Saturday, December 31, 2022

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: The Last Song (1972)

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


1) In this song, the lead singer admits he leaves the light on when he goes to sleep. Do you leave any lights on in your bedroom? Or do you prefer it completely dark? I leave the light on.
 
2) He sings that he can't stop wondering where his old girlfriend is. Do you know whatever happened to any of your exes? I just got a Christmas card from one of them! He's a retired grandfather, living with his wife in Minnesota, near their daughter and her family.

3) He says this is the last song he'll ever sing to his girl. What's the last song you sang? Where were you when you sang it? I sang backup along with the Pips on "Midnight Train to Georgia" yesterday in the bathroom while I was putting my makeup on.
 
4) Edward Bear was a Canadian group who took their name from Winnie the Pooh. As written by A. A. Milne, Edward Bear was Pooh's "proper" name. Pooh's favorite food was honey. Is there a food you can't get enough of? Lately it's bakery. Cinnamon rolls or little blueberry muffins.
 
5) In 1972, when this song was popular, Disney's Winnie the Pooh was quite a celebrity in his own right, appearing on the cover the 1972 Sears Christmas Wish Book. That year, kids asked Santa for plush Pooh, Tigger and Eeyore. Did you have many plush toys as a child? If yes, do you still have any of them? I had many and loved them all. My favorite was a Lassie, not unlike this one. She's up on a shelf in my closet.

6) Enough about 1972! Let's look back on 2022. What's something you learned or rediscovered in 2022? I read former Cub manager Joe Maddon's book, The Book of Joe, and I learned a lot about the unsung jobs in major league baseball (because Joe did them all along the way). Baseball scouts travel the country, sometimes other countries, all year around discovering talent, and their median salary is only about $35,000. The average salary for a pitching coach is about $45,000, and they generally don't get pay or housing during spring training. I love baseball -- the elegance, the sounds, the strategies, the history -- and these men must, too. They certainly aren't doing it for the dough. I appreciate their contributions all the more now.

7) Can you think of a moment in 2022 you'd like to do over? I'm haunted by a decision I made at work almost a year ago. I should have argued more vehemently with management. I had a bit of a reputation (probably very well earned) as a know-it-all, and I thought I should back off. I mean, it's possible I was wrong, right? Well, no, I wasn't. If I'd stood my ground more forcefully, would it have made a difference? I hope not.

8) What are you looking forward to most in 2023? I have two trips planned -- Tampa in February (spring training and Anthony Rizzo!) and Hollywood in April (the TCM Classic Film Festival).

9) Random question: Who received the last email you sent? My friend John.

 
PS If you have a WordPress blog, please know I can't comment on your post unless you've changed the settings.
 

Better than a gold watch

Back in 2007, Kathleen and I worked with a promising young woman. Soraya had terrific people skills. (I will always remember her with her pen poised over a small notepad, asking, "How can I help?" Writing it down as you spoke made you feel like she was totally focused.) My client adored her, which made my job easier. I missed her when she moved along to another advertising agency, but I understood why she made the leap. She wanted to work on a variety of accounts before finding her niche. We stayed in touch.

Yesterday I posted a photo of my friend Kathleen and I toasting our birthdays, Christmas and the New Year. Soraya's comment: "Cheers to my two talented, fierce female role models!"

Good goobies! She's an executive vice president now. She works on major brands (right now your kitchen contains products she promotes). I was one of her role models? I'm fierce?

You can't tell but I'm smiling as I compose this. 

Learning I had a positive influence on the women who came next has me looking at my career differently. It's very satisfying.



Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Thursday Thirteen #290

Thirteen words to choose for 2023. It's a popular concept: choosing a word to represent you for the coming year. It's the word that says what you're looking for and helps you focus on achieving it in ways big and small. 
 
Here are 13 thought starters in the quest of the right word ...

1. Thrive

2. Brave

3. Confident

4. Grateful*

5. Blessed

6. Forgive

7. Compassion*

8. Bloom

9. Grace

10. Passion

11. Resilient

12. Grow

13. Create

*Grateful and Compassion have been my "word" in the past. So have More, Now and Focus. I have each of these words on necklaces that I rotate. Instead of choosing a new word for 2023, I'm revisiting these.

What about you?  What single word best represents what you want, need and wish for in 2023?

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


 

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.  

