Friday, September 30, 2022

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Forever Your Girl (1989)

1) In this song, Paula Abdul tells her boyfriend he's got to remember, she's forever his girl. How's your memory? Do you remember things easily or do you leave yourself notes and reminders? Reminders help.

2) Paula reassures her lover that she can't be swayed by another man, even if he gave her diamonds or pearls. Tell us about a piece of jewelry that means something to you. I have a pair of silly little dolphin earrings that I love, though I never wear them. When my niece was a very little girl, she bought them for me at a school fair with her own money. She was so proud of her purchase! PS She turns 30 next month. Gulp!
3) Paula is best known as one of the original judges of American Idol. Without looking it up, can you recall the men who sat on either side of her? Randy and Simon

4) Paula has been dancing since age 8 and moves very well in heels. Tell us about your favorite shoes. My trusty Nikes. I bought them from Dick's Sporting Goods back in 2019. Nike was in the news for backing Colin Kaepernick. Dick's was under attack for changing their policy re: guns. Every time I slip them on I'm reminded that we can make ourselves heard with our wallets.
5) A lifelong dancer, Paula admits she's not a trained singer. For this record, she worked with producer Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, who won accolades for his work with singers including Madonna, Kelly Clarkson, Toni Braxton and Janet Jackson. Who is your all-time favorite female singer?

6) She advises young girls to "keep the faith and don't lose your gut instinct." How about you? Are you more logical or instinctive? Let's just say my emotions have been known to overtake my common sense. Or, as my oldest friend warns me, "You're spinning, Gal."
7) Paula is excited that Richard Branson has chosen her song, "Straight Up" as the theme for his Virgin Galactic Spaceflight company. Would you like to orbit above the earth? Nope

8) In 1989, when this song was a hit, the Sears Holiday Wish Book was big on  bathrobes. Men and women alike were tempted with brightly colored, belted robes with hoods and patch pockets. Tell us about your bathrobe. I believe I bought it at Sears years ago. It's knee-length, gray and white. It reaches my knees. And it's belted, with a hood and patch pockets.

9) Random question: What do you consider your best quality? I maintain my sense of humor.


Chicken soup is good for the soul

Thursday evening, my friend Nancy and her hubs were back in my neighborhood. He wanted to get his flu/Covid shots at the same pharmacy as he had in the past. A new delicatessen just opened, and they reached out and wanted to know if I wanted to join them after his jab.

I'm so glad I said "yes." I've skipped other social events -- a baby shower and a wedding celebration -- because I didn't want to be stuck in public if the kidney stone pain hits. But the deli is just around the corner from my home, so I knew if I started to feel poorly I could be back in bed in no time. 

As a couple, Nancy and Paul both like me. I can talk work with Nancy and Paul and I share all the same pop culture touch stones (yesterday we were talking Monty Python) and sports. Plus being with them makes me happy because I knew Nancy at the end of her difficult first marriage. Seeing her so happy with Paul is life affirming.

And while this isn't by design by I think it's a plus: they're Jewish. I read a blogger who recently posted something like, "All my friends are Christians and they all read the Bible." I'm a Christian and am happy to see someone live their faith. But I'm not a fan of that lack of diversity. When discussing big issues -- like abortion -- it's important to understand that others can be just as devout as you and believe something else. Respect for those views is not only kind and decent, it's Constitutionally mandated. At a time when a phrase like "Christian Nationalism" is being tossed around this, this is important.

So I felt nourished by the chicken soup, rice pudding, conversation, laughter, and affection.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Thursday Thirteen #277

Thirteen places to see the fall colors. Every autumn, my old friend Kathy would mention she thought it would be fun to hit the road and check out the foliage. I admit I couldn't care less. I look at the trees and see the colors and they make me happy, but I've never been motivated to take a trip to seek them out. Kathy is suffering from cognitive decline, and in a way, I'm posting this to remind me of how she always wanted to do this, but never did.

1. Blue Ridge Parkway, VA

2. The Berkshires, MA

3. Door County, WI

4. White Mountain, NH

5. Bar Harbor, ME

6. Adirondacks, NY

7. The Catskills, NY

8. Green Mountain Byway, VT

9. Gatlinburg & the Smoky Mountains, TN

10. Poconos, PA

11. Taos, NM

12. Brooklyn Botanical Garden, NY

13. Napa Valley, CA

What about you? Do you have a "bucket list" item it would be easy to mark off, but you just haven't gotten around to it?

