Leslie's Omnibus

In Memorium

This is the eulogy I gave yesterday for the Princess Mom. They are the most difficult words I have ever spoken:

Today, Chico’s stores and resale shops across the country are draped in black, mourning the loss of their best and most loyal customer. The rest of us are here to celebrate the life of Barbara Morlock.

Many people have made the mistake of taking my mother for an uptight Boston matron. Aside from the accent, nothing could be farther from the truth.

Oh, the trappings were there. From her training at Kathleen Dell Secretarial School, Mom learned the importance of a well-turned-out appearance. Dresses were tailored. Shoes matched handbag, handbag matched wallet, and wallet matched belt. Even her blue jeans, which she didn’t start wearing until well into her forties, were dry cleaned and always showed a sharply pressed crease.

It was formidable armor. If you were lucky, as many of those of us here today were, then you got to see the charming, complex, fiercely loyal, generous and loving heart beneath.

You might also get to see her go to a Halloween party dressed as the Maidenform woman, or see her teach a group of giggling teenage girls to do the twist by employing a dish towel and a good deal of hip action. If you were – ahem – lucky enough to get in the car with her behind the wheel, you’d be treated to a hair-raising experience of driving slow in the fast lane, highly inventive use of invective and frequent employment of the single digit salute. If you happened to play golf or bridge or Scrabble with her, you quickly found she was a lousy loser and an even worse winner.

Born in Belmont, Massachusetts, Mom grew up with a talented, demanding and sharp-tongued mother and an incorrigible scamp of a father. Both were stamped firmly on her character.

From her mother, Mom learned how to stretch a dollar until it squeaked in protest, exquisite taste in dress and decorating style on a budget, and how to run a household like a drill sergeant. She did not, however, learn her cooking skills from Nana, who didn’t have the patience to share her kitchen with anyone. That came later.

From my grandfather, Mom learned many pithy sayings, most of which are politically incorrect and/or not repeatable in church, and that sometimes you just need to cut loose and have fun.

She met my father, who had been two years ahead of her at Belmont High School, when he was home on leave from the Army Air Corps. He had previously dated her younger sister Edith (who obviously didn’t share my mother’s good taste and common sense), and was a great favorite of my grandmother’s. It was a love match from the start, and they exchanged letter after humor-filled letter while he was in the service.

When Dad got out of the service, he proposed to Mom, and, even though he had no full time job and was attending Northeastern University through the GI Bill, Mom accepted.

They made a deal that Mom would help support Dad while he was in University, and that she would become a housewife and mother as soon as he graduated and got a full-time job. It was, I think, one of the happiest times of their lives. Daddy worked part time as a short order cook and studied hard, and Mom worked in a wool broker’s office as a secretary. Mom bought herself a Betty Crocker cookbook and experimented on my father nightly with ever increasing success. They had a tiny little apartment that was a place of pride, and a big old beater of a car that wouldn’t start unless you got it rolling downhill first. Dad pushed and Mom drove. That would be the pattern of their many years together.

Daddy’s work as a chemical engineer took them from Boston to Cleveland to Chicago. For someone born and bred in New England, and New Englanders are notoriously resistant to change, Mom pulled up roots and set down new ones again with remarkable resilience. At the center of each new move was locating a church home and new friends. Always friends.

When Dad moved from his job as Director of Research at U.S. Steel’s lab in Cleveland to a consulting position at Commercial Testing & Engineering, a sea change in our home life occurred. At U.S. Steel, Dad had been home for dinner every night. At CT&E, he frequently traveled five days a week, and Mom became captain of the home ship.

Five day a week she was a single mother, and on weekends a devoted wife. They taught us at an early age that it was just as important for Mom and Dad to take their own vacations every once in a while as it was to go on family vacations. Life together wasn’t always perfect, and yes, they sometimes fought.

It couldn’t have been easy for Mom to be stuck at home with three small and demanding children, and sometimes Dad was too tired to hear about home woes. Mom’s method of getting his attention was to write him a letter setting out her arguments, placing it on his pillow and then taking herself out to the movies, usually with an emphatic slam of the front door. She told me years down the road that she and Daddy never discussed those letters, but his behavior always changed to show that he’d paid attention. After he died, she found every single one of those letters tucked in the back of his armoire.

