Catching Up (In the Middle of the Night)~

Just loaded 21 pug icons Charlie made me today. So cute! Unfortunately, this leaves me with only four spots left for new icons, which won't be enough. And I cannot choose what icons to delete. Icon Crisis!

Took Sister Sue to the dentist this morning to have a bunch of her teeth pulled. She was a trooper, despite the horrible traffic and the fact we had to go to the pharmacy and wait around to get her pain pills. Don't get me started on why the dentist can't make sure you have the pills IN ADVANCE so you don't have to do this, narcotics or not. And I couldn't believe how weird the woman acted about the fact I couldn't hang around and take care of Sue afterward. "She needs ice packs," she told me. I was sitting there in the tiny lobby, working on editing a book that's due to the publisher in three weeks. "She has an ice-maker at home. I have to get back to work," I said. I heard her go back to Sue and tell her, "She says she has to go back to work," like I was lying or something.

Listen, I'm happy to take time off during the day for my sisters. I do it whenever I can. It's my top priority, and they both know it. But I have a lot of work to do, even in the summertime. If I'm out (on vacation or sick or whatever), I know I have to make up the time somewhere. There's nobody who can take over for me, and the work waits until I get it done. I really don't mind that I had to stay at work until nearly 8:00pm tonight, because I'd be there that late ANYWAY. But I didn't appreciate being made to sound like I was leaving my sister in the lurch.

It's hard to see someone you love suffer in the first place. And it's harder still to drive them around while they're suffering. Still, as is often the case, it turned into a joke for us. Sue couldn't talk and when she did, I couldn't understand her. So she was writing stuff out on a pad of paper, and I was reading her notes when we stopped for lights. Then when we were sitting at the pharmacy, we managed to have a hilarious conversation about why it takes so long to slap a label on a prescription and count out 15 pills, despite the fact Sue couldn't even talk!

Anyway, this day overall was long and annoying, even without being held up in construction traffic four times this morning. The good news is, even though it's almost 3:00am, I did get the first five chapters of the book reviewed (why has he only made half of the changes I gave him from Chapter One?) *and* I held an important internal meeting this afternoon with the Communications team. We've already put together a great schedule for our big projects next spring. And I managed not to be a complete bitch, despite my impatience about a couple subjects.

Missed mentioning Dad's birthday on Monday, August 6. He would have been 92, but thankfully he's tooling around heaven instead.

And later I'll do a post about Sister's Day, which was Sunday. This should be a bigger holiday!

And I need to catch up on the Olympics. I've been spamming Facebook about it. There are so many stories, so much drama, so much pathos, so much exhilaration. Big news today: Missy and Keri won their third Olympic gold! Go, Girls Over 30!


Great Scot!

What a Gold Medal performance! Loved seeing the Facebook posts, like the one from Rafa congratulating Andy, Roger and Juan Martin ... and ESPECIALLY Andy!

(Got the Silver in Mixed Doubles, too, which is a nice bonus!)

(Nice ad from adidas to celebrate.)

workout (betty boop) : charliemc

Strength Has Many Meanings~

In just a few hours, Queen Underwood will become the first American woman to enter an Olympic boxing ring. I guess she's not expected to win, since she's taking on a great British champion. But she'll make history, just the same.

Queen is from the Pacific Northwest--Seattle, to be exact--and she's become well known for her strength, not just physical. She and her older sister were both physically and sexually abused by their father repeatedly, until they had the courage to tell their mother and were removed from his 'care.' He served six years in prison for the abuse.

Queen has also worked as a woman in the construction world, a pipe-fitter, I believe. No doubt this took a lot of courage and strength as well.

I'm not a fan of boxing, but I'm going to be pulling for Queen. Hers is the kind of Olympic story that inspires, especially when you're looking for a story about breaking ground and breaking through.

Go, Queen!

alfred hand-on-face

The Tweet Smell of Success~

Dear Olympic Athletes:

It's wonderful that so many of you have those fancy smart phones and are nimble enough with your fingers and your thoughts to be able to comment immediately about what's on your minds, even while your pulse rates are still racing with your Olympian efforts. Your followers have their phones ready to receive those thoughts and are poised to check them out, to interrupt their lunches and meetings and kids' birthday parties to see what it is you have to say.

