Saturday, October 30, 2021

Meet Roy Hobbs

Roy Hobbs behind bars
He began Thursday at the shelter. By Thursday night, he was home. Here. With me and Connie.

I actually met him last Sunday when I visited the shelter with my empty carrier, hoping to bring back a cat. I begin going back to the office next week (just one day/week at first) and I was worried about Connie. How would she handle being alone -- all alone -- with no me, no Reynaldo, for hours on end? 

Roy called out to me. He wanted me to open the cage and hold him, and I obliged. He's a big boy -- 13 lbs., twice the size of Connie or Reynaldo. A very loud purr.

Unfortunately, I couldn't bring him home because he was recovering from a cold. I saw no sneezing or coughing, but still he couldn't be released to me before his Wednesday checkup from the vet. I let them know I'd be back for him on Thursday.

Once I heard his story, I knew I could help him. If you look at the little cards on the cages at the shelter, you frequently see the words, "Seized/Surrendered" to indicate how the animal ended up there. "Surrendered" is almost always circled. An owner is moving and can't the cat anymore, or a compassionate neighbor brings in the hungry stray that's been hiding in the yard ... This card had "Seized" circle. You seldom see that.

Because of the criminality involved, the shelter staff couldn't give me all the details. But here are the bare bones ...

A woman had Roy (then named "Bandit") and his "sister" (were they really littermates? we don't know) for a couple years. Then she got involved with a bad man. He decided the way to "discipline" the cats when they threw up on the carpet was to throw them into a running shower.

The humane society got wind of this and and seized the cats. The girl cat "didn't make it." This big fella spent a few weeks in foster care, to get him comfortable with people again. In early September, he was placed for adoption at the shelter.

Now he's with us. Me and Connie. A human who won't abuse him, and a girl cat who will -- eventually -- become his friend.

At his furever home
I renamed him Roy Hobbs for a number of reasons:

1) Roy Hobbs is the hero of The Natural, my favorite baseball movie, and I adopted him during The World Series. 

2) In The Natural, Iris tells Roy, "We each get two lives, the one we learn with and the one we live after that." I want this guy to enjoy his second life, the happy and safe one.

He does love it here. He purrs all the time. The resiliency of this spirit is truly inspiring.

Connie is beside me as I post this, pre-dawn on Saturday morning. She is coming around to accepting him. It took her 24 hours to realize he wasn't going to hurt her. Now she views him with a wary curiosity. I predict that by Thanksgiving, they will be pals.

And, next week, when I go back to work, she'll have some comfort in knowing she's not the only living thing here at home.

Friday, October 29, 2021

Saturday 9

 Saturday 9: Werewolves of London (1978)

Unfamiliar with this week's featured song? Hear it here.
1) In this song, Warren Zevon sees a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand. He wanted beef chow mein. If we Saturday 9ers got together for Chinese, what would you likely order? Fried rice and an egg roll. And, of course, a fortune cookie.

2) He also says the werewolf's hair was perfect. Are you having a good hair day? Yes.

3) Linda Ronstadt was a big Warren Zevon fan and recorded several of his songs. Do you have a favorite Linda Ronstadt song? "Cause I'll love you and lose again." It captures how I felt when I was very much in love with the wrong man.

4) Warren Zevon admitted being afraid of doctors and avoided check ups. Are you scared when you go to the doctor or dentist for a routine visit? Nope. Though I should be. I was victim of dental malpractice earlier this year. But it didn't leave me scared. I'm pissed.

5) In 1935, the movie Werewolf of London was released. Do you enjoy being frightened by scary movies? Depends on the movie. Psycho is one of Alfred Hitchcock's best and I appreciate it on so many levels. But it's more about the twisted characters and the suspense than the violence. You never see a knife touching flesh in Psycho. Movies about slashing and guts upset me but don't interest me.

6) In your younger days, did you ever trick or treat while dressed as a monster? I recall so few of my childhood costumes. My mom always picked them out for us, and we had to wear our coats over them anyway. But knowing my mom, we were likely never dressed as monsters.

7) When you were a kid, what sweet treats were you happiest to receive? I loved Mary Janes, the sticky peanut butter-and-molasses candies I only got at Halloween. My sister hated them, so she was happy to trade them for my M&Ms. Win/win.

8) Can you see any Halloween decorations as you answer these 9 questions? Nope.

