Sunday, February 19, 2017

For days!

It's been in the 60s and sunny for days here in Chicago, gateway to the tundra.  It's weather, not global warming, and it is freaky but, damn, it's very enjoyable.  People are walking leisurely about.  Runners are dashing to and fro in shorts and sleeveless tops.  The sky is blue and the sun is shining.  It's lovely.

Now please do note that global warning is real but this is weather which is different.  There are plenty of freaky cold days in spring and summer and there are the occasional 60-degree Christmases.  This is a week of warm that we'll remember fondly when it's 34ºF on Friday or even tonight when it's 38ºF. 

Just look at all this blue that I can see from my apartment bedroom. 

It's February 19th and it's warm.  Enjoy it, y'all!
Those are people on the beach.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Still in love with the man in the moon

The view into my bedroom on 09 Feb when I got home from work
Everything is illuminated!  I walked into my condo home, saw this view, and said aloud, "Oh my god!  That is BEAUTIFUL!"

Yeah, talking to yourself is still a very useful tool but, yeah, this is beautiful.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Super Bowl LI ... or maybe you say 51... and "24"

The time for the annual gridiron blood lust that is the Super Bowl is here and Tom Brady just got sacked!   HAHAHAHAHA!  I am not a Tom Brady fan and HAHAHAHAHA he got SACKED by Atlanta.  That means they took the BALL from you Tom Brady and not an under-inflated ball for which you were finally punished this year, Tom!  Four games that you couldn't play and what happens?  You and your team and your coach are so good that you end up in the Super Bowl anyway.

Sigh.

And he and his wife, now-retired Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bündchen?  One of the most stunningly gorgeous pairings on the planet.  I wouldn't want to try to have a conversation with either of them but they are absolutely beautiful to gaze upon.  Kind of like George and Amal Clooney except you could have a conversation about anything with the Clooneys because they have brains (especially Amal who is no doubt too good for George and I hope he's thanking his lucky stars every single day).  But you can't look at them for too long because your brain will turn into the pages of back issues of "People," all yellowed and crumbly.

The REAL reason for watching the Super Bowl is coming up!  Yeah, you know I mean the half-time show, this year featuring Lady Gaga who get 15 minutes to be great in front of anyone who is watching the Super Bowl or who tunes in to see her at half time.  She will have an even bigger audience than usual and when she's finished I will bide my time until the new version of "24" comes on after the game.

Lady Gaga is wonderful but oh my god, "24."

++++++++++++++++
 Post-game addendum:  Lady Gaga took the night!!

Except Tom Brady pulled a win out of his ass.  The Pats were down 25 points.  25!!!  And they won in overtime, 34-28.  Beautiful and a brilliant QB.  I still don't want to have a conversation with him or his spouse, though.  That'd just be weird.

And because the game went into overtime, I am still waiting for "24." 

Sigh.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

I am still moved

Yes, I am not leaving this spot for a few years.  It snowed some today but just enough to change Foster Beach from sandy beige to white.  The grassy areas are not quite covered and the roadways weren't affected so my view has not much changed.

I decided to not make my bed the moment I woke up today and did a load of wash.  I had some breakfast and had a post-washing nap and left the house with three dishes in the sink.  I ran errands!  I went to the dry cleaner to drop off sweaters, Nordstrom to make returns (as I lost weight and the things no longer fit) and an exchange (a smaller size in the pants for the aforementioned reason), to Target to see if they had a showerhead I might want, the Xfinity store to get a cable, Menards to view their showerheads, Costco for gas, Bed Bath and Beyond to view their showerheads, Home Depot to view their showerheads, another Target to view their showerheads and get some toilet bowl cleaner, and, finally, Jewel for frozen veggies and cottage cheese.  Total time out of the house:  about three hours.  I really am very efficient when it comes to the errand running.  I wish I could be as efficient at work as I am when running the errands.  (The showerhead will come from Target as it's $3 less than the one at Home Depot.)

At home I cleaned the toilet and the stainless sink and fridge.  I am getting ready to sweep the apartment and prep the bathroom for a repair tomorrow.  I tell you this about my bathroom repair:  If I have to leave this place for some reason, those pipes are coming with me.

