Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Step by step

I admitted last week that the idea of getting a new TV has been hanging over me, causing me stress. Because it's not an event, it's a transition! The cable company will soon stop supporting the box next to my dear old tube TV, and if I don't take action, I'll no longer have service.

To escape my fog of overwhelmedness* I've decided to start moving through the process of switching one step at a time.

1) Call Comcast/Xfinity for advice. They were really very helpful and nice. I didn't like what they had to say -- hell, I don't want to be doing this at all! -- but it now sounds very doable. I'm going to lose everything on my DVR, which leaves me feeling desolate. But it is what it is. (If they could transfer content from my DVR, it could be bootlegged, and that would violate all those FBI warnings you see at the beginning of a DVD.)

Since it's a 23" set, this is nearly life sized
2) Comparison-shop for a new TV. My new best friend from Xfinity kinda/sorta recommended LG or Samsung. Neither manufacturer offers a smart set in the exact size I want, and I don't want a massive wall-mount TV. I don't feel like rearranging my living room and I want to continue using my cabinet as a TV stand. So I landed on a 23" LG on a stand and I'll order an Amazon Fire Stick to make it smart. 

I ordered it from Best Buy. Free shipping. It's in my den right now.

3) Order the Fire Stick. Haven't done this yet. I think I've settled on "Lite," because if I find I need more bells and whistles I can always trade up. But I want to do a little more research before I pull the trigger.

4) Make the appointment with Xfinity. They said it might take up to 10 days for a tech to get out here. That's fine. As I said, I don't really want to do this at all! The 10 days will give me more time with my 97% full DVR. 

Farewell, old friend
5) Persuade the tech to take my 20" tube tv into the bedroom and set it up, replacing the 14" tube set that's in there now. I picked that on one on impulse back in 2001. I bought it at Walgreens during the period between closing on this place and moving in. I was going from a 3-room apartment to a 2-bedroom apartment and it occurred to me I might want a second set. That's the set I was watching on 9/11/01 when, while tying my tennies, Matt Lauer reported a second plane hit the Twin Towers.† My 14" set still works, too, but I can tell it's crapping out. The colors are too saturated and the adjustable buttons no longer work.

6) Call the junk service. They can take away the 14" TV and the broken stereo, and the 20-year-old AC unit that probably no longer works, and the carpeting remnants, and the old window screens. and ... I have so many things in this apartment that I've hung onto just because I thought I might need them someday, or because they're too heavy for me to haul to the dumpster, or they have to be disposed of carefully.

It still seems like a lot of work, especially for something I don't really want to do. But it has to be done, and now that I'm moving through the steps, I feel more confident. And while I'm losing a shitload of beloved content on my current DVR, the new one will hold more and I'll be able to watch Netflix and Prime on my set instead of on my laptop. 

I'm finally entering the 2010s, I guess ...

*"Overwhelmedness" wasn't a word before but it is now. I say so.

†That was 8:03 AM. I had to be out the door at 8:10 in order to make my train. I did it, in a daze. I still don't know why I went to work that day. Why on earth was I willingly traveling to the city that is home to Sears Tower and the John Hancock Building? Plus, my office was in the same building as the Israeli Consulate. I had no sooner arrived at work than the Chicago Police Department evacuated us.


Tuesday, March 02, 2021

WWW.WEDNESDAY

Rita Hayworth feeling bookish
WWW. WEDNESDAY asks three questions to prompt you to speak bookishly. To
participate, and to see how other book lovers responded, click here.  
 
1. What are you currently reading? My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing. Dark, disturbing and twisty! A tennis pro and his realtor wife have been together 15 years. They have a nice home and a pair of kids (one boy, one girl). They're happy enough, but they're bored. They want to restore the spark in their marriage. They need something to bring them together again. A shared hobby. You know, like stalking, torture and murder. 

