Sunday, October 30, 2022

Sunday Stealing


1. What did you do today? It's still early, so not a lot. I did compose the blog post below.

2. 5 things about where you live. My neighborhood is (1) highly walkable, (2) with lots of trees, which is pretty this time of year. (3) We're a pretty literate community, with three libraries within 2 miles. (4) We also really like pizza. I have three options within walking distance. My choices are vast if I'm choose delivery. (5) Has inadequate parking. I don't drive so I don't really care, except I get tired of hearing my fellow citizens bitch about it all the time.

3. What are the must-sees sights around you? Now that I will soon have more time on my hands, I'm thinking of revisiting The Art Institute of Chicago someday soon. It's been years and years since I've wandered the galleries. We're so lucky to have many of museums around here. You can find a list here.

Read about The Art Institute

4. What’s your favorite restaurant meal? I haven't had it in a while, but I'd like a ribeye steak, a baked potato, and lots of Coke.

5. What was the last thing you cooked or ate? I had chicken nuggets and mashed potatoes for dinner. (I'm on a potato binge.)

6. What is something you learned from your grandparents. From my dad's mom, I learned involvement. She was a member of her church council, involved with Girl Scouts and an election judge for decades. (Which is why Donald Trump's unwarranted and ugly attacks on Georgia's Ruby Freeman upset me so much. I imagined him doing that to my own grandma.) She got tremendous satisfaction from her volunteer work and was, for the most part, a very happy woman. My mom's mom was the polar opposite. From her I learned to just chill. She was a brittle, high-strung woman who gave me an example of how not to be. As I get older, I feel greater compassion for her, but she is still no one I'd emulate.

7. What’s the weather like as you are writing your postcard? Sunny, clear and a little warmer than usual for the time of year.

8. Share an interesting fact that you’ve learned, and which most people are not aware of. John F. Kennedy was a voracious reader, enjoyed an early career as a journalist and author (publishing two books and winning a Pulitzer), yet simply could not learn foreign languages. His comprehension and pronunciation were ... well ... awful For someone who loved words, this was very frustrating. One thing he found fascinating about his wife was Jackie's fluency in French and Spanish (she also recorded radio ads for him in Italian and German).

Jackie delivers a speech in Spanish to Cuban immigrants, Orange Bowl, 1962

9. Are there any local events or festivals in your area? Tons. Literally too many to list.

10. What was the last concert you attended? I truly don't recall.

11. What is your favorite charitable organization? So many! Right now, I'll plug The Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation. Started by my favorite ball player, this organization provides support to families battling pediatric cancer -- providing meal vouchers, gas cards and parking to parents visiting their children in the hospital. Rent and mortgage relief is available to those who have to take off work. Toys are sent to children who have to spend their birthday or Christmas in the hospital. Therapy dogs are trained to comfort the kids. Anthony Rizzo has taught me a great deal about the unreimbursed financial challenges these families face, and I'm grateful to him for that.

Learn more here

And so it begins

Friday was my first day of officially doing nothing. Not working, not looking for work. So how did I spend it? On the phone, online, following up and making appointments.  

I have confused the State of Illinois. Since I was laid off, I qualify for unemployment. I've been working full time -- and paying into the system! -- since I was 17 and I am soooo collecting every cent I have coming to me. 

The only time I collected unemployment before was in 2002. Literally more than 20 years ago. In those days, you had to apply in person (not fun) and you left with a little piece of cardboard. Folded in half. The cover was a picture of Abraham Lincoln superimposed over an outline of the State of Illinois. Inside, a man had written my name and number with a ballpoint pen. There were blanks where I wrote who I contacted for work. On the back were phone numbers I was to call to check in and get my check (in those days we received paper checks in the mail).

I remember the card well because I carried it in my wallet while I was job hunting. Years later, I threw it away. It seemed so low tech and ephemeral. 


I tried to register for unemployment online and kept getting dead ended. So I called the phone number on the screen and got a lovely civil servant (I mean it; she was very pleasant) named Belinda. She explained to me that "the system" shows a person with my same name, address and email has already registered with the Illinois Department of Employment Services. Yes! That's me! Let's get me my paychecks!

Not so fast. I need my "claimant number." That number handwritten in ballpoint on the flimsy piece of cardboard that I no longer have. Belinda explained that, to help prevent fraud, she cannot access that number. Nor can she issue me a new one.

