Sunday, March 31, 2019

Sunday Stealing

Thought Provoking Questions

1. If you had to teach something, what would you teach? The role of the modern First Lady. I find these women fascinating.

2. What would you regret not fully doing, being or having in your life?
My friends.

3. Are you holding onto something that you need to let go of?
Sure. I'm a grudge carrier. I try not to be, but there you go.

4. When you are 80-years-old, what will matter to you the most?
My independence.

5. When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards and just do what you know is right?
Always. I'm really bad at the risk/reward thing.

6. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
People assume I'm younger than I am, so I'll say 52.

7. Would you break the law to save a loved one?
Depends on the law. I wouldn't murder.

8. What makes you smile?
So many things. For example, Saturday night, this guy executed a perfect pick off at first base. 

I love Anthony Rizzo.

9. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?
I'm blabby, so I'll have said more than I've done.

10. If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a large group of people, what would your message be?
Don't let Donald Trump define and therefore demean us.

11. If the average human lifespan was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?
I wouldn't.

12. What do we all have in common besides our genes that makes us human?
"We all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. We are all mortal." JFK. We did once have a President who "had the best words."

13. If you could choose one book as a mandatory read for all high school students, which book would you choose?
The Great Gatsby. It had a tremendous impact on me when I was a high school girl. Made me think about values, about capitalism, about power. And it made me proud that Fitzgerald was an American author.

14. Would you rather have less work or more work you actually enjoy doing?
More work that I enjoy. Although I admit that I'm also tired and looking forward to retirement.

15. What is important enough to go to war over?
Genocide. WWII was a just war.

16. Which is worse, failing or never trying?
Whichever one would cause me more regret. I hate regret.

17. When was the last time you listened to the sound of your own breathing?
I don't recall.

18. What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
Eat. I eat more slowly than my friends, and I eat one thing at a time.

19. What does ‘The American Dream’ mean to you?
Self actualization.

20. Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton?
Joyful simpleton.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

I prefer my drama on the diamond

As I write this, the Cubs are playing the Rangers. It's a sloppy -- albeit highly watchable -- game. While I love a good, tight pitchers' duel with heroic defensive plays, I can get with a game like this, too, where nothing seems to go right for either team and I have no blessed idea what can possibly happen next. It's only the fourth inning and our #2 starter, Yu Darvish, is already in the showers. He gave up just 2 runs, which isn't bad in and of itself, but it took him 75 pitches. By contrast, the average Cub starter throws less than 100 pitches in a game. Still, it's not like the Rangers are having a stellar night, either, and the score is still 5-3 Cubs.

So while I am enjoying a little more drama than necessary within the Rangers ballpark, I could use less unnecessary drama in real life.

For example, there's Hanna. She's my neighbor at the end of the hall. A tall, imposing lady who immigrated from Poland. Her English is admirably fluent but her accent is very thick and she's hard to understand. She also always seems angry. Maybe she isn't (let's assume good intent), but her manner can be abrasive. She is very much against the condo deconversion and wants to write to the Board about it (I'm a board member). OK, so write to us, Hanna. You know our names (they're in the minutes), you know our addresses (the same as yours). Buy a stamp. Knock yourself freaking out. We've also set up a separate gmail account, specifically for emails to the entire building about the deconversion. Why not post your questions, objections and suspicions for all to see there?

Oh, no. She's spoken to her lawyer. Who tells her she has a right to our unit numbers, email addresses and phone numbers. Our lawyer tells us that, strictly speaking, that isn't true, but questions whether this is worth the legal action. Our lawyer recommends we give her our email addresses, phone numbers and unit numbers (have you never looked at the mailboxes you pass every day, Hanna?) along with a notice that if she uses email or phone to harass any one of us, she will be fined $500.

Really? We're neighbors. There are only 22 unitowners. Why did she have to call her lawyer about this?