9) Halloween is most popular in the United States and Canada, and isn't really celebrated at all in Japan or South Korea. How would you explain our Halloween customs to a visitor from another land? I'd say it's when we celebrate fantasy and imagination.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021


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? Last Girl Ghosted by Lisa Unger. "Think twice before you swipe," is the warning on the cover, and the book goes on to paint a very dark picture of dating apps.

28-year-old Wren has it all: money, career, friends. All she needs now is a man. Her best friend keeps encouraging her to get out there, meet men! And so she downloads Torch, a dating app.

The first half of this book is terrific. Unger chose a very specific time to set her story: 2019/2020. In the background, our heroine keeps hearing news stories about a highly contagious virus in China that may be making its way here. It lends a nice (and real!) sense of menace to the already mysterious story of computer dating.
Wren falls madly in love with the third guy she meets. He "gets" her, the first man to see and understand her as she is. Which is why it's so shocking and cruel when he disappears.
The second half takes a very different turn and feels like a different book. It's more conventional. I feel like I've figured out, and that disappoints me. I like when the characters are smarter than me and I'm surprised.

Here's hoping it picks up and I enjoy it more. I loved Confessions on the 7:45, Unger's previous thriller. I want to love this one, too.

2. What did you recently finish reading? Written in Blood by Diane Fanning. In 2001, Michael Peterson called 911. His wife, Kathleen, was dead at the foot of the basement stairs. He insisted she fell after downing a Valium and too many glasses of wine. The police didn't believe this for a moment.

This real-life murder case had absolutely everything: family dysfunction, corporate intrigue, infidelity, local politics, tabloid TV, prosecutorial misconduct, even a hurricane and a gay hustler. If I didn't know it all really happened, I'd say it was too fantastic. 

I wanted to revisit the case before the movie (with Colin Firth as Peterson) comes out. This book is comprehensive and accurate, but it is insanely slanted toward the prosecution. I don't know why Fanning chose to do this. After all, the cold, hard evidence as she presented is pretty damning. I was uncomfortable with the way she pressed her finger so firmly on scale.

3. What will you read next? A biography.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Sunday Stealing

From Mosher's Unimaginatively Edited Blog

1. First thing you wash in the shower? My face. (Aveeno Ultra-Calming Foaming Cleanser)

2. What colour is your favourite hoodie? I don't own a hoodie.

3. Would you kiss the last person you kissed again? Sure.

4. Do you plan outfits? Not really

5. How are you feeling RIGHT now? Uncertain. Is my tummy going to be troublesome today? I don't know yet.

6. What’s the closest thing to you that's red? The light that says my phone is charged.

7. Tell me about the last dream you remember having? Earlier this week, I dreamed that my oldest friend's ex-husband, a man with anger management issues, was yelling at me. Really yelling at me. It was an unpleasant way to wake up.

8. Did you meet anybody new today? It's not even 8:00 AM yet, so no.

9. What are you craving right now? Ice water. I shall have some when I'm done here.

10. Do you floss? I prefer the GUM picks.

11. What comes to mind when I say cabbage? Corned beef.

12. Are you emotional? Yes.

13. Have you ever counted to 1,000? Yes.

14. Do you bite into your ice cream or just lick it? Lick.

15. Do you like your hair?
Usually. I do spend a great deal of time thinking about it.


Two sides to everything

A Chicagoland mom tweeted out this Florida vacation photo of her son and my favorite-most Cub ballplayer, and Top 5 Human, Anthony Rizzo. She reports that while her family was at the beach, her son kept insisting that man looked an awful lot like Rizz, and she encouraged the boy to approach him.

While I am always happy to see Rizz' smile, and am impressed by the pastel trunks (his fashion game has improved with marriage; in his bachelor days, he was known as the only All-Star to shop at JC Penney), I know my own mother would NOT have approved of this encounter.

I clearly recall that day, decades and decades ago, when we found ourselves Christmas shopping at the toy store alongside Blackhawks great Stan Mikita. He was pushing a cart and trying to decide between Barbie items. My mother sternly warned me to, "Leave that poor man alone!"

She was teaching me that everyone -- even celebrities -- deserves privacy and space. After all, Anthony Rizzo was not at an event. He was enjoying a beach day after a long and emotional season. Isn't he entitled to be off the clock, at least once in a while? (Let's not forget, after the Yankees last game, his current contract was up and he's now technically just an unemployed Florida man.)

But look at the little boy's face. This clearly meant a great deal to him. I can see why a mother would want this moment for her son.

So who was right? My mom, who warned me to, "Leave that poor man alone!" or this mom, who told her son to go for it? I'm not sure.

