Wednesday, July 08, 2020

The new ac's arrived

The moment the big one in the living room was installed, Reynaldo claimed it as his own. The smaller one in the bedroom is sooooo much quieter than the old one had been.

I am so lucky ... that I was able to afford this when others are struggling, that there's a local appliance store I can trust when it comes to big purchases I know little about, and that I'm working from home so that I could take delivery without sacrificing time off. Yet it was an unsettling today because I did something thoughtless.

My delivery guy arrived at 11:00. I thought he'd be in a little van because neither air conditioner is very big. What I didn't realize was that my condo was just one of his stops. He came in a big truck to accommodate the two dishwashers he had to deliver/install today, as well. He asked if he could park in the building driveway and I said, "yes."

I shouldn't have.

One of my neighbors needed to get to her office for a meeting and because of the truck, she was blocked in. I heard her lean on her horn and I rushed downstairs. The look on her face, before she saw me, was killer. Pure hostility. When she saw it was me, she softened. She likes me.

I explained that I'd be right back with the delivery guy. I went back upstairs, got him, he and I went back downstairs, he got into his truck and backed it up. I apologized to her profusely.

The whole drama -- start to finish -- took less than 15 minutes. But you know how stressful running late can be and that 10-12 minutes was undoubted an added a layer of tension to my neighbor's day.

At lunchtime I went out and bought a bottle of Mondavi Bourbon Barrel Cabernet -- a wine recommended to me as an affordable good one by a wine snob friend of mine. I left it in front of her door with a note. I hope she forgives me.

I have clients. I have meetings. I understand the ramifications of what I did today and I'm so sorry.

Tuesday, July 07, 2020


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? Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory. A frothy Christmas story, set among the Royals (!), has captured my attention in these hot, sticky July days. It's a light and charming relief. 

Vivian is a 50-something social worker from the Bay area who finds herself whisked away for a few days in London. Her daughter Maddie has a dream assignment, working with the Royal Family, and invites Mom along. (After all, mother and daughter have never before been apart on Christmas.) While moving in the Royal circles, Vivian enjoys a holiday romance.

This is my first time with this author, who keeps the action moving. The Royal setting is glam (I just read the passage where Vivian gets to touch Queen Victoria's sapphire and diamond crown), and I'm enjoying that in this love story, our heroine is middle-aged.

2. What did you recently finish reading? Being Elvis: A Lonely Life by Ray Connolly. What a sad book! Connolly tells Elvis' story chronologically, and rather matter-of-factly, giving no greater weight to the career highs than to the lurid personal lows. It's this even handedness that makes The King's descent into depression and addiction inexorable and heartbreaking.

There's little that's new here, but it's the context Connolly creates for Elvis' oft told tale that's important. This is a sympathetic portrait of an average man with an extraordinary gift. He could perform and he loved it. And the world loved him for it. At times, Elvis seems confused and overwhelmed by his talent, questioning why all this success came to him. He was still trying to figure it all out when he died.

Manager Col. Tom Parker is the villain of this piece. To him, Elvis wasn't a sensitive and naive artist, he was a cash cow. Without the Colonel, would Elvis still have died young, overweight and addicted? Perhaps. His mother died in her 40s, her passing hastened by weight, pills and liquor, and there's a genetic component to those diseases. But I doubt The King would have ended up as disillusioned, frightened and confused without his scammer manager. 

When I was done, I listened to my favorite Elvis song ("Kentucky Rain"), and wished for his sake that I'd never heard it ... that he'd somehow remained a regional artist, making music he loved for the Sun label, happy to hear his songs on the local radio station and thrilled to be recognized while buying new threads at Lansky Bros. Menswear in Memphis. Of course, if I never got to hear Elvis, neither would The Beatles or Bruce Springsteen and the landscape of modern music would be the less for it. I'm just sorry his pain matched his talent.

3.  What will you read next? A mystery. I'm looking at one called Open and Shut by David Rosenfelt. Do you know it?

Another Beatle post

Sir Richard Starkey, MBE, was born on July 7, 1940. 80 (gulp!) years ago today.

Monday, July 06, 2020

"The day it started moving"

On July 6, 1957, John Lennon met Paul McCartney for the first time. And the world is better for it. Here's the plaque that hangs at St. Peter's Church in Woolton, a suburb of Liverpool. John's band was playing at a church dance, and a mutual friend introduced him to the 15-year-old McCartney kid. As John recalled, "That was the day, the day I met Paul, that it started moving."

