Saturday 9: Bonanza

Saturday 9: Bonanza (1959)

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) Bonanza ran on NBC for 14 seasons. Today it’s rerun on Me-TV and TVLand. Were/are you a fan? No, I’ve never seen it.

2) The show centers on The Cartwrights, who lived on a massive ranch in Nevada. License plates in Nevada read, “The Silver State.” What’s on your license plate? The Keystone State.

3) Ben Cartwright made his fortune as a cattle rancher. What’s the last beef dish you ate? I’m a vegetarian, but given that my grandma’s food was my weakness, it was probably her beef soup.

4) Patriarch Ben had his eldest son, Adam, with his refined, bookish first wife, Elizabeth. Unfortunately, Elizabeth died in childbirth. Still Adam inherited her love of the written word. What’s the last book you finished? An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green. I finished it yesterday and really enjoyed it. It was a neat little piece of kind of sci-fi, I guess? And for the record, that was a library book and my new current library pick is Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart by Joyce Carol Oates. So…completely different there.

5) Ben’s second son, Hoss, was born to his second wife, Inger, who was killed as the family traveled West by wagon train. Hoss inherited her open, friendly manner and her way with animals. Are there pets in your home? Of course! My husband’s gecko, which he’s had since he was 12, and our cat that we haven’t had a year yet.

6) Ben’s youngest, Joe, arrived after Ben married a third time to the passionate Marie, who died in a riding accident when her son was only five years old. Little Joe inherited her impetuosity. Do you consider yourself more spontaneous or predictable? It’s time I just accept that I’m a predictable person.

7) Samuel Clemons was a reporter in Virginia City at the time when the Cartwrights would have been there, and a fictionalized version of Mr. Clemons appeared in an episode of Bonanza. Without looking it up, do you know Samuel Clemons’ famous pen name? Yep! Mark Twain.

8) Hair was a big deal in the Bonanza dressing room. Three of the original four stars — Lorne Greene, Pernell Roberts and Dan Blocker — all wore hairpieces. (The fourth, Michael Landon, began dying his hair while still in his 20s because he was going prematurely gray.) Have you ever worn a wig or a hairpiece? First of all, I have a longstanding crush on Michael Landon. But to answer the question, yes, I have. I wore a dark-brown bobbed wig in a high-school musical, and then outside of that, my friends and I were fans of donning bad wigs and hats and going out in public like that. Shoutout to the Taco Bell employee who nearly lost it and laughed but kept it together while we ordered.

9) Random question — Tell us the story behind one of your scars. I don’t really have any interesting ones. I don’t have many to start with, but right now, I do have one on each leg from the cat–one on my left thigh, one on my right shin. Both are from her trying to use my bare skin to brace herself.


Friday 5: Can’t Stop Won’t Stop

  1. What’s a snack item you have difficulty eating in moderation? In general, I’m pretty good with moderation, at least in the sense that I don’t eat unhealthy snacks on a daily basis. But in terms of, say, not pigging out in one session? Chips, obviously, and ice cream. If I’m out getting ice cream, I am almost definitely not getting a small serving.
  2. What’s a verbal habit you’d like to break? I should say cussing, but that would be insincere. So filler words. I don’t think I use them a ton, at least.
  3. What have you removed from your life after some struggle to do so? Ooh. The wrong people, in part because I have a tendency to let people get away with a lot of nasty behavior in the name of keeping the peace. And look, it’s never gonna be 100% gone–there will always be people I don’t want to see but can’t avoid, and that goes for all of us. But if I have more control over who I see and when and for how long and even how I react to them, I’m good.
  4. Where do you go just because you’ve always gone there? I think when my husband and I are looking for a place to go eat in town, we forget about a lot of places because we have our staples in mind.
  5. What’s something you hope continue forever? Writing, my marriage, my general values.

From Friday 5.

Saturday 9: America the Beautiful

Unfamiliar with Frank Sinatra’s 1945 version of this song? Hear it here.

1) In 2016, a group recommended that this week’s song replace “The Star Spangled Banner” as our national anthem. They maintain it’s just as beautiful but easier to sing. How do you feel about this? I see the logic, but I think part of the appeal of “The Star Spangled Banner” is the history. This country isn’t really a fan of breaking from longstanding ways of doing things.

