Ode to the Sassy Bibliophile

Not sure how you did it

Teacher, mom, and writer too

Each day you somehow managed

Even with all you have to do


Thank you, Sonja

You encouraged me to write

Knowing someone was reading

Was like a guiding light


This challenge was tough

I was often flying blind

But you stuck with me

Remarks so thoughtful and kind


You don’t even know me

Yet you spoke to me each day

With your words and comments

I found my way


Thank you, Sonja

For your passion and zest

I wish I were half as good at commenting

You are the best!



Doctors Shouldn’t Make You Sick

March #SOLC17 Day 30


Since it was spring break, we thought that it was a good time to schedule an appointment with a new internist.  My husband, friend, and I each made an appointment with a new doctor.

Carrie and I were scheduled first.   Carrie was ready for her 8:30 A.M. time.  Apparently, Dr. No-name wasn’t.  She met with Carrie about 45 minutes later and began a one hour interview.  Luckily, Carrie had great blood tests results. That helped the discussion to flow well. In the end, Dr. No-name recommended that she not eat after 7:00 P.M.  That’s reasonable.

My turn was at 10:00 A.M., or so I thought.  We didn’t start our interview, or should I say interrogation, until a bit later.  To say the least, there were some issues with my bloods test results.  So, I accepted the fact that I would need to add a medication to my daily regimen.

Dr. No-name practically had my entire medical history at her finger tips in the computer.  However, she insisted on asking me about every detail of every surgery and medical procedure over and over again.  She asked a multitude of questions about my cancer treatments from nine years ago.

I was so frustrated and overwhelmed.  I just wanted to run like the wind and get out of there.  Instead, I still had my exam to get through.  Finally, Dr. No-name suggested a U-Haul worth of medication.  I turned most of it down.  She still entered into the system orders for me to make appointments with several specialists.

I left her office feeling like I had been chewed up and spit out.  When I got home, I explained what I went through to my husband.  Since he was meeting with next, I thought that I should give him a complete run down.

He told me that he was going to make an appointment with someone else.  His said that he was going to schedule a meeting with Dr. Mbogo who was Gomez Adams’ doctor from the Adam’s Family.  He said that Dr. Mbogo would dance around a little and spread a few herbs here and there.  Suddenly, all ailments would be healed.

Where o where is Dr. Mbogo today?  Modern medicine just can’t compete with the potions of a great medicine man.

A Life Well Lived

Mae West once said, “You only live once – but if you do it right, once is enough.”

I wonder, if she were alive today, would she feel that she did it right?  Would she be content?

Looking through history, her life was certainly not mundane.

Mae West was born at home in Bushwick, Brooklyn on August 17, 1893.  She was delivered by an aunt who was a midwife.   She was a “first” in so many instances.  She was clearly ahead of her time.

In her early years, she experimented with various personas, even one as a male impersonator.  Her trademark walk inspired several female impersonators that followed her.

In 1926, she wrote, produced, directed, and starred in a Broadway play entitled Sex.  Some religious groups filed complaints.  As a result, the police raided the theater, and Mae ended up in jail due to moral charges. While serving her time, she dined with the warden and his wife.  She served 8 of a 10-day sentence earning credit for 2 days because of good behavior.  The media attention enhanced her career and she became known as the darling “bad girl” who climbed the ladder wrong by wrong. Censorship of her dialogue continued to be her critical challenge throughout her career.

 Mae West was an early supporter of the women’s liberation movement.  She was also an advocate for gay rights as early as the 1920’s.  In the next decades, Ms. West wrote and starred in many more plays that led to controversy, as well as packed houses.

In 1932, Mae was offered her first movie role.  At 40 years old, she received a small part in a Paramount picture entitled Night After Night.  She was granted the authority to rewrite her scenes.  In her first scene, a hat-check girl exclaimed, “Goodness, what beautiful diamonds.”  Mae West responded with her rewritten line, “Goodness had nothing to do with it dearie.”  That line seemed to carve a place for her in film history. The star of the movie, George Raft commented, “She stole everything but the cameras.”