Shot #3 is in the books

Friday evening I got my third Pfizer in my right arm, and my annual flu shot in the left. I woke up feeling fine Saturday morning, just a little sore from the Pfizer, but after a couple hours I was exhausted. I took a nap, took a shower, farted around a little doing Saturday things, and found myself exhausted again. 

I don't know if it was Pfizer #3 or getting it and the flu shot in tandem, but the fatigue was real and I'm very glad I gave myself a lazy Saturday to recover.

Of course, I'm glad I got the shots. I'm going to Key West to see Henry and Reg for Christmas, and they have reported to me that their little island is filled with trouble-making anti-mask tourists. I don't want to kick off 2022 sick! I'm just sharing so that you'll clear your calendar after your next shot. I'm so glad that I was able to give myself the time to sleep it off.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Saturday 9

 Saturday 9: Bang! (2020)

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

1) This song is about a young man who is living on his own and
doing adult things, like getting his own apartment, eating better and doing his own taxes, but he doesn't yet feel grown up. Do you remember when you felt like a grown up? I was in my late 20s. My parents were struggling financially but my dad didn't want anyone to know. Unbeknownst to everyone but my mom, I helped her with her Christmas shopping, picking up gifts for my sisters. I always helped her with wrapping, that was just my family holiday chore. Come Christmas Eve, I looked under the tree and saw that, for the first time, I had chosen/purchased/wrapped most of the gifts, regardless of what the tags said. That's when it hit me: I was helping my parents out. That was a switch.
2) He mentions not being sure of his login password. Is this something you struggle with? Or are you able to zip into your accounts? OY! I'm forever setting new passwords because I've forgotten the old ones.

3) Both the video and CD cover show the band playing games of chance. What's the last game that you played? I play Canasta a lot on Pogo.

4) This week's featured band, AJR, is named for the three brothers who make up the trio -- Adam, Jack and Ryan Met. Until recently, all three brothers lived at home and wrote songs together in the Met family living room. Do you have siblings? If so, what's something you enjoy doing together? My two sisters and I don't really get along.
5) The oldest Met brother, Adam, now lives with his girlfriend in an apartment near Columbia University, where he is a PhD candidate. During the school year, he only works on his music on weekends. Next summer, in 2022, he should be done with his studies and plans on touring the country with the band. Some tour dates are already scheduled. If possible, do you like to make plans far in advance? Or do you prefer spontaneity? I prefer to plan.

6) Jack and Ryan also attend Columbia and share an apartment with their dog. They like to unwind on Fridays, after a week of classes, with a game of air hockey, followed by sushi or sashimi at their favorite Japanese restaurant. What did you do on Friday night? Got my third Pfizer shot.
7) In 2020, the year this song was popular, the most streamed TV show was The Office. The show went off the air in 2013, but during the pandemic and quarantine, it found a new audience. What series have you binged on recently? Law and Order. I can watch those episodes over and over and over again. When I stumble on one I haven't seen before, I'm so tickled.

8) According to Amazon, the best-selling novel of 2020 was Where the Crawdads Sing. Is there a novel you'd like to recommend to Sat 9ers? Depends on what you like to read. I recently discovered Shari Lapena, who writes twisty thrillers. I've read two so far: The People Next Door and Someone We Know. They both hooked me pretty fast.

9) Random question: Your local drug store has self-check out. You confess to your best friend that you absent-mindedly missed scanning an item, walked out of the store with it, set off security and were caught unintentionally shoplifting. The store manager believed you so there were no repercussions, but you were mortified nevertheless. Would you expect your best friend to share your embarrassing story with his/her spouse? When I talk to one member of a couple, I always assume I'm talking to both of them. I can't think of a time I've asked, "Please don't tell your partner." 
WAIT! That's not true. I often tell Henry, "Don't go repeating this to Reg." I don't want to drive a wedge between them or anything, but Henry suffers from a TBI (traumatic brain injury). Just as I know much of what he reports to me Reg has said is exaggerated or untrue, I'm sure he quotes me incorrectly, too. I don't need Reg calling me and scolding me for something I didn't do, say, or mean. This isn't Henry's fault, of course. His brain is broken, and we're just all learning to live with this new reality.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

What a nice thing to say!

Got an email filled with photos of Kathleen's son's wedding. Her note said, "My kids could not have grown into the people they are without having you in their lives." How that warmed my heart! 