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

Of dentists and urologists

Monday was a busy day. Dentist in the morning, urologist in the afternoon.  

Dental drama: My front tooth is cracked and the enamel is worn away. This is not unusual. I am an old broad and decades of use, as well as menopause (which is not good for your teeth), have taken their toll.

However this means that I now have THREE teeth in work now. It's going to be a race to the finish. How much of this work can I get done before I lose my job and this really awesome dental insurance

Back to the hospital: In addition to an internist, a dermatologist, a chiropractor, and a dentist, I now have a urologist! A team, actually. I met with the physician's assistant who very patiently explained my condition and my treatment options. One thing he kindly kept emphasizing is that there's a difference between "acute" and "chronic," and he believes my kidney stone is an acute condition. Once it's gone, it's gone. There's not reason to believe that this will continue to bedevil me for life. Yay!

Then he referred me to my new urologist, who will perform my laser lithotripsy. Yes, a laser will zap my big-ass stone, pulverizing it into tiny pieces. Most will be removed during the procedure, I'll pass the rest. That will be October 6. A few days later, I'll have to return to have the stent removed. Then hopefully all this will just be a bad dream.

My friend John is going to meet me at the hospital after the procedure put me safely in a cab home. We have been friends 41 years now. This is one of those moments when I'm glad I have long-standing relationships.

This is everything

The Yankees clinched first place in the AL East. This is really not news. I believe they have been in first place all season. Yankee fans are such hysterical babies. The Yankees hit a skid and there was a groundswell of cries for the manager's head on a stick. Oh, please, it's a 160-game season! Players are going to slump, players are going to go on paternity leave, players are going to have botched epidurals ... better they get all the hiccoughs out of the way in August and September, as opposed to during the playoffs (which I predict will happen to the Dodgers).

Anyway, I am over the moon over this because of Anthony Rizzo. My favorite-most ballplayer would never be enjoying this post-season run if he hadn't been traded. This man needs another World Series ring. As the song says, "It's up to you, New York, New York!"

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Sunday Stealing


1. If you were trapped in a room with the person who asked this for 24 hours, what would you do? The answer cannot be romantic or sexual. I'm assuming that the person who asked me this is our guest host, Ms. Kwiz. I would ask her about Maine and about books and about her love affair with road trips.

2. If you could learn any language instantly, what would it be? Spanish

3. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be? Wow. I suppose The Bible, because I haven't ever sat down to read it and it's so many books within a book and (I don't mean this to sound this simplistic) it's always timely.

4. Favorite song lyric? This encapsulates the longest, most tumultuous relationship of my life: "So let me go, or make me want to stay."

5. Favorite album? The Beatles White Album

6. Which time of day would you say is best for you work-wise? Either mid-morning or late night

7. What do you think people assume about you from first glance? That I'm more conservative than I am.

8. Favorite city that you haven’t visited? London

9. If you received $10,000 but had to give it away, what would you do with it? Wouldn't this be the best problem to have? I have so many political organizations and charities I would love to share the money with and divvying it up would be fun.

10. What is one book you wish you could get all your friends to read?  The Princess Bride. If you've seen the movie, you only have part of the story. There's a poignant, wistful narration that is terrifically moving.

11. What is one movie you wish you could get all your friends to watch? It changes. Lately, I'd recommend Giant. It's a great love story and it also touches upon America's ongoing issues race, class, and gender. Plus, Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson are so romantic and gorgeous they take your breath away. I could go on and on.


12. If you could create one thing, what would it be? A way to tell if the machines in the laundry room are in use. I hate going all the way down there (4 floors!) and finding there isn't a washer open.

13. If you could play any musical instrument, what would it be? Guitar.

14. What is your favorite item of clothing? I love my Gloria Vanderbilt Amanda jeans.

15. What is your favorite card/board game? Canasta.


Of birthdays and potatoes

I want to read it, too!
Today my nephew and I celebrated his 23rd birthday. TWENTY THREE! How can that be? I remember exactly what I was wearing the day I went to visit my newborn nephew at the hospital.

