Monday, November 28, 2022

Not feeling it

I usually hang a wreath on my front door, but Saturday I saw this silly penguin at The Dollar Store and decided to make a switch. A Christmas penguin with lips would have made my mom smile. I like the idea of celebrating Christmas with my mom every time I put my key in the lock.

So see? I was in the Christmas spirit. But not now.

I found out Saturday night via a Facebook post -- just like all 519 of Reg's Facebook friends -- that Henry is back in the looney bin. This is the third time this year the police have been called and taken my friend away to a mental health facility. He was there in May and September, too.

During the past two hospitalizations, Reg called and IM'd me. Not this time. I don't really feel like talking to Reg. But I would like more facts about what's going on, instead of just Reg-centric Facebook posts ("I'm in a canoe without oars, heading toward angry rapids." Yeah, whatever. Any word on when Henry will be released? Or is this the time when he will be committed to a facility, as Reg keeps implying?).

I had made my peace with the idea that this will be my last Christmas in Key West. I understand that, with the deterioration in his mental state, Henry might not know me much longer.

Now I am faced with the possibility that I may never see my friend again.

I am scheduled to spent his 60th birthday with him on 12/22. That may not happen.

I am heartsick.


Sunday, November 27, 2022

Sunday Stealing

FROM SWAPBOT

What mythical creature would improve the world most if it existed? I'll let Flora, Fauna and Merryweather share the honor. 

 

What inanimate object do you wish you could eliminate from existence? Those awful, angry "Let's Go Brandon" shirts and hats. No one wears them here, but I remember being surrounded by people wearing them when I was going through airport security in Florida. I was distinctly uncomfortable.

What is the weirdest thing you have seen in someone else’s home? Nothing springs to mind.

What would be the absolute worst name you could give your child? I think it would depend on the last name. But in general, I'd say "Agatha."

What would be the worst thing for the government to make illegal? I'm not a fan of book banning.

What are some of the nicknames you have for customers or coworkers? I am retired, and consequently no longer have customers or coworkers.

If peanut butter wasn’t called peanut butter, what would it be called? Creamed peanuts.

What movie would be greatly improved if it was made into a musical? Anything by Ingmar Bergman. I think his movies are stuffy and pretentious and would be improved immeasurably with musical numbers like this one.

 

What would be the worst “buy one get one free” sale of all time? Those awful, angry "Let's Go Brandon" shirts and hats. You know, just the wardrobe you need to storm the Capitol and try to reverse a free and fair election.

What is the funniest name you have actually heard used in the real world? I'm sorry, I've got nothing.

What sport would be the funniest to add a mandatory amount of alcohol to? Curling. I know I'd enjoy watching more if I was drunk.

What would be the coolest animal to scale up to the size of a horse? An ant. I find their faces fascinating.


What set of items could you buy that would make the cashier the most uncomfortable? Trojan Bareskin Raw condoms. I was uncomfortable just typing that.

What is something that you just recently realized that you are embarrassed you didn’t realize earlier? This isn't recent, but I was well into my 30s before I figured out that the three farmhands in the black/white Kansas part of the movie were also the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion.

What are some fun and interesting alternatives to war that countries could settle their differences with? A limbo competition.

 


Friday, November 25, 2022

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Two Black Cadillacs (2011)

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

1) This week's song is about two women who share a very dark secret. Are you good at keeping secrets? Nope.

2) Carrie Underwood's favorite author is Stephen King. In fact, she credits King's Christine as an inspiration for this song. Have you read much Stephen King, or seen movies based on his books? I think Carrie is the only one I've read. I've seen more of movies based on his books (Carrie, Misery, Delores Claiborne).

3) Carrie first came to America's attention when she won on American Idol. Prior to competing on that show, she'd never been on an airplane. Crazy Sam takes at least one round-trip flight every year and pays using the miles she accumulated from credit card purchases throughout the year. Do you try to earn miles, points, or cash back when you make purchases? Yes. I'm a miles junkie. I hope to pay for this April's round-trip flight to Hollywood for the TCM Film Festival with miles.

