Saturday, March 25, 2023

Sunday Stealing


1. Working on anything exciting lately? I don't know how exciting this is, but I'm slowly divesting myself of all the stuff in this condo. Next up: sorting through the bath towels toward a donation to the local animal shelter.

2. What was the highlight of the day today? I'm doing this Saturday night. I've spent most of today fixating on next month's TCM Classic Film Festival. Four days of classic movies on the big screen, surrounded by fellow film nerds! Bliss!
The official schedule just dropped Friday and we've been planning our strategies. At any given time we have up to five movies to choose from. These movies are on different screens in three different locations. If I choose the one at the TCL Chinese, when it's over will I have time to get the special screening poolside at the Roosevelt Hotel? Do I want to finally see a movie on the big screen that I've loved my whole life, or discover a gem from the 1930s I've only read about? Would I rather compromise on my choices to share the festival experience with members of my movie group or go off on my own? It's as delightful as it is impossible. Here's a photo of us working out the logistics.
Photo by

3. What is your favorite thing to do on the weekends? Fart around on the internet and watch movies. Starting next week that answer will change to, "Fart around on the internet and watch the Cubs."
4. What are your favorite restaurants? The nearby sports bar that serves the best New England clam chowder. They have great tater tots, too.
5. Do you follow any sports? If you have to ask, you don't read this blog often. I kinda like baseball.
6. What is your biggest fear? I am terrified every time I fly.
7. What is your biggest regret? As someone once said, "Regrets? I've had a few, but then again too few to mention." I wish I could remember who that wise man was.
8. When you were growing up, what was your dream job? I wanted to be a singer. That was before I learned I was tone deaf.

9. Do you say ‘sherbet’ or ‘sherbert?' While I spell it right I pronounce it wrong, which means I add that second "r."
10. Have you ever had a paranormal experience? Nope.
11. What is your favorite food at a cocktail party? Bacon-wrapped dates. They're delicious, but I only ever see them at parties.
12. Who is a book character most like you? Do you know the Andy Carpenter mysteries? I think I'm like Laurie, Andy's work partner and wife. She's much better at derring-do than I ever could be, but we both think Andy is terrific. Some of her retorts when they bicker sound like things I'd say, too. 
13. Do you read reviews before you go to movies? Yes.
14. How do you feel about cilantro? I feel that it tastes like soap.
15. Have you ever cried in public? Yes, but I can probably count the times on one hand.

Friday, March 24, 2023

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head

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

1) In this week's song, BJ Thomas sings that he knows it won't be long until he finds happiness. What are you looking forward to today? What's going to make you smile?

I'm going to watch this week's movie group film, Johnny Apollo. Tyrone Power is a classic movie star I've heard/read more about than actually watched. Last week I saw him in Witness for the Prosecution, now this, and I'm happy to fill this gap in my cinematic knowledge.

2) BJ Thomas met his wife Gloria at a bar. She was there with his drummer, but BJ let his friend know he felt a connection to Gloria and was going to drive her home. BJ and Gloria were married for 50 years, until his death. Have you and a friend ever found yourselves attracted to the same person? If yes, how did you handle it? Back in the long-ago 1980s, my friend Mindy and I were both twitterpated by the same handsome coworker. We compared notes and decided how we would share him (we'd each get him 3 days/week, and on Sunday he could roam free). Fortunately, he chose another girl entirely, so we all lived happily ever after.
3) This song is from Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, which has been called "the most entertaining Western ever made." Do you enjoy Westerns? I now enjoy the TV Westerns (Bonanza, Gunsmoke) I avoided as a kid. I don't why.

4) Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is one of the most popular movies Paul Newman made, but he liked to say his "favorite role is philanthropist." He raised an amazing $500 million for children's charities through his Newman's Own brand. The most popular Newman's Own product is salad dressing. What flavor of salad dressing would we find in your kitchen right now? Thousand island and honey mustard.
5) Burt Bacharach won the first of his three Oscars for this song. Yet 20th Century Fox originally wanted to cut the song from the movie, maintaining that that song and the famous "bicycle sequence" between Paul Newman and Katharine Ross were anachronistic and made the movie too long. Burt and the movie's director George Roy Hill fought for it, insisting that it helped define the optimistic character of Butch. Tell us about a time you were glad you stood your ground. The last big work battle of my career. Alex, the executive creative director brought in for a specific project, wanted us to do expensive, high-profile stunts that would get a lot of industry buzz and win awards for the agency. I argued for us to stay within or under budget and do "smaller" things that would get our client measurable results. After all, it was the client's money. They should always come first. Alex won, and within six months the client fired the agency and I lost my job. Others lost their jobs, too. Life isn't fair.