Anyway, I didn't know for a fact he'd be dressed in head-to-toe Cubbie blue (from his cap to his sandals) when I gave him his Cub-centric birthday present, but I suppose it was a good guess. Blood will tell, after all. 

We talked a lot of baseball: his new job as a part-time writer for a baseball website (!), the Cubs' prospects for next year, the Yankees run for a ring, and, of course, Joe Maddon. 

I also got him nailed down as my ride from the hospital on the off-chance I need surgery next month. It occurred to me that my nephew is the perfect choice. He will be working remotely, part-time, so he wouldn't be unduly inconvenienced. He has his own car. He is good with cats. He won't judge my lazy housekeeping. My asking him to do this seemed to make him feel adult.

He had pizza and french fries. I had a grilled chicken sandwich and french fries. Then this evening I had potato salad. Which leads me to ...

I have developed an outsized love of potatoes. Roasted, mashed, baked, french fried, tater tots or hashed brown. And the aforementioned potato salad. I think I could have potatoes for every meal. Happily.

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: This Night Won't Last Forever (1979)
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.
1) This song begins with, "Everybody likes a celebration." Do you have any birthdays or anniversaries coming up on your calendar? Today my nephew and I are celebrating his birthday. I got him former Cub manager Joe Maddon's autobiography. (It's been hard for me not to crack it open, since I want to read it, too!)
2) The lyrics tell us Michael Johnson is stuck at a party while his heart is breaking. He finds it awkward and painful to pretend there's nothing wrong. Are you adept at "putting a good face on it?" Or is it easy for others to tell how you're feeling? I have been playing hurt lately. I have (in the doctor's words) "a big honking kidney stone," which is painful. Plus, there's a shit ton of upheaval at work. But I'm working hard to put a good face on it. I'm not always successful -- pain can be hard to work through -- but I can appear very upbeat and chipper for a couple hours at a time. (Though this week I did suffer an epic fail in this regard. See post below.)

3) Michael feels like this is going to be a long night. Is there a part of your day when time tends to drag? Or when it flies? Sometimes the late afternoon drags. If I find myself awake after midnight, that can zoom by.
4) As bad as he feels right now, he's still hopeful about tomorrow. What are you looking forward to for Sunday? I should rest. I'm still not well.
5) When he was 13, Michael taught himself to play the guitar. He went on to take formal lessons and mastered classical guitar. What's something you would like learn more about/do better? Spanish. Learning another language would expand my world!
6) For a time he performed with a trio known as Denver, Boise & Johnson. The Denver was John. Do you have a favorite John Denver song? I don't really care for John Denver. I know, I know, he's much beloved. I'm sure it's me and not him. That said, I have good memories attached to hearing "Rocky Mountain High."
7) He retired to Minneapolis to be near his adult daughter. But he never stopped performing entirely. For years he delighted loyal local fans with with an annual holiday concert on December 26 at Orchestra Hall. Is there a performer you've seen in concert more than once? Sir Paul. Bruce. I've never seen them together. What a treat that would be!

8) In 1979, when this song was popular, the cable channel ESPN launched. What's the last sporting event that you watched? Baseball. As we approach the play-offs, baseball is everything to me! Here are the Yankees clinching their berth. That's my favorite, Anthony Rizzo, right in the middle. As much as I hate it that the Cubs traded him, I'm delighted for him. Had he stayed in Chicago, there would be no similar celebration for him. The Cubs won't be looking at the playoffs again for a long time.
There's also Albert Pujols and Aaron Judge and their big bats to watch. This is a very good time to enjoy America's pasttime.

9) Random question: Do you play Wordle? Every morning. If I get it right away, I feel brilliant. If I don't, well, it's humbling. I mean, I'm a writer, after all!


Well, that was a week!

Monday was a rough day. I was still exhausted from my day in the ER. But I couldn't just lie in bed because I had the handyman here all day working on my living room windows. He did a nice job, neat and efficient and he was out of here as fast as he could. I appreciated that.

I spent a lot of the day fielding calls from the hospital and making follow up appointments. I appreciate the quality of care I've received but I admit I'm overwhelmed by the next steps. Monday I shall bounce between my dentist's office and the hospital to consult with a urologist about my kidney stone. Then next Friday afternoon I follow up with my doctor to talk about my condition -- especially the MRI the hospital recommends to rule out abnormalities on my pancreas.