A few weeks ago, both her son and her daughter mentioned to me that they have happy memories of hanging around with me, especially at Cub games

Sometimes it's easy to forget the positive impact we have on the lives around us. I've got to learn from the example of Kathleen and her kids. I should tell people what they mean to me.

Everyone needs to hear it once in a while.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021


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? Written in Blood by Diane Fanning. In 2001, Michael Peterson called 911. His wife, Kathleen, was dead at the foot of the basement stairs. He insisted she fell after too many glasses of wine and hit her head. The police didn't believe this for a moment.

I was self-employed (underemployed) in 2003 and watched Peterson's trial almost daily. I've wanted to revisit it ever since I heard Colin Firth was going to play Petersen in an upcoming HBO mini-series.

Let me state it plainly: I believe he beat his wife to death when she confronted him about his gay trysts. I think that this soulless sociopath quickly did the math: if Kathleen left him, he'd be penniless; if he killed her, he'd be a millionaire, thanks to her life insurance and benefits. While watching the trial in real-time, I came to hate him. The facts of this case have not improved my appraisal.

But this book is so very biased, I can see why people may be sympathetic to the pro-Peterson Netflix documentary series Staircase. Example, Diane Fanning completely fangirls over prosecutor Freda Black. I thought she was a clown. From this book, you would never get how over-the-top, bug-eyed, Suzanne-Sugarbaker-on-steroids she was before the jury. Conversely, Fanning consistently slams defense attorney David Rudolf for being "arrogant." Too slick in his fancy suits. Too mean to prosecution witnesses. In real time, I didn't see that at all. I saw a trial lawyer defending his client, which is how the system works. I disagreed with just about everything out of his mouth, but I appreciated his passion and (seeming) sincerity.

I've been a juror twice, once in a murder trial. I wonder if Ms. Fanning has ever sat in a jury box.

So, do I recommend this book? Kinda/sorta. It's a fascinating case and Fanning is thorough (if not unbiased). She also brings Kathleen Peterson to life on these pages. So often the victims are forgotten. I'm adding a photo of her here, just to emphasize that she was:
•  The first woman to be accepted into the engineering program at Duke University

A white-collar female trailblazer. Kathleen was an executive first at Merck and then at Nortel. Pharma and tech. In the 80s, when her career was beginning, these were not exactly diverse or welcoming executive suites.

•  A philanthropist, a force in the Durham arts community.

•  A loving mother, not only to her own daughter Caitlin but to the teenage girls Peterson brought to their marriage.

RIP, Kathleen.

2. What did you recently finish reading? The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena. Anne and Marco are invited to dinner by the couple next door. At the last moment, their babysitter cancels. Anne wants to stay home with their 6-month-old daughter, but Marco insists they go anyway. It's just next door! Theirs is a row house, they share a wall with their neighbors so they couldn't be any closer. They have a baby monitor so they can hear every noise the baby makes. If little Cora needs them, they can be home in less than two minutes. What could go wrong?


What a roller coaster ride this one is! The plot is twisty. The narration is spare, which gives it a distinct documentary feel. My only complaint is that it ends too abruptly. I'm sure I had a "what the hey?" look on my face at the finish. I would have preferred a denouement, a where-are-they-now about each of the characters.

This is one of those books that makes me glad I'm a barren spinster. No one is happily married. No one is as he or she seems. Everyone has secrets and everyone stands to lose if the whole truth comes out.

3. What will you read next? Last Girl Ghosted by Lisa Unger. The library just pinged. It's available!

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Sunday Stealing


1. What's something you've recently accomplished solo? Um ... I guess the blog posts I was assigned to our automotive client. Though before the public can read them, they are checked by the legal department and then someone has to convert them to code to post them. I don't think I ever accomplish very much completely solo.

2.  What's one product you use that never ever fails? I'm very brand-loyal to paper towels. I try to stick with Viva (Bounty, if Viva isn't available). They are sturdier and easier to use.

3. Have you found your place in the world? Where is it? Wrigley Field. I've been going there since I was a little girl, and I don't think I've ever had a bad time. I'm mad at Cubs management right now for decimating the roster, but I'll get over it. I'll be back. I'm third-generation Cub fan (both sides of the family!). I even have the Cubs jersey my favorite grandma wore to the park.

4.  Worst movie you ever saw? I find something to appreciate in most movies I see. But one that I recommend you avoid at all costs is Frankie and Johnny, starring Elvis Presley and Donna Douglas (Ellie Mae from the Beverly Hillbillies). It is awful, even grading on the curve I use for Elvis movies.

