Friday, September 29, 2023

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: On a Clear Day (1970)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.
1) Is today a clear day where you are? I'm doing this Friday night, but Friday was a beautiful day. 70º and sunny.
2) Streisand sings that today she's "astounded." What has recently shocked or greatly surprised you? The continuing casual cruelty of Donald Trump and his supporters. I just read that at a California rally he made jokes about the attack on Paul Pelosi, and the MAGA faithful laughed. Folks, if you don't want to be called "deplorable," try not acting deplorably.

3) Streisand's voice astounded people from an early age. She began performing in New York clubs when she was only 18, too young to order a drink in the establishments where she sang. Do you remember the first adult beverage you ordered at a restaurant or bar? For awhile in the mid-1970s, we could order beer and wine at 18, so it was probably a Miller Lite. I remember the bar more clearly than the drink. It was torn down about 10 years ago and condos went up in its place.

4) Barbra has discussed the importance of her Jewish faith in her life and has enlisted the guidance of Reform, Conservative and and Orthodox rabbis as she explored her religion's complexities. Do you enjoy discussing religion? Depends on who I'm discussing it with. I love it when, within our congregation, we discuss how to "put our faith on its feet." I'm less enthusiastic when other Christians try to tell me how to be a Christian. (BTW, if you are amused by Donald Trump, I don't want you to advise me about how to practice my faith.)

5) Taylor Swift just passed Barbra Streisand as the woman with the most #1 albums (12). What's the last album you purchased? I don't even recall. This makes me sad. I used to love lying on my tummy in my bedroom, listening to an album and reading pouring over the liner notes. It was a different world.
6) The lyrics to "On a Clear Day" were written by Alan Jay Lerner. He attended Choate, a private boarding school in CT, at the same time as John F. Kennedy. While JFK was in the White House, Lerner had two major Broadway hits -- Camelot and My Fair Lady -- running concurrently. Obviously those two Choate alumni did very well. Have you been to any of your class reunions? Have you been surprised, pleasantly or less so, by how any of your classmates turned out? I have no interest in attending reunions. My oldest friend is plugged into that world and reports back to me. George, who was among the grossest boys in our grade school, is a very successful investment banker. This fascinates me. I can't imagine taking financial advice from someone ate paste and wiped his boogers on his desk. (Of course, I'm pretty sure he no longer does that.)

7) The music was written by Burton Lane. In the 1930s, Lane worked for MGM Studios in Hollywood. After he heard Judy Garland perform at the Paramount Theater in Los Angeles, he brought her to the attention of his studio bosses and the rest, as they say, is history. Lane and Garland later worked together when Judy was an established star. He wrote the song, "How About You?" for her to sing in Babes on Broadway and received an Oscar nomination. Judy's best known movie has to be The Wizard of Oz. How many times have you seen it? About a gazillion. I had a particularly wonderful time watching the Sing-Along Wizard of Oz with my niece, who was then about 10. It was delightful to experience it with an interactive audience. She was especially tickled by the row of men behind us, wearing spray painted shoe boxes on their heads (they were the yellow brick road, get it?).

8) In 1970, Glenn Frey formed the Eagles. What's your favorite Eagles song? Oh, sweet darlin', that would be The Best of My Love.

9) Random question: Which would upset you more, being trapped in an elevator or stranded atop a mountain in a ski lift? I don't think either one would upset me, unless I had to pee. I've been trapped in an elevator and it was no big deal. I know how to dress for the cold, so I think I'd be OK on the ski lift for a while until I was rescued. Of course, much of the experience would depend on who I was with. I don't want to be stranded/trapped with someone who is freaking out.


What the well-dressed cat is wearing this Fall

Roy Hobbs spent Wednesday at the vet. He had to be anesthetized to have his teeth cleaned and, while he was out, a mole on his chest was removed and sent off to be biopsied. The incision wasn't deep or long and only required three stitches. Still, it's important that he not lick or chew the area. so precautions were taken.

First he modeled the cone they gave him at the hospital.

He was miserable. He walked with great difficulty and panted like a dog, even though there is no real reason for a cone to cause that level of discomfort. Still, I couldn't bear to see him so unhappy. So I ordered a donut from Petco.

It would be a wild exaggeration to say he liked this, but he tolerated it better. He ate and drank while wearing it, jumped on the bed and purred.

