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.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Welcome Back!

Late Tuesday night, the league and players came to an agreement. My guys should be back within the Friendly Confines for training camp on July 1, with games beginning on 23 or 24. Oh, how I have missed my guys!

Unfortunately, I may not be able to see them. When Spring Training originally began the Cubs were doing battle with Comcast/Xfinity over TV rights. The Cubs now own their TV network and were (pardon the pun) playing hardball with Comcast, Chicago's #1 cable provider.

Of course, that was before Covid19. With a shortened season and, most likely, no fans going through the turnstyles, Cubs ownership are probably more eager than before to make a deal for TV revenue. I hope so. I want to see this again.

Tuesday, June 23, 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? Being Elvis: A Lonely Life by Ray Connolly. I know that there's probably little new for me to learn about The King. Yet I'm enthusiastic about this book. So far, like his Being John Lennon: A Restless Life, Connolly is presenting a balanced, clear-eyed but still affectionate view of his life. As with the Lennon book, it's the context here as much as the content. 

And speaking of John, Being Elvis begins with a charming anecdote. In 1970, Connolly and John Lennon had an interview scheduled. At this time, the Beatles were in the news because of their break-up. All Lennon wanted to talk about was how Connolly had just seen Elvis' comeback in Vegas: Was Scotty with him? Did he do "Let's Play House?" Was he fat? (Cheeky, John!) At about this same time, Connolly was completely unprepared for a spur-of-the-moment phone interview with Bob Dylan. Grasping for something to say, he mentioned seeing Elvis' comeback in Vegas. Dylan became animated, peppering him with questions: Was Scotty with him? Did he sing "Mystery Train?" Dylan offered that Elvis' cover of "Tomorrow Is a Long Time" was his favorite version of any song he'd written, by any artist. Connolly found a cool way to remind us it's impossible to overestimate Elvis' impact on modern music.

2. What did you recently finish reading? The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. Shattering. I reread this book for the first time in 25 years and it delivered a gut punch. Anne is so alive in her diary. By turns buoyant and regretful, sad and silly. A teenage girl like any other -- except, of course, for her remarkable gift for storytelling. It is her universality that makes her story unbearable. You know her. You were her. Her fate is unbearable.

What I'm about to say may sound superficial, but it's how I felt upon finishing her last entry: I'm so sorry Anne died a virgin. This girl had such a healthy curiosity about her body, mens' bodies and sex. It makes me sad that she was deprived that basic physical satisfaction. And yes, motherhood and a career. Of course. She had much to offer the world. But I hurt for her that she didn't get to experience the joy of lovemaking.

I'm sorry, Anne, for the horror you faced. And I'm grateful for your diary and all you made me feel.

3.  What will you read next? Something light!

I miss the good old days

Had a client meeting today, befitting Covid19 Quarantine. Neither our agency, nor my client, have returned to the office yet. So eight of us met from our eight individual homes, sharing a screen to see the work so we were unable to see each other.

I had only 30 minutes to plow through the deck. Not even that, really, because a portion of the time was burned up with, "I can't see the screen" and "OOPS! I was on mute!"

When I got done, with only minutes to spare, my favorite client chimed in with a couple comments and then apologized for having to "drop off." Then, one by one, the clients thanked us and disappeared. Then my teammates hung up. And here I was, at home alone, feeling incomplete. Wondering how I'd done. 

If we were all at the office, we would have had a quick post-mortem about what had gone down. I miss that apr├Ęs-meeting conversation more than I thought I would.

Stupid Covid-19.

I am not helpless!

Yes, I'm still worried about my health. I notice that soreness above/next to my armpit more now when I move, but that could be because I poke and prod the site all the time. And yes, I am still perpetually ready for a nap, no matter how early I go to bed each night.

And yes, I do have to wait until late July for both the sleep study and the mammogram to get the answers that will either put my mind at ease or terrify me.

BUT my GP did give me an order for blood work. As my new doctor, she wants to establish her own baseline for my care, and included in the tests she requested is the "CBC with differential with platelet." A standard test, this will give her an idea of my  overall health and can detect infections, inflammations, anemia, cancer or leukemia. YEA!

I haven't scheduled the test yet for two stupid reasons:

•  When I can disappear from work long enough to get the blood drawn
•  Whether the street construction and Covid19 are still interfering with walk-in access to the local clinic

I have a big meeting this afternoon. When I see how that goes, I can carve out some time to go the clinic. And I have a call into the clinic right now about their hours/availability.