But isn't it a lovely jaw? Sigh.
6) Edith Head also won an Oscar for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. She said that Robert Redford, who played Sundance, presented a wardrobe problem. His jawline is too strong so she had to create special wider-brimmed hats to balance it. If you could magically change one of your physical features, which would you choose? And which feature would you never change? I wish my face wasn't so damn round. Even when I was a size 6, I had chubby cheeks. On the plus side of the ledger, I like my dimples.

7) In 1969, when this song was a hit, The Beatles played their last concert on the roof of Abbey Road Studios. When did you last climb onto the roof? I've only been up on this building's roof once. I accompanied the inspector when he checked it before I made an offer on this condo. He said it was fine but I had no idea what he was looking at or for.

8) Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries sold at a brisk pace at Christmastime 1969. They're still popular today. Were you a fan? Yes! I read all the Nancy Drew books I could get my hands on: from The Secret of the Old Clock to The Mystery of the 99 Steps (newly published when I was 8 and at height of my Nancy-mania). That's 43
books in all. I don't recall the plots, but I still remember Nancy, her friends Bess and George, housekeeper Hannah, boyfriend Ned, and father, attorney Carson Drew. Her dad is the one who gave her the blue roadster for her 16th birthday. I often have to ask Alexa to call my lost cellphone, but I remember the blue roadster!

9) Random question: Do you consider yourself old fashioned? At times.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Thursday Thirteen #302

Thirteen "Dad Jokes." After doing TT's about Titanic, trips to the doctor and time in the dentist's chair, I thought I'd lighten the mood a bit. Some of these jokes will make you smile. Some will ... well, consider yourself warned.

1. Why do you need two pairs of socks for golf? In case you get a hole in one.

2. What does a tick have in common with the Eiffel Tower? They're both Paris sites.

3. Why do seagulls fly over the sea? Because if they flew over the bay we'd call them bagels.

4. Where do you learn how to make a banana split? Sundae school.

5. Why won't eggs tell one another jokes? They're afraid they'll crack each other up.

6. Why can't a nose be 12" long? Because then it would be a foot.

7. What did the cop say to his belly button? You're under a vest.

8. Why do nurses prefer red crayons? They have to draw blood.

9. How can you identify a dad joke? Easy! It's apparent.

10. How can you tell a dogwood tree? By its bark.

11. Why can't a kangaroo jump higher than a house? Because houses can't jump.

12. How do you stop a bull from charging? Cancel its credit card.

13. What do you call two monkeys who share an Amazon account? Prime mates.

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

Tuesday, March 21, 2023


 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? Broken (in the best possible way) by Jenny Lawson. I've been hearing about Jenny Lawson forever. My oldest friend is a big fan. Goodreads and Amazon algorithms keep recommending her. And so here Jenny and I are.
So far this is about "the art of mortification." It's a memoir about the author's battle with autoimmune disease, depression, and anxiety. It's about the odd behavior and questionable decisions that have made up her life, and she shares these with admirable frankness and humor. So far I'm enjoying it, though not as I thought I would. I don't think Jenny is as funny as Jenny does. It's a little precious at times. But her heartbreaking candor when she gets around to seriously discussing her medical and mental issues is brave and touching.

2. What did you recently finish reading? What Happened to the Bennetts? by Lisa Scottoline. A family leaves the house one evening for their daughter's field hockey game. By the end of the night, everything changes. They are car jacked, and nothing -- NOTHING -- will ever be same again. 
Their entire lives changes on a dime. Scottoline gives us three-dimensional characters, which lends this story of crime and revenge resonance. There are savvy insights about the power of social media, too.  I enjoyed this, and the intricate plotting. I thought I had it figured out but I was wrong, and I love being fooled.

