sunday movie going up over multiple posts.

THURSDAY NIGHT. My first movie of the festival was Ocean's 11 (1960). I saw it poolside at the historic Hollywood Roosevelt, and it was introduced by Angie Dickinson. Since the film is about a New Year's Eve heist, we were given Happy New Year fedoras and tiaras.

Angie is 87 years old, has a little trouble walking, and is quite outspoken. She reminisced about her career, wished aloud she'd been considered more of an actress than a sex symbol, and understands that she's best remembered as Pepper Anderson on Police Woman (1974-78). She admitted she and Sinatra were lovers, off and on, for years but would say little more about it. (Good for you, Angie!) And frankly, she really doesn't much care for this movie.

Oh well, I did. Poolside is not the best venue for seeing a film. It's glamorous, sure, but the screen is not that big and it did wobble a bit in the chilly night wind. But Ocean's 11 is not high art, more about glitz than substance, so it was fitting.

FRIDAY. The first full day of the Festival kicked off at 9:00 and I was there, ready. Funny how I cannot make 9:00 AM at the office, but for a movie? I'm right on time!

I had planned on seeing a movie I'd never even heard of before: Merrily We Go to Hell, a Prohibition-era comedy about an heiress and a newspaperman. The title is a popular toast of the time, which is noteworthy because in 1932, no one was supposed to be drinking. I was intrigued because it was directed by one of Hollywood's pioneering women, Dorothy Arzner, who I know more by reputation than by her work.

But here's the thing. When I got to the theater, I was drawn inexorably to The Clock (1945). Because it's Judy. Garland was my gateway drug to the classics, so it just seemed fitting that I spend my first morning with her.

It's one of Judy's few non-singing roles. She is luminous. Her skin is perfect, her eyes are huge. It turns out I was sitting in front of the niece of Dottie Ponedel, Judy's makeup artist and close friend. That's the thing about the TCMFF -- everyone around you is a movie fan and so you instantly have loads in common.

The film was introduced by comedian Mario Cantone, who you probably know from Sex and the City. I don't know why: he didn't have much affinity for the film. Dottie's niece would have done a better job.

Anyway, here's the bare bones of the plot: Soldier Joe (Robert Walker) is on leave in New York. For just 48 hours. While he's sitting in Penn Station, trying to figure out where he should go first, Alice (Judy) rushes by, trips and breaks her heel. Being an officer and a gentleman, he helps her repair it and then she repays his kindness by being his tour guide. After all, he's in uniform and there's a war on and it's the only decent thing to do.

Naturally, they click. Even though they only have 48 hours, live in completely different worlds, and there's a war on. At the end of their romantic afternoon, they part. But Joe can't let her go and chases her bus. They agree to meet under the clock at The Astor Hotel for a proper date. They fall in love and, improbably, marry. Though I'm told these whirlwind, wartime City Hall weddings were not unusual in the 1940s.

This movie was directed by Vincente Minnelli. He and Judy rekindled their affair during filming, got married, and gave the world Liza.

Then it was off to the Egyptian Theater for Sleeping Beauty (1959). How had I never seen this before? It's beautiful! Two of the original animators were there to introduce it, which was thrilling. Jane Baer and Floyd Norman worked on it, literally, for years. It was nice to hear how inclusive it was at Disney Studios. It was about all about talent, and all races and creeds were welcome ... if you could draw.

They talked about how thrilling it was at Disney Studios in the late 1950s. Not only were they working on an animated feature film, "Walt" (they called him "Walt") was launching Disneyland and The Mickey Mouse Club was in production.

There's a sequence where Fauna bakes a cake that took forever, and Ms. Baer is still justifiably proud of it. The candles! She finally got the candles just right!

Back to the Chinese Multiplex for Vanity Street (1932). I'm just learning to appreciate pre-code movies, and this one was new to me. It's about a hungry, homeless girl in NYC during The Depression. She picks up a brick and tosses it through a drugstore window, hoping to get arrested. Because at least in jail, they feed you. The detective who responds to the call can see that she's not a criminal, just a blonde in trouble, and he gives her the key to his apartment. To sleep on his sofa. He's gruff and world-weary, but decent and wouldn't press his advantage.

He uses his connections to get her a job in the chorus of a nightclub revue. While she's saving money to get out of poverty and rent her own place, she falls in love with him. He rebuffs her. She moves out and into a bad crowd -- drinking, partying, and staying out all night with men not as honorable as the cop. One of those men ends up dead and she's a murder suspect.

It was pre-code sleazy (not much is worn beneath those slinky dresses) but it had a lot of heart. And the performance at the center -- Charles Bickford as the cop -- was sterling. Bickford's career spanned 50 years and I've often seen him in more mainstream movies: A Star Is Born, The Days of Wine and Roses and The Farmer's Daughter. He always played fathers or elder statesmen. It was interesting to see him young and powerful.

I ended the night with a haunting little low-budget thriller called Open Secret (1948). Barely an hour long, and mostly forgotten (one of the reasons why TCM is so important!) it's a powerful indictment of anti-Semitism.