4) Black is this week's signature color because November 25 was Black Friday, when retailers historically have slashed their prices and the holiday shopping season begins. Have you begun your gift shopping? I shop all year around, and I believe I'm done.

5) Black Friday began as a local event initiated by store owners in Philadelphia back in the early 1960s. When you think of Philadelphia, what comes to mind? Kyle Schwarber. He was one of the 2016 World Series Champion Chicago Cubs, and he almost got a second ring with the Phillies this year.


6) Black Friday always comes after Thanksgiving, a day of feasting. What was the best dish at your holiday table this year? The butternut squash and apple casserole.

7) Thanksgiving is also a big day for watching football. Did you watch any games? Nope.

8) What are you thankful for this year? I seem to be on the mend. I've had some health challenges this year, but it looks like I'm getting better.

9) Random question: You're in a public restroom and have a choice between paper towels and a hot air hand dryer. Which do you choose? Paper towels every time. They dry more thoroughly.
 

 


If there isn't a photo, did it happen?

I donned a beige and black striped blouse I've never worn before and real shoes (not tennies) for our Thanksgiving feast. My friend John noticed and commented. I think part of why he enjoys our Thanksgiving is that he can see me in something other than a Cubs t-shirt.

John and Gregory spent part of last week with Gregory's siblings. Bro and Sis were in town not for Thanksgiving but to visit a relative who is failing. It occurred to me when the three of us were blabbing that we spent a lot of time talking about Medicare (all three of us), medical maladies (me and John), sick and/or dying relatives (John and Gregory). 40 years ago, when I first met these guys, it was all about new music and clubs. Now it's Medicare Advantage vs. Medicare Supplement.

We ordered the pre fixe Thanksgiving menu:

•  Butternut squash bisque (Gregory had the green salad)

•  Roast turkey with cornbread dressing 

•  Mashed potatoes

•  Butternut squash/apple casserole (my favorite part of the meal)

•  Green beans and sliced carrots

•  Pumpkin pie

All for $40! I had expected it to be less food at a higher price point, what with all doom-and-gloom inflation news. The only concession I noticed the restaurant made was they axed the promised cranberry sauce and didn't replace it.

I also had a margarita (my first alcohol in a month -- until I got an OK from my doctor I didn't touch the stuff) and John had two Heinekens. 

For my birthday, John gave me a filmography of Katharine Hepburn. I could tell it was from the marked-down bin but that's fine. The Great Kate is still my favorite and he remembered that. The photos and reproductions of the original movie posters are lovely.

As I got into my Lyft, I realized that again this year, there was no photo of our Friendsgiving. I'm so used to posting pics this made me feel bad.

But it shouldn't. I'm thankful that we had fun, that we had each other, that we have such history, and that our bellies were full. That's enough.

That's a lot.



Thursday, November 24, 2022

Thursday Thirteen #285

13 things I'm thankful for. 

1. My movie group. I joined to learn more about classic film. I'm surprised by and grateful for the important the personal relationships I've made there. 

2. My old friends. The people I've met through movie group are new friends. But John (1981) and my oldest friend (1963) have been with me all along, through all of it.

3. Facebook and Blogger. Yeah, I know, everyone slags social media. But used correctly, it keeps us connected and I treasure that. If you're reading this, I appreciate you, too!

4. My aunt and my cousin. My aunt (dad's sister) and my cousin (my mom's cousin, actually) exasperate me. They are two old Florida ladies, set in their ways. But they both love me. They are the last two people alive who held me as a baby! I am so lucky to have their genuine, enduring affection.

5.  My niece and nephew. I have made a difference in their lives, which is gratifying, and they are a constant joy to me.

6. My test results. My pancreas is fine. My liver issue is manageable. I'm OK, and I'm so grateful.

7. My faith. My relationship with God is personal, but it guides me and will ultimately save me.

8. My imagination. I seldom get bored. That is such a gift.

9. My DVR. There's always something on in my home.

10. Music. It reliably lifts my spirit.

11. Severance, unemployment and Social Security. These safety nets give me time and space to decompress and decide what I'm going to do with my next chapter ... without touching my retirement accounts.