I'm happy to report that St. Peter's still stands and has a thriving congregation. It's closed now, of course, because of the global pandemic. But they're preparing to reopen soon for weddings, funerals and baptisms.

Who should apologize?

Sure, we're in the midst of a pandemic and have lost more than 130,000 of our fellow citizens. But this, ladies and gentlemen, is what our President chose to share with us today ...

1) Bubba Wallace isn't the one who found the noose. One of his team did. Mr. Wallace never saw the noose. He certainly is not the one who tied it.

2) Bubba Wallace didn't request the investigation. NASCAR President Steve Phelps did.

3) The FBI (you know, part of Trump's government) referred to it as "a rope fashioned as a noose" in their official report.

So why, Mr. President, should Bubba Wallace apologize? And to whom? 

If anything, President Trump should apologize for this tweet. Of course, he should also apologize to Barack Obama for birtherism (hoax, anyone?). But then again, why should he? Blaming blameless black men is good for his brand.

People maintain that our country is more divided than ever before. I'm old enough to remember 1968, so I dispute that. But let's go with that premise.  How do misinformed tweets like Donald Trump's do anything to bring us together?

Just another reason to vote this November! Do whatever you can to help elect Joe Biden. Don't let anything deter you from sending this man home to Mar-a-Lago for good. Then, in January, we can begin to heal.

Sunday, July 05, 2020

Sunday Stealing


1. Have you ever had a vacation ruined by the weather or did you just work around it? The first time I visited Key West, it rained every day. Every day. My hosts, Reg and Henry, were mortified, as though somehow it was their fault! But I recall having a good time, despite the "liquid sunshine."

2. What small changes do you feel people could make to give the planet a fighting chance against global warming? Vote. Be sure to support candidates -- from President to your local councilman -- who embrace science and take global warming seriously.

3. Are you adversely affect by the weather, such as SAD? Not by SAD. But when it's oppressively hot like this, I get grumpy.

4. How is the weather where you are and have you seen drastic changes in it during your life time? Here in Chicagoland, it isn't just that our summers are hotter and winters are colder. It's more subtle and insidious than that. Average daytime temperatures in summer have only gone up slightly, but at night, the mercury doesn't drop the way it did prior to 1980. We don't get relief overnight the way we used to. It means we're using our air conditioners around the clock, instead of just sleeping with the windows open as we did when I was girl.

5. Do you think we can stop global warming or is it too late? See answer #2.

6. What could you do for an hour or so today that you would really enjoy doing? Plowing through the backlog on my DVR! I have so many movies I've yet to get to.

7. What could you do for an hour today that might improve your life in the future? Housework.

8. What could you do for an hour today that could strengthen or improve a skill you would like to be able to rely on? I'd like to go back to learning Spanish.

9. What could you do for an hour today that would make your living space more pleasant to live in? Divest myself of stuff. I have so much stuff.

10. What could you do for an hour today that would improve your relationships with loved ones? I owe emails and letters to people. I should get on that.

11. Do you like, dislike, or pay no attention to the wind? For the most part, I pay no attention. It's only on rainy days that it vexes me because it's hell on umbrellas.

12. Do you have allergies or sinus made worse by the wind? Nope.

13. Have you ever been caught in a big wind (not a hurricane or tornado)? All the time.

14. When was the last time you flew a kite? I don't believe I ever have. But that song from Mary Poppins makes me want to.

15.Would you like to have the power of flight? Yes. Ever since I saw her do it. I adore Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins.


A lot of conversation

This year I spent July 4th at home blabbing, and I'm good with that. Reinforcing the connections was satisfying and, at times, surprising.

•  My session with my shrink. This was my regularly scheduled Saturday tele-session. I was surprised that she was open to having it on the holiday. After all, I know she has a young daughter and, for the many people who enjoy 90º temperatures,* the weather was nice. But with no parades scheduled, her Saturday was business as usual. And so we connected. It was an interesting session.

I reiterated my ongoing concern about my left breast. My eternally fibrocystic left breast. Whenever I feel that slight muscle ache, I get scared. And I must wait weeks for my mammogram, and then days after that for the results.

Instead of "why me?" I think "why not me?" when it comes to cancer. After all, Ed and Barb and Kathleen have all dealt with it in the last decade. Barb's husband died of it. Maybe it's just my turn. Then there's the new mole near my left eye. It's black, while just about every other mole on my body is brown. I'm going to call the dermatologist next week.

