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?