Friday, November 29, 2019

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Baby's in Black (1964)

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

1) Black is this week's signature color because Friday was "Black Friday," the day when retailers cut their prices and consumers flock to the stores. Did you score any "Black Friday" bargains? Yes. I hadn't expected to go shopping on Friday because I'm just so over the crowds. But a local grocery store has a tree with paper ornaments made by kids from lower income households. On the back of each ornament, the child shares what they'd like from Santa. I drew Emily, a 4-year-old who wears a size 6 and wants "Anna and Elsa." 

I bet she'll like this better than the sweater
Old Navy was busy but not crazy, so I slipped in and got her a fuzzy green sweater (50% off!) and some slipper socks (on sale for $1!). Then I stopped by the local independent bookseller. Instead of cutting prices, they're donating 10% of sales to a homeless shelter. There I found a Big Golden Book based on Frozen 2. So Emily is set!

2) Feasting and football are also popular Thanksgiving weekend pastimes. Do your Thursday-Sunday plans include pigging out or watching a game? While I tend to pig out on weekends anyway, I have no specific dining plans, and I seldom watch football.

3) At Thanksgiving dinners, Crazy Sam's homemade gravy is always a hit. (Probably because she's so generous with the cognac, which gives the gravy a nutty taste.) What was particularly delicious at your Thanksgiving table? I had "The Works," with pumpkin pie for dessert. It was all excellent, but I was especially happy with the turkey and gravy.

4) Among the biggest the Black Friday advertisers are Target, Kohl's, Macy's and Best Buy. If you could have a $100 gift card to any one of those stores, which would you choose? Target, because I can pick up groceries. This whole needing to eat thing is such a drain on my budget!

5) This week's song, "Baby's in Black," is about a girl who wears black because she's in mourning. Do you find that the color you're wearing reflects your mood? Yes. It makes me happy to wear Cub-related gear. (Right now, I'm wearing a XXL Anthony Rizzo 44 t-shirt as pajamas.)

6) The woman who inspired this song, Astrid Kirchherr, has been friends with Paul McCartney since he and his bandmates (John Lennon, George Harrison, Stu Sutcliffe and Pete Best) met her in Hamburg back in 1960. Tell us what you believe are the components of a strong, lasting friendship. Availability. I work at this. I want my friends to know that I'm free to talk, email or get together when they need me. Or just want me. These days, our lives are so busy, and time is at a premium. Friends are worth the time.

7) In the early days of the Beatles, Paul McCartney and John Lennon began writing a play but abandoned it. Do you have a novel, painting, play, song or poem that you're going to finish "someday?" Every year I do Nanowrimo. It's my opportunity to write fiction for myself, not for publication. As a copywriter, I'm used to being given a topic and a deadline. Compliance departments make sure every word I write is within guidelines. Nanowrimo is a good exercise, and fun for me.

8) When he was 16, George Harrison dreamed of moving to Canada, Australia or Malta. In just a few years, he would visit all those places with Beatles and eventually decided there was no place like home and stayed in England (though he did also maintain a home in Hawaii). Have you ever thought about moving to another country? If so, where? No.

9)  Random question: Finish this sentence -- If you want me to give you "yes" for an answer, the best time to approach me is _____________________. After a Cubs win.


That's how Thanksgiving felt. John, Gregory and I met at Millennium Grill at 6:00. We did the prix fixe menu, which gave us all the basics -- green beans, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, dressing, gravy, cranberries and, of course, turkey -- all on one plate. Dessert was extra, but mandatory for me, so I had a slice of pumpkin pie.

The best thing about this restaurant is that it's in Millennium Park, home to Chicago's official Christmas tree.  And what a tree! A 55-ft. tall blue spruce covered in nearly 55,000 lights!

As we ate, John and Gregory were able to watch the skaters twirling around. (I sat in the other side of the booth, but that's OK. I got there early and took pictures.)

We had a nice time together, agreeing that this was a much easier-going holiday than we'd ever had with our families. Two memorable moments:

•  John insisting we aren't "old" but "middle aged." I'm 62, he's 64 and Gregory is (at least) 66. Gregory and I rolled our eyes and wondered aloud how long he thinks we'll live!