Tuesday I cried at work. I've been employed full time since I was 17 years old and I've never before cried in a professional situation.* Now that my career is coming to end, I dissolved. It was during a conference call, so at least I was weepy in the privacy of my own home, but my coworkers could hear it my voice.

My dream project -- the one I've been arguing to do for months -- has finally kicked off. Now, when I'm a lame duck. Now, when I don't time to do the quality of work I want to do. Now, when I'm fucking medicated! The client not only wants it done in a truncated time frame, they want it presented in a new template I've never used before. I cannot concentrate on both content and templating in this time frame, not when codeine complicates the equation. So I fell apart.

I am not proud of this.

Rita, our newest team member, dove right in. "I've got you, Girlie!" she kept saying. "You're fine. I've got you!" 

And she did. I did the writing, she did the formatting. And even though I won't be able to present it to the client myself, she promises, "I'll do you proud."

I'm so glad Rita gets me. I do still care. Because here's the thing: my client's corporate office is unhappy with the advertising agency I work for. My day-to-day clients have never had a single complaint about me. I know and understand their concerns and appreciate that they trust me to help solve them. 

I know, especially when you read things like the Trump complaint in NYC, it's easy to be jaded about corporate America. But my clients are honest and have integrity, and as long as they're paying me, I won't just "phone it in."

Will September 30 be my last day? I don't know. Our contract runs through November 30, but layoffs could happen with any pay period between now and then.

And I got answers! Originally I went to the ER with what my doctor suspected was diverticulitis. In addition to the crippling abdominal pain (which is the kidney stone), I have been battling gastrointestinal trouble. Months of it. No appetite. Constipation one day, diarrhea the next. After reviewing my test results, the hospital has diagnosed me with epiploic appendagitis. I'm learning what it means. Maybe someday I'll learn how to pronounce it!

Also, my gall bladder and pancreas look "unremarkable." This is a relief!

But there's still baseball. Anthony Rizzo (and the Yankees) have clinched a playoff berth and the Cubs have won 7 of their last 10. I feel sorry for people who don't love baseball. And cats. And books. Baseball, cats and books have gotten me through this so far.

And blog friends. Thank you for the kind messages. I have read them and I appreciate them enormously.

*I did once vomit from stress. That was in 1991 or 92. But that was in the privacy of the ladies' room and I'm not sure everyone knew about it. Ah, advertising! There are things I will not miss.

When will it reach critical mass?

It's so hard to listen to Trump supporters continue to wrap themselves in my Christian faith when they defend the man. He takes no responsibility for his actions -- whether it's the way he addressed the crowds on January 6 or the way he handled his finances in NYC and here in Chicago. He uses race to excuse himself (Letitia James is "racist" because she is prosecuting him). He doesn't care about how baseless rhetoric inflames and exacerbates.

What will it take before his followers see they have been bamboozled? When will he go away? When can I please stop seeing my faith used to excuse prejudice, selfishness, and grift?

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Thursday Thirteen #276

 Thirteen tests often run at hospitals. I spent all day Sunday in the ER. As I was wheeled through the hospital en route to my CT scan, or as I lie on my bed watching my blood drawn, I got wondering about what goes on in hospitals. Here's a 2019 (pre-covid) snapshot. 

  1. CBC (complete blood count)*
  2. CT scan*
  3. Basic metabolic panel
  4. Glucose screen test for diabetes
  5. Ultrasound
  6. Urinalysis*
  7. Chlamydia detection
  8. MRI
  9. TSH (thyroid)
  10. Liver function
  11. PTT (a test that measures how long it takes your blood to clot)
  12. X-ray
  13. Stool sample

*I had these, and the doctor was able to diagnose what he called "a honking kidney stone."

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

Tuesday, September 20, 2022


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

1. What are you currently reading? Orson Welles by Barbara Leaming. Orson Welles was one of America's most complete Renaissance men. Actor-writer-director-painter-magician-puppeteer. He was also a mess. He could be no other way with the childhood he endured. He was so favored by his parents that they seemed to feel nothing but relief when told their other child died. His mother had an affair with a local doctor who was as obsessed by toddler Orson as he was with her. His father was business wiz with a drinking problem and wanderlust. Told by adults , almost from infancy, that he was a genius, Orson was never one of the gang, never able to relate other kids.