But geez, it was tooooo long! The action passages, with all the gunplay, went on and on and on. I wanted to skip them but didn't because even though they were boring, I was afraid Scottoline (craftsman that she is) would slip another plot twist in on me. 
Did I like this book? At times. Do I recommend it? It was entertaining but ultimately, I don't think I'll remember much about it in six months.
SPOILER ALERT: Nobody hurts the dog.

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

Monday, March 20, 2023

Pasta and time travel

Guess who's happy. My oldest friend! She's been really low lately -- and her lows can be loooow -- but she decided to change her life. She joined a seniors-only dating service and was paired with a 60-something graphic designer who lives less than 5 miles from her. In the past week they've seen one another at least three times, including a dinner date at his place for fettuccine and an Outlander binge. She says she's too busy to talk, and this makes me happy because I believe her. She goes through periods where she doesn't answer my emails or pick up when I call because she's blue or hiding things from me or being pissy. No, this time she's actually occupied spending time with someone else. Going outside. Interacting with a person who isn't her cousin or daughter (who are practically the only people she's spoken to in years).

I'm delighted! Perhaps I should be more cautiously optimistic, because she has a tendency to idolize men and they can't live up to her expectations. But you know what? That may not happen for months ... or years ... or at all! What leads me to say this?

Guess who was wrong. That would be me! I was so sure that my oldest friend was embarking on one of her manic phases. When she gets like this, she becomes uncharacteristically driven and makes big, irreparable moves that aren't in her own best interest. I lost sleep, thinking of her either being scammed by this guy or traveling with him to Tijuana where they would celebrate their quicky marriage with matching tattoos. However, while I was tossing and turning, she was planning a day of pasta and time travel.   

Have I learned from this? Yes. Will I over-react and waste my time worrying? Most likely. But I hope when that happens I'll remember this episode and talk myself down.

Photo by Sdf Rahbar on Unsplash

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Sunday Stealing

One to Ten 

One song that describes my life. "Hard Candy Christmas." I've had this internal dialog with myself countless times. I battle the blues but I always bounce back.

Two things I wish I had more of in my life. Money and self discipline.

Three ways I relax. Short naps, long showers, cuddling a cat.

Four of my best accomplishments. 1) The cats I've rescued. I've given good lives to animals other disposed of. 2) My relationships with my oldest friend and John. Those friendships are 60 and 40 years old respectively. We aren't connected by blood, just love and commitment. 3) The influence I've had. Since I retired in October, I've heard from former coworkers that I was a mentor and role model. Who knew? 4) My career. I spent 40+ years in advertising and maintained my integrity. Do not think that was easy.

Arriving today by 10:00 PM!
Five things I am looking forward to.
1) Celebrating Elaine's birthday today. She wants deli and so she shall have deli. I also picked up souvenirs for her when I was in John's Pass during my visit with my Cousin Rose. She's been a good and generous new friend and I'm happy to do these little things for her. 2) A clean bill of health for my cat. Constance MacKenzie and I are going to the vet tomorrow for a followup to her dental surgery. 3) My Amazon delivery. I'm getting a new toilet paper holder, and it's the little things that mean a lot. 4) Writing my Letters Against Isolation for the week. 
5) Donald Trump's indictment. No one should be able to avoid legal consequences by threatening "protests." (As if the January 6 riot was a "protest.") What an undignified, unprincipled, unpatriotic narcissist we elected.

Six things I am grateful for. 1) My friends. 2) My sense of humor. 3) My resilience. 4) My cats. 5) My enthusiasm. 6) My faith.

Seven facts about me. 1) I say I'm 5'2 but that was always a lie. I suspect that now I'm closer to 5' even. 2) I'm the only one in my family with green eyes and I enjoy that. 3) I love baseball so much sometimes my heart hurts. 4) I'm always filled with anticipation when I settle into my seat in the dark and wait for the movie to start. 5) I was born at the stroke of midnight. 6) The hospital where I was born became a mental health facility. My dad used to tease me that it foreshadowed things to come. 7) Paul McCartney's voice always, always lifts my spirits.