Cubs lost 6-8. Oh well. There's always tomorrow.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: The Fool on the Hill (1968)

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

1) As an April Fool's prank, Taco Bell once announced they had purchased The Liberty Bell and renamed it The Taco Liberty Bell. Describe your perfect taco. I know that foodies will mock me, but I do like Taco Bell's soft taco. I have a sensitive tummy, but their meat and fixings don't upset it. And as someone whose diet necessarily leans to bland, their tacos can really hit the spot. (I’ll take a Mountain Dew with that, please.)

2) Similarly, as an April Fool's prank, the Ford Motor Co. was supposed to wipe out the national deficit by purchasing the naming rites to a beloved monument, renaming it the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial. What model car do you drive? No car.

3) In 1998, Burger King got in on the April Fool's Day fun by promoting a special "Left-Handed Whopper," designed to be easier for a leftie to hold. Describe your perfect burger. Medium well, with cheddar cheese, bacon and egg. And then, a nap.

4) In 1962, when color TV was still new, a Swedish station pranked viewers by telling them they could convert their black/white sets to color by cutting up a nylon stocking and stretching it across the screen. Of course, in 1962, more women wore nylons and screens were smaller. How big is your TV? Are there any nylon stockings in your home? My living room TV is 20”. And I do have some pantyhose somewhere in my bureau. I should dump them. They’re so old and have gone unworn for so long, they might turn to dust in my hands.

5) In 1957, the BBC ran an April Fool's story about how the Swiss were enjoying a "bumper spaghetti crop," with spaghetti literally growing on trees. Viewers who called the station, asking how to grow a spaghetti tree of their own, were told to place a sprig of spaghetti in a can of tomato sauce and hope for the best. Have you ever fallen for an April Fool's prank? None that I can remember. I’m not a fan of practical jokes.

6) When Crazy Sam was growing up, her mother would surprise her on April Fool's Day by slipping a rubber worm or plastic spider in her lunch box. When you were in school, did you more frequently brown bag it or buy your lunch in the cafeteria line? My standard trip through the high school lunch line included a slice of thin crust pizza, Coke and a strawberry shortcake ice cream bar. I chose strawberry because they were in the back of the freezer case and I’d ask the nearest boy to get it for me. Back in the olden days, teenage boys liked feeling big and strong. I was such a minx! (If no cute boy was around, I’d have chocolate.)

7) This week's song was an international hit for Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66. Because of the song's bossa nova arrangement, everyone assumed the lead singer, Lani Hall, was Brazilian. She was a folk singer from Chicago. Sergio Mendes discovered her at a charity benefit. Can you think of a time when doing good really paid off for you? Doing good always makes me happy. Helping others is the easiest high there is!

8) In 1968, when this record was popular, Pierre Trudeau became Prime Minister of Canada. Today his son holds that office. When did you most recently visit our neighbor to the north?  About 20 years ago.

9) Random question: Name three websites you visit every day. Goodreads, Facebook, and Farmville.


It's Javy's World & We Just Live In It!

So the Cubs opened the 2019 season with a BANG! My Boys in Blue beat the Texas Rangers 12-4. The highlight: Javier Baez got two home runs.


In the offseason, he got married. He has a new baby. And he dinged it twice on Opening Day. It feels like Javy is loving life these days, and he's a delight to watch.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

What is it about that corner?

It's been months since I saw Napoleon and his people, Caleb and Randi. Someone else has taken their place on the corner of Michigan and Lake. A young man, under 30 I guess, with watery, sad eyes and a paper cup. I was stopped at the light one lunchtime, jiggling my coins and my keys in my pocket as I waited, and gave him 27¢ -- really for auld lang syne, because it was Caleb's corner.

"Thanks," he said, making serious eye contact. "This is the first money I've received today."

"I hope it brings you luck," I said, not really knowing what to say. But I wanted to say something. I learned from Caleb and Randi that these are not just homeless people, they are people, too, and it's important to engage them as equals.

He makes eye contact with me now. Singles me out wordlessly, but with those sad, watery eyes. Sometimes I comply, sometimes I don't have change, but his face haunts me. One night there were about eight of us on the corner, and, as the light changed, he said, "Please. I just want to buy some food." I was happy to catch the light and scooted home. But why? I had no pressing appointment that couldn't wait a minute or two.