One of the things that makes this book so creepy is that it's told from the husband's point of view. His narration makes it all seem more intimate, like we're somehow complicit.
 
2. What did you recently finish reading? If This Was Happiness by Barbara Leaming. Rita Hayworth was gorgeous, the most popular pin-up girl of WWII. A movie star so loved by the troops that they painted her image on the bomb dropped on Bikini Atoll in 1946. Her image is so enduringly seductive that she was practically a character in 1994's Shawshank Redemption, made 7 years after her death.

Yet her life story was far less than glamorous. In fact, it's staggeringly sad. When told Rita referred to their failed relationship as the happiest time of her life, ex-husband Orson Welles responded, "If this was happiness, imagine what the rest of her life had been!" As presented by Barbara Leaming, her life began with incest and ended with Alzheimer's, with alcoholism, abortion and betrayal along the way.
 
The author presents the tragic truth behind the glittering image in a sober, not sensational way. I appreciated the respect and compassion she showed Rita. I just wish her story had been happier.

3. What will read next?  I don't know ...


This will make you happy. I promise!

My favorite-most Cub, Anthony Rizzo, brought Kevin on to the field during Spring Training in Mesa.





Rizz' special cleats honor Kevin



Sunday, February 28, 2021

February Blogging Challenge -- The Last Day

  

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28) What are you holding onto that it's time to let go of?

I have so much stuff in my walk in closet! Carpet remnants, window screens, a broken stereo ... all stuff I thought I might need for something some day. Guess what: I don't.

When I finally get the TV situation sorted out, I'm going to call the junk removal service and have much of this extraneous stuff hauled away.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Happy, happy, happy!

The vet just called. Reynaldo's bloodwork came back with great news. Thanks to the medication, his thyroid levels are normal.

My little old man will be 17 years old in April. That's the equivalent of 84 in human years. He'd been "off" lately: manic in his begging but picky about his food and losing weight, vomiting, confused and worried about being alone. 

But since we started on the meds last month, he's gained 8 oz., he's eating more normally and I've found fewer wet surprises on the carpet. The bloodwork proves it: it's working!

This medication can lose efficacy after two years. But then he'll be 19, and 19 to a cat is 92 to a human. That's as much as I have any right to hope for.

I am feeling so grateful right now.



February Blogging Challenge -- Day 27

 

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27) What is something you want more of in your life?

Peace of mind. Contentment. 

We're in the last innings, my loved ones and me. We're dealing with health issues we never had before. We're into, or are looking at, retirement and it's not going to be as comfortable for any of us as we'd just always assumed. (Oh, let's face it: some of us never thought this time would come!)

But there's a beauty to every season. I want to enjoy this time instead of worrying so much.



Friday, February 26, 2021

Saturday 9

BILLS, BILLS, BILLS (1999)

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

1) This song is about a cheating boyfriend. Unlike most songs, where the lover deceives by seeing another, this one squanders his girl's financial resources. She sings that he's ruined her credit. Do you know your credit score? Yes. I check it every month. It's a good (though far from fool proof) way to see if your identity or account info have been stolen.

2) How often do you pay your bills? Do you handle them as they come in, or do you pay weekly, bi-weekly or monthly? Or are you lucky enough to have someone else handle your bills? Every Wednesday, if I can. I get paid on the 15th and the last day of the month, so some bills have to wait more than a week for payday to arrive.

3) Destiny's Child had a hit with "Bills, Bills, Bills." This girl group got their start in Houston, TX. During the recent, bruising storm, lead singer Beyonce sent food, money and water to her home state. Have you spent much time in the Lone Star State? I toured the Dallas area with my client's sales rep to get a better idea of their business in the region. It was early in my career, and it felt very sophisticated ... flying out, taking the sales rep to lunch and paying with my expense account (!), swimming in the motel pool before I turned in for the night. In retrospect, I smile because the rep and I ate at Chili's and it was such a modest motel. I bet it was one of the cheapest expense reports the accounting team ever received! But it's still a fond memory.

