Tuesday, August 31, 2021

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 31

 Today's happiness -- Not alone. Last week I was tired because I found myself doing more than my fair share of the work for my "team." Today got off to an equally exhausting start because, even though we were charged with coming up with even more new ideas by end of day, my art director told me she couldn't really work on it until 11:00, after her pedi. Yes, she made a pedicure appointment during work hours because, well, with work from home, who's to tell if we're home or not?

Why not stick me with the lion's share of the work again? It's what she's been doing for years anyway.

At 11:00 we talked for a while. We agreed to flesh out ideas independently and touch base again at 1:00. I tried to stay upbeat because 1) she did just get over a bout with breast cancer and I don't want to beat up on "cancer girl" and 2) this is who she has always been. She's 59 years old. She's not going to change now.

Well damn if she didn't! Of the 5 new ideas we sent to our boss at 4:00 today, two were hers! I had to tweak them a bit and she balked at first. But I explained that my little changes to her concepts would amplify what made them unique. 

Then, to assuage her wounded ego, I told her something that was very true: I am grateful for her input.

I cannot do everything all by myself all the time.

Isn't it nice when a day starts out crappy and ends surprisingly well? Isn't it nice when people surprise you for the good?

Each day in August you are to post about something that makes *you* happy. Pretty simple. And, it doesn't even have to be every day if you don't want it to be. It's a great way to remind ourselves that there are positive things going on in our lives, our communities, and the world.


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 Reagans: Portrait of a Marriage by Anne Edwards. I recently watched, and enjoyed, a Ronald Reagan movie on TCM and it occurred to me I know very little about the man. Oh, I know about his Presidency and I admit his worldview left me cold. Today I'm curious about Ronald Reagan, the person, not the politician.

So I picked up this book by Anne Edwards. Ms. Edwards writes highly readable biographies. This is another. It's moving along at a brisk pace and yes, so far I'm getting an idea of the man behind The Reagan Revolution. I admit I like the old boy. An interesting combination of spiritual, optimistic and remote. That ability to withdraw, to keep a part of himself to himself, seems to be the coping mechanism of a preternaturally upbeat man who grew up loving his disappointing alcoholic father. 

Nancy is even more complicated. She loved her husband sincerely and put him first. Ahead of all else, all the time. This made her a deficient mother, stepmother and employer. The book attempts to explain this by sharing Nancy's childhood -- her father abandoned the family, so her mother left two-year-old Nancy with grandma when she traveled with a theater group and just swooped in and out of the girl's life for years, then Nancy's adored stepfather was reluctant to adopt her and give her his name. This left Nancy insecure, and caused her to cling to "Ronnie" desperately. OK, that's an explanation but not an excuse for how she treated her household. You would think that a woman who longed for her own stepfather's love and approval would have been more sensitive to Reagan's children by his first marriage. I guess this is a real-life example of how toxic family cycles come to be.

2. What did you recently finish reading? Someone We Know by Shari Lapena.  Plot synopsis from 40,000 feet: Raleigh is a typical teenager with a penchant for computers and a bad habit: he breaks into neighbor's homes, and their laptops. Not to steal! Just for kicks and to make a little mischief. When one of the neighbors is murdered, the fun goes out of Raleigh's "game." The community has to face that fact that "someone we know killed someone we know."
This is really about much more than that. What's really going on? With your neighbors ... in your marriage ... with your kid ... Does anyone truly know anyone else and what they're capable of?
This paranoid little yarn has many twists and turns, but I was able to follow each one and never felt deceived. The plotting is that good. Shari Lapena has a new fan.

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

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 30

Today's happiness -- These two. That's former Cub first baseman Anthony Rizzo on the left, former Cub manager Joe Maddon on the right. Monday night, the Yankees played the Angels for the first time since Rizz has been on the team, and these two shared a moment on the field. It delighted me to see them together, looking like they enjoy each other.
These two veterans of the 2016 World Series will always have a place in my heart, and I've always been more than a little in love with Joe Maddon. He gave me words to live by: 
•  Don't let the pressure exceed the pleasure
•  Do simple better
•  Try not to suck

And Rizz? When he's not winning Gold Gloves and swinging a bat, he is helping children and their families battle cancer. (He raised over $650,000 in one month before being traded.)

Unfortunately one of them had to lose last night and it was Rizz. But he went 2-for-4, so I think his Covid slump is over. YAY!

