Thursday, May 30, 2019

Now isn't this better?

About 10 days ago, I had an unfortunate run in with my neighbor at the end of the hall. Mr. Braverman just moved into his condo last year, loves it, and understandably doesn't want to sell (and deconversion is something we're seriously considering). I get that. But in our hallway contretemps he not only expressed concern about that, he began sharing his strong opinions about how the building is being run. I told him I felt as though I was being interrogated. This made him angry and he stormed off.

I don't like living like this. Life throws enough stress out way. It doesn't help to be be concerned about running into angry every time I enter or exit my front door.

So, when yesterday I ran into Mr. Braverman in the lobby, I was nervous.

Apparently he feels bad about our last encounter, too. For all we talked about was baseball. I told him that I just so happened to be going to Wrigley Field this Monday and he said I must be the World's Best Aunt.

Superficial and friendly! That's how I like my relationship with my neighbors!

Monday, May 27, 2019

My furry barometer

I miss Joey. My enormous gray and white tomcat had the hugest heart and was always a joy to be around. But besides that, he was excruciatingly sensitive to weather.

I often knew when there was a tornado warning before the weatherman told me, because Joey would scoot -- as close to the ground as he could get -- into the windowless hallway. Really, he looked like a crawling meatloaf. But he knew.

And he snapped out of it as soon as the storm passed. As though he could tell time and understood the weatherman. He would regain his legs, get up and go about his usual lazy, loving life.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Happy Memorial Day

This weekend, I spent an afternoon on the Riverwalk and snapped this photo of the Chicago Remembers Vietnam Veterans Wall.

I've been haunted by it ever since. First of all, because I must have passed it about a gazillion times without every really looking at it. If Joanna and I had been here on any other sunny Saturday, I bet I would have heedlessly passed it again.

And then there are the number of names. 3,000. Think about that: 3,000 kids from Illinois alone died in Vietnam. And that doesn't include the veterans who came home only to succumb to Agent Orange or suicide. It makes me want to cry.

Here is a far more professional look at our Wall. From here on, I will look and appreciate.

Sunday Stealing

Authors you never get tired of reading I love Nora Ephron's essays. And her novel, Heartburn.

A book you bought for the cover, and discovered it was better than you thought
Jackie, Janet and Lee by J. Randy Taraborelli. I didn't buy it -- it was a gift from my friend Henry -- but I didn't expect much. Taraborelli can be a  hack. But I loved the cover shot of three white-gloved Bouvier women marching purposefully toward a society photographer. And actually, it was an interesting read. When one reads about JBKO (which I do obsessively), you get a lot about her relationship with the Kennedys. But she was only Jackie Kennedy from 1953 to 1968. She was a Bouvier for all her life. And learning more about her relationship with her sister and (especially) her mother was enlightening.


A book that made you laugh and cry, and made you depressed
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. I loved our canine narrator, Enzo. He made me laugh and the ending made me cry. And the rather misogynistic and unnecessary subplot about a rape accusation left me depressed. The book didn't need it and would have been better without it.

A book that was a pleasant surprise
Kwizgiver has some very good book posts, and she turned me on to the Spellman Saga. It's a series of six very funny detective stories about a family of private investigators. It consistently delighted me.

A book everyone loves that you don’t
The DaVinci Code. Hated it. Only finished it because two of my friends raved about it and I thought it simply had to get better.

A book with a great sidekick that you like more than the hero
I don't know that I like Hawk better than Spenser, but I like him a lot. You'll find Hawk and Spenser in the Robert B. Parker series, which has been ably taken over by Ace Atkins.

A book that helped you through a difficult time
Dance While You Can by Shirley MacLaine. I got it as a gift for my birthday in 1991, but didn't have time to read it at the time. I happened to grab it while my dealing with my father's illness and death, not realizing how much of the book is devoted to her father. The universality of what I was feeling helped. Everyone goes through this, in one form or another. We all had parents, we all have siblings, we all have family stuff.

A book that taught you something valuable
JFK: Reckless Youth, by Nigel Hamilton. Lesson: no matter what a life looks like from the outside, you have no idea how it feels on the inside.

A book or series that it took you awhile to get into
I got nothing for this. If I don't like the first book I read in a series, I don't stick around.

A fictional character you’d love to have to dinner.
Can I invite a couple? I'd like Jo March and her beau, Professor Bhaer. I met them in Little Women. I love them.