•  The manila envelope. Inside was a yellowing press page of the Chicago Sun Times,  dated February 9, 1964. It was a story titled, "Bug Bites Beatle," about how George was battling the flu in the run up to the Ed Sullivan Show that night. It was thoughtful and very cool.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

I'm thankful

I'm so grateful these two are healthy! Reynaldo and Connie are my responsibility and my joy. They have much to teach me, if only I'll pay attention.

I yelled at a homeless man ...

... and I'm not sorry. I know I should be sorry. I wish I was sorry. Compassion for the least among us is the hallmark of my Christian faith. Miss Melanie Wilkes -- my cinematic spiritual guide -- might have yelled at him, too, but at least she would be sorry.

There's this guy right here in town who has been homeless for years. He doesn't just stay on a particular corner, he moves from spot to spot. He's rather in your face with his panhandling, but I've seen him so often over the years that I know he's harmless. I don't like to take my wallet out of my purse when I'm on the street, so if I don't happen to have anything in my pocket, I don't share.

One day -- months ago -- he asked me for "a dollar." I said, "I don't know how much change I have, but you're welcome to it." I put some coins in his hands.

"I need a dollar."

For real. He said that to me. So I held out my hand. "If my money's not good enough for you, give it back." He mumbled and walked away.

Wednesday, he was on the el platform. It cost him $2.50 to get up there.*

He came up to me and asked for a dollar.

I flashed to the people I see in the city. The solemn, silent people holding their cups and their signs ("This is humiliating," "Anything is a lot when you have nothing"). Sometimes with their kids, often with their pets. Frequently with all their belongings in a garbage bag or shopping cart.

And this man came up to me and said, "I need a $1 for a sandwich." And I lost it.

"No," I said. "I gave you money and you told me it wasn't enough."

"You gave me a quarter!" He said, as if I'd offended him. I promise you, that wasn't me. I never give my quarters away because I need them for laundry. So that leads me to believe there's another woman here in town that he pissed off.

"I don't have to give you anything. I save my money for people who say 'thank you.'"

Not me
"What do you expect me to get with a quarter?"

"I don't care! Go away!"

"I got you, Buddy," said a voice from behind me.

"Go talk to him!" I shouted. "He's nicer than I am!"

The homeless man moved behind me, saying over and over, "She gave me a quarter. What do you expect me to get with a quarter?"

I don't believe he's that badly off because 1) he doesn't even carry a backpack, and if he was homeless, he'd have his belongings with him and 2) he had the $2.50 to get on the el platform. I resent him approaching me -- an old lady by myself -- and getting in my face. And the lack of gratitude just staggers me.

I know I should feel bad about this exchange, but I'm still angry. At him. I hope I get to the point where I can honestly say I'm angry at myself, or at least ashamed. But to be honest, I'm not there yet.

*Our el stop is manned by a CTA employee during morning/evening rush, so I know he didn't jump the turnstyle.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

3 baggies and a crumpled $5 bill

I made baggies for the homeless people I pass every day. Each one included a packet of tissues, cough drops, Chap Stick, hand lotion, a breakfast bar, a pouch of tuna, and $1. At lunch on Tuesday, I took a walk and distributed three of them.

One went to a young mother with two little daughters, who said, "God bless you." The second went to a man sitting under the scaffolding at a construction site. He smiled and thanked me. As I was walking away, I heard him say, "I hope it's socks." Gotta remember that! If not socks, I could certainly add those toe warmers. The third was for a guy who was really, really drunk or wasted, sitting in front of The Billy Goat Tavern. I hope when he woke up/came to, this made him feel better.

I was going to give the last one to a guy in a knit cap, sitting under a street light. When I got close, I saw it was Caleb! He was alone, no Napoleon or Randi. I said hi, he unsmilingly said "hi." I was confused by this and said, "You don't remember me, don't you?"

"You're The Gal," he said. This is so weird. Why is he so cool to me? I gave him $5 and asked where the rest of the family was. He gave me a street name, and told me that Napoleon is "so big." Then he went back to reading. I was dismissed.

I walked a couple blocks up and down the street he named but didn't see Randi and Napoleon. I thought she's appreciate the last baggie because it included lotion. I didn't see her anywhere. There's an underpass on that street, but to be honest, I didn't feel safe venturing down there. I hope that's not where they're living now!