Each day in August you are to post about something that makes *you* happy. Pretty simple. And, it doesn't even have to be every day if you don't want it to be. It's a great way to remind ourselves that there are positive things going on in our lives, our communities, and the world.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 29

Today's happiness -- My neighbors' sunflowers. I live next door to a childrens' home. The backyard is a playground filled with bikes, a sandbox and a tree house. And today I noticed their big, beautiful sunflowers are blooming. They're tall and they look like they're smiling, and I find myself smiling back.

Each day in August you are to post about something that makes *you* happy. Pretty simple. And, it doesn't even have to be every day if you don't want it to be. It's a great way to remind ourselves that there are positive things going on in our lives, our communities, and the world.

Good Henry, Bad Henry

Sometimes,  Henry can be very sweet. That's how I know my old friend is still in there somewhere. Sometimes he can be a rampaging asshole. Like yesterday. 

He called me on my cell, not my landline. It was charging in the kitchen and I couldn't get to it in time. I listened to his voicemail: "Just me, checking on you." Nothing specific, nothing seemed wrong, so I didn't return the call. I figured he was just bored and probably found someone else to call.

A few minutes later he called back on my cell. I picked up. He began by ranting about his phone. He could not "find" my landline number and he wanted to throw the phone against the wall. That's his TBI talking. It's the same phone he's had for ages. Sometimes his brain just doesn't work as it should.

I told him it was OK, it was all good. We connected, that's all that mattered.

He wanted to know what was going on in my life. Silly me, I believed he actually wanted to know. Remember, I thought was this one of his, "Reg is asleep and I'm bored" calls.

So I told him how my aunt was suffering after her knee replacement. How I was worried about her because she had to choose between pain or the severe gastrointestinal discomfort the pain meds give her.

"Yes. I understand. I have that all the time," he said dismissively."I am so ..."

"No, you do not know what she's going through," I said. I will not infantilize him. "They have never cut you open, removed part of knee and replaced it with metal!" I was upset that he was diminishing her pain and my worry. 

"No, that is true," he admitted. I told him about her surgery and he responded with:

"OK, this is why I am upset." He'd obviously been waiting for me to stop talking about her so we could talk about him.

I was now sorry I picked up. I know how these calls go. Henry is in a rut about how bad his life is. There is no getting him out of this, no matter how I hard I try. All I can do is try to slow his hysteria.

He hasn't been like this -- with his mind stuck immovably on one track -- since Spring 2020. Then, like now, he wasn't working and didn't have a schedule to ground him.

I know he can't help it, but it's scary and tiring to talk to him when he's like this. I wish that, instead of "Henry," my caller ID would indicate if it was "Good Henry" or "Bad Henry."

Sunday Stealing


1. Are you a Jeopardy fan?  Who do you want to replace Alex Trebek? Clearly the correct answer is Jonathan Lawson. He's already replaced Alex on the Colonial Penn commercials.


2. What’s your favorite horror film? Psycho. It's a beautifully made film on just about every level. So many horror movies are slapdash, or depend on blood and gore while Psycho is all about the suspense.

3. Are you a possessive person? In my own way.

4. Who’s your idol? JBKO. She was a very strong woman who endured more than anyone should -- an alcoholic father, 5 difficult pregnancies in 10 years (but she only brought 2 babies home), wiping her husband's brains off her face and then mourning for the nation on the world stage, her baby sister's cancer, her mother's Alzheimer's, her own battle with cancer -- and she did much of it in the public eye, with people judging her. She never explained and she never complained. She lived her life on her own terms and at the time of her death, she was a grandmother and a successful book editor and loyal companion to a man who loved her. She was triumphant.

5. List five things you can’t live without. Coca cola, chocolate, TV, the internet, air conditioning

6. Where do you feel home? Anyplace with
Coca cola, chocolate, TV, the internet, air conditioning.

7. What are your three best qualities? I'm loyal, honest and funny.

8. Name three things that make you happy. My cats, my books, old movies on TV

9. What helps you when you’re feeling down?
My cats, my books, old movies on TV

10. Which big cities have you been to? Chicago, Los Angeles,
Washington DC, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Miami, Tampa, San Francisco, Toronto, Paris, Munich, Honolulu, Las Vegas ...