Now what?

I have to show up, in person, and present evidence that I am, indeed me an that I live in Illinois. That's my Social Security card, my State ID and a utility or cellphone bill. Because of first covid and then the low unemployment rate, there aren't many locations or times available. I'm scheduled for Wednesday, November 9 at 1:30.

I am lucky. I have severance. I have savings. I qualify for Social Security. But I worry about those who do not have these resources. I get it: scammers collecting someone else's benefits is a problem. I'm not complaining. I'm just sad about the situation. (And I wish I'd understood long ago that my "claimant number" is part of my permanent record!)

I did kinda sorta look for work. My oldest friend made a little extra money working from home for an online transcription service. I registered with the service she worked for and investigated another. Hopefully by the first of year I'll be up-and-running, making a few bucks an hour, a couple hours a day. I'd like to forestall collecting Social Security as long as possible. I don't feel like working full-time anymore, but I don't believe I can afford to do nothing, and this is something I can do, at least until I'm strong and healthy. Which leads me to ...

I made doctor's appointments! Dentist and oral surgeon. Follow up with the urologist and two sessions with the chiropractor. MRI of my pancreas and my annual mammogram. My November is going to be busy!

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Happy Birthday, Dear Kwizgiver!


To celebrate of one of the blogosphere's favorite educators, here's a birthday cake made of school supplies.


Friday, October 28, 2022

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Haunted (2013)

Unfamiliar with this week's featured song? Hear it here.
1) In this song, Beyonce sings that she's sure if a man is haunting her thoughts, she must be haunting his. Who is on your mind this morning? My niece. She had her gallbladder removed last week and is recovering at her in laws' house. Her 30th birthday is next week, and I really want her to be feeling well enough to truly enjoy it.

2) The lyrics mention her "wicked tongue." Have you said anything recently that you wish you could take back? Not recently. But I can be an ass at times. I have been known to blurt first and regret later.

3) Beyonce says her lucky number is 4. Her birthday is 9/4, her mom's birthday is 1/4 and her husband's birthday is 12/4. She chose 4/4 for her wedding day. Do you have a lucky number? Seven
4) Beyonce told an interviewer  that, while on the road, she loves to eat Popeye's fried chicken and the fast-food chain offered her free food for life. She admits she's been too embarrassed to take them up on it. If you could get free food for life from any restaurant, which restaurant would you choose? I just discovered a little French sandwich shop. I'd like to have free lunch for life there.

5) Candy corn is a trick-or-treat staple. Do you like it? Nope.

6) In 2019, the most popular pet costume was a pumpkin outfit designed for dogs. Have you ever dressed your pet in a costume? Nope.

7) According to the Guinness Book of Records, the award for highest number of jack-o-lanterns in one place went to Keene, NH, where in 2013 there were 30,581. How many carved pumpkins will be at your home on Halloween? None.
8) In years gone by, the Irish celebrated Halloween not with pumpkins but by carving turnips, potatoes and beets. Are any of those foods in your kitchen right now? I have several cans of 100% pure canned pumpkin in the cabinet right now. I mix it with my cat Connie's food. It helps keep her regular. (Check with your vet before you add it to your dog's or cat's diet.) There's some mashed potatoes in the refrigerator, too.

9) Some Elvis fans believe they have seen his ghost hovering in the trees over Graceland. Have you ever seen a ghost? Nope.


Further evidence

Batman is the best TV show ever.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Get Ready!

On November 4, I'm joining in Mimi's Blogblast for Peace.
Why don't you do the same? It would be lovely if we filled the blogosphere with peace signs and gentle good wishes for a better future.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Thursday Thirteen #281

 Thirteen popular Halloween candies. Yes, it's that time of year when we're all greeted by big bags of "fun sized" candies when we enter the grocery store, big box retailer or drug store. 

Here's what kids are looking forward to receiving:

1. M&Ms (Plain)

2. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

3. Kit Kat

4. Peanut M&Ms

5. Butterfinger

6. Snickers

7. Twix

8. Milky Way

9. Hershey's (Milk chocolate)

10. Reese's Pieces

11. Hershey's Kisses

12. Dove Bar Minis (Dark chocolate)

13. Three Musketeers

When I was a kid, I'd plot my trick-or-treating around the convent on the next block. The nuns gave away home-made popcorn balls, which our parents allowed us to keep because who would ever suspect a nun of slipping a razor blade into a popcorn ball? But the popcorn balls were so popular they ran out. That's when I'd like to hit the convent because once the popcorn balls were gone, the nuns give each of us trick-or-treaters a quarter. To Vintage 1969 Gal, 25¢ felt like real money.

