Chicago Tribune from Chicago, Illinois on October 16, 2002 · Page 8-2
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Chicago Tribune from Chicago, Illinois · Page 8-2

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Wednesday, October 16, 2002
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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 123456 2 CHICAGO TRIBUNESECTION8WWEDNESDAYOCTOBER16,2002 WOMANNEWS Elmhurst Memorial Center for Heart Care YOUR HEART’S PALPITATING AND YOU’RE SWEATING HEAVILY. IS IT MENOPAUSE OR ARE YOU HAVING A HEART ATTACK? Most women are not awareofthe less common symptoms of a heartattack. Often times, heart attacks aredismissed as indigestion or even menopause. Because of this, many women often delay treatment, resulting in irreversible damage to their heart. Not only areheartattacks moredifficult for women to recognize, but they become moreprevalent in women after menopause. For this reason, Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare has become dedicated to helping women understand their unique heart needs. This dedication — along with our history of offering advanced heartcare and being the first in the area to performprocedures like cardiac stenting — are the reasons we’ve had a leading heartprogram in DuPage county for thirty years. For more information about the Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare heart program or to schedule your cardiac risk assessment, call (630) 782-7878. Or visit our website, www.emhc.org. 200 Berteau Elmhurst, Illinois 60126 OUR CARING SHOWS By Jacqueline Fitzgerald Tribune staff reporter The ideal home office might be a spacious, perfectly appointed room far away from your living quarters, where you work a set number of days each week. Or you might get out of bed and commandeer the dining room table every once in a while. “Working at home sporadically is a very common phenomenon, says Natalie Gahrmann of NRG Coaching Associates in Hillsborough, N.J., and the work/life expert at BlueSuit- Mom.com. “And as colder weather approaches, it’s a good idea to plan for possible weather-related emergencies, like a snowstorm, when you might have to work at home,” she says. “Or you might have to work at home in order to accommodate a delivery or a repair.” Tom DeMarco, author of “Slack: Getting Past Burnout, Busywork, and the Myth of Total Efficiency” (Broadway Books, $23), says even if you don’t have a designated space, working at home is “far superior” to working at an office. “Companies provide such an abysmal atmosphere,” he says. “At home, it’s quieter, there are fewer interruptions.” He adds that he knows people who have so many interruptions at work that they sometimes take a sick day and work at home to get things done. Another advantage of a cube at home: It’s more private and more comfortable, says DeMarco. “We’ve built a very sterile environment at work ... imposing arbitrary rules like you can have nothing on the walls except for a corporate calendar.” Linda Shea, a specialty food broker, echoes that view. Shea, who spends roughly 50 percent of her time in the office she set up in the den off her kitchen, says: “I like the warm environment of my home rather than the sterile white walls [of an office],” she says. “I like the comfort of being in my own home.” Shea and DeMarco also agree that natural lighting, having the company of a pet and being able to get outside during the day are special boons. “I try to make a point to get outside every day,” says Shea. “I don’t always do it, but I try to take a walk or eat lunch outside on the deck in the summer or at least get some fresh air.” Shea, who has been her own boss for 20 years, points out that the flexibility of working at home allowed her to be there for important events when her son, now 28, was growing up. But is a comfy chair or the fact you might take break to throw in a load of laundry something that you have to keep secret from your boss or clients? “The very fact that the workplace is so sterile makes work at home seem like a guilty pleasure,” explains DeMarco. “But one of the biggest advantages of working at home is that you’re your own boss ... at least for a while.” As for the laundry example, DeMarco says: “That is breaking out of that rigid discipline that applies in the workforce that says professional people are on task all the time. It’s very important to not be on task all the time. What’s important is that you are free to make that choice ... that you would not be able to make in the workplace. It makes you feel there is opportunity for personal growth.” Still, DeMarco, Shea and Gahrmann note that self-discipline is crucial to making an arrangement like this work. “Discipline, structure and organize yourself because no one is looking over your shoulder,” says Gahrmann. As Shea puts it: “Things can always come up to distract you. You’ve got to be disciplined and, no matter what your job, time management is most important. So set priorities about what needs to be done and be realistic about how long it will take to do it.” To prepare for the occasional day of working at home, assuming you have a computer, Gahrmann says try to anticipate what else you might need—office supplies or a cordless phone, for example. Whether you take over a den or sit at a desk, keep your supplies handy so you don’t have to get up and look for things. A screen can be a good separator from the rest of the room. DeMarco, who has what he terms a “dream office” at home, still finds he sometimes prefers to work at the kitchen table. No matter where you camp out, it’s essential to keep the area organized and clutter free. Says Gahrmann: “When working at home for any period of time, work can pile up and take over personal space and if your dining room becomes headquarters for your company, other people in the family get uncomfortable with that.” It’s key to