Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Thursday Thirteen #315

Thirteen popular Presidential Libraries. The Presidential Library system began in 1939, when FDR donated his personal and Presidential papers to the Federal Government. There are now 13 official Presidential libraries open and operated by the National Archives and Records Administration (or NARA, which you've no doubt heard a lot about lately). Abraham Lincoln's is outside NARA's auspices. 

I'm a nerd and admit I've been to five of the libraries on this list (*). Three I've visited more than once. It's true, I love this shit! Here are the most popular Presidential libraries, as determined by annual visitors.

1. Ronald Reagan -- Simi, California -- 383,000 visitors in 2019

2. Bill Clinton -- Little Rock, Arkansas -- 334,000*

3. John F. Kennedy -- Boston, Massachusetts -- 296,000*

4. Abraham Lincoln -- Springfield, Illinois -- 240,000*

5. George W. Bush -- Dallas, Texas -- 232,000

6. Dwight Eisenhower -- Abilene, Kansas -- 186,000

7. Gerald R. Ford -- Grand Rapids, Michigan -- 158,000

8. Franklin D. Roosevelt -- Hyde Park, NY -- 140,000

9. Lyndon B. Johnson -- Austin, Texas -- 139,000

10. George H. W. Bush -- College Station, Texas -- 136,000

11. Richard Nixon -- Yorba Linda, California -- 85,000*

12. Harry Truman -- Independence, Missouri -- 59,000*

13. Jimmy Carter -- Atlanta, Georgia -- 52,000

and to be complete, here's #14 ...

14. Herbert Hoover -- West Branch, Iowa -- 43,000

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

Tuesday, June 27, 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? Murder in an Irish Village by Carlene O'Connor. The title pretty much tells you what's going on here. Our heroine, Siobhan O'Sullivan, is trying to keep her five siblings together after the sudden death of her parents last year. The kids work together in the family's coffee shop. As she tries to soldier on through her grief, one of her small-town neighbors tells her that her parents' fatal car crash was not as it seems, and if she gives him money he'll tell her more. Siobhan really does not need this right now! Life brings her more unwelcome complications the very next morning when the O'Sullivan siblings, racing to get ready for the breakfast crowd, find a dead man in one of their booths. 

So far I'm enjoying this, carried along by my affection for our narrator, Siobhan. She's a dreamer -- she wants to zip around on a pink scooter, she wants to be a fast and fit runner, she wants a lot of things -- but she's clear-eyed about running her bistro, about the strengths and weaknesses of her siblings, about her chances for romance in the small town. I really want good things for Siobhan and I hope that corpse in the booth isn't bad for business. The O'Sullivans need the money!

2. What did you recently finish reading? Confidence Man by Maggie Haberman. I didn't really choose to read this book right now. I had it on hold at my library and it suddenly became available. OK, Universe, I'll take the cue.

NY Times reporter Haberman began covering Donald Trump since his days in New York and he's always given her access. (The book even ends with a long post-Presidency sitdown at Mar-a-Lago.) Her reputation and experience in Trump World makes this book very credible and even though I didn't enjoy it, I recommend it. Because we can't let this reckless narcissist near the levers of power again. Really, I'd forgotten (blocked out?) exactly how chaotic and dangerous our world was with him at the helm. Now that he's a candidate again, it's more important than ever to remember.

She puts his Presidency in the context of his life story, and concludes that Trump (not a well-traveled or curious man) believes the whole world operates like New York City. That to succeed, all you need is fame -- not accomplishment nor even money, just fame and glamor -- and you can get it through alternately bullying and charming. He is not, nor was he ever, a public servant. He doesn't want to change the world for the better. He wants to be the center of attention, and is so fantastically shallow he can't comprehend what's wrong with that.

At times, though, I still felt sorry for him. After he lost everything in the early 1990s, he reached out to a young and guileless Southern belle for comfort, which seemed very human to me. His shortest marriage, it was the one I found most relatable. At the end of the book, when Haberman interviewed him in Mar-a-Lago, he kept steering the conversation back to New York and I could sense how he longs for his old home town. It's as though he didn't choose Florida, he's exiled there.