5. What's the last fun thing you did? Last night I watched Bringing Up Baby for my movie group. I love that movie. I don't believe anyone is as funny talking too fast as Katharine Hepburn.

Yes, Kate has a leopard named Baby. Of course she does.

6. What's your favorite Italian dish? Pizza, though I don't mean to throw shade at manicotti or lasagna.

7. Have you ever been to France? Any desire to visit there, and if so what would site or city would you most want to see? I went right after high school. I loved the Champs-Elysees. I bought a bottle of cologne, just to say I had real French perfume.

8. Have you ever been to Disney, any of the parks at all? Are you a Disney superfan or something less than that? They're open right now so tell us, would you go if you had the time/money/a free trip? I like Disney movies, but I'm not a superfan. Yes, I've been to both Disneyland and Disney World. I'd go back tomorrow if it was free. FWIW, I prefer Disneyland.

9. Your favorite place to go when you want to be quiet as a church mouse? Would those who know you well describe you as more church mouse or perhaps more like mighty mouse? The only thing that comes to mind is the quiet car on the train. I seldom seek out silent places. I am quiet and behave myself in church or during movies/plays. But those are not intrinsically quiet spaces.

10. Do you bake your own bread? Last time you had hot out-of-the-oven homemade bread? What's your favorite kind of bread? I don't bake. But my favorite grandmother made the most terrific dinner rolls. My favorite part of dinner at her house.

11. What's something you might say is 'the greatest thing since sliced bread?' Air conditioning. I recently learned that Chicago's Merchandise Mart was the first major office building to be air conditioned in the late 1930s, when it was owned by Joseph P. Kennedy. I can't imagine office workers were very productive during humid Chicago summers before that.

12.  Share with us five little things you're grateful for today. Small blessings. One catch-they all must start with the letter T. I'm sorry, but I don't feel like doing this right now.

13. Tell us where you were and something about what life was like when you were 20- 21. I was living in a small 3-room apartment. I was a secretary (we weren't administrative assistants yet) and I spent all my disposable income on vinyl records.

14. What's on the menu at your house this week? I foresee eating a lot of chicken this coming week. Because that's what's defrosting.

15.Something you recently purchased where a coupon was involved? Do you regularly shop with coupons?
I used a buy-one-get-one coupon Saturday at Boston Market.


I'm not a well woman

I no longer know how to make friends. Up until covid, it's always been my thing. My dad's favorite Gal story* was about me at, age 4, on my first-ever day of Sunday School Kindergarten. My parents had been worried about me because I'd never attended before, and my older sister was in the First Grade class. I was solo for, probably, 30 minutes. They were afraid I'd be overwhelmed or frightened. Anyway, after Sunday School, my sister was waiting obediently on the corner where my dad was going to pull the car over and we could hop in. I was nowhere to be seen. The drivers behind my dad were getting impatient and so he circled the block. I was spotted on the lawn beside the church with my new classmates, laughing and running around rather pointlessly, burning off energy in my Sunday Best. "We were worried about her but she already had a half dozen new friends!"

And so it's been. While I am an introvert who needs alone time, I've always had an easy time with new people. I can talk comfortably with strangers. Then covid happened, and I believe that, slowly, over the course of 19 months, I've gotten squirrely.

I find that while I miss my friends -- especially my oldest friend, now in California, and John, with whom I used to have casual drinks after work when we were both in The Loop every day -- and I sometimes get lonely (a new feeling for me), I have a hard time letting new people close.

Take movie group. We were discussing I Married a Witch via Zoom. Elaine and Bob were both IMing in the side chat. Elaine wanted to update me on her cat's recent trip to the vet (he gets feline acupuncture). Bob wanted to discuss John Lennon's recent birthday (October 9), asking me if I observed it in any way. Elaine has also been regularly sending me long emails, sharing what's going on in her life, and she's been sweet about Reynaldo. Bob felt bad that it took me so long to keystroke in my reply about John. "I'm sorry to bother you," he said. I didn't mean to hurt his feelings. I was just trying to carry on three conversations at once.

But I was also like, STOP! STOP IT, YOU TWO! Elaine has invited me to a homemade dinner in her apartment to meet her dog and cat. Bob wants to talk about Klaus Voormann "someday" over beers (once our group is back to meeting in person again). 

This is how people make friends, I get that. And the whole point of  movie group is to meet people with a common interest! It's how I met Joanna, and she's turned out to be a good friend. 