4) Beyonce is the breakout star of the group and went on to have a highly successful solo career. Can you think of another star who began his/her career as the member of a group? The supreme Miss Ross. With the passing of Mary Wilson earlier this year, Diana Ross is the last of the original Supremes who blasted onto the charts in 1964.

 

Florence, Mary and Diana
 

5) "Bills, Bills, Bills" was performed a cappella by the kids on Glee. That Fox show ran for six seasons. Were you a fan? I never saw it. But I have friends who were rabid fans.
 
6) In 1999, when this song was on the charts, SpongeBob SquarePants premiered. The show remains popular among the younger set. Have you ever seen it? Oh, this makes me wistful. My nephew was obsessed and Patrick the Starfish was his favorite. Now in his junior year of college, I'm very proud of my nephew and the young man he's become. But I miss the little boy who parroted Patrick's dumb jokes.
 
7) SpongeBob has become an industry, spawning movies, a Broadway musical, video games and both coloring and comic books. Once considered children's amusements, today coloring and comic books enjoy a following among adults. Have you recently enjoyed coloring or reading a comic book? Nope.

8) Also in 1999, Walmart expanded to the United Kingdom. Do you shop at Walmart? No. I went there a couple times years ago and found it depressing. Shoppers weren't watching their kids and the people who worked there seemed positively wretched, like they wished they could be anywhere else. During the pandemic, though, walmart.com has really come through. Love it! And my cat Reynaldo loves their boxes.


9) Random question -- We've all met people who aren't exactly as they present themselves. Are you good at spotting a phony? I admit I have been fooled.


 

Kathy and Rita

At the beginning of yesterday's call with Kathy, I told her I only had 45 minutes. Now 73, she has trouble with her memory. It's beyond garden-variety forgetfulness that comes with age. During every conversation she will say -- at least once -- that she "recently had a problem" with her brain but "it fixed itself." No, it hasn't. She has never mentioned this to a doctor and won't because she insists she's "fine." She's not.

Kathy is also a long-time friend. I've known her since the mid-1980s. During my bout with covid, she was very thoughtful and supportive. I want to maintain my relationship with her. I just don't want to be angry or depressed when I hang up. Hence, the 45 minute limit.

I told her that I had to log onto Zoom at 4:15. Later in the call, I reminded her, referring to it as "a conference call," just in case she forgot what Zoom is. 

Most of the call was pleasant. We talked about her love of jigsaw puzzles, which has grown during the pandemic. I told her that this past year I've reread some favorite books. She briefly touched on how hard it is for her to read these days -- that she has to reread paragraphs sometimes. Then we started talking about my love of the Cubs, and she said it makes her happy to think of how happy I must be for spring training.

Somehow we got on the subject of my favorite grandmother's jersey. My cousin liked to take Grandma to Wrigley Field for Mother's Day, and she always wore a Cub cap and her #23 Ryne Sandberg jersey for the occasion. She looked adorable, by the way. We buried her with the cap in her hands, and after she'd been gone for a while, my cousin gave me her jersey because I was now our "matriarch of Cub fans." I love wearing that jersey.

I thought -- since Kathy said she enjoyed my Cubbie love -- that she would like that story. She's a grandmother herself, after all.

Somehow it made her edgy. She started to tell me a story that confused me about her sister Kim ("the one with the big mouth") and her brother and their father. I really wasn't following it and whatever she was trying to tell me was upsetting her. AND it was nearly 4:15.

"I'm sorry to do this to you, but I've got to go. It's 4:14. I've got a meeting, remember?"

"Isn't that like you! You end things when it's comfortable for you to end them. Just like you!"

Wow. Now she's lashing out.

"Look," I said evenly, "I told you I had to go at 4:15. I have to go. It's payday tomorrow and every once in a while they expect me to do something to earn it."

"Oh, OK. Goodbye."

