Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Howdy! I haven't been around much in the past week. Not a whole lot to discuss so I'll summarize my week in one tidy post.

Last Monday and Tuesday I was off from work. I had lunch with my friend Heath on Monday. Heath lives in Texas and I haven't seen him in about 4 years. It was nice to catch up. On Tuesday I went to the beach and got some much needed sun. It was nice.

I came down with a sinus infection and I've been fighting it for a few days now. I haven't seen my doctor about it because I get them somewhat regularly and this is not a bad one, it's more of a nuisance. Related or unrelated, I've had a problem with an impacted wisdom tooth. Whether one caused the other I don't know. 3 out of 4 of my wisdom teeth came in and have been no problem. This last tooth has been a problem on and off for a number of years. It acts up, I complain about it and just when I'm ready to have something done about it, it feels better. It's feeling better now, but not 100 percent back to normal. It has definitely grown more in these past few days and it may not be impacted much longer.

Saturday, Denise and I were invited to Dan and Luis' house to be stand-ins for dinner guests who had to cancel at the last minute. As usual, Luis produced a wonderfully creative and delicious meal. The original guests had some dietary restrictions and Luis met the challenge and wowed us. He also impressed himself.

Sunday, my sister came over, we celebrated her 50th birthday (which is actually on the 30th). Denise joined us, as well as my friend Karen. I gave Georgette a Skagen watch and a handbag, hand crafted by Denise. It was nice that Denise was there to see Georgette receive the purse that she created. While I have no pictures from the day, here are pictures of the watch and the purse.

It was back to work on Monday and the first 5-day work week I've put in since the 3rd week in June. So far it's been a good week, even though it's the last week of working with my current CEO. Tomorrow we're having a cookout for him, it's his last day. He starts his job in Pittsburgh on Monday.

So that's what's been going on. Not much, but that's not a bad thing. How have you been? I hope you're doing well.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Single Clowns

Yet another clown thinks she can dance to Beyonce's "Single Ladies" song...


Last night I climbed into bed before 11. A bit earlier than usual but I was tired and feel right to sleep. This morning, the alarm went off, I looked out the window and could see that it looked pretty nice outside. I turned on the TV and thought "wow, I'm so glad I got the new TV, I can really see this one so much better. I turned to look at the time on my clock and thought "hey, the numbers look so clear. I don't remember dusting the face of the clock."

I got up to go to the bathroom. I could see things on the kitchen table (at the other end of the hall). That's when I realized that I never took my contact lenses out before bed. CRAP!

I squeezed a bunch of saline into each eye and started my morning routine. After finishing up I then set out to take out my lenses. The left lens came out pretty easily. The right lens was still kind of stuck. Finally, after a few more squirts of saline, I got it out.

I wore my glasses to work today, I figured my eyes needed a rest.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tuesday Morning at Starbucks

Got here around 8:30. Had a grande (aka medium) coffee and a low-fat apple bran muffin (it's free pastry day with an online coupon).

It was kind of crowded when I arrived. My usual chair was occupied. Not sure I would have sat in it anyway, as the seat next to it was and still is occupied by "CJ." Tiday she is looking somewhat subdued - peach capris, grey shirt with peach piping, hair down with sparkly pins in it, flat sandals. She's got the little table in front of her, and her laptop is on it. Today the display is sideways. As I was settling into my spot, she sneezed, I said "bless you," and she scrunched her face and blew me a kiss. We may be engaged, I'm not sure...

The usual commuters have been in and out. The couple I see just about every moorning is here. An older black couple, both somewhat overweight. The womandoes all the talking. She's very social, wears fantastic hats. Today's hat is a wide-brimmed straw hat with gold edging and a band around the top with colorful large "jewels" affixed to it, like a big, sparkly halo. They both sit, in silence and read the paper and work the puzzles. they seem perfectly content.

CJ is tapping away on her computer. She isn't really typing, she just smacks the same series of keys with her left hand while occasionally her right hand smacks the same spot on the keyboard. A man who was waiting for his coffee saw her "typing" and commented "wow, you're really quite a fast typist!" Her response, which I could not hear, involved some sort of vocalization as well as some sort of finger drumming against her face, along with a wink and a smile. The man leaned in to hear what she was saying, I'm still not sure he really knew what she said or if she said anything that was in a known language. He smiled and backed away, slowly.