I feel so much better now that I'm taking a modicum of control over this.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Sunday Stealing


1. If you could spend a day in someone else’s shoes who would it be and why? Jennifer Aniston. Because sometimes -- like when I'm standing in the mud on a rainy day, waiting for the bus -- I think, "This wouldn't happen to Jennifer Aniston." So I wonder what things do happen to my favorite Friend that vex her.

2. Which celebrity gets on your nerves the most, and why? Judge Jeanine. Her personal life is worthy of a Kardashian. Quick story: her husband cheated on her and got another woman pregnant. To avoid paying child support, he dismissed the woman as "mentally unstable." DNA proved the kid was his. He ended up paying his former mistress a ton of back child support and giving her a car, presumably to ensure her silence as Judge Jeanine's career took off. And that's just one example. Therefore, I resent it when Judge Jeanine feels qualified to lecture me on the immorality of my liberal politics.

3. If you were going to bury a time capsule, what would you put in it? For 2020: a mask, a bottle of hand sanitizer, and toilet paper.

4. What is your saddest memory? I've been heartbroken a time or two. I don't wish to rank them.

5. Would you rather be in your pajamas or a suit all day? My jammies.

6. What’s the strangest place you’ve ever gone potty? In the bushes. I hated it.

7. How old were you went you had your first kiss? Junior high.

8. Do you have any strange or unique phobias? I'm afraid of squirrels. When I was about 5, my dad told me a vivid, scary story about how a little boy (just my age) was bit by the squirrel he was feeding (just as my dad had caught me doing). The squirrel was rabid and sunk his sharp teeth into the boy, and wouldn't let go. The police came and shot the squirrel, who wouldn't even open its jaws in death. The poor boy was raced to the hospital in an ambulance, with the bloody squirrel carcass hanging from his arm. Naturally, none of that happened, but the story scared me ever since.

9. If you could bring back one toy from your childhood, what would it be? I think it would be fun to play Barbies again.

10. If you could be any Disney villain, which would you be? This is hard. But Maleficient was powerful and had a cool headpiece, so I'll go with her.

11. If your life was a novel, what would the title be. The Thing of It Is, because I say it a lot.

12. What do you need more of in your life? Empathy.

13. What are your top 3 quotes? 

•  Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim. (Nora Ephron)
•  Things do not happen. Things are made to happen. (John F. Kennedy)
•  We are the clay and You are our potter. All of us are what You made us. (The Book of Isaiah)

14. What do you want people to remember about you? That I was there when they needed me.

15. What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made? I stayed too long in a bad relationship.

Cherries in the Snow

New pedi today! I tried a different color: Revlon #270, Cherries in the Snow. It's deeper and more vibrant than the pink I've previously worn. Reynaldo did not accompany me to the salon, preferring to wear his nails natural this summer.

It's nice to return cautiously to normal. I had to phone the salon from outside when I arrived, because they want to ensure they never have more people inside than can safely social distance. There were no magazines in the waiting area, and the days of being offered water or a soft drink while I wait are over for now. The receptionist took my temperature before I went back to the nail station. Both Jenna, my favorite tech, and I wore masks throughout the entire procedure.

I get such a kick out of Jenna. She and I are very different -- I'm an old white spinster and she's a young black mom. But we have much in common. She wears a Lucy "Vitameatavegimin" pin on her smock. She's a sports fan.* She loves reading about the Royals, too. I was happy to see her and enjoyed the time I spent in her chair.

After my pedi, I had my telesession with my therapist. I confessed to her that I'm scared about my health. I'm tired all the time, and I'm experiencing intermediate soreness near (but not in) my left armpit. Being me, I researched my symptoms online and have convinced myself that I have breast cancer, or lymphoma, or lupus.

I have a mammogram scheduled for late July. It was the first appointment I could get at my preferred location. I like going to that mammography center because they have, literally, decades of my films to inform their analysis. But they're in the area hospital that has the most ventilators, so because of Covid19 they suspended mammograms until just recently. And so I wait, certain that I'll soon be told I'll die alone. Because that's how my mind spins when I'm scared.

My therapist reminded me that the fatigue has been a problem for a long, long time and that I have a sleep study scheduled (ironically for the night before the mammogram). It's more likely that the tiredness is a result of sleep apnea, nothing more serious.

And if my soreness is a result of swollen lymph nodes, it could be caused by my body trying to fight off an infection. After all, I don't have a lump.

She also reminded me that my doctor gave me a script for bloodwork, I'm getting the mammogram, I'm doing the sleep study. I'm taking care of myself. I'm being smart. I should just calm down.

I'll try, Doc, I'll try.