As I post this, he's still in high school. I can't wait till he gets to Broadway and then Hollywood.

Welles was complicated, glorious, and grotesque. Barbara Leaming is a good and sensitive storyteller. So far, this seems like a good match of author and subject.

2. What did you just finish reading? For Your Own Good by Samantha Downing. The halls of Belmont Academy are filled with unsavory people. The students are so driven to get into the right college that they will do anything -- including blackmail and bribery -- to raise their GPAs. The teachers resent their wealthy, entitled students, and they aren't crazy about their fellow educators, either. The parents never let anyone forget how rich and powerful they are. Oh yeah, and at least one of this illustrious crew is a serial killer who successfully racks up quite a body count.

The plot is filled with shocking twists and turns. The setting is insular, which ratchets up the paranoia. And yet, I liked it but didn't love it. I think the problem is that the bar was so set high by the first book I read by this author: My Lovely Wife. That had a delicious wit that's missing here. 

I'm not sorry I read it. I'm just sorry I read Downing's better book first.

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


Home run #31

My favorite ball player Anthony Rizzo had not been on the field since August 31. First he was experiencing back tightness, then he had a botched epidural an epidural that did not go as expected, resulting in crippling migraines. He then endured a blood patch, a procedure where his own blood was injected into his back to seal any leaks caused by the botched epidural.

But Sunday, he was back with a boom. After 18 days, he went 3 for 6, including his 31st home run of the season. I saw it on my phone from my bed in the ER. It made me so happy and distracted me from the scary business at hand.

Celebrating #31 for the cameras

So how was your weekend?

Friday night into Saturday I had terrible abdominal pains. I had to pace, take meds, and soak in a tub before I could finally get back to sleep. It was my fourth consecutive night of this. My doctor did not believe I was in imminent danger but understood how frightened I was. So she recommended a CT scan of my gut, and since her urgent care didn't perform them on Sundays, sent me to a local ER.

I ended up being there for 8 hours.

For those of you who wonder what I look like, here's a self portrait

Lots of tests, two bags of fluids and the prescribed CT scan later, and a kidney stone was discovered. Just one. But it's nowhere near my kidney anymore. It moved and lodged in the ureter. No wonder I hurt. 

I have meds to take and lots of water to drink and hopefully it will break apart on its own. I have an appointment next Monday with a urologist. And I'm seeing my doctor this Friday to discuss the CT scan. It seems a pancreatic abnormality was revealed. No one can tell me what it is without an MRI. I'm trying not to freak out. Naturally my mind jumps ahead to pancreatic cancer. That would explain my months long lack of appetite. 

But I shouldn't jump ahead. My GP thought I had diverticulitis when she sent me to the ER. WebMD led me to believe it was IBS. No one predicted kidney stones. So maybe the predictors are wrong this time, too.

But I am scared. And tired. And overwhelmed.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Sunday Stealing

 Staying Up Late 

1. Do you have any Pepto-Bismol in your house?  Technically yes, since PB tablets are in my purse and my purse is in my home.
2. Do you have a favorite flavor of vodka? No. I like vodka, but I don't play favorites.
3. Is your backyard big enough to fit a trampoline? ...and then some. No yard.
4. When was the last time you had eggs? I had a hard-boiled egg the other day.
5. How often do you blow dry your hair, and what color is your blow dryer? I blow dry my hair every day. My dryer is purple.
6. Have you ever gone to bed later than three AM? Yes. I've pulled all-nighters for work, but it's been a long time.
7. Have you been to a surprise party before? Yes.
8. What is your least favorite month? Interesting question, in that I didn't realize until this moment I don't have a least favorite month.
9. Have you ever gone to see a movie the day it came out? Nope
10. Do you like movies/books about drugs, and why or why not? My first response to this question is ICK! Though with further thought I recall how much I appreciate Frank Sinatra's performance in The Man with the Golden Arm.