So I ate a lot of chicken

Last month, I learned how hard 2019 had been on Joanna. Her brother's illness ... financial setbacks ... romantic travails. She was tired, scared and broke. This was very much not like Joanna. She's a sophisticated Southern belle. She never lets 'em see her sweat. And yet here she was, 63 years old and frankly, obviously worried that she wouldn't bounce back this time.

So I've spent the last month worried about her. I didn't want to hover, but I did want her to feel like she wasn't alone. So we've Facebook'd back and forth and set up a date for this weekend. I wanted to go to the Lake -- I can peer at it from the reception area of the office, but I seldom get to see Lake Michigan up close. Joanna said she'd prefer the Chicago Riverwalk. Not as grand as a Great Lake, the Chicago River has enjoyed a renaissance and is now lively and a lot of fun, with restaurants and bars dotting the walkway and a nice view of the boats and kayaks.

We were meeting at 2:00. Remembering last month, when she couldn't even afford an after-movie drink, I didn't know what 2:00 meant. Lunch? Riverwalk bistros can be expensive because they're aimed at tourists. So before I left, I had a big bowl of Campbell's Chicken Pot Pie soup. Creamy and thick. Positively mediocre, but it filled me up.

As soon as we met up, she said she wanted to eat. "Real food," she drawled. Meaning no pub fare like hummus or artichoke dip. We ended up at a sit down restaurant where she ordered smoked beef brisket sandwich with mashed potatoes! All the food looked delicious, but I'd just snarfed down that $1.89 can of soup. It would have been wasted on me. So I just ordered what was cheapest. And it was, of course, more chicken. A chicken/bacon wrap. It was fine. I liked the margarita better.

Mostly I was happy that her life has turned around enough for a full lunch. Last month, she had a short-term contract to do a single project.* That client has been so happy with her that it's expanded into a long-term contract, meaning income through the end of the year.

And it gets better ...

A prospective client who had rejected Joanna in March, saying she was too expensive and inflexible and he was going another way, just called her. He's changed his mind. Now she's got a contract for an additional three months work. She wants to use that money to dig herself out of debt, as she's been living on her credit cards these past three months.

I don't mean to paint this as too rosy. Her brother is still in hospice, waiting to die. And at 63, she doesn't have a cent left in her retirement savings. And that guy that she's carrying on an on again/off again long-distance relationship with? She isn't sure if right now they're on or off.

But she can pay her rent. She can put gas in her car. She can order lunch. At least through the end of the year. She was feeling positive enough to daydream about a trip to Europe, to visit an old friend in London. I don't believe that's going to happen, but it made me happy to hear her so forward focused.

*With Dana! Back when I worked with The Boss, Dana was my secretary. In the intervening 15 years, she's moved on up and has become an office manager. Her employers asked her if she knew of any marketing consultants who could help them expand, she reached out to me, and I put her in contact with Joanna. I'm a matchmaker!

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: God Bless America

Memorial Day is the federal holiday designated to honor American service people who died in battle. 

1) Memorial Day was introduced after the Civil War. Originally called Decoration Day, this is when memorials, as well as the graves of veterans, are to be decorated with flags and flowers on this day to show our appreciation. Is there a war memorial in your neighborhood? There's a WWI statue in the park next to the main library. It was dedicated in 1925, with General Pershing himself in attendance! It's called "Peace Triumphant," because our city fathers had hoped WWI would be the last war any of us ever saw. How poignant!

2) Andrew Johnson, our 17th President, was in office the first time Memorial/Decoration Day  was celebrated. Have you ever met one of our 45 Presidents? "Met" is too strong a term. However as a campaign worker, I saw Bill Clinton during 1992 and 1996 campaign stops. And most memorably, I had the honor of being in attendance when Chicago's own Barack Obama declared victory, first at Soldier Field in 2008 and McCormick Place in 2012.

Soldier Field 2008. Can you see me?

3) According to the AAA, more than 30 million Americans will hit the road this weekend and drive more than 50 miles. Will you be traveling far from home this weekend? No farther than a few el stops to meet up with my friend Joanna. We shall wander Chicago's Riverwalk.

Cross your fingers that the rain lets up so we can enjoy our drinks outdoors

4) Memorial Day kicks off the summer season. What's your favorite picnic food? I like potato salad, and it seems I only eat it off a paper plate on my lap.