In the morning, I woke up to a much happier cat. That's because he had somehow gotten out of the collar and stashed it behind the TV table.

I give up. I just really, really hope he leaves those three stitches alone, because the cone and the collar are a major failure.


Oh, shut up!

Every day I try to be more Melly and less Scarlett. Meaning I try to see the good in everyone, I try to be kind, I want to want to help. But I admit it: no one brings out the willful, selfish, snark in me faster than my friend Kathy.

She is cognitively impaired. Is it Alzheimer's? I don't know for sure. Three or four years ago, when she was still high functioning but beginning to fail, she got furious if anyone mentioned she should see a doctor. 

Now she's far worse. Her phone is her lifeline. She is on social media constantly, commenting on everything -- even when she doesn't understand it. I try to protect her by hiding most of her comments and straight-up deleting others. Most of the time, it's Melanie who is guiding me. 

But this morning I woke up to her splashing all caps all over my Facebook feed: I DO NOT USE MESSENGER. I seethed but just clicked delete, delete, delete to every one of her comments. Here's the thing -- Kathy does use Messenger. All the time. She sent me an IM yesterday via Messenger about my cat and I responded with a "thumbs up," which somehow pissed her off. 

Then I checked my phone and there was a text: NO MESSENGER! I DO NOT USE MESSENGER!

We just did this last month. She sent me an IM via Messenger asking me what books I'd recommend. Now let's face it: Kathy no longer retains anything she reads, so nothing I say will make any difference. But I didn't want to hurt her feelings by ignoring her. Since Messenger upsets her so, I sent her an email that began: You sent me a Facebook IM asking me about books, but I know you don't like receiving IMs so I'm answering you here ...

Her response: Thanks for the books but what is an IM?

Me: IM = Instant Message. Or Facebook Messenger. It's what you sent me yesterday. You have made it clear that you don't like to receive them. So rather than responding to you by hitting reply to your message, I sent you an email. (See attached.) The attachment was a screenshot of the Facebook Messenger message she sent.

Her response: Thnx, Gal.

Here we are weeks later, doing the same thing. If I ignore her, she's going to hound me about why we are no longer "connected." So how to answer?

I admit I was feeling distinctly Scarlett. I wanted to say, "Oh, shut up!" I wanted to say, "Listen, I don't care if I never hear from you ever again." 

But I took a deep breath and stopped myself. Instead I texted back: I do not initiate Facebook Messenger messages. What I sent you yesterday was in response to the one you sent me.

Her response: Thnx, Gal.

I know we will go through this again in a week or two. What is especially disturbing to me is that Kathy has more than 100 Facebook friends. It's depressing to contemplate how many other people have explained to her -- repeatedly -- that she does use Messenger.

God, I wish someone in her family would delete Facebook from her fucking phone. See? There's Scarlett again. I'm glad Melanie is sitting on my shoulder, reminding me that it costs me nothing to be kind to a 76-year-old woman who is doing her best and must feel frightened and isolated.

It was a really good day

My nephew and I spent last Friday within The Friendly Confines. It was a beautiful day, mild and bright, the first really sunny one in nearly a week. It was important to me because the game/lunch/dinner was my birthday present to him and because it was the Rockies. Yes, the Rockies are one of the worst teams in baseball. They are also the team who gave former Cub Kris Bryant a $200,000,000/no trade contract. I love Kris Bryant. I'm glad he's rich and can count on never uprooting his family again. But Rockies fans will never love him like Cub fans love him.


I was delighted to be one of those 38,000 fans who rose to applaud KB. And yes, I got choked up when I tried to take the below picture. Kris Bryant amid the iconic Wrigley Field scoreboard and the ivy is what the Good Lord intended. If I got this upset about the man who put the BRY in Bryzzo, I just imagine what a puddle I'll be if his infield partner, Anthony RiZZO, finally comes home when the Yankees play the Cubs in 2024.

This home stand against the Rockies was the last really good string of games the Cubs managed this season. They've only won 4 of their last 10 and their playoff hopes are now very dim. But that's OK. This team played better than anyone -- including me -- expected this year and will be even better in 2024.

I gifted my nephew with two of his favorite things: baseball and dairy. During the game he had a Home Run Inn cheese pizza and afterward we went to Shake Shack. How has this young man never had a Shake Shack shake? I am proud I was able to right this egregious wrong.