PS I can no longer participate in WWW.WEDNESDAY via that link because her blog won't accept Blogger comments. I mention this only to save you the frustration I experienced trying to link up.

1. What are you currently reading? Elizabeth Taylor: the Grit and Glamour of an Icon by Kate Andersen Brower. More than 45 movies, five Academy Award nominations and three Oscars (one honorary for her humanitarian work). Millions of dollars in jewels, millions of dollars for AIDS research, millions of dollars in her perfume company. Eight marriages to seven men. Four children and 10 grandchildren. No one has lived a life like Liz'. She was a force of nature.
 
This book was instigated by Husband #7, the late Sen. John Warner because he was frustrated by the chasm between her public persona and the woman he knew. And so Kate Andersen Brower had access to Taylor's private papers, remaining friends and family members that other biographers haven't.
 
So far I haven't learned anything new. But damn, this book is fun.
 

2. What did you recently finish reading? Dachsund Through the Snow by David Rosenfelt. Lawyer Andy Carpenter is independently wealthy and only handles cases that appeal to him. In this book, he takes two: In the first he advocates for the retirement of a police dog and in the second he represents an accused murderer. An accused murderer with a little boy and a cute dachshund named Murphy. Andy wants that dad to start the new year home with his son and dog.

The mystery was involving and had a twist at the end I truly didn't see coming. Plus I adore Andy Carpenter and who doesn't like dogs? I just wish it was more authentically Christmas-y. The holiday overlay felt forced. The suspect is arrested in November, just before Thanksgiving. It's unreasonable to expect a murder suspect to be arraigned and a trial to be launched and completed by early January. 
 
3. What will read next? I don't know.

 

 

Bah! Humbug!

I got home from church on Christmas Eve and immediately had my holiday buzz harshed. There it was: my sixth (6th!) jury summons. Just in time for Christmas.

I am patriotic. I was a Girl Scout. My minister just reminded us of duty and service. I was quite open to being a juror.

It's just that I have been assigned to a courthouse that is virtually impossible for me to get to via public transportation. I'd have to take one train into the city, wait about 40 minutes and take a connecting train to a suburban stop, and then take a 17 minute walk to the courthouse. That's 2 1/2 hours each way. Or I could take a $30 Uber. That's $30 each way.

Cook County has, I believe, eight circuit court locations. Three are easily accessible by train. One more wouldn't be too great a hassle. Yet the computer randomly assigned me to the courthouse farthest away.

I followed the directions on the summons and explained in writing (I can't call) that:

•  I don't drive, and worrying about public transportation that includes a connection and a 17 minute walk in unpredictable January weather is causing me great stress (I printed out the Google Maps itinerary for them)

•  I am a retiree on a fixed income and the rideshare cost is prohibitive

I sent all this via UPS, signature required, so that I don't get held in contempt of court if my envelope gets lost. That cost $18. I resent this expense.

You know what else I resent? I had lunch with my friend Elaine yesterday. She's been a Cook County resident and registered voter for more than 40 years. She has never been called. My kid sister is a lifelong Cook County resident and a registered voter for more than 30 years. She has been called once. I could go on and on, listing friends and acquaintances who have either been called once or not at all.

This is my sixth jury summons.

I wish I had this kind of luck with the Illinois State Lottery.


 

Good for my soul

It was really cold here on Christmas. The mercury languished in the single digits almost all day. Between the winter storm and the flu outbreak, my minister decided to make all three Christmas services* available online. I was tempted to stay home and worship in my pajamas. It's just ...

Somehow it felt important to attend in person. I'm here, not in Key West with Henry. There's a reason for that, though only God knows what it is. This Christmas has sharpened my feelings of loneliness and loss: I miss my late mother, I miss my favorite uncle, I miss Henry, who has dementia, so he's still here but not.

Christmas and New Year's ... Jesus' birth and the dawn of 2023. It feels like this is the last Christmas season of my old life. That my new life has yet to begin. I need help adapting to this new life. I can find that help in my church. Not just church. My church.

I don't go to church for the sense of community. Beyond emails about congregations matters, I don't communicate with my fellow churchgoers. I don't attend services there to socialize. I go to focus and and learn and heal.

So wearing a blouse and my heavy black cardigan and a scarf and my biggest and puffiest down coat and my wool socks and my boots I walked around the corner and went to my church for the Christmas Eve service. 

