Monthly Archives: August 2011

a f2fb friend who captures the moment when the hard work has already been done!

this year has been like a marathon–and i’m at slightly more than thirteen miles into the 26.2 miles.  there’s a certain amount of pacing, a certain reliance on others to either encourage me or to promise to see me, and there’s the times i just feel like i’m ridiculous.

which i have felt every day except yesterday when the chicago tribune published an article in its sunday supplement about my new years resolution to meet all my facebook friends!  so just this one morning, i woke up and didn’t think “what a ridiculous enterprise!”

i got up early, five a.m. and went downtown to chicago’s rock and roll half marathon.  these athletes have already done the hard work of preparing and training and i wonder if some mornings they have thought about not getting their training done because they have doubted themselves.  today was their day to enjoy the fruits of their hard work.   my day will be december 31, 2010 when i will visit the 325th facebook friend!

i filmed this while wearing a media pass.  i got it through my f2fb friend #194 rett britt.  rett is a business consultant but he has a wonderful avocation:  he photographs athletes at that moment of triumph, that moment of realizing they’re within reach of their goals.

this is a gal who has trained for this moment for a long time!

unfortunately, the pictures i took didn’t come out.  thank goodness nobody was relying on me.  still, you can see some of the other pictures rett took that morning at: and




stats for the dog days

f2fb friend #193 cindy dillon can't drive anywhere in her sidecar without someone wanting to take a picture of her guys with "dog-gles"

december 31, 2010–a new years resolution to meet every facebook friend

december 31, 2009–a new years resolution to lose five pounds

weight on december 31, 2009–138 pounds

possible fate if this new years resolution left uncompleted–will stay at home and eat chocolate, watch movies, and drink white wine until i’m three hundred pounds

friends on december 31, 2010–according to facebook, 325

weight on december 31, 2010–138 pounds

weight on august 12, 2011–140 pounds (okay, what-evs!)

facebook friends i have visited this calendar year–193

facebook friends i will meet before december 31–132

facebook friends i have defriended–1 (gilbert gottfried)

facebook friends who have defriended me–2

facebook friends i had never met before this calendar year–9

facebook friends whom i have never met before and who have made it a condition of meeting them that i come to their home by myself (preferably with a bottle of white wine) –2

facebook friends i might actually not ever meet–at least 2

ativan refills–too many to count

days i wake up and think that this is the stupidest new years resolution ever–223

facebook friends who have asked for complete anonymity–1 (friend #88)

facebook friends who are actually dead–1 (#60 william clark)

facebook friends who are actually cats–1 (#95 nipper castino)

facebook friends who have confided or announced they are or have been in a twelve step program for alcohol, drugs, gambling or sex addiction–24

casinos i have visited during the year–1 and it was omaha and i was horribly overdressed and don’t think i could ever work up an addiction to gambling if it’s going to include slot machines and women with t-shirts announcing “world’s greatest grandma” when i want it to be all rat pack and martinis

airports i like–charlotte, north carolina and laguardia, new york

cities i overused my asthma inhaler in–mexico city, houston, new york

cities where i brought tornadoes–cedar rapids, chapel hill, blue springs, kearney (in kearney i waited out a tornado in a beer locker, that wasn’t so bad!)

times i have flown without either alcohol or ativan in me–once, and i still haven’t cashed in on the bet that made that happen

airline i will never use again–spirit

airline i like–united

facebook friends who have confided that they are or were sleeping with another facebook friend of mine–14

facebook friends who have confessed they have an expired sticker on their car–1 and i totally understand that, i have gotten two tickets because of that

facebook friends who have prayed for me in a laying on of hands–5 and in both the christian and the reiki healing tradition

hospital visits for anxiety attacks this year–2

new skills i have learned from facebook friends–boxing, opening champagne bottles with saber swords, weight lifting, painting fishnet stockings on one’s legs with magic markers, zumba, opera singing, hoisting a main sail

f2fb friend #193 cindy dillon was given her sidecar as a present by her husband--i am not as cute as a dog with "doggles"

facebook friends i have regretted meeting–3

facebook friends who have regretted meeting me and have asked me to delete a post–1 (and i did and we have rescheduled seeing each other)

facebook friends who are relatives–5 (6 if you count ex-wives of ex-husbands)

new years resolution for december 31, 2011–i don’t know but whatever it is, i believe i will accomplish it because i have discovered about myself that i am stubborn and while i will probably never lose the five pounds i will finish what i have started which is something i never thought about myself before.