He selected chocolate with whipped cream and a cherry

I am grateful that my nephew is willing to spend a 12 hour day with his old fart aunt, because I truly enjoy his company.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Thursday Thirteen #328

The 13 languages spoken most often in the US. Here in Chicago, the languages I hear spoken around me are primarily English, followed by Spanish and a smattering of Polish. But that doesn't reflect our country. According to Wikipedia, these are languages most commonly spoken at home in the United States.

Remember, this refers to conversation within a household. That doesn't mean that our neighbors don't understand English, our national language.

1. English (80% of households speak English exclusively)

2. Spanish

3. Chinese

4. Tagalog

5. Vietnamese

6. Modern Standard Arabic

7. French

8. Korean

9. Russian

10. Portugese

11. Haitian Creole

12. Hindi

13. German

Does this reflect your neighborhood? I know I was surprised that Polish came in at #14. When I'm in the hallway I can hear my neighbor Hannah on the phone, speaking Polish.

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


Sunday, September 24, 2023

Sunday Stealing


 1. What you did you do today? It's so early Sunday morning that I really can't claim to have accomplished anything yet, except giving my boycat, Roy Hobbs, the snuggle he demanded.

 2.  What are the must-sees in your area?

Wrigley Field. Right now, at this moment on Sunday morning, my guys are in the play-offs! It's by a razor-thin margin and depending on what happens here against Colorado and in Cincinnati, the Wild Card standings could look different. But, right now, my guys are in the play-offs.

 3. What is your favorite quote? We can't be perfect but we can be present: Joe Maddon (Cubs Manager 2015-2019)

 4. What was the last thing you cooked or ate? I had a late dinner of a hot dog with a side of mashed potatoes.

 5. What is something you learned from your grandparents? They were Cub fans. As you can see, they handed it down to me.

 6. What makes you happy? The Cubs! (Are you noticing a theme here? I'm very happy this morning because of the Wild Card standings.)

 7. What is your best travel memory? I'm very much looking forward to the TCM Film Festival in Hollywood this coming spring, so I'll name TCMFF 2019, 2022 and 2023.

 8. What’s the weather like today? 70º and sunny.

 9. Share an interesting fact that you’ve learned. Decades ago in school I learned that President Eisenhower was the moving force behind our interstate highway system, but it wasn't until I read this biography last month that I fully understood the ramifications. If you live in a suburb and drive more than 20 minutes to work, you're reaping the benefits of his foresight. Before Ike, Americans literally lived where they worked, or worked where they lived. The flexibility our modern workforce enjoys is due in large part to him. (OK, I thought it was interesting; of course, I'm a nerd.) 

 10. What is your favorite book, movie or band.

 11.  Write your favorite poem or haiku?  Don't let anyone say that it's just a game, for I've seen other teams and it's just not the same/When you're born in Chicago you're blessed and you're healed the first time you walk into Wrigley Field: Eddie Vedder, Someday We'll Go All the Way.

 12. What is a local festival or tradition from your area? Our local restaurants and bars closed a few streets and had a little neighborhood Octoberfest Friday night through Saturday night. It's a happy get together, and I like to crash the kids' rootbeer garden and get a float.

 13. What was the best thing you learned in school? I think it was how to interact with peers. I don't think teachers, scout leaders and coaches get the credit they deserve for not allowing us to grow into completely self-centered adults.

GO, CUBS, GO! C'mon, Guys! Please win today.

Friday, September 22, 2023

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Answer the Phone (2001)

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

1) This song likens a relationship to a roller coaster ride. When did you most recently visit an amusement park? It's been so long, I don't even remember. Which is too bad, because I enjoy rides. Alas, none of my friends do, and rides are the one of the few things I'm not comfortable doing alone.

2) Lead singer Mark McGrath reasons that his girl should answer the phone because he knows she's home. That was decades ago, when most homes still had landlines. Where were you when you took your last call? Were you at home? My friend Henry called and I took it in my kitchen.

3) He remembers the glow of her face when he gave her a rose. Have
you recently given or received a gift of flowers or a plant? I gave my former art director a cutting from my philodendron as her housewarming gift. That plant grew voraciously in the office we shared, so much so that we named her "Audrey 2" after the blood thirsty Venus flytrap in Little Shop of Horrors. Getting one of Audrey 2's offspring seemed to make her happy.