It was the best choice! Zoom would not have been the same. I needed the purity and concentration that can only be experienced in person. Singing along with "O, Come All Ye Faithful, "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," and "Joy to the World" helped me get my mind right. And my minister! I felt like she was speaking just to me.

She's not our official minister, but she's been with us for more than a year as we search for a new minister. I wish she would stay, because for me, she's perfect: imaginative and challenging. 

She acknowledged that Christmas can be loaded for some of us. That not everyone is feeling merry. That memories tug at our hearts and expectations can go unmet. She was funny and charming and empathetic. She read The Advent Poem about Christmas in the modern world. I laughed out loud at these lines:

I want to welcome angels and say yes to anything, but if I saw an angel I would hold him hostage and send a ransom note demanding answers, to God.

I admit that's been so me lately! I believe everything happens for a reason, that God knows the reason, that He is driving the bus. Still, I'm frustrated because so much has been going on and I can't figure out why. My faith is not shaken, but my patience has been.

Just hearing her address it, and in the House of God, made all the difference. I'm not alone in this. My minister gets me. I can find comfort and understanding, if not answers, in my spiritual home.

We ended with "Silent Night." I slipped out into the frigid night feeling lighter and more grateful.

 *Two on Christmas Eve, one on Christmas Day

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Saturday 9

SATURDAY 9: HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
(From the archives)

1. As you can see, when Sam Winters was a little girl, she loved giving her annual wish list to Santa. If you could ask Santa for anything at all, right now, what would it be? Another pair of Mukluks like the ones I bought last year. EXACTLY like them. Unfortunately, they have been discontinued and no one has them in blue in my size anymore. This may be a job for Santa's elves.

2. Are you currently on the Naughty or Nice list? How did you get there? I am on the Nice list, because I try.

3. Are you traveling this Christmas? If so, are you going by car, plane or train? Alas, I had to cancel my annual trip to Key West this year. But being here in Chicagoland has its advantages. I have a white Christmas and  I'll be worshiping with my own congregation this year.

4.  Did you send any presents out of town? If so, what was it and how far did it travel? I sent my oldest friend a mug that has "angry" Midwestern phrases on it. She's been fighting with her landlady lately, and I told her she can casually wave this at the woman during their next encounter. According to Google Maps, it traveled 1,934 miles to Southern California.

5. Did you buy yourself a gift this year? Yes. I got myself a new toilet seat! It was only $24 (including shipping) so when it arrived chipped, I just got out the super glue and made due. Yes, my Christmas toilet seat came chipped. Kinda fitting for this not-very-storybook-Christmas.

6. What's your favorite holiday-themed movie or TV special? Have you seen it yet this year? Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol is my fave. It's on Peacock, so I'll stream it today or tomorrow.

7. Which do you prefer: a hollow chocolate Santa or a chunk of fudge? I wouldn't refuse either, but the hollow Santa would be my preference.

8. Close your eyes and tell us the first carol that comes to mind. "The Lord's Bright Blessing." It's from Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol. And so I wish each of you a Christmas far more glorious than grand.


 

 9. What's your favorite winter beverage? This year, it's pumpkin spice tea.


 

3 + 2 = 1

3 phone calls + 2 pizzas = 1 Christmasy Gal. I spent a week slowly unraveling. It started last Wednesday, when my dear friend in Key West, Henry, couldn't wake up from an afternoon nap. His pulse was faint and there was blood on his mouth. Paramedics were called and took him to a hospital in Miami. His condition has deteriorated precipitously this past year, so I was counting on seeing him this Christmas, perhaps to say goodbye. But that is not going to happen, which breaks my heart.

Then there's the storm. Snow, bitter cold, and wind. Everyone is cocooning, which makes new holiday gettogethers difficult. So I was resigned to having a blue Christmas. 

But then this happened:

First my friend John called. I've gotten emails, IMs, and texts from friends and former coworkers, but John called. It was good of him to reach out to chat ... especially because he hates talking on the phone. He invited me to be his "plus one" for a formal Christmas dinner with his family. This family dinner has been in the works since September, when his uncle died. This uncle was the last member of that generation to go, and John and his cousins are honoring their late parents by having the kind of Christmas dinner they'd appreciate: lots of tiny portions, cut glass crystal, etc. I declined. This is not my scene. Plus his family is mourning the loss of their patriarch, and I've been surrounded by enough sadness lately. The important thing is that John called and offered to include me. We have been friends over 40 years and I treasure that.