Paul and Nancy are honeymooning with a drive across country and stop to visit the groom's WWII army buddy. Ed tells the landlady to let them in and make themselves at home until he gets back ... only he never does. Paul and Nancy stick around for awhile -- Paul wants to thank Ed and Nancy has yet to meet him -- and at first they enjoy the bucolic little town. And then they begin notice things. Ugly things. The suspense builds as they figure out what the local "patriotic organization" is really up to: running Jews out of town, and murdering the ones who won't go. "They" are taking our jobs, "they" are responsible for international unrest.

It's an unfortunately timely movie, as we are encouraged to believe in the brown menace storming our border on the south. And it shows that special effects are not essential to a good movie. All that's needed is a powerful story and good actors.

Stay tuned for Part Two.

April Prompt -- Day 19

"Your favorite song to sing" 

It's April, so there's really only one choice:
They got the power, they got the speed
to be the best in the National League.
Well this is the year and the Cubs are real!
So come on down to Wrigley Field.
We're singing, Go, Cubs, Go! Go, Cubs, Go! 
Hey, Chicago, what do you say? The Cubs are gonna win today!

For more about the April Challenge, click here.
Image courtesy of Youngkeit at

Thursday, April 18, 2019

April Prompt -- Day 18

"How would you like to be described?" 

I would be honored to be described the way Wilbur remembered Charlotte, as "a true friend and a good writer."

For more about the April Challenge, click here.
Image courtesy of Youngkeit at

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

April Prompts -- Catch up

Day 14 -- "Describe kindness"

"Doing unto others as you would have them do unto you." It's old, but it still works.

Day 15 -- "10 things you should always have"

I'm viewing this this through the prism of my grocery list. Here are 10 food items in my home at all times.

1.  Coke
2.  Milk
3.  Cereal
4.  Fish sticks
5.  Ketchup
6.  Chicken noodle soup
7.  Ice cream
8.  Salad in a big
9.  Dressing (honey mustard or 1000 island)
10.  Raisins

Day 16 -- "A word you overuse"

"Fuck." According to my Cousin Rose, at least.

Day 17 -- "A pun"

Do you remember Captain Wrongway Peachfuzz from the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show? Watching him, I encountered my very first pun. The first word joke that I actually got. He drew a map of his journey that showed him sailing through the Isle of Loosey.

For more about the April Challenge, click here.
Image courtesy of Youngkeit at

Tuesday, April 16, 2019


 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

I Am Not Ashamed by Barbara Payton. Gee, why not? Barbara Payton sure should be ashamed. She was a promising actress (early in her career, she shared the screen with James Cagney and Gary Cooper) who threw it all away. With both hands. When she began this book, she was a 35-year-old prostitute, sharing her home with cockroaches. In the afterward, we learn she died in her parents' home at age 39.  

Yes, she had a big problem with booze, but obviously her problems ran deeper than wine. That's what makes this a fascinating read. She's one of those people who excuses her own  selfish or cruel behavior by saying, "At least I'm honest." She hurts a lot of people along the way, but no one more than herself, which makes this memoir an unintentional testament to The Golden Rule.

This book is not likeable, but it's compulsively readable. She's willful, angry and self-destructive. Like Scarlett O'Hara or All My Children's Erica Kane, except this is real life with real world consequences.

2. What did you recently finish reading?  
Blood Feud by Mike Lupica. I thought that the saga of Boston PI Sunny Randall ended when her creator, Robert B. Parker, died. In 2018, Parker's estate hired Mike Lupica to write a new installment, and it's good to have Sunny back.

A former cop, and the daughter of a cop, Sunny believes in law and order. Her ex-husband Richie is son to Desmond Burke, head of a Boston Irish mob family. While Richie has always distanced himself from the family business, this caused some strife in their relationship. (Think Montagues and Capulets.) Sunny and Richie divorce, but they just can't stay away from one another. When Richie is shot in a parking lot, Sunny is determined to get to the bottom of this.

I liked this book well enough. It moves quickly and had a plot twist that I didn't see coming. All the clues were there, I just didn't connect the dots. Good for you, Lupica! And I enjoyed seeing so many characters from the Spenser books (Susan, Belson, Tony Marcus with Ty Bop and Junior).

But the on again/off again thing with Richie annoyed me. She understands and admires him. Their physical relationship is tops. So why exactly can't they be happy? It got whiny and tiresome after awhile.

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

Saturday, April 13, 2019

April Prompt -- Day 13

"How do you make decisions?" 

I have powerful impulses and not much discipline. Consequently, I go with gut. Fortunately, I'm also pretty bright about many things, so for the most part it works out OK.

For more about the April Challenge, click here.
Image courtesy of Youngkeit at

Friday, April 12, 2019

April Prompt -- Day 12

"What is your perfect day?" 

I wake up on my own, not jangled by an alarm clock or disrupted by a skinny beige cat.

I take the #22 bus to Wrigley Field. It's a longer ride than the el, but it's scenic. Nice to see the neighborhoods roll by.

Get to the park and grab a hot dog and an adult beverage en route to my seat.

Enjoy sunshine and a lake breeze as I watch my heroes in Cubbie blue vanquish their opponents. I'll sing the stretch in the 7th and then, at the end of the game, join in "Go, Cubs, Go!"