5) As you answer these questions, is there an air conditioner or fan on? Nope. Though it is a little stuffy so maybe I should put the fan in the window.

6) Though she's belting out one of America's best loved patriotic songs, Deanna Durbin was born in Canada. Is there anyone in your family or circle of friends who wasn't born in the USA? My friend Kathleen's husband is a subject of Queen Elizabeth II. He retains his British citizenship.

7) No longer a household name, Ms. Durbin was once one of the biggest stars in the country. One of her most popular films was 1937's One Hundred Men and a Girl, which was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. Recommend a movie that you really like, but don't think many Saturday 9ers have seen. Because it's Memorial Day, I'll recommend from Here to Eternity. It's famous for the clinch in the surf, but there's much more to it than that. It's set on an Army base in Hawaii in 1941. It's about honor and justice and patriotism and loyalty and love ... and all the characters are flawed, which makes them very real and easy to root for. You can find it on YouTube, but watch it on your TV if at all possible. Though it's in glorious black and white, it's still an epic and some shots could take your breath away.

8) Back in 1938, Deanna Durbin had her handprints cemented in front of the TCL Chinese Theater on Hollywood Blvd. Have you ever visited that Los Angeles tourist attraction? I was just there last month, for the TCM Classic Film Festival. I saw From Here to Eternity, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Gone with the Wind on that big, BIG screen. Before that, I just knew it as the theater where they hold the Oscars, and where Lucy and Ethel stole John Wayne's footprints.

It's embarrassing how often I reference I Love Lucy in real life

9) Random question: What food did you hate as a child, but enjoy now? The aforementioned potato salad.

C'mon, Kids, Let's Hear It for Me!

Grocery shopping -- DONE!
Laundry -- DONE! (And that includes the mattress topper and pillow protectors, thankyouverymuch)
Vacuuming -- DONE! (Pretty much)

To think, I can enjoy a three-day weekend without feeling guilty about not keeping up with the most basic chores. That doesn't happen often!


Wednesday, May 22, 2019

We lost a giant

A week ago, a man I once worked for died. He was 89 and suffering from cancer, so I was glad to hear that he died peacefully, apparently painlessly, of a heart attack in his sleep.

This man was a giant. He built an advertising agency of over 500 employees. His clients had names you recognize, brands that are a part of your life. You've driven through one, you've swiped or tapped another, you may even have been behind the wheel of a third. A guy doesn't win and then retain clients of that caliber without being smart and driven.

But here's the thing: this man came from a place of integrity. He once withdrew from a new business pitch for a major bank -- to do signage in more than 4,000 branches nationwide -- because the head of marketing asked whether MBAs would be assigned to his business. "I created Ad Age's Agency of the Year," he said, "and I don't have an MBA so I guess we won't be working together." The bank's head of marketing mumbled something like, "I didn't mean you." But by then he was already almost out the door. We were him and he was us. He would walk away before he put any of us in an uncomfortable position.

He was tough. When I was a creative director, I had to "protect my head count." If my direct reports weren't 80% billable every week, I had to explain why. But if we hit our numbers, we got an annual raise. No exceptions. That's part of why he insisted on keeping the company privately owned. He didn't want to explain his policy to stockholders.

He was demanding. If you worked on the beer account, you were expected to drink the beer. And know how the label looked on the store shelves. And check out who was buying what brand in line in front of you at the grocery store, or who ordered what from the bar stool on either side of you. When you worked for him, you were always working for your client.

Most of all, he was unfailingly good to us. He had breakfast with every new employee and learned about us. His nickname for me was "Sports Fan" and he would ask me about the Cubs. He remembered something special about all 500 of us.

A creative director's wife had a baby and they wanted to move from apartment to house. But the CD was over extended and had a shitty credit rating and couldn't get a loan. One morning, he screwed up the courage to ask our boss out for a beer after work. Before the drinks arrived, he blurted, "Boss, can I borrow $10,000 for a downpayment on a house? I'll pay whatever interest you ask." "Sure," the Boss said, "But before we talk interest, I have to call my wife." The creative director thought the Boss had to clear the loan with his wife. It wasn't that. The Boss was afraid the creative director was going to quit, and he wanted to tell his wife there was nothing to be worried about. He not only knew all 500 of us, so did his wife.