I don't know why Caleb is so remote. Is he embarrassed to be back on the street? Did I offend him somehow in one of our last encounters?

It doesn't matter though. Of course, I enjoyed seeing the young mother's face when I gave her the baggie. Yes, it makes me feel good to know that the wasted guy will wake up feeling like he matters to someone. But doing good shouldn't be about accolades. Doing good should make the world better, even in a small way.

Caleb, Randi and Napoleon have opened my eyes to the suffering of my neighbors. That is what matters. And this Thanksgiving, that's what I'm going to be grateful for.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Tuesday 4

About Thanksgiving

1.   What is your favorite Thanksgiving show/animated show? I don't really have a favorite Thanksgiving show, but I do like to catch at least a few minutes of each televised parade (Chicago's and New York's).

2.   What is there about Thanksgiving you like the best? The feasting! When I was a kid, and my icky grandmother hosted Thanksgiving, there was always so much tension. She really didn't enjoy preparing the meal but insisted on doing it because it was tradition. You could try to help her, but I promise you that you were doing whatever it was wrong and making everything harder for her. By the time we sat down to eat, I wished I was anywhere else.

After she died, my kid sister took over the tradition ... including the martyrdom. She wanted to host Thanksgiving at her house -- so her kids would have those memories -- but then she wanted her husband to be able to have dessert with his family, at his mother's house, so we had to be done by a certain time. It was a lot of pressure for a mother with little kids. I remember recommending a restaurant near her in-law's home or letting Boston Market at least handle the sides, but no. Tradition. Again, I felt like she was begrudging me every mouthful because I took so long to chew! I would have gone elsewhere, but I didn't because it was important to me to spend the day with mother. I went where she went.

Since my mom died, I've been having what my friend John calls "Orphan Thanksgiving." I guess now we could call it Friendsgiving. John, Gregory and I get dressed up, meet at a restaurant, enjoy a leisurely meal and are grateful for what we have. This year, we're dining at the Millennium Park Grill, which will give us a lovely opportunity to see Chicago's official Christmas tree, and to watch all the skaters twirling around on the rink. I'll linger over good food and not worry about doing anything wrong in the kitchen!

3.   Favorite Thanksgiving/holiday song? I love so many Christmas songs! But this morning, I'll choose "Silent Night."

4.   If you have an all holiday music radio station when do you start listening to it? I don't switch to the station that plays 24/7 holiday music. But I'll begin listening to carols on Friday. Love them!

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Sunday Stealing


1. You can breathe underwater or be able to fly. Which one would you choose and why?
 Fly. Then I would never be late for anything ever again.

2. What's your go to order at a café? My favorite meal to eat out is breakfast, so I'll go with my standard coffee-house order: Two eggs over easy, bacon, wheat toast, orange juice.

3. Where do you feel the safest? In my bed.

4. What is the one book or book series you could reread without getting bored for the rest of time? I like Spenser series set in Boston.

5. You will receive ten million dollars, but you need to spend one million dollars in 24 hours to receive the other nine million tax free (and you can’t tell anyone what you’re doing). What do you spend it on? I'd click around on Expedia. booking all the top-of-the-line travel I'll be able to take. TCM Film Festival, cruise to Hawaii, tour of London and then Liverpool ... click, click, click ... I'll need to buy new luggage and lots of new clothes ... click, click, click ...

6. What was your favorite vacation to date? I really did enjoy The TCM Film Festival last spring.

7. Is there any scent that reminds you of a specific memory? What is the scent and what does it remind you of? Black licorice reminds me of my grandfather because he used these medicated throat discs.They've been discontinued, but the memory remains.


8. What is your favorite TV series? Do you have just one or more? This Is Us. I'm also enjoying The Crown.

9. They say that in life you need to try everything. Are there things you will never try? Oysters. Thank you, but I have no interest.

10. If I ask you to close your eyes and remember a picture of you, what do you see? I don't remember any photograph, but I the first memory that pops into my head is playing on the swing in my grandpa's backyard. I was very happy out there. I think the throat discs made that top of mind.