Am I overreacting?

She said that I'm taking care of myself. That I'm being responsible with my health. That's it's natural to worry, and that I should stop Googleing my symptoms.

When we came to the top of the hour, she said something that surprised me: Do I want to continue? Not with this session, with therapy in general. She thinks I've accomplished a great deal, and wonders what else I hope to get out of our therapeutic relationship.

I wasn't expecting this. It's only been four months. I still feel like a hot mess.

But I did like that she broached this. There's a myth out there that shrinks try to "hook" their patients, make us dependent to make more money off of us. Clearly, that's not the case with this doctor.

Then I celebrated the 4th by eating a steak and watching Abe Lincoln in Illinois. Then ...

•  My oldest friend called. She lives with her cousin in the California mountains, and was trapped in her room. Her cousin's in-laws had come over, en masse, for barbecue. While they proudly put on MAGA hats, they won't wear masks or social distance. They feel masks signal disdain for their President. Never mind that California is suffering an alarming uptick in corona virus cases and that my oldest friend has heart disease and diabetes and is currently battling a tenacious bladder infection that's resulted in an elevated white blood count. These in-laws know about her conditions. They just believe in Donald Trump more than science (or good manners).

My friend didn't want to put her cousin in the position of choosing between blood family and in-laws,† so she announced she had to call me -- her friend since Kindergarten! -- because I suddenly needed to talk. It was a lie on the surface, I hadn't reached out to her at all. But it was wonderful to catch up.

Must of what we talked about was silly: bad TV shows we both revel in, Joe Namath's Medicare commercials, and Beatle trivia, Some of it was comforting: we compared notes on our medical maladies and she reiterated that she didn't think I had breast cancer. ("I would know," she said, referring to how close we've always been.) We compared notes on family. We've always been able to make one another laugh, so it was a happy, healing way to spend our time.

I had a margarita and was about to watch Hamilton. Then ...

•  I exchanged texts with John. The Birthday Boy had been a little melancholy about turning 65 during a pandemic. Usually he has several celebrations, with his vast circle of friends, often at Chicago's fairs and festivals. But this year, there were no events and many of his circle were afraid to go out.

Well, Friday night (his actual birthday), the bar he frequents celebrated him. They tied balloons to an isolated table for two, labeling it "John's Corona Corner." When he arrived -- as they knew he inevitably would -- they played Diana Ross at full blast and presented him with a sheet cake adorned by a photo of Miss Ross herself.

He was so proud! I'm glad he was able to spend his July 4th with good memories of July 3rd.

I fell asleep happy last night.

*I am not among you.

†Her cousin's husband, the man related to these cretins, is suffering from dementia and has no opinions on the pandemic, Donald Trump or the 4th of July.

Saturday, July 04, 2020

Oh yes, there will be baseball!

Yesterday, Rizz was back where he belongs, within The Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field!

Saturday 9

Unfamiliar with James Cagney's 1942 version of this song? Hear it here.

1) The flag we currently fly, with 50 stars and 13 stripes, was designed by a high school student. When Alaska and Hawaii were added, President Eisenhower invited Americans to submit designs for how best to incorporate the two new states. Ike chose 17-year-old Robert G. Heft's submission from more than 1500 entries. Tell us about a contest you entered and won. (Or really hoped to win.) I fantasize like mad every time I buy an Illinois State Lottery ticket. (It's more than $2.5 million this week!)

2) The government also has another of Mr. Heft's designs waiting: one that incorporates a 51st star if another state is added. When you were in school, did you memorize the states and their capitals? No. Not knowing the state capitals really hasn't been a hardship, either.

3) Six American flags have been planted on the surface of the moon. Those are undoubtedly the flags farthest from you this morning. Where is an American flag flying near you today? The post office is around the corner, and then the library across the street from the post office, and then the WWI memorial in the park next to the library. Stand in the right spot and you can see three big flags, all at once.

4) This version of the song was performed by James Cagney in the 1942 classic, Yankee Doodle Dandy. Have you ever seen it? A million times! It's one that I watch whenever it's on. In fact, it's on TCM today.

5) In that film, Cagney portrayed George M. Cohan, the composer of this week's song. In 1940, Cohan was honored by with a Congressional Gold Medal. In presenting him with the award, President Roosevelt specifically thanked Cohan for "You're a Grand Old Flag," "Yankee Doodle Dandy," and "Over There." What's your favorite patriotic song? "America, The Beautiful." When we sing it at church, we always include the third verse. I admit it never fails to leave my a little teary. Someday we'll live up to it, I know we will!
"Oh, beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife
Who more than self their country loved, and mercy more than life
America! America! May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness and every gain divine."