Eight things I can see from where I am sitting.
1) My striped slipper socks.2) My glasses. 3) A stack of books. 4) A teddy bear with a t-shirt that says, "Someone at Florida Keys Community College loves me." It's a long-ago gift from my dear friend Henry. 5) A fan. It gets very hot in this apartment so I never put it away. 6) Connie Cat. 7) A wastebasket. 8) This framed Thomas McKnight print.

Nine words I would use to describe myself. 1) Short. 2) Pudgy. 3) Fun. 4) Loyal. 5) Loving. 6) Smart. 7) Opinionated. 8) Passionate. 9) Verbal.

Before she became an icon
Ten little things that make me happy.
1) A cat's purr. 2) Freshly laundered bedsheets and bath towels. 3) Bargains at the Dollar Store. 4) Clicking through the channels and landing on the original Law & Order. 5) Anthony Rizzo digging one out of the dirt. 6) My scent of lavender. 7) The color of the sky, regardless of the weather. 8) Finding forgotten money in my pocket. 9) Chocolate. 10) Discovering new-to-me photos of my all-time idol, JBKO. Here's the young wife of Sen. John F. Kennedy in 1954, continuing her education at Georgetown University.  

I, on the other hand, was wearing long underwear

It was about 20º today, 15º with the windchill. Snow flurries, too. I was bundled up because, after my hair cut and lunch with my nephew, I was walking about half a mile to CVS where I could stock up on essentials while taking advantage of my 30% off coupon and earn double rewards.*

My nephew met me at the salon, a little late. We'd had a miscommunication, not his fault or mine but the stylist's. Not a big deal. But my nephew arrived on foot -- his car isn't running well -- a little disheveled. Then we walked to the restaurant, stopping along the way at the convenience store so I could pick up a lottery ticket. 

We ate and gabbed. We talked baseball and The Boss. I'm very excited that he's not only discovered Bruce Springsteen, he's going to the summer concert at Wrigley Field! I love how much we have in common. I love how he still enjoys spending time with me.

We're alike in ways beyond our passion for baseball in music. For it was at the restaurant I saw he was wearing his Cubs sandals. 

Let that sink in: he wandered through the below freezing wind and snow in his Cubs sandals. He was afraid he was going to late and didn't take the time (which would have been what? 3 minutes?) to put on shoes and socks. 

I was worried about him walking home that way. Some may say that, at 22, he should know better, but I'm not judging him. For I remember that long ago Chicago February, Valentine's Day, when I wanted my lover to see me in my new strappy heels. He liked my legs and and not only did the shoes make them good great, they matched the belt I was wearing with my purple dress. (I remember the dress, too.) On the way to the restaurant, my cab got stuck in traffic. I could see my destination -- less than three blocks. So I paid the driver and got out in the middle of the street, tottering on those heels on the cold, rain-slicked streets, feeling the water seep into my shoes. My legs may have looked good, but my feet were cold and miserable all night. But I just couldn't sit in that cab a moment longer.

Blood will tell.

*I am now but a poor retiree on a fixed income and these things are more important to me now.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: The Rocky Road to Dublin (2008)

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

1) This song is about a young man who leaves home to seek his fortune. How old were you when you first moved out on your own? 18. I loved that teeny-tiny apartment. I don't know that I could handle a third-floor walk up anymore, though! Traversing that spiral staircase with laundry or groceries was a challenge when I was a teenager.

2) He leaps onto a ship but the captain makes him sleep in the hold with pigs. Have you ever taken a cruise? (If so, we hope you had better accommodations.) I've never taken a cruise.
I took this myself! The closest I've ever been to HIM.
3) This recording of the song is by The High Kings. Well established in Ireland, their career reached new heights in March 2012. Right after playing for the Lord Mayor of London's St. Patrick's Day celebration, they flew to Washington to perform for President Obama at the White House St. Patrick's Day concert. Tell us about a time when you were so happy, you had to pinch yourself to make sure you weren't dreaming. Summer of 2011. Sir Paul McCartney played two nights at Wrigley Field and I was there both nights! My favorite person in my favorite place. The timing was very important to me. It was during my cancer scare which resulted in a hysterectomy (everything turned out to be, blessedly, benign) and I really needed the distraction and respite as I waited for my surgery to be scheduled.
4) This song was chosen because Friday was St. Patrick's Day. Do you celebrate this holiday? I have. I probably will again. But I didn't really this year.
5) Leprechauns are a symbol of St. Patrick's Day. These small Irish fairies are said to live in the forest, guarding their gold. Do you often wear gold? No. I prefer silver.