3. What will read next? I don't know.


Sunday, June 25, 2023

Sunday Stealing


1. Would you rather ride a bike, ride a horse, or drive a car? I haven't ridden a horse in a million years. Let's do it!

2. Who is your favorite author? William Goldman. He was wildly successful, but don't hold that against him. He won two Oscars: original screenplay for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and adapted screenplay for All the President's Men. Deep Throat never said, "Follow the money." William Goldman did. But now legal analysts quote it when discussing any political scandal, and that makes me smile. Goldman also helped Ben Affleck and Matt Damon (then first-time scriptwriters) on Good Will Hunting, for which they won Oscars.

He has a place in my heart for two novels that he turned into entertaining movies, but the books were so much better: The Princess Bride and Magic. The Princess Bride is a story of childhood dreams and adult disillusionment masquerading as a fairy tale. Magic is a thriller that begins with a murder investigation but is really about reckoning and self doubt. Goldman is also really funny. There's a moment in Magic where I literally laughed out loud, even though I was all alone and scared to death by the action. 

He died in 2018. His work is so much a part of my life that I don't really get that he's gone.

3. Would you rather vacation in Hawaii or Alaska, and why? Hawaii. Because I went there twice in my 20s and that was a long time ago. I long to return. To circle back to question #1, one of my most amazing memories is riding horseback in Hilo. It was beautiful.

4. If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to? I used to always answer this with mid-19th century America because I've read so much about it. But it's summertime and I can't imagine how uncomfortable it was to be a woman back then. Here's Sally Field on set as Mary in Spielberg's Lincoln. It's a historically accurate dress and I bet it was fucking miserable in hot weather. So now I've decided I'll just stay here in the ac, thank you.

5.  What's your favorite zoo animal? Okapis. I love them. They are rather rare, but we have them here in Chicagoland at the Brookfield Zoo. They look like they're part zebra but they aren't, they are in the giraffe family. Very shy, they make these cute little clucking noises at others in their herd but are silent with other animals (including us). They're herbivores and like to hang out on riverbanks where there's lots of green leaves and buds to munch on. (This makes me want to visit the zoo again.)

6.  What's the tallest building you've been to the top of? I worked for five years in the Sears Tower (now the Willis Tower) which is 110 stories. I worked for more than a decade in the AON Center, which is 83 stories. As a tourist, I visited the CN Tower in Toronto, which is taller than either AON or Sears Tower but I must tell you, once you get that high up it's hard to differentiate. You're just way up and can see forever. PS In the 1980s I visited the World Trade Center and remember very little about it. I mean, I was working at Sears at the time and was all, "Another tall building? Yawn." In light of what happened, I'm sorry I didn't pay more attention. I don't regret much in life, but I regret that.

7. How often do you buy clothes? Seldom. I pretty much wear jeans and Cubs/Beatles/vacation destination t-shirts every day. Saturday I went to dinner with friends at an Irish dive bar and wore one of my "work" blouses, just because. BTW, my friend Nancy was wearing a t-shirt from her company's recent kickball outing because, well, it was an Irish dive bar.

8. What was the last thing you recorded on TV? Holiday from TCM. Holiday is my favorite Hepburn movie. TCM is my favorite channel. Don't get me started! I'm still in battle mode. #SaveTCM!

TCM is embattled! Please tweet #SaveTCM.

9.  What was the last book you read? I just finished Maggie Haberman's study of Donald Trump, Confidence Man. It's straight up, factual reporting (hell, Trump even granted her post-Presidency one-on-one interviews!) and though it's dry at times, it's important since he's running for office again.

10. What's your favorite type of foreign food? Italian. Love, love, love the cheese.

11. What kitchen appliance do you use every day? Microwave

12. How old were you when you learned Santa wasn't real? How did you find out? I figured it out. I was suspicious that Santa handled things differently in different houses. For example, at my oldest friend's home, she knew which gifts were from Santa because he didn't wrap his and there were no tags. Here we were, across the alley, and our Santa gifts were in special paper and the tags were written in block letters. What the hey? My older sister, never the sharpest knife in the drawer, was shocked, SHOCKED, I TELL YOU! when we were told the truth and cried and cried. My dad wasn't much into the father thing, but he handled this chore with care and sensitivity. Nicely done, Daddy.