This evening I gave him 35¢. I said, "Good luck, sir," and he said, "Thanks." And I feel better.

He doesn't read on the corner, like Caleb did. He doesn't dote on a cat, like Caleb and Randi. So I don't have that books-and-cats connection with him. I don't give him as much money as I did Caleb and Randi because I was reasonably certain they weren't using the cash for drugs -- after all, for them, Napoleon always came first. But I wonder why his eyes are always so watery. It could be sinuses or allergies, or it could be something illegal.

Still, I feel like our souls have touched somehow. I see him, and I can't pretend I don't. At the rate I'm going, I won't give him $50 this year, so I don't pretend that I'm making a meaningful impact on his life. But I want him to know he's not completely alone. I see him. I look for him. I care about him.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019


WWW.WEDNESDAY asks three questions to prompt us to speak bookishly. To participate, and to see how other book lovers responded, click here.
1. What are you currently reading?  Blood Feud by Mike Lupica. Sunny Randall, the blonde Boston PI originally created by the late Robert B. Parker, is back. She has reconciled -- after a fashion -- with her ex-husband, Richie, just in time for Richie to be shot by a mysterious assailant. Before firing, the shooter said, "The sins of the father," so it's easy to assume that Richie was a target because of his family's mob ties.

Too easy. Too neat. What's really going on? Sunny is very motivated to find out. After all, it doesn't get any more personal for Sunny than Richie.

I see on Goodreads that some readers have bitched and moaned because Sunny is "too liberal" and shares her dislike for Trump too freely. Newsflash: It's completely in keeping with the character. In 2016, Clinton got 85% of the vote in Boston. Throughout the series, Sunny has been an outspoken, irreverent, lifelong Bostonian. To borrow a phrase, get over it, snowflakes.

2. What did you recently finish reading?   The Other Side of the Story by Marian Keyes. As I was reading this, I thought of Neapolitan ice cream, because each chapter starred a different "flavor" -- brunette (chocolate) Gemma, blonde (vanilla) Lily and strawberry (redhaired) JoJo. I liked two of these 30-somethings very much. 
Gemma is an event planner whose life is upended when her father leaves her mother for another woman, and Mam is almost incapacitated by the shock and grief. Lily is a shy, wannabe author whose career unexpectedly takes off after she's mugged. JoJo was a member of the NYPD who makes a new life for herself in London. She happened onto publishing, loves it, and is determined to make a success of herself. I won't give away how their lives intersect, but they do. Yes, they have men, but this story centers on the women.

I love Marian Keyes' style. She's warm and witty and there are moments of such complete identification I either smiled or hurt when I read them. The Dublin/London setting charms me, too. (This is the only novel I've ever read with characters named Aoife and Manoj.)

BUT ... The ending seems rushed. After 500 pages of a certain pace, the acceleration of events kinda rattled me. And Lily! We're clearly supposed to like her, she may even be meant to be our favorite. But she's so passive aggressive, so idiosyncratic. I admit that whenever I saw a Lily chapter begin, I toyed with skipping it. I didn't, which is good because they always moved the plot along.

3.  What will you read next?  
Richard Nixon, The Life by John A. Farrell. I began this book months ago. I must return to it.

Monday, March 25, 2019

"I called because I wanted to hear your voice"

So said Henry, who checked in with me this evening. It was nice to feel like us again. I miss hearing from him, even as I haven't been able to deal with the drama that has accompanied dealing with Henry and Reg lately.

With The Big Project in the rear view mirror (see post below), I was able to devote the energy and attention a conversation with him deserves. We talked movies, The Royal Family and my friend Kathleen's trip to Puerto Rico. When he tried to talk again about the accident, I pivoted. That's what I'm going to have to do from now on, pivot on the head of a pin, every time we come near that subject.

