Olympic Fever? Not So Much

I’m not feeling patriotic despite the Olympics playing on every NBC affiliate. Even the animated flame that pops up when conducting Google searches has begun to annoy me. Where’s my enthusiasm? What happened to the thrill of the opening ceremony? I couldn’t stay awake long enough to see Team USA—perhaps, if our country’s name started with an “A.” Further, only a bong comes to mind when I see Michael Phelps. Greece? The economy is in freefall; save the uniform money to feed people, dudes. Sorry, London. I’m sure you’re doing your best, but frankly, the queen’s expression says it all.

Saved At Last: I Won the Asia South Pacific Lottery!

The notice arrived in my AOL mailbox. Madame Loo asked me to click on a link to claim my lottery winnings. Sadly, I can’t afford foreign or domestic viruses attacking my Mac, so I passed. I have my suspicions about how I wound up winning this largesse. Decades ago, someone key-stroked my name into a magazine subscription database, omitting the “O.” As Gail Chen, I received offers to trade stock on the Hang Seng, buy hoisin sauce in bulk and collect gold-plated yen. Think one alphabet letter can’t make a major difference? Maybe you should ask Madame Loo.

True Confessions: I Thought I Was the Only One

While reading Jenn’s blog, I discovered she stockpiled frozen bananas. OMG. I thought I was the only person on Earth with enough frozen bananas to qualify me for the A&E reality show, “Hoarders.” My predicament matched Jenn’s: a primal need to make banana bread whenever I bought too many possessed me. Over time, I grew to know and like them all–but I didn’t give them names or personalities, so don’t put the Elgin Mental Health facility on alert. Thanks, Jenn. You freed me. I’m tossing them. Let’s order banana bread when we meet to celebrate an end to our addiction!

You Win Some and You Lose Some


After taking second prize at the 2012 Chesterfield Arts contest—and sharing the moment with friend Barbara, winner of third prize—traveling to St. Louis was icing on the cake. “When Joanna Met Harry,” was warmly received, so I sent it to “Woman’s World’s” fiction editor. She loved it and requested a shorter version. Unfortunately, the “I loved it” editor quit or was fired. The rejection letter just landed in my mailbox. This is SOP for writers, which is why we don’t get our hopes up. I like to think of these rejections as boot camp for dealing with mortgage companies.

I’m Insured Against Everything But Stupidity

Chase paid my homeowner’s insurance premium, even though I’d already paid it. I call State Farm. “Yes, we received $303 for your $202 premium,” my agent says. Maybe you should return $101 to Chase, I suggest. They can’t, so I call Chase. “No idea why we sent $101 to State Farm,” I’m told, “but at least your loan modification was approved.” He sounded genuinely sorry when I told him I’d been rejected by both phone and mail. “Your file is marked approved,” he pleads. Of course it is. Today I head to a new Chase branch. Please pray for me.

Forget the Fortune Cookie—I Already Know What’s Inside

The fortune in my cookie reads: “You will have many great friends.” It doesn’t take a cookie to reaffirm that. Lately, friends have come to my rescue in ways that overwhelm me. I single out my Circle of Women, Ellen, Sheryl, Susan and Julie for helping me wrestle some demons to the ground. I hate asking for help, so being asked, “How can I help?” means even more. Sheryl says I sound in control. She’s right. I face the future with a rock solid attitude that what’s meant to be will be. I can do anything with friends like these.

On Power Outages, Alan Cumming and Promises

The storm hit around 5 a.m. It took 11 hours to restore electricity on a day I needed my phone and computer desperately. When at last the lights went on, I promise myself an evening with Alan Cumming and Masterpiece Theater if I finish up a short list of tasks–the incentive I use to get every job on the list done. I pour a glass of wine, put up my feet and turn on the TV. Nothing. The cable company explains that service will be restored by midnight. I pour the contents of the wine glass into a water glass.

It’s Never a Good Idea to Brake For Twizzlers


Even though my shopping cart had no brakes, I stopped short at the displayer where 2-pound bags of Twizzlers teased me with $1.99 price tags. Twizzlers are bad for my teeth, hips and mood, but c’mon. Two pounds for $1.99? I must have blacked out, because I found a bag on my kitchen countertop later that day. Since then, they’ve been vanishing fast. I’m blaming the cats. Their tongues are cherry red and they’re running around like kids on sugar highs. Okay, so my tongue is redder than usual, but I’m pretty sure it’s a result of the heat …

It’s Not Over ’til The Mad Lady Sings

If you’re following my mortgage modification saga, you’ll be interested to know that I was turned down by my erstwhile lender on Friday around 5 p.m. Honestly, it’s like being fired; bosses wait until end-of-day Friday when nobody’s around. To make sure I got the message, a letter reiterating the rejection landed in my mailbox on Saturday. The reason they turned me down? I refinanced in 2009. Hello? You knew that. Are we now limited to one re-fi per home? That line in the sand remains drawn. I just made it deeper and dug in: It’s not over ’til I sing, Dudes.

And You Wonder Why I Find Online Dating So Bogus?

I told a cutie on a dating website that I liked his photo. His response: “Wow…Wow…Wow….You make me so speechless ….You look so MARVELOUS……DAMN…..I am trying to figure out what you are looking for on a HERE….You are so STUNNING !!!!!!!! You should have men begging to have a date with you…Oops….sorry….name’s David …can i call u Angel…..please??? hope to hear from u soon…thanks……..am online now and i will be the happiest man on earth if you could get back to me via my personal email address because i can’t wait to know more about you and my subscription expires tonight and please contact me to my personal email address if you are interested to see more pictures. Hugs n Kisses For you.” What? No request to wire $10K to your Nigerian mailbox to pay your dying mother’s medical bills? Sorry readers. I had to go to 150 words today.