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And it’s 9:13 and I’m thinking about bed. Because I’m sleepy. And I’ve been sleepy almost all day.

The Cubs are done. Lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-1 to lose the division series 3-0. Swept.

I’m disappointed, but not overly so. Mostly because I have seen enough horrible seasons by the Cubs to appreciate one in which they go from worst to first. (Karl says, “It’s all about championships,” but I beg to differ. I want my team to win more of their 162 regular-season games than they lose, and then, if they can put together a postseason run, that’s even better.)

Mostly, I’m sad because Patti & Bob had tickets to tomorrow’s game. Plus Karl had gotten two tickets to the National League Championship Series. Oh, well.

I played tennis today. Not particularly well, but it felt good to get out on the court, even if it was surprisingly hot outside. I’m not going to complain, though: Soon enough, it will be annoyingly cold. (Sorry to keep bringing it up, but it’s true.)

[Just got a MySpace comment from Deb … and if that’s not enough to make a person smile, I don’t know what is!]

Speaking of MySpace: The Eurogliders FINALLY put the song “Heaven” on their site. Which just so happened to be one of the songs from that extra-cool mix tape I swiped from my sister sometime during the mid-1980s. (It also contained such songs as “Close to Me” by the Cure and “The Ghost in You” by the Psychedelic Furs … which reminds me: I STILL have no idea what happened to my Furs CD!) Anyhoo, I’m quite happy to be able to have “Heaven” playing on my site now that I’ve had to let “Go, Cubs, Go” go.

And I almost feel healthy. And, fortunately, I seem to have lost (or perhaps misplaced) that odd, overwhelming sense of dread I had been feeling.

Oh, and I’ve been having rather eventful dreams here lately. Sensual, even, plus the ever-present hint of adventure. (And no, I’m not taking any NyQuil or Benadryl prior to retiring for the evening. Like I’d even need it, sleepy as I’ve been.)

OK, I’m off to bed. After a few more minutes of TV. And a snack: 4 Hershey’s miniature candy bars and some skim milk. (I’m calci-loading.)

When my home phone rings, or my cell phone, the caller I.D. forewarns me who’s on the other end. I admit: Sometimes I don’t answer! (Oh, relax: I always answer if it’s you calling … especially if it’s on my cell phone; after all, only a select few have that number [read: anyone who’s ever asked for it].)

At work, though, there’s no screening of calls, so pretty much anyone who feels the need to call me, can. And does. Sometimes it’s over something I’ve written — like the time the old woman called me to complain about a column in which I’d used the term “old fart.” She wasn’t upset about me referring to senior citizens as “old farts,” however: She was pissed that I’d dared to use the word “fart” in the newspaper!

She ranted for a while, so I offered the closest thing I could think of to an actual apology: “Well, I’m sorry this upset you so much.”

“Huh!” she scoffed. “You don’t sound like you’re all that sorry about what you wrote!”

“Oh, I’m not sorry about that,” I admitted, “but I do wish I hadn’t upset you by writing it.”

(And that I wouldn’t have had to listen to you complain about it for the last 10 minutes!)

I had a similar phone call from a guy who owns a liquor store across town and the car wash on an adjacent lot. A few days earlier, when I’d walked over to the drive-up window to get change for the car wash (because the change machine was broken, and I was trying to wash my car! [said in Pee-Wee Herman, “I’m trying to use the phone!” tone o’ voice!] ), the girl working in the liquor store refused to give me any change … so I wrote a column about it. The owner, too, was unimpressed by my quasi-apology, but I couldn’t exactly say I was sorry I’d written something when I wasn’t. And: I wasn’t! The girl should’ve given me change!

Then there was the guy who called simply to gripe about my sports coverage — or lack thereof, as he saw it. Nevermind that the coach of the team had not once bothered to provide any statistics from the games; I suppose he assumed I could invent the results, utilizing my mad, magical skills?

“Your sports coverage is horrible!” the man yelled. “In a word: It sucks!”