11. What was your childhood bedroom like? Yellow. Messy.

12. Are you a GoodWill, or any second hand store customer? Oh, yes! I love second hand books and second hand clothes. This is a new passion for me. Have you tried ThredUp? I really enjoy it.

13. How do you feel about the death penalty? Appalled. In the mid-1980s, my friend John was on a death penalty trial and found the man guilty. Having been raised Catholic, this was awful for John, but he felt it was his duty as a citizen. Imagine how he felt in 2003 when the man he helped convict was exonerated and granted a full pardon based on INNOCENCE.

If, as a society, we want to have a death penalty, then judges should be the ones to decide who gets it and who does not. Jurors who are fulfilling their civic duty should not be saddled with such decisions. 

14.  If you could live in any fictional world, where would it be? I'd like to be a March sister.

15. Do you believe in ghosts/spirits & have you had any experiences with them? I really don't. I believe souls go to Heaven and are with us that way, but no, I don't think Caspar the Friendly ghost is the one who makes things go bump in the night.

Happy Birthday to Me -- Part 6

Celebrating on Southport. Saturday my classic film group met at the Music Box Theater on Southport to see Lover Come Back. It's not a great movie -- Doris is a little too broad* and it maintains that 60s-era fiction that the Confederacy was somehow "cute" -- it was a happy happenstance for my birthday weekend anyway because 1) it's set in Mad Men-era advertising and 2) Rock Hudson is very funny, and I'm going through a Rockaissance. He was so wooden in many of his early and late performances that I completely ignored how good he was when he was a major star (1955-1962). He may not have been a great actor, but given the right material and the right director, he was completely charming company.

After the movie, we met up with Joanna for gelato, a few doors down. It's funny, but I disagree with her often and heatedly on classic films -- and the classic film meet up is how we met! -- but agree with her on just about everything else!

Anyway, being Joanna, she showed up in a red scarf, with red earrings, red glasses and even a red phone. She brought me a book as a gift (which, okay, I'll probably regift) and handwritten notecard to use as a bookmark: "So glad you are part of my world. Happiest of happy. Love you! J."

We ended up blabbing for over 3 hours. Then she was off to meet her new fella, Sid. She's still very much in the infatuation phase, and it's cute to see her so happy.

*Hard for me to admit, because I usually adore her.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Happy Birthday to Me -- Part 5

Old friends. On Friday, my actual birthday, I met up with John and Mindy at Madison Tavern. We've been friends now for (gulp!) more than 35 years! I see and speak to John regularly, and try to keep up with Mindy, but the three of us seldom get together.

I ate ... a lot. I felt loved and fussed over. Yea!

But here's the thing: I didn't really have as good a time as I'd like because we had too much to catch up on in 2 1/2 hours. John has lost his job and is possibly now forcibly retired. Mindy went on vacation to Vietnam. These are big things! Then there's my life. A lot of ground to cover in one evening.

Still, I'm grateful that my old friends wanted to spend my special day with me. I went to sleep happy.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: No More Tears (Enough Is Enough) 1979

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

1) This lyrics use weather as metaphor for romance. Here at Saturday 9, we're more literal. How do the skies look where you are this morning? Well, I'm doing this on Friday evening. This morning, the skies were pale blue with puffy clouds. It was a pretty day.

2) According to Merriam-Webster, "enough is enough" is what you say when you want something to stop because you "can no longer accept or deal with it." When did you recently say -- out loud or to yourself -- "enough is enough." When my cat Reynaldo, firm in his conviction that he's starving, knocked a basket off the table. That earned him a time-out behind the closed bedroom door!

3) Grammy winner Luther Vandross began his career as a background singer and performed on "No More Tears." Tell us about one of your early jobs. I babysat in high school and loved it. The kids went to bed around 8:00, and that left me hours to eat potato chips and watch old movies on TV. No one pays me to eat potato chips and watch old movies anymore.

Best job ever!

4) Both Donna Summer and Barbra Streisand made slight changes to their first names. Summer was christened "LaDonna," while Streisand's parents spelled her name the more conventional "Barbara." When she was in high school, meme mistress Samantha Winters went from "Sammy" to "Sam." Did you ever make a similar change to your first name? My name doesn't lend itself to that. Besides, I watched my older sister do it every couple years. My parents called her "Patty." Then all of a sudden she became "Patti." Then "Pat." I'm just waiting for "Tricia" and then "Trish." It seems pretentious and artificial.