By 1935, Mae West was the highest paid woman and the second-highest paid person in the United States after William Randolph Hearst.  Can you believe it?  Woman are still fighting for this type of monetary respect today.  She continued to make movies for many years and worked with male counterparts such as Cary Grant and W.C. Fields.

In the 1950’s Mae West had her own Las Vegas hit show at the Sahara Hotel.  In 1958, West appeared at the Academy Awards and performed the song “Baby its Cold Outside” with Rock Hudson.  They received a standing ovation.  She released her autobiography Goodness had Nothing to Do with It in 1959.  Naturally, it was a best-seller.

As if all of this wasn’t enough, she appeared in multiple television shows, such as The Dean Martin Show, The Red Skelton Show, Mr. Ed, and The Dick Cavett Show.  She also had a 40-year recording career.  The April 18, 1969 issue of Life Magazine featured West at age 75.  The Beatles’ featured her likeness on their Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover.  At first, she refused because she couldn’t picture herself in a lonely hearts club. However, she was convinced after the band wrote her a letter describing their admiration for her.

In August of 1980, she tripped while getting out of bed.  She was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles where it was determined that she had a stroke.  It was a sad day on November 22, 1980.  Mae West died at the age of 87 years old.

Mae West was absolutely ahead of her time.  She would easily fit right into today’s society.

Hearing her quote and her story made me stop and ponder about my life for a moment.  Am I doing it right?  If today were my last day, would I feel content with my experiences, relationships, and accomplishments?  Is there anything that I would change?

I might not have had a life anywhere close to that of Mae West, but I think that she and I would both say, “living once is enough because we did it right by our own standards.”

Triangulating the Data

March #SOLC17 Day 28


A couple of weeks ago my computer bag broke.  As a result I started using a backpack to carry my laptop to and from home.  Last week, I felt a strain in my left arm and shoulder.  I thought that it would get better after a few days.  Instead, the agony increased hour by hour, until I could barely move my arm without experiencing shooting pain.

I tend to over compensate on my left side as I have lymphedema in my right arm after overcoming breast cancer.  So, I can understand that I open myself up to putting too much pressure on my strongest extremity.

Regardless of the insane pain, my friend and I still met at Nordstrom last Friday for triple-points day. (I sliced about it earlier.)  Anyway, my left arm couldn’t go above my waist.  You would think that I would call it quits.  Instead, I asked my friend, Carrie, to help me change and pull clothes on and off.  After all, the shirts must go on.

I explained my predicament to Julia, our sales person.  She said that she experienced something similar and told me that I injured my rotator cuff.  How fortunate to get fashion suggestions and a medical prognosis, all in one trip.

Not surprisingly, my arm felt worse than ever on Saturday morning.  The pain was so excruciating that I decided to go to the ER.  After 5 hours of tests, including an x-ray, EKG, CT scan, and an ultrasound, the doctor ruled out some possibilities.  She narrowed it down to a pinched nerve, bulging disc, or an inflamed rotator cuff.

It was reassuring to know that after all of those tests, Julia’s diagnosis was still in the running.

The ER doctor prescribed some Vicodin and Prednisone, which is something that Julia could not do for me.  The doctor also suggested that I make an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon.

Fortunately, I was able to see an orthopedic guy on Monday, thanks to a doctor friend.  He reviewed the disc with all of the imaging.  In addition, he had me do some movements that helped him determine the issue.  At the end of our session, the orthopedic expert concluded that I had an inflamed rotator cuff and possible tendonitis beneath it.  He recommended that I continue the Prednisone and attend physical therapy sessions for a few weeks.

In the end, I was happy to get all of the testing, analysis, and expert advice from the doctors.  But next time I may just swing by Nordstrom during Julia’s shift to get a preliminary diagnosis from her first.  And, I might pick up a few new outfits while I’m there.