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

Tuesday, October 25, 2022


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? Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by MC Beaton. Agatha Raisin is a rather surly old girl, a successful London PR exec who sells her agency and retires to a sleepy village. Bored, she decides to make friends -- or at least get involved in the community -- by entering the local baking contest. She doesn't win. Never mind that Agatha cheated by entering a store-bought quiche, she's still offended that the fix was in and the winner was predetermined, presumably by romantic shenanigans between the judge and one of the contestants. Things get even more complicated when the judge dies, poisoned by an entry. Voila! An amateur sleuth is born ... out of a mix of pique and boredom. 

I am thoroughly enjoying this book so far. I love how unlovable Agatha is. It amuses me that someone who made her fortune in public relations consistently creates the most fractious personal relations with her neighbors. I also appreciate the small English town atmosphere. I can see this being a mystery series I revisit.

2. What did you recently finish reading? The Book of Joe by Joe Maddon and Tom Verducci. I love Joe Maddon. No, really. I love him. He's the manager who guided the Cubs to their first World Series Championship in 108 years. He's dearer to me than many members of my family.

He's also a true original. In this book, he shares that his dream dinner companion would be Mark Twain and that James Michener inspired his coaching technique. He loves wine, road trips, and Springsteen.

And baseball. He views baseball with all the romance and passion of someone who has, literally, devoted his life to it. From minor league player to scout to hitting coach to manager. One of the first managers to embrace statistics, he has evolved to believing analytics have taken over the game and dehumanized it. I personally agree with him.

This book felt like a conversation with Joe -- rambling, a little over the top at times, and charming. I was in nerd heaven as I read it. Here's a photo of my signed copy ...

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

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Sunday Stealing


What type of day are you having?  I'm still in bed as I answer these, so it's a little too early to tell. I'm hoping it's a good one.

Was there anyone who "made your day?" So far I have to give that honor to Roy Hobbs (top) and Constance MacKenzie. I know their food dishes must be very empty and yet they are patiently letting me wake up at my own pace.

Are you liking how you look today?  I have yet to look in the mirror, but I bet the answer to this one is "no." I had dental work on Thursday and when I went to bed last night, there was still some visible swelling and bruising.

Have you ever eaten a bug? Yes. I had a chocolate covered cricket at a birthday party when I was a little girl. I remember nothing of the taste, just recall feeling very brave.

Are you vegetarian?
  Nope. In fact, I had sausage on my pizza last night, the first pork I've had in quite in while. My gut has been very sensitive since a bad reaction to amoxicillin back in April.

When was your last paycheck?  Octoher 15.

How many pets do you have?  I inadvertently answered this already: Connie and Roy Hobbs.

What kind of toothpaste do you use?
  Colgate Total.

Are you closer to being rich or poor?  Compared to who? When I read about Jackie Onassis' daily life in New York City -- lunches at the Carlyle, dinners at Le Grenouille, open accounts at her favorite florist and book store -- I know others are enjoying higher-end lives. When I see the woman in a wheelchair in front of my local Target, begging for change, I realize I'm very lucky.

What was the last gift someone gave you? Nancy and her husband Paul picked up the check at dinner. (It was not at
Le Grenouille.)

Do you appreciate that person?
  Very much.

Did you talk to anyone you didn't like today?

Do you like picnics? If you mean sitting on the ground and eating off of a paper plate on my lap, then no. I have too hard a time getting up!

What book are you currently reading? 

More about it here


What song did you last listen to?
I don't know if it was the last song I listened to, but I recall hearing "I Got You, Babe" yesterday while in the shower.

How many tabs are open on your computer?  Five. 

Are you a very stressed out person?  Right now, at this moment, yes. I've got a lot of shit on my plate. My favorite niece is in the hospital, recovering from gallbladder surgery yesterday. I'm still not feeling so great myself. I believe my last paycheck will be March 15, 2023, and then I'll have to start drawing on my savings. Things don't look good for Anthony Rizzo and the Yankees tonight. Oh well, at least it's unseasonably sunny and warm today!