Fingers crossed for me, my friends.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

So, yeah I moved

AND I AM STILL EXHAUSTED!!

There were 60 boxes and now there about 20 boxes.  I have looked into the future and it's box free.

Boxes were emptied and some items were repacked to be given to Goodwill or the Brown Elephant.

My friend, Ray, rescued my bacon AGAIN by helping me unpack many of the boxes and get things put away or repacked.

Ray for KING!  Ray for EMPEROR!

Ray loves and respects order and things become orderly and organized in his presence.  I asked him to put certain things in a certain drawer.  That drawer is perfect.

He offered to organize things for me and I said, "You'll let me see where you're putting stuff, yeah?"  He said of course he would.

Order may be coming to even me.

ALL HAIL RAY!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

MOVING DAY APPROACHES!!

I am moving next Saturday, y'all.  Give me a chance to get settled and I will see you in two weeks.

Wish me luck!  I so need it.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Out with old

As I prepare to move, I've been getting rid of many things.  Just today I took seven bags of things to  Goodwill.  I have furniture I'd like to give to Goodwill but they don't pick things up, they only take dropoffs.  I am hoping St. Vincent de Paul will send a truck for the stuff I want to give away and if not then I know someone who may be willing to come and get it.  I've held onto stuff that should've been cleaned out years ago.  I should have moved from here years ago but my job was so precarious that I didn't want to move and be put into a deep hole.  However, due to my own improved money mangement and a very good credit rating, I am going to do what someone I worked with many years ago told me when she got her own place.  She said, "I decided to take a chance. " It's also a better idea than renting again in an area with very high rents.

I am scared, I am anxious, I am discombobulated, but I have to both look and move forward.  Wish me luck.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Do me a solid

And so it's Christmastime and my birthdaytime!  Because of my move and having to move things and shift things and redistribute things, I don't really want things.  What do I like?  I am like the Rachel Green character on "Friends."  I want credit, gift cards, cash.  (Rachel had a list and if you got something that wasn't on the list, she returned it and got store credit.)  If it's a gift card, please make sure I shop at that store.

But I also like experiences but not lavish ones.  If I want a lavish experience, I will save my money for a good while and buy myself a trip to Japan or New Zealand or Iguazu Falls.  What I want are simple experiences that will help me enormously and let us spend time together.

For instance, it might involve laundry.  I don't want you to do it for me; I like to do it myself.  If there's a bleach mishap, I've no one but myself to blame.  I will bring my own detergent and Bounce.  I'd love to come to someone's house and put in a load and then another, use your dryer, then fold my own things and put them neatly in their bags for the trip home.  While there, if you want to do something really special, maybe give me lunch or snacks that you know I like to eat -- not what you think I might like, but what you know I do like -- and beverages I like to drink.  I like to watch mindless TV or something on Netflix; let me pick and watch with me.  I'd really rather talk with you and have you listen to me and I like you to share what's going on in your life.  I can sit by myself at home -- join me.  Treat me like an honored guest and that you're doing this because you're glad to see me and help me out.

Mean it.  That you mean it is maybe the best gift of all.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

From You Tube -- People of other lands try American food

We Americans have our weird foods and our good foods and our weird good foods and our good weird foods.  Someone on the internet had the great idea of giving American foods -- Hostess boxed desserts, Southern cooking, traditional Thanksgiving dinner -- to young, Irish people who've never been to America (and probably never wanted to visit America because not everyone likes to travel) and recording their reactions.  They're all well spoken, opinionated, and happy to share said opinions on camera.  As much as Americans might think that our foods are for everyone and that everyone can and will like them, the reality is much different, excluding Thanksgiving.  It turns out that traditional Thanksgiving really is awesome.








Sunday, November 27, 2016

Moving, moving, moving

In July of this year, my landlady told me she was selling the building I've inhabited for over 17 years.  I have honestly never truly loved this apartment because it's on the first floor and on a corner so I can't leave my windows open to grab fresh air -- it's Chicago after all -- in the few months it's warm enough to enjoy that.  People could climb in, toss things in, even simply feast upon my things and me with just their eyes so it's not at all ideal.  But this place and I established a truce that went like this:  I would live here, it would accommodate me and my things, it wouldn't require too much, and I would run a not-terribly-powerful a/c in the summer.  Unfortunately, I stayed too long at the fair.