Complete silence on my end; after all, “It sucks!” was, in fact, two words.

“That was two words, wasn’t it?” the man asked.

“Yeah, it really was.”

Conversation over. No way in h-e-double-toothpick was I going to apologize to him!

Yesterday, an elderly woman called regarding some kind of mix-up regarding payment for an obituary. For once, this wasn’t about something I’d written; matter of fact, it basically had nothing to do with me, aside from me being the person who had taken the obit information in the first place. Nevertheless, I got to listen to her gripe for about 10 minutes.

I had her laughing by the end of our chat, though, by which time the conversation had turned toward her own funeral plans. She said she’d considered cremation, then had decided against it, then thought she might go ahead and do it; either way, she’d have to let Bruce the Funeral Director know what her plans were because she’d already pre-paid for her funeral.

“Ah, it’s OK, you’ll never know what he does one way or the other. You’ll be long gone by then!” I told her.

“Oh, yes, I will,” she assured me.

She went on to tell me how she plans to stick around for such matters — and also how she’d planned to take matters into her own hands (literally) had she been the one to die before her husband did.

“I told him to make sure if I died and he remarried, he bought a new bed,” she told me, “because if he didn’t, every time he got an erection, I was going to put my cold hands around his penis!”

How do you respond to a statement like that?! (I think I told her I had a call on Line 2 [which I didn’t] or that I had to go take a picture [which I did, but not for another 15 minutes or so] or something.)

If you were me, right now, you’d be drinking a glass of skim milk. In a glass glass ’cause that’s how it’s best. Even though the milk container in the fridge is a plastic jug. Not that I can’t get milk in glass bottles; I certainly can and do, sometimes, at Farm Fresh. But then I always forget to take my bottle back, so I always have to pay extra ’cause I didn’t bring my bottle, and before you know it, I have four or five empty milk bottles stashed away, and it becomes a never-ending cycle ’cause: When am I ever gonna buy four or five gallons of milk, all at once? Never!

And now the cat has detected that I’m drinking milk, so she’s meowing at me. And I blow in her face, just to frustrate her a little more, ’cause I am NOT going to the kitchen to get her some milk just yet. Can’t she see I’m busy?

This has been a good day. Despite the crick in my neck that twinges every time I turn my head to the right (must’ve slept on it wrong, or perhaps it’s stress). And the fact that I spent the first four hours of my Saturday up at the office, working on the first two sections of a seven-section special edition that’s coming out over the next two weeks. I managed to complete one section and get about three-fourths of the way through the second, though, so I was rather pleased with my efforts. (I can finish up the second section Monday at work, so no need to go in tomorrow. Yay!)

After work today, I picked up two four-piece Chicken McNugget Happy Meals for Diane and me for lunch. What can I say, thanks to her, I am now sorta hooked on ’em. Mostly because, instead of being some kind of weird, gristle-y, pre-formed mixture of coated white and dark rubber, McNuggets are now crispy all-white pieces of something that actually resembles chicken. FAR superior to the so-called Chicken Selects, which, in my opinion, should be avoided at all costs. Put it this way: NO AMOUNT of sweet ‘n’ sour sauce can make those things taste good!

After lunch it was on to home for a bit to watch more basketball (I pretty much have NO CHANCE of winning the inter-office NCAA tournament, yet again, but damn: That Xavier-Ohio State game was certainly exciting!) before getting cleaned up and heading over to Leslie’s father-in-law’s 80th birthday party. Spent two wonderful hours seeing old friends and meeting new additions to the family.

After that, I headed back over to Diane’s to watch some more basketball, eat dinner and hang out. Then home to watch even more basketball whilst surfing. And catching an occasional glimpse of Titanic (God help me, I can’t resist it whenever it’s on!). And writing, just a little.

I’m tired enough to sleep, but Elaine and Snow Patrol are on SNL tonight, so I suspect I won’t be going to bed anytime soon. That’s OK, though, ’cause I don’t have to go to the office tomorrow.