Married almost 40 years to the man she’s always called the love of her life, she taught us that marriage isn’t always perfect, but if you value it, you work at it.

While she wasn’t a huggy, kissy mother, she was an involved mother – room mother, den mother, picture lady, she also helped start up and run our elementary school’s library. She was cheerleader for choir concerts, band concerts and school theatrical productions. Her extraordinary organization skills were utilized as a wedding coordinator for her children – five times over. She was a shoulder to cry on when we hurt and was a Paladin when she felt we’d been wronged. She was a Samurai with a wooden spoon when we misbehaved. Drill sergeant. Ace nurse. The ballast that held the family boat not only afloat, but sailing steadily through life’s rough waters.

My mother was a person of great personal faith, which she demonstrated through action all her life. She never preached; she just did.

At church, Mom was a tireless worker behind the scenes. She taught Sunday school and vacation bible school. She supported bake sales and plant sales and any type of fundraisers. At every church we attended, she found and joined a ladies’ Circle – and was usually selected to lead devotions. She became a Sacristan, preparing endless bits of bread and tiny plastic cups full of Welch’s purple grape juice for communion at more than one church. She and Daddy were generous donors – their gifts to the various churches they attended included hand bells, computer systems and a baby grand piano.

Mom and Dad also quietly provided financial assistance to family and friends in need. I have a number of cousins who can thank both my parents for tuition assistance for their college educations, something Mom continued long after Daddy’s death.

In the greater community, Mom was also an active worker. Ironically, when I was in high school, she volunteered to drive cancer patients for treatment. She put in many, many hours with the Weed Ladies here in Naperville, and she and Dad were strong supporters of the Naperville Heritage Society. Never one to be afraid to get her hands dirty, she and Dad also donated their time and talents to a local homeless shelter.

Mom was invited to join and became an active member of the newly formed Chaplaincy committee at Edwards Hospital in Naperville, helping to train and gain accreditation for the program. It was a service of which she was extremely proud. Additionally, she and other women from her church took over organizing and running the clothing center at the Salvation Army center in Chicago, and did so for many years. Directly as a result of her work, many needy families received clean new clothing and new hope.

Another source of great satisfaction for Mom was joining PEO, which supports higher education for women by providing college scholarships. (And it was a great source of disappointment for her that neither my sister nor I would agree to attend Cottey College, PEO’s greatest philanthropic effort.) She served many positions in PEO, most frequently as chaplain. Though Daddy frequently teased her that her white PEO ceremonial robes were truthfully KKK robes, he understood and supported the fulfillment she got from her PEO sisterhood.

My family home has, thanks to Mom, always been a place filled with friends. Far from her early Betty Crocker bumblings, Mom became an outstanding cook and hostess. In fact, rather than entertaining business clients and colleagues in restaurants, Daddy much preferred to entertain at home. He’d outline elaborate menus and Mom would produce bountiful spreads of fabulous food. When we moved to Naperville, they joined a gourmet group, and Mom’s skills increased anew. If you’ve ever had a place at her table, you’ll agree that Mom was a culinary genius and made being a hostess look effortless.

New Year’s Eve usually found our house filled with neighbors and friends, groaning boards of food and a bar full of generous cocktails. Keith, Heidi and I would sit at the top of the stairs and listen to the happy hum of congenial conversations and occasional raucous laughter. The nights almost always concluded with friend Marcia Cortese banging out “Onward Christian Soldiers” in march time on the upright piano in the living room, with all the guests singing lustily out of tune, Mom’s voice the loudest and most off-key of all.

New Year’s morning would find all the revelers back in our kitchen in pajamas, robes and slippers scarfing up the leftovers from the night before and slurping mimosas and Bloody Marys, rehashing the fun of the night before and extending the party until well past noon.

Not only was the house filled with Mom and Dad’s friends, it was filled with their children’s friends, as well. Mom provided a listening board and source of good advice to many, and always kept their confidences. She provided homemade goodies and homespun wisdom in equal measure. It is a source of pride to my brother, sister and me that our home was the desirable place for friends to congregate and our mom was the cool mom every kid in the neighborhood admired and trusted.