I have managed to become more stockpiler than hoarder but there is a lot of stuff, knickknack, objets, books.  Personal papers of both of my parents,  personal papers of my own, hobbies acquired and hobbies abandoned before being adequately pursued sit in bags or in piles or in piles of bags. Yes, I am embarrassed by this.  It never occurred to me that I was not married to any of it, that I might consider ditching much of it.  There are things here that I love and want to keep but I could survive without.  There are things here that I just don't need but like and enjoy.  There are the what-the-fucks, the oh-my-gods, the what-the-fuck-but-oh-my-god-I-love-yous.  There are books and pictures and picture books.  There are things that were given to me by ex-co-workers and ex-neighbors, small tokens that they were thinking of me for which I have no feeling.  This question arises:  what does one do with one's past obsessions and accumulations?

Today I passed on a couple of things that had no meaning for me to someone for whom they do have meaning.  Then I took seven bags of books and stuff to Goodwill and another three of books to the program that gives books to women prisoners.  I came home with yogurt and went out to get a solid box to house one of the what-the-fuck-but-oh-my-god-I-love-yous which is a spiral staircase a little over two feet tall.  I put down a layer of packing peanuts, put in the stairs, then filled the box with peanuts.  It's a move, things break, but I am hoping this piece will survive well.

Today I also sent a table, two matching chairs, and a solid stepstool to live with my departing landlady.  Rumor has it that she did very well in the sale of the building and good for her.  For years my rent was stupid low and that got me through an entire year when my hours at work were cut by 20%.  She is depressed and upset about leaving her beloved building but not because she stayed too long at the fair but because this was her home for 25 years and she never wanted to leave it.  At least she will have a nice table and chairs in the kitchen of her new condo, one less thing to think about.

So how does all this make me feel?  Scared.  I am scared.  I am also depressed because I so stunningly let my life get away from me.  What I liked to do, how I liked to live, how I spent my time in pursuit of personal pleasures have all gotten away from me and I am monumentally sorry, horrified, aghast, and disappointed in myself.  No one could me more disappointed in me than I am in myself.  Years slipped by and I can't believe I am the age I am.  I can still do things that many people would be scared to death to do -- like travel to a foreign country on my own sans tours, getting from the airport to the hotel on a public conveyance of some sort -- but so much else scampered off -- confidence, talent, ability -- and seems to be pissed off at me and is now stewing under a rock or up in a tree, waiting for me to find it and apologize sincerely before it tells me that all is forgiven but not forgotten and I will have to work very hard to be confident, talented, able.  I stayed at my job too long and with a condo looming in my future, I can't just go "no more, thanks," without something else to take its place.  No one is more disappointed in all this than I am.

I needed this to happen, I suppose; I just wish I'd come to the conclusion on my own 10 years ago.  I certainly wish I was something other than disappointed in myself.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

Let's all dig deep and think hard and decide that we all have things to be thankful for this holiday season.

I am thankful for four brand new episodes of "Gilmore Girls," episodes that will finally end the show the way its creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino, wanted it to end.  They'll be available on Netflix starting November 25.

I am thankful that my three gum surgeries are over and done with.  Yes, yes, y'all.

I am thankful that I will be able to take advantage of 50%-off senior citizen transit rates this year.

Starting in December, I get a small pension from a job I had for just seven years.  Thank you!

I am thankful I've properly maintained my vehicle these many years.  After 18.5 years, it's still with me and doing well.

I am thankful for the followers of my blog.  There are not a lot of you but I appreciate you all.  Thank you.

Thank you, my friends and family.  I am a human being with flaws; thanks for accepting all of them.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Enjoy your day however you spend it.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Sadness in the land

As Dave Chappelle said last night on Saturday Night Live, "I know Whites."  Well, Dave knows them better than me.  And Michael Moore was right.  And the sky fell.