I left that agency in 2002. The Boss was over 70 and he wanted to retire so he sold the agency. The new owners weren't him, so I quit. But in my heart, he will always be my Boss. Not a week goes by that I don't think of something he said to us. (Most recently I remembered him barking, "This is your agency, too!  If you see a paperclip on the floor, pick it up!" And so I bent over and picked up the post-it note on the floor by the elevator.)

It was a privilege to know him. RIP, Boss.


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 

The President Is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson. President Duncan has shit going on. The First Lady recently died of cancer, and he naturally mourns her still. He is fighting a serious but controllable disease that prevents his blood from clotting properly, and could cause a stroke if he's under too much stress. And here comes the stress: Congress wants to impeach him for "coddling" terrorists, and he can't defend himself without putting our troops and maybe millions of civilians at serious risk. Oh yeah, and in separate chapters, we meet a cyber-terrorist and a mysterious woman who is trained as a sniper and is apparently (pardon the pun) gunning for the President.

This thriller is a collaboration between Bill Clinton and James Patterson. I haven't read about their creative process, but I don't think I need to. Jonathon Lincoln Duncan is clearly written by William Jefferson Clinton. Those passages are charming, accessible, and informed by eight years of actually having been President. (I like reading about stuff like the little kitchen in private residence.)  The assassin chapters read like typical Patterson, which isn't a bad thing. Just more predictable.

I'm not even halfway through yet. Maybe the delineation between authors will be less obvious as the story lines necessarily collide.

I've been reading some rather heavy non-fiction lately. This thriller, which practically demands to be made into a movie, is a nice change of pace.

2. What did you recently finish reading? 
Kick Kennedy: The Charmed Life and Tragic Death of the Favorite Kennedy Daughter by Barbara Leaming. When Joseph Kennedy was named ambassador to England, his second daughter Kathleen ("Kick") took London by storm. Fleet Street deemed her "The Little American Girl," and published photos of her on society pages, attending embassy parties and working for the Red Cross. Young aristocratic men flocked to her, and she fell for William Cavendish, Marquess of Hartington. Or "Billy," as Kick referred to England's most eligible bachelor. Unfortunately, she was the daughter of a famous American Catholic family, and the Hartingtons literally represented the Anglican Church.

This book captures a very particular moment: London in the late 1930s to mid 1940s. It was a time of upheaval. WWII -- from the lead up through to the the aftermath -- had young people questioning everything. Including the role of the aristocracy and religion. 

I came away admiring Kick's grit and resolve. Her love for Billy, her commitment to their relationship, overcame the objections of his family, her family, and the Vatican. Only to lose him to a Nazi sniper's bullet. Kick is a real-life romantic heroine you'll get behind, and then your heart will break.

However, I wish Leaming had covered a bit more ground than she did. The focus is on Kick and Billy, but I wanted to know more about Kick's relationship with her older sister, Rosemary, and how Rosie's learning disability affected her. Did she feel responsible for Rosie? Did she try to keep her sister's limitations a secret from the Hartington family -- who was looking at Kathleen, literally, as a brood mare who could be counted upon to continue the line? How did Kick respond when she learned of Rosie's lobotomy? Did she consider it another almost unendurable tragedy, like the death of her older brother Joe and her husband? None of this is even touched on, since Rosie is scarcely mentioned in this book. 

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

Sunday, May 19, 2019

A tale of two blondes

This past week, we lost Doris Day. I have always adored her. In her way, she was as natural and affecting onscreen as Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift strived to be. She was also important as a pre-feminist feminist. She spoke her mind, she was spirited and always, always true to herself. When critics joke about her being the poster girl for virginity, they miss the point completely. The Doris Day heroine wasn't constitutionally opposed to giving up her cherry; she hated being lied to. It's isn't sex that she objects to, it's being maneuvered or tricked into bed.

Watch her again, with fresh eyes. Admire the ambition, independence and honesty in her performances. She was the quintessential All-American Girl, and her screen persona will make you feel good, and feel proud.

Peggy Lipton also died this week at 72. I grew up on her, too. Or, rather, Julie Barnes of The Mod Squad. That show was the center of my grade school Tuesday nights. Three kids ("one black, one white, one blonde") went undercover and fought crime.

