Monthly Archives: February 2011

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!

f2fb preparations for being tossed from a plane

i have long thought it ill-advised to trust that a 485 ton aluminum tube should be able to soar several miles into the air and shoot off to exotic locales like pittsburgh, milan or saigon. most of my adult life i have sided with caution in the gravity vs. aeronautics debate–my son joseph went to boston university and i didn’t visit him, not once, while he was there. i feel awful about that. i could make myself have an anxiety attack just thinking about flying. i could look up at the sky on a summer day and get the shakes watching a jet streak towards the horizon.

and yet, i fly now. i get on planes. i get off of planes. you want to avoid sitting next to me because i fidget during take off and i have to sit on the window seat. but i do it. i owe the change in my perspective to facebook friend power hypnosis. his first name isn’t power and his last name isn’t hypnosis. he’s marc st. camille, which is such a hollywood ready name that i’d put an andrew jackson down on the table that it’s a hypnotism name. did you know all the best hypnotists change their names when they get in the business?

so i’m going skydiving with facebook friends reggie and his cousin sammie in huntsville alabama. i am going in to see mr. hypnosis on friday. i will record the sesion. he has a lot to say about relaxation. and i’ll definitely need to relax when i’m being shot out into the air with nothing but a parachute–the 485 ton aluminum tube is feeling awfully safe in comparison!

yesterday, i went to lunch with two facebook friends who are coworkers who are more like sisters. debra chuk and lynn aldape work at the winnetka community house and sometimes their social life bleeds into their work life–this past friday they invited me to seul’s and then to bingo night at the house and while i didn’t get to go i’m making arrangements to do that soon with them. deb is one of the first winnetkans i ever met. i admire both gals because as we talked i realized what incredible responsibilities they carry on their shoulders–stuff outside of the workplace that i never hear about. i think one thing i’m learning about my friends is that everybody has stuff they don’t talk about and everybody tries their best!

every world tour deserves a kick off concert and mine got cancelled because of the horrific snowstorm–it’s rescheduled for tuesday the twenty second around seven o’clock. email me for details! it’s an excellent way for me to say goodbye as i head off to new york where i’ll visit the museum of sex, staten island, and meet with william clark, who has been dead over a hundred years but that doesn’t stop him. not one little bit!

face to facebook–i really didn’t jack the car!

i spent valentine’s day lunch with f2fb#39 anne six knight who is the mom of allan knight who was, for several years, eastman’s best friend. anne is friends with f2fb#26 ann silberman and with f2fb#8 janet sussman. anne works from home and she agrees with me that it’s easy to end up not leaving the house, or at least the village, for weeks at a time.

yesterday i also talked to my sister casey who is my facebook friend as well. i was worried about our dad justin who seemed to have some sort of paranoia when i went down to tallahassee. i was supposed to meet up with facebook friends from huntsville, atlanta, savannah, and palm harbor. instead, i ended up keeping watch over justin and cancelling every sidetrip. while throughout the trip there was an undercurrent of hostility to me, the full blown attack came in the final moments.

anne is a lawyer who works with home foreclosures. i asked her what someone who can’t make a mortgage payment should do. she said run, don’t walk to your bank!

all we need is love!

on valentine’s day here is a love story: f2fb#38 jay schwandt and his husband john have been married for five years, which in gay and hollywood years means they are celebrating the diamond anniversary. they used to live in chicago and jay worked at winnetka’s book stall. which means i saw him a couple of times a week. our conversations were really deep and meaningful:

“what a nice dress! where’d you get it?”
“isn’t the weather awful?”
“did you see that latest jennifer aniston movie?”

jay moved for love to indianapolis. his husband is a talented actor who rules the indianapolis stage and is considering a second move to new york where he will take over broadway. i drove to indianapolis sunday morning feeling a little weighed down from those horseshoes i ate in springfield. jay and i walked through the indianapolis museum of art. i was surprised by the collection, which i didn’t expect to be so incredible. and i hadn’t realized the museum would be so busy with folks who looked at the art in an appreciative way–no social climbing at this place. the chicagoan thinks that indianapolis can’t possibly have the cultural delights of theater and art, and this chicagoan is wrong.

jay had something to say about growing up and moving out of his own “winnetka” small town. . . .

i’m glad there’s facebook because jay is one of those friends who would be a memory as in “remember that guy that used to work at the book stall? whatever happened to him?” instead, i’d like to apply for the position of extra sister to him. on valentine’s day, i admire the love he gives to others, including the robert indiana love magnet for my refrigerator that he bought me at the gift shop!

when i told jay i was coming into indianapolis he replied that it was wonderful, but that please don’t cry in the bathroom!!! i didn’t, although i got a little teary hearing about his commitment ceremony because it sounded just so damn wonderful!

f2fb#37 steve rahn and the recipes for horseshoes and fortitude

i met steve rahn three years ago when my business partner todd parkhurst and i were writing and producing plays to teach ethics to lawyers.  ha!  you might say–there is no way to teach ethics to lawyers.  i didn’t say it was a great idea, just that’s what we were doing.   f2fb#37 steve rahn worked for the illinois institute for continuing legal education (where f2fb#36 melissa still works) and i was so impressed with his sense of humor, his calm, his professionalism.

it wasn’t until we were driving through springfield this weekend that he said, in passing, “over there is where my son is buried”.    i cannot imagine the kind of strength necessary to go on from such a thing:  i believe if something happened to joseph or eastman, my life would be over.  and for him never to have given a hint of his personal grief before is a real testament to his professionalism.  which he is bringing into his next incarnation in private practice as a lawyer.  it’s hard to remake oneself as we get to the midcentury mark.  steve rahn, i truly admire you!