12. Baseball. The crack of the bat is the through line from my past, the present and the future.

13. These last two are forever connected in my heart.

Please join us for THURSDAY THIRTEEN. Click here to play along, and to see other interesting compilations of 13 things.


Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Happy Birthday to Me

I spent this afternoon celebrating with Joanna at The Chriskindlemarket. Every year since 1996, this marketplace has been in the shadow of The Picasso. It was inspired by the holiday markets in Germany. Each stall is a food or gift vendor. It's very upbeat and festive.

I've walked by it every year but never went in. At 9:00, when I raced past en route to the office, they weren't open yet. At lunchtime it was too crowded. Somehow, in the evenings, there just wasn't time.

Well, this year we strolled it. With me retired and Joanna self-employed, we could take our time. It was great! I got handcrafted little gifties for my niece and her hubs (natural honey for her, beard moisturizer for him). 

Then Joanna took me for a sandwich and root beer and we caught up. 

It was a good birthday. I have a couple gifts in my den -- one from my aunt, the other from my cousin -- but I'm waiting until Wednesday to open them. I want to spread the happy a little longer.



My weekend with Mr. Lincoln

 ... and Elaine from my movie group.

We drove to Springfield on Friday afternoon. I had wanted to go down on Amtrak. It takes longer, but it would be no wear/tear on her car, we could get up and walk around, and I could go to the bathroom whenever required. But Elaine believed driving would give us "more freedom." Oh, you car people! I just don't get you. I would have preferred drinking plenty of water and giving my bad back a break. But she loves her car.

We had dinner at a nice local Italian restaurant and then checked into our rooms at the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel. Yes, everything in Springfield is named for our favorite son. My room had two portraits of Mary on the walls and TCM on the satellite streaming service, so I was happy. Elaine had her own room, and I think that worked better for us. I live alone and, after hours together in the car and over dinner, I needed alone time. 

After breakfast we toured the Lincoln family home. This is the only house Mr. Lincoln ever owned, where he hoped to return after the Presidency. I can't count how many times I've been through here, and it never fails to move me. A real family lived here. That rectangular thing on the table is the boys' actual stereoscope, a 19th century View Master.


 

Mr. Lincoln's actual desk, once in his law office, now in his bedroom

Then we went to the Old State Capitol. Three presidents made history here. Lincoln served here in the House of Representatives, gave his eloquent "house divided against itself speech here, and this is where he lie in state. Barack Obama announced his candidacy for the Presidency here, and then returned a year later and introduced Joe Biden as his running mate.

We finished the day at the Presidential Museum. Because we were here on November 19, we got to see a special display of The Gettysburg Address, in Lincoln's own hand.

It's a bad photo, but honest, it's the Gettysburg Address

 


We had dinner at the Globe Tavern. Abe and Mary lived at the original Globe Tavern after their wedding, so it seemed fitting.

Before we hit the road on Sunday, we said farewell at Lincoln's tomb.

Elaine has lived here in Illinois for 60 years, and has never visited these sites. I was happy to introduce her around and be her tour guide. We also got to know each other better, which was nice.


Tuesday, November 22, 2022

I, on the other hand, think it's funny

As Monday turned to Tuesday, I became 65 years old. Guess where I was at the moment of the anniversary of my birth.

I choose to believe this means I got worst out of the way early, and now I shall have the happiest of birthdays.


 

Friday, November 18, 2022

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows (1965)

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

1. In this song, Lesley Gore sings that sunshine is wonderful. It's hard to argue with that. Is it sunny where you are today? I'm doing this Friday morning. The skies are predicted to be gray and cloudy today.

2. Tootsie Roll is the world's #1 manufacturer of lollipops, and cherry is their most popular flavor. Do you have a sweet tooth? If yes, what's your favorite sweet treat? Chocolate candy, cookies or ice cream.

3. According to myth, you'll find a leprechaun's pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. If you suddenly, unexpectedly came into $100,000, what is the first thing you would buy? I'd pay off my condo, fix it up a little, and then sell it I'd like to start over.

