Monthly Archives: February 2011

fritz and me

a lot of my facebook friends have entered my life because of my grandfather fritz leiber who was a great science fiction writer. he was the guy who had a story in every sci fi magazine, who put out a series of fafhrd and gray mouser as well as a lot of wonderful horror and fantasy books. federico cenci, who is getting his doctorate in literature about fritz, can tell you more. fede is my facebook friend from italy. he’s going to make me dinner one night.

because i was put up for adoption when i was three years old, i didn’t meet my natural family until i was twenty five. i met fritz at thanksgiving dinner in houston where my father justin lived in 1985.

i think fritz enjoyed having great-grandchildren. he fell ill in chicago on his way back to his home in san francisco from a science fiction convention in canada. i remember fritz holding eastman as if this baby was a treasure of untold value while my husband and i considered what to do in the hotel room fritz had booked himself into. margo, his new bride, wouldn’t fly in a plane. two fans were in attendance and they were flat broke. the hotel concierge was concerned. we sent margo, his wife, home to san francisco. i gave the fans two hundred bucks and said “watch over her”. i called justin, my father, from houston and stephen helped me put fritz in northwestern hospital in chicago. justin escorted fritz home in a plane to san francisco where fritz would later die.

and while we supposed adults–my husband, me, margo, two sci fi fans–worked it all out in the hotel room, joseph, four years old, explained to fritz how eastman worked: his sleep cycle, the things he liked to eat, his ear infection, how you could get eastman to smile. . . . fritz was mesmerized. i was supposed to be sort of in charge of the moment but i was the one who was not paying attention to the most beautiful part of things–fritz was.

a lot of my friends on facebook are from knowing fritz and then knowing me. i’m grateful.

mc kato concert tuesday night

a few weeks ago, my friend mc kato promised to perform a concert in my home to kick off the face to facebook year of meeting new friends.  then chicago got stuck with the worst snowstorm in years–i had a lot of champagne and appetizers i was forced to consume on my lonesome.  tomorrow kato’s going to give it another try and his new album glissando is going to be premiered. . . .  but if you click below, you can have the same experience.  just make sure you pour yourself a nice drink and settle back in a comfortable chair first. .. . .

i head for new york on thursday and my first stop will be to see richard “mop” furniss at the museum of sex.  i have considered the idea of having an “open” time to meet new facebook friends, say at a coffee shop in times square.  what would you think of that?

ole brasil! new friends, old friends, silver and gold!!!

boy, i was momentarily scared by the mention at and at  i felt a little overwhelmed, even a little made fun of. i assumed that i would get lots of snarky, sort of snide messages.  but no, i have been stunned.  new friends are just as wonderful and supportive as older (not in age, just in longevity) friends.

i’m naturally a stay at home sort.  i have been trying to personally respond to every friendship request and every message and i’m not doing a particularly good job, but i’m doing my best.  three hundred and thirty five friends, three hundred and sixty five days–i’m at forty four and although i got a little stranded by two people i was supposed to see over the weekend, i’m still on target. . .

i head for new york on thursday.  a plane–scary!  an itinerary of friends starting with richard “mop” furniss at the museum of sex.  sex???  i’m fifty years old, there’s no sex at fifty years old.  and friends–they are new and old, silver and gold!!!

olá! meus amigos novos do facebook!

olá! a meus amigos em Brasil! eu tenho quis sempre jogar na praia e ver o teatro da ópera de manaus e talvez pescá-lo para pirhanas e visitar lotes das esmeraldas de Salvatore, de Baía e de compra (se eu tive o dinheiro) dos fazendeiros de meu estado de origem de illinois estão agora em Brasil. minha primeira prioridade é visitar e ser com os amigos que eu tive janeiro em 1 do facebook, 2011.
prossiga por favor com meus viagem e quando eu terminei acima com os três cem e trinta e cinco amigos que eu comecei o ano com, mim partying no sao Paolo! e perdoe por favor meu não muito bom português! amor e abraços!

for my english speaking friends (or brazilians who think my portuguese is truly wretched), i am so excited by the encouragement i’m getting from south america!!

in the meantime, my facebook friend mc kato sent me some music he will be playing at the world tour kick off party on tuesday!“>mc kato’s glissando cd

with a little bit of practice, i’m ready for skydiving!

i am a recovering scaredy cat. heights, elevators, flying, spiders, snakes, dinner parties, driving at night, anaphylactic shock, cats, dogs, roller coasters, anything. just anything.

it’s okay to be scared of some things. but my fear of flying kept me from doing a lot i wanted with my life. i would have to drink myself completely silly to get on a plane. and then it would wear off and i’d still be scared. i never visited my son joseph when he was at boston university and that’s just a four hour trip. pills didn’t help. neither did distractions like magazines. and it was taking more cocktails to get my courage up.