living responsibly includes thinking about the small things

when i was a child, nobody lived responsibly.  i’m not just talking about the three martinis and a cigarette routinely consumed by pregnant women.  or throwing the mcdonald’s bag out to the curb.  or disposable diapers.  or raking the leaves and burning them on the front lawn.  plenty of people were opposed to equal rights for women and even african americans, and the notion of gay marriage?  uh, no.

we watched movies in social studies classes about the dangers of littering and smoking.  then there were boycotts organized against california grapes (out of concern for migrant workers), hershey’s (they sent formula to third world countries which, when mixed with bad water, would hurt children), and different states that wouldn’t pass the equal rights amendment.  celebrities came out of the closet and we learned a new vocabulary of tolerance.

i met f2fb #192 jason glaser as a complete fluke.  he divides his time between new york, chicago, sometimes europe and a lot of time in nicaragua.  he is working on behalf of workers at sugar cane farms who are developing kidney disease at an alarming rate, possibly because of poor workplace practices.  jason had a lot to say about why i shouldn’t eat bananas.

jason also has some concerns about anything that is based on sugar cane.

i try my best, but i think that it’s hard to keep track of what i can do and what i should do.  jason is an admirable friend because he does what should be done.  you can talk to him yourself about how to help the workers in nicaragua —–he’s been involved in lawsuits targeting the big united states corporations that bring us bananas and that has put himself in danger.  he has sometimes wondered about having some protection and i volunteered to be his body guard, but in the end, he knows that if a company really wants to bring him down, it will.

one of my friends zeeb peterson and his wife beth rosemarie live in a manner that takes very little from the earth and returns much–most of their artwork and furniture is made from found objects and they couldn’t help looking around my yard for things that would be workable.  i think that’s the best kind of recycling and responsibility.  i saw them this week.  i hadn’t seen zeeb for many years–it was a high school reunion!

my friend zeeb and his wife beth live in environmentally and socially aware surroundings--perhaps because of their pagan belief system

i am disqualified from being a theater critic and i worry

on sunday i drove to the steppenwolf theater for a staged reading of the bill thomas elizabeth doyle musical “duo: 1 is 1; 2 is math”.  i was taking with me f2fb friends #190 and 191, naomi koppelman and nicole kupper.

both naomi and nicole had worked with my sons in theater a few short months ago.  okay, maybe a year or two ago.  all right, when we added it up, it became clear that six years had gone by.  in that time, both women had found long term boyfriends, had had children (naomi one, nicole three) and had wrestled with whether to marry (naomi will do so in october, nicole is not so sure).  i thought “wow,  if i only keep up with my friends on facebook, i’m not getting the whole story” — like the fact that nicole’s baby daddy is a musician from ghana.  or that naomi’s fiance is a boat captain.  or that naomi was in tony and tina’s wedding, only the funnest show in chicago theater. or that the economy worried them so much.  well, that last part was an easy one, since EVERYBODY is worried about the economy.

nicole kupper

the play duo was about an older, middle class couple looking back on their marriage.  there was no dance number, there wasn’t any secondary character who steals the show.  there wasn’t much of a plot, as near as i could tell.  just a lot of sondheim-y kind of music–the sort that makes me think “are they offkey?”

naomi was briefly retired from the stage but is auditioning again--i wish her luck!