I was relieved to end the call but sorry it ended on such a negative note. It left me rattled all evening.

Apparently she was, too, because she sent me a text before she went to bed, apologizing.

Fortunately, I just finished a book about Rita Hayworth. A major movie star in the 1940s and 1950s, she retired from the public eye when she was 53. The glamor girl was appearing in public angry and disheveled. It was assumed that she was an alcoholic. It was early onset Alzheimer's, a disease not well known or understood in the 1970s. Rita's outbursts were born not of booze but of terror and frustration she could not communicate.

via GIPHY

So the Love Goddess of WWII and the retired real estate agent in Dekalb have a lot in common: Forgetfulness, confusion and anger at their vulnerability. The book about Rita was unremittingly sad. But I'm glad I read it, for it will remind me to be more compassionate.

Just as a biography I read about Johnny Carson, of all people, gave me insights into my Cousin Rose. I'm so grateful when I learn from what I read!



February Blogging Challenge -- Day 26

  

Visit Kwizgiver for the prompts

26) Most companies have a set of core values that act as guiding principals for their operations. On a personal level, what are your core values?

At the TCM Film Festival, in an interview about his career making movie music, Burt Bachrach said "Alfie" was his favorite song. While he wrote the melody, which is haunting and lovely, it's Hal David's lyrics that have always gotten to me, ever since I was a little girl. It puts my Christian faith in such accessible, conversational terms. 

We live in a country where some in the Christian community cling to Donald Trump with his casual cruelty, his win-at-any-cost mentality and the way he equates force with strength. My response is this lyric: 

If only fools are kind, then I guess it is wise to be cruel. And if life belongs only to the strong, what will you lend on an old Golden Rule?

As sure as I believe there's a Heaven above, I know there's something much more, something even non-believers can believe in. I believe in love.

When you walk, let your heart lead the way and you'll find love any day. 

 

I try to live this. I fall short often. I have an impetuous nature and a bad temper, both of which get in the way.

But I do believe this. It reflects who I want to be. And God knows how hard I try.



Thursday, February 25, 2021

February Blogging Challenge -- Day 25

  

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25) What is a topic you could talk about for hours if you had a captive audience? What would you tell them?

Junk conspiracy theorists love to point to superficial similarities between the Kennedy and Lincoln assassinations (Both their names have seven letters! Both were shot in the head!) and conclude the two events were somehow destined. I'm more interested in the real-life similarities between their wives.

In addition to sitting beside their husbands when they were shot, both Mary Lincoln and Jacqueline Kennedy:

•  Were "daddy's girls" and sure they were their father's favorite

•  Lost a child before entering the White House (Mary's son Eddie, Jackie's still-born daughter Arabella) and then again as First Lady (Mary's son Willie, Jackie's son Patrick)

•  Spoke fluent French, which their husbands believed lent them a little reflected class

•  Made their husbands crazy with their spending on clothes

•  Were discouraged from being with their husbands when they died (Mary was banished from the deathbed, Jackie literally slugged a nurse to get into the trauma room)

•  Lived abroad as widows -- Mary and her son Tad spent years traveling through Europe and Jackie lived in Greece with her second husband, Aristotle Onassis

This is off the top of my head. I'm sure there's more if I looked it up.

I'm not implying that these similarities mean the assassinations were cosmically connected. That's ridiculous. But I do wonder what it was like in Heaven when they met. I suspect Mary said, "At last! Someone who gets me!"

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

February Blogging Challenge -- Day 24

  

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24) What is something you've been avoiding? Why are you putting it off? How would you feel if you took care of it?

I need a new TV. I don't want one, I need one. I still have a tube TV and last year, at the beginning of the pandemic, when an Xfinity repairman upgraded my modem, he told me that "soon" the box next to my TV would no longer be supported.