4) Sugar Ray's debut CD was called Lemonade and Brownies. Crazy Sam admits she'd prefer milk with her brownie. What about you? Does the combination of lemonade and brownies sound good to you? It sounds awful to me. 

5) In 2005, Mark McGrath was a guest judge on American Idol. At one time, Idol was the dominant singing competition show. Today, in addition to American Idol, viewers can also watch The Voice and America's Got Talent. Are you a fan of any or all of these shows? I used to love AI, all the way through Jennifer Lopez/Harry Connick/Keith Urban. I've kind of lost interest. The Voice and America's Got Talent just haven't captured my attention.

6) Sugar Ray is a famous name in boxing circles. Sugar Ray Robinson and  Sugar Ray Leonard were both world championships. Are you a boxing fan? Nope. I had a boyfriend who boxed recreationally. I couldn't stand how hurt he was for days after a bout, so I don't find professional boxing entertaining.

7) In 2001, when this song was popular, the Leaning Tower of Pisa reopened to the public after more than a decade of renovations. Have you ever been to Italy? If yes, where did you go? If not, is a trip to Italy on your wish list? Never been, don't especially want to go. No shade on Italy. I just haven't seen enough of the US to go overseas.

8) Also in 2001, Liverpool's Speke Airport was renamed John Lennon Airport. Liverpool's is the first airport in the United Kingdom to be named after an individual. Tell us about something in your hometown that is named after someone. The other day I went from Ogilvie Transportation Center (Governor Richard Ogilvie) to the Bilandic Building (Mayor Michael Bilandic), which is right across from the Thompson Center (Governor Jim Thompson). We joke that, here in Chicago, no convictions earns you a building in your name.

9) Random Question: Is the screen on your cell phone cracked? Yes

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Thursday Thirteen #327

The 130 Million Club. Accounting could be the most creative art form in show business. Which is why lists like this are hard for a layperson like me to compile. Billboard's lists are different from Rolling Stone's are different from the Guinness Book of Records'. But, when it comes to record sales, these are the women that appear atop everybody's lists. They have all sold more than 130 million records. Now the actual order of these names depends on whether you're looking at Billboard, or Rolling Stone, or the Guinness Book of Records.

1. Madonna. Dear God, I cannot stand anything about her! But there's no denying her success.

2. Taylor Swift. Isn't she adorable? (I know, I sound like my mother talking about that nice Marie Osmond back in the 70s.)

3. Rhianna. I think of her every time I say "um-bur-ella."

4. Beyonce. It's her world and we just live in it.

5. Mariah Carey. I read that she makes more than $3 million every holiday season, just for "All I Want for Christmas."

6. Whitney Houston. I really wish her story had a different ending.

7. Celine Dion. I feel bad about not liking her, since she has lost her husband and faced serious health problems. So I'll just keep my opinion of her performances to myself.

8. Britney Spears. Hearing her and Elton's duet at the beginning of an episode of And Just Like That reminded me I'm so happy she seems to have her life back on track.

9. Barbra Streisand. My queen. Long may she reign.

10. Shirley Bassey. I'm surprised to see her on this list, but apparently she's far more popular in Europe than she ever was here.

11. Katy Perry. With such solid record sales, I wonder why she bothers with American Idol.

12. Lady Gaga. The only one of her songs I know is "Shallow," but that's OK. I'm old and not expected to be hip anymore.

13. Pink. "We're not broken, we're just bent. We can learn to love again." Now I have "Just Give Me a Reason" running through my head. Which is fine.

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


One Cub's brush with greatness

I was downtown this morning, heading from The Loop to the theater district, where the Secretary of State's office is now located. Since I needed to renew my Real ID, I was naturally wearing Cubbie blue because that's how I want to be memorialized. I donned my official 2017 NL Central Champions shirt, which was next up in Cub shirt queue. 

As I was walking over the bridge I noticed a tall young man with reddish hair and very well-groomed facial hair looking at my shirt with something that resembled -- but did not quite qualify as -- a smile. I thought he looked kinda like Cubs outfielder Ian Happ. I tried to make eye contact because obviously we're both Cub fans and that makes us part of a brotherhood and all, but he assiduously avoided looking me in the face. I shrugged and kept walking. It was a block later that I realized it: he looked like Ian Happ because he was Ian Happ.

2017 was Happ's first year in the majors. He went to the playoffs as a rookie ... six years ago. He probably doesn't stumble upon that 2017 NL Central Champions artwork on the street very often anymore. Oh yeah, and his name appeared on my shirt. 