Donald Trump is now the President Elect.

Hillary conceded with grace (and some tears).  She and Bill wore purple to symbolize the unity of red and blue. She won the popular vote but the electoral college gave it to Trump.  The electoral college, a system whose time has passed.

I spent Wednesday being either nauseous or in tears.  I honestly said, "I am worried that I might not ever get over this."  Thursday was better.  On Friday morning I was okay but had to run a quick errand outside of the office at lunchtime -- this happens about thrice a year -- and thought about Trump winning the election and spent the rest of the day feeling nauseous or with tears in my eyes.

Trump and Obama met at the White House.  They both looked pissed off.  My coworker said she thought Trump looked like a deer in the headlights.  I thought he looked like an angry gasbag.  Both are probably pretty close to the mark.

I have had a lot of stress this year and this didn't help.  I was sure the market would tank and take with it a goodly portion of my 401k but it did not tank.  The market, in fact, went up.

I need to stop thinking about this and consider other things like my probable upcoming move (more stress), how I need to pack up things to take to Goodwill next week (what do I want to keep and what do I want to rid myself of), and my lovely new manicure which looks like gold glitter.  It's a dip, y'all, and it looks wonderful.  If nothing else, my hands make me feel like I have it going on.  It's not true but illusion is nice.

Trump won the vote of a lot of scared white people in an election that was fueled by fear.  They're afraid of not being in the majority.  Scared white people!  You will eventually not be in the majority!  You have to embrace the world as it is, not the cruel, rude, fearful place where you presently dwell.  A campaign of fear is what Dick Cheney did in the the 2004 election.  He came out and said that if he and Bush were not re-elected, the terrorists would attack.  He left off the other half of the statement which is if they were re-elected, the terrorists would also attack.  Why?  Because they are terrorists who want to bring down what they perceive as the American way of life and they don't care who is in charge.  They also want to rip French culture to ribbons and make living in the UK suck.  Of course, thanks to Brexit, the UK screwed that pooch without help from any terrorists anywhere.  Kind of how we got Trump.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Might be my view

This might the view from my living room
And this might be my lobby


Yes, yes, I might just be taking the condo-buying plunge, even at my advanced age.  Yes, yes, the unit is quite petite but since I'd been thinking that living in a nice-sized hotel room wouldn't bother me, that having just a bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom would probably work out -- it surely does when I am on vacation and I even like it -- then I am embracing ridding myself of things.  The week I was on vacation got five bags of things to the Goodwill.  Today I am taking over seven bags of even better stuff that I just don't use and I am hardly making a dent!  I am going to attempt to put my bigass non-HDTV in the alley today but it's big and mostly heavy and I am not so upper-body strong and yesterday I managed to pull the living crap out of a hamstring muscle (yes, it hurt and still does hurt).  So stay tuned! I may be sending various shots of this view for the next few years if all goes well or it may all fall through and everything will go into storage and I will move in with my friend who offered me a roof for a few months.  Here's the stellar bit: the unit is small but the parking is included and on the first floor of the parking garage.

Now excuse me, but I need to get this stuff to the Goodwill.

And if you haven't participated in early voting, get out and vote on November 8th!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

How are things under that rock?

Just in case you live under a rock and missed the whole Donald-Trump-Billy-Bush conversation that demeans and objectifies women and proves that presidential candidate Trump assaults and gropes women as it suits him and got Billy Bush fired from his cush NBC "Today Show" gig (but probably with a lot of money), here is the captured audio recording in full followed by a statement from actor Robert DeNiro who likes and respects women in addition to being happily married.

https://youtu.be/fTMNhFMp3wE

My final reason for not voting for this Republican candidate:  Trump has dishonest hair.

Clinton/Kaine 2016 -- Stronger Together.  Just like America is.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Gimme a "C"

Yeah, yeah, it spells Cubs and they're going to the World Series.  I am very happy for all the long-suffering Cubs fans out there who finally get a reward for their loyalty.  Question:  Why would you let something like a sports team dictate your happiness or sadness?  Maybe it isn't quite that extreme but it sure seems that way.