I'm putting it off for three reasons: 

1) My old-school TV suits my purposes and I hate to see something in a landfill that's still working

 2) I haven't purchased a new TV in (literally) 20 years and I'm worried that the one I choose won't work with my Xfinity services and I'll lose everything on my DVR

3) I'll have to beg and plead for a cable guy to come out because NO WAY can I hook up this TV alone.

It's easier to pull the covers over my head and maintain the status quo. Though I guess the decision really isn't mine.

I'll feel better when it's done. But the step-by-step of it -- choosing the TV, having it delivered, wooing Xfinity to send someone out with the new equipment and to take the old box away, and then calling a junk man to take the TV (and lots of other stuff) away -- gives me agita.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

WWW.WEDNESDAY

Rita Hayworth feeling bookish
WWW. WEDNESDAY asks three questions to prompt you to speak bookishly. To
participate, and to see how other book lovers responded, click here

1. What are you currently reading? If This Was Happiness by Barbara Leaming. "Men go to bed with Gilda but they wake up with me." That was movie star Rita Hayworth's rueful observation about being trapped by her sexpot ("Gilda") image. In the 1940s, magazines literally referred to her as "The Love Goddess." How does a girl with little self-esteem, even less education, and no training as an actress live up to international fame and the pressure to be a seductress?
 
She doesn't. 
 
This is a glamorous, but terribly sad, story. The title came from her second husband, Orson Welles. When told she referred to their failed relationship as the happiest time of her life, he responded: "If this was happiness, imagine what the rest of her life had been!"

I like this author's style. I've read several of her other biographies and she's serious and respectful. There's a lot of sex in this book, but Barbara Leaming is not salacious in the retelling, which I appreciate. Also, since she'd already written a biography of  Welles, she's familiar with the terrain.
 
2. What did you recently finish reading? The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie. Pretty and imaginative, Anne Beddingfield has led a sheltered and rather sad life up until now. So when she finds herself the witness to a sudden death in the London Underground, she convinces herself that she has not seen a horror but instead an opportunity. When Scotland Yard declares the death an accident and not a homicide, she sets off to solve the mystery herself. Soon she's onboard an international ocean liner, involved with diamond smuggling against a background of political revolution.

You thought the plot of Murder on the Orient Express was complicated? Well, buckle up. This short book is filled with so much action in so many locations -- London, the Riviera, Johannesburg, a deserted island, a luxury liner and more than one train -- and has so many characters that it's easy to get turned around. 
 
Yet I'm proud to say I figured it out (though one warm and engaging character I thought was involved wasn't; shame on my cynical nature). As you read, strip away the extraneous and you'll be able to unmask the villain right along with Anne.
 
3. What will read next?  I don't know ...

February Blogging Challenge -- Day 23

  

Visit Kwizgiver for the prompts

23) Who gets on your last nerve? What do they do that bothers you so much? Why does it bother you so much? Why do you think they do that? Now what is an endearing quality they have?

Dizzy Betty from movie group! 

What does she do that bothers me so much?

•  We meet on Zoom now, and she is forever adjusting her monitor to use it as a mirror to fix her hair. This detracts attention from the person who is talking. 

•  There's a sameness to her comments.. "How about Cary Grant [or Joan Crawford]? Wasn't he [she] gorgeous?" Yeah, Betty, that advances the conversation. 

•  You can count on her to miss MAJOR plot points.

Betty: Was anyone else surprised that the cowgirl didn't marry her childhood sweetheart in the end?

Moderator: Um, Betty? The sheriff hanged him, remember?

Betty: Oh. Missed that!

Why does it bother me? Because she sucks up all the oxygen and adds nothing.

Why do I think she does this? She's a woman of a certain age (at least 55) who has told me about her days, 30+ years ago, as a beauty pageant contestant and a model. She had some success, and you can tell by her reminiscences that these were happy times. I think she misses having all eyes on her.