Then Henry called ... TWICE! He's OK. He had a grand mal seizure and was in the hospital for 5 days as they tried to regulate his medication. I didn't ask him about this, though, because he thought his hospital room was his office at Florida Keys Community College, where he hasn't taught for years. His relationship to reality is that tenuous. But he's comfortable and reasonably happy in his own little world. He has no recollection of our spending the last 10 Christmases together. On the one hand, that's sad. On the other hand, it's comforting because it means he won't miss me. I realize -- and it becomes clearer with each passing day -- that my Christmas 2022 trip to Key West was really for me, not for Henry. He is slipping away rapidly. The important thing to me is that he is not frightened, nor angry, nor scared. I am reassured that he is none of those things.

And then there's the pizza ... My niece, her husband, and my nephew made it out to visit me before the storm hit. She and hubs are Michiganders now and don't get Chicago deep dish pizza anymore, while my nephew is a very picky pizza purist and only likes thin crust. That makes Lou Malnati's the perfect choice, because they do both well.

Our holiday lunch extended four hours. Amazingly, we had the place nearly to ourselves because we got there just as lunch hour was winding down and the shopping/dinner crowd hadn't arrived yet. 

Spending time with "the kids" was a balm for my soul. They are happy and funny and sweet. My nephew got me a Funko Pop Anthony Rizzo, my niece gave me a box of goodies to give myself an at-home spa day.

The result is that I've now got the spirit. I finally put my cards up. Seeing them makes me happy. Everything makes me happy right now. I feel loved, and I know that those I love are OK. That's really what I was missing: connection. I am an introvert by nature, very comfortable with my own company. Too comfortable. Which is why I'm going to church tonight.

Because of covid, the flu and the storm, my congregation is making our Christmas Eve/Christmas Day services available online. It's tempting to worship from laptop (after all, it's 3ยบ right now and I can hear the wind outside my window). But this is my first Christmas with my own congregation in a decade. So I'll put on the big coat and the heavy boots and wander on over there tonight. It feels right.


Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Thursday Thirteen #289

Thirteen popular Christmas songs. I know there are people who get sick of hearing holiday music. I'm not one of those people. According to Amazon Music and Pandora, these are 13 Christmas songs that get played the most.

1. All I Want for Christmas is You. Mariah Carey

2. Santa Tell Me. Ariana Grande (I'd never heard this one before today)

3. Feliz Navidad. Jose Feliciano

4. Last Christmas. Wham

5. The Christmas Song. Nat King Cole

6. Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree. Brenda Lee

7. It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas. Michael Buble

8. Blue Christmas. Elvis

9. Sleigh Ride. The Ronettes

10. It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. Andy Williams (I would make this #1 because at Christmas, I love Andy)

11. Holly Jolly Christmas. Burl Ives

12. Wonderful Christmas Time. Paul McCartney (Much as I love Sir Paul, I don't care if I never hear this one again)

13. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Frank Sinatra

What about you? Who sings your favorite version of your favorite Christmas song?

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


Tuesday, December 20, 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? Dachsund Through the Snow by David Rosenfelt. Lawyer Andy Carpenter and his wife, Laurie, celebrate Christmas  by granting the wishes of neighborhood children. One in particular tugs their heartstrings. A little boy named Danny wants a coat for his mother, a sweater for his dachshund, and his long-lost father. Andy's a dog lover, so he's all in. The coat and sweater are easy, but will Andy and Laurie be able to find Danny's dad? Especially if the absent father doesn't want to be found.

So far, this holiday mystery has everything I like about the Andy Carpenter series. Lots of dogs (in addition to Andy's two and Danny's dachshund, there's a police dog named Simon) and Andy's self deprecating humor. And because there's a child involved and it's Christmastime, the mystery is involving.  

2. What did you recently finish reading? 25 Days Till Christmas by Poppy Alexander. Kate is a widow with a little boy. This Christmas is shaping up to be her worst ever: dead end job, escalating bills, mother-in-law in declining health ... Kate can't even afford a tree for her little boy. Thirty-something Daniel has been the sole support of his sister, Zoe, who recently died of a heart condition. This is his first Christmas alone. Fortunately their paths cross, just in time for December 25.