6) McDonald's has made Shamrock Shakes a St. Patrick's Day tradition. McDonald's began adding the drive-thru window to their restaurants in the 1970s. Would you rather order from the restaurant counter or the drive-thru? I don't have a car, so the drive-thru would be pretty dangerous.

7) A four-leaf clover is considered good luck. Do you have a lucky charm? I did, but I lost it. Which made me very sad.
8) Thinking of Lucky Charms, they are magically delicious. What breakfast cereal is in your kitchen right now? I have oatmeal. Does that count?

9) Random question: Think of your upcoming week. Which day will be the busiest? I have something going on every day Saturday through Wednesday. Some of it fun (lunch with my nephew, celebrating Elaine's birthday), some of it not (dental checks for both me and my cat Connie). It's hard to say which day will be the busiest, or the most expensive.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Thursday Thirteen #301

Thirteen reasons to go to the dentist. It seems my life consists of watching baseball and going to the dentist. The first is my passion, the second my avocation. There is so much wrong with so many teeth I shan't enumerate my maladies here. Instead I'll share 13 common reasons dentists and dental insurance companies report that we climb into the chair.

1. Annual check up. 'Nuff said.

2. Accidents. Patients make more emergency appointments in spring and summer, injuring their teeth in sports or DIY projects in the yard or garage.

3. Other medical treatments. Radiation, hormone replacement therapy, and certain prescription drugs can have an impact on teeth and gums.

4. Pregnancy. Hormones can accelerate tooth decay and gingivitis.

5. Sensitivity to hot or cold. This could mean your teeth have worn down to the point that the root or nerve are exposed.

6. Pain. Toothaches can be brutal.

7. Swelling in your face or neck. This could be caused by a tooth problem you can't see, like gum disease or infected roots.

8. Bleeding gums. Even a little blood in the sink on a regular basis warrants attention, because gum disease won't get better on its own.

9. Dry mouth. Not producing enough saliva can lead to tooth decay.

10. Bad breath. It's not only embarrassing, it could indicate oral infection.

11. Your jaw pops or locks. Trouble opening and closing your mouth could be temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).

12. Tongue trouble. Sores and spots on your tongue could be caused by simple irritation or something more serious and you should get them checked out.

13. A better smile. Dentists are your go-to for tooth whitening.

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

It won't be my fault. My shrink said so!

Tuesday was my weekly Zoom session with my shrink. I'm trying to make progress, really I am. At least now I'm asking the right questions.

I'm very worried about my oldest friend. She is bipolar, and when she is in the manic phase she makes very bad, sometimes irreparable, decisions. I believe that could be where she's heading now. It scares me.

After months of insisting she's happier now than she's ever been -- even though she has not made a single friend since she moved to California over a decade ago, is unemployed, has health/mobility issues, and is living in a granny flat behind a bigger house that's inhabited by people she barely knows and doesn't especially like and has a landlady who is pressuring her to move NOW -- she is now suddenly saying she's "sick of being a shut-in." 

What a zero-to-sixty change in attitude! That's a red flag.

So what is she doing to change her life? Is she concentrating on getting healthy, or joining a book club, or taking a class? No, she impulsively joined an online dating service. She even admitted she did it on impulse. Impulsivity is a red flag.

We've been here before. She imbues males with the power to rescue.* She's always disappointed. Not only that, she had her first date pick her up and drop her off at home. So this man that she met online now knows that she's physically vulnerable, alone, tucked in back of the big house. This upsets me because I'd prefer she not be the subject of a true-crime podcast.

Bad judgement is a red flag, too.

Here I am, 2,000 miles away. Helpless to help. I'm afraid of what's happening, and there's nothing I can do. It's massively distressing.

My shrink tells me that:

1) I'm not wrong. I am unable to help. She's going to do what she's going to do and I can't stop her.