11. Do you have scrap paper by your computer? I have a pad. Does that count?
12. Have you ever kept a bag from a store because you liked it? Yes. I don't know why I do, but I do.
13.Was the last thing you drank carbonated? No. It was tap water.
14. Do you own any yellow clothing? No. I look terrible in yellow. Sickly.
15. Last person you argued with. My art director. We didn't really argue. I just yelled at her. I'm not sorry. She doesn't listen in meetings and afterward I have to repeat things for her. I explained the project we're starting Tuesday FOUR TIMES! If I didn't scold her, I know I could look forward to a fifth.



There's something wrong here

To comfort myself after receiving a ton of bad news on Tuesday, I had meatballs. It was the first beef I'd had for a while, but I was looking for comfort from comfort food. Big mistake.

Every night since then -- Wednesday night, Thursday night, Friday night and Saturday night -- I've had gut discomfort. Always at night. Sometimes just tenderness, sometimes vicious cramping. When it gets bad, I get scared.

I wake up in the morning, and it's gone. I wasn't even aware of it at the ballpark Friday.

I went to the doctor Saturday and she explained that my diverticula are inflamed. Because I have no fever of diarrhea, and since it comes and goes, she doesn't think it's full-blown diverticulitis. She also believes that stress from my personal life is exacerbating it.

Saturday night it started bedeviling me again at about 8:30 and it just got worse and worse. I did something just after midnight Sunday morning, I never do. I had my doctor paged. She called me back within minutes. I told her I was sure "something is broken inside."

My doctor assured me it's not. I need to drink more water -- lots more! -- and take Excedrin Migraine. I also soaked in a hot tub. I eventually fell asleep. I woke up this morning feeling fine.

What the hell.

My doctor is calling me today. She wants me to have a CT scan. As bad as the pain is, she reassures me I'm going to be OK. I believe her, because as I post this, I'm fine.

I trust my doctor. I give a little but sincere prayer of gratitude every time the pain passes. I hope that once I have the scan, we'll be able to proceed and treat it.

Look how good our seats were!

 On Friday, my nephew accompanied me to my first/only 2022 game at Wrigley Field. It was a beautiful day, just about 80ยบ and, as you can see, clear and sunny. Our ace, Marcus Stroman, has struggled at home and I was happy to be there for his first victory within The Friendly Confines. He deserved it! He's pitched well all year and for some reason, the bats just stay asleep when he's on the mound. Even Friday, the score was 2-1. 

I was, of course, wearing my #44 Anthony Rizzo shirt. Friday was my first time back since he was so cruelly wrested from us traded, and I had to represent for him. As did my nephew and the gazillion other fans wearing #44. But it occurred to me that wearing my Cubbie shirt and carrying my Cubbie purse, it may be a bit much for a 64-year-old woman. Where's my dignity? Oh, well, screw it. The Cubs make me happy.

So does my nephew. He is so intensely, fabulously nerdy about baseball. I am the one who introduced him to the game but wow, the student has far surpassed the teacher. I love talking to him. First of all, he never gets bored with all my baseball talk, like just about every other person I know does. Secondly, we laugh at all the same things. And he's getting into solo McCartney! When we weren't talking about Anthony Rizzo and/or the Cubs, we were talking Sir Paul. My ideal conversationalist. 

He's 21 now -- 22 in a matter of weeks -- and I've noticed that as he's moved from adolescent to man, he's become more affectionate. When I told him that Henry was in the hospital again, he awkwardly hugged me. It was sweet.

Friday, September 16, 2022

Saturday 9

 Saturday 9: In and Out of Love (1967)

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

1) In this song, Diana Ross is disappointed that she hasn't yet found lasting love. Do you think you can fall out of love? Or do you believe that if you fell out of love, it wasn't true love to begin with? I don't know that I've ever fallen out of love. Relationships have become untenable and had to end. But I have been in love twice, and I still love both men now.