I'm in this with my friend. For the duration. It's only been six months and while it feels like a long time, it's really not. And if I'm going to continue to be there for him, I have to remember to guard my heart and my resources a bit.

Hey, look me over!

Today was our big client presentation. And guess who rocked it: ME! I held the room for an hour -- presenting creative, taking questions, looping my art director into the conversation.  My boss was there, but he introduced me, and thanked the client at the end. This was my show. And I did a good job.

Our main client contact, Sheila, and I have always clicked. Today was no different. She trusts me, enjoys my enthusiasm, appreciates my research. So it helped to keep eye contact with her. The man next to her was her boss. Gulp! I didn't know that. He was so casual, so low key, I had no idea he was so consequential to the process. In retrospect, I'm glad. I might have been more nervous and less natural if I'd understood that.

This was the culmination of three weeks of work. I'm proud of it. I deserve this victory lap. And it was important for my team, too. We showed that, when given time and budget, we can do work that's as creative as the competition -- and, perhaps, more efficient for our client economically.

It would have been nice if my boss had thanked or praised me, but that's not who he is. I'll just have to be grateful for the kind words from Sheila.

Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Sunday Stealing

1. When was the last time you tried something new? On Saturday, I added arugula to my ham and cheddar omelette. That was a first for me. Usually I have spinach. I admit I could taste no difference, but that's not the point, is it? I tried something new.

2. Who do you sometimes compare yourself to?
Everyone, all the time. My oldest friend quotes her shrink to me all the time, "Compare and despair." It's a lesson I still haven't learned.

3. What’s the most sensible thing you’ve ever heard someone say?
See Q2.

4. What gets you excited about life?
All kinds of things! I'm doing good work for my client these days. That makes me happy. And baseball starts this week. GO, CUBS, GO! My vacation is coming up -- I can't wait! And little things, like my cats being all sweet or a lovely blue sky, they excite me, too.

5. What life lesson did you learn the hard way?
"He didn't mean it," is a lie tell myself. If someone treats me unkindly on a regular basis, he's an unkind person, he does mean it, and I should flee.

6. What do you wish you spent more time doing five years ago?
Being serious about money.

7. Do you ask enough questions or do you settle for what you know?
I am a naturally curious person.

8. Who do you love and what are you doing about it?
I am not in love with anyone right now.

9. What’s a belief that you hold with which many people disagree?
My approach to Christianity seems to be out of vogue in Trump's Evangelical America. Humility, kindness, acceptance ... these things are mocked today. Christians are "tough" now. We think it's perfectly OK for our President to imitate the disabled, pay off porn stars and lie about it, to make fun of POWs, oh, I could go on but it makes me sad.

10. What can you do today that you were not capable of a year ago?
I'm sorry, but I got nothing for this one.

11. Do you think crying is a sign of weakness or strength?
I don't think it's weak or strong. I think it's personal.

12. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
I'd dress for myself.

13. Do you celebrate the things you do have?
That's my goal for 2019. My OneWord is "gratitude."

14. What is the difference between living and existing?

15. If not now, then when?
Ok, I'll bite. When?

16. Have you done anything lately worth remembering?
I'm going to remember that, while it harms no one, arugula really adds nothing to an omelette.

17. What does your joy look like today?

18. Is it possible to lie without saying a word?

19. If you had a friend who spoke to you in the same way that you sometimes speak to yourself, how long would you allow this person to be your friend?
I admit sometimes I'm harder on myself than I am with others. I try to treat people as I wish to be treated. I should treat myself the same way.

20. Which activities make you lose track of time?
Watching the news, farting around on the internet.

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Young and Beautiful (2013)
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) Lana Del Rey wrote this song for the soundtrack of The Great Gatsby. She wanted it to reflect the feelings of Daisy Buchanan. Have you read The Great Gatsby? More than once. It was my favorite book for a while there. Gatsby epitomized "the ends don't justify the means," yet I admired his optimism. Never could stand Daisy, though. I remember the first time I read what Nick said to Gatsby, "You're worth the whole damn bunch of them put together!" I was all like, "Bravo, Nick!"