I know this sounds formulaic and I suppose it is. But I appreciated the sensitivity to holiday depression. I admit this year I'm having a blue (blue blue blue) Christmas. I'm sure there are countless people like me who will see themselves in these struggling protagonists. 

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

 

 

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Sunday Stealing

Stolen from the League of Extraordinary Penpals

1. My plans for December. My goal has been to chill out. Since September, my life has had entirely too much drama ... and I hate drama. Career stress and medical crises (my own and friends/family). Signing up for Medicare. Transitioning my employer 401(k). Right now, at this moment, I'm caught up on doctor and dentist appointments (I still need to take Connie to the vet for the a follow up, but I think that can wait until January) and my finances are stable if not robust. So I'm concentrating on time with friends and family and feeling better. I say "yes" when people invite me places, I've been paying closer attention to hydration (both drinking more water and keeping the humidifier running), and I've started doing yoga. (I know I'd feel better if I did morning stretches, too, but I'm trying not to beat myself up when I forget.)

 

2. How energized I feel at this point in the year. Well, I'm hyper-alert and my mind is always click-click-clicking, but I don't know if that's energy or stress.


3. The best things about the holiday season. The opportunities to be kind and generous. For example:

• Yesterday I discovered a toy collection box at the local community bank for children on the West Side. I added a book and crafts set about the animated dog, Bluey. I was a little under-budget for the weekend and that $20 investment made my heart sing. 

• We're all in busier stores and longer lines these days. This gives us more opportunities to hold the door for our fellow shoppers and thank the person at the register. I couldn't afford to tip big for the great service I got at high-end restaurant last week, but I did circle back and single out the server for praise on my Open Table online review. I got a message back from the owner, saying she'd pass my compliments along (hopefully this will mean job security or a bonus for him). 

• I'm mightily pissed at a dear friend's spouse (see post below) but I'm holding my tongue and instead, digging deep for compassion. 


Christ is the reason for the season, and I am grateful for all the ways to live my faith.

 

4. Something that changed my perspective on life. My niece and nephew are 30 and 22, respectively. They are both college graduates. She is married. They are not children. Reminding myself of this has enabled our relationships evolve and helped me relate to them as adults.

 

5. What I seem to get the most comments about. I've been surprised and grateful to hear more often lately that I'm ... well ... nice. Former coworkers have reached out to say they miss me, one even sent me a lovely and most unexpected Christmas present. I didn't expect this.

 

6. The changes I’ve made to my style. I haven't made any recent changes to my makeup or hair regimen. Sorry.

 

7. What gets in the way of my success. My laziness.

 

8. News sources I trust the most. I try to be a smart consumer. For example, when it comes to morning news I go with the independent local station because they don't have a hard stop at the top of the hour to go to The Today Show or GMA. This gives them the freedom and flexibility to dig deeper into stories.


9. Fictional characters that would easily fit into my life. Professor Bhaer from Little Women. He was kind and accepting but also honest with Jo. He respected her as an equal, as well as loving her. 

Gabriel Byrne is my favorite Prof. Bhaer (1994)
 

10. My relationship with spirituality. I am a Christian who works hard to respect all faiths. I am grateful for my relationship with Jesus and would prefer to encourage others to pursue their faiths than to legislate my own. The First Amendment states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." Thomas Jefferson warned us our freedom would be at risk if we didn't keep religion out of government and government out of religion. I wish we could all stop being so terribly tribal,passing laws to enforce our personal religious agendas, and resumed honoring what America was created to be.

 

11. How I feel when I’m being retrospective. "Retrospective?" That's an odd word choice, isn't it? I suppose when being retrospective I feel old.

 

12. My thoughts on AI technology. It creeps me out in theory, but I love my voice-activated remote and a day doesn't go by that I don't say. "Alexa, call my phone." She reliably helps me find the damn thing.

13. The odd/weird things I do when nobody else is around. I make up songs for my cat Connie.


14. What I do when I can’t sleep. Toss and turn. Drink water. Fart around on the computer.


15. The winter/holiday season tasks I enjoy. Tasks? I'm a hideously lazy slug. I don't enjoy tasks any time of year.




Saturday, December 17, 2022

This is so hard

I'm writing this on Saturday morning. Looking back over the last three days is dizzying. It feels so much longer. So much has happened!