13.  What was your favorite subject in school? It was a tie between American history and English.

14. What's the most unusual thing you've ever eaten? I was very proud of myself for eating breaded alligator at Taste of Chicago. To be honest, I don't remember how it tasted. I just recall being all, "Hey! I'm eating alligator.' 

15. What's your favorite family recipe? I don't cook. My grandmothers did, though. Icky Grandma made a good pot roast and my Nice Grandma made the best dinner rolls. My affection for the dinner rolls always surprised her, as she was far more proud of her cookies.

"That's the most American sentence ever!"

My friend Nancy likes it that I make her husband laugh. I'm happy to do it. Although at dinner Saturday, when I made him spit his Miller Genuine Draft, and I didn't mean to.

When I swung into the booth, the first thing I asked was about the coup attempt in Russia. I said I started the day watching the coverage and was riveted, but then the Cubs game started. 

"That's the most American sentence ever!" Paul said, when he recovered. "Maybe the geopolitical balance of power is shifting, but the baseball game is on."

Well, yeah. What's your point?

His laughter was kind, so I didn't mind. Besides, it wasn't any baseball game. The Cubs were playing the Cards -- always an event -- and in LONDON!

I'm proud to say that there were enough Cub fans representing us in Jolly Old England that this celebratory post-game rendition of "Go, Cubs, Go" sounded great.


Paul paid for dinner, too. So there's that. (Though I left the tip.)

Friday, June 23, 2023

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over (1991)

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

1) In this song, Lenny Kravitz sings about all the tears he's cried over this relationship. Scientists theorize that human tears fall into two categories: emotional and irritant. "Emotional tears" are most often shed over physical pain, empathy, compassion, depression, and anger/frustration. Think about the last time you cried. What triggered your tears? It was almost exactly six months ago, when I realized I wouldn't be spending Christmas with my dear friend, Henry. Because of his escalating cognitive deterioration, I may never see him again. I love him very much, so this has been hard for me to accept.

2) We also cry "irritant tears," which means we well up when a foreign particle gets in our eye. Over-the-counter drops can help. What's the last thing you bought at the drugstore? Was it a medication (OTC or prescription) or something else entirely? I picked up my prescription mouthwash and a 6-pack of Coke at Walgreen's.

3) TV actresses have played a big part in Lenny Kravitz' life. His mother was Roxie Roker, who played the neighbor Helen on The Jeffersons. His wife (and the inspiration for this song) was Lisa Bonet, who played one of the daughters on The Cosby Show. Their daughter, Zoe Kravitz, appeared in the HBO series Big Little Lies. What TV series do you never tire of, and could watch again and again? I am forever entertained by The Dick Van Dyke Show. Carl Reiner was involved in most episodes – writing, directing, or appearing as Alan Brady – and I'm impressed by how prolific and sophisticated he was. And Dick Van Dyke was ridiculously good as Rob Petrie. I don't think I've seen him hit a false note.

4) Thinking of Big Little Lies ... Zoe Kravitz co-starred with Nicole Kidman. Shortly after Kidman divorced Tom Cruise, she dated Lenny Kravitz. Have you ever been curious about a partner's past love? Not really. I wanted to hear as much as he wanted to share.

5) Lenny Kravitz and Today Show weatherman Al Roker are second cousins (their grandfathers were brothers). Do you turn to a TV weatherman for the forecast? Or do you check a website or app? I watch the news in the morning, and during the day I say, "Alexa, what's the weather outside?" Weather here in Chicagoland can be very changeable, depending on how close you happen to be to our Great Lake. I haven't found an app that reflects that, but Alexa is very good.

6) Also a talented photographer, Lenny's work has been displayed at the Leica Gallery in Wetzlar, Germany. What's the most recent photo you took? A picture of a deposit slip. One of my duties as condo board member is to empty the coin slots in the laundry room and take the quarters to the bank. I text the deposit slip to our management company for record keeping. It's just as dull as it sounds.