2) In the 1970s, Robert Redford portrayed Jay Gatsby. In the 2013 version, Leonardo di Caprio played the part. In real life, both "Gatsbys" have helped raised funds for the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). Are you careful about recycling and conserving water/electricity? I'm a handy little recycler and, since redoing my bathroom, I'm better with water. I do keep forgetting about shutting off lights, though.

I preferred Redford as Gatsby. Leo seemed too naive.

3) Lana Del Rey admits that she dropped out of college because she simply could not get the required math credits. When confronted with basic addition, subtraction, multiplication or division, do you do it in your head? Reach for pencil and paper? Or do you take advantage of the calculator that's on your desktop or phone? I have an old-school Office Max calculator that I use a lot. I get frustrated with the one on my phone. Fat fingers, dontchaknow.

4) She enjoys Kurt Cobain, Eminem, Elvis and Sinatra. Which of those four gentlemen did you listen to most recently? I never listen to the first two, but I adore the last two. It's close, but I'll say Elvis.

5) Speaking of Sinatras, she has described her high maintenance look -- big hair, long nails, elaborate eye makeup, full lips -- as "Gangster Nancy Sinatra." How long does it take you, on an average day, to prepare to face the world? This is hard to answer because I get so distracted during the process. I'll go into the bedroom to get my brow pencil and remember I haven't chosen my day's blouse yet. And then I'll take the lint brush to my chosen blouse (cat fur, always cat fur!) and I'll catch sight of myself in the mirror and say, "Oh! Makeup!" and grab the pencil and head back into the bathroom. If I was to concentrate on the task at hand -- pencil, shadow, mascara, and tinted moisturizer -- I say at most 15 minutes.

6) She's a big soccer fan, and her favorite team is Liverpool FC. Here in the US, college basketball fans are currently obsessed with March Madness. What's the last sporting event that you watched? I haven't watched any sports in a while. BUT BASEBALL STARTS NEXT WEEK!

7) Her younger sister, Caroline, studied photography and is responsible for some of Lana's publicity pictures. Have you ever gotten a job because of a relative? Nope

8) In 2013, when this song came out, Pope Francis became the first pope from a Latin American country. Latin America generally includes Mexico, most of Central and South America, and in the Caribbean, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. What's the farthest south that you've ever traveled? Honolulu.

9) Random question -- What button would you prefer your life to have: rewind, fast forward or a pause? Fast forward. Where will I be living on 12/31/19? A real estate agent is coming over tomorrow to assess selling our building.

Friday, March 22, 2019


We had an important internal review on Thursday afternoon, reviewing the creative work for Monday's Big Presentation.  I admit I was nervous. The last time we did a project of this size/scope, our internal account team was a major obstacle. What they lacked in competence they made up for in drama and the entire process was more hostile and stressful than it needed to be.

I'm happy to report that Thursday went well. Very well. The work we did was both pretty and smart, and this account different team got it.

That's the thing about my job. Presenting to the client usually goes well. I have studied my clients' business, which they appreciate, and so they always approach the work wanting to like it. It's these internal reviews that can be unnecessarily political and painful.

But not Thursday. And on Monday, when I go to my clients' office and present to a dozen people, I'll be more confident because I know my internal team is behind me.

Image courtesy of IndypendenZ at

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

I have a date with Angie Dickinson by the pool

The full schedule of events was published! I know what my choices are for the TCM Classic Film Festival! And, on the first night, I'll be seated around the pool at The Hotel Roosevelt. Watching a special screening of the original Ocean's 11, hosted by Danny's ever-loving, not-quite-ex herself, Angie Dickinson.

I've got my ticket already! Planning for Ocean's 11, and texting back and forth with Betty from my movie group (who's doing the poolside thing), were really the only good thing that happened today. It was a blah day at the office, a little too much stress and too little actual work.