One wonders were people are headed on Tuesday at 10 in the morning. Some woman, who vaguely resembles that insipid "mom" Kate with the 8 kids (sans Jon), just walked in. She's in a black cotton tank dress with a short jacket. She's lacking a proper foundation garment as her ample chest is quite jiggly. Srangely, she just got her cup of coffee from a short, balding man with glasses. He, along with two other woman and Ms. Jiggles just left, together. Maybe they're new recruits for his whore house, maybe they're on their way to the church to do God's work.

I wonder if CJ is blogging about me right now?

Songs of Summertime

"The Warrior" - Scandal, faturing Patty Smyth

This song reminds me of summer because it relates to a funny story from the summer of 1985. I was 18, living at home with my parents in a large 2 bedroom apartment in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago. It was mid-August and I was home on a Friday night (I was home on ALL Friday nights but this one in particular relates to the story) and was watching TV in my bedroom. I heard music playing, but it wasn't my downstairs neighbors, it was coming from out back.

The apartments in my building were long. Bedroom 1 was up front and the second bedroom was half way down a long hallway. Further down was the dining room and then the kitchen. I went out to the kitchen to inspect the source of the music. It was one of those really warm nights after a stifling hot day. I could see light coming from the apartment next door, reflected on the shared back porch. I opened the door and could hear a party happening next door.

My next door neighbors were gay. They had lived in the building for a couple of months. In my mind, they were old, realistically they were probably 30-ish. They dressed "funny," wearing shredded cutoff jeans and vests and tank tops and work boots. they looked like gay people I had seen in shows about San Francisco or images from the Gay Pride parade on the news. When they moved in, I was intrigued by them. I would watch for them to leave their apartment or come home. I wanted to know what made them different. After weeks of studying them, I learned that NOTHING made them different, at least outside of their apartment. What happened inside of their four walls was unclear to me, but also none of my business.

So, back at the party, whose music had leaked out onto the back porch, I quietly opened my back door. "The Warrior" was playing. The porches were dimly lit, much of the light came from their kitchen window. I stood at my screen door and looked. One of my neighbors was on his porch enjoying the music. He was in short denim shorts and a white tank, and he was dancing, alone. As the words "Bang Bang, I am the Warrior" were sung, he held up his left and right hands, mimicking a gun, as if he were shooting in the air. He was in his own world and loving the moment. I laughed to myself but at the same time I was fascinated. I stood and listened for a couple minutes more before quietly closing the door. I didn't want to disturb his fun.

To this day, when I hear that song, I laugh a little because I picture that neighbor doing his dance on that warm August night.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Scenes from Starbucks

I'm at my Starbucks this morning. The usual transient coffee patrons are here, some rushing in for a cup of coffee on their way to work, some are stopping to have a pastry or sandwich. Then there are those who are lingering a bit to read the paper and sip their drink slowly. But then there are those who seem to always be here and are quite the sight to behold.

One in particular has been named "CJ." She's a woman of undetermined age who usually wears a yarmulke, she's got sparkly clips in her hair and often wears big beaded jewelry. Today she is here and dressed for safari. White knit cotton Pith Helmet, hair is in a braid, green tie-dyed shirt, ill-fitting jeans and ballet flats. She sits in here for hours at a time, monopolizing a table with her stuff. She's got a mini-laptop computer. The display on it is upside down - COMPLETELY upside down (I watched her boot it up the other day and even the brand logo came up upside down!). Most of the time she taps away with great force, then she sits back and grins at her work.

Apparently one day she was doing crafts. She had rubber stamps with her. My dear friend Steve who witnessed this said that she was having quite a time with the stamp pad and had ink all over her hands. Unphased, she continued with her stamping frenzy.

Today she's wearing headphones. Whatever she's listening to makes her happy. She's singing along (quietly!). She's uing her little computer and she's basically tapping the same 6 keys. Oh wait, she has stopped to apply lipstick. time for a beauty break!

One afternoon I ccame in here and she was drumming. Oh, she's quite the show.