4. She feels brighter than a lucky penny. Abraham Lincoln was the first person to appear on a U.S. coin, when the 1909 penny was struck in honor of his 100th birthday. Thomas Jefferson is on the nickel, George Washington is on the quarter, and John F. Kennedy is on the half dollar. Without looking, do you know which President is on the dime? FDR

5. Lesley Gore was very popular in the 1960s, with 11 Top Ten hits. Most people don't know that, while she was making records, she was also attending Sarah Lawrence College and graduated with her BA in 1968. What's something most Saturday 9ers would be surprised to know about you? I don't know there is anything. I've been pretty frank on this blog.
 
6. She performed "Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows" in the movie Ski Party. Do you plan to ski this season? No. I'm a klutz and I live in a very flat area, so skiing is highly unlikely to happen.

7. This song was written by Marvin Hamlisch, who would go on to win three Oscars, four Grammys, three Emmys, a Tony, and a Pulitzer Prize. That's quite an impressive list! But we believe our Sat 9-ers are impressive, too. So give yourself an award this morning. (For example, Crazy Sam is now Meme Mistress of the Year.) I'm the Doyenne of Doctor's Appointments. It seems all I've done this month is go to the doctor, or the dentist, or the vet.

8. In 1965, when this song was on the charts, I Dream of Jeannie premiered. This supernatural sitcom, about an astronaut who finds a genie on a beach, competed for viewers with Bewitched, which was about an advertising executive who marries a witch. Do you prefer Bewitched or I Dream of Jeannie?
 
I absolutely love Samantha on Bewitched
 
9. Random question -- Which would you rather have, tacos or pizza? Pizza. Always.
 

 

Come for the pancreas, stay for the liver

I'm so sick of being sick. 

In September, I was plagued by pain and my doctor suspected diverticulitis. I went to the ER for a CT scan and found, lo and behold, I had (in the attending physician's words) "a big, honking kidney stone.

The scan revealed "an abnormality" on my pancreas. I was told it could be anything from a shadow on the film to something more consequential and, once I get my kidney issues straightened out, I should address.

In October, I had a lithotripsy. It was a success. Yay! I had hoped that now I would feel better. I don't. I'm not in pain, and for that I'm grateful. But I'm fatigued and I have no appetite. Now the fatigue could be depression -- I'm under a lot of stress right now and I admit it's getting to me. But the appetite thing is worrisome. It could be a symptom of pancreatitis, which would explain that troublesome abnormality detected by the CT scan.

So this week it was back to the hospital for an MRI. It took between 45 minutes and an hour (it's easy to lose track of time in the tube). But it wasn't so bad. I'm lucky that I never felt claustrophobic or overly anxious. It's just hard to be in there, wondering if the tech is looking at the indications that you have pancreatic cancer.

But I found out Thursday it's not pancreatic cancer. It's not pancreatic anything. According to the results posted in MyChart, I have fatty liver disease. But my pancreas seems fine.

I'm going away this weekend so I'll talk to my doctor about this Monday. After all, this has been hanging over my head for two months now. Letting it go for three days is not really going to make a difference.



Compassion Challenge: Day 17

We did this as a congregation in 2021 and I'm doing it myself this year. My life feels different now than it did 365 days ago, and I hope this will keep me grounded and help me live my faith.

Inspiring Compassion: The 30 Day Compassion Challenge. 30 days to explore the topic of compassion: Mindfulness, Compassion for Friends & Family, Self-Compassion, Compassion for All, Compassion for Our Planet.

Day 17 was devoted to Connie.

When we went to the vet this morning, I expected it would be an in-and-out affair. Annual shots and boom! We're done! After all, my girl cat seemed fine. She always seems fine. She's a good-natured, sweet girl.

Unfortunately it was not that easy. The vet discovered a pair sores -- one on either side of the inside of her mouth. She's 10 years old now, which makes her a senior citizen, so this requires attention. She got a shot of antibiotics and Monday, we begin a course of steroids. After the new year, there's dental work in her future.

She is a cat's cat. She loves a good snuggle with me, but she shines with the other cats. She was such a comfort to Joey, my big old boy, at the end of his life.  My cat Reynaldo had abandoned Joe, because he no longer liked to play. Connie just hung out with him.