2) Katharine L. Bates said her lyrics were inspired by a trip to Pike’s Peak. What’s the most beautiful American spot you’ve ever visited? Nothing stands out, but I don’t mean that in a negative way. I actually think this country has a lot of beauty to it. I live near mountains and rivers, and I love vacationing at beaches. I think there’s a lot to appreciate.

3) The music was written by organist Samuel Augustus Ward. Both Bates and Ward were very formal when signing their names professionally — she including her middle initial and he with his full middle name. How about you? When you sign checks or documents, do you use your middle name or initial? Not usually, but there have been times when I’ve needed to.

4) In 1945, when this version of the song was recorded, America lost Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Frank Sinatra said, “I lost a hero.” What late, great American hero from our past would you like to honor today? Ooh, I don’t know.

5) Also in 1945, a 19-year-old “hoofer” waited outside the Los Angeles radio station where Sinatra was being interviewed. That was the beginning of the friendship between Sammy Davis, Jr., and Frank Sinatra. Tell us about your oldest friend. I have a few friends that I’ve known since middle school, and they’re great for a fun time.

6) The Fourth of July means we’re in the middle of summer. Are you careful about applying sunscreen? If I’m not gonna be outside very long, no, but if I am, definitely. I can’t afford not to be with this fair skin.

7) Mosquito bites can be a major summer annoyance. Are you scratching any itches right now? I have dry skin, so something is usually itchy somewhere.

8) Emergency rooms report an increase in wrist injuries in summer, with people falling off bikes and skateboards and jamming their wrists catching hard-hit softballs. Have you  been to the ER or Urgent Care during 2019? I have not, but one could argue I should’ve seen someone a couple weeks ago when I was pretty sure I had an ear infection. But I’m kind of prone to getting them and kind of tired of going to MedExpress every damn time.
9) New York is home to Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest every year on the 4th. Will hot dogs be consumed in your household this weekend? Vegan ones! I eat them for lunch sometimes.

Friday 5: Freeeeeeeeeedom!

  1. What’s a movie that makes you feel patriotic? Probably The Patriot and Independence Day.
  2. When you first started driving, what’s something you did mostly because you could? I was far more willing to run stupid errands or drive my brother back and forth from hanging out with friends or soccer practice. I also liked long drives a lot more than I do now, but a few months of driving over an hour to work and then two-ish years of having to drive three hours to visit my husband when we were dating in college killed anything I liked about it. It gets old fast.
  3. What’s a good song whose title contains some form of the word “free?” “Olly Olly Oxen Free” by Amanda Palmer, and, of course, “Freedom! ’90” by George Michael and “Free Fallin'” by Tom Petty.
  4. When did you last unexpectedly receive something for free? On the 4th, my husband and I didn’t really have plans and decided to just kind of hang out and run to Home Depot to pick up a portable air conditioner unit that was ready for pick-up, and we wanted ice cream. After trying Rita’s and Dairy Queen, McDonald’s was our last resort. He ordered an Oreo McFlurry, but they accidentally made one of the new Stroopwafel ones instead and just let us have it.
  5. What’s something you’ve given freely in recent weeks? I was gonna say my time, but honestly, I don’t think I’ve even done that. Except maybe giving my time to help decorate for my husband’s sister’s wedding, but that’s just part of my duties as an in-law, not to mention beyond fair since she made all of our wedding favors for free.

From Friday 5.

Saturday 9: Ooh La La

Saturday 9: Ooh La La (2013)
Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) “Ooh la la” is defined as an interjection said when you think someone or something is “surprising, unusual or attractive.” Looking back over this week, did you come across anything that deserves an “ooh la la?” Hmm, not really.

2) In this song, Britney Spears sings that she’s eager to accompany you, even if you’re not a millionaire. But let’s say you suddenly become really rich. What’s the first leisure trip you would take with your new funds? Who would you bring along? I’d go to a beach with my husband.

3) Britney is eager to dance with you, even if you don’t wear designer clothes. Let’s say you need to add a blouse (or shirt) to your wardrobe. Where’s your go-to for clothes shopping? Depends on the occasion, but I get a lot from New York & Company.

4) The video begins with Britney at the movies with her two young sons. Will you be seeing any family members this weekend? I don’t think so, but if I do, it’ll be siblings-in-law.

5) This is a theme from the movie Smurfs 2. A Smurf is a little blue creature who lives in a mushroom-shaped house in the forest. Assuming that your home is not shaped like a mushroom and isn’t in the forest, how would you describe your abode? (Mansion, ranch house, farm house, high-rise, igloo …) A little one-story ranch that’s about to get some much-needed new siding within the next couple weeks. I’m pretty excited–the house as it is now looks a little old and shabby, and we’re in the process of getting it to reach its adorable potential.