6) Though a performer his entire life, Cohan disliked listening to recordings of his own voice. How about you? Do you like your singing and/or speaking voice? Nope

7) James Cagney won the Oscar for Best Actor his performance as George M. Cohan. Also nominated that year was Gary Cooper, who portrayed Lou Gehrig in Pride of the Yankees. Tell us about another movie about a great American. Everyone knows Speilberg's Lincoln, and it's wonderful. It's so highly regarded by Lincoln scholors that that the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum exhibited its  costumes and sets.

But I adore this one, too. Abe Lincoln in Illinois is another terrific movie. It begins when a young Abraham leaves Kentucky and settles in Illinois. It ends with his election to the Presidency, when he boards the train in Springfield and heads to Washington DC to save our nation. This one devotes time to Lincoln's early romance with Ann Rutledge -- a story I want to believe but many Lincoln scholars now dismiss -- so it's not considered as historically accurate as Spielberg's. Still, it's based largely on fact, using many actual Lincoln quotes/speeches, and is heartwarming and highly entertaining. It's available on Amazon Prime

Oscar trivia: Both Raymond Massey and Daniel Day-Lewis were nominated when they played Mr. Lincoln in these movies. Day-Lewis won. Frank Langella and Anthony Hopkins were both nominated for playing Richard Nixon. I don't mean to remember this stuff, I just do.

 8) As a teen, Cagney juggled high school with a variety of jobs, including bell hop and delivery boy, and gave all his earnings to his family. Looking back, Cagney was grateful that he had to begin work early, saying, "I feel sorry for the kid who has too cushy a time of it. Suddenly he has to come face-to-face with the realities of life without his mama and papa to do his thinking for him." Do you agree? Yes. I've had to be independent for a long time, and I think that life circumstance made me tougher and more savvy.

9) Cagney had a rebellious streak. His boss, studio head Jack Warner, nicknamed Cagney, "The Professional Againster." Cagney joked that he enjoyed earning the title. What about you? Are you rebellious? I've always questioned authority, a character trait that has come in handy during Covid19. Never forget that our President first commented -- dismissively -- about the virus back in January. He said, "We have it totally under control." That was more than 125,000 deaths ago. Thousands of businesses have gone bankrupt since then. Millions of lives have felt its impact. Imagine how different our nation would look now, in July, if our President had been serious about masks, social distancing, ventilators, PPE and testing back then! When a vaccine is developed, can we trust him to handle its distribution any better? Question his authority/mismanagement and hold him responsible when you vote in November. 

Friday, July 03, 2020

For the 38th time

Last night John and I celebrated his birthday. By my rough calculation, this is the 38th time we've lifted our glasses and toasted the anniversary of his arrival on earth.

Today he turns 65. A landmark birthday. So in putting together his gift, I concentrated on two things: Medicare and Covid19. His gift bag included:

•  A jokey birthday card about generic medications
•  A gift card good at his pharmacy of choice, CVS
•  Trader Joe's top-of-the-line hand sanitizer
•  A Diana Ross and the Supremes mask
•  A giant roll of toilet paper

We also had a great dinner at Remington's on Michigan Avenue. Amazingly, he'd never been! (John tends to know all the good spots before I do.) He had the creamed spinach and crab cakes, I had their big-ass burger and fries. He drank Pinot Grigio, and I had a margarita. We talked for hours about everything ... from Anthony Fauci to Ruta Lee. Our conversations have always been ridiculously random. One of our bonds is that we have the same pop culture reference points.

We each were serious for a moment. Many of his immediate circle are choosing to stay home this weekend because of Covid19. It meant a lot to him that I set this up, this year, instead of just sending a card. He was quite sentimental about it.

And I thanked him for always being so comfortable discussing race with me. I'd had friends of color before John, but they weren't as patient or at ease about answering my questions and introducing me to their life experiences. Over the decades, John's and my conversations have at times been heated (in real time, he saw the OJ trial as the system confronting a black man it couldn't bring down; I saw it as empowered men disposing of an inconvenient woman*) but they have all been respectful and illuminating.

