I still have a bunch of vacation time to use–last time I checked, I still had a solid week I need to use by the end of the year, although I may have slightly less now–so my method has been to take two days off anytime I want to request one. Usually, it’s the day after a concert, so for this last one, I figured I’d do day of and day after. Gave myself a nice, short work week and a nice, long weekend.

I spent those two days at home lounging and napping, with a small dose of chores and writing.

Thursday night, we went to dinner at Markook then set off for Star Lake Amphitheater/Post-Gazette Pavilion/First Niagara Pavilion. It’s a pretty good venue for big summer concerts, but it’s notorious for having terrible parking, so I wanted to get us there a little early. Next time, I should aim for even earlier, because we sat in parking-lot traffic for a good half hour, making us miss the beginning of Cheap Trick’s set. And they were the band I wanted to see the most. I’m cursed when it comes to Cheap Trick at that place. Both times I’ve seen them open there, I’ve ended up missing the first part of the set. Fortunately, I’ve seen them do a full set elsewhere.

And if you have the opportunity to see Cheap Trick headline at a smaller venue, take it. I may have missed part of their set twice, but I did see them at a smaller venue a few years ago, and they really do put on a great show that just kind of works better at a smaller venue. I think almost all musicians are like that, with the exception of maybe the big spectacles that, say, pop stars put on. Cheap Trick was the main reason I wanted to go, which is blasphemy in some circles considering the rest of the bill was Joan Jett and Heart.

They were all great. I’d say Joan Jett impressed me most. The funny thing is because of the nature of the concert and the fact that I’m mostly just familiar with hers and Heart’s hits, it was the kind of thing I could enjoy a little more leisurely, which is kind of nice. I’ve seen bands I’m very unfamiliar with and I’ve seen bands where I went out of my mind, dancing and singing along to everything, and to have something kind of in the middle of that was a nice change.

I spent a significant amount of time Friday napping. The thing about taking days off when Paul doesn’t is he still gets up at 6 for work, which inevitably wakes me up. So lately, rather than try to go back to sleep and lie in bed God knows how long, I decided to go ahead and get up and just nap later if I got tired. I ended up falling asleep twice, barely eating, and getting a headache as a result. By the time Paul came home from work, I was waking up from my second nap and we decided to go to Primanti’s for dinner, likely undoing a couple weeks’ worth of walking about a mile every day and up to six miles on the weekends.

The other advantage to the two days off was having some time at home before heading out to Ohio for the weekend.

Saturday 9: Surf City

Saturday 9: Surf City (1963)

… Because Melissa suggested Jan and Dean. Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) When the song was written, “Surf City” was a fictitious town.* Tell us a song that is set in a real place. I can’t think of one at the moment!

2) In the song, Jan and Dean sing about riding around in a 1934 station wagon, which means the car was 29 years old when the song was recorded. How old is your vehicle? I think it’s a 2005, so if I’m remembering right, it’s 11.

3) Are you good on a surf board? I’ve never tried it! I think I’d be okay at it.

4) When you spend time out in the sun, are you careful about applying sunscreen? If I’m gonna be out for an extended period of time, yes.

5) Dean’s original partner was Arnie Ginsburg. When Dean was drafted into the Army, Arnie didn’t feel like waiting so he abandoned show business and went back to college. Today he holds several patents. What is something you wish someone would invent? I can’t think of anything for this one, either.

6) Jan was a perpetual student who juggled college with recording. He not only graduated from UCLA, he completed two years of medical school at the UC Irvine School of Medicine. Have you ever considered going back to school? I’ve thought about law school from time to time, but honestly, I don’t thin I have the motivation right now to put the work in and I don’t know if I have it in me to work in the field.

7) In 1966, Jan was sidelined by a serious car accident. During the years that he was unable to perform, partner Dean became a graphic artist. He designed logos and album covers for Steve Martin, Diana Ross and others. Do you feel you respond most to words, pictures, or music? I’d music comes first, followed very, very closely by words. It can happen with pictures, but it’s not as common and not as intense.