Probably most of them are hoping you won't say something stupid.

I'd like to point out that the phone is called "smart" because it's able to do some really cool things. But it's not really smart. It can't do your thinking for you. And most importantly, it's not wise. And for the most part, neither are most of you. Since the majority of you are too young to have gained anything that even remotely resembles wisdom, you might want to consider some tactics to avoid continual controversy, embarrassment and even scandal.

Tell your friends or family FIRST about what you're feeling. No, not your two million friends on Facebook--your actual friends. Try out your comments on other human beings before you broadcast them to the Multitudes. Allow your successes or failures to flow through your own being before you float them out to cyber space.

Go ahead and defend your teammates, if you feel they've been slighted or ignored! Show them your support to their faces somewhere that's becoming all-too-rare in today's world: A Private Place. Someday you may have the chance to confront a detractor in person and give him or her a piece of your mind. If so, go for it. But don't try to do it with a pair of stumbling thumbs.

Yes, even when you aren't texting or tweeting, you will still say and do stupid things, things you wish you could take back. Your hubris or envy or even spite might come out in an interview, considering those microphones are stuffed in your faces before the sweat on your brow has time to finish dripping in your eyes. The media will have personified you and re-named you before you finish showering.

There doesn't seem to be anything we can do about that.

But you can always smile and shake your head. Say you're sorry. Congratulate the ones who defeated you. Console the ones whose dreams you dashed. Be the bigger person, be a better person. For a couple weeks at least, try to live up to the Olympian ideal, the one that's existed a lot longer than your world record will.

We're glad for you that you won. We're sorry for you that you lost. We share your triumph and your pain. That's why we care enough to watch. Believe it or not, we can actually imagine what you're feeling in those intense moments. And most of us prefer imagining it to reading it on the internet.

Use your phone to call the people at home who didn't have the time or the bucks to travel to London. That phone is smart because it's got all those numbers programmed in, and it can reach across the miles--around the curve of the Earth--and take your tearful voice with it! It can probably also surf and find contact information for your grade school history teacher, the one who first forced you to sit in a stuffy room while he or she tried to fill your imagination with scenes of the Ancient Olympics, while you were fidgeting in your straight-backed chair, itching to get outside and run around in the open air.

You were born to jump and run and swim and throw and shoot, spike and spar. You were born to compete. And we all hope that if nothing else, you've done the latter well.

Call Grandma with that smart phone.

Then put it away until after the Games are over.

Thank you.


Olympic Tennis is Golden~

I'm not even going to let myself contemplate Murray winning the gold medal there in England during the London Olympics. This year's Wimbledon final was painful enough. I can't take the disappointment. Maybe he'll medal.

Still, I loved watching him play the first round of mixed doubles with the Brit chick, Robson. She was starting to melt at the end, but they pulled through. Fun!

And I won't wish for Maria to win gold either, because after she pulled out the French, I told myself I'd never care again if she won or lost. She has all four Grand Slams, and that's good enough. Still, I'll find it hard to believe if she doesn't medal, as she's all but guaranteed at this point.

Serena should win, if all goes according to form. But you never know with Serena. Sometimes she inexplicably crumbles. I believe the Williams sisters already have two golds in women's doubles, and they'll probably get another there.

I guess Rog has earned an individual gold. Rafa is resting his knees, and he already won gold four years ago. And Djokovic can win in Rio.

The best thing about Olympic tennis is that it's all been LIVE on Bravo. I just hope the coverage of the finals--which is on NBC--will also be live. I wonder if McEnroe or some other first string commentator will do the broadcast. Nothing against Justin Gimelstob and Renane Stubbs, but yeesh.

For the first time this year I got to see the men's semifinals from Wimbledon as it was happening, because the All England Club ousted NBC in favor of ESPN. It was so sweet. You wouldn't think it would be that big a deal in this day and age, but I actually never thought it would happen in my lifetime.

(Have I mentioned lately that I HATE NBC?)

Anyway, it's been far more enjoyable than I anticipated. And isn't it perfect that it coincided with my vacation week, so I could happily watch (or even snooze through) the 4:00am to noon coverage every day? Bonus!