7) In 1991, when this song was popular, Murray Bicycles were the top seller among younger set. Popularity is fleeting, though. By 2004, the company filed for bankruptcy and no longer produces bicycles. Was your bike a big part of your summer when you were a kid? Oh, yes! Sometimes I pretended it was a horse, other times a motorcycle. It was important, too, for taking me from hither to yon.

8) Also in 1991, Gene Roddenberry died. Mr. Roddenberry is best known as the creator of Star Trek. Who's your favorite Star Trek character? I've never willingly watched a Star Trek episode, so my answer is not well informed. But from what I've accidentally picked up, I'll go to with Capt. James T. Kirk.

9) Random Question: How do you think your high school classmates remember you? Apparently I'm remembered as smart, which is amusing because I was a straight C student. But I've interacted with some former classmates on social media, and they recall me as a far better student than I was. 

Not without a fight!

I should be happy. I'm getting along well with my oldest friend and my buddy, John. I got new glasses with oh-so pretty Marc Jacobs frames. My favorite-most ball player, Anthony Rizzo, is getting his swing back. My Cubs are playing their first-ever games in London this weekend!

So what's that big dark cloud marring my blue sky?

On Tuesday, there was a blood bath at Turner Classic Movies! The top executives -- the world-class film nerds who curate the TCM collection, put on the annual Film Festival, promote the books for sale in the TCM Library, and are part of the classic film preservation movement -- were all axed.

The parent company, Warner Brothers Discovery+, is carrying $45.434B in debt (yes, that's billions). The studio has a new chairman, David Zaslav, and he's been in the political, financial and entertainment headlines because of his problems with CNN (the Trump Townhall and the firing of Chris Licht), skyrocketing debt (it's 3x higher today than in 2020), and the failure of The Flash at the box office. Zaslav, who appears to be a highly reactive chairman, responded with staff cuts at TCM.

This is not good news. This is terrible news. This could mean no more festivals, and worse, no more TCM. The news was so bad and so shocking Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese and Paul Thomas Anderson got together and very publicly lobbied Zaslav to protect the integrity of TCM. Then we fans got involved. Emails to Tweets with hashtag #SaveTCM. All this activity got the attention of the Hollywood trade papers, as well as CNBC and the NY and LA Times. This is not the kind of attention stockholders like, and the WBD stock dropped another 30¢/share. This afternoon we learned that there may be light at the end of the tunnel. Zaslav hired two new and trusted executives to handle "oversight of TCM."

There's something very satisfying about being active, doing something beyond complaining, and then getting some semblance of results.

I love my TCM community. We're genuinely connected by our love of classic film. There's also much to teach and learn from this uniquely American artform. I'm not letting it go without a fight!

PS If you want to join the fight, let David Zaslav and the board of WBD+ know you're a consumer and you love TCM.


Mail: Office of the Corporate Secretary, Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc.   230 Park Avenue South.   New York, NY. 10003

Twitter: #SaveTCM

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Thursday Thirteen #314

Thirteen characters in the Watergate saga. 50 years ago this summer, the American press and much of the public were consumed by the scandal that ultimately brought down our 37th President. I’m both an old broad and a news junkie, so I remember all these names and most of the faces.* How about you?

1. Richard M. Nixon. POTUS entering his last year in office in summer 1973.
2. John Dean. White House counsel who provided important testimony, served time.
3. Chuck Colson. Special counsel to the President, served time.
4. HR “Bob” Haldeman. Crew cut White House Chief of Staff, served time.
5. John Erlichman. Nixon’s chief domestic advisor, served time.
6. John Mitchell. Former AG, head of Nixon’s re-election campaign, served time.
7. G. Gordon Liddy. Former CIA operative, Nixon loyalist, member of the re-election campaign, served time.
8. E. Howard Hunt. Former CIA operative, author of spy novels, member of the re-election campaign, served time.
9. Fred Larue. Campaign financial guy, the one who handed the burglars the money, served time.
10. Maurice Stans. Nixon Cabinet official turned campaign fundraiser, indicted but acquitted.
11. Robert Mardian. Re-election campaign lawyer who was convicted, and then his conviction was overturned.
12. Jeb Stuart Magruder. Kinda cute campaign operative who testified a lot on TV.
13. Alexander Butterfield. White House aide who gave us our “Perry Mason” moment when he told the Watergate committee, on national TV, that Nixon had an Oval Office taping system.