Tonight he hit a grand slam home run. Clearly meeting me was inspiring.

See it here.

You're welcome, Ian. 

Monday, September 18, 2023

Yeah, Biden is the one who's too old

I know many MAGA supporters only get their news from outlets they agree with, so they may not be aware of what their leader said Friday.

Ageless and evergreen 77-year-old Donald Trump claimed onstage that:

1) He beat Barack Obama in an election "everyone said couldn't be won." Um, that's because he ran against Hillary Clinton.

2) Joe Biden is "cognitively impaired" and will lead us into "World War II quickly." Psst! World War II has been over for nearly 80 years. Who wants to tell him?

Watch for yourself here.

This was no gotcha interview. He made these statements on stage at a pre-arranged event in Washington DC, less than an hour from Bedminster via that plane he loves. 

"You spot it, you got it." That's what I hear whenever Trumpers go on about Biden's acuity. Or when I hear them complain about Hunter Biden without acknowledging that Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump received billions from the Saudis when working on the taxpayer dime in the administration of their Oval Office relative. Or when I hear them insist the 2020 election was stolen, even though FOX agreed to pay Dominion Voting Systems $787 million over false claims. Or when they make fun of Biden for telling hurricane survivors about his kitchen fire and remind me of when Trump threw paper towels at Puerto Ricans who needed federal help.

Keep talking, MAGA Nation. Keep reminding me of Trump's negatives.

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Sunday Stealing


1. What is your favorite book? Saving Graces: Finding Solace and Strength from Friends and Family. I should reread this. It's Elizabeth Edwards' achingly honest look at the loss of her boy, Wade, and how sharing her grief and asking for help actually helped strengthen her personal relationships. Sometimes I try too hard to be strong. It's not necessary. No one expects it from me; I expect it from myself. I should follow this gallant lady's example more often.

2. Are you afraid of the dark? Nope

The GWTW girls; I try to be more Melly.
3. Are you mean?
 I can be. It stems from my impatience. I am not proud of this, and it's part of why my goal every day is to be less Scarlett and more Melanie.

4. Is cheating ever OK? It depends on how you define "cheating." Yesterday I took the train. The station was closed so I couldn't buy a ticket. No conductor came through my car so I couldn't purchase one on the train. Now, when I got off I suppose I could have sought out one of the conductors and given him my fare, but I didn't. I don't feel bad about this. It felt like I won something.

5. Can you keep white shoes white? I don't have any white shoes. But if I did, they'd be dirty.

6. Are you currently bored? Not at all.

7. Would you change your name? I would if I'd gotten married. My surname is confusing to pronounce and it would be a relief to unload it.

8. Do you like the subway? We don't have much subway here. This is "el" country. But on those rare occasions that the train travels underground, it doesn't bother me.

9. Who’s the last person you had a deep conversation with? My nephew. We discussed everything from Ernie Banks' swing to the future of the Democratic Party.

10. Dumbest lie you’ve ever told? It was in high school. I don't remember the details, I just remember how awful I felt when I thought I was about to be found out. I got away with it, whatever it was, but the fear of exposure hung over me like an oppressive fog, and that was quite a deterrent.

11. Do you sleep with your door open or closed? Open.

12. Favorite month? November

13. Dark, milk, or white chocolate? I love them all! I had white chocolate most recently.

14. Tea or coffee? Tea. I hate, loathe, despise, and abominate coffee.

15. Night or day? Day, I suppose, but you can't have one without the other, can you?

Friday, September 15, 2023

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Got My Mind Set On You (1987)

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


1) In this song, George Harrison tells us he's willing to devote his money, patience and time to his girlfriend. Of those three things, which can you most easily spare? These days, my time. I'm on a fixed income now, so I'm being more careful with my money. Unfortunately, I can be very impatient.


2) This song had long been a favorite of George's. He first heard it in 1963 when visiting his sister in United States. He couldn't get the tune out of his mind and bought the record by James Ray. Do you have an earworm -- a song that, once you hear it, keeps repeating in your head? "I take once daily Jardiance at each day's start ..."

I do not have diabetes and have never had to consider medication to lower my blood sugar. I have no opinion on whether it works or not. I just know I dance around the kitchen singing about the little pill with a big story to tell.