2) Anything that happens has nothing to do with me. While that's painful and frustrating, it's also liberating. None of this is my fault.

3) It could go well. This man she went out with might call her back. They could have a happy relationship. After all, my friend is funny, pretty and kind. She has a lot to offer! And by dating him, she could meet his friends and expand her world. All that would be good. In fact, nothing would make me happier.

This is what my Cousin Rose was so artlessly trying to tell me when I visited her in Tampa. Next time I write to her, I must tell her I understand it better now. I know Rose loves me and means well and besides, she's right.

On a small, micro-level, I felt better when I logged off than when I logged on. That's a victory, isn't it?

*When she was summoned to the principal's office to discuss her grade-school-aged daughter's behavior problems, she pulled her son from high school to accompany her. That was when she still lived here and had friends and neighbors she could have asked for support. Yet somehow she believed her son's pubescent Y chromosome was going to protect her.

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

Tuesday, March 14, 2023


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? What Happened to the Bennetts? by Lisa Scottoline. A typical nuclear family -- Mom, Dad, 2 kids, and dog -- are taking the scenic route home from the daughter's field hockey game. They're in high spirits: her team won, and Dad is finally getting comfortable behind the wheel of the family's new luxury car. And then, in a truly harrowing passage, they are car jacked.

This is Scottoline, so I know characters will turn out to be far from what they seem and there are lots of twists and turns awaiting me in these pages. I also know I'll either be gripped and enthralled (as I was with Every Fifteen Minutes) or annoyed and disgusted (as I was by Dirty Blonde).  That's how it goes with me and Lisa.

2. What did you recently finish reading? Little Girl Blue: The Life of Karen Carpenter by Randy L. Schmitt. I didn't expect to be as moved by this book as I was. Karen Carpenter was a nice girl, a flawed heroine, a uniquely talented singer. She committed slow suicide by anorexia. Her family never understood her, or the disease she battled, and tacitly seem to blame Karen's doctors for her death by allowing her to gain weight too fast, thereby straining her heart. They conveniently ignore the ipecac syrup found in Karen's system at the time of her death. 

This family conveniently ignored a lot. Like how Karen struggled to be seen and heard by her parents, her brother, and management. The story of Karen's solo album is particularly disturbing. Richard blocked it during her lifetime, but you can hear it here. Produced by Grammy winner Phil Ramone, with backup support from Chicago's Peter Cetera and Billy Joel's band, Richard felt it wasn't releaseable because it was too far from The Carpenters' sound. That was the point, Richard! It was her creative statement as an artist, not just as The Carpenters' "lead sister," as she was called. She longed to be more than an extension of her family.
But Randy L. Schmitt is very even-handed. His very fairness makes the story more credible and relatable. Richard isn't a villain. He was hard working, talented, and struggling with his own demons. Mother Agnes Carpenter isn't a monster, either. She was an unsophisticated woman watching her family cope with the pressures of celebrity. She made disastrous decisions, but she was naive, not evil. (Though her casual racism and anti-semitism is hard to take.) Father Harold Carpenter loved both his wife and his daughter and felt helpless to interfere.

This is the best book I've read so far this year.

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


Saturday, March 11, 2023

Sunday Stealing


1. Do you make new friends easily? Yes. I'm lucky that way.
2. Which podcasts do you like at the moment? The Book of Joe is my favorite baseball podcast. I'd rather have Joe Maddon's voice in my head than just about anyone else's. TCM's The Plot Thickens is my favorite entertainment podcast. I'm waiting for the next season to start.

3. One thing that immediately makes your day better. My cats.
4. What app do you use most? Weatherbug.
5. The friends who would have your back no matter what. I think of the two I've known the longest. John (1981) and my oldest friend (1964).
6. What is something you’ll never do again? Drink wine. Since menopause, it gives me the most bitching migraines.
7. Something you practice often. Bad judgement.
8. What gives you an adrenaline rush? Baseball sounds: The crack of the bat, the ball landing in the mitt.
9. How well do you do in social situations? Depends. I was always more comfortable professionally than personally, but I'm no longer in that setting.
10. Are you a light sleeper or a deep sleeper? I'm a fitful sleeper.
11. Do you get stage fright? No.
12. Which family members are you closest to? My nephew is one of my favorite people in the world.
13. How was your February? Rather tumultuous. I had some additional and unexpected dental problems.