So why am I so uncomfortable with Elaine and Bob? Why am I rejecting emotional intimacy? I should be more open, more grateful. They want to be friends with me. What a gift that is! 

This right here is why I'm in therapy.

*I don't know if I remember this moment, or if I overheard the story so many times.

Photo created by kroshka__nastya -

Saturday, October 16, 2021

One less thing to worry about

Connie and I went to the vet this morning. Her erratic litter box habits were our primary topic of conversation. I was grateful that neither the vet nor the tech laughed when I pulled out the defecation diary I have kept since our last visit. With a combination of Miralax and pureed pumpkin, her litter box habits are now normal and healthy. Since that's been solved, we can move onto her other end and make plans for her dental work.

Then I think I have to seriously consider another cat. Connie came to me from a hoarder situation. She was one of more than a dozen cats in a small apartment. When she arrived here, she was one of three cats in a 2BR condo. She bonded instantly to Joey, my big old tomcat. The size disparity amused me, and her sweetness and affection for The Big Guy was touching. After a little less than two years, Joey died and it was her and Reynaldo. Rey acquiesced when she groomed him and, until his health began to decline this summer, they would race up and down the hall together.

Now it's just her and me. She has become more affectionate with me and keeps closer tabs on me now than she did before. I worry about what happens to her after I return to the office on November 1. Never in her life has she been the sole living thing in an abode. I'm afraid she'll be scared, unhappy, stressed. 

So in November I predict a trip to a local shelter, returning with a companion for my girlcat. Yes, I'm getting a pet for my pet. 

Overheard today

"Hubs be cray-cray." Said by a woman at least 50 years old.

Let me translate for you. "My husband is crazy."

When she is on her deathbed, she can luxuriate in the time she saved by shaving off those two syllables. 

Friday, October 15, 2021

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Livin' La Vida Loca (1999)

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

1) Ricky Martin sings that he and the girl dance in the rain. Do you feel like dancing this morning? Sure. Perhaps not first thing in the morning. I'm a little creeky when my feet first hit the floor. But once I get moving, I could sway to the music.

2) The lyrics tell us the girl prefers champagne. When did you last enjoy a glass of the bubbly? It's been years. Since menopause, even a sip gives me a migraine. Too bad. I miss it.
3) When Ricky first heard "Livin' La Vida Loca," he imagined  the subject of the song was a "Bond girl," the glamorous love interest of James Bond in the movies. Since 1962, there have been more than 20 Bond films. Have you seen any/many of them? Do you have a favorite Bond? I've seen several Bond movies. I didn't like Roger Moore. He seemed too old and too silly. I get Sean Connery's appeal, certainly. Daniel Craig is kinda scary, which I think is the point. He's a menacing Bond. But my favorite is Pierce Brosnan because I think he's the most handsome and the most self-aware. Best hair by far. (I also liked him in Remington Steele.)
4) Ricky tells interviewers that when he was very young, he'd sing in the family kitchen, pretending a wooden spoon was his microphone. Crazy Sam admits to lip synching into a black Magic Marker. When you gave imaginary concerts, what did you use as a microphone? I stood in front of my bedroom mirror and sang into my hairbrush.

5) Ricky began working at the tender age of 9, performing in commercials. How old were you when you received your first paycheck? 16 or 17. Before that, I babysat and was paid in cash.

6) Ricky does yoga to stay in shape. Have you ever tried yoga? Nope.

7) Ricky is of primarily Spanish descent, with a little French mixed in. When you think of French cuisine, what comes to mind? Quiche.
8) Ricky once had his own restaurant, Casa Salsa, in Miami Beach. Have you ever worked in food service? Nope.
9) Random question: What is your best quality? I truly do try to be a good person. I often fall short, but not due to lack of effort.

What does my future hold?

 The office reopens November 1. I've been away from day-to-day commuting for 17 months now. What will it be like? 

I've been setting my alarm clock for 7:00 AM, so that 6:30 won't feel like too much of a shock. And yet somehow I'm not even in the shower until 8:30. That won't cut it, since I'll have to leave the house by 8:10 to catch the 8:19. 

How much will I miss my afternoon naps? Running errands in my neighborhood? Always being home when Alexa tells me my package has arrived?

How much will I hate being surrounded by people all day, every day again? Will I feel like a drag queen as I layer on the eyeliner, the mascara, the earrings, the necklace and watch?