Edit: Just 10 minutes into Saturday Night Live and I’m already laughing over Chris Rock’s opener, talking about how women have had the right to vote for 100 years and STILL have yet to elect a white woman president, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ monologue, which included her take on the panty-less Britney Spears — complete with a big patch o’ black fur between her legs.

Jane got me thinking, today, about openness.

She referred to it in her MySpace bloggie, which I’d link to, but unless you’re on her Friends list, you can’t get in, and if you are on her Friends list, you’ve probably already read her post, anyway.

It was sort of a tease post, really, ’cause she mentioned it and then she didn’t elaborate, which kinda made me think maybe she isn’t all that open … but then again, the mere fact that she brought it up for possible discussion, at some point, tells me that maybe she is.

Naturally, after considering for a bit whether I think Jane is an open person* or not, I asked myself the inevitable question: Am I an open person? (Yes, it’s ALL about me, eventually!)

The answer is: Sometimes I am, and sometimes I am not.

But, usually, I am.

I think it’s in my nature to be open. I don’t enjoy keeping a whole lot of stuff inside, and I would rather get it all out there, in the open, and deal with it. Which is not to say that I don’t have a tendency to ignore certain issues/topics that I simply don’t want to deal with, but, usually, if I’m thinking about something, I’m talking about it. To someone. It’s too much work to keep too much inside.

(There are times when I’ve probably been too open about certain topics. I’ve actually bored myself a few times, dwelling on this one or that. Yeah, there’s a point where too much openness is probably too much of a good [?] thing.)

Anyhoo, I was reminded of this Cowboy Junkies song that I really, really dig:

I’m So Open

Just outside there waiting
Just outside the circle
Waiting for that finger to point your way
Just keep running, just keep running
New ones quickly burning; old ones die away
Fires lit to say goodbye or hello
Which way you looking?
Which way you looking?

Count all wounds that brought you here
Lay your blessings end to end
Rid yourself of all regrets
Because here is where it all begins
A bumbler’s game, a cheaters wheel
Where the winner pays the highest cost
You’ve laid your marker, now watch the ball
Hold your breath; it’s about to fall

Just outside there waiting
Just outside the circle
Waiting there is someone, I don’t know who
I’m so open, I’m so open.

I don’t sleep most nights
Just lie awake and count my blessings
I’ll take this endless life of perfect pointless mornings
I’ll hold you ’til the morning comes ’cause it’s all that I can do.
I’m so open. I’m so open.
I don’t like these last goodbyes
I don’t like goodbyes.

Cowboy Junkies

So, yeah: I am an open book.

Whatchoo wanna know?

* — I’d say, yes, Jane is an open person. Except when she’s not.

Lately, there have been more photos than words.

Which is a good thing, actually, because, usually, this time of year, photos are relatively difficult to come by … or at least the desire to go outside and take them, thanks to the general blusteriness (sp? — or is that even a word?) of late winter. I truly don’t care for this season, but I am grateful to glance at my calendar and realize that it says March 4th (a soldier’s least favorite day!) rather than December or January or even February 4th.

I have lived in Illinois my entire life. The first half in Central Illinois, most of the second half in Southern Illinois. For the life of me, I cannot tell you why, other than: I just have.

Lately, life has been (mercifully!) uneventful. I have been somewhat preoccupied with money issues (who isn’t, really?), but no matter how bleak the outlook can be, at times, I constantly remind myself that things could be worse. And, for many people, they are worse … and I’m not even talking about financial problems, but rather, life in general.

Anyhoo, that’s all I got right now. Other than a mini-rant about how there was a full-moon lunar eclipse last night, but, naturally, it was cloudy here all evening and most of the night … until about 1 a.m. or so, maybe later (earlier?), when I awoke to see the full moon beaming through the blinds in the bathroom, nary a cloud in the sky at that point.

February 2020
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