but you can’t get out of springfield without horseshoes and he shared a bit of its history.  the horseshoe was created by the head chef at springfield’s leland hotel in 1928 and the original form employed hamsteak instead of beef.  a half horseshoe is called a ponyshoe and, as it turns out, i had a ponyshoe when i dined with melissa at the westwinds lounge (if you go there be prepared to see all sorts of taxidermy hung from the walls, the ceiling, crawling on the baseboard, floating in your glass. . . . )

steve said he would have to kill me if he shared his secrets but that’s when i bailed out of the car.

steve rahn’s horseshoe

place a piece of bread on each plate, put a piece of cooked ham steak (thinly sliced) on bread.  add a generous dollop of bechamel cheese sauce (see below).  top with a garnish of crispy cooked ore-ida french fries.  in order to make this a healthy treat, wave a lettuce leaf over the top before serving (discard lettuce leaf)

bechamel sauce

melt 1/2 stick butter in a pan and stir in 1/4 cup flour.  when you have a nice roue, not lumpy at all, add two cups whole milk (or cream if you are courageous).  after stirring up the mixture, add 2 cups kraft blended preshredded cheddar, american and monterey jack cheese.  a dash of tabasco sauce and a bit of pepper.

so i gotta know:


i have the new york trip scheduled for the twenty fourth of february and am just laying down tracks for a trip to mexico city and to the eastern seaboard.  i am so happy and so excited and so scared all at the same time!  and the mc kato concert has been rescheduled for february 22.  please come!

my apology to federico cenci and a horseshoe!

i owe facebook friend federico cenci an apology, although to be fair he owes me dinner when i go to siena.  fede showed up in winnetka because he wanted to spend three weeks working on his dissertation about fritz leiber, my grandfather.  three weeks is a long time to hang around my house so one day i suggested that he think of someplace he’d like to go for a day trip.

“how about niagra falls?”  he suggested.   “can we go there this afternoon?”

“fede, america’s a lot bigger than you think.  niagra falls would be a good three hours by plane and. .. oh, fede, don’t worry.  we’ll go someplace else.  what’s your second choice?”

“mount rushmore.”

oh, dear.  i finally suggested that if we were going to someplace for the day he should choose something in illinois.

“springfield,” he said, in a hushed tone.

we started off at six in the morning, got there by midafternoon.  and saw the following sign:

he wanted to stand on the overpass and have me drive under it and take the picture.  i thought he was insane.  i couldn’t understand his fascination with our state capital until we saw a dunkin’ donuts.  he cried out “homer simpson!”

“fede, you understand that this is NOT the springfield of the simpsons,”  i said.  “every state has got a springfield.”

he looked at me–i had just revealed that there was no santa claus, no tooth fairy, no easter bunny.  i had forever destroyed an essential innocence.  sure, he was thirty two but it was a blow.

i offer up this photograph, taken just a half hour ago, as part of this mea culpa.  i was informed by face to facebook friend #37 steve rahn that this is indeed THE springfield.  in fact, look at the high school:

i drove to springfield to meet melissa coulter, f2fb friend #36.  she works at the illinois institute of continuing legal education.  three years ago, she helped me with a one time production of a play i wrote.  we lost touch, but i wish we were neighbors because she’s unbelievably cool.  we were at the westwinds lounge in springfield, a den of incredible taxidermy.

she told me that one must order the horseshoe.

a horseshoe is a burger with bread, meat, cheese and on top of that, french fries.  every restaurant in springfield has its own version and there’s not a piece of parsley or lettuce or any other green stuff to be found.  luckily, the westwind lounge where we dined was just four blocks from the memorial hospital which bills itself as “first in cardiac care”.  i’m feeling a bit, ahem, oversized.

melissa was planning an evening with her husband–ethan, their four year old, is spending the night at his aunt’s house.  my recipe for a date night:

1.  a trip to victoria’s secret

2.  a package of pepperidge farm mint milano cookies

3.  a bottle of champagne

happy valentine’s day, melissa!

next up:  i might have a recipe for a date night, but steve rahn’s got a recipe for a perfect horseshoe with bechamel sauce!  and what he’s taught me about surviving reversals of fortune. . . .

how to stay out of the police blotter from my f2fb friend winnetka current

today i had lunch with the woman i consider my mom.  she didn’t raise me.  she didn’t birth me.  she is far too young to be my mom.  but i still think of her that way, much as i considered vivian eastman my mom.  face to facebook friend #34 suzanne timble and i talked about my tallahassee trip and some things going on in her life and we were so engrossed that i didn’t even remember to take out the camera.

but.  . . .

laura michaels from the winnetka currents newspaper came to the house to interview me about the face to facebook project.  i explained that my new years resolution is to meet every single one of my facebook friends and get to know them a little better.  then we made a startling discovery:  i’m actually friends with the winnetka current newspaper.  how can you have a satisfying and meaningful friendship with a newspaper?  can you ask it to lunch?  can you get its opinion on that no good low down boyfriend of yours?

then i decided to go all barbara walters on laura michaels, who is all i’ve seen besides newsprint of f2fb friend #35 and she has some really interesting things to tell us about, including how to stay out of that police blotter!

tomorrow, i’m just like willie nelson. .. . on the road again!  for an agoraphobic i sure do get around!  i would love a day in bed with a “migraine” and but instead. . ..