Then a condo board meeting. More discussion of possible building sale. More talk about the possible bed bug issue. Talk ... talk ... talk ... No resolution. Lots of stress. All three of us on the board -- me, John and Brian -- were overtired and in a bad mood.

I kinda hate everyone.

But Angie. I'm looking forward to hanging with Angie (and Betty, and dozens more of our classic loving tribe) by the pool.

Monday, March 18, 2019

He's planted a flag on a small corner of my heart

Last week, my President threatened half the country. Here's what he said to Brietbart: “You know, the left plays a tougher game, it’s very funny. I actually think that the people on the right are tougher, but they don’t play it tougher. Okay? I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump – I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough — until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad."

Over the weekend, my President had harsher words for SNL, who teased him, and Fox, who suspended Judge Jeanine, than for White Supremacists.

My President, who wraps himself literally in the flag and brags about his support for veterans, made fun yet again of a dead war hero. John McCain served voluntarily in Vietnam, and President Trump had bone spurs.

And there are "Christians" across the blogosphere who insist that this President is their guy.

It all makes me a little sick to think about.

On the other hand, Beto O'Rourke is asking us to "demonstrate our resolve, our creativity and our courage." He promises his campaign will be positive. A campaign that includes all of us.

Beto O'Rourke is not talking about the grievances of the past. He's talking about fighting the good fight for a better future.

I'm a little in love with Beto O'Rourke.

Oh, it's early yet. I don't know where Beto is on many specifics, and when I find out, I may not love him at all anymore.

I've always gotten a kick out of Joe Biden, and believe he is an exceptionally good man. It would really hurt me to vote against him.

But then, President Trump dismissed Beto because of the way he uses his hands* and I felt the need to leap to the Congressman's defense.

My politically astute and involved nephew is back with Bernie, but was not surprised by my fascination with Beto. "He reminds you of Obama, doesn't he?"

January 27, 1992
"Well, yeah," I lied. But my nephew, a college freshman, was not yet born the last time I felt this way about a candidate. After 12 years of Reagan-Bush (or, as Don Henley referred to them, "Those tired old men that we elected King"), I yearned to hear from someone to connect to emotionally, a candidate who "felt our pain." Someone who, as Abraham Lincoln said, "touched the better angels of our nature."

I ache for that now. I want a leader who won't fuel our anger about what's gone in the past, but instead who encourages us: "Don't stop thinking about tomorrow."

Intellect is important. But so are imagination and charisma.

Tonight I'm watching Elizabeth Warren work an Iowa crowd. She's tough. She's smart. She's gifted at taking complex issues and making them accessible. Good for her!

And how can you not admire Joe Biden's courage, optimism and common touch?

But I remember 2004 so very well. John Kerry is a good man. He was prescient and smart and dedicated and serious. But he couldn't win. I learned my lesson. I've worked on winning campaigns and losing campaigns and winning campaigns are better.

In 2020, winning is literally more important than ever.

And I know me rather well. I bet I already know how I vote on Tuesday, March 17, 2020.


*Hands that are bigger than Trump's, I'm sure.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

But all I want to do is sleep

Slept in this morning. Entered my checks and expenses into Quicken. Took a shower. Took a walk. Settled in a booth, chick-lit in hand, trying to choose my lunch from the new, expanded menu when Patrick called.

Patrick is Reg's oldest friend, and he's living with them in Key West these days. I adore Patrick. He's a good guy and he has Henry's and Reg's best interests at heart.

He told me first that Reg is "mortified" by how he treated me. To which I rather heartlessly replied, "Good." Then I hastened to add that since Reg apologized, I'm willing to put it behind us. But I would be lying if I didn't admit that whole thing -- the confrontational conversation with Henry plus the public slap by Reg -- didn't leave me bruised.

Then Patrick told me that they have two big problems right now:

•  Lola, their dog, is having seizures. She's very old, has bad teeth so she no longer enjoys her food, and other age-related health problems, and is suffering. Reg knows it's time to put her to sleep. At moments, Henry will admit he knows it, too. But they just can't bear to do it right now. Can I do anything to try to convince Henry? Lola is in pain, and this situation is not fair to her.