8) In 1978, CBS made a TV movie about Jan and Dean. If they approached you about a made-for-TV movie of your life, who would you like to play you? Man, I feel like every 20-something woman these days probably says this, but Jennifer Lawrence.

9) Random question:  Growing up, how did you learn about the birds and the bees? (From books/the web, from parents, from your friends…) I had friends and cousins that were a couple years older than me, so once one of them found out, it was all over. It made its way to the rest of us, and I was pretty young.

Friday 5: (Im?)potent Potables

  1. What’s your favorite beverage that has chocolate in it? It’s so basic, but probably chocolate milk.
  2. What’s your favorite non-citrusy fruit drink? Is mango considered citrus? Because any kind of mango drink, I love. My fiancé and I also recently bought mango-peach and berry juices that we really liked. Any I like pretty much any kind of cider.
  3. What’s your favorite mention of a drink in song? Hmm. I’m not sure.
  4. Roy Rogers, Arnold Palmer, and Shirley Temple are among people who have mixed drinks named after them.  What would a drink named after you contain, and what would each of the ingredients represent? I don’t think they’d represent anything–I’d probably just want something with my favorite flavors, which tend to be berries and/or tropical fruits. Maybe something with pineapple, mango, and coconut…as though this isn’t a cocktail of some sort at just about every bar already anyway.
  5. Besides milk and cookies (’cause that’s really too easy), what are a food and drink that you must have together? Every time I have pizza, I have to have either alcohol or pop with it. And I need milk with peanut butter.

Booking Through Thursday: I Don’t Read

What is your response when somebody tells you “I don’t read”?

I don’t think anyone’s actually said this to me in a really long time, so I can’t tell you with certainty how I react. But I can tell you what I think I’d do.

First, I’d hide my shock and borderline disgust, and then I’d ask why. Some people legitimately don’t have the time, like my mom, and with a stressful job on top of that, she’d rather kind of disengage and watch TV when she comes home as opposed to getting involved in a book. The silver lining of a hospital stay due to a blood clot a few years ago was that she was forced to stay in bed, and even though she managed to do some work from her hospital bed, she was able to do some reading, too, for once. But I digress. The point is I get it if people just don’t have time to do it, in which case I’d suggest trying to find the time–read a book instead of, say, watching TV or something.

For people who don’t really enjoy it, I’d say they maybe just haven’t found the right book yet. I believe this applies to a lot of things, really, especially music genres, but that’s a whole separate discussion. But I’d try to suggest books relevant to their interests that they might enjoy, especially really engaging books that are hard to put down.

While I understand and accept the fact that people have different interests, I feel like reading is too important to just be brushed off as a hobby some people aren’t into. It’s one thing to, say, have preferences when it comes to fiction versus nonfiction, but it’s another to completely avoid such a beneficial, potentially educational activity. I get why some people might not like it, but at the same time, I feel like there can be a level of it that’s willful ignorance. I know I’m a broken record with this, but reading introduces you to different perspectives and ideas, and for me, someone choosing not to do it is choosing not to open themselves up to those things.

Another successful weekend.

We altered our walking routine a bit–to squeeze it in along with other stuff we had going on, we got up early both Saturday and Sunday and went to the park first thing in the morning, walking almost three miles each time.

After the Saturday trip, I headed out to my parents’ place again to go to a Lularoe pop-up party with my mom and Aunt Gina. For those who might not know, Lularoe is clothes sold by representatives similar to the way people sell jewelry or make-up or Thirty-One purses–and at this point, I’ve gone to parties for just about all of those things. I’m either great or terrible to have at those, as either I’ll find a lot I like and spend a lot of money or I won’t find a thing. I jokingly call these things pyramid schemes, because, well…the idea is you get people to sell to make extra cash, but it’s very rarely a thing a lot people make a lot of money from and seems to benefit the company as a whole more than individual sellers. That said, I’ve found a lot of stuff I’ve liked through these things, and to be honest, Lularoe might be my favorite of them. The clothes are really, really comfy (albeit expensive), and the concept is interesting. The cynic in me sees this more as a gimmick, but sellers don’t know what patterns they’re getting or how many of that pattern they’re getting in each size, and one something’s gone, it’s gone. No more.