Mom and Dad provided a safe to land when we needed it. At one time or another, Keith, Heidi and I, and later Keith’s son Chris, moved home to regain our feet, financially and emotionally. She’d fill us up with good food and loads of encouragement, then she’d give us a gentle shove out the door when she felt we were ready to test our wings again. We all tested her patience, but never her faith in us. We might stumble, but she was always there with a steady hand to help us up again.

When Daddy retired, Mom made it know that she’d gotten along very well over the years with her own friends and interests, and that Daddy had better make a few friends and get a few interests of his own. Unbeknownst to Dad, she marshaled one of his friends into getting Dad into Kiwanis and out of her hair on a regular basis. It was, I think, the making of their wonderful, though too short, retirement years together.

In Florida, Mom and Dad indulged their shared passion of golf, and joined the Palm Aire Country Club, where they made many new friends. Again, they found a new church where both were active, and more new friends.

It could have been a crushing blow for Mom when Dad was diagnosed with leukemia, but Mom shouldered the burden and stood by Daddy as his rock. She never wavered in her love and devotion to him, and their generosity to others came back a hundred-fold in the support they received from family, friends and church.

After his death, she plunged right back into life, socializing, doing good works and taking care of others. She took joy where she could find it.

She also pursued the love of travel and friendships she’d developed from the business trips Dad had taken her on over the years. She overcame her fear of sailing and became an inveterate cruise enthusiast. Over the years, Mom traveled across the country, through Europe, Mexico and the Caribbean, making friends easily everywhere she went.

Then cancer came a-calling upon our family again, and it was a scary, scary time. After it was discovered that her lung cancer was inoperable, Mom said she didn’t want any more treatment. Doctors said she had six months to a year at most to live. When she recovered from the surgery here in Illinois, she went back down to Florida and, remarkably, found an oncologist who talked her into chemo and radiation therapy. Our scrappy mom was once again in full fighting fettle, and beat cancer she did for over five years.

These years brought not only more travel, but two more grandchildren, Charlie and JoeƩ, who brought Mom much joy. It also brought the surprising and much welcomed addition of my own daughter to the family fold. In recent months, Christopher presented Mom with her first great grandchild, Arianna. Nothing made Mom happier than being surrounded by family.

And surrounded by family she was, when cancer made its final call. These past few months have not been easy, but not one of her children would take a moment of it back. As she slipped in and out of reality, you’d occasionally still see flashes of her great spirit.

As she and I were chatting one day recently, she asked me what I thought would happen after she died. I said, “I don’t know, Mom. What do you think will happen?”

She said, “I don’t know, but I hope I get to meet my Lord. It’s my dearest wish.”

I said, “I think you’ve got that one pretty well sewn up, and I think you’ll find a lot of people you miss waiting for you there.”

Cancer is a terrible disease, and, while you hope for the best, sometimes you know that best that you want is simply not possible. I recently read a passage in Debbie Macomber’s book, Someday Soon, that touched a deep chord:

“With faith the size of an avocado pit, I expected God to heal Michael. He did, of course, but not in the way I anticipated. Michael’s free of illness now. It took me a long time to understand that.”
I found great comfort in that sentiment, and I do believe that Mom is now healed, whole and with her Lord and Savior… and with all the other good souls, including my father, who have gone before her.

Finally, if you knew my mother, you knew of her deep and abiding love of music of all kinds. In another of our recent chats, I asked Mom what her favorite song was, and I think it’s appropriate to say farewell to her with some of its words. The song is a tune from the 1930’s called “Auf Wiedersehen, My Dear”:

I know my heart won’t beat again
Until the day we meet again.
Sweetheart, goodbye, auf wiedersehen.
Auf wiedersehen, my dear.



Who knew...

... Walrilla had a doppelganger?

(Found here. Celebrity silliness from the good folks at I Can Haz Cheezburger?)

Go, Cubs, go! (Even if you're not from Chicago, this song will get your toes tapping.)

I think I've died and gone to crossword heaven.

A couple of Blogthings, because I can't resist:

What Your Playing Cards Tell About Your Future

Right now you are focused on your internal emotions, including a bit of pain and suffering.

Your emotions are currently tied to an upcoming event. It could be a ceremony, party, or celebration.

Your closest friend always can cheer you up... whether it's through flattery, funny stories, or simply just being there.

The near future will bring a new competitor or rival - in business or love. This person may seem like a friend at first.

Beware of some very bad news. This may mean the loss of someone close - or the loss of a close relationship.