3) Months later, in February 1964, the Beatles made their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. 73 million viewers saw them, and an astonishing 45.3% of the TV sets in America were tuned in to the show. In addition to the Beatles, Ed Sullivan used his show to introduce Elvis, The Rolling Stones and The Jackson 5. The Ed Sullivan Show ran for 23 years and reruns are now shown in syndication. Have you ever seen it? Oh, yes! My mother loved to tell the story of little me in front of the TV that night in 1964 when the Beatles appeared. She recalled that when Paul McCartney came on, I said, "He's so pretty, it hurts to look." I still feel that way.


4) While most of the best loved and most recognized Beatles songs were written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, it was George who penned "Something." Frank Sinatra called that song "the greatest love song of the last 50 years." What's your favorite love song? I don't know why, exactly, but this is the first one that popped into my head as I came upon this question. I guess maybe because I love that first line: I spent a lifetime looking for you.

5) This praise represented a big change for Frank, who predicted in 1964 that the Beatles would be "of no lasting importance." Tell us about something you have changed your mind about. Conspiracy theorists. I used to believe they were dumb, silly and dangerous. After reading more about this phenomenon, I think they're gullible because they likely feel isolated, confused or vulnerable. These baseless theories help them cope with a world they feel is changing too fast or just doesn't make sense to them. So if someone extolls QAnon, is convinced the Clintons kill their enemies or swears Dr. Fauci lined his pockets with every Remdesivir/Paxlovid prescription, I'll try to find pity in my heart for them. (But they're still dangerous.)

6) Tom Petty, who went on to have more than 25 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, credits George Harrison as a major influence on his music. Tell us about someone who influenced your professional life. Ed was my first really good boss. He didn't tell me what to do, he explained  why I was doing what I was doing. He made it more about the end result -- making a sale -- than about my ego as an advertising writer. 

7) In 1987, when George's recording of "I Got My Mind Set on You" was popular, a squirrel unexpectedly made headlines. The furry fellow closed down the Nasdaq Stock Exchange when he chewed through a phone line. Do you often see squirrels where you live? All the time.


8) Also in 1987, third generation race car driver Marco Andretti was born. Naturally the skills required by a race car driver are unique. For example, while we know he can control a car at upwards of 230 mph at Indy, we have no idea if Marco Andretti is good at parallel parking in front of the local post office. How about you? Do you struggle with parallel parking? I was a terrible driver. Parallel parking was just another thing I was awful at.

9) Random question: When you woke up this morning, were you ready to face the day? Or do you wish you could have rolled over and snoozed a little longer? I usually wish I could snooze a little longer.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Thursday Thirteen #326

Thirteen websites I visit all the time. I admit I borrowed this idea from Kwizgiver.

1. Facebook. It's how I stay in touch with people and how I inflict my Cubbie/Rizzo love on them.

2. Because it's baseball season.

3. Because it's baseball season.

4. Yes, I bank with the monolith. They have a real monopoly on ATMs here in Chicagoland. (Yes, I still use cash.)

5. Twitter. I refuse to call it X. It's where I live tweet with my TCM buddies when my favorite movies are being shown, and get my latest New York Yankees news and rumors. (I must know what's up with my forever Captain, Anthony Rizzo.)

6. Sometimes I want to know my favorite channel's lineup far in advance.
7. Everything is there. Really. They have literally everything.

8. I keep track of what I've read and get ideas for what to read next.

9. It's like Goodreads, but for movies.

10. My local pizza place. They often offer coupons online and I'm a pizza slut. Go ahead, judge me. I won't change.

11. USPS tracking. This one annoys my oldest friend because she says it encourages me to worry about something I have no control over. She's right, of course. But I won't change.

12. My big tuxedo, Roy Hobbs, likes the Purina Pro Plan Salmon and it sells out quickly. I order it online and pick it up at my local store.

13. Blogger. How else can I keep up with you lovely people?

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


Dollar Tree Find

I found this little metal prayer box at Dollar Tree. It contains a tiny pad of paper and a pen, and printed on the inside lid is a passage from Proverbs: "She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future." It's such a perfect little gift that I bought two.

I gave the first one to Joanna on Monday. We celebrated her birthday at a French/Latin fusion cafe that was new to both of us. I was happy to fuss over her because she's had a tough run lately. She's been self-employed for the last 15 years and has been investing and reinvesting in her business rather than her retirement. Now here she is, turning 70, with no savings. 