•  Reg simply cannot keep taking time off work to drive Henry to and from his job. Henry refuses to take Uber or Lyft for complicated reasons that don't make a great deal of sense to me. Anyway, they can't afford it if Reg's hours -- and his pay -- are cut. Can I try to influence Henry to take cabs or arrange rides on his own?

I said I'd see what I could do, sometime this week. And I will. Just not right away.  I have other things on my mind right now, and Reg and Henry are depleting me.

This is not to say that I don't love Henry. I do, and I'm in this for the duration. But when I got home from lunch, all I wanted to was nap. Then I did three loads of wash, and was ready for bed. 9:00 on Sunday. I've done none of the chores I'd planned for today. My tank was empty.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Sunday Stealing

Cookie Questions

1. Do you eat Oreos? When they are offered. I don't buy them.

2.  If you eat Oreos, which are your favorite – original, double stuff, golden original, golden double stuff, Oreo brownies, Oreo ice cream?
Original. I'm a purist.

3.  Do you twist your Oreos apart?
Of course!

4.  Are you able to pass by a plate of cookies and not take one or are you a bit of a 'Cookie Monster'?
I'm a cookie monster ... except for Grandma's. They're a vending machine cookie, produced by Frito Lay. They literally taste like nothing. The very definition of empty calories.

5.  Tell us about your favorite cookie. Crunchy, soft, chewy, crumbly, other?
I drool for a Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip cookie.

6. Have your tastes changed since you were a kid?

7.  Enquiring minds want to know if you are a dunker and, if so, do you dunk in milk, coffee, or tea?
I dunk chocolate chip and shortbread cookies in milk.

8.  It is that time of year and they are selling them on every corner and in front of every store!  Do you buy Girl Scout cookies and if you do, which is your favorite? 
I was a Girl Scout, so I have a heart for the lassies in green. My favorite is the peanut butter sandwich cookie.

9.  Raw cookie dough.  Yea or Nay? 

10.  Do you like cookies with filling?

11.  Do you prefer organic cookies?
Not especially.

12.  Large cookies, or small cookies?
Yes, please.

13.  Do you like familiar flavors in cookies?

14.  Do you make your own cookies, or buy them?
Mostly I cadge them from the catering tray after a meeting ends.

15.  Please tell us something random about your week!!
I am trying to face forward, leave last week behind, and enjoy anticipation of baseball season and my vacation. (Cubs opening day is March 28. I leave for the TCM Classic Film Festival on April 10.)

Good for what ails me

My movie group met Saturday night, just when I needed them most. I've been a little blue lately, and sitting in the dark, surrounded by fellow film geeks, really lifted my spirits.

Tonight we watched a movie I'd never even heard of before. Out of the Fog is a noir starring Ida Lupino and John Garfield with a completely charming supporting turn by an unbelievably young Eddie Albert. The plot kept me guessing and I found the final twist very satisfying.

We had a very animated conversation about it afterward. Ida Lupino is an actress I simply do not like, and since I was surrounded by fans I kept my mouth shut about that. Instead I opined about the movie's menfolk. It's always energizing to be with others who love what I love.

Which is why I'm so excited about next month's TCM Film Festival. Betty and Will from the movie group will be out there with me. Well, sort of. We're all attending, but we agree that we'll meet up and check in with one another, but on the main, we'll go our separate ways when we're in Hollywood. We love old movies, but we differ on our faves. And no matter which theater, and which screening, we find ourselves in, we know we'll be surrounded by fellow film geeks. And that's a fine thing.

So I added Betty's number to my phone -- I've long been connected to Will -- and we squealed and and oohed and aahed with excitement. This is gonna be so good. Four full days in my happy place, with others who share my passion. Tonight was just a tantalizing coming attraction.

Friday, March 15, 2019

St. Patrick's Day with Saturday 9

Molly Malone
Unfamiliar with this week's song? Hear it here.