Your Issue Profile: 28% Obama, 72% McCain

When it gets down to it, you tend to best match John McCain.

But he's not the perfect candidate for you, and you may not be sold on him yet.

Obama shares a good number of your views too, so you might want to give him a second look.

It all comes down to which issues matter to you the most.

And just to show you how accurate that one was, how about this?

You are a

Social Moderate
(56% permissive)

and an...

Economic Moderate
(50% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also : The OkCupid Dating Persona Test


This looks to me to be a severely inbred Devon Rex. That breaks my heart to see, and I'd sure like to know who the breeder is that is doing such a disservice to the breed. That's just not right.

Speaking of that's just not right, if this doesn't convince you that PETA people are nuts, nothing will. Yeesh.

Hah! I'm going to live forever.

A Glance in the Rear-View Mirror

My sister, SIL, BIL and I met with the pastor last night to discuss the deets of the upcoming memorial service for the Princess Mom.

Pastor Cindy mentioned that a baby girl was born to TPM's church family on the morning of the day that TPM exited. She was talking about the whole spirituality thing about God always seems to be balancing things out, a new life coming in as an old one checks out, etc., etc... and then she happened to mention that the baby had been named something in Sanskrit that means "patience and endurance."

I just about spewed my coffee across the kitchen table at that one.

When my sister cocked a brow at me I said, "Well the Lord got it at least half right with the new replacement."

I'll remind you of the story found here and here, and let you decide which of those two virtues she received from TPM... and which one she most certainly did not.

Tootin' the Horn

Rachel Lucas may think cats are assholes... but I have to tell you, cat bloggers are not. Between the loss of the Divine Miss Marilyn and the loss of the Princess Mom, my many friends in the cat blogosphere have been nothing but wonderful in reaching out with prayers and empathy.

As my fuzzy friend Sammy says:

I am thankful for all of our wonderful furriends in the cat blogosphere. No matter what happens, good or bad, we all pull together and support and love each other.

Yup. And I thank each and every one of them.

All that being said, occasionally, Rachel is right:

more animals

... and...

(via Mike)

Then again, sometimes the asshole is definitely not the cat.

The Mom Update

Here's the scoop: my family will be holding a memorial service for her at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 27th at Knox Presbyterian Church in Naperville. I'll be delivering the eulogy, so if I don't blog much about her in the next few days, it's because I'm concentrating on doing the best job I can for her on the 27th. And I promise it won't be sad... or boring.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to either Naperville Heritage Society or St. Thomas Hospice would be appreciated greatly.

It tickles me to think that TPM can now listen to one of her favorite artists sing perform one of her favorite hymns "live" and in person.

The Mom Update

The Princess Mom slipped away at about 3:00 yesterday afternoon.

Thanks from the bottom of my heart for all your thoughts and prayers.

I'll have more info for you tomorrow.

The Mom Update

I'm going home tonight to pack a suitcase, and I'll be commuting between the office and my brother's house for the foreseeable future.

The Princess Mom has made her way up to her bedroom on her own steam, but it doesn't look like she'll be coming down on her own again. She's sleeping almost around the clock, and she's hardly eating a thing. She's in that twilight place. We've made sure she's got someone with her all the time (my turn is the night shift), and now we're just trying to make her comfortable.

When we were kids, we made the hikes between Chicago and Cleveland and between Chicago and Boston via the family station wagon. Unlike kids today with their video games and DVD players, we passed the miles by playing "I Spy" and looking for as many different state license plates as we could find and waiving at convoys of Army Reserve troops heading out to weekend maneuvers. And singing, always singing. (Well, Daddy, my sibs and I. TPM couldn't carry a tune in a strongbox.) Here's one that she loved to hear us sing:

Appropriate, I think.


On every single level, this is too creepy for words. Yick.

Giggle of the Day for the Straight White Guy (wherever the heck he's off to at the moment):

see more puppies

You think I kid about Governor Give-Away? Here's his latest insanity:
The list is many: a Democratic Party acting too "narrow minded," a veteran Democratic House Speaker who acts like a "right-wing Republican," lawmakers who spend like "drunken sailors," a "Soviet-style bureaucracy" at the State Board of Education, lobbyists who "shuffle around in Gucci loafers."