5) Hair was higher maintenance in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Streisand and Summer are both sporting styles that would require chemical treatment, like a perm or relaxer. Today's looks are less rigidly styled and tend to be smoother or slightly messy. How often do you change your look? I go to the salon every 4-5 weeks. But I haven't changed my look in about three years. I'm happy with my hair, but I think maybe it's time for me to change my makeup. I'm trying to convince myself to try false eyelashes.

6) In 1979, it seems every kid was asking Santa for Star Wars toys. Some things don't change, since the Star Wars franchise remains popular with children and toymakers after more than 40 years. What book or toy did you love as a child that remains popular today? I loved playing Barbies.

My Barbie
Holiday 2019 Barbie

7) Thinking of things that endure ... In 1979, the #1 show in the ratings was 60 Minutes. It's still on, every Sunday night, and in the summer of 2019 it came in at #4 in the Nielsen ratings. What's the most recent show you watched? Was it news, sports or entertainment? I have the news on right now.

8) In 1979, the price for a dozen eggs averaged 85¢. Today, it's about twice that. Are you more likely to use eggs to prepare a main course (like an omelette or Eggs Benedict) or as part of a recipe (anything from a cake to a meatloaf)? If it can't be nuked in the microwave or grilled on the George Foreman, I don't cook.

9) Random question: You’re alone in your car, driving through your neighborhood on a bright, sunny day. You get a flat tire. You have a spare and a jack in your trunk. Would you fix it yourself or call for help? I don't drive, so this could never happen to me. Still, I look forward to your answers.


Happy Birthday to Me -- Part 4

Across the miles. I opened a pair of packages on Thursday. First, from my oldest friend. She sent me a page-a-day 2020 calendar of quotes. It made me happy because she used to give me a calendar for my birthday (or was it Christmas?) every year.

Then from my aunt. She always gives me a box of a variety of hot teas. Living in Florida, she doesn't like thinking of me enduring a Chicago winter without sustenance. This year, she threw in a in a pair of sequined kitty slippers, too.

And I got a card and a letter from a friend of my mom's. I babysat her kids when I was in high school. I am always amazed and touched that she remembers! (Of course, for people a generation before me, 11/22 is like September 11.)

All these things are rather traditional, and I appreciate the sameness, the dependability, and the sentiment that goes with them.

From me to me. I took myself for a facial. I haven't had one in years! It felt good.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Happy Birthday to Me, Part 3

At the office. Well, Wednesday was a first! My team actually celebrated me!

Let me explain: For the last four years, when Monsieur Account Executive was at the helm, we were siloed. We seldom met as a group to talk about our client's business. He encouraged account to limit their interactions with creative, and he wanted us creatives to stay in our lane: Headlines and pretty pictures, no reason for us to think about strategy or the big picture. Last year at this time was the nadir of the creative/account relationship here. We were, literally, at each other's throats all the time.

Well, things have sure changed! Monsieur slowly saw his power diminished, two of his three most devoted acolytes have left the team, and they have been replaced by new, young (and cheaper) account executives. I find myself spending lots of time with these just-out-of-school kids, training them. Part of me has been resentful, because this is Monsieur's job. Most of me has enjoyed it. I like building relationships. It makes the day go faster, and it makes the work better.

Yesterday, my new team spent the day celebrating my birthday! I came out of a meeting and found an Anthony Rizzo birthday brownie on my desk. It was made for me especially by our producer.

Then my art director treated me to lunch. I had my first Negroni. I recently read it was JBKO's favorite drink and I was eager to try it. Girlfriend knew what she was doing!

Then we got an invitation to a late afternoon meeting.  I kept coming up with reasons to cancel it. We could get it all accomplished faster in one-on-ones, couldn't we? Young Audrey kept insisting we had to meet as a team. She never insists on everything, so I finally let it go.

The late afternoon meeting was for me! There was a a giant chocolate cookie with trick candles.  A Snoopy card, chosen because it had a blue envelope and blue is my favorite color. A Dove bar (more chocolate). And this pin.

