April 30, 2010

The Condo Drama Continues

I was out of town on Tuesday, April 27th so unable to attend the election board meeting, one that took an unfortunate turn. I'm told there were about 50 homeowners there. Joann Dobbie, a board member who was not up for re-election, read this letter:

This letter is from Donna Arends, Sandra Procida, Ken Hubbard and myself. We intend to be very clear and concise about the lack of professional behavior that has taken place during the last few months and has escalated to an even higher level in the past few days.
The four of us have been subjected to a barrage of written and verbal harassments and threats. As professionals, it has been disruptive to both our personal and business lives and most of all counterproductive for the betterment of 111.
Because of this behavior please accept this as formal notice that Donna Arends and Sandra Procida are removing their names from the ballot. Also, Ken Hubbard and I are resigning from the board, effective immediately.

We typically don't give in to bullies but refuse to be subjected to the hate, meanness and evil that has been directed towards us, especially in the last few days. When we volunteered to be on the board and committees we were willing to give our all for the betterment of the building. We did not volunteer to be relentlessly attacked by our neighbors. Our refusal to be subjected to these continuing scare tactics gives us no other alternative.

And here's the text of an email Joann received, one of many, but this was the most recent. It's from smaktac@yahoo.com, someone who made several comments to my previous blog post, which I removed after a while because he/she would not identify herself and her rants were annoying and a little creepy:

This was sent on April 22, 2010 (it is word for word, the punctuation and caps all hers):

Dear Ms. Dobbie,

I am pleased to inform you that your intellectually-circuited friend, Ms. Samantha Hoffman has inspired me to start a blog, detailing all the information(s) in regards to 111 E. Chestnut. I suppose Ms. Hoffman's selective editing and attempts to be evasive in addressing facts that I challenged her on gave me the needed push to put an end to all lies and slanders perpetrated by you and the other two Stooges, Samantha and Ken Hubbard.

Also, I'd be honored to point out that YOU, Ms. Dobbie is a phony and has a mean streak but unfortunately, the 3lb.defective jellied mush encased in her cranium has made her...transparent. Just to let you know: I have spoken with you once and noticed how you were remarkably slow to pick up on non-literal comments. You were instantaneously pegged as a fluffy-headed twit. And may attempt to be threatening because "she's really NOT that bright, trust me."

Finally, we know that you and Mr. Hubbard have attempted to selectively choose apartments with higher percentage ownerships to slip a compilation of emails underneath the door. You chose the wrong apartment, and thank you for the piece. And FYI, we have confirmed sources that Mr. Hubbard was seen fluttering from one floor to the other, slipping such piece under the door. You are aware that THAT is in violation of your responsibility as a standing board member? And that is just one act of violation.

Toodles for now.

SmakTac, the new blogger of 111 East Chestnut.

Unfortunately the new regime, which now has a majority in our building, attracts people like this, who are (I apologize for this in advance but there's no other word) crazy. And scary.
I only hope that now the fighting and nasty emails have ended, and that the new board will get down to the business of running the building in a responsible and professional manner.
But I have to say I don't feel very optimistic.

April 28, 2010

Grand Junction, Colorado

Have you ever been to Grand Junction, CO? It's gorgeous there. Bill and I just got back, having visited our friends Susan and Jerry Norton. Saturday and Sunday we did the Spring Barrel Tasting at the wineries in Grand Junction. What fun! Great food, delicious wines, fabulous company (photo at left: Terry, Alicia, Jerry, Susan, Val, Bill, me). My Billy's a really great photographer. Here are a few of his shots.

The last one's a photo of me, Val and Susan - we worked together in L.A. in the 70s and here we are, still together after all these years!

April 20, 2010

I Love My Home, But...