6) Britney admits to smoking and biting her nails. What bad habit do you wish you could break? I have bad eating habits. I need someone to make me a menu every week.

7) In 2013, when this song was popular, Pope Benedict resigned. Thinking over your working life, have you been more nervous on your first day of a job, or the last one? I haven’t had a last day yet! But knowing me, I’d be more nervous on my first day. In fact, any nerves on a last day of work would be because I was thinking about the first day of the next job.

8) Also in 2013, golfer Phil Mickelson won the British Open. When did you most recently golf? It would’ve only been mini-golf and I certainly haven’t gone in the last few years, so who knows?

9) Random question — On what part of your body was the last itch you scratched? My boob.

Friday 5: Dress You Up in My Love

  1. For the rest of your life, you get to dispense one condiment out of each fingertip of your right hand, defining “condiment” liberally. Which five do you commit to? Ketchup, honey mustard, yum yum sauce, balsamic vinaigrette, and salt.
  2. What is the best way to spiffy-up french fries? So I’m a fan of basic ketchup, but if I’m getting a little less basic, my go-to is cheese fries. I know people who are fans of gravy or ranch dressing, though.
  3. The restaurant is out of your favorite salad dressing. What do you order instead? Ranch or a house dressing.. Or whatever sounds the most interesting–there’s a restaurant in town that does a honey-shallot dressing I’m a big fan of.
  4. How do you like to modify your favorite heat-and-eat food? Eh, I don’t, really.
  5. In what way do you play with your food? I don’t really do that, either, unless I’m getting full and just start kind of poking at it.

From Friday 5.

It was a weekend full of parties.

On Friday night, we kicked off the weekend with a small party at our house as a double birthday celebration for me, on my 30th, and Paul’s friend from work Andrew, who turned 31 on Sunday. We seized the opportunity to use our deck and had good food and lots of wine and hung out for a few hours. Ringing in 30 was a great success.

But of course, there are a ton of summer birthdays in our family, so on Saturday, there was a surprise party for my cousin Casey, also turning 30–her actual birthday is today. So we spent a few hours over at my aunt and uncle’s house, and Casey was sufficiently surprised. She didn’t even know that Sammi, who lives in New York, was in for the weekend and didn’t find out until she walked into the house and saw us all there.

After the party, we made our belated Father’s Day rounds, starting with my parents’ house for a little bit before heading over to Paul’s parents’ place just in time for dinner. After another couple hours there, we headed home.

On Sunday, the miraculous third consecutive day of sunshine after never-ending rain, we got some yard work done when we could before heading out to a party again, this time a graduation party for one of Paul’s cousins. We had a good time hanging out there until the evening, at which point I, still feeling under the weather from my cold last week, got Paul to squeeze in one last round of cutting grass at the back of the house before the sun set.

And now, somehow, I’ve managed to get sick again, except this time the trouble is mostly digestive. I almost feel like I have a mild flu–I was really tired all day today with body aches, and although things seem to have improved at this point in the evening, I’m frustrated. Things need done and I don’t have the energy, and I’ve already not seen Eliana for a few weeks and am worried that if I’ve come down with something new that’s  not short-lived, I’m not gonna see her for another week or so yet. I was really set on making it happen this weekend, too, so I’m not gonna be happy if it doesn’t work out.

Other potential weekend plans include a small get-together at our house I like to call “We Had a Party Last Weekend and Everyone Brought Wine, So Now We Have Too Much Wine, Please Come Drink Some,” or maybe a trip to Phipps, or maybe a trip to the art museum. They both have things going on right now I really want to see, but the good news is both are ongoing through the summer, so I’ve got time.

Saturday 9: Venus in Blue Jeans

Saturday 9: Venus in Blue Jeans (1962)

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) Like the dream girl described in this song, Sam is wearing jeans as she composes this Saturday 9. Is there a lot of denim in your wardrobe? I mean, not a ton, but if leaving the house, I’m usually wearing jeans or leggings.

2) Jimmy Clanton likens this girl to the Venus de Milo, the ancient Greek sculpture made of marble and now on display at the Louvre. Is there any marble in your home? No. Maybe we’ll do that in our eventual kitchen remodel.