My fifty-something kid sister recently proclaimed that now she understands what white privilege means. I learned that lesson decades ago, from hanging around with a tall black man and seeing how differently he was treated -- on trains, in stores, trying to hail cabs -- than I was. My friend John has educated me and made me a better person, a better Christian and a better American. I'm not sure that if it hadn't been for George Floyd, I ever would have thanked him.

The celebration cost more than it should have, though. I intended to take the commuter train to/from the Loop last night. I already have a 10-ride ticket, so my out of pocket would have been nothing. But because of Covid19 and everyone working from home, the commuter trains are especially erratic and the one I was waiting for last night simply didn't show up. Didn't. Show. Up. AARGH! So that was $60 in Ubers that I hadn't intended on spending.

*He's since changed his mind. I haven't changed mine.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch

Ladies and gentlemen, our President has personally endorsed a campaign ad questioning Joe Biden's cognitive abilities.

He also says he looks like the Lone Ranger in his black Covid19 mask.

I don't know about you, but I'm voting for the man who understands which part of his face the mask is supposed to cover.

Read the full story here

Thursday, July 02, 2020

Let's talk underwear

I have my good underwear. These are the bras and panties that are in pristine condition. These are the ones I'm sure to wear to the health club or to the doctor. These are the ones I'm careful to pack for vacation, because I know if my bag is lost, an airline employee will see them. (My variation on the "be sure to wear clean underwear in case you end up in the emergency room" argument.)

Then I have my other underwear. The bras that have been washed so often they no longer quite fit right. The panties with elastic waistbands that lack a bit of snap. Normally, if I'm just going to be lying around the house, I reach for my other underwear.

But with Covid19,  almost all my days are spent lying around the house. I think perhaps it's time to splurge on some more good underwear and dispose of my other underwear.

Yes, this is what I think about during these days of modified lockdown.

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Rebellion over what?

My dad used to sit in his recliner, puffing on a cigarette, shouting at the TV about how THEY were impinging on his "personal freedom."
•  Seat belts. He refused to wear his and actually hoped he'd be stopped and ticketed so he could "protest" the law. Or so he said. He never actually protested anything. I remember asking him why, instead of yelling at the news, he didn't write letters to the village president, the governor, his senators, the President ... anyone. He looked at this young Gal as though what I'd suggested was not only impudent but quite ridiculous.

•  Anti-smoking laws. It was his right to pollute his lungs with that omnipresent cigarette, and he simply didn't believe any of the research about second-hand smoke. He really hated it when THEY banned smoking on flights. He actually didn't go to Los Angeles to see his first grandchild "out of rebellion." Except none of us believed him. We knew he was simply so hooked of his cigs that he couldn't go four hours without one. It was sad. (He died of a stroke, brought on by cigarettes, when he was just 56, long before smoking was banned in restaurants. How he would have hated that!)
•  Zip codes. Yes, you read that right. He complained that he was "an individual, not a number," and refused to let THEM dehumanize him. I suspected there was more to it than that. Like me, my father was impossible with numbers. I recall the very serious trouble he got into when he accidentally transposed the digits of his SSN on a handwritten bank application. It wouldn't surprise me if he didn't have trouble remembering another number.

Interestingly, he was 100% on board with signs that said, "NO SHIRT, NO SHOES, NO SERVICE." Neither my mother nor I wore shoes unless absolutely required to and our going barefoot outdoors made him crazy. It just didn't strike him as "lady like" for us to be on the front porch or in the yard, barefoot, with neighbors and he'd point to those store signs as proof he was right. I worked very hard not to let the words, "personal freedom" or "hypocrite" pass my lips. After all, I needed my allowance.

But I think of my dad when I hear the whining and complaining about requiring masks in stores. It's for public safety, just like shoes. Or seat belts. Or no smoking laws. Instead of politicizing it, and maintaining that THEY are trying to control you, why not just accept the science? (Or are these folks still flat earthers?)

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

In honor of Ernie, Mr. Cub!

This week, four Presidents honored the Centennial of the Negro Leagues by "tipping their caps." I don't begrudge Obama the White Sox cap he wore because, well, we've all known he's a legit Sox fan. Naturally Bush wore a Texas Rangers cap because, well, hell, he was an owner. What other cap would Jimmy Carter, Pride of Plains, Georgia, wear but the Braves?

But I was surprised to see Bill representing the Cubs. And he gives a shoutout to Ernie!