I had handsome Pete's picture in my locker. He was the rich kid rebel, misunderstood by his Beverly Hills family. But Julie was the influential one in my group. The way she wore her hair. Her sweaters and fringe-trimmed purses. Her backstory was also important. She was a runaway. Something bad (sexual abuse?) was going on at home, so Julie did what it took to save herself and she ran. While she appeared vulnerable, and the boys were always very protective of her, we girls never doubted Julie could take care of herself. We just knew no one could take Julie Barnes down.

Also, her relationships with Pete and Linc were fascinating to us. Obviously, she couldn't have an affair with Linc. I mean, it was  primetime TV in the 1960s and interracial romance was simply not on the table. But what about handsome Pete? Julie had platonic friendships with men. This was a big deal at the time. It was liberating. You could relate to men without romance or the scary idea of sex seeping in to it. You go, girl!

Speaking of sex, Peggy had an on/off affair with Himself, Sir Paul McCartney, between 1964 and 1968. Meaning he called her whenever he was in Los Angeles and she came running. By all accounts, including his own, he treated her rather badly during their relationship and dumped her unceremoniously when he fell for Linda. I didn't know any of this at the time, since the Beatles had quite the squeaky-clean image in real time, but I admit it adds to her aura. She had her heart broken by The Cute One!

RIP, Girlfriend.

Sunday Stealing

This week, Sunday Stealing borrows from Unconscious Mutterings, one of the most venerable memes in the blogverse. If you enjoy Q/As like this, I recommend you visit there again some time.

I say ... and you think ... ?

    Hurry! :: up
    Dumb :: Dora
(she was the subject of many Gene Rayburn questions on the old Match Game)
    Fudge :: Sundae
    Sturdy :: Solid
    Printing :: Press
    Itch :: Scratch
    Creaks :: Floor
    Paste :: Cut
(as in "Cut and paste")
    Waste of time :: Kardashian
    Let down :: Lift up
    Cancellation :: Notice
    Suspect :: Defendant

    Fireplace :: Firewood
    Spring :: Fever
    Commute :: to Work
    Places :: People, Things
(you know, "People, Places and Things")
    Fraud :: Alert
    Adoption :: The best way to get a dog or cat
(Adopt, don't shop)
    Election :: Day
    Moving day :: New start


I suppose you want to pout now, too

 Everyone seems mad at me these days. Everyone seems on the verge of a tantrum. I'm trying to rise above it, but it's not easy. Let's face it: I'm not exactly the gold standard for tranquility myself.

Brian. He's the president of our condo board, I'm the secretary. He hasn't answered any of my emails in a month. Some of them were kind of a big deal -- like where are we in terms of selling our building. I mean, where we're all going to be living come Christmas is important. He caught me in our laundry room while I was folding and told me he's just been "too busy." For a month? Really, Brian? 

He asked me what questions I had. I've got a month's worth of questions and I'm supposed to just recount them off the top of my head? That's not fair. He asked me if I realized how busy he was, how many emails he gets. I don't really care. It's insulting to me, and all the other unit owners, that he just ignores our messages. Also, no one is busy around-the-clock for a full month. I've had relatives to visit in the hospital. I have a job that's not without deadlines and stress. I've been sick. I've even had all three at once. I've never let a month's worth of emails pile up.

Brian made a strange accusation -- that I just want people to like me. That's so not true. I don't much care if my neighbors like me at all. I do want them to feel as though they are heard and respected. This nuance seems lost on him.

After much arguing and scowling, he stormed off and went back upstairs. (I, after all, could not storm off. I still had sweaters to fold.) He has since been very friendly, and prompt!, in answering emails. So I shall try to move on. But that was more stress and more drama than I need.

Braverman. My neighbor at the end of the hall. He never attends condo association meetings. He never sends emails to the address set up for questions. But he has lots of strong opinions and waited until we were alone in the elevator to share them. After sharing pleasantries about one another's day, he started peppering me. Why? How? Then what? I gave him topline answers and he kept going. I told him this felt like an interrogation, when all I wanted to do was get to my front door. That if he wants to know about the running of the building, he should check the board meeting minutes on the website. This made him angry and he stormed off up the hall. Like it never occurred to him that a person may not wish to be ambushed with demands about "a ten year plan" for elevator renovation. 

There are pluses to being on the condo board. I like knowing what's going on and being able to improve things. (For example, a mass email is soon going to unit owners about more effective recycling.)