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

 *Sorry, Bob Mardian, but I only remember your name, not your face.

Tuesday, June 20, 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? Confidence Man by Maggie Haberman. NY Times reporter Haberman has been covering Donald Trump forever, long before he entered politics. She's never been predisposed to be sympathetic to him, yet he's always given her access. So I believe this portrait of his rise to fame (his emphasis was always on celebrity, not achievement) and how he parlayed it into the Presidency. I also find it monumentally depressing, especially after ... 

2. What did you recently finish reading? Churchill by Jacob Bannister.What a man! Soldier, reporter, politician and hero. Physically brave and deeply patriotic. He literally helped save the world during WWII and played a major role in the start of NATO in the aftermath. I can't resist commenting that The Former Guy sees no value in NATO or in supporting Ukraine in their stand against Russian encroachment, and I imagine Churchill would be disgusted by Donald Trump.
When President Kennedy, a decorated WWII veteran, made Churchill an honorary American citizen for life, he said that Churchill "mobilized the English language and sent it into battle" against the Nazis and it's true. Churchill didn't have much to work with at the beginning of the war, but he used soaring rhetoric to inspire the English people and encourage them to believe they would prevail. It's stirring and inspirational. I also learned that Churchill wasn't a fan of Gandhi's, dismissing him as a poseur. I admit that took me by surprise, though I suppose it shouldn't have considering the role each man played in shaping India's fate in the 20th century. It's just I'm not accustomed to hearing bad things about Gandhi. I mean, what's next? Is Winnie gonna slag Santa? 
So Bannister's book was a good intro to the man, and now I want to learn more.

3. What will read next? Something light. I admit Trump seems especially odious and depressing after Sir Winston. So maybe I need chick lit or a cozy mystery.


Sunday, June 18, 2023

Sunday Stealing

Swapbot – 10 Years of Swaps

1) What is your favorite way to spend a lazy day? I like books, watching movies, and taking walks. In summer, of course, baseball!

2) What do you look forward to every week? Yoga class on Tuesdays. 

3) Name three pet peeves you currently have. a. Retail people who don't answer me. Like yesterday, when I put my canvas bag on the counter and said, "I'll use my own bag." The girl at checkout out said nothing. Did she hear me? How hard is it to say, "OK." Or just "K," if she's limited to the number of syllables she can utter in a day. b. Space hogs. If a train or bus is full, your purse or briefcase does not deserve the seat next to you. Covid is behind us. Scoot over! c. Conspiracy theorists. I know they deserve my pity, but still! Joe Biden was duly elected, Dr. Fauci didn't engineer covid policy for his own profit, the moon landing happened, Lindberg didn't kill his own baby ... Excuse me, but how gullible are you?

4) If you were to win an all expense paid vacation for two weeks to anywhere in the world, where would you choose to go? What are some of the things you would like to experience while you were there? New York. You got me on the "all expenses paid," because NYC is expensive! My home base would be The Plaza (two weeks at The Plaza is well over $10,000, and that's before I hit the spa or call room service). I'd see Broadway plays (there are six I'd like to see, so that's a week right there), go to a Yankees game to see my favorite-most ball player, Anthony Rizzo, and spend a day visiting all the haunts introduced to me during a lifetime of reading about JBKO, from Gristedes Supermarket to Grand Central Station. 

I want to be a part of it, New York, New York!

5) What was one of your favorite toys as a kid? Did you save any special things from your childhood that you still have today? I loved my Lassie dog so much. When her head got floppy, my mother did a little needle-and-thread surgery, filling it out with a sock filled with newspaper. 

Yes, I still have her. She's up on a shelf in my closet.

6) What is your favorite holiday? What is your least favorite holiday? I suppose my answer to both is Christmas. It's a wonderful time of year but it can be lonely and complicated, as well. I miss people so keenly at Christmas.

7) Have you ever met anyone famous? What concerts have you attended? Oh, no you don't! You're just trying to get me to tell the Bruce Springsteen-kissed-me story again from two weeks ago!