Her clients have been giving her grief. One has been having her do revision after revision outside the scope of their agreement, so it's costing her money. Her other client is refusing to implement Joanna's suggestions, and then complains that her efforts haven't worked and now won't renew the contract. She's been in love with Sid since 2019, but his health and cognition are failing and she knows she's in the midst of a long goodbye. So I was happy to buy her a chicken salad sandwich on a very fancy plate.

The cool thing about Joanna, though, is that with all this going on she is worried about my adjustment to life in retirement. It's kind of a fact of life that no one worries about me. Or, as John says, "Everyone turns to you." So Joanna being concerned that I not have to walk too far in the rain, or that I'm drinking enough water, or that I'm incorporating my yoga into my at-home morning routine ... I admit it: I like being fussed over every now and then.

I'm going to send the other prayer box to my oldest friend, with a note explaining how she should write her worries on the little pad and tuck them away, leaving them to the Lord. It's perfect for her. But she will just toss this package to the side along with the other three she's waiting to open until she's miserable. I can't tell you how much this still annoys me. But the gift should be about the recipient, not the giver, and this is (I'll say it again) perfect for her. Somehow I have to trust that the positive vibes I'm sending her way will reach her.

Saturday, September 09, 2023

Sunday Stealing

Magical Journal Prompts 

1. What’s the best beach or lake day you can remember? I'm breaking rules and answering about a river. My uncle had a cabin on Rock River in Fort Atkinson, WI. I was having trouble with my then-boyfriend and escaped up there. I remember a lovely, peaceful day, drinking santgria in the sun. 

2. Describe your ideal picnic lunch. Cold fried chicken, potato salad, watermelon, Coke. 

3. What flowers are in your bouquet? I like carnations. It makes me sad to watch flowers die, so hardy carnations are my favorite. They come in so many colors and last so long. 

4. Silly ways to pass the time during a snowstorm. Games are good. I remember a snowy day with my nephew when he was very young, playing Yahtzee and Clue (which is really silly with two people but he was little and it kept him amused).

5. The most beautiful house you’ve ever visited. I don't know that it's the most beautiful, but I really enjoyed touring the Peyton Randolph House in Colonial Williamsburg. It gives you a very good idea of how well-to-do Americans lived at our nation's inception. George and Martha Washington and Thomas Jefferson all hung out here. The Randolph family prided themselves on being good and benevolent owners because they taught their slaves reading and math. However, there was also no missing the difference between the glorious big house and the humble slave quarters. Once the children became of age, the Randolphs had no problem selling them, thereby tearing families apart. It gave me a sobering lesson about slavery's effects and how the slave owners deluded themselves about what they were doing.

6. Best place you ever dined. Last winter I had a completely awesome slice of prime rib, a baked potato and a bowl of onion soup. I remember it well because the restaurant itself was so deceptive. Lots of dark paneling and a neon Old Style sign over the bar. The tables were too close together and waitresses call you "honey." Very old-school Chicago. When you come in, you have no idea you're about to enjoy a genuinely sublime meal.

7. How many layers to your ice cream sandwich. Three. Cookie/ice cream/cookie.

8. Pretty things which are faux patent leather. When I was a little girl I had a black patent leather purse with a gold clasp that I carried to church. I kept cough drops and Kleenex and a comb and my quarter for the offering plate in there. I loved it, but it cracked and got icky pretty quick. 

9. What is the best way to eat chocolate. I can't think of a bad way to each chocolate.

10. Describe your unicorn’s special magic. I have a unicorn? Well, maybe I will if the Cubs sign Shohei Ohtani in the offseason, but right now, to my knowledge, I am unicorn free.

11. All the fruits in your fruit salad. Watermelon, bananas, apples, grapes, raisins. (Are grapes and raisins redundant? I'd like both because of the different textures.)

12. Describe the soil, grass, trees, flowers and rocks in your magical forest. The soil is rich, the grass is green, the trees are leafy, the flowers are colorful and the rocks are big enough for me to perch upon when I come here to read.

13. The lyrics which move you the most are: "I'm ready to grow young again," The Boss, No Surrender.

14. What are the best sauces in the world? I like marinara sauce, barbecue sauce and mild sauce -- though not together, of course.

15. Write a haiku about nature.

Don’t be so bossy

I don't perform on demand

I don’t like haiku