Good luck!  I am happy when Chicago sports teams manage to reward their loyal fans.  Bears fans are going to have a very long wait because while there might be some very good Bears players, there is some very bad Bears management.  Bears fans will relax and deal with it just like Cubs fans dealt with it.  They will continue to love "Da Bears" even though things are really just terrible up in Lake Forest.

So for all the Chicago Cubs fans out there:  GO CUBS!

For all the fans and non-fans out there:  Get out and vote on November 8 (or earlier if your municipality offers early voting).

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Black and brown do so go together

I was at Montrose Harbor with my lovely younger niece a week ago, looking for birds and looking for Pokemon.  We were much more successful with birds this time -- a Cooper's Hawk landed 20 feet in front of us on the ground, chickadees were two feet in front of our faces.  But we did see a late-season caterpillar inching and scooting along, proof positive that if nature says black and brown go together, then they go together.

Fashion icon, fall 2016

Sunday, October 9, 2016

When boneheads collide

We all know that Donald Trump is a colossal bonehead and this week's revelation of lewd comments made on a hot mike while with "Access Hollywood" correspondent Billy Bush is hardly a surprise.  I wasn't surprised by his comments.  Disgusted, nauseated, displeased, repulsed but not surprised.  The man is self-serving, self-obsessed, and entitled; why would his comments be a surprise?  He believes he deserves anything he wants.  He spews vulgarities about women even though he has daughters and is married.  What surprised me was Billy Bush.

Yeah, yeah, Billy Bush.  He has been married for 18 years and has three daughters.  He says he is happy in his marriage and he seems to be in love with his whole family.  This Bush cousin was not totally unlikable on "Access Hollywood."  I am disgusted, displeased, nauseated, repulsed, and surprised that he would stoop to such a low level as that where Donald Trump dwells.  His was not embarrassed laughter at Trump's remarks.  Billy Bush, father of three daughters, had a laugh of clear delight, like he was finally befriended by the high school quarterback, like he was now one of the cool kids.  The press described him as a sycophant -- a fawning flatterer -- and I have to agree with that assessment.  In 2005, Billy Bush wanted to be in with the cool guy for that one moment in time, even though he, Billy, probably had to have a hot shower when he got home to cleanse the filth of the experience from himself when he realized what he'd said. 

Billy!  When you have daughters you want to discourage that sort of behavior.  You don't want to think that maybe one of your daughters will be near him and he will snatch at her genitalia and it's acceptable because he's famous.  Another way to think of it?  I don't think Brad Pitt, Alan Alda, Alec Baldwin, or any other Hollywood person with a daughter would have enjoyed this sort of salacious remark. "Oh geez," is about the best he deserved, and then quickly change the subject.  "How about them Cubs?" is always apropos, good years or bad.  Billy Bush, you may have wildly damaged your new career on "Today."  The incident happened in 2005 but stank sometimes just will not fade.  Yours is a cautionary tale for broadcast journalism students and human beings everywhere.

When I was in college, a friend found a poem in an anthology and typed it up.  I kept it in my wallet for years until someone stole my wallet.  I paraphrase:

You have to know what you once said
Because it could travel in the air for years
And then return in different clothes
And then you have to buy it.

Clearly, the person who released this clip is not a Republican and was scared about the prospect of a bonehead in the White House.  This person deserves a thank-you note from all sane Americans.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Five weeks and two days

Five weeks and two days from today, Americans go to the polls to elect a new president.  I write them an open letter:

Dear Fellow Americans:

How are you?  How are things?  How is your family and that one crazy friend of yours whom I don't really like but you're crazy about so I feel compelled to ask about him/her until you're sick to death of him/her and cut him/her out of your life once and for all.  Of course he/she might be asking you about me for the very same reason unless he/she is a genuinely kind person which I very much doubt because there can't be two stellar humans in a friendship because you'd bore each other to absolute death with all that goodness, pleasantness, and niceness.  So I am pretty sure he/she is the crazy one because, wow, you're great.