2) When is the last time you literally fell, tripped, or stumbled? I used to fall down a lot. I thought I was just a klutz. Working with a chiropractor, I learned that my spine is curved and so my body is out of whack, very right dominant. Since I've been stretching and getting adjustments, my balance is better and I can't recall the last time I took a tumble.
3) This record was a hit with American Bandstand viewers. For weeks it was voted the song they most wanted to dance to. Did you watch American Bandstand? When I was in junior high, I wouldn't miss it. Saturdays at 11:00 AM.
4) This is one of the last Supremes songs that featured the most successful hit-making line-up: Diana Ross, Mary Wilson, and Florence Ballard. Florence's great-nephew, Christian Ballard, was a football star at University of Iowa and briefly played pro ball for the Vikings. The 2022-23 NFL season just kicked off. What team do you root for? I am still concentrating on baseball. I don't have the bandwidth to root for a football team.
5) Mary had a connection to sports, too. She donated her time and talent to raising money for Figure Skaters of Harlem, an organization that helps young people train for the Winter Olympics.Tell us about a charity you support. Fried's Cat Shelter. It was started in the 1970s by the Frieds, Jewish immigrants who escaped the Nazis by coming to America in 1939. After they retired, they bought an abandoned motel in Michigan City, IN, and turned it into a no-kill shelter for homeless cats. Their time in Germany taught them, "To save a life is more in conformity with God's law than to kill." Every cat who enters Fried's is guaranteed a home for life, whether with an adopter or in loving care at the shelter.

Rescues living their best life at Fried's Cat Shelter
I learned about Fried's from my favorite uncle. He was a Vietnam veteran, and because of his combat experiences, the Fried's story and especially their message about saving lives touched him. Even though he's gone, I still celebrate my uncle's birthday (September 25) and just sent Fried's Cat Shelter a donation in his honor.

6) There's a children's playground in New York's Central Park named for the last surviving member of this trio, Diana Ross. It has swings, slides, a rope bridge, and a fountain that kids are welcome to splash in. If you were suddenly little again, which would you play on first? The swing. No doubt.
7) Diana owns an estate in Greenwich, CT, with lush gardens, a tennis court, and a pool. While the grounds are spectacular, she maintains the house itself is "nothing special" because the kitchen hasn't been renovated in more than three decades. Could your kitchen benefit from a makeover? Or are you fine with it as it is? I am fine with it as it is. If I was looking to sell, I'd invest in superficial changes, like new countertops and cabinets. (Let the new owner upgrade the appliances.) But for myself? I don't care.
8) In 1967, when this song was popular, the best-selling camera was The Polaroid Swinger. When did you most recently take a photo? What was it of? A Moscow mule. Last Friday the weather was so perfect I celebrated with an outdoor lunch at my favorite restaurant. Just me, the sunshine, good food and a good book. BLISS!

9) Random question: Come clean! Are there dirty dishes in your sink right now? There are always dirty dishes in my sink.


Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Thursday Thirteen #275

Thirteen top TV Show of 72-73. When I was growing up, September meant the end of reruns and the beginning of the new TV season. Let's get into the wayback machine and look at what was on the TV landscape 50 years ago. Notice this was before cable, so these are all network shows. Since there were no VCRs yet, all these shows had substantial audiences watching in real time.

1. All in the Family (CBS)

2. Sanford and Son (NBC)

3. Hawaii Five-O (CBS)

4. Maude (CBS)

5. Bridget Loves Bernie (CBS)

6. The NBC Sunday Mystery Movie* (NBC)

7. The Mary Tyler Moore Show (CBS)

8. Gunsmoke (CBS)

9. The Wonderful World of Disney (NBC)

10. Ironside (NBC)

11. Adam-12 (NBC)

12. The Flip Wilson Show (NBC)

13. Marcus Welby, MD (ABC)

*This is kind of a cheat because it was really four shows that aired once/month: Columbo, MacMillan and Wife, McCloud and Hec Ramsey.

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

Jose Cuervo, you are a friend of mine

Yesterday was not a good day. Which is kinda cruel, because it started out so well. It was a beautiful morning. My commute was smooth. My train was not only on time, I got to ride in one of the new cars with cool new seats. The charter bus that runs between the train station and our office building was waiting for me and one of my favorite co-workers, Rita, was already on board and I was able to give her a little pep talk. She's been upset that she's being treated as "junior" and missing opportunities. (But she is junior! The trick is to explain that to her without crushing her spirit and ambition.)