Catwoman Rises~

So, I spent much of my childhood as Catwoman. We were DC Comics kids, and she was not only a great character in the Detective and Batman comics, I loved the Julie Newmar portrayal on the old Batman TV series. She managed to be both camp and poignant at the same time, unabashedly in love with Batman while unable to control her nefarious impulses.

And she was gorgeous, with a figure that defied the laws of nature.

I was scrawny and far-from-sexy. But I was game, and I had a good imagination. And I was willing to use my fake knock-out gas to capture Batman and Robin (Johnny from the neighborhood and Charlie) and lock them up in our hot garage to wither during a summer afternoon.

In our games, Catwoman always won.

I groaned when I heard Nolan was putting Catwoman in the final installment of his trilogy. Oh, no! I have pretty much hated all the other portrayals of Catwoman over the years. And I expected to feel the same about this one.

When I saw that the Catwoman costume in TDKR was going to emulate the one that once was so well worn by the well-endowed Newmar, I was thrilled. And afraid. How could Anne Hathaway--a nice but not very alluring actress--hope to fill those ... er ... shoes?

When I saw her on the screen, she was nothing less than a revelation. Those big brown eyes, those ridiculously long limbs, those soft, real breasts and those luscious red lips... And she could really act, could really make us care! For me, Catwoman stole the show.

Forget Rachel.

Selina the Cat is a perfect match for our tortured hero.

And I certainly never expected to say that!

sunny blue sky (animated)

Reality Writing~

I had a very realistic dream this morning that I had pounded out two really quick Dark Knight fanfics. I think I was writing them at my laptop at the beach.


This is going to be prophecy!

I have got to get my hand back in it, inspiration or no. Some of my best stories have come when I was totally lacking in a real inspiration.

Maybe a nice long ride in the sunshine will fill my mind with ideas.


Shattered Dreams ~

It broke my heart watching a 17-year-old girl's dreams shattered in London today. I couldn't help thinking back to being in my 20s and losing a job I really wanted, and how terrible I felt for a time. I was as close to 'depressed' as I've ever been, because I thought this particular job would really make me happy.

Years later, I'm amused by my reaction. And the result of losing that job was the action that took me back to the place I currently work, the place I first worked right out of high school for a couple seasons, then later returned to after college. The rest is history, at least for me.

Because of that loss, I gained. But even when it was happening and I was hurting, I knew it was just a moment in time. My own failure. Witnessed by nobody but those who knew me best.

I have a feeling Jordyn Wieber will never look back on today's loss as anything but a devastating end to her life plans. I dread the thought that she'll go on to a 'real life' of bitterness or something even worse, as she's now been denied the opportunity to become America's darling, the latest athletic munchkin to become a beloved pitchman (or pitch-chick) for feminine hygiene products and the Breakfast of Champions.

And, of course, there's that desire to win. To be the best. To hold that individual gold medal in those determined, calloused fingers.

And let's, for a minute, allow ourselves to bitch about the system that denies the top 24 gymnasts to compete, head-to-head. For some reason only the top two of any national team are allowed to advance. I don't get that, but then I don't get any of it. Unless somebody falls off the beam or steps out of bounds, I can't tell if they did well without the accompanying histrionics of the experts. That doesn't make it any less interesting, of course. It's high drama and tension, even if you don't know the names or the backstories. Part of the time, I can barely watch, identifying with the poor parents who are digging fingernails into their scalps up in the stands.

Here's a scenario: How about the failed World Champion actually wins our hearts by sucking up her disappointment and showing her mettle in the team competition, out-scoring everybody in sight. How about she comes home after the Games and is lauded up there with the Best of the Best, recognized for her ability to overcome loss and make something great of her life. Maybe she becomes an example of that unsung hero of the Olympic Games, the proud competitor who redefines the concept of failure by glorifying the joy of participation for its own sake. Like IOC President Jacques Rogge said at the Opening Ceremonies:

And to the athletes, I offer this thought: Your talent, your dedication and commitment brought you here. Now you have a chance to become true Olympians. That honor is determined not by whether you win, but by how you compete. Character counts far more than medals.

If only character were as highly valued.