Now, add to Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich's celebrated list of villains the latest: the Chicago Transit Authority, whom he labels as a "dishonest" bunch guilty of "mismanagement" that takes its "marching orders…directly from City Hall."
He made that whole stinking mess, and now he blames it on everyone but himself. Scuzzball.

Thank goodness the local lefty rags are finally on to him:
It's questionable what Blagojevich might be able to accomplish, however. The governor's comments about the CTA might have a sharper sting if voters hadn't ridden this railroad before. And given the governor's track record, he may be the only politician in the state who could make people have sympathy for the city's beleaguered transit agency. [Emphasis mine.]

Before people start piling on Sarah Palin too hard, perhaps they should take a look at the other shining example of a sterling running mate.

Neither candidate is perfect. The VP candidate debates ought to be eye-opening. Just deal with it.

Ear Worm of the Day:

Between the lousy weather here, the anticipated big blow in the south, and coming on the heels of the anniversary of 9/11, this seemed just about right.

Tootin' the Horn

Another thing to never forget -- my BlogDaddy's birthday! (Hope it's happy, Kevin!)

Never Forget

I remember where I was and how I felt on that horrible day.

I talked on the phone last night with one of my favorite bloggers, a New Yorker, who sums it up so well here.

How many people started blogging that day, or soon after? And how many of us found one another online in telling our stories, expressing our horror, refinding our national pride, demanding action? The blogging community as we know it now really began that day, I believe. It was not enough to reach out to those closest to us; it was important to reach out to the world. We did, and we continue to do so to this day. We tell our stories so that no one will ever forget.

I pass by City Hall on my way to the train every morning, and it is rare to see any activity there at 7:30 a.m. Today, however, there was a freshly washed and waxed fire truck, a representative from the Army, reps from the local VFW, and pressed, polished and spit-shined representatives from our police force and fire fighters. The oldest VFW member held a folded American flag, and it was clear that there was going to be a remembrance ceremony.

Then I pictured the same thing happening in cities and towns, large and small, all across America.

I wept again for the souls lost that day.


This reminds me of my GrandDog:

see more puppies

Not the breed, but the personality. CancunAnne will no doubt find this as hilarious as I did!

Speaking of CancunAnne... as I mentioned, I had a really nice visit with her, MMPC, the Princess Mom and the rest of my family on Saturday evening.

One standout moment?

CA, TPM, MMPC and I were watching the BMW Championship (golf, for those of you not in the know). Camilo Villegas came strolling down the fairway and this little conversation ensued:

CA: Wow! He's got a really nice butt.

MMPC: Mom!

Myself: Yeah. Skinny legs, but definitely a nice butt.


TPM: You know, now that you mention it, he does have a nice butt.

MMPC: Barbara!

It was the first time she's called me "Mom," and it was priceless.

Giggle of the Day:

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Remember my rants about Governor Give-Away and the serious damage he was doing to public transportation in Illinois?
The CTA provided almost 92,000 free rides each day in August to senior citizens, the highest total since Blagojevich mandated the change effective March 17. Previously, seniors paid reduced fares and took about 63,000 rides per day.

In addition, active military personnel and disabled veterans are taking about 2,500 free rides a day on the CTA due to action by the
Chicago City Council.

Furthermore, an executive order recently signed by Blagojevich extended the free rides to low-income disabled people. That could result in an additional 8 million free rides each year, the CTA said.

All the free rides and lost state subsidies total more than $30 million in lost revenue to the transit agency this year, Huberman said. The revenue loss is expected to grow to $66 million next year, he said.
Even the lefty Chicago newspapers have had enough:
So, just months after Blagojevich—and the Illinois legislature—helped bail the CTA out of a budget crisis, they are shoving the CTA back into a crisis.

The freebie circus has to stop. Otherwise, everybody's going to wind up back in Springfield, arguing over how to save the CTA and other transit systems in the state. And nobody wants to take that trip again.
The Illinois GOP really needs to be grooming an outstanding candidate for the next election. This guy is seriously scary.

This is a terrific policy:
Starting Monday, every dog and cat adopted from the largest animal shelter on Long Island will come with a microchip embedded in its skin. It's a quick procedure that can help reunite families with their lost pets.
Why isn't every shelter doing this? It's cheap and effective. (And if you haven't had your dog or cat chipped, why not?)