I was having a lovely lunch with my former art director at a restaurant I'd never visited before. Now I'm not one of those people who is forever checking her phone. I only took it out of my purse because I wanted to take a picture of our drinks. Mine was called Purple Reign (lavender vodka, pear, honey and lemon) and was so pretty.     

But that's when I saw the text.  

Patrick, who spends the winter in Key West with Reg and Henry, let me know that my darling Henry had been airlifted to Miami. He took a nap and then could not be awakened. His breathing was shallow, his pulse was faint, and there was blood around his mouth. The paramedics suspected a brain aneurysm, beyond the care that the local hospital can provide. 

This was December 14. My travel plans had me taking off for Key West in 8 days. I was counting on seeing Henry for his 60th birthday on 12/22. I have spent every Christmas with him for a decade. Considering how his condition is deteriorating, I'm not at all confident he will even know me next year, so seeing him this year, giving him a hug, was very important to me.    

But his birthday was only 8 days away! He wasn't even in Key West, he was in Miami. Henry's recent hospitalizations -- and they are becoming more and more frequent -- have lasted more than a week each time. What condition would he be in? Would he even know me? Would his husband Reg want me underfoot while dealing with possible recovery after brain surgery?

I heard nothing from Reg directly. For 48 hours. I couldn't imagine why experts in Miami couldn't diagnose my friend! What was wrong? Had Henry lost the ability to speak (my biggest fear)? Was Henry frightened, all alone in Miami? 

Reg had been posting on Facebook all this time. About how chaotic his life is. How alone he feels without his husband. How he wishes he could reach a branch to keep him from drowning in this quicksand. I know Reg finds the comments he receives ("You're a saint!" "We love you!") very satisfying, but I was frustrated and scared. There was nothing about HENRY! How is Henry? I figured the doctors were still perplexed by Henry's condition. Otherwise Reg would let me know what's going on, or at least post something on Facebook.

I didn't want to bother Reg at this trying time but I did keep reaching out to Patrick. After all, he's living right there in their home. Patrick answered me regularly and promptly, explaining that he didn't know anything either. Patrick and Reg worked different schedules, and Reg wasn't answering Patrick's texts, so he assumed there was no news to report.

No diagnosis. No treatment plan. Not even any word on whether dangerous surgery would be required.

I regretfully cancelled my trip. Why be in Key West if Henry is hospitalized in Miami? Also, if I waited, I'd lose not only the deposit on my hotel room,* I'd forfeit what I spent on the non-stop Christmas-week airline ticket.

I cannot afford to waste that kind of money. I am unemployed. I have prodigious dental bills on the horizon. My cat Connie needs dental work, as well. 

I cried over this. I am trying to reconcile myself to the fact that now I may never see Henry again, because with the rate of his decline, he may not remember me much longer.

I reached out to my niece and nephew. I told them while I'll be around this year for Christmas, I'd still like to celebrate with them early. It would mean a great deal to me if we could raise a glass to Henry on 12/22, his 60th birthday. They were both sweet about it.

Now here's the plot twist. There is nothing severe about Henry's condition. The paramedics misdiagnosed a seizure as a stroke (they erred on the side of caution and I don't blame them). The hospital in Miami calibrated his meds and have been calling Reg to come get him. He's going to be fine.

It would have been nice if Reg had shared this with me. Or Patrick. Or any one of his 500 friends on Facebook. But no, he blathered about quicksand. OH! He set up a GoFundMe to help with their bills. This he has time to do. (He's asking for $25,000 and has raised $915 to date. I admit $75 is from me, it's money I'd earmarked for Henry's birthday lunch.)

It gets better. Patrick warned me not to call the house. Reg is furious with me. He says I've "given up on Henry" and now he has no one to "hand Henry off to" over Christmas.

Fuck that.

First of all, Henry won't be more than momentarily disappointed that I'm not there because Henry is no longer tethered to reality. For example, he thinks his Miami hospital room is his office at the college (where he hasn't taught in years) and he's waiting for Reg to come get him. This trip was more for me, really, than for Henry.

Second, if Reg had shared what he knew Wednesday night/Thursday morning -- which is that the issue was a seizure with no long-term ramifications -- I wouldn't have cancelled my trip on Friday.

Third, Reg has never gotten Henry the care he's needed since the accident in 2018. Henry hasn't gotten regular CAT scans. He hasn't gotten the recommended anger management or occupational therapy. It wasn't until this year that Henry's alcoholism was addressed and he detoxed, which was arduous. So I'd argue that Reg gave up on Henry in a very real way years ago.