set up the area so that you can work with as few interruptions as possible, says Gahrmann. For many women, that means arranging for child care and helping children understand that your work is important and you need quiet time to get it done. She also suggests talking to them about when it’s OK to come in and talk to you and tell them exactly what they can and can’t touch. Additionally, if you have a dog with a loud bark, consider doggie day care, and if your work-at- home stint extends to a few days or a week, you may need to discourage neighbors from stopping in to chat just because your car is in the driveway. She also notes: Stay away from the fridge, adding that snacking is a distraction for many who work at home. Make sure you are in close contact with your office and answer the phone as if you were in the office, she says. If you call internationally, be clear on what times are good for you to talk in order to avoid a 3 a.m. call-back. Perhaps most important, quit at the end of the day. “What I really have a hard time with is having the discipline to walk away at night,” says Shea. “It still calls you; it’s too easy to work at night because the work is always there. [At an office] I would not be bringing this much work home. On weekends, I try to pretend [the office] is not there.” E-mail jfitzgerald@tribune.com WORKING Clear the decks, dining table when working from home How do you become a legendary groupie? Longtime Lincoln Park resident Cynthia Plaster Caster—she won’t divulge her real surname—achieved fame in the ’60s and ’70s for immortalizing the phalluses of rock stars in plaster. The 60 or so honorees in her hall of fame are an eclectic crew that includes conservative radio host Bob Grant and musical comedy star Anthony Newley as well as rock demigod Jimi Hendrix. These days, Caster, 55, does perhaps a cast a year, eschewing stars for edgy, up-and- coming artists such as Chicago’s Bobby Conn. “The criteria is talent and how much they make my day better,” she says. The greatest fan of Caster’s artworks was the late avant- garde rocker Frank Zappa, whose record company assisted her financially when she was living in Los Angeles in the ’70s. Now she’s repaying the favor by becoming a patron of the arts. Several months ago, Caster, who worked until recently as a typesetter and office worker, launched the not-for-profit Cynthia P. Caster Foundation (www.cynthiapcaster.org), which will provide financial aid to artists through revenue generated by tax-exempt donations and sales of limited editions of plaster cast replicas, T-shirts and drawings. Prices range from$20 for a T- shirt to $1,500 for a Hendrix monolith. Donors “will be thanked personally,” notes Caster on her Web site. —Stephanie Goldberg clean break with the past, forsaking trysts with the super-famous for a long-term commitment from the boy next door and saving the fishnets and leopard- skin halters for Halloween. But few have made as stunning a transformation as former Texas Blonde Dayna Howes, who will graduate from the University of Texas in Austin next spring with a major in biochemistry, a 3.9 grade-point average and high school teaching credentials. Howes, 37, is married to an environmental consulting engineer and has a stepson, 12, and a 3-year-old daughter. According to her fellow Blonde, E.A. Srere, 45, now a Dallas public defender, Howes was the bomb, “the hot girl who would always be carted back to the most important person.” Srere, on the other hand, describes herself as Kate Jackson to Howes’ Farrah Fawcett. “I wanted to meet the musicians and be their friend and find out what made them tick, but I wasn’t all that interested in sleeping with them,” Srere says. Howes, the daughter of a hippie mom she jokingly describes as a “Molotov cocktail-throwing revolutionary,” was an outsider at Austin High where the girls ridiculed her patchwork granny dresses. Suspended for wearing a “Sex Pistols” T-shirt, she quit school at age 14 and found, as a club kid, the first real acceptance she had ever known. “Over the summer, I went from being flat-chested to a C- cup and suddenly I had attention from grown men who were almost gods in my eyes,” says Howes. “These were the emotional strokes I needed. It wasn’t healthy or unhealthy. It was just what it was.” Over the next four years, she says she became romantically involved with Iggy Pop and had dalliances with members of the Cars, the Talking Heads, Joe Jackson’s band, the Los Angeles band X and others. “I had never dated. I hadn’t gone out with one guy in junior high or high school,” she muses. The rockers treated her well, she says. “It was a slow seduction with music and drinks and kidding around.” She learned quickly to lie about her age since the few times she told the truth, “the color would drain out of the guy’s face and he’d put me in a cab and send me home.” At 18, Howes moved in with an Air Force pilot and got her high school diploma. They lived together for a number of years in Germany where he was stationed. After that relationship broke up, Howes went to Hollywood to pursue a career as a dancer. In the ’90s, she moved back to Austin, married her husband, started college and had her daughter. And made an astounding discovery: She was an excellent student with an aptitude for the physical sciences. She took the Mensa IQ test two years ago and scored 163. Getting good grades Other groupies excelled at compartmentalizing—earning A’s in school and hanging out with bands on the weekend. That’s how it was for the 48- year-old Portland, Ore., businesswoman who uses her ’70s groupie moniker of “Pennie Lane” whenshe gives interviews. Lane and her buddies, the Flying Garter Girls, consorted with the reigning rock royalty during the early ’70s, but she ditched the Portland scene in 1975 to attend California State University in Northridge on a fencing scholarship. After