8) Are there any expressions that people use that really annoy you? If so, what are they? One of the best things about retirement is I no longer hear "office speak." You know, vacay instead of vacation, recco instead of recommendation, etc. 

9) Do you like your name? Are you named after anyone? Is there a story how you got your name? Would you change it if you could? If so, what name would you give yourself? My name is fine. My mother picked it. That was my parents' deal: she was in charge of girl's name, he'd choose boy names. 

10) It is said that it's the little things that make life worth living. Name five of those little things in your life. I love this question! Here are five things that reliably bring me joy:

• The sky, whether it's clear or cloudy

• When my girlcat, Connie, curls up next to me or boycat, Roy Hobbs, "talks" to me with that tiny, reedy meow

• Singing the oldies with the shower radio

• Baseball sounds: the crack of the bat, the ball landing in a glove

• Laundry day, with fresh sheets on the bed and fresh towels in the bathroom

Friday, June 16, 2023

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Beautiful Boy (1980)

This song was chosen in honor of Father's Day. Hear it here.

1) Paul McCartney has said that "Beautiful Boy" is one of his favorite John Lennon solo songs. What's yours? (This link will take you to his greatest hits.) I'll go with "Watching the Wheels." It's a very wise song. BTW, June 18 is Sir Paul's 81st birthday.

2) Lennon wrote this for his son, Sean. Father and son share an October 9 birthday. Does anyone in your life share your birthday? Nope.

3) John asks Sean to take his hand before they cross the street. Name another song that references holding hands. Since I'm (always and forever) in a Beatles mood ...


4) Today Sean Lennon is in his late 40s. He lives in Greenwich Village, creating art and music from his elaborate home-based music and film studio. Are you into the latest in electronics? Nope.

5) In Thailand, Father's Day is observed on the birthday of the current King. Are you celebrating any birthdays this month? Just his.

They say it's your birthday ...

6) Crazy Sam vividly remembers her long-ago high school days when her father gave her driving lessons. Do you consider yourself a good driver? I don't drive. (I'm really quite boring this week, aren't I?)

7) Sam's dad is a stickler about car maintenance and reminds Sam to change her air filter regularly so her a/c and heater can run efficiently. Share a car maintenance tip. When it comes to oil changes, don't DIY. Let a pro handle it. It's not that expensive and they'll completely drain the oil receptacle (harder than it looks), dispose of the old oil in an environmentally sound and legal way (harder and messier than you anticipate) and refill with the right weight oil (more important than you may realize).

8) When he fills up the car, Sam's father also stocks up on his favorite candy: Life Savers. He always has a bag in the glove compartment. What's something you don't leave home without? My keys.

9) Random Question: How long can you go without checking your phone? If I'm not out and about, just hanging around the house, I only check it in the morning and at night. Unless the Cubs and Yankees are playing at the same time. Then I watch the Cubs on TV with the sound off and listen to the Yankees on my phone through the app. (And I get annoyed if anyone calls or texts and interrupts the audio.)


Shake Shack with Elaine

Shake Shack is my friend's favorite burger place and so that's where we met for dinner tonight. 

I was happy to get her out of her own head a little. She's on the verge of losing her job and it's really bothering her. She came out of retirement to take this assignment on a freelance basis. She enjoyed it so much that, when they offered her a permanent position, she took it happily. Then the waters got rough. 

They put her on a 60-day probation, giving her specific goals to meet. If she doesn't accomplish them, FWAP! Off with her head. 

I don't know much about the company she works for, but I do know corporate America. It doesn't matter what Elaine does, she's toast. I'd bet anything her boss decided she's outta here and this probation is a charade to appease HR because Elaine is a non-white woman of a certain age.

I'd love to be wrong about this, but I don't think I am. 

But I enjoy riding the rails into the city, and with my senior discount, my ticket is only $2. Shake Shack is good food at a reasonable price. It was a lovely summer evening. I distracted Elaine from her problems. So in all, it was a good night. Or a good enough night. 

In Baseball News ...

The Cubs swept the first-place Pirates! Yes, the Pirates are in first place in the MLB's shittiest division, but they're in first place nevertheless and my guys won three of three. Just when I think this season is going to be a wrenching, soul crushing waste of my time, magic happens. That's why I love baseball.