Making a Difference Every Day

March #SOLC17 Day 27


Last week, I went with a friend to an appointment at the University of Chicago.  U of CAs we walked through the hallway we saw an interesting sign on the wall.  This sign was surrounded by pictures of staff who make a difference for patients every day. dd



There was one picture in particular that stood out to me.  It was of a woman who U of C 2worked in the cafeteria cleaning.  She referred to herself as “just a cleaner,” but her supervisor shared so much more.  She explained that Roberta goes out of her way to ask puzzled visitor’s if she can help them or answer questions.   People often ask about the menu, or she helps them with directions to other locations in the hospital.

When referring to hospitals, we often think of the contributions of doctors and nurses, but overlook so many others that make the somewhat anxious experience a little more comforting.  It was nice to see that members of the staff are recognized and appreciated at the hospital.

Between appointments, my friend and I went up to the Sky Lounge cafeteria for a bite to eat.  We ordered our lunch and looked around for Roberta.  We couldn’t find her.

So, we picked up our order and perused the area for a table.  We walked over to a nice one by the window.  Ironically, the table was really dirty.  There were no cleaning people in sight.  Hmm.  I walked to the counter, grabbed some napkins and water, and proceeded to clean our table.

Roberta must have had the day off.  She deserves it, but boy the whole place goes down hill when she’s not there!




Death of a Cannoli Salesman: Part Due

Today was the day!  Vinnie’s play Death of a Cannoli Salesman premiered at City Winery in Chicago! All of his friends and family showed up. Of course, we were at a table front and center.  The house was packed.  What a day!

Viniie Opening the Play

Vinnie introduced the play and held a bottle of wine with the name of the play on the label.  If purchased, the cast would sign it after the show.  Of course, I was counting on that one.

We enjoyed every minute of the show.  We laughed from the first line.  The actors were local and were really wonderful.


At intermission, something really amazing happened.  Vinnie started to thank the people that made this play happen.  He approached his girlfriend’s table and asked her to stand up.  As he stated his gratitude for being by his side, he took her hand and walked her to the center of the room in front of the stage.

With all eyes on him, Vinnie got down on one knee and proposed to Gwen, his girl, the love of his life.   She was stunned.  She had no idea that this had been planned.Vinnie Proposing 3

Thankfully, she accepted with tears of joy in her eyes.  The cast and audience cheered them on!

Vinnie propsing





Proudly he walked up to family members and provided bear hugs.  The shirt he exposed as he knelt down to pop the question had a diamond ring on it and said, “I cannoli be happy if you say yes.”

After intermission, the play wrapped up.  It was fantastic.  Vinnie received a well-deserved standing ovation.  Today, his dream of premiering his play came true.  Moreover, his dream of becoming an engaged man was also achieved.  What a beautiful day for Vinnie and such a fantastic day for a loving couple.  What a joy to observe!


March #SOLC17 Day 25


Triple points at Nordstrom means I drop everything and go. My friend and I met at the store directly from work the other day. We escalated up to our favorite department and promptly scanned the area for our valued saleswoman; Julia. Julia makes sure to call or text whenever these events occur.

Another sales lady approached us with a big smile and said, “Are you ladies Kathy and Carrie?”

We felt very special, she knew our names.

She went on to tell us that Julia had given her specific directions in the event that she was on her break when we arrived. This kind woman knew which dressing room we preferred and was fabulous in taking our clothes there for us.

Within 10 minutes Julia returned with bottles of water in hand and had already placed a few items that she thought we would like in the desired dressing room.  Fortunately, or unfortunately, we liked just about everything! We practically needed a U-Haul to get our items to the register!

Julia began ringing up Carrie’s purchases and without blinking an eye, another salesperson began ringing me up. What was even more impressive about this was that the woman was ringing on Julia’s number thus Julia still got credit for the sale.

I commented on how remarkable it was to see such teamwork. Their response…It’s all about making sure our customers feel valued and their time has been well spent.

When our purchase was complete and we each had multiple bags, both saleswomen quickly offered to help us carry our packages to the car.  Even though we didn’t take them up on it, we were astounded by their kindness.  That’s even more than teamwork -that’s compassion with passion.