graduation, she entered the marketing field, worked for a number of corporations and earned an MBA in 1988. Lane, whose 10-year marriage ended in divorce, would have stayed mum about her groupie past if she hadn’t gotten a call from film director Cameron Crowe several years ago. She remembered Crowe affectionately from the ’70s as the 16- year-old reporter for Rolling Stone who dogged her heels when he came to Portland to profile a rock group. Now he was making “Almost Famous,” a movie about that era, which would feature a groupie heroine based on Lane and several other women. Did she mind if he named the character after her? “I was flattered,” says Lane, who visited the set and advised actress Kate Hudson. But while Hudson’s character was a fragile sprite who had a disastrous affair with a married man, the real Pennie Lane was a pragmatist who steered clear of messy entanglements. “We all had outside career goals,” Lane points out. “We were there for the music, but none of us wanted to fall in love with or marry rock stars.” The Garter Girls had zero tolerance for boorish behavior, she says. “If we weren’t treated like the ladies we were, we would just leave because we didn’t care.” An old groupie photo of Lane shows her as a Botticelli Venus in 1940s thrift shop finery—a far cry from the Brooks Brothers suits and oversize bowties she donned in the ’80s. “When I entered the corporate world, I chose to advance by using my brains instead of my body,” Lane says. “It was very obvious that the women who were sleeping with [their bosses] were not powerful or taken seriously.” She broke away in the ’90s to start her own marketing consulting firm and moved from Southern California back to Portland to be near her aging father. Home now is a custom- built, 6,000-square-foot Spanish- style villa, complete with heli- pad, that she rents out as a conference center. She has many friends, but “I don’t date that much,” she says. She does keep in touch with four other Garter Girls and feted them eight years ago with a reunion that featured a golf outing and a daylong cruise. Her friends brought their significant others but several men were kept hazy about the girls’ glory days. “A lot of men are threatened by that sort of thing,” Lane says. To tell or not to tell “My husband really doesn’t want to know the details,” says Nancy Tomlinson, 50, of Freeville, N.Y., who dabbled in grou- piedom as a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign in the early ’70syet maintained an A average. Today, she’s the mother of two, a grant writer and the wife of an inventor. She credits a stint in psychoanalysis in her 20s with helping her understand her double life. Tomlinson, who comes from a small town in central Illinois, believes she was rebelling against the restrictive norms she had known since childhood. “When I got to college and went on the pill, I was going to act like a guy, to prove I could have sex as casually as a guy.” The men meant little to her, she says, and she never experienced the female bonding of the Garter Girls or the Texas Blondes. “It was a very competitive scene with a lot of animosity.” And then there’s Margaret Moser, the girl with stars in her eyes. Moser’s story parallels Howes’—she, too, was a high school dropout with laissez- faire parents. By her early 20s, she was interviewing rock musicians for an alternative paper called The Austin Sun. She met Cale in 1979 and recalls the then- long-haired rocker as a dashing figure in black leather. When she heard his Welsh brogue, “my knees went to jelly. I saw him four different times that year—once in New York and three times in Texas when he came back to do shows. I was always available to him.” Moser, who was then disengaging herself from her first marriage, recalls driving to Los Angeles with the Blondes to see his band. “I remember standing in the ladies room and putting on red lipstick and thinking life didn’t get any better than this. Everyone else had to pay to see the man on stage and I was his guest and I was going to have him that night.” In 1984, Moser remarried and distanced herself from Cale. “The fact that John didn’t return my affection was a great blow to me,” she admits. She and her husband moved to Hawaii, and in the early ’90s, they separated and she returned to Austin to become an editor at the Austin Chronicle, where she is still on staff. “My marriage was falling apart and I was back in Austin on my own. I did keep hoping through the ’90s that I’d open the door and John would be there,” she says. Her path continued to cross Cale’s professionally and in 2001, she was asked to pen the liner notes to a reissue of “Vintage Violence,” his 1970 debut album. Also in 2000 she invited him to Austin for a tribute concert to Sterling Morrison, a member of the Velvet Underground who spent the last years of his life as a student and lecturer at the University of Texas before dying of cancer in 1995. The concert was a personal triumph but also a wake-up call. “I finally accepted it was never going to happen for us,” she says. And that was OK with her. “I’m very protective of the magical aspects of that relationship,” says Moser, who believes Cale’s Celtic bard persona transcends time and is trying to capture the same aura of romance in a historical novel she’s writing that’s set in 1745 Scotland. She says she’ll always feel a special bond with the man who composed the anthems of her youth. Today, when she looks at the now 60-year-old Cale, “I see him as a young man because his spirit is young,” says Moser. Along with the good times, he gave her a lasting gift, she says. “He was the first man who made me feel I could embrace my intelligence.” A groupie couldn’t ask for a better souvenir. GROUPIES: Careers, family draw them now CONTINUEDFROMPAGE1 A groupie legend pays homage to infamous casts

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