then i decided on hypnosis. i don’t believe in hypnosis. i think it’s ridiculous. i think it’s sort of a party trick or something that people do on television. often while wearing a dark cape. but my son joseph had entered a film he made into a film festival and i really really wanted to go. i went to marc st. camille, who is my f2fb friend #44. he hypnotized me for a little more than an hour. i didn’t feel any different about flying. he gave me a cd to listen to. i didn’t feel any different about flying. i listened to it and i just thought “what a waste of perfectly good dead presidents!”

and then the morning of the flight, i just got up and got on the plane. no drama. no tears. no alcohol. even when there was an aborted landing.

i came back to marc because i’ve promised f2fb #32 reggie that i’ll go skydiving with him. preferably with his cousin sammie who is also my facebook friend but i’m open to suggestions. reggie, formerly with the 82d airborne, just wants the chance to jump. me, i had to go in for a refresher session–i don’t feel any different about skydiving, i don’t think, but we’ll find out. . .. marc also tried to reinforce some of the previous lessons he had given me through hypnosis. namely courage and serenity. these are not traits i naturally possess.

in the meantime, here’s what marc had to say about how to overcome fears and bad habits all on your own. . . .

of course, if you want to see marc himself, just go to his facebook page — power hypnosis — or at!

the new york trip itinerary is quickly filling up: a visit to the museum of sex, a trip to princeton to visit william clark (you remember him–he went on that long trip out west with merriweather lewis) and three other facebook friends. i can’t wait!

he’s not my facebook friend, but thank you mr. biddle

sam biddle writes for the website and he heard about my new years resolution to meet all my facebook friends. i want to catch up with people i haven’t seen in a long time. i want to meet people in person with whom i have only a virtual relationship. i want to figure out which of my friends are the sort i can rely on and which are the ones who are the most fun at a party. i will have to travel and that’s sort of scary to me because i’m a homebody–with my laptop and my cellphone i hardly notice that i don’t leave the house much. i have seen forty three of my friends so far this year and i’m meeting today with a facebook friend who is a hypnotist–i need his help because i’m going skydiving as part of meeting facebook friends sammy scruggs and reggie gholston.

but mr. biddle noticed my resolution and he wrote about it yesterday in gizmodo. he said that the mere three hundred and thirty five friends i have is pathetic. and maybe it is. he suggested to his readers that they become my friend. i have nine hundred ninety nine new friend requests. some of the requests were accompanied by sweet and encouraging notes. i have a message box full of notes from people i’ve never heard of. i will be responding to all of this later this morning. in the meantime, i want to thank sam biddle. he saw someone who he believed didn’t have enough friends and he found some for her.

sam, if you ever want to be my friend, i would very happily say yes!

through facebook, a royal wedding invitation pour moi!!

sometimes i feel like such an insider! i get the chance to spill the beans on the upcoming programs at the winnetka northfield library AND i get my invitation to the royal wedding! but first. .. .

when i was growing up in the patrick family, mrs. patrick allowed me one pleasure that saved me: she let me go to the library once a week and pick out all the books i wanted. i had no friends. i was allowed no friends. i was not often given the chance to watch television. i spent far too much time in “timeout” in the basement. but i could read and the books i brought home from the library let me see a world and be raised in a world that had order and principle and a beginning, middle and end.

later, mrs. patrick would develop a paranoia that i was, among other things, jewish. this led her to forbid me from reading any books about jews, israel, most of world war 2 history, etc. the paranoia began spreading until, of all things, i was in sixth grade confined to reading sports biographies. i have forgotten more than most people know about babe didrickson, stan mikita and lou gehrig.

my facebook friends erin maassen and bronwyn parhad have dream jobs. mrs. parhad runs the children’s library and i cannot bring myself to call her bronwyn too easily because mrs. parhad is what i told my sons they had to call her. she is in charge of mommy and me reading circles and crafts programs, chess clubs and book adventures. today she was reading to the two year olds about butterflies!

erin maassen has a background in marketing and she thought she’d end up in advertising or public relations–and she puts together the catalog for the library’s programs. she gave me a sneak peek!!! so on my calendar i have added:

1. a mini-golf tournament at the northfield location from six to eight p.m. how cool to play a few holes throughout the library the day after the masters tournament! i’ve already registered, and you have to as well if you want to get a tee time.

2. a green spa day on april 16th to create your own natural, eco-friendly spa products. i’m going to find someone to go in my place, make the products and give them to me. i wonder what friends i have that are so selfless?

and my favorite, a royal invitation:

3. a royal wedding street party at three p.m. on saturday april 30. we’ll be making royal wedding hats, read a story and toast the happy couple! the catalog says that it’s a family event. i wonder where i’m going to rent one of those–just a few kids would do, i imagine. and now i have to find an appropriate hat and frock!

for further information on the new spring programs, go to and in the meantime, thank you erin and mrs. parhad for a lovely preview!

i am booking the mexico city and houston trip and new york is up next week. this is such a wonderful adventure. easy for me to say because i’m not presently being thrown from a plane with a flimsy piece of nylon!