11. What’s your favorite lovestory? (Book, film, etc. ) Holiday. It takes Cary Grant an awful long time to realize he should be with Katharine Hepburn. It's an achingly romantic movie about finding that person who really gets you, and this sweet kiss on the cheek is all that happens between my favorite lovers until the final frame. If it wasn't for my pesky job, I'd watch it every day.


12. Talk about the best concert you ever attended. Paul McCartney at Wrigley Field. My favorite person, my favorite music, my favorite place.

13. What’s one thing you don’t ever want to change? My cat Reynaldo. He's 17 now, entering the end of his life. I wish I could make him young again.

14. What scares you? People who are horrified -- HORRIFIED, I TELL YOU! -- by the 13 service members who died in Kabul but don't want to talk about the 6 who died during the Trump-incited riot on January 6. A sitting American President encouraged citizens to take over the Capitol. Think about that. The death of our troops is always tragic and I do not diminish what happened in Kabul. Not in any way. But a terror attack led by a sitting President, Americans killing Americans, that's some scary shit. I'm glad Trump's gone and only wish he would stay gone. I hear he was on Fox this week, ripping on President Biden for the airport attack (and Biden accepts responsibility). Did Fox ask him about Officer Brian Sicknick? Yeah, tell me again how Blue Lives Matter. So yes, the MAGA crowd scares me. There's no reason, no logic, no patriotism. Just grievance and hate. And they wrap themselves in my Christian faith. Shudder. (Hey! You asked!)

15. What are three things you want to do before you die? I don't do these questions. Sorry. It's like a bucket list. 


Saturday, August 28, 2021

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 28

Today's happiness -- That I can. I made two people happy today with really very little effort on my part. I feel fortunate that I have the wherewithal to do these things.

1. A man who is down on his luck.  Instead of just giving a panhandler a dollar bill, I now carry zip-lock bags filled with a sealed breakfast bar, a small pack of tissues, individually wrapped cough drops and a $1. Since those incremental items (even the baggie) came from The Dollar Store, I'm really only spending a few extra cents per person, per bag. 

Anyway, I handed one to a guy who was asking for help. He was astonished. "You mean you had this ready, just in case?" 

"Yes," I said. "We never know when we'll meet a neighbor in need."

"I'm Jerry," he said and he added in a most courtly manner. "I thank you." He told me he was off to the parking kiosk to check the coin return slot.

2. My aunt.  She just had knee replacement surgery and she's in a great deal of post-op discomfort, reacting badly to her medication. She hasn't heard from her son (my cousin) or her grandchildren; they likely don't even know she went under the knife. Her aggressive Trumpiness has alienated her from those she holds dearest. If you come here often, you know I believe HRC was right: Donald Trump is a very bad man and many of his supporters are deplorable. (January 6, anyone?) But I refuse to let the malignant narcissist of Mar-a-lago hurt me anymore. He's done too much damage to us already.

So I keep the lines of communication open with my aunt. When I learned Thursday night that her recuperation wasn't going well, I went to Amazon, chose a gourmet get well present of 6 cookies in a box with a bow, and she got it today.

She praised my timing and told me my thoughtfulness really helped. It took me just a few clicks and less than $20, but it lifted her when she needed lifting.

Helping Jerry and my aunt made me happy. And fortunate myself. And it reminded me that we're all connected.

Each day in August you are to post about something that makes *you* happy. Pretty simple. And, it doesn't even have to be every day if you don't want it to be. It's a great way to remind ourselves that there are positive things going on in our lives, our communities, and the world.

Saturday 9


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

1) In this song, Garth Brooks tells us he wore boots to a black-tie affair. When did you most recently get dressed up? What did you wear? It was my niece's wedding last October. I wore a long (just past my knee) garnet-colored duster over a matching camisole, with leggings and black shoes. I like how I looked, which is nice because the outfit is in many photographs.

) The lyrics refer to The Oasis, which was a real bar in Concordia, Kansas. What's the name of the last bar or restaurant where you ordered a beverage? (Yes, Dunkin' counts.) Phil's. I had a margarita with salt on the rim. My friends had wine.