She and Reynaldo were really best friends. They played and slept together like a pair of fur shrimp. When Roy Hobbs joined us, she took over his grooming.


The next few months are going to require a bit of work on our part. Connie and I are going to have to be patient with one another as we get her well. I admit I'm not thrilled about the cost. 

But she is a dear little furry soul. She is my responsibility. I take her wellness seriously.


Thursday, November 17, 2022

O Captain! My Captain!

He re-signed pretty quick, which makes me happy because it means he got what he wanted and free agency stresses me out.

There were rumors about the Astros and the Padres, and he might have gotten more money with those teams. But I didn't see him going to Houston or San Diego.

His charitable efforts reach an exponentially bigger audience in New York. He does events with pediatric cancer patients at the FAO Schwarz flagship store in Rockefeller Center and media stars like Andy Cohen and Stephen Colbert helped publicize his auction. Of course since he was here for a decade, we Cub fans continue to support him and he still visits Chicago's Lurie Children's Hospital. So he has a base in two of America's three biggest cities. Houston and San Diego can't give him that kind of reach. He's a major market guy.

As the Foundation tweeted: "We are excited to be in New York and to continue to grow and help as many families as we can."

Anthony Rizzo walks it like he talks it. He deserves only good things. Here's hoping he gets a second ring in 2023!

 

PS I wonder what he would have said if the Angels had come calling. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Thursday Thirteen #284

Thirteen popular Thanksgiving dishes. The big day is nearly upon us. Are you thinking about your menu? Here's what Americans are considering for Thanksgiving 2022.

1. Roast turkey

2. Classic stuffing

3. Mashed potatoes

4. Gravy

5. Cranberry sauce

6. Sweet potato casserole with marshmallows

7. Biscuits

8. Spinach salad

9. Butternut squash soup

10. Cornbread

11. Mac and cheese

12. Pumpkin pie

13. Baked apples

What about you? What's your favorite turkey day dish?

Please join us for THURSDAY THIRTEEN. Click here to play along, and to see other interesting compilations of 13 things.

Compassion Challenge: Day 15

We did this as a congregation in 2021 and I'm doing it myself this year. My life feels different now than it did 365 days ago, and I hope this will keep me grounded and help me live my faith.

Inspiring Compassion: The 30 Day Compassion Challenge. 30 days to explore the topic of compassion: Mindfulness, Compassion for Friends & Family, Self-Compassion, Compassion for All, Compassion for Our Planet.

Day 15 was Mindfulness.

I admit I'm struggling right now. It seems I have something icky to do every day. Doctor appointments -- now that we seem to have my kidneys in shape, it's time to turn our attention to my pancreas and I'm scared. The dentist and the oral surgeon (two different teeth). Calls about my 401k rollover and annuities. Coordinating COBRA and Medicare. Follow-ups with Illinois Unemployment. Oh yeah, I keep forgetting Connie's vet appointment!

I'm nervous about my fiscal and physical future. I'm facing a lot of unknowns here. I don't deal with unknowns well.

But you know what? I am not the only person in the world. I must be mindful of that.

Last night, Patrick called. He's the one who knows Henry and Reg best. We're spending Christmas together again in Key West. We admitted to one another that, with the precipitous decline in Henry's condition, this could be the last time. That weighs on us both.

At 68, Patrick is looking at a new job opportunity. A new restaurant is starting up during the busy Key West winter season and they want his input and help. It's exciting and flattering, but it's also a big responsibility and it will be physically taxing. 

He's trying to get past a bad relationship. He's making progress, but at times it washes over him that he was foolish. 

Last night, we listened to each other. 

I respect Patrick's insights and was comforted to hear what he had to say about my life. It was also good for me to get out of my own damn head for 45 minutes and talk about his.




Tuesday, November 15, 2022

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? Death of a President by William Manchester. This month marks the 59th anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination. I'm an old lady now, having lived through Vietnam and Watergate and the Challenger explosion and 9/11 and Katrina and Sandy Hook and the January 6 attack on the Capitol. All those national nightmares were heartbreaking, but none has left the mark on me personally that 11/22/63 did.