Got to the office and had no morning meetings. This freed me up to concentrate on my dream project. I'd begun the audit of our client's massive library of blog articles. The plan was to show them what I already know: there's plenty of redundancy, of outdated information, of inconsistent or just plain bad design. From there, we expected the client to charge us with refreshing that portion of their website. They're a Fortune 50 company, you know them. They should have a website that reflects their status.

I'm so enthusiastic about this project because 1) it would be easy for the client to implement; 2) we could accurately track any increase in clicks and, therefore, show them the value we added; 3) it would be literally hundreds of hours of work for my agency. It's taken me a long time to get this project the attention it deserves because work like this will never win awards or get written up in Ad Age. Agency leadership is very into Clios and Cannes Lions and editorial mentions in industry rags. I, on the other hand, am very into doing work that demonstrably moves my client's business along. "Oh, Gal, that's 'small ball,'" I've been told. But here's the thing -- every major initiative we've recommended to the client has been rejected. Every last one. They don't see any value in these big, provocative projects. I have always been sure that if they ever see my idea, they will be pleased and approve it.

At lunch Rita and I went to a new French sandwich shop (I had a baguette!) and then, we came back to the office the wheels came off.

First I learned that Henry is back in the mental health facility. Yes, my darling friend is back in the looney bin for the second time this year. Once again, Henry woke up in the middle of the night and called 911 because he believed he was being attacked by his father (an 85 year old man who is in Puerto Rico and hasn't visited Henry in decades). He is going to remain there until the doctors decide he is no longer a danger to himself or anyone else. One bright spot is that once Henry calmed down, he understood who he was and where he was and allowed himself to be admitted. In May, the duration of his stay was determined by a judge. 

Then I found out that our client has fired us. Well, that's not exactly accurate. They have decided to not to renew our contract after November 30. We did our first commercial for them -- a radio spot on a comedy broadcast -- back in 1956. Sixty six years we have had a partnership. As of November 30, it will be over. And so will my career. I turn 65 on November 22, almost exactly a week before the contract ends, and I take that as a sign that it's time for me hang up my spurs and retire.

I got those two pieces of news within hours. I simply left the office after getting the last bit. I mean, what are they going to do to me at this point? I got home, poured some Jose Cuervo, and got on the phone. First I called my oldest friend, then I called John. Then I watched baseball. (My Cubs beat the Mets.)

Today was a work-from-home day. I never got dressed. Never put on any makeup. Spoke to a Medicare broker, who sent me all the information I need to get that process started so I don't have any gaps in my coverage once I get bumped from my employer's plan. (I really need dental!)

I've been with my agency 18 years. I believe, down to my bone marrow, that upper management fucked up this client relationship. They can give me this day to process and to heal.

While I realize that Henry's sad situation has nothing to do with mine, in my head they are coupled together. Yesterday was not a good day. Today is better. Tomorrow will be better still. But this was a lot of big news in a short period of time and I'm doing the best I can.


Tuesday, September 13, 2022


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

1. What are you currently reading? For Your Own Good by Samantha Downing. Belmont Academy is a private school filled with unique, if unlikable, characters. The kids are indulged and entitled. The parents are overbearing. At least one of the teachers is a sociopath. Even the janitor is creepy. So it should not be a surprise that there's a murder. Soon Belmont is known as #Homicide High.

 I'm not very deep in, but so far this book is wicked fun. It's by the author of My Lovely Wife, so I'm not surprised that it's dark, witty and twisty.

2. What did you just finish reading?  Try Not to Suck: The Exceptional Baseball Life of Joe Maddon by Bill Chastain and Jesse Rogers. The problem with reviewing biographies is that sometimes it's hard to separate my feelings about the subject from the book itself. This is one of those times.

Joe Maddon is one of my favorite people on Planet Earth. He not only guided the 2016 Cubs to their first World Series victory in 108 years, he kept fans like me riveted. Highly quotable, very original and ever optimistic, he was a joy to have here in Chicago. He also faced more adversity than I realized, and now (if it's possible) I admire him even more.

So I enjoyed this book because I enjoy Joe, even though at times it read like an exhaustive Google search. Joe didn't cooperate and, with the exception of Cubs World Series MVP Ben Zobrist, I didn't see any unique contributions. I wanted more than this rather simplistic look at a deceptively complicated man. Joe is releasing his autobiography this fall, and I consider this book an appetizer while I wait to devour his.

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