14. What is your favorite candle scent? I don't have one.
15. One book that you would recommend as a "must read?' The Princess Bride. Even if you've seen the movie, check out the book. It has tremendous heart and wisdom, as well as the funny stuff you've seen on the screen.


Oh, the week she's had!

Constance MacKenzie, my little girl cat, is purring like a motorboat as I write this, and it's the most glorious sound in the world. For Thursday was the most awful day she could imagine. But here it is, Saturday night, and she survived and is back to being her old sweet self.

She was suffering from Stage 3 Periodontal Disease. There are only 4 stages. Deep cleaning and scaling were required to remove the plaque, a tooth was extracted, and cells from the site of the recurring oral sore were sent to the lab to rule out anything dire. This was complicated and expensive, and she understood none of it.

What she did understand was that she was Outside. Connie hates Outside. I could leave the front door wide open and she wouldn't even approach it. All she needs in the world is in this condo.

Worse than Outside, she was away from me and surrounded by strangers. Unfamiliar hands and voices! Her front leg was shaved for an IV.

There were dogs at the vet. Connie is never, ever around dogs. 

When she awoke, she was stoned. Disoriented. In a cage. It was awful. What fresh hell is this?

They put her in her carrier and brought her to me. As soon as she heard my voice she started purring so loud I could hear her from a few feet away. The guilt was enormous. She didn't think of me as the monster who brought her to the vet. I was only the angel who rescued her.

When I got her home, she was happy to see Roy Hobbs but was unsteady on her feet and very confused. She wanted to be sure her water and her box were where they were supposed to be, though she didn't use them. Then she hid under my bed. Where she stayed for more than 12 hours.

I was worried because the anesthetic she was given in the hospital would be wearing off and I wanted to give her a pain pill. But I didn't want to reach under the bed and drag her out. That would be too cruel. She has a brain the size of a plum pit, and she's trying to process all that had happened to her. So I crushed her pain pill and mixed it into a few spoonfuls of Gerber baby meat. I slid the bowl under the bed and she lapped it up. The medication did the trick and when she started feeling better, she ventured back into her world.

Where she's been ever since.

I don't know if she's feeling better, now that the infected tooth is gone and her gum is healing. Or if she's just so relieved to be back in her familiar surrounding and her old routine. But all she does is rub up against me and purr. And purr. And purr.


Saturday 9

 Saturday 9: Pass Me By (1965)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.
1) In this song, Peggy Lee tells us she wiggles her toes in the sand. Have you been to the beach yet in 2023? Do you expect to wiggle your toes in the sand when you're on vacation this year? I was just in Tampa (see post below), and here are my freshly pedicured toes in the sand.

2) She also sings that contemplating nature can be fascinating. What flora and fauna can you see from your window as you answer these questions? I'm posting from my bedroom, where unfortunately the view is of the roof next door.

3) With this song, she's telling everyone to take her as she is or leave her be. Does that reflect your attitude? Or are you a "people pleaser" who worries what others think of you? Less so with each passing year. To borrow from Peggy, if you don't happen to like me, thank you kindly, pass me by.

4) These lyrics were written by Carolyn Leigh. She began her career as an advertising copywriter but, since she showed a flair for poetry and rhymes, she was urged by a music publisher to write lyrics. Have you ever tried your hand at poetry? Only when forced to. I have strengths as a writer, but poetry is not among them. To be honest, I don't enjoy reading poetry, either. (Do you respect me less?)