We murdered our own President, in broad daylight, during a parade, and it was caught on camera.

That day -- coincidentally my 6th birthday -- fundamentally changed America and I want to revisit it. In a sober, scholarly way (no lurid, tin-hat conspiracies for this gal). This book is considered the gold standard and now is the time.

2. What did you recently finish reading? Murder Is Easy by Agatha Christie. People are dropping like flies in the peaceful rural town of Wychwood. Though the deaths are happening at an alarming rate, the local constabulary doesn't suspect foul play. After all, each cause of death is very different and all the victims seem to have in common is that they all lived, and died, in Wychwood.

A charming spinster thinks she has it figured out, though, and is on her way to Scotland Yard. If the local Wychwood police don't appreciate her insights, maybe Scotland Yard will. Only she's run down by a hit-and-run driver before she can get to the London office.

It takes a while for all the suspects to be revealed, and even longer for the killer to be found out. That's OK. Most of the 250+ pages was an entertaining ride. I don't think Agatha Christie gets her proper credit for dialog. One of the characters, raven-haired Bridget, sounded just like Lady Mary of Downton Abbey to my ear.

I didn't love it, though. The denouement was too long. I was like, "OK, I know who did it. I know why. I know how. Let's move on to the next book." But Dame Agatha had other plans for me and went on ... and on ... and on. It's too bad when the very ending kinda spoils a good read.

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

 

Compassion Challenge: Weekend Edition

We did this as a congregation in 2021 and I'm doing it myself this year. My life feels different now than it did 365 days ago, and I hope this will keep me grounded and help me live my faith.

Inspiring Compassion: The 30 Day Compassion Challenge. 30 days to explore the topic of compassion: Mindfulness, Compassion for Friends & Family, Self-Compassion, Compassion for All, Compassion for Our Planet.

This weekend, two of my friends did not behave as I would have, or as I wanted/expected them to. I had to adjust my thinking and calibrate my compassion. It's not up to them to their lives the way I want them to.

Elaine had to put her beloved cat down recently. The pedigreed ragdoll had been very ill for a long time. She took him to regular vet and acupuncture appointments. He kept fading and losing weight. He was dying. Her vet gently explained this to her, and even more telling to me, her dog started treating the elderly cat differently, go so far as relieving himself in the cat's litter box. Elaine hung on, and she admitted she was feeling different about her dog. She didn't think she could "forgive" the pooch for "bullying" the sick cat.

Nature is brutal. The dog was behaving like a dog, trying to drive a dying animal from the herd. The cat was suffering. I kept my mouth shut throughout all this, except to say, "I'm so sorry." It wasn't my business.

The cat finally was out of his misery, and Elaine gave the dog away. To the couple who petsit her and loved her. Who want her. So I suppose it was a happy ending. Then Elaine set out to get another cat.

She flirted a bit with animal shelters but couldn't find any cats she clicked with. I can't fathom that. I go into a shelter and fall in love instantly. Then she contacted a breeder will be picking up another pedigreed kitten soon.

It's important to the story that the dog was a shelter rescue. I wonder if she would have so quick to part with a purebred dog

Do I sound judgey in the above? Well, I am. I have volunteered at animal shelters. I know how many furry souls are waiting to/willing to love us if we will let them. Just because they didn't cost thousands of dollars doesn't mean they don't deserve good lives.

But Elaine is grieving. She is doing what she can to get through. As long as the dog will be well cared for -- and she will -- none of this is my business, except to support my friend as she deals with the loss of her cat.

So I made a contribution to a local animal shelter in memory of Elaine's cat. Elaine will get a note from the shelter, mentioning him, and that will salve her heart. And his death will help save another feline life.  

My oldest friend is grieving a cat, too. She won't talk about it. At least not to me. Except for a text or two, all I've gotten is radio silence.

I haven't forgotten what she told me last year, when I had to say put my Reynaldo to sleep. "I couldn't do it," she said more than once. Well, now she's had to. So I am worried about her -- she's 2,000 miles away and has myriad health problems. I want her to check in with me. I want her to tell me she's OK.