*But not a Michael Jordan fan. We talked a lot about ESPN's The Last Dance.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Daddy Don't You Walk So Fast (1972)
... Because it's Father's Day weekend.
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) This song is about a little girl who runs after her daddy. When is the last time you ran? Were you trying to get somewhere in a hurry, or playing a sport? Like the chicken crossing the road, I was trying to get to the other side before the light turned from yellow to red.

2) This song was a top ten hit for Wayne Newton. Mr. Newton is better known for his TV work, having made more than 150 appearances since 1963. Have you ever been on TV? Or in a YouTube video? Election night, 1992. I was on the local news when they showed the celebration at Bill Clinton's Chicago campaign HQ. My mom saw me and was thrilled.

3) The road leading to Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport is named Wayne Newton Blvd. in his honor. When is the last time you were at an airport? Were you flying somewhere, picking someone up, or dropping them off? It was last December. I returned from Christmas in Key West.

4) Wayne says Elvis Presley haunts Las Vegas, and believes that The King of Rock and Roll has given him performing and parenting tips from beyond the grave. When did you last see Elvis? On TV, on a t-shirt, poster or magazine cover, or as a ghostly apparition? It was on my way to the mailbox. I still have some Elvis stamps left, and use them when I send greeting cards.

5) When Sam walks with her own dad, the problem isn't that he walks fast. It's that he's always stopping to pick up litter he finds on the grass. Litterbugs are his pet peeve. What's your pet peeve? Space hogs. People who take up too much space. For example, we all know we're supposed to social distance between ourselves and those we meet on the street. So why, when they approach me, do some couples INSIST on still walking side-by-side? Are they so special that they won't shed corona virus germs?

6) Sam's own father often traveled for business, and always gave her the complimentary soaps, shampoos or body lotion he got from the hotel. When she went away to college, she used her collection of little bottles and was grateful for all the money they saved her. What's something you've done recently to economize? It's awful to say, but in some ways, Covid19 has been good for my budget. I eat out less and have bought no new clothes.

7) It was her father who taught Sam to drive. Are you a better student or teacher? Student. I lack patience when it comes to teaching.

8) Sam's father also always asks if her car in "tip top" condition. Most recently he reminded her to test her headlights, tail lights and turn signals while the car is parked to make sure they're all working. Do you have a car maintenance tip to share? Nope. Sorry.

9) Sam's father satisfies his afternoon sugar craving with an almost endless stream of Butter Rum Lifesavers. Do you usually enjoy a between meal snack? As I work from home, I just kinda graze all day.

I tried

I gave it half an hour. Tonight I tuned in, stuck it out till 7:30, and reaffirmed that I can't stand this movie. I know it's a classic, but to me, Rebel without a Cause is a just a big, CinemaScope showcase for James Dean. And I don't care for him.

He's just so fucking pretentious! He's no Brando or Clift or Paul Newman, the other Method Actors of the day. He's too self conscious and insincere. What I think is meant to convey aching sensitivity just reads as narcissism to me. I've seen two of his three major movies -- that's all he made, you know -- and I can't stand him in either one. I enjoy Giant better than Rebel, but I'm not afraid to say Rock Hudson gives the better performance.

There. I said it. I can't stand James Dean. This puts me out of step with most other classic film lovers, I suppose, but there you have it.

It's liberating to announce it this way:
I can't stand James Dean!

He's always been essential to me!

I haven't heard from my nephew in a while, and now I know why. He's become a driver/shopper for Instacart, racking up as many hours as he can grocery shopping for other people during this pandemic. This makes him an "essential worker," often going to the store for those who can't.

He needs the money. While he has a free ride at Western Illinois, he still needs to earn his spending money. He had hoped to work this summer at McDonald's, as he has the last few summers, but they simply aren't hiring.

We text back and forth a lot, usually about history and politics and the Cubs. But I hope to see him soon. Now that things are opening up a little, maybe we can meet at a patio cafe somewhere. (Even though I know he's hungry for hours behind the wheel, and those wages and tips.)

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

I simply don't believe him

We've been trying to sell our condo building through deconversion for more than a year now. I dearly wanted it to work. It would give me a way to sell without replacing my windows and upgrading the kitchen and flooring -- expensive things I'd need to do to get a good price selling on my own. However, it looks like it's just not going to happen.

Part of the problem is timing: As a board member, I don't feel right compelling anyone to show their unit during the pandemic.