Saturday, October 22, 2022

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Things (1962)

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

1) In this song, Bobby Darin is sitting beside his window, looking out onto a crowded avenue. What's the view outside your nearest window? I'm in the bedroom, so the view is pretty dull: the roof of the building next door. The cats love it, because squirrels manage to leap from the tree onto that roof. I, on the other hand, prefer the living room, which gives me a view of the tree and a playground.
2) He likes to remember the romantic things he and his girl used to do, like walking in the park. When did you most recently go for a leisurely stroll? Did you have a destination in mind, or were you just enjoying the walk for its own sake? I like to walk but I have to have a destination in mind: the BIG grocery store on the other side of town instead of just picking something up at nearby Target, the farther-away UPS Store instead of the post office ...

3) He notes a couple holding hands. Are you comfortable displaying affection in public? It doesn't bother me.
4) When Bobby recorded this song, he was married to screen sweetheart Sandra Dee. Today she is best known as the inspiration for the song, "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee." Can you name another song from Grease? Well, oh, well, oh, well, oh, UH ...

5) Bobby loved gadgets. He was enthusiastic about his suitcase telephone, which was one of the first mobile phones. Are you an early adapter, or do you wait for new technology to be around awhile and not so new before you try it? I prefer to wait because I'm tech challenged. I've had this phone a year and I still can't figure out the notifications.
6) He was a chess fanatic and always kept a magnetic chess board in his briefcase, just in case he found someone who was willing to play him. Are you a good chess player? No. I've tried, and I suck. I'm not very strategic.
7) He very much wanted to play Tony in West Side Story, but he didn't the part because the producers didn't think he looked like a romantic leading man. What actor or actress makes your heart skip a beat? This is Josh Duhamel. He plays Danny on Las Vegas, a 20-year-old TV show I recently discovered. Danny does make my heart go thump-thump. I wonder why I didn't watch this show in real time.
8) In 1962, when this song was popular, Jack Nicklaus launched his successful golf career. Do you enjoy playing golf, or watching it on TV? No. I simply don't get golf.

9) Random question: Which would we find in your kitchen right now -- cookies or ice cream? Both. I have a sweet tooth.



Friday, October 21, 2022

Aaron wants to get the band back together

I teleconferenced with my former boss, Aaron, today. He's happy in Los Angeles because his girlfriend, whose career they moved to accommodate, just got a raise, and he's very proud of her. He's becoming more comfortable with his new job, too. It didn't feel like a good fit a few months ago because it wasn't what he expected, but he's settling in.

After I emailed him all that has happened to me at the agency where we both toiled, he was inspired to check his current company's "career" page and yes, there are openings for "content." He asked me if I'm interested. 

I don't know if I'm interested. I don't want to learn a new platform. I don't want another full-time job right now because I'm tired and looking forward to getting healthy.

But I am thrilled that someone who knows my work thinks that much of me. I respect Aaron a great deal.

In Anthony Rizzo news

Ok, so things don't look great for the Yankees. I'm still not giving up on another ring for Rizz, though. The Cubs had to come from behind in 2016 to win the World Series. He did it before, he can do it again.

But that's not what this post is about. Instead I want to concentrate on The Gold Glove. This award is given annually to the player who has exhibited "superior fielding." During his career, Anthony Rizzo has won this award 4 times with the Cubs in the National League. Now, after completing his first full season in the AL, he's a finalist again.

Not bad for an old man with a bad back.

It's been more than a year ...

... and I still miss Reynaldo.


Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Thursday Thirteen #280

 Thirteen laundry symbols. I do not enjoy doing laundry. Yet it is the one domestic chore I am good at. I can't cook or sew, but I am a laundry diva. I can remove stains -- if it's organic, pre-treat with shampoo -- and successfully wash just about anything in the machine.

Because laundry is top mind right now, I'm defining 13 of the symbols commonly found on tags.

Dry clean

Do not dry clean


Hand wash

Machine wash

Mach wash gentle

Mach wash cold

Mach wash hot


Do not bleach

No dryer

Tumble dry

Do not iron

Iron low temp

Happy washing!


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


That's a wrap

At just before 5:00 today, I approved the last little bit of creative I will ever work on with this agency. It was for my automotive client. They left word that they are "very happy." A nice note to close on.

So I think I'm done with active projects. I know my last day will be next Thursday. That covers what I think and what I know. I just don't know how I feel as time is running out on my advertising career.