Thank goodness I have so many vacation days left. If I find I can't take it anymore, I'll just trade one in and stay home.

There's a lot about going downtown that I do love. The city during the holidays is terrific. The Loop economy will never bounce back until those big office buildings are full again. The homeless depend on our foot traffic. It's time to return to normal -- or the new normal.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

I made Aaron cry

I am so happy Aaron is my boss. He listens. He's supportive. He's positive. His attitude has improved mine. 

He mentioned that he's approaching his one-year anniversary with our agency. I told him that I was really glad he's with us ... that I wasn't thrilled when he was hired since I wasn't consulted, but that I'm so happy he's here ... that I didn't realize how unhappy I'd become with my worklife until he came along and changed my outlook for the better.

He thanked me, then removed his glasses and wiped away a tear. 

Aaron could be one of the most genuinely nice people I've ever met. 


I wish she could read

Saturday morning I take Connie to the vet. Over the last two weeks, I've concentrated on her gut. I hope that the vet will deem her constipation improved, so we can move on to scheduling dental work (she needs a tooth pulled). 

First I tried the special feline laxative I got from the vet. Emblazoned on the tube: "Tuna flavor cats love!" Connie doesn't love it. I moved on to Miralax, which dissolves completely into her food and made a difference. But I'm not confident that daily dosing of medication is the best thing for her, so I switched to her to all-natural pumpkin puree. Any website will tell you cats and dogs alike love pumpkin. Connie doesn't love it. I can trick her into eating it by mixing it with other food, but she doesn't regard it as the "delicious treat" she's supposed to.

She also doesn't drink enough. Cats are like people, hydration is important to healthy digestion. I bought a special drinking fountain from Amazon. "Cats love moving water!" Connie doesn't love it. I can't even get her to look at it. I added clam juice to her water dish. A veterinarian blogger maintain cats love clam juice so much, the only problem will be getting your furry friend to stop begging for it. Connie doesn't love it. She won't touch it.

I wish Connie could read these packages and websites. Then perhaps she'd be a more willing participant in her own health plan.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021


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 Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena. Anne and Marco are invited to dinner by the couple next door. At the last moment, their babysitter cancels. Anne wants to stay home with their 6-month-old daughter, but Marco insists they go anyway. It's just next door! Theirs is a row house, they share a wall with their neighbors so they couldn't be any closer. They have a baby monitor so they can hear every noise the baby makes. If little Cora needs them, they can be home in less than two minutes. What could go wrong?


This one has lots of twists and turns and is keeping me guessing. Plus, there are a lot of odious people populating these 335 pages. Det. Rasbach and poor Baby Cora are the only characters I like. Everyone else is a suspect! Yes, it's got me hooked.

2. What did you recently finish reading? The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy by David Nasaw. Old Joe Kennedy saw an awful lot of life on his way to creating a political dynasty. WWI, the Spanish flu epidemic, the advent of talking films, the Depression, WWII ... These events shaped him and, more than once, he had an impact on his times. I learned a great deal about America as I read about clan's patriarch.

He married the only girl he set his cap for, the girl he started seeing when they were both in their teens, and took her along on his journey to fame and success. Oh yeah, there is no indication that he was ever faithful to her. He was a Vatican insider who met with Popes and conferred with Cardinals and never missed mass, yet didn't hesitate to break a Commandment or two if it suited him. He was an involved and loving father who lobotomized his oldest daughter.

It's during WWII that the hits just start coming. First his second son (the future President) is presumed dead after the Japanese sank his boat. Then his Naval aviator oldest son is killed in a plane crash. Then the oldest daughter's operation goes very, very wrong. Then his son-in-law is killed in action. Then the second daughter dies in a (civilian) plane crash. All within six years. 

Twenty years later, between 1963 and 1969, he saw two sons murdered, a third involved first in a near-fatal plane crash and then in an infamous and scandalous car accident. By now, Joe was debilitated, the victim of a massive stroke.

If I didn't know all these events truly happened, and that Joe Kennedy was at the center of them all, I'd think this was the plot of a Lifetime movie. I enjoyed this book, for all the highs and lows, and wish I'd known Joe Kennedy. He is fascinating.

3. What will you read next? Written in Blood by Diane Fanning. In 2001, Vietnam vet, author and political gadfly Michael Petersen calls 911. His wife, Kathleen, is dead at the foot of the basement stairs. He insists she fell after too many glasses of wine and hit her head on each step on the way down. The police don't believe this for a moment.