3) Garth was having a stellar 2021. He kicked the year off by performing "Amazing Grace" at President Biden's inauguration in January, and then over the summer he received the prestigious Kennedy Center Honor. Now that we're past the halfway mark, how's your year going? OK, I suppose. Certainly not perfect. There was my dental nightmare. I just received a email/blackmail threat (which is probably nothing, but we'll see). And my dear old tomcat Reynaldo is not well (though he is curled up with me as I post this). But this is the stuff of life, isn't it? I think covid -- and all the selfish drama junkies who insist on making uncontroversial things like wearing masks controversial -- just exacerbate the rain that simply will fall into each of our lives.
4) But earlier this month, Garth cancelled the remaining August and September dates of his big concert tour. He's provided refunds for the 350,000 tickets that were sold. How do you tend to react when plans change? Are you easily annoyed, or do you roll with it? Not well. I don't often change plans on other people. Give me a time and a place. I write it down. I show up. I don't understand why other people have such conflicts. Sick kids, sudden work responsibilities, I get that. But beyond that? Yeah, it makes me grumpy because I don't get it.

5) Before he sang about having friends in low places, Garth hung around in some. When he was as a struggling performer, he supported himself as a bouncer. What's the most physically taxing job you've ever had? It's not a "job," but I remember being exhausted after my now adult but then very young niece or nephew would come by for a sleepover. I don't know how you parents out there do it! Hats off to you.
6) According to the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), Garth surpassed The Beatles as the top-selling recording artist of the last 30 years. Who do you listen to more often: Garth or the Beatles? No shade on Garth, but the Lads. Obviously and forever the Lads.

7) Garth and singer Trisha Yearwood have been happily married for 15 years now. Trisha says that as much as she loves her husband, his whistling drives her crazy. Come clean: what's your most annoying habit? I'm such a slob I annoy myself at times.

8) In 1990, when this song was a hit, Soviet President Gorbachev traveled first to Ottawa to meet Prime Minister Mulroney and then to Washington DC to meet President Bush. Do you have any travel plans? We want to hear about them, even if you aren't meeting any politicians or heads of state. I have reservations to spend Christmas in Key West. Of course, I did last year, too, and didn't make it. So fingers crossed!

9) Random question: Your dear friend spends weeks planning a party. After just 30 minutes, you find yourself having a terrible time. Would you leave at the earliest (polite) opportunity? Or would you stay till the bitter end out of loyalty? I would lie. I would look my dear friend in the eye,  feign tummy trouble, go home and watch a Law & Order rerun.



August Happiness Challenge -- Day 27

 Today's happiness -- Dinner with friends! I never go anywhere anymore. So the simple act of going around the corner to my favorite bar to meet my old friend Mindy and her husband was an event.

We blabbed for -- literally -- three hours! I didn't want it to end, and suspect we'd still be sitting there if Mindy hadn't practically fallen asleep in her Caesar salad.

Each day in August you are to post about something that makes *you* happy. Pretty simple. And, it doesn't even have to be every day if you don't want it to be. It's a great way to remind ourselves that there are positive things going on in our lives, our communities, and the world.

Friday, August 27, 2021

Oh, Andy!

Andy Avalos, my favorite weatherman, is retiring today. Since 2003, he's been a positive and comforting presence on my TV screen. There have been sleepy, confused Friday or Monday mornings when I thought it was the weekend but realized I had to get my ass out of bed because I saw Andy, my weekday weatherman.

Before covid, he would do a weekly remote at Chicago's Anti-Cruelty Society, spotlighting pets who need homes. He ended those spots with, "Always make pet adoption your first option." During covid, his own (one-eyed) dog and cat frequently crashed his from-home broadcasts. I can tell by the casual, confident way he handles these critters that he really is a pet person. (He's also mentioned a bird that sits on his shoulder while he reads.) 

"Always make adoption your first option"

Over the years I've learned that he is cheap (he prefers "thrifty"), loves (free) donuts, wears a snowman tie if he expects to report accumulation, and always looks sharp -- a former USAF pilot, that was drilled into him during his service and he's carried it with him for life.

I will miss him.

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 26

 Today's happiness -- Mrs. Always Right. I had a pedi today and that's the color I chose: Essie's Mrs. Always Right. I've been squarely in the red lane for a long, long time and intend to stay there (I prefer reds to blues or greens with my open-toed shoes) but I've been too red for too long. Why, I've been with Revlon's Cherries in the Snow for a year now! It was time for a change and I've switched to a dusty rose.

Also had a new nail tech. I miss Jenna. She was very funny and we had so many common interests (the Royals, Chicago sports, I Love Lucy), which amused me because we are are such different women. Jenna is literally half my age, black and a mom, but we followed the same things in pop culture. I was looking forward to asking her if she believes Bennifer.2 is legit, but alas, she has quit the salon to do in-home manicures, which is something I'm not interested in.