The other semi-regular I see in here is the old woman with long white hair, who wears a lemon yellow organza bow on the top of her head. Today she is in a long shiny black duster with a pink blouse underneath, black pants and orange canvas sneakers. she has lots of bags and wears sunglasses. When I arrived here this morning, she was in my chair. I like the chair in the corner so that if I want to look at dirty pictures, I can without offending anybody. Anyway, yellow bow lady doesn't do much although I have seen her sitting and watching something on a portable DVD player.

these are the people in my neighborhood. Won't you be my neighbor?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Songs of Summertime

"Candy" - Iggy Pop w/ Kate Pierson

This song takes me back to the days when I was discovering "grunge" and phasing out of the 80's pop music. This one was a no-brainer because I'm a big B-52's fan and Kate is one of the principal voices of the band.

I don't really associate this song with any one memory but when I hear it I think about summer.

Here's the video for you to enjoy.

Bad Jim

My nickname is Proper, but Dan finds this humorous and calls me "Not So Proper" because he knows the truth. I'm mostly proper but there are times when I have some of those less than proper moments. Friday night was one of those nights. Without going into too much detail, I'll share.

I was having a perfectly delightful evening out with Dan. We had some drinks and some laughs. He stepped away to go observe a demonstration that was happening in the lower level bar. I remained upstairs, uninterested in seeing some guy have long needles stuck into his chest and back. Call me crazy. I was about finished for the night when a friend from the past emerged. A guy with whom I'd chatted on a number of occasions but had not seen for over a year had come out of hiding. We chatted a while, things got a bit flirtatious. He insisted upon buying me another drink. Then another drink. Eventually he said "let's get out of here."

We got back to his house and proceeded to have a bit of fun. We played Yahtzee in the kitchen then made our way to the bedroom where we played checkers and then started a game of backgammon. But, all of the alcohol caught up with me and before we could start a game of Twister, I called a time out. Long story short, we were a couple of naked drunk guys writhing around on a bed without a purpose. We fell asleep eventually. A little after 5, I woke up, we attempted again to resume our game of Twister but the room began to spin and the games were over. My friend made sure I got home, perhaps we'll meet again sometime soon. If not, we'll always have some laughs about our night of fun.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


I work for one company but I have two offices, so I report to 2 CEOs. Yesterday, one of my bosses announced to us that he has been promoted and will be leaving us sometime next month. I'm thrilled for him, it's an exciting opportunity and he'll be great in his new role, but I'm sad because we are losing a great leader.

There's always that anxiety over who will be next. Will the new person be calm and cool and bring good energy to the building or will they be hyper and easily agitated and set us into a panic?

We shall see...

Songs of Summertime

"Mad About You" - Belinda Carlisle

During the summer of 1986, I became "Mad About" Belinda.

The demise of The Go-Go's during the spring of 1985 was sad, but the career of the band's lead singer was about to skyrocket. Right away, she was signed as a solo artist, set up with producers and writers, and primped to be the new "it" girl.

Late May 1986 was the first time I heard "Mad About You" on the radio. I was hooked. Different than anything that the Go-Go's released. The song was decidedly pop, Belinda's vocals were soft and sweet. I couldn't wait to hear it again. Here was the voice of my favorite band doing something completely different.

About a month later, my family was taking a road trip to Gatlinburg, TN. We stopped in Louisville for the night. The hotel had a video channel. I turned it on and the next video played was "Mad About You." The Belinda that I knew so well was different. She was slim, her hair was longer and very blonde. She looked amazing. The video was fun...dancing on the beach, dancing with her husband (another change since the band disbanded), hanging out with her pal Charlotte (former bandmate).

I was 19 during the summer of '86. I was taking night classes so I could get ahead with school. I was working full time, and spending my free time just hanging out with my friends.

I remember buying tickets to see Robert Palmer in concert. I had heard that Belinda was on tour with him as his opening act. My sister Georgette and our friend May went to the show with me. Unfortunately Belinda had only committed to playing half of the shows, and my show was the second one she didn't perform. We still enjoyed the show.

To this day, it could be the coldest winter day if I hear "Mad About You," it puts me in a good mood and makes me feel warm all over.

"Something 'bout you, right here beside me, touches the touched part of me like I can't believe."