Because I needed a couple of Blogthings, and these seemed just about right:

You Are Somewhat Closer to Your Family

Your family isn't perfect, but you wouldn't trade them for another family.
And when it matters, your family is there for you.
You have great friends, and your friends do play an important role in your life.
But with your family, your connection is deeper and stronger than it could ever be with friends.

... and...

You Are Totally Like Your Mom

You and your mom are practically clones.
You think alike, and you even seem to read each other's minds.
You're definitely you're mother's child... and that's just fine with you.


Black Humor Giggle of the Day:

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I really liked this prayer:
Blessed be the works of your hands, O Holy One.
Blessed be these hands that have touched life.
Blessed be these hands that have nurtured creativity.
Blessed be these hands that have held those in pain.
Blessed be these hands that have embraced with love.
Blessed be these hands that have planted new seeds.
Blessed be these hands that have tended gardens.
Blessed be these hands that have harvested ripe fields.
Blessed be these hands that have prepared nourishing food.
Blessed be these hands that have cleaned, washed, mopped, scrubbed.
Blessed be these hands of children and their parents.
Blessed be these hands that have become knotty with age.
Blessed be these hands that are wrinkled and scarred from doing justice.
Blessed be these hands that have reached out and been received.
Blessed be these hands that have remained open.
Blessed be these hands that hold the promise of the future.
Blessed be the works of your hands, O Holy One.
Adapted from Diann Neu’s Affirmation
(A tip of the cap and belated birthday wishes to Susan Palwick.)

The Mom Update

We had a lovely visit this weekend. MMPC, her husband, mom and dad came for dinner at my brother's house last night, and the Princess Mom was perky and present for most of it. I think, however, the window for such good visits is shortening greatly.

According to hospice guidelines, it won't be long now:

One to Three Months Prior to Death

  • Withdrawal from world and people [check]
  • Decreased food intake [check]
  • Increased sleep [check, check, check]
  • Going inside self [check]
  • Less communication [check]

One to Two Weeks Prior to Death

  • Disorientation [check -- sporadic, but increasing]
  • Agitation [check -- especially if there's too much noise or activity around her]
  • Talking with Unseen [check, if you count the Heavenly Humane Society]
  • Confusion [check -- not regular, but occasional]
  • Picking at Clothes
  • Physical Changes
    • Decreased blood pressure
    • Pulse increase or decrease
    • Color changes; pale, bluish
    • Increased perspiration
    • Respiration irregularities [check]
    • Congestion [check]
    • Sleeping but responding
    • Complaints of body tired and heavy [check]
    • Not eating, taking little fluids [check -- we could only get breakfast into her yesterday. No telling what she'll do today, but she's mentioned more than once that food has lost its appeal.]
    • Body temperature hot/cold [check -- she's always got to have a blanket and slippers now]
She's told me, my brother and SSIL repeatedly that she's tired and she's ready to die. We gently tell her that we know, and that it's okay. She did tell me that she's afraid to sleep alone at night because she doesn't want to die alone, so now I sleep in with her when I'm there.

She went to church today specifically so that she could take communion. I think she'll be at the Lord's banquet table soon. And you know what? That's okay. She's ready, and we are, too.


Quote of the Day:
And the truth is, America, indeed the modern world, has lost its way. Read research from sociologists if you want. Study academic journals over a pricey Latte. Wax poetic about the masses and their struggles, about the judgmental ‘religionists.’ Seek higher taxes as if money were the balm for all suffering. Tell jokes about drugs and sex; watch some porn, take your daily antidepressant. Relax over a glass of wine and plan ways to make America even more free, more fair, more progressive. But take it from a guy down in the mud, it’s a hurting world; and hurt all the more by social revolutions that led, ultimately, to immeasurable individual disasters; see nowhere more clearly than in the emergency department of your local hospital.
Great, great stuff.

(A tip of the cap to GruntDoc.)

Well, it's about time! It sure would be nice of the Illinois GOP would offer up a better candidate than Alan Keyes, Jim Ryan or the ubiquitous (and obnoxious) Jim Oberweiss for a change.

Non-TV people fall into three categories:

That ain't necessarily so... and I'm proof of that.

Another of the Princess Mom's favorites (and one that I've dedicated to her at karaoke competitions because it reminds me of the love my parents shared):



Seems those ED remedies really do lead to mind-blowing sex. Heh.