What is an endearing quality of Betty's? She reminds everyone to pay our moderator, Will, for these online meetups. He used to charge $5/person, but since we no longer meet in person, he doesn't have to pay venue rental. He's embarrassed to ask for payment and sporadically asks us to give what we can to keep the group afloat. But he works hard to find the films online for free, research them and run the group. PLUS he works trade shows for McCormick Place and clearly, with Covid, he's not working. I think it's nice of Betty to pipe up and spur us to pay up.

OK, I get it. She's a faded beauty queen in an unhappy marriage (she told me that, too) and it gives her some small pleasure to have all eyes on her. Would it kill me to show her some compassion? No. (<<< Hanging my head.)


Monday, February 22, 2021

This happened in Mesa today

It was sunny and 79º and Rizz took the field. This opens my heart. I keep thinking of that line Bruce Springsteen sings, "I'm ready to grow young again." LET'S GO!






February Blogging Challenge -- Day 22

  

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22) How do you want to feel today? Do you feel that way? What can you do that would help you feel that way?

I want to feel productive, like I'm making good use of the day and not wasting my time. It's early as I post this, so I don't know if I will get there. But in addition to monitoring my work email to see what my clients want, I've given myself some little chores to do (wash dishes and clean the sink, schedule my annual checkup with the dermatologist) to help keep me on track.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

February Blogging Challenge -- Day 21

  

Visit Kwizgiver for the prompts

21) Who is someone you admire? Why? 

I admire my new boss, Aaron. He's a very good supervisor -- always listening, always supportive. This not only makes him kind, it makes him smart. If Aaron needed an internal organ, I would get myself tested as a donor. I'm that loyal to him now.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Sunday Stealing

Coronavirus Questions

In the past year have you–

1. Gone without a bra? Not unless I was in my pjs.

2. Skipped making your bed? Haven't made my bed regularly since my mom gave up on trying to make me.

3. Ordered groceries to be delivered? Yes

4. Cooked a real meal? Yes, but not well.

5. Spent the day in pajamas? I actually had covid. I think I spent five weeks in my pajamas.(Anyone who tells you covid is "just the flu" is not your friend.)

6. Skipped shaving your legs? Yes.

7. Spent hours on Instagram or Pinterest? No

8. Eaten in a restaurant? Less than 10 times in the last year. I miss it.

9. Skipped washing your hair? Not more than two days. Even when I was sick, I tried to shower. It reliably makes me feel better.

10. Not folded the laundry? No. I did go weeks without doing laundry when I was sick, but if I do wash my clothes I always fold them right away.

11. Worked a puzzle? No. Though I have two right here. My friend Kathy loves to do puzzles and so she sends them to me. She means well. This reminds me: I must call her. (And when things open up a bit more, I'll take the puzzles to Goodwill so someone else can enjoy them.)

12. Had Zoom calls? I work on Zoom. I worship on Zoom. My movie group meets on Zoom. My friend Joanna prefers Zoom to the phone. So yes, I've had Zoom calls.

13. Written letters? Yeah, but I did that before the pandemic.

14. Binge watched a TV show? Yeah, but I did that before the pandemic, too.

15.Gone barefoot? Yeah, but guess what: I did that before the pandemic, too. I'm just a barefoot, binge-watching letter writer!


 

February Blog Challenge -- Day 20

 

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20) What do you need today (not what do you need to do today)? What is one way you can give yourself some extra self care today?

I'm going to treat myself to carry out all weekend (as weather permits). I have been eating out of my refrigerator and pantry because I'm trying to save money ... and because we should try to stay home during this pandemic ... and because of the snow and cold. But I really am a terrible cook, who is even worse at clean up. I need to do this for myself. I need to feel sun on my (masked) face. I need to look at a menu and choose something yummy. I need to not scrub the George Foreman grill.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Saturday 9

 Saturday 9: Cry (1952)

1) In this song, Johnnie Ray assures us we'll feel better if we cry. Do you agree? Usually.