as i was coming home, i was feeling melancholy about my own failed marriage.  it failed because of me, because i wasn’t as good of a wife as i could have been.  i feel bad about that.  and then i had a wonderful surprise:  my friend from high school, zeeb peterson, had recently contacted me on facebook.  he and his wife beth would be in town.  they parked their van outside my house.  they live in it when they travel and they are always together, sharing the pagan lifestyle and their artwork.   i am very happy for them!

much of the year, the petersons live in this van and drive it around the country promoting their line of fairy furniture and artwork . . . go to

i also was quite worried.  a facebook friend i had visited with a week and a half ago had left me a phone message sometime while i slept.  she was worried that a video we had made of her somehow cast her in a bad light.  i wasn’t sure what video she was referring to and i asked her to call me back. i delete anything that people don’t like.  one f2fb friend didn’t want it to be mentioned that she had been a man at one point in our relationship.  and although i think every single person who knows her knows the whole story, i changed mine so that it never happened.  another friend told a funny story about her ex-husband but then decided he might get upset.   so far i haven’t figured out what my friend wants to do–she hasn’t called me back.  but i worried if i have hurt anyone with this project when all i’ve wanted to do was fulfill my new years resolution.

i think nicole was happy after the theater because the show reminded her that she has the talent to create great musicals.  naomi was happy because stephanie hurovitz added her to a general mailing list stephanie sends out with audition notices.  stephanie was happy because naomi was going to set her up with some gentlemen callers.  zeeb and beth were happy because a woman stopped her car next to their van and wanted to buy some of their artwork.  and i was happy because i had seen my friends!

the wacky wheelers. . . or wonderful

if you live in new york, you don’t go to the top of the empire state building.  too touristy.  if you are from chicago, you don’t visit the millenium bean, at least not on purpose.  if you’re a resident of los angeles, you don’t go climbing the hollywood sign–although partly, that’s because there’ll be military helicopters jumping on you. in huntsville, which i will visit on august 21-22, i’m sure nobody ever goes to the u.s. space and rocket center.

but the wheeler family, now they take advantage of every bit of excitement they can find in their community. they live large.  i first met sheila wheeler (f2fb #187) when she worked at the community house in winnetka and later, i met lane wheeler (f2fb #188) when he was in the play “the sound of music” with my son eastman.  like many facebook friends, lane’s work as an actor supports his true love–insurance.

lane and sheila wheeler share a love in their life–star.  star wheeler is ten years old and for her, the wheelers will do anything.  including the renaissance faire in bristol, wisconsin.  i drove up on saturday to meet them, using my spiffy new guy, jack the garmin gps.

sheila and lane wheeler--lane is holding his service dragon!

lane is the guy who sends the best holiday emails–it sort of doesn’t feel like any particular holiday has meaning until i get one from him.  so, saturday was the feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord but since Lane didn’t send me an email i sort of ignored the holiday.  lane was in costume (as was their daughter star) and sheila was dressed for comfort.  i’ve been invited to decorate the wheeler home for halloween and their house has been featured in several seasonal news stories.  when they go to the renaissance faire, they get there when the gates open and stay until they are shooed out the gates with fireflies to guide them to their car.  they are a jump feet first people.

i am not like them, although i wish i was.  i drove up separately because i was worried that if i had to leave, if i felt too overwhelmed, i’d embarrass them.  i wanted to make sure i had an escape plan.  i really don’t like being guided into my parking space by a dude with a neon yellow flag because it usually means getting out is going to be hellacious.

the people startled me.  some wore t-shirts and baseball caps while others were in full throttle elizabethan garb and they spouted off like they were straight out of the sixteenth century.  although the sixteenth century didn’t have miller lite on tap and port-a-potties.  there were booths selling period costume, tarot readings, jewelry, and souvenirs.  i ended up buying a black leather skirt that i regret now, but a lot less than i would have regretted buying a full length elizabethan gown. . . . all this stuff looked so NORMAL.