I know you've all gone to some municipal or governmental location over the past few months to register to vote.  Maybe you've registered at your local library or at a folding table manned by someone who believes that people should vote.  About 24 years ago I joined the League of Women Voters just so I could register the lazy asses I was working with a the time.  I found out that many of my coworkers weren't registered because they simply didn't want to think about how to do it.  We worked second shift; they had all day, every day to work that out but they just were too lazy.  I joined the League of Women Voters, took a short class, and got sworn in as a registrar.  I got something like 10 people registered.  It turned out that most people were registered but were too lazy to make the effort to go to vote.  But the 10 people I signed up did go and vote.  One guy with whom I wasn't even friends said to me, "Good for you.  You made a difference."  I said it wasn't a big difference and he said that no one else had made any effort so good for me.  This man and I weren't friends; that was a huge compliment from him which I appreciated.

But I digress.

This is a huge election.  There is the intelligent, ex-Senator, ex-Secretary of State, ex-First Lady of the United States, Hillary Clinton.  There is the belligerent businessman, Donald Trump, who has never before run for office nor has he been nominated to any governmental position.  There is Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, who can't name any world leader anywhere, doesn't know what Aleppo is, and when he was the governor of New Mexico, fabricated a story about a tunnel in one of the prisons to make it sound like prisoners had dug said tunnel (it was a service tunnel that had been commissioned by the Bureau of Prisons ten years prior).  Finally, there is Jill Stein, head of the Green Party, who was wanted in North Dakota for misdemeanor trespassing and criminal mischief over Labor Day weekend.  The last two are mere spoilers.  The first two are the meat in this four-choice platter of voting.

People say they can't trust Hillary Clinton.  As Michael Moore asked his morning on "Meet the Press," did these people maybe ask her to water their plants for the weekend and she didn't do it?  There is no tangible reason.

Rudy Giuliani was on the same show (1) defending Trump for not paying taxes and taking a multi-million-dollar loss on his federal taxes in the mid-1990s.  "If he didn't claim that loss, he could have been sued by his investors."  He went on to say (2) that plenty of poor people don't pay federal taxes.  I address these things:  (1) Those people invested in Donald Trump's business but also in his alleged business acumen and alleged abilities to deliver on an agreement.  Rather than pay them back, he claimed a huge loss.  (2) Poor people don't pay federal taxes because they're poor.  If you make less than a certain amount, you're deemed too pitiful to have to pay.  In other words, the U.S. government tells them to keep their money, please, and buy some food for their kids.  Bottom line:  Rudy Giuliani is a simple tool.  I can't trust someone like Trump who won't take responsibility for his mistakes, screws his investors by saving his own ass, and doesn't pay his fair share of taxes.

Remember when George W. Bush gave that huge tax cut to the rich and everyone else in the early aughts?  But it mostly benefited the rich so they could allegedly create new jobs?  Did they create new jobs?  They did not.  Trump's idea to cut taxes for the rich will have the same result.  In the debate he talked about how terrible the New York airports area are and that they are just like the airports in Third World countries.  I am 99.9999% sure that Donald Trump has never been to a Third World Country.  Things like airports, bridges, and roads can get fixed with a healthy dose of federal funding.  Hello?  Donald?  Where does the government get its money?  Taxes.  Pay some.  To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, I like paying taxes; they buy me civilization.  (And more attractive airports.)

Hillary Clinton wants to improve the lives of Americans.  Donald Trump wants to improve the lives of rich Americans.  Are you a rich American?  If you're reading this blog, you are probably not.  You don't have to love Hillary Clinton, you just have to respect her and realize that she is well-prepared and sane.  And her husband left office with a surplus.  Remember surpluses?  Yeah, I do, too, but only vaguely.  If Bill can score one, so can Hillary.

As my sister said eight years ago, "The Democrats can nominate a flour sack with a smiley face drawn on it and that's who I'm voting for."  And as my former manager, Jeff, said 16 years ago, "I don't care who the Democrats trot out, that's who I'm voting for."

Thanks for your time.  Make sure you're registered so you can make the first woman nominee from a major party the first woman president and because she is very smart, very prepared, very capable, and is respected worldwide.  That was a hell of a sentence but you get my drift: Hillary Clinton 2016.

Love and kisses,

E. M. Nowak