But I hate all the sturm und drang. I appreciate that where we live, and our living conditions, are important. But there are ways to work together. In this building, that doesn't seem to be a priority.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Saturday 9

Secret Love (1953)

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

Rest in peace, Doris Day (1922-2019)
1) In this song Doris admits she's spoken to the stars, "the way dreamers often do." Do you often daydream? YES! It seems I'm seldom in the moment. I'm either reliving, anticipating, or fantasizing.

2) What's the last secret you kept? (It doesn't have to be romantic.) It's about my dear friend Henry. Seven months ago, he was in a terrible accident, which resulted in a traumatic brain injury. He's getting better all the time, but recovery has been slow. His husband, Reg, has turned their GoFundMe page into an online journal, where he vents about how difficult their life has been since the accident. I hate knowing about Reg's writing. Because someday Henry is going to read it and feel so betrayed by the oversharing that's been done.

3) While "Secret Love" was one of Miss Day's best-selling records, and the song won an Oscar, she did not perform it at the Academy Awards Ceremony. She said she was just too nervous to sing it live before an international television audience and an auditorium full of entertainment professionals. When did you last suffer an attack of nerves? Friday morning, before I hit "send" on an email. Which was silly, because I write for a living. But this email was to my fellow condo unit owners, and I know how important the information would be.

4) Doris' well-publicized attack of Oscar stage fright was unexpected because she began her career as a band singer, performing before live audiences every night. But she reportedly did develop more phobias over the years, including a fear of flying. Is there anything that scares you now, as an adult, that didn't frighten you as a child? Airplane travel. I didn't develop my fear of flying until I was in my mid-30s.
5) Doris Day made 39 movies between 1948 and 1968. She said one of her favorite things about filmmaking was working with costume designers on her wardrobe. Do you enjoy shopping for clothes? Sure. In fact, I should be thinking about what I need for summer. Have you ever shopped at ThredUp? It's an online resale shop and I've picked up some cute things. I think of buying used as a form of recycling. (I've also sold items through their site, but I didn't think it was worth the effort. It's easier to just donate to Goodwill.)

6) Doris confessed that when she had to lose weight for a role, she gave up ice cream. If we checked your freezer, would we find any ice cream? Always.
7) In 1985 she hosted a cable show called Doris Day's Best Friends. She used the show as a platform to promote pet adoptions and animal welfare. Most of the guests were  celebrity friends who reportedly donated their salaries for appearing on the show to Doris' pet foundation. Did you more recently ask a friend for a favor, or perform a favor for a friend? I gave my boss $1. He was embarrassed to ask the guys at the sandwich shop to break a big bill for a cup of soda.

8) For more than 20 years, Doris co-owned the Cypress Inn in Carmel, CA. The Inn expects to continue on without her, and maintain the pet-friendly policies she introduced. Have you ever traveled with your dog or cat? No. I'd be too worried about my cat Reynaldo slipping out and getting lost far from home.

9) Random question: What's the last thing you complained about? Being on the condo board. I liked my neighbors better when I didn't know them so well.

Monday, May 13, 2019

She's engaged

On Sunday, my niece's boyfriend took her to their favorite park, dropped down to one knee, and became her fiance. Their wedding date is 10/10/20.

Now that gives me a lot of time to be sick about family dysfunction and how uncomfortable this event may be.

But instead, I'm going to think about what a gift her life has been. I remember her mother pregnant. I recall dancing on the night she was born -- I was a Clinton campaign worker and she was arrived on Election Day 1992. I remember her Lion King phase ("You be Simba and I'll be Nala"). Her Anastasia phase.

I remember her controversial Thanksgiving essay about why the holiday should be abolished. Even in grade school, she was a free thinker and a good little researcher. I was excited by how seriously she took American Girl dolls and stories, and then Harry Potter.

She's smart. She's tough. She's independent. Those qualities have not always made her life easy, but it's made her fascinating. 

Now she's getting married. I've seen her through her entire life to this point. I can't wait for the next chapter.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Happy Mother's Day

Here's their site
In my mom's memory, I've made a contribution to this animal shelter. They introduced her to her cat, Ethel, who was her best friend for years.

After my mom died, I began getting her mail. I learned that she also supported The World Wildlife Fund and the NRDC.

Here's to you, Mommy! I miss you.