The new kids wrote the nicest things on the card -- thanking me for being so upbeat and positive and looking forward to working with me even more, etc., etc. Each note was personal. No one took the cop out of "Enjoy your day," which is what I always write on birthday cards for people I don't like.

I was touched.

Will it be a happy new year?

Wednesday's 10:30 meeting was a nothingburger. It was difficult for the woman who called it. She is my boss' boss, and has been told that, come 2020, she won't have a job. Our client has specifically asked her off the account.

Strangely enough, that might be good news for me. The client hasn't fired our agency, which is how it looked back in October. They expressed their displeasure with Madame Creative VP and have told us there will be far less work in 2020, but there will be work. They have isolated Madame Creative VP and her counterpart, Monsieur Account VP, as the problem. He's also out.

In theory, I'm upset with Madame and Monsieur. Their arrogance put us all at risk. On the other hand, looking at this mom of two, who is painfully thin from stress and admitted that "currently" hers is the only family income, I felt my anger evaporate. After the meeting, I gave her a hug.

I'm still not out of the woods. The client is pissed at our agency, and has hired someone else entirely to do the bulk of their work. They maintain that they will "keep" us for 2020, but our workload will be reduced significantly.

I am cautiously hopeful, since many of my assignments can be very boring. (I recently wrote a six-page brochure about the glory of investing in annuities.) The new agency wants the glamor stuff -- the TV, online and broadcast -- and likely don't have staff adept in dullsville, where I live professionally.

Of course, no one knows.

However, I know I'm OK until January. So I'm going to try not to think about it anymore.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Happy Birthday to Me, Part 2

A gift from Rose. A couple months ago, I mentioned to my cousin that I was skipping the 2020 TCM Film Festival. My niece's out-of-town wedding, the special assessment for the new boiler and new roof, insecurity at work ... I just can't afford the trip now.

I expected Rose to applaud my decision. After all, it's the grown-up thing to do and she's always been a grown up. Plus, Rose has never been big on movies. It's a passion we simply don't share.

Instead, she counseled me to go, because attending this past April made me happy, and she advised me not to forgo happiness. To emphasize her point, she sent me a little wallet, decorated with retro movie images, and a card that says, "Make Memories."

I love gifts like this. It's so personal and could only come from Rose to me.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Tuesday 4

Holiday Favorites
1.   Favorite Holiday Of Yours? I'll say Thanksgiving, because it's coming up next and I'm excited about it.

2.   Favorite Holiday Character In A Movie? Scrooge. Have you seen Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol? I adore it!

3.   Favorite Holiday Dish Or Dessert To Make? I'm sorry, but I don't have anything for this because my friends and I eat Thanksgiving dinner out. I spend Christmas with different friends. Sometimes we cook, often we go out. Last time we cooked, I brought ice cream for dessert, and obviously I didn't make that!

4.   Favorite Holiday Weather You Wish For? Depends on the holiday. For Thanksgiving, I will be here in Chicagoland and I'd like it to be cold, but not freezing. The restaurant where we're dining offers a view of the Millennium Park Rink, and it's fun to watch skaters spinning around.

Now Christmas will find me in Key West. My friends don't have air conditioning, so if we eat in, I'd prefer it to not be too hot.

Wedneday morning at 10:30

That's when I will find out what's going on with my career.

On the one hand, it can't be too dire. They don't generally give you two days' notice that you're being let go.

On the other hand, why not just tell me today? Why make an appointment days in advance if you already know what you're going to do with me?

I suspect this has to do with our St. Louis sister agency. One of our directors is going to be down there, meeting with them, at the same time that I'm going to be in the conference room learning my fate. Coincidence? I think not.

I'm trying not to freak out too much.

I am not altogether successful.

He's "perfect"

The vet reports that Reynaldo's thyroid test came back "perfect." I am so relieved! I admit I was very worried about my little man. It looks like he will be his sassy self for years to come.


In other pet news, Anthony Rizzo has a dachshund puppy named Kevin.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Happy Birthday to Me, Part 1

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Sunday Stealing

Facebook Questions

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

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

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

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

5) Do you like camping? No

6) Do you believe in paranormal phenomena? Not really

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Color Me Happy

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 15, 2019

Saturday 9

Judy at Carnegie Hall (1961)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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