The new tech, Faith, was not as entertaining but she was just as proficient and gentle as Jenna. I love the nail experience, especially the whirlpool.

Each day in August you are to post about something that makes *you* happy. Pretty simple. And, it doesn't even have to be every day if you don't want it to be. It's a great way to remind ourselves that there are positive things going on in our lives, our communities, and the world.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

But it didn't happen

Not Henry's house, but identical in layout
Henry called me Wednesday afternoon. He sounded strong but wanted to talk about his Tuesday night trip to the Emergency Room.

EMERGENCY ROOM?! Henry has had myriad medical problems -- serious ones -- since his accident in October 2018. Complicating matters, he no longer has insurance coverage. (This latter situation is unwise and was completely avoidable; don't get me started.)

Anyway, Henry told me that as he walked down the stairs he was attacked by "an orange and black striped" possum or raccoon. He "kicked the shit out of it" and it ran away, but he and Reg went to the Emergency Room.

He complained that they had to wait 2 and 1/2 hours and all the ER staff did was give him a tetanus shot and an aspirin. They had to pay $250 for this! Animal Control was notified and will check the neighborhood looking for possum or racoon. Henry reassured me he will be looking for it, too, and will "kick the shit out of it again."

"Stop right there," I said. "Do not tell me you are going to harm an animal ever again. Just consider yourself lucky you didn't need rabies shots. Tell me about your bandages."

He has no bandages. The skin was not broken. 

I asked if he needs to apply cream to the scratches. There are no scratches. 

I asked if his shoes are ruined from the attack, or if he can still wear them. His shoes are unmarked.

He complained about the "swelling." I told him he probably twisted his ankle as he fought off the possum or raccoon and he should just take an Advil. After all, if the skin isn't broken he can't have an infection.

I told him how much I love him and I'm glad it wasn't a snake or something poisonous he stepped on. I reminded him of the time we were walking the beach and I saw a jellyfish in the sand. I instinctively moved to pick it up and throw it back into the sea. Henry grabbed me by a fistful of bra and t-shirt and stopped me because jellyfish can be poisonous. "You saved my life that day!" I enthused. Then I asked if I could talk to his husband, Reg.

"Can he hear us?" I asked.

"Yes." Reg said.

"Did this attack thing really happen?"

"I don't see how," Reg said wearily.

Is Henry lying? I don't know. He's adrift now that he's unemployed. He's jealous of the time Reg spends at work (and Reg is working two jobs these days). Maybe he made this up to get attention. 

Or worse, maybe he believes it happened. Henry has not had a neurological workup in two years. First it was because of covid. Now it's because of (don't get me started) insurance.

I've made my peace with the reality that Henry will never again be who he was before the accident. I wasn't prepared for him getting worse. It scares me.


August Happiness Challenge -- Day 26

 Today's happiness -- Done! I finally got my nesbit -- aka "flipper tooth." It looks good and I can eat with it. I struggle taking it in and out, but it hasn't even been a day yet. Hopefully, this will put an end to my dental nightmare, at least until 2022 when I have the option of getting an implant (with the help of insurance). You know, I still can't believe this happened to me.

Each day in August you are to post about something that makes *you* happy. Pretty simple. And, it doesn't even have to be every day if you don't want it to be. It's a great way to remind ourselves that there are positive things going on in our lives, our communities, and the world.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Worried, worried, worried

My nephew is back on campus and everyone who steps foot on campus has to self-check for covid. I'm sorry, but this online questionnaire is simply not good enough. 

People who are so blinded by anger or brainwashed by misinformation will simply lie. They may feel that by lying they are striking a blow and "owning the libs."

No, these dumbshits will simply be putting my much-loved nephew at risk. 

Plus he loves school, loves being back on campus. Fortunately, masks are required indoors in all public spaces and he reports students are willingly complying. I hope he gets through his senior year, healthy and without interruption. This is so important to him, and he is so important to me,

They never have been "moral"

... and thank goodness they aren't the majority! 

I've said it before and I'll say it again right here: I want my Christian faith back. If you demonize others by calling it "The China Virus," you're intentionally hurting people, which is not Christian behavior. If you compare being mandated to merely wear a mask to submitting to Nazis, you are diminishing the real-life suffering of those who were hunted, round up, murdered and left in mass graves. That is not Christian behavior either. If you think demonizing and diminishing is Christian behavior, you need to talk to your minister. Seriously.