1) Are you of Irish descent? According to family lore, my favorite Grandma was half Irish. Which made my dad 1/4 Irish. And me 1/8 Irish.

2) Legend has it that the heroine of this week's Irish ballad was a real lass. 17th century birth and burial records confirm that a woman with that name lived in Dublin. Can you think of another song about a real historic figure? Eleanor Rigby's grave is in Woolton, Liverpool. I don't believe that Paul McCartney just landed upon that name by accident. The nearby church that runs this cemetery was the social hub of Liverpool in the 1950s. It was at their summer party that Paul met John in 1957.


3) Molly sold fish from a cart that she wheeled through the streets. What's the last seafood you ate? Gorton's Fish Sticks. Dipped in ketchup. I love them. Don't judge me.

4) The lyrics tell us that, after her death, her ghost continues to wander the streets of Dublin with her wheel barrow. Do you believe in ghosts? No.

5) This week's featured band, The Dubliners, are obviously from Dublin. They were introduced to American audiences on The Ed Sullivan Show. Today, Stephen Colbert tapes his show in The Ed Sullivan Theater. Who hosted the last talk show you watched? Dick Cavett. His shows are rerun every weeknight on the Decades cable channel. Some are quite dated and kind of unwatchable, but the shows devoted to Hollywood icons -- like Fred Astaire, Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis or Alfred Hitchcock -- are delightful.

A lively and charming Hitchcock, from 1972

6) Corned beef and cabbage is a traditional St. Patrick's Day dish. Is it a favorite of yours? No.

7) According to Irish legend, leprechauns earned the gold in the pot they guard by repairing shoes. Crazy Sam can't remember the last time she got a pair of shoes repaired. When the heels wear away, she discards the shoes and buys new ones. What about you? Do you get your shoes fixed (either by leprechauns or just by ordinary repairmen)? No. But I do make regular trips to the watch repair shop to get batteries replaced. I don't toss away a watch until absolutely forced to.

8) Do you look good in green, the signature color of St. Patrick's Day? Yes. I have green eyes, so wearing green brings them out.

9) Random question: Did you more recently sneeze or cough? Sneeze. I have allergies.

I'm as mad at myself as at anyone else

Today was not a good day. And I'm afraid I allowed it to unfold badly.

I woke up this morning to a work email, read while I was still in my jammies, that announced a creative team meeting, suddenly called by Mr. Big himself. He doesn't care about my team or our work. In fact, I've ridden in the elevator with him and he hasn't even spoken to me. What does he want to talk to us for?

Then I saw the date. 3/15. End of the pay period. Uh oh. This is when they like to do layoffs. It's neater this way.

So I rode to the office in terror. Expecting to see a cardboard packing box near my chair. However, by the time I got in, Mr. Big had cancelled the meeting. And, in fact, had decided to take the day off. What the hey?

My boss and my art director told me not to worry. Today's aborted meeting could not possibly have been about my imminent axing. Their reasoning: (1) Management has to keep me at least until 3/25, when The Big Project is presented; (2) I was invited, and I wouldn't be asked to the meeting if I was laid off (I'd be in HR). OK, I suppose that makes sense.

But I was unsettled all day. I went to lunch with some chick-lit (The Other Side of the Story) and was starting to feel better. Then I went to the post office to buy some Forever stamps. The patron in line behind me was really rude. Hostile.

I let him get under my skin. I keep reliving it, wondering why he thought he was entitled to treat me that way.

I'm home now, and I can't relax.

I suppose I have the blues, but it's more than that.

Why do I let other people's stink cling to me so tenaciously?

Let it go, Gal. Let it go. Live in the moment.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

But nothing is all bad

Yes, Wednesday had its icky moments (see post below). But I was happy, too.

1) These two. Connie and Reynaldo have been very affectionate this evening. It's as if they sense I had a bad day and want me to have a little extra sugar.

2) And these two. Bryzzo delivers the advice I didn't know I needed. How adorable are my guys?

3) And this came! I'm really going to the TCM Film Festival.  Look at my pass!