2) He also mentions waking from a dream, believing it was real. Has that ever happened to you? No.

3) Because this record was such a massive hit, Johnnie Ray was nicknamed "The Prince of Wails." Without looking it up, do you know who is currently the Prince of Wales? First of all, Prince Charles is Prince of Wales. Second of all, GAWD! This record is awful. I can't get over that it was a hit. But it was #1 for weeks!

4) To cash in on the success of this single, 20th Century Fox cast Johnnie Ray in a big-budget musical, There's No Business Like Show Business. Today it's best remembered as a Marilyn Monroe movie. Have you seen many of Marilyn's films? I think I've seen them all. (Tip: Avoid River of No Return.)  
 

See her final, unreleased performance
If you're really a fan, watch this
. It's about 45 minutes of footage from Something's Got to Give, the unfinished 90-minute movie she was fired from. The bosses said she was late too often (she was) and that she simply wasn't any good anymore. See for yourself. I think she was adorable and the studio bosses were just tired of her expensive shenanigans. They were in for a surprise when they tried to replace her and Dean Martin quit, exercising a clause in his contract that gave him co-star approval. No Marilyn, no Dean. So they hired her back, but she died before they could restart. 
 
PS The movie was eventually finished with Doris Day and James Garner and retitled "Move Over, Darling." 


5) After graduating from high school, Johnnie worked at low-paying jobs, including bus boy and soda jerk. He found he made better tips when he began playing piano in restaurants. Have you ever worked for tips? Back in my long-ago high school days, I got tips on top of what I charged when I was a babysitter.

6) In 1969, Johnnie was in the news a lot again because he performed with Judy Garland during her European tour and was best man at her wedding to Mickey Deans. Tell us what you wore to the most recent wedding you attended. For my niece's wedding last fall, I wore a long cranberry velvet jacquard jacket over a matching knit top and black leggings. It was literally the only time I dressed up in 2020.

7) In 1952, when this song was a hit, Mr. Potato Head made his debut. It was the first toy advertised on television. What TV commercial have you seen recently? Broadway Joe wants us to get all the medicare benefits we deserve!

8) Also in 1952, chlorophyll was all the rage for banishing bad breath. Colgate led the way by adding it to their toothpaste. Do you use gum, mints, mouthwash, or breath strips? I brush my teeth throughout the day, so I don't usually use these.

9) Random question -- Congratulations! You won a free three night/two day weekend for two in Las Vegas! The weather is predicted to be sunny and 65º each day you're there. It's 12:00 noon on your first day. Are we most likely to find you: a) gambling in the casino or b) having breakfast in bed or c) outside, enjoying the sun and the sights? Outside! Definitely outside. First of all, Las Vegas is best place ever for people watching. Secondly, it's been so cold here and I'm so sick of being cooped up!





February Blog Challenge -- Day 19

  

Visit Kwizgiver for the prompts

19) What are the most important characteristics in a friend. Do you have those qualities?

On the 14th, I wrote: "I am available to those I love. I'm here. Call me. I will try my best not to let you down."

That's what I want in a friend. That's what I try to give my friends.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

February Blog Challenge -- Day 18

  

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18) What are you proud of yourself for today? Why?

I'm struggling with this one, because I'm writing this early Thursday morning and Wednesday wasn't an action-packed day. Nothing really stands out. So I'll go with this, even though it seems like rather weak tea...

I'm proud of my use of the USPS. Yesterday I sent a newspaper article to my oldest friend in California. Yes, I could have sent her the link and she'd get it instantly. But this way she can check out the local Chicago ads on the other side of the article. And she'll see my handwriting. My Cousin Rose and I exchange snail-mail letters all the time, and she has commented on how special it feels to actually see anyone's signature these days.