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 24

Today's happiness -- Social Security. Received my Social Security Benefits Statement today. It made me happy to see how much I'll get every month. When I've run the numbers, anticipating retirement, I've never included Social Security in my calculations because the rules keep changing about when/how much I could collect. 

Soc is not enough to live on but it's not insignificant, either. I feel better about my post-working future, which comes closer every day!

Each day in August you are to post about something that makes *you* happy. Pretty simple. And, it doesn't even have to be every day if you don't want it to be. It's a great way to remind ourselves that there are positive things going on in our lives, our communities, and the world.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Odds are good I don't like you right now

I am unsettled. I feel icky and disappointed. I'm going to write about it in an effort to get over myself.

1) My art director is not pulling her weight. OK, she never has. She's always been very good tactically -- she's mastered Powerpoint, InDesign, Photoshop, and Quark -- but I don't think she's ever come up with an idea. She executes. Late last year she convinced our new boss to give her parity with me in terms of title. It isn't fair and it isn't reflective. It also shouldn't matter. This is my last job. It's not like this is going to have an impact on my "career." And she's battled breast cancer for the last year! So what kind of monstrous person am I that I am upset with her today? Well, I'm tired. 

Yesterday we got a high-profile assignment from our boss. I couldn't start on it until today because I had to finish my five (count 'em, 5!) blog posts for my automotive client. This morning I asked her what she'd done while waiting for me and the answer was ... well ... nothing substantive. She set up a template to flow my ideas into. Looked for some stock photos. "This project will be fun," she said. Maybe for her.

We will give our boss eight concepts. All eight were my ideas. I don't know how good these concepts are. When I'm tired I don't have much objectivity. It would be nice if I had a partner with business acumen who could -- if not contribute ideas of her own -- at least make my concepts sharper and better.

I will also do all the talking when we present these because she has no idea how the concepts tie back to the strategy brief.

We now have the same job title. It's not fair. It also doesn't matter. Get over yourself, Gal.

2) I no longer enjoy movie group. Joanna doesn't attend anymore. Neither does Stefanie. Or Elaine. Or Al. It's mostly new people. We don't discuss anymore. People just want to talk. Example: While discussing the movie Man Hunt, Janice complained that the actor who played Hitler didn't look very much like Hitler and she didn't know why the producers were so lazy and cheap. It was pointed out that it wasn't an actor, it was actual news footage of Hitler. "Oh," she said, not missing a beat, and continued with her list of complaints about the film. I'm not sure she even heard she was wrong.

I used to look forward to movie group. Now I get why Joanna, Stefanie and Elaine dropped away. (Al has schedule conflicts.)  

I resent the noisy new people who have come in and lecture me about films I love. But is it worth being this annoyed? Not really. Get over yourself, Gal.

Photo by karlyukav - www.freepik.com


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? Someone We Know by Shari Lapena. 16-year-old Raleigh is an average suburban high schooler with a penchant for computers and a bad habit: he breaks into neighbor's homes, and their laptops. Not to steal! Just for kicks and to make a little mischief. When one of the neighbors goes missing, the fun goes out of Raleigh's "game."

When I was a kid, there was a horror movie called, I Saw What You Did. It was about teen girls who amuse themselves by making prank calls to random strangers, saying, "I know who you are and I saw what you did." It stops being fun when they call a psycho who happened to have murdered his wife.

This seems like a new millennium update of that old story. Which is fine. It scared me then, and it's scaring me now.

2. What did you recently finish reading?  Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann. You should know, if you're considering picking up this book, that it's stupid. I think I may have lost brain cells by reading it.
Which is not to say that I didn't find it compulsively readable. 

I can't tell you why. Neely is a monster. Anne is dull. Jennifer is a transactional slut. The writing is sophomoric. And yet I was into it. 

Oh well, as Ms. Susann herself might say, reading it was like having hot sex with a man you don't really like. I'm not sorry I did it but I'm not sorry it's over and I won't do it again.

BTW, I couldn't help envisioning the movie's actresses as I read and came away with a new appreciation for Sharon Tate. It's not like the screenplay's Jennifer was exponentially more likeable, and yet on film she seems sympathetic. I think it's because Sharon Tate imbued her with humanity. It makes me wonder what Ms. Tate could have done with an actual, well-written character.

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