If you're wondering where the current resident of the White House is in this celebration, he's simply not here. There's no reason for this to be political, but for our Birther in Chief, race has never been anything BUT political. He's not about to celebrate Black history now, when a percentage of his base indulges in paranoia over "reverse racism." Better for his poll numbers to divide and conquer than to reach out and heal and try to be President of the entire nation.

Ironically, the Donald J. Trump Foundation once did something wonderful for the Negro Leagues, underwriting one of their reunions when their original backing fell through. That was back in the 1980s, before he became President and saw the benefit of tweeting "white power."

Rejecting hate: Just another reason I'm Ridin' with Biden!

Monday, June 29, 2020


Since early this month, I've had high hopes for the sleep study my new doctor recommended. She believes sleep apnea could be the culprit behind my ongoing fatigue. I'm so tired of being tired, so tired of dozing off easily during TV shows and movies or with a magazine on my chest.

So you can imagine my disappointment when I was told today that my insurance company refused to pay for the study in a clinic.

I heard from my doctor's office that they are resubmitting, with the request for an "at home" study. Those are less expensive and more likely to be approved, I'm told.

I just hate that I have to wait even longer to get the answers to my problems!

This was unexpected

Last night I was upset. I was being hassled and blamed for something related to the condo deconversion and it wasn't fair. My heart was racing, my thoughts were bouncing and I couldn't concentrate. I was uncomfortable being alone.  

I called my oldest friend. She didn't pick up.

I called John.  He didn't pick up.

I called Joanna. From my movie group. We're friends, yes, but we're not that close.

"Hello, darlin'," she said. She was out on her evening walk but promised to call me back within 20 minutes. She did. We talked for more than two hours.

Her advice didn't really help, to be honest. She told me to stand up for myself a bit more, which I can't do without throwing someone else under the bus. I'm really conflicted about doing that. But she helped me feel less alone, and that's what I needed.

We spent a lot of time on her rotten week, too. I'm not sure my advice helped her, either, but I know it helped her to vent.

It can be difficult for me to reach out and ask for help (except from my oldest friend and John). I'm grateful that Joanna came through for me.

Not unexpected

My remaining blood test results have arrived. They're not great, but they're not dire.

My cholesterol is under control. Of course it is. I take medication every morning.

I'm pre-diabetic. That's not a surprise, either. I first learned that in October. I was going to move more and eat better, but that was before the corona virus changed all our lives. I've been hideously sedentary since mid-March.

Disrupted sleep can have an impact on both my cholesterol and blood sugar. I have a sleep study scheduled for late July. I look forward to hearing the results and getting on this.

Most of all, I'm looking forward to the mammogram in late July. I won't really be able to relax until I hear that result.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Sunday Stealing


1. If you could be a Muppet, which would you be? Cookie Monster! Because we both love sweets and we both love Wrigley Field. (Soon! Baseball will be back soon!)

2. Why is a chicken crossing the road in the first place? Instead I shall share one of my favorite "kid" jokes. This made both my niece and then years later, her kid brother, my nephew laugh. "Why did the dinosaur cross the road? Because chickens weren't born yet." Use it in good health.

3. What's your favorite muscle? My heart!

4. Cheerios or Rice Krispies? Cheerios are better for you, so I'll go with them.

5. Is summer ever going to get here? It's already here. It's pretty sticky out there today!

6. Have you ever had a utility turned off by mistake or some other reason besides weather or nonpayment? Summer of 2018, we were sporadically without water while the sewer pipes were replaced. It was never more than a few hours at a time. But we had to go all summer buying bottled water because we were advised against drinking or cooking with our water during the construction. Apparently minerals could leak in to the water supply. It was a drag. I like my good old Lake Michigan water.

7. What was your "last day" of something? March 12, 2020. It was my last day at the office before my agency mandated "work from home."

8. If you had to be trapped in a TV show for a month, which one would you choose? I've been watching Magnum PI (the original) in the afternoons and I'd like to live on Robin Masters' estate. The show takes place before 9/11 and the corona virus, so it feels more innocent. The guys all like one another and their banter amuses me (though I find the character of Rick disturbing for some reason). And why not choose to live on a luxury estate in Hawaii?

9. Did you have any type of class trip, band trip, etc in high school? Where did you go, what did you do? Not in high school. In junior high, my Girl Scout Troop went to Starved Rock State Park and spent the night in the lodge. For some reason, we didn't check into our rooms until just before dinner, so most of my memories are of hiking the park and then hanging around in the lobby area with its wonderful fireplace.