I went grocery shopping today -- Wednesday! -- at the big grocery store on the other side of town. I don't have to do chores and errands on weekends anymore. I may get wild and wacky and do my laundry Friday afternoon, instead of Sunday!

I have to set the alarm clock tonight because I have a dentist appointment tomorrow at 9:00, not because I am working. After tomorrow, I don't know when I'll have to set it again. 

I am ready for this chapter to be over. I am chatting with my former boss, Aaron, on Friday. We're having drinks at work one last time next Wednesday. My severance is in place and it's completely fair. I've been exploring transcription work -- something my oldest friend did on the side to pay for a vacation -- that I can do from home. 

I have made medical appointments (dentist, the surgeon who did my lithotripsy) and it was cool to just be able to say, "Yeah, that day works," without wondering which meeting I'd be missing.

I have my Medicare Supplement paperwork here, waiting for my review and signature.

The George Clooney/Julia Roberts movie opens at my local theater on Friday. I may catch a weekday matinee!

I've been working full-time since I was 17, so this all feels so weird.

This is everything

The Yankees advanced to the ALCS. Which means Anthony Rizzo is happy. Which means I am happy.

When he was traded by the Cubs, I cried legit tears. I followed him his career here for nearly a decade. I was at Wrigley Field for his first home run within the friendly confines. I have been inspired by his joie de vivre and guts on the field and his tireless charity work off of it. He has helped countless families deal with pediatric cancer, advocated for the survivors of the Parkland school shooting, and provided hot meals to front line workers during covid.* If I ever had a son, I would want him to be exactly like this man.

So he has to get another World Series ring. Because clearly that's the most important thing to him. His Cub teammate Kris Bryant signed a long-term, no-trade contract with the Colorado Rockies because he's a new dad who doesn't want his family uprooted. Javier Baez went with Detroit and a bigger payday. Rizz took less money but chose to stay with the Yankees because, unlike the Rockies and the Tigers, they are contenders.

Maybe, after he wins another ring, he can come home and finish his career back here. Where he belongs.

But for now, GO YANKEES!


*He had the food catered from small, independently-owned Chicago restaurants, the ones that struggled the most during lock down. He's not only good, he's smart.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Sunday Stealing


1. You are walking down the road and you look down. There is a bug. Do you step on it?  No. I grew up on Charlotte's Web. That bug could be someone's mother or friend.

2. What is one fantasy that you want to come true more than any other? To find enduring peace of mind.

3. Someone knocks on your door. Do you look out the window to see who it is before you open it? Do you open it regardless of who it is? I look through the peephole. I'm on the 4th floor of a building with a security door on the ground level. It's likely a neighbor on the other side of the door. A stranger should not be up here, and I won't open the door.

4. Have you ever eaten Play-Doh? Of course. It's salty. BTW, if you claim you didn't at least taste it, I suspect you are either sadly incurious or lying.

5. What was your favorite Saturday morning cartoon as a child? Mr. Peabody and his boy, Sherman. "Every dog should have a boy."

6. Are you a people watcher? Of course! It's one of the ways we learn about one another.

7. I have a bowl of fruit.  There are apples, oranges & pears. You help yourself to one. Which one do you choose? May I have an orange, please?

8. What is your biggest pet peeve in the blogging world? People who spread misinformation. It was particularly insidious at the height of the pandemic. It has continued with The Big Election Lie. Are the purveyors of this misinformation purposely deceiving others or are they just so guileless they believe and re-bleat what they hear on Fox? I can't know what's in their hearts, but I see the damage they do.

9. What was the last really funny movie you watched? I haven't watched many movies lately (see post below) so my answer may sound strange, but Misery. Some of Annie's word choices just crack me up: Dirty Birdy, Mr. Man.

10. What word do you use far too often?  "Fuck." It would have more impact if I used it more sparingly.

11. How long do you spend in the shower? As long as I can! I love my morning shower. Last month, when I was suffering so from kidney stones, I soaked in the tub for relief.

12. What is something that you've never done that you secretly are dying to do? Win a massive amount in the Lottery. Wait! That's not a secret. But I'm still dying to do it.

13. Your favorite flavor of soup is….?  Good old chicken noodle. This time of year, butternut squash soup is good, too.
14. You are sitting on a bench in the park and a bug walks in front of your feet…. I'm not sure I'd even notice. Bugs in the park are to be expected, like leaves and twigs.