Last week I mailed a silly "thinking of you" card to Joanna. It really was kinda stupid -- that good friends are like good bras because they're supportive. (Yuk. yuk. Get it?) Still, I wanted to do it because she's been feeling blue. An old friend of hers from her hometown -- someone she's known for years and spoke to monthly -- got sick and died without reaching out to her. His mother called to let her know of his passing. She feels it keenly that she didn't get to say goodbye, and wonders if it's something she did. The card meant a great deal to her. She's mentioned it twice. I'm not sure an email or IM would have the same impact.

So I'm proud of myself for actually affixing stamps to envelopes. It sounds like a little thing, but it's not.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

WWW.WEDNESDAY

WWW. WEDNESDAY asks three questions to prompt you to speak bookishly. To participate, and to see how other book lovers responded, click here.  

1. What are you currently reading? The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie. A young woman, who has led a sheltered and rather sad life, finds herself the witness to a sudden death in the London Underground. A man backed away from Anne and fell onto the track and was electrocuted. A doctor in a brown business suit checks the body, quickly pronounces the victim dead, and then disappears into the crowd. After a brief inquest -- where Anne testifies but the mysterious doctor (if he was indeed a doctor!) is nowhere to be found -- the death is declared an accident. Anne's boredom with her own life and her vibrant imagination convince her that she has not seen a horror but instead an opportunity. She sets off to solve the mystery of "The Man in the Brown Suit" herself.

It turns out that Anne was right: the death was indeed nefarious and oh, so complicated by that Man in the Brown Suit. Soon she's involved in international diamond smuggling on board an ocean liner.
 
It starts slower than Christie's more familiar books. But stay with it! Once it finally takes off, you'll be hooked.
 
2. What did you recently finish reading? The Good Son: JFK Jr. and the Mother He Loved by Christopher Andersen. This is really a 365-page People magazine article. Which is fine, if that's what you're looking for. 
 
Andersen quotes intimate two-party conversations that he can't possibly verify. He concentrates on the first 34 years of John's life -- when the mother he loved was the central influence of his life -- but the last five years are wound up quickly. The results are unsatisfying, because it's during these last five years he begins his business life (George) and meets and marries Carolyn Bessette. Was he happy with his wife and his life? Was he really ready to enter politics or was he committed to George? Is it true that Carolyn was unfaithful? If it was, did John know or suspect? Was she a soulmate who struggled in the public eye? Or was she a moody manipulator? This book shares salacious stories but draws no conclusions.

So this book is readable because Andersen is a good writer, and it's compelling because John's story is downright Shakespearean. But it's not really a good biography. It's just an entertaining read.
 
BTW, there is no credible evidence -- NONE WHATSOEVER -- that John ever gave Donald Trump serious thought. Not as a fellow New Yorker, not as a friend, and certainly not as a potential President. He never wrote about him in George, as has circulated on Facebook. No one has ever been able to produce a magazine tearsheet to confirm it because it doesn't exist. The most that can be said if that they happened to sit side-by-side at a basketball game. Once. By chance.
 
JFK, Jr. was however fond of Bill Clinton and corresponded with him via fax (remember those?) during impeachment. He was reportedly less fond of Hillary, because she was interfering with New York politics when he was considering a dabble. They did not murder him.
 
I only mention this because of the way Trumpsters and the Q-Anon cult have co-opted JFK, Jr. It's silly, of course. But I guess every American conspiracy theory somehow must tie back to the Kennedys.
 
3. What will read next?  I don't know ...


February Blog Challenge -- Day 17

  

Visit Kwizgiver for the prompts

17) I'm embarrassed to tell anyone this, but ...

I think I've seen just about every episode of the 90s Saturday morning show Saved by the Bell. I realized this on Super Bowl Sunday, when the E! network ran a marathon. I remember watching it originally from bed when I was hung over after Friday night happy hour(s). Then I watched it a lot in reruns because it was on in the laundromat when I was doing my weekly wash. 

I am not proud of the fact that I can't remember where I left my glasses, but I recall how Screech came to win "Miss Bayside High."