...I feel like I want to move. I live in a condo in an elegant, beautiful building 1/2 block from Michigan Ave., near the historic Water Tower and The Hancock. Are you jealous? I know. It's fabulous. But have you ever lived in a condo building where there's in-fighting amongst the board members? Aaaaarrrrgggghhhh.
Here's my philosophy about the board: I cast my vote for the people I trust to run the building and then I let them run it.
I may not always be in complete agreement with their decisions but that's life. And if I really hate what they do I don't vote for them again.
For the last several years in my building -
my home - there's been a rabble-rouser faction who go to every meeting, question every act, second-guess every decision. They've accused the board of fraud, they delay needed repairs, they call names, etc. and it makes me want to run screaming from this building.
We have an election coming up and there are people who seem insane running for the board, not to mention the ones who are already on it. It's very scary.
Here's the text of an email from one board member to another (this is word for word):
If you want your legacy to be that of a whiny little girlie boy bitch...For god sakes...Leave with some class and dignity and be a man.
I know you have no context for that and there's stuff I left out but really...is there anything that could make this all right?
Here's another snippet of an email from one board member to another:
My advice to you is to have a big glass of shut the **** up and find something more important to complain about.
And here's one from someone who's running for the board (and who wants to be president) to a board member:
With regard to "needing help," who the fuck are you? Jesus, get over yourself.
God. Wouldn't you want to run screaming from here with me?
I know it's not fair to put this stuff up here without context and without the other side of the story (there's always another side) but what the hell, it's my blog so screw that. And I've seen the context and you just have to believe me when I say (as a non-political, non-activist person) that these responses are not justified. And what could justify this kind of childish behavior anyway?
Isn't a difference of opinion the cornerstone of democracy? We elect a body of people to represent us and those people express their ideas and ours, and discuss them, even debate them, and come to a resolution that works for the common good. But the key to that system working is respect and that's what's lacking here. I don't want people like that in office, not in my country and not in my condo building. But there they are and I feel helpless to do anything about it except to rant, ineffectively, on my blog.
I would not presume to tell people how to vote, I would say that if there is a board member you trust, consult with them. But just in case you want to know, I'm voting for Sandra Procida and Donna Arends.

April 18, 2010

The World According to Samantha

Here's a question for you: If someone invites you to their home for a meal and you ask, "What can I bring?" should they assume you really mean that? Should they take you up on it and ask you to cook something? Here's my opinion: It's a rhetorical question.
If I invite you to my house I expect to cook the meal. All of it.
If you ask me what you can bring I'll say, "Nothing, thank you. Just bring your appetite."
Asking what you can bring is sort of like saying, "How are you?" No one really wants an answer to that, you're just supposed to say, "I'm good, how are you?"
Likewise, when you ask what you can bring you're just being polite and you (read: me) don't expect the person to say, "Oh, you can make a salad," or "How about baking some cookies?" The correct answer is, "Nothing." And since it's good manners to bring a hostess gift the guest can then decide to bring some flowers or a bottle of wine or something like that.
So that's the world according to Samantha. What's your opinion?

April 11, 2010

I Won!

I'm a winner! If you believe this medal I'm the first place female for the 10K of the 13th Annual Wrigley Start Early Run and Pledge Walk, benefiting Voices for Illinois Children and Prevent Child Abuse America. CASA of Cook County was also a sponsor, the organization for which I'm a volunteer, the organization that helps abused and/or neglected children.
Okay, okay, I didn't win the whole damn thing. I didn't even win the 10K (6.2 miles). I ran the 5K (3.1 miles). But I placed first in my age group (which is so old there were probably only the three of us who placed). But what the hell...
I beat those other two old ladies!

April 5, 2010

Movie Review: The Ghost Writer ***

Wait, is Alfred Hitchcock still alive? Cuz I think he directed The Ghost Writer. They're telling us it's Roman Polanski but this film has a very retro feel to it, from the photography to the direction to the score, and truly feels very Hitchcockian to me. I haven't figured out yet if I like that about it or if it annoyed me.
A couple of odd things: in the first scene where Ewan McGregor's character is with his agent in a bar, his agent uses the word "fuck," at least that's what his mouth says, but it's been dubbed to use another word which I don't recall at the moment. It was very odd. Later it happens again with Pierce Brosnan but later still someone does actually use the word "fuck" and it's not dubbed so I don't know what that's all about.
Another interesting thing is that a completely bald and overweight Jim Belushi plays the publisher in an initial scene and I didn't recognize him except by his voice, and then I had to look really hard to be sure it was him.
Pierce Brosnan is mostly good as a former British Prime Minister. His assistant (and paramour) is played by Kim Cattrall who has a really bad British accent in the initial scenes but then (thankfully) the accent mostly disappears except for an occasional "he-ah" for "here." She looks great but she clearly just played herself on Sex and the City. She has no range as an actor and was obviously really lucky to have gotten the Samantha role and that the series was so wildly successful.
Meanwhile, back to The Ghost Writer, I guess the story is interesting and the style is intriguing; the acting is good, the direction is a bit over-done, but that's the genre. So I'm giving it three stars for "Liked It," although two and a half stars is probably closer to what I feel - somewhere between "Didn't Like It" and "Liked It."