So if Reg wants to be angry at me, fine. I've been angry at Reg for quite some time.

Most of all, I miss Henry. I believe he may be lost to me forever. This is so hard for me to accept. 

*It's about $225, gone with the wind.


Saturday 9

Saturday 9: The Christmas Song (1964)


Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.
 
1) While this song was published as "The Christmas Song," many people refer to it as "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire." Have you ever roasted chestnuts (in an open fire or in the oven)? Nope.

2) Ricky Nelson sings that turkey helps make the season bright. Many of us just had turkey last month for Thanksgiving. Do you enjoy turkey all year around? Or do you consider it a seasonal dish? I love turkey. I'll enjoy it all year.

3) He wishes "Merry Christmas" to kids from 1 to 92. Who is the youngest person you will celebrate the holidays with? Who is the oldest? Youngest is my nephew, who is 22. Oldest is my friend John, who is 67.
 
4) "The Christmas Song" is a perennial favorite and gets lots of play this time of year. Is there a holiday song that you think is overplayed, and that you hope to not hear again (at least not until December 2023)? I can't stand "Suzy Snowflake." I've heard it three times this year, and that's three times too many.

5) This version of the song is from The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, the sitcom that ran from 1952 to 1966. There were 435 episodes in all. Is there a series whose every episode you've seen? Sex and the City, Friends, M*A*S*H, The Dick Van Dyke Show, I Love Lucy ... I'm a true vid kid.
 
6) Life magazine coined the phrase "teen idol" to describe Ricky's popularity. In your younger days, did you have a crush on a teen idol? I was six when I fell in love with Sir Paul. I love him still.
 

7) Do you have a funny/ugly holiday sweater? Yes. I have been told this sweater is "an eyesore." I don't care. I love it.
 
8) Have you received many holiday cards this year? Did you send many? I sent about 25. I've received about a dozen.

9) If you were Santa, what cookie would you like kids to leave for you on Christmas Eve? Chocolate macaroons.
 

 

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Thursday Thirteen #288

The Way We Were. Remember when newsmagazines were the big thing? I do. Time and Newsweek used to arrive on Tuesday, and I would spend hours that evening comparing and contrasting the way they covered the same stories (yes, I am that nerdy). Now that everything has moved online, I have access to more news but I read it less carefully. I miss those days of lying on my tummy, flipping through glossy pages for hours.

Anyway, here are thirteen Time covers from 1982. Hard to believe that was 40 years ago! It gives us a little window into what and who mattered to us, way back then.

Personal computers were once a hard sell

Uh-oh! Salt isn't good for us.

Kids, computers & inflation

A faraway war

CNN makes an impact

Strong became sexier than skinny

What's going on with the stock market?

Political Action Committees & the '82 election

The DeLorean scandal

Imagine being able to order whatever you want without leaving the house!

What's going on with Russia?

I love Paul Newman in The Verdict

Who is really in charge of the Oval Office?


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


 




Tuesday, December 13, 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? 25 Days Till Christmas by Poppy Alexander. Kate is an Army widow, struggling to create a Merry Christmas for her son on a military pension and salary from a retail job. It's hard, because she's lonely and it hurts to hear her little boy refer to his father as a star in Heaven. Daniel was his beloved sister's caretaker, but now she's gone. This is his first Christmas without her, and he's longing to make real connections, to get some relief from the grief.

Yeah, I know what's going to happen. But that's OK, because I really want it to happen, and part of the pleasure of this book is getting there with two characters I care about.

Also, holiday depression is a real thing. I appreciate seeing it acknowledged sensitively in a book like this one.

2. What did you recently finish reading? Christmas Every Day by Beth Moran. The book sounds formulaic. Jenny loses her job and has her heart broken in the big city and, through a series of very convenient coincidences, ends up living in a rural area. Here, she makes new friends, is attracted to her hunky new neighbor, and has the merriest Christmas of her life.

Yet is wasn't as predictable as I'd expected. There are a couple plot twists that knocked me back on my heels, and we don't usually get that in a holiday romance. So brava to the author!

I do wonder, though, why we can't have a heroine who escapes a bad relationship in her stifling small town and broadens her horizons, her circle of friends, and dating pool in the big city? Kind of a Carrie Bradshaw Christmas.

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