Part of it is bad decisions on our part: It's a long and unpleasant story, but as a board we refused to let someone rent out his unit after he took a job out east. I thought this was a very bad move, morally. One of our neighbors was struggling, so why not let him rent as part of the hardship clause in the association rules? The other board member is very much against renters in our building and refused to go along with it. I never felt good about that decision, but I only have so much fight in me. Anyway, the unit owner -- strapped by his mortgage payment/association fee here and the rent on his new apartment -- sold his place fast and at a loss. It lowered the market value of all of our units, and the deconversion selling price.

Most of it, though, is that our real estate agent is a douchebag. He's the kind of sales guy that, after he shakes your hand, you count your fingers. He's entitled, and has regularly treated me like staff (get me this, find me that). He's never made bringing our unit owners along with the process his priority. Oh yeah, and he cuts corners. He's not a hard worker.

For the last four weeks, we've been trying to get onto his calendar to talk to him and pull the plug on deconversion. The first week, I gave him dates and times that we were available for a call and he simply didn't call me back. The second week, I tried again. He apologized for not answering me, but said he was busy upgrading his website and app and didn't have time.

I told him then, since I was unsuccessful suggesting times, the ball was in his court and he needs to set something up. It was today at noon.

That call never happened. Because, he says, he had to rush his baby daughter to the doctor.

I don't believe him. I think he found something more lucrative to do and blew us off.

I hope I'm wrong, because lying about your baby's health is very, very bad karma.

Such a silly gal!

I am, generally, a good cyber pen pal. It's a nice talent to have in these days when we aren't congregating like we used to. Fortunately, words come easily to me, and I can compose a chatty email that's easy for the recipient -- who likely doesn't consider him/herself a writer -- to answer. I sent such a chatty email to my friend, Nancy.

The subject line was: "A tough time to be a mom." I asked Nancy about her daughter, Ivy. She's a college student who came down with Covid19 while crashing with friends in St. Paul, which means Ivy was battling a serious illness at the epicenter of racial unrest. Then I asked about Nancy's son. Peter has battled drugs and alcohol. He's riding out the pandemic somewhere out west.* Having lost his restaurant job due to the shut down, he's been under a lot of stress and stress isn't always conducive to sobriety.

Then, since one of her cats suddenly died recently, I asked Nancy if her house seemed empty, and whether she and her husband had considered adopting another cat.

Only in my rush to hit "send," I left out a couple words. I closed by asking Nancy if her house seemed empty, and whether she and her husband had considered adopting.

My 50-year-old friend admitted she found my question shocking. In fact, she said, she literally choked when she got to the end of my message. Those last two forgotten words made all the difference in the world.

When I corrected my lazy mistake, we had a good laugh about it. I don't mind being court jester for my friends in these tough times.


*I forget. Utah? Wyoming?

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Sunday Stealing

Stolen from the Royal Household at Bloggingham

1. How many gravy boats do you have in your kitchen? I have a gravy boat?

2. Do the clothes in your laundry basket need ironing? Nope! Laundry basket is (for now, at least) empty. Hooray for me!

3. What is the last thing you wallpapered? That would be nothing. Not a fan of wallpaper.

4.  Wooden floors or carpet? Carpet. And that was a mistake. If I had unlimited funds (which I don't) and the discipline to unclutter (which I don't) I'd replace the carpeting throughout my home with wood and tile.

5.  Why do we put out guest towels if no one is supposed to use them? I have guest towels?

6.  If your spatula could talk, what would it say about your duvet? HA! Trick question! I don't have a duvet! I have a nice, old school bedspread that I love dearly. I wish they would come back in fashion.

7.  Have you replaced the batteries in your smoke alarms this year? No. Bad Gal.

8. If you could put thyme in a bottle, what is the first thing that you'd like to do? This question distracted me and sent me to YouTube to look for the lovely old song.

9. Do eggs really crack or do they merely have a nervous breakdown? Eggs really do have it tough, relegated to those holders in the door of the refrigerator where it never really gets cold.

10. Why are you whipping the butter? What did it ever do to you? The Queen's kitchen gets far more action than mine.

11. Do your spoons spoon in the drawer? Have you ever noticed? And more importantly, if wooden spoons spoon do they get splinters? Don't ask, don't tell.

12. You hear: "Dumpling, my Dumpling, come hither." The candles are lit, the fondue is dipping, the Godiva is pouring, the scallions are steaming and the music is playing.....but wait, the windows are open.  Why did you close them? Because, as my father used to say, we don't want to air condition the outdoors, do we?

13. Do you need a recipe to cook or are you a bohemian chef? I need a carryout menu.

14. Is your pot black? Actually it's a reddish brown.

15. What is the sexiest spice or condiment in your cabinet?  What makes it so? My barbecue sauce! All it takes is a little squeeze and I'm rewarded with honey smoked sweet love.