(A tip of the cap to Doc Gurley.)

Governor Give-Away is at it again. Jeebus. It's no wonder the Illinois state budget is so out of control.

On my way back into the city from my brother's house on Sunday, I got off the Metra train and headed down the platform into Union Station. As I was walking briskly along, I noticed a black couple walking ahead of me with their two children. The mother and daughter walked hand in hand just ahead of the dad and the six- or seven-year-old son. Just as I started to pass the dad and son, the little boy reached out and grabbed my hand. He started swinging it happily. I looked down, and he gave me a big, slow, happy grin. Yes, he knew what he was doing. I returned the big-ass grin and told him it had been a long time since a handsome young man had held my hand.

His dad, startled, looked over in amazement and laughed.

My little friend and I held hands all the way to the end of the platform, and then waved good-bye.

There are angels everywhere. Sometimes they really do reach out and hold your hand just when you need it most.



Here's an ultra-cool quiz nabbed from Disappearing John, RN:

Your result for The Perception Personality Image Test...

HFPC - The Photographer

Humanity, Foreground, Big Picture, and Color

You perceive the world with particular attention to humanity. You focus on what's in front of you (the foreground) and how that fits into the larger picture. You are also particularly drawn towards the colors around you. Because of the value you place on humanity, you tend to seek out other people and get energized by being around others. You like to deal directly with whatever comes your way without dealing with speculating possibilities or outcomes you can't control. You are in tune with all that is around you and understand your life as part of a larger whole. You are a down-to-earth person who enjoys going with the flow.

Compared to other takers

  • 40/100 You scored 0 on HumanityToNature, higher than 40% of your peers.
  • 52/100 You scored 1 on BackgroundToForeground, higher than 52% of your peers.
  • 96/100 You scored 13 on DetailsToBigPicture, higher than 96% of your peers.
  • 30/100 You scored -2 on ColorToShape, higher than 30% of your peers.

How everyone did

  • HumanityToNature Distribution HumanityToNature
  • BackgroundToForeground Distribution BackgroundToForeground
  • DetailsToBigPicture Distribution DetailsToBigPicture
  • ColorToShape Distribution ColorToShape

The Perception Personality Types:


Take The Perception Personality Image Test at HelloQuizzy


A few LOLcats that remind me of my bloggy pals:

Miles and Sammy:

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more animals

And this one just for shits and giggles:

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This one, too:

see more puppies

Nope. Not crying yet.

The Mom Update

The Princess Mom's health is going downhill fast, and, to make matters worse, she took another fall in the wee small hours of the morning on Friday and gave herself a helluva gash on the back of her head. My brother and SSIL hauled her off to the emergency room at around 4:00 a.m.

The doctors wanted to do a CAT scan, but my brother put the kibosh on that.

"She may have intercranial bleeding, you know!"

"Yeah. She's also under hospice care and has a DNR. Stitch her up and send her home."

Eleven stitches later, they did just that.

I know that may come off as harsh, but it's not. We promised her no more tests and no more overnight hospital stays, and we deliver on our promises.

She's half of this world and half of the other... and it greatly pains her when she realizes she's been in and out of reality.

"I'm tired of this torture. You don't know how much I hate this."

"I'll tell you what, Mom -- if you're tired and it's time to go, just close your eyes and go. Don't worry about us, because you've done a wonderful job and we know what to do. We'll take care of each other. I promise you, we'll take care of each other."

Yes, it was not an easy weekend.

On the other hand, wherever she is when she's off in the ether, she does come up with an occasional pip. This weekend's winner was her insistence that my brother and SSIL are getting not one, but two cats soon.
  1. Brother and SSIL are dog people;
  2. SSIL doesn't dislike cats... but she does dislike litter boxes intensely;
  3. TPM insists that the Wheaton Humane Society called them up and informed them that they were giving them two cats and that they had to take them. (Not bloody likely.)
She's adamant about this. I'm personally coming around to the idea that maybe it's the Heavenly Humane Society that's come a-knockin', and that the Divine Miss Marilyn and her litter sister (who was always TPM's favorite) will be there to greet her on the other side. I hope so, anyway.

I expect to get the phone call saying the end is near any day now. If the blog goes silent for a bit, it's because I'm off to see TPM off to glory.