5) This song was composed for the 1964 movie Father Goose, starring Cary Grant. Are you a fan? Do you just vaguely know the name? Or are you wondering what a Cary Grant is? I love Cary Grant! So versatile! Adept at physical comedy, romance and drama. And damn near perfect. Here's his actual passport picture. Doesn't he look like he just walked off a movie set?
Always impeccable
6) This was a top-20 hit for Peggy Lee. As a girl in North Dakota during the 1930s, Peggy lived above the train station where her father was depot agent. Today that depot is home to a museum which features a Peggy Lee Exhibit. Have you recently visited a museum? While I was in Florida I visited the Tampa History Center
I love a pirate ship

7) Designer Bonnie Erickson was also grew up in North Dakota and used her girlhood idol as the inspiration for her most famous creation: Miss Piggy. A diva with flowing blonde hair and jewelry, the puppet was originally called Miss Piggy Lee. As the character gained in fame with The Muppets, the name was shortened to Miss Piggy because Bonnie didn't want to offend Peggy Lee, whom she genuinely admired. Tell us something you have done recently to spare someone's feelings. I kept my opinion to myself. As I get older I find that I don't need to share every thought that crosses my mind. Often "keeping it real" is unnecessary, hurtful and rather narcissistic. That's not who I want to be. I'd rather be kind.

8) While Peggy Lee often changed her hairstyle with the times, she was always a blonde. She considered those lustrous locks her trademark. Are you having a good hair day today? Yes.

9) Random question: What's the perfect way to spend a lazy afternoon? Eating pizza and watching a great movie, like Holiday with Katharine Hepburn and the estimable Mr. Cary Grant.


Tampa recap

I haven't posted much about my trip to Florida because it was four complicated days. Because my relationship with my cousin is so complicated. When I was growing up, Rosie was my idol, my role model, and my champion within the family. I love her for that. My unhappy adolescence would have been damn near unendurable without her. 

But now I'm 65 and she's 77. It's different now than it was when I was 15 and she was 27. I don't need her to show me the way anymore, and her incessant "nudging" makes me crazy. Everything I do is suspect or at the very least up for review. Everything is an argument. Why, after she said she'd pay for lunch, did I offer to leave the tip? What's the point of that? Why, after shopping for souvenirs, didn't I slip the shopping bag into my purse? Have I considered how much money I'd save if I didn't have cats? Even this: How can I prefer the original Magnum PI to the remake when "Tom Selleck has always been so annoying?" Most infuriating -- and, I suppose, amusing -- is that I "care too much" about my friends. I'm "too involved." I have to acknowledge that "they have a right to do as they choose." Um, Rose? Don't I have a right to do as I choose?

But there's this: she loves me very much. This whole trip, centered around the Yankees spring training, was because I love baseball. My first night there she hosted a pot luck in my honor with all the Florida cousins. ("Everybody wants to see you, Gal!") We visited the museum along the Tampa Riverwalk because she knows I love museums and the Chicago River Walk. We went to super-touristy John's Pass -- definitely not her thing -- because I like little shops.

She wanted this trip because she worries about me "worrying too much." She wanted to see for herself that I'm OK. How can that not melt me? Also, we experienced my visit very differently. I wanted to slip into her room and smother her with her pillow as she slept. When I was at the airport, waiting to board my plane home, she texted me dates when the Yankees play the Rays so I can come back for a regular season game. (Not gonna happen.)

And there's this: I'm 65 and she's 77. How much time do I think we have? As it is, right now she's one of two people left on earth who held me when I was a baby. She walks with a cane. I've already outlived my dad. I want to appreciate her when I can.

Now here's an overview of the trip (except for the Yankee-Tiger game, which I covered off on here.)

Riverwalk and Tampa Bay History Center. I admit I love this nerdy stuff, and so does Rose. We enjoyed different parts of the museum -- I loved the pirates and sports stuff and I learned she has a love of cartography.

2008 with Tampa was Cub Manager Joe Maddon's first trip to the World Series

We had a lovely lunch at the Museum, too. The Columbia Cafe has great food and a lovely view of the Riverwalk. While the Chicago River Walk has its charms and is still my favorite, I admit I'll never see this sign here.

Part of why I'm happy to be a Lake Michigan girl!

I learned that modern-day Tampa has cable cars between tourist attraction. Not buses painted to look like cable cars. ACTUAL CABLE CARS! I wish we'd taken one, but Rosie is very car-centric and public transportation just doesn't occur to her.

At John's Pass, we ate seafood and ice cream, shopped, and took a boat ride where I saw beautiful colors, big birds, and DOLPHINS!

It's like he wanted me to take his picture