Stop at my favorite Wrigleyville hole in the wall, Joe's on Broadway, and relive the game over a beer.

Ignore finance and forgo public transit, taking an uber all the way home.


For more about the April Challenge, click here.
Image courtesy of Youngkeit at

Thursday, April 11, 2019

April Prompt -- Day 11

"How important is fame?" 

Ironically, when this is posted I'll be in Hollywood at the TCM Film Festival, which is a tribute to the enduring allure of classic film stars.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is being screened at the fest this year, so it's only fitting that I invoke Sundance himself, Robert Redford, as I answer this question.

He's said that after his breakout role as Sundance, he became "a cartoon character." That he has worried about the shadow his success has cast over his children. He maintains there's a dangerous side to celebrity.

So all things considered, I'd rather be rich but not famous.

Image courtesy of Youngkeit at

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

April Prompt -- Day 10

"A place you have never visited"

This is the TCL Chinese Theater. Formerly Graumann's Chinese.

It's famous for its forecourt, with the footprints/signatures of the stars in cement. (Lucy and Ethel stole John Wayne's, remember?)

Today it's best known as home to the Academy Awards broadcast. I've never been inside. But during the TCM Film Festival, I hope to see two of my favorites -- Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid and Gone with the Wind -- on its big, BIG screen.

For more about the April Challenge, click here.

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

This made me so happy

Monday was Opening Day. Always important in my heart. So full of both memory and promise. When I think of Cubs Opening Day, that Springsteen lyric keeps going through my head: "I'm ready to grow young again."

I put on my Cub necklace and my Cub jacket and headed to the office. Imagine my surprise when I saw this scarf draped over my desktop file holder! Brand new, with tags still attached.

Kelly, a worker who sits near me but works on another account, said she recently found it in her drawer,  never worn, and thought of me and Opening Day. How sweet was that!

I didn't wear it. I told Kelly we were keeping it draped over my files like Christmas lights to celebrate the holiday. I thanked her again and again.

The Cubs beat the Pirates 10-0 in the Home Opener. I told Kelly it was the scarf. Obviously.

April Prompt -- Day 9

"Your life story in five sentences"

Born at the stroke of midnight, on the cusp of days and astrological signs.

Confounding and confounded growing up.

Found and made my own way.

Loved and lost.

Ready for the next chapter.

For more about the April Challenge, click here.

Image courtesy of Youngkeit at

Monday, April 08, 2019

April Prompt -- Day 8

"Three Things You and Your Best Friend Have in Common"

The coveted role of my best friend changes from time to time, but for the sake of this conversation, let's say it's John.

1)  Fandom, going all the way back to 1964. My great love is Sir Paul. His is Miss Diana Ross. He appreciates Paul (as all the best people do) and I, of course, adore Miss Ross. We spend an embarrassing amount of time talking about these two.

2)  Anthony Rizzo. I love Rizz like the son I never had. John's feelings for him are more carnal, but never mind. We both adore #44.

3)  Independence. We each go our own way, and don't much care if anyone is traveling with us. It's cool that, so often, we find ourselves going the same way.

For more about the April Challenge, click here.

Image courtesy of Youngkeit at

Sunday, April 07, 2019

Sunday Stealing

1. If you could build a second house anywhere, where would it be? Do I have to build it? That seems like an awful lot of work. Instead, I'd like a nice little ranch house in Hesperia, CA. That's where my oldest friend is currently. She could stay in the house and take care of it for me in between visits. 

Right now, she's living with her cousin, collecting disability. She gets awfully blue sometimes. Maybe if we spent more time together and she had a bit more autonomy, she'd be happier.

2. What are your favorite articles of clothing?
Jeans and t shirt.

3. The last CD you bought or downloaded?
The Hamilton soundtrack

4. What time do you generally wake up in the morning?
When Reynaldo decides I should. My skinny beige cat either rakes his claws through my hair or jumps up on my vanity and knocks everything over.

5. What is your favorite kitchen appliance?
My George Foreman grill.

6. If you could play an instrument, what would it be?

7. What is your Favorite color?
Pantone 294, aka Cubbie blue.


8. Do you believe in the afterlife?

9. Your Favorite children’s book?
Charlotte's Web.

10. Can you juggle?
Not well. I am a klutz.

11. What’s your favorite day of the week?
Tuesday. NCIS and This Is Us.

12. Which do you prefer, sushi or hamburger?

13. What is your favorite flower?
Carnations. They are fragrant, colorful and hearty.

14. What is your favorite meal?
I think Eggs Benedict would be good right about now.

15. Describe your ideal weather?
Sunny, dry and 65º.

16. What is your favorite ice cream?
Mint chocolate chip

17. What is your favorite breakfast?
Damn! I knew I should have read these questions first! See #14.

18. Where did you meet your spouse or significant other?
Ah, the very moment when I fell in love. When I saw Paul. The Beatles on Ed Sullivan, February 1964.

No, this isn't really me. Though when it turned up on FB, my friend Kathleen thought it was.

Bonus: something you’d like to do that you’ve never done before?