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Songs of Summertime

"Vacation" by The Go-Go's

By the summer of 1982, I was completely enamoured by The Go-Go's. I had played their debut album "Beauty and the Beat" until it was worn and skipping. There was talk on the radio that they band had gone back into the recording studio to record their second album.

Sure enough "Vacation" the album was released, as was it's lead single "Vacation." It's an uptempo song beginning with a flourish of peppy guitars and drums. I was hooked. As is true of many Go-Go's songs, the songs sounded happy, but the lyrics were sad. "Vacation - meant to be spent alone..."
The time period I associate with the song was happy. I had just finished my Freshman year of high school. I had a summer job, working as a file clerk in the Payroll office of Edgewater Hospital. I was excited to be making money and I could finally buy things like a new stereo and Izod shirts.

Today when I hear the song, I still think of summer fun. I saw my first Go-Go's concert in the summer of 1982 and "Vacation" was the song that opened the show. Even when I saw the band back in April, "Vacation" is one of those songs that generates a lot of excitement throughout the venue.

It's definitely one of my essential summer songs.

"A week without you, thought I'd forget. Two weeks without you and I still haven't gotten over you yet."

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Summer Music

Music is important to me and certain songs mark events in my life. Other songs remind me of a season. It's summer and there are certain songs that I hear and they remind me of the season. Over the next few weeks I'll revisit some of those songs and tell you what they mean to me.

Today's song is a new song. It doesn't really evoke a memory yet, that just means it's ripe for the picking and at any point, a fun summer memory will be attached to it.

"Waking Up in Vegas" by Katy Perry has such a hook to it. The lyrics are clever and it reminds me of the fun, crazy adventures I've had in Vegas. Maybe I need to plan a trip to Vegas and have that be the song I associate with the trip. :)

"Get up and shake the glitter off your clothes now, that's what you get for waking up in Vegas..."

Monday, July 6, 2009

Creature of Habit

(I've decided this is a good time to discontinue the "File Under" sub-heading of each post. I don't like to file and doing so with this post seems appropriate)

I am a creature of habit. Many of the things I do are done on a routine basis or on a schedule.

Work has structured me to do things on a schedule. I process payroll, our cycyle is biweekly so every two weeks, I repeat the same process. During that cycle, I issue payroll reports on the same days. There are managers who I know will forget about their reports, so I know to call them to remind them to complete their reports.

Because I run two offices, I have to post a schedule on my door to let everybody know where I'll be each day. If you were to look at my schedule, you would see that it's the same repeating 10 day pattern.

Outside of work, I have a number of tasks that I do on a regular basis. Most Monday evenings I do laundry. Sometimes I'll do laundry on a Tuesday, rarely will I do it any later than Wednesday. It definitely needs to be done on a weekly basis. The remaining weeknights I go to the gym.

Every morning, I begin my journey at Starbucks for coffee. I have a commuter mug. They know me at Starbucks, I've been coming here for 15 years. My order never changes. Tall coffee (it's a grande mug, they just fill it 2/3 full. Sometimes they fill it higher, I pour some out). The only change to my order is if it's orientation (2nd Monday of each month), I'll add a scone. I do this because I don't have time when I get to work to have my usual breakfast, a bowl of oatmeal.

When I do orientation, I present benefits. It's from a script, which I wrote. There's really no way to embellish benefits to make it fun so I stick to the script. When I ad-lib, I throw in the same jokes or quips that I throw in every month. I get the same labored laugh from the class every time. At the end, they ask the same questions.

Away from work, my routine is pretty steady. Friday comes around, and I can most often be found at my local watering hole. I go to the same bartender, Mark, and he makes me my same drink (which, get this! I recently switched to vanilla vodka with diet coke - watching carbs). Mark just asks if I'm having the usual, then fixes it. Saturday night, I'm usually there again. If I'm not there, it's because I've been invited over to Dan and Luis' house for something. It's been a while since something completely different has kept me out of the bar. My daytime routine is the same, too. Out of the house by noon, off to the gym, then lunch then wandering the neighborhood or doing housework.

With all that said, I don't mind being a creature of habit. It works for me. It's comforting and comfortable. Often it seems when I try to shake things up, something goes wrong.

So tell me about you? Are you a creature of habit? Do you have a routine you stick with or do you fly by the seat of your pants?