10. Do your feet smell? I don't think so. At least not to me.

11. Do you know how to french braid? No

12. Two guys are walking down the street. One drops his hat and reaches down to pick it up, the other kicks him in the ass. Do you laugh? No.

13. You wake up one morning and dogs are meowing and cats are barking - what are fish, elephants and crocodiles doing? I don't know, because the nearest zoo is 5 miles away.

14. You are going to your high school reunion. What award are you going to win? No award, because no fucking way am I going.

15. You find yourself stranded on a deserted island. Soon you find a laptop with a lifelong battery & internet connection, then you find a cave with an endless supply of food and a spring of fresh water. A cruise ship comes along to save you - do you get on it? Not during Covid19. I'm not enthusiastic about trying a cruise right now. I don't suppose they could send a helicopter, could they?

16. How many shortcuts do you have on your desktop? 18. I use 4.

17. I offer you a pie... the most delicious pie you have ever seen. You either have to eat the entire thing in one sitting or allow me to slam it into your face, which do you choose? I'll eat the whole thing, even without the threat.

18. Are you a pen stealer? Not intentionally. And yet the evidence confirms that I am, indeed, a pen stealer. Right here beside me a ballpoint from the Best Western Inn in Grand Haven, MI.

19. A dude from China comes up and offers you German chocolate cake, French fries and a Boston cream pie... what color is your car? It's not deep blue, nor an Impala. Deep blue Impalas are the most often stolen cars in Chicagoland. (I recently saw an insurance study.)

20. Sometimes you just have to tap your foot to your favorite song - which tv series season finale are you watching? Mad Men. Farewell, Don Draper, you magnificent bastard.


Saturday, June 27, 2020

Oh, shut up, Gal!

Sometimes I can be such a bossy pants. If things don't go exactly the way I think they should, I can really make myself heard. I'm not always right, you know. I can be an ass. Like this afternoon.

For months I've been after Henry to call Dr. Rivera. She's the shrink he saw several times back in 2019, not too long after his accident. Actually, she saw Henry and Reg together, trying to help them adjust to their new reality. Henry felt a great affinity toward her. Reg endured those sessions.

Anyway, Henry has had trouble communicating with people. He can be insensitive. He can be self-centered. The negative reaction he gets leaves him feeling isolated and lonely. "So call Dr. Rivera!" I've said time and again.

First, the good news: he called her. He has an appointment next week.

Now the bad news: he made an appointment for couples counseling.  

The problem with their marriage, as I see it, is that Henry has a traumatic brain injury and has done little if any rehabilitation. He's got to work at getting better, and he doesn't know how. Reg doesn't know how to help him. Reg wasn't impressed by Dr. Rivera. So couples counseling could well be a waste of time.

I made myself clear this afternoon, and I was wrong.

The important thing is that Henry wants to get help. Sought help. That took courage. That shows growth. Just because it wasn't exactly as I'd wanted it or envisioned it doesn't mean it wasn't worthy of support and celebration.

I apologized for being such an ass. Henry argued with me. "No, you're not. You are smart and you love me."

I am smart. I do love him. And I'm an ass.

I was wrong. Whatever goes down next week with Dr. Rivera, it shows progress. I'm grateful and impressed.

Do people even believe this anymore?

Read the story here
"The freedom of speech, the right to peaceably assemble is enshrined in the Constitution in the United States, and we have an election coming up this fall." With a straight face, Mike Pence said that to defend the virtually mask-free MAGA rallies.

The question that elicited this response was asked by a reporter wearing a mask. The Vice President understood it perfectly. Masks don't inhibit free speech.

Never mind that the Tulsa venue was famously not full, and the campaign could have encouraged social distancing. It just didn't.

It's obvious that neither the President nor the Vice President cares about public safety as much as they care about pandering to their base.

Their base: Those who complain more about masks than they do the lack of affordable health care; those who worry more about the retirement of Aunt Jemima than the murder of George Floyd. Some are even concerned about "reverse racism." Trump supporters are so infatuated with their own imagined victimhood that they imagine white people will soon be at the mercy of people of color. Never mind that racism is about resources and power, and people of color don't have enough of either to "oppress" these frightened whites.

It must be awful to be so perpetually afraid of "them." So terrified that people you don't know and don't understand will try to take what they believe is their birthright. I feel sorry for Trump supporters. Especially because they have put their faith into two men who care more about campaign optics than the corona virus.

THIS JUST IN! Since I posted this Saturday night, the Vice President has announced he will:

•  Visit Dallas, despite "a resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic that health experts warn could cripple hospital systems and stall the economic recovery."