That would make me feel better. But would it make her feel better? Maybe not.

Like Elaine, she's doing what she can to get through this. And it's not about me. Everything is not about The Gal!

So I sent her an Uber Eats gift card, so she could indulge in some comfort food. I sent her a chatty email. I'll keep the lines of communication open to remind her that I'm here when she's ready.

When she's ready.


Sunday, November 13, 2022

Sunday Stealing

SWAP BOT

1. If you could witness any event from history, what would it be? I'd like to be in this photo. In 1860, when Abraham Lincoln won the Presidency, Springfield residents went to his home to celebrate with him. I've been to Mr. Lincoln's home many times -- and am tentatively returning again soon -- and love imagining how exciting and joyous this was.

I always wonder exactly who the Lincoln family friends were in the upstairs windows

2. What do you think about conspiracy theories? That some people are gullible, sad, and desperate to demonize. No, the 2020 election was not stolen. No, Dr. Fauci did not push certain covid therapeutics to get rich. No, the Clintons did not kill Jeffrey Epstein. No, JFK Jr. is not coming back from the dead to support Donald Trump. No, Barack Obama was not born in a foreign land ... I try to find compassion for people whose lives are so empty they cling to nonsense. 

3. Do you like cartoons? Do you have /had a favorite one? My favorite show was Rocky and Bullwinkle. In addition to the world's favorite flying squirrel, there was always an episode of Mr. Peabody. I loved that Wayback Machine.

  

4. What did you most dislike in school times? The first day. How would I get all the way from the math/science wing to the English/language wing in just a few minutes? Where would I sit at lunch? It was stressful, man!

5. How do you think the end of the world will look like? I hope it's sudden.

6. What sounds are in your opinion relaxing? The sound of the sea? Traffic? Vacuum cleaner? Combine harvester on the field? Some kind of music? Birds singing? I like the constant sound of a train rumbling along the tracks.

7. Which would you take: The well-worn path or the road less traveled? Depends on the situation.

8. What was the last thing you read? I just cracked open William Manchester's Death of a President. I haven't read it in decades. I'd forgotten how well written it is.

9. What is one thing that has stumped you so hard you won't ever forget it? There are lots of things I'm really very bad at. Ice and roller skating spring to mind. I could give you loads more.
 
10. What are you interested in that most people aren’t? I don't know how to answer this, since I've found plenty of people who share my nerdy passions. For example, not everyone loves old movies as much as I do, but every year thousands of us congregate at the TCM Classic Film Festival.

11. What’s something you really resent paying for? Light bulbs and batteries.

12. What did you think was cool when you were young but isn’t cool now? I love shoulder pads. I wish they'd come back.

13. If you could choose a different time period and place to be born, when and where would it be? I'd like to have been born in the late 1940s. I think I would have made a great hippy.

14. Do you think cats have any regrets? No. I don't think dogs or frogs do, either.

15. What question do you hate answering? I don't know that I hate answering any of them.


 


 

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Wow.

I can't get over that parents threaten to hit their children for an infraction as minor as "sassing." (See post below.) But apparently they do, or at least did.

Not my mother. She grew up the daughter of two alcoholics and she and my uncle were abused physically by their father and verbally by their mother.* Consequently she strove to create a home where harmony ruled. I seldom heard her raise her voice in anger. And no one ever, EVER even mentioned spankings. I was often sent to my room, and my mother joked as recently as the 1990s that she thought I was probably still grounded "for something or another." But strike me? Dear Lord, no.

She used to tell us all the time -- my young friends as well as her own daughters -- that she wanted our home to be a place where "kids could be kids." We were welcome to express ourselves and play freely. She enjoyed us.

I learned from my mom that might does not make right. I was polite to my elders because if I wasn't, it would embarrass my mother or hurt her feelings. NOT because I was afraid she would hit me. My mother would never, ever hit me.

The results of her permissive approach? I graduated from high school a virgin because she asked me to be careful about sex. I never smoked a cigarette or tried drugs because she warned me not to. I trusted my mother's judgement, I never feared her.