the wheelers are the best guides into another world, in this case a really weird wacky world in a wisconsin that purports to be from another time.  they are so laid back that after a while i forgot that i was far away from home and my car was stuck in a muddy field with five thousand other cars blocking its egress.

i tarried too long.  but, as i left, i slipped a little cash to star and told her to pick out a piece of jewelry to remember the day.  i woke up this morning and amongst my emails was a thank you note.  star had picked out a necklace for herself.  she signed her note “star and the wacky wheelers” – me, i think of the wheelers as WONDERFUL!!!


i have a new man in my life

f2fb friend #186 sonali srinath walks into the bar and EVERYBODY stares.  she wears a pink dress and a smile that makes you feel like someone very gently reached into your chest and replaced your heart with tiny firecrackers.  she’s confident and bold, dainty and mischievous. i hadn’t seen much of her since five years ago when i directed her in a benefit show but i figured she has always been this way.  i didn’t realize that she had been hiding a world of hurt.

pink is the navy blue of india! or at least, that's what diana vreeland said.

her twenty year marriage broke up and when she thought there would never be another love for her, she found him–the one–on an indian matrimonial website.  he’s a tamil brahmin and they have been married for slightly more than a year.  i am so happy for them both!

however, i have my own new man in my life too–

jack was given to me by a nonfacebook friend who read about my inability to get anywhere without getting lost along the way.  i am grateful.  i am grateful to all my facebook and nonfacebook friends who have helped me.  today i am also thinking of my gratitude to ben gonzalez, marissa durbin, max tam, and mc kato for creating a page on facebook that’s just for my project.  f2fb is a page that you can like and share.  although i’m still unsure whether like and share mean the same thing as what they meant when we were young and foolish and didn’t have facebook.

santa cruz loses its guardian angel and i take a step backwards

sometimes i like to think that this new years eve resolution has changed me.  made me less afraid of the world outside my door.  i’m getting on planes.  i’m driving heaven knows how many miles.  i have learned about people’s spiritual and personal lives.  i have hiked in the mountains and sailed on boats.  i’ve chopped wood blocks with my bare hands and opened champagne bottles with saber swords. i am what was once politely referred to as a bit “reclusive” but i was thinking as i pass my fifty first birthday and 184th facebook friend meet-up that i was all over that.

where i was at last week when i was a whole lot braver!

but sometimes i think i haven’t become anybody any braver than i was december 31.  this week, my house–which has always served as a “safe” place–came apart.   there was a heavy rainstorm and some of what i think of as the essentials of a home–hot water, power, air conditioning, a working washer and dryer–aren’t happening for me.  instead of making me feel like leaving, i have hunkered down.  isolating myself at exactly a time i shouldn’t.  i’ve been thinking about what’s essential for me and, frankly, air conditioning and a hot shower are very high on that list.  clean clothes would be cool too!

yesterday, i left home to visit f2fb friend #185 michael barth.  he used to work at the community house in winnetka and then he moved to santa cruz, california with his parents.  they had retired and he was working on a degree in forestry.  recently, they made the decision to move back to the chicago area.  michael came with them.  he is a caretaker to them but he has three essentials:  a job, a girlfriend, and an apartment of his own.

i told him i thought a job would have to come first so he could get an apartment and then the girlfriend would magically appear.  unfortunately, jobs in forestry are often meted out on the basis of politics–michael said that he’s gone on a number of interviews where the offer has already been made to someone.  as for an apartment, that’s tough because he serves as a caregiver to his parents although they are graciously offering to pay his rent.  and a girlfriend?  sometimes women don’t understand how necessary the task of caregiving is.

this morning i have scored an appointment with a heating and air conditioning professional.  the plumber is supposed to show up sometime tomorrow or the next day to fix my water heater.   i’ll get my essentials back.  i hope my friend michael gets his.

in the meantime, santa cruz better watch out–its guardian angel has flown away–