•  Wait to headline campaign events in Florida and Arizona "amidst spikes in coronavirus cases." 

I choose to look at this as glass as half (or 1/3) full.

But I don't want to go to Austin

Yet it looks like that's where I'm headed. My oldest friend's son is getting married there next April. I just got a "SAVE THE DATE" announcement from him.

I don't want to go, of course. I never enjoy weddings. To be honest, I'm not that crazy about this kid, either. During his teen years and into his early 20s, he controlled his mother (my friend) with his violent temper. I suppose it's possible that he's outgrown all that and, as he approaches 30, is a fine, upstanding citizen. (I'll believe that if you will.)

But my friend seems to think she needs me there. And I get it. If there was any way I could get her to accompany me to my niece's upcoming wedding, I'd snap at it. We've known each other so long, understand one another so well, and trust one another. We're closer than sisters. I'll have her back, she knows it and that's important to her.

I just wish she wasn't so broke and so fragile that she can't come to my niece's wedding with me.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Beautiful People (2019)
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) This song is about the fantasy of being one of the "beautiful people," but how hollow the reality can be. Do you often find yourself envying others for what they have? More often than I should. I don't begrudge them what they have; instead I feel bad about myself for what I haven't achieved. My oldest friend often warns against this, saying: "Compare and despair."
2) Ed Sheeran sings that he and his girl don't fit in well because they're "just ourselves." Who among your close friends do you find it easiest to be "just yourself?" John. We take one another as we are. After more than 35 years of friendship, I treasure that.

3) The lyrics refer to Hummers and Lamborghinis. What's your dream ride? My perfect car would be any one that is always at my beck and call, with a dependable driver forever behind the wheel.

 4) Ed believes in giving back. One cause he supports is No Cold Homes, which helps ensure that everyone in the English city of Bristol has the fuel needed to keep their homes safe and comfortable. Here in the United States, he's raised funds for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Is there a cause that's near and dear to your heart? I worry a lot about food insecurity and the impact it has on children. That's why I give regularly to our local food pantry. Visit Feeding America to find the food bank nearest you.
5) Ed's arms are covered in tattoos, so clearly he doesn't suffer from trypanophobia, or a fear of needles. How about you? Do you look away when the doctor gives you a shot? No. I just had blood taken for labs and it felt very natural to watch.

6) One of Ed's tattoos is a bottle of Heinz Ketchup. What condiments would we find if we peeked into your refrigerator this morning? Sweet/sour sauce, salad dressing, mayo, pickle relish, barbecue sauce and ketchup. 

7) Ed is a natural redhead, a trait he shares with only 2% of the population. Does red hair run in your family? Nope. Yet I was a redhead for decades (Nice & Easy #107).
8)  In 2019, when this song was released, the FDA recommended the approval of a drug for treating peanut allergies in children. Do you suffer from any food allergies, or sensitivities? I don't know if it's technically an allergy, but I can no longer tolerate wine. Neither red nor white. Even a thimble full triggers a migraine. (I miss mimosas.)
9) Random question: What of these do you think is the biggest contributing factor to success -- hard work, luck or talent? Luck. All three are important, of course, but I've seen people work very hard but still never get a break, and talent is so often in the eye of the beholder.

Two down, two to go

My sleep has been fitful these days. Nightmares. Somehow my ankles are locked together and I can't walk. Or I'm in my old hometown, trying to get to my mother's house, and I can't -- roads torn up, no sidewalks, mud ...

I wake up exhausted. That's nothing new. I've been tired for literally years now. But the nightmares are new. I'm sure it's because I'm worried about my health.

I had blood taken for labs on Wednesday. Four tests in all.
•  Complete Blood Count to screen for anemia, infection, inflammation, bleeding disorder or cancer
•  Comprehensive Metabolic Panel to check for kidney and liver disease and diabetes
•  Hemoglobin A1C, which is another diabetes test
•  Lipid Panel for high cholesterol

The first two came back this morning. I went over the results over and over. My values are within "the standard range."

I am so relieved and grateful!

I'm not done yet, of course. At the end of next month, I'm having my mammogram, which will shed greater light on everything, and a sleep study.

Any day now, I should get work on my cholesterol and blood sugar level. Since I haven't been exercising since Covid19, I'm not expecting those results to be cause for celebration.

But at least right now I have little less to worry about, and that's good, good, good.