3) He refers to his girl as “Mona Lisa with a pony tail.” The Mona Lisa is also at the Louvre. What’s the last museum you visited? I think it was the Museum of the Bible in D.C. as part of a bus trip. It was our final stop before going home and not really something I was interested in seeing, but I will say it was more informative than I expected.

4) This girl is so awesome, she’s the 8th Wonder of the World! Without looking it up, could you name the other 7? Ha, nope.

5) Jimmy Clanton spent his entire professional life behind a microphone. After he quit selling records, he began spinning them as a DJ. Do you consider the sound of your voice one of your better qualities? I’m not a fan of it, personally.

6) At age 80, Mr. Clanton still performs. He averaged an appearance/month in 2018. Some of his fans were surprised that he has let his pompadour go completely white. Do you color your hair? Do I! It’s pink and green right now, with a little purple and teal in it. And beyond overdue for another round of dye.

7) In 1962, when this song was popular, Americans were reading about 5-year-old First Daughter, Caroline Kennedy, and her pony, Macaroni. Tell us about a pet you had when you were very young. My dad had a cat for years that was essentially my first pet by the time I came along. His name was Corkey, and he was a grey outdoor cat, and the story goes that my grandfather once cheated on his taxes by claiming Corkey as a dependent.

8) Decades later, Caroline Kennedy was the first woman to serve as US Ambassador to Japan. Have you ever been to Asia? No, but I’d love to.

9) Random question: When talking among themselves, who do you think is more open and honest about sex — men or women? I feel like men would be more prone to exaggeration and women would be more candid than men would expect.

Friday 5: Sprung

  1. What do you need to be free of? Hmm. My own bad habits, probably.
  2. What’s the highest thing you’ve leaped from? I don’t know, but I can tell you it wasn’t very high because although I’m not afraid of heights, I am afraid of jumping from them.
  3. What are you bouncing back from? A cold. I came down with it about last Wednesday or Thursday and although I’m significantly better than I was then, I’m still waking up congested. I’m also pretty sure the cold triggered an ear infection, but as I am prone to them and don’t feel like going to MedExpress every single time I get one, I decided to see if I can ride it out. So far, so good.
  4. When were you last in, on, or near a body of fresh water? I went to Lake Erie over Memorial Day weekend, and when we walked along one of its beaches, I walked close enough for the little waves to crash over my feet. Since we’ve been back, we have been close to Pittsburgh’s three rivers. We weren’t necessarily close to the Yough where we grew up yesterday, but close enough.
  5. What kind of bed are you sleeping on? A queen-sized bed with drawers along the bottom on a nice and soft Tuft & Needle mattress.

From Friday 5.

I think I’ve found the one downside to working from home, at least for me–venturing out into the world makes me prone to illness. I was gonna say “makes me sick,” but…

But it’s true. For the second time in the last few months, it would appear that I emerged from weekend festivities with a cold. The annoying thing is calling off doesn’t make a hell of a lot of sense because if I’m not sitting at my work computer, I’m just gonna be sitting on my laptop, so other than having to be clocked in and working for eight hours, what difference does it make? Besides, I can take a nap instead of a lunch break. And let me tell you, some days, that’s perfect.

So I’ve been taking it easy for the last half of the week, hoping to get the damned thing out of my system to varying degrees of success. Some things feel better, some worse, but I am more functional than I was when it started. Not only did I nap for lunch on Wednesday, but I conked right out once I was clocked out.

We did venture out to Pittsburgh today for the final day of the annual arts festival. When we went to brunch last week, I’d invited Marissa along at the last minute, but she wasn’t around, so I told her maybe she could join us this weekend. And that she did, along with her mom. Paul and I had left earlier than they did and took the T and were hungry, of course, so we grabbed tacos at Condado, a place we fell in love with when we stopped by their Lawrenceville location some months back.

And after that, the four of us had a nice afternoon of enjoying the festival. Marissa and I were both hoping to get some nice little art prints for our respective bathrooms–she succeeded, I did not–and I know Paul picked up some jewelry I not-so-subtly mentioned would make nice birthday gifts for me.

Paul and I ended the day with a short walk to get some macarons, because they’re probably my favorite cookie and aren’t abundant closer to home. So we loaded up and splurged on two dozen of the things.

As for Father’s Day, we told both of our fathers we’d see them next weekend instead. With me not being 100% over this cold, I don’t want to take something over to my parents’ house and get my dad sick, since he’s going through chemo, and so we figured we’d hold off on both sides of the family and do it next weekend.