Meanwhile, in New York: My favorite-most ballplayer was injured in a collision at first base on May 28. He missed a few games with a sore neck and now that he's back, he's off somehow. His glove work is still exceptional, so I don't think the trouble is with his vision. But his timing at the plate is messed up, and nothing has seemed to go right for him on the basepads.*

Here's a photo of him in the dugout after another strike out. It breaks my heart. I wish the Yankees had officially put him on the IL so he could go down to AAA for a rehab stint and face minor league pitching for a few days. You know, like a lab to get his swing back. But with Aaron Judge injured and a rookie shortstop, I guess they need his maturity and steady glove on the field. And so he struggles.

But then there's Kevin. His dachshund is still a fan!

*Though it must be said he has never been a fast runner and has always looked graceless and silly when he tries. (But he does try!)

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Thursday Thirteen #313

Greatest hits edition. I resumed participating in Thursday Thirteen back in January 2022. It's a fun exercise: I enjoy letting my mind wander and see what I'll come up with. I'm often inspired by seeing what y'all come up with, as well.

Since I like obviously like lists, this week's TT is a list of my most popular Thursday Thirteen posts since January 2022. Popularity is determined by the number of visits each post received.

1. Books I enjoyed in 2021

2. Items on my grocery list

3. Amazon's top sellers

4. Christmas gift ideas

5. Ways to prepare potatoes

6. Christmas songs

7. Pet names

8. Popular songs from 40 years ago this month

9. Charities I support

10. Things I'm grateful for

11. Most profitable movies

12. Facts about Titanic

13. Musicians we love

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

Thank you for hearing my voice

I don't often respond to comments on this blog, but that doesn't mean I don't see what you've said. Or that I haven't taken it to heart.

Deb J, Stacy, Country Dew and Bev ....

This is who she is

I have known my oldest friend since Kindergarten. I was 4 years old. So we've known one another, literally, a lifetime. We listened to the new Beatle albums together. We dreamed of our fave raves together (Bobby Sherman for me, Donny Osmond for her). We knew each other's families. We know each other's secrets. 

No one can make me laugh harder.

So our bond is deep and important, though not mutually beneficial.

She's been a terrible friend lately. She hasn't been returning my calls because her voicemail is always full and she refuses to empty it.* She wasn't reaching out to me. She was busy with medical tests (imagine how easy it would be to get the results if you had voicemail). And there was Robert, her foray into online dating. 

Actually, she's been a terrible friend for quite some time. It began when she promised to stay with me after my 2011 hysterectomy. At the last minute she didn't come through because no one would stay with her daughter. I called her, shattered, the following year after my mother's death. I was in my family home for the last time and I wanted to talk to someone who had been in that house with me. She never picked up. It's continued over and over, right up to earlier this month, I was confused about test results on MyChart and hoped she help me chill out until I heard from my doctor. She never picked up. I could go on and on, but why?

She always has a reason. She's sick -- and her health is legit worrisome. She needs to get a new state ID -- never mind that she's had three years to do this. Again, I could go on and on, but why?

I confronted her about all of this, and she's sorry. She promised to be better, to work harder at maintaining our connection. Of course, she'd just broken up with Robert, so that freed up some time. 

And then she went into the ER. She suddenly "blew up like the Hindenburg." Congestive heart failure. She's home now with a list of commonsense things she can do to: quit smoking, exercise moderately,  restrict salt, avoid extreme hot temperatures. I have no confidence she will do any of these things.

This is who she is. She's been bipolar for about 15 years now. Getting through day-to-day life can be very hard for her. So I am hanging on. Because she is my oldest friend and I honor that. Because she is broken and can't help it.

I have to accept this. I have to love her for who she is.

But I also have to expect less from her. This can't be an equal partnership. She is who she is. If knowing that, I continue to let her hurt me, well,  that's on me.

She won't see the change in me, but the change will be there. I'm not going to open myself up and allow  myself to be vulnerable to her anymore. I doubt she'll notice, and I'll be stronger for this.

 *I suspect that she's either behind in payments or ducking her landlady, who wants her out of that apartment.

 Photo by Caroline Hernandez on Unsplash