I watched Petersen's trial almost daily in 2003. I've wanted to revisit it ever since I heard Colin Firth was going to play Petersen in an upcoming HBO mini-series.


Saturday, October 09, 2021

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: She's Not There (1964)

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

1) This song is about a young man who is upset his friends didn't warn him against a girl who turned out to be untrue. Have you ever involved yourself in a friend's love life with advice about a relationship? Yes. No one listens to me, though. As well they shouldn't. I am terrible at relationships. I'm like the Great and Powerful Oz. Pay no attention.
2) According to legend, this song was inspired by a girl who called off her wedding just weeks before the ceremony, humiliating her fiance and breaking his heart. Do you know anyone who was similarly left at the altar? Yes. A woman I worked with briefly, who glommed onto me like a carbuncle, was madly in love with a  creepazoid. He was remarkably, blatantly and comfortably anti-Semitic, so she and I stopped being friends. ANYWAY, I heard through the grapevine that she was planning a huge wedding. Lots of bridesmaids. The Princess Diana-esque size of the wedding raised some eyebrows because she was closer to 40 than to 20, but "Good for her," I thought. I mean, a Nazi isn't exactly the end of my rainbow, but chacun a son gout. Besides, she wasn't asking me to be a bridesmaid. ANYWAY, I called on Thursday to get my hair cut Saturday, expecting my stylist to laugh at me, and instead he said, "THANK GOD!" The bride and one of her bridesmaids had just cancelled and his Saturday morning was suddenly completely open. The bigoted bridegroom "just wasn't ready." Whatever. Win for me! If I sound heartless, it's only because I can't help thinking she's better off not married to a man who probably spends his Saturday night wearing a bed sheet and burning crosses on lawns.
3) The Zombies first played together as a bar band, popular at an English pub called The Blacksmiths Arms. What's the name of your favorite local restaurant or bar? Tapas Valencia. Actually, it's my friend Joanna's favorite. We were just there Friday to celebrate her birthday. The food is very good, they comped us a puff pastry in honor of her birthday, and best of all, because they adhere to social distancing and restaurant capacity restrictions, there was no band last night! Sorry, but I'm seldom in the mood for mariachi music.

4) The Zombies broke up after a few years but put all acrimony
I love matzo balls
behind them in 2019 when they reunited to perform at their induction into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. Have you ever been to Ohio? Yes. I did a presentation for a major vision company headquartered not far from Cincinnati. We didn't get the assignment. I bear Ohio no ill will. I recall a really great bowl of chicken soup at an old-school deli.

5) While 1964 is remembered as the first year of the British Invasion, when rock bands from the UK dominated the airwaves, it was also the year Barbra Streisand became a major star, featured on the covers of both Time and Life. Are there any magazines in your home right now? If so, who is on the cover? I see Windsors smiling up at me. William, Harry, Kate, Meghan ... I've got 'em all. Oh, wait! I spy Daniel Craig over there, too!

6) Also in 1964, actress Ena Hartman became one of the first African American actresses to have a speaking part on the country's top TV Western, Bonanza. Is your TV on right now, as you answer these 9 questions? Mr. Monk is solving a murder. I've seen this one a million times. Which is fine because I'm going back to sleep as soon I as finish these nine.

7) The "It's a Small World" ride was introduced at the 1964 New York World's Fair. It's now at Disneyland, Disney World, Disneyland Paris and Disneyland Hong Kong. Have you ever taken one of these Small World rides? Florida. It's the first Magic Kingdom I visited. No offense, but I loathe that song, so I'm quite sure I didn't repeat the experience in California.

8) General Douglas MacArthur's memoir was published shortly before his death in 1964. It became a best seller. Was the last book you finished fiction or non-fiction? Just yesterday I finished a massive (900 page) biography of Joseph P. Kennedy, the President's father. What a complicated man! He could be a shit and completely wonderful, sometimes on the same page. It's a meticulously researched book that debunks the most common misconception about JPK: He was never a bootlegger. He was a draft dodger, a womanizer and an unscrupulous businessman, but he never went awry of the law. He was too obsessed with maintaining his own, and his sons', political viability to be that reckless professionally. (Now when it came to women ...)

9) Random question: You find yourself calling the local garage often to get updates on your car repair. Every time you call, the person who answers the phone is abrupt to the point of rude. Do you: (1) let the person know you'd appreciate a change in tone; (2) ignore it; (3) complain to the boss? (2a) Try to ignore it but secretly feel bad and somehow responsible for it.