She was not perfect. No mother is. To avoid arguments with my father she would be incredibly passive-aggressive, and theirs was not a relationship I wanted to emulate. She truly never understood why I didn't want a life like hers. She thought that because my dad didn't drink or hit her or us, ours was a happy home. That's setting the bar awfully low, isn't it? She believed my life and career choices were a rejection of her own and you know what? They were.

It was the example she set as a wife, and her acceptance of the role she relegated to, that I rejected. It had nothing to do with how she disciplined me or my sisters. In that regard, she was a wonderful role model.

I like to think that if I'd had a child, I would have instilled the same sense of fairness my mom gave me. You share your toys with your friends because it makes them feel welcome at your house. You have good manners at the table because it makes the meal more pleasant for everyone. Etc., etc. She always explained the "why." It made a lot more sense to me than, "Do that again and I'll hit you" ever could.

*My mother would always dismiss her own mother's sharp tongue with "she doesn't mean it" or "it's not so bad," but my grandmother hurt my uncle desperately.

Friday, November 11, 2022

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Walkin' After Midnight (1957)
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.
 
1) The lyrics tell us Patsy Cline was out walking after midnight. Where were you at midnight last night? Watching Cry of the City. It's a 1948 film noir, and my movie group is discussing it Monday.
 
2) She's sure she hears the night winds whispering to her. Is it windy, breezy, or still outdoors right now? It's pretty quiet outside.

3) When she was 13, Patsy came down with a fever and throat infection so severe she ended up in the hospital. She believed the illness changed her vocal chords and enabled her to sing in a lower key. How are you doing this cold and flu season? I just got my flu shot and covid booster, so I'm ready!

4) Patsy is well remembered today not only for her voice but for her generous spirit. Loretta Lynn, Dottie West and Barbara Mandrell all considered Patsy a trusted personal friend and professional mentor. Have you ever been a mentor? I tried to be a good mentor to Rita at my last job. I am pleased that she still feels comfortable turning to me, now that she has a new position at a different agency.
 
5) Patsy had a tough side, too. While traveling by bus and playing one-nighters, she found she and her band sometimes never got paid for their efforts. So she began demanding payment -- in cash -- before they would take the stage. She'd insist, "No dough, no show." Tell us about your tough side. When I was in advertising, I always made my due dates. Sometimes that meant I pushed those I worked with. I was heard to say, "If we don't make this date, Christmas will be cancelled and we're all going to die." Looking back, I don't regret any of it. Our clients we counting on us, and we were paid to be on time.
 
6) Patsy became the first female country star to headline at a Las Vegas showroom. Who is your favorite country performer? I am fond of Patsy, but my #1 is Garth Brooks. I really love this one.
 
 
7) In 1957, the year this song hit #2 on the charts, embroidered cotton handkerchiefs were a popular present for the ladies on your gift list. Do you own any handkerchiefs? Nope
 
8) 1957 was a banner year for Elvis. He released four hit records, two top box-office films, and his TV appearances topped the ratings. 65 years later, he is still recognized the world over by his first name alone. Can you think of another performer for whom one name is all that's required?
I grew up on Cher. May she go on forever!

9) Random question: What's the most embarrassing story your parents (or siblings) tell about you? Even as a child I was very verbal. I believe you should choose your words wisely and well. My mom annoyed young me with her word choices. She would scold me for "throwing" my jacket on the chair. I did not throw my jacket on the chair, I placed it there. Besides, if she wanted me to hang it up, why didn't she just tell me to do that? Similarly, in winter, she would admonish me to, "put something on your feet!" instead of telling me to wear my slippers. Once when she sent me back to my room to put "something" on my feet, I came out with gloves slipped onto my lower extremities. It cracked my grandmother up and she never let me forget it. She regularly gave me slippers and socks for my birthday after that. I was 39 when she died, and her last present to me was "something" to put on my feet. I was a brat, but Grandma thought I was adorable, as grandmothers will.
 

 

A salute on a special day

President Kennedy @ Arlington, Veterans Day 1961