I found a dress, skirt, and leggings I liked, and the funny thing is that due to the sizing, I was able to get away with an extra small in the dress–though it’s a little snug in the arms and chest–and a medium in the skirt, which I really wanted even though a small probably would’ve been better. But I’d be more open to doing that again as opposed to, say, jewelry or make-up.

I hung around my parents’ place for a bit My mom and I went to Target and dinner, then I got sucked into watching Up and washed some old college bedding for Paul’s sister, who ended up not even needing it, which would’ve been nice to know earlier. I came in late in the evening to Paul experimenting in the kitchen with putting black raspberries and walnuts in cookies. Personally, I thought the walnuts were a little too much, but the raspberries were nice.

Today brought a graduation party, where we mostly hung out with Emily, including slipping away for a bit to go for another walk around the park we were in. The end result was a sunburn. On the plus side, it was nice, calm gathering, and I got to hold an adorable, chill baby who likes playing with my jewelry.

More and more lately, I’ve begun to kind of want to have a kid. Fortunately, logic wins out–we’re obviously not gonna go have kids when we’re getting married in a little over a year. And I’d prefer to be living in a house when we get to the babymaking point, but if need be, I’ll settle for a different apartment. We’d definitely need more space, and a nicer place wouldn’t be too bad, either. We could afford it now, really, but we decided last year to stay put, save money, and save ourselves to hassle of multiple moves.

So realistically, I’ve said it’s gonna be at least two years before we consider it. In the meantime, I’m content to just hold other people’s babies.

Saturday 9: Sara Smile

Saturday 9: Sara Smile (1976)

… Because Kwizgiver suggested Hall & Oates. Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) This was Hall & Oates’ first #1 hit. Can you name another of their popular songs? I’ll give you two of my favorites: “Rich Girl” and “You Make My Dreams Come True.”

2) Darryl Hall and Sara Allen were a couple for 30 years, and he wrote this at the beginning of their long relationship. That makes this a very public love letter. Are you good at writing love letters? Would you rather tell the person how you feel, face to face? Or do you let your actions speak louder than your words? I could write it well if I had to, and you’d think a writer would be all about flowery love letters, but it’s not my thing at all.  I’m more about verbally expressing feelings, and I think actions are even better than that. For me, romance is all about what you do, not what you say, and I’m not even talking about grand romantic gestures–even just little things to show you care.

3) In the song, Darryl and Sara are waiting for the sunrise. Did you see the sunrise this morning? Or did you sleep in? I slept in, so no, I didn’t see it.

4) Both Hall & Oates hail from the Philadelphia area. Hall is a native of suburban Pottstown, which was a stop on the Reading/Philadelphia rail line made famous in Monopoly. Do you like playing board games? I do, but I haven’t played one in a really long time! That might be something to keep in mind for when I get my shit together and the apartment is suitable for other humans.

5) John Oates grew up a few miles away from Pottstown in North Wales. Decades ago, North Wales’ biggest employer was a cigar factory. Do you like the smell of a cigar? I do, actually.

6) Daryl Hall now hosts a music show, Live from Daryl’s House, that you cam watch free online. Do you typically watch shows from your computer, pad, phone or TV set? Almost always streaming Netflix over the TV these days.

7) Hall & Oates are currently on tour. Are you seeing/have you seen a concert this summer? I saw Frankie Valli at the beginning of June, and I’ll be seeing Cheap Trick with Joan Jett and Heart this coming Thursday. That’s all I have tickets for this summer, but if I can squeeze in some more, I definitely will. I try to hit every good show I can.

8) Daryl and John have been friends for 50 years, even living together at the beginning of their careers when money was tight. Another successful duo of the rock era, Simon & Garfunkle, also met as teens but they forever seem to be feuding. What do you think makes for a lasting friendship/partnership? I think friendships are similar to romantic relationships in some ways, really, where the essentials to making it work are the same–trust, honesty, and communication, for example. I don’t think it’s necessary for both parties to have exactly the same interests or personalities, but I do think there’s something to be said for common ground, especially when it comes to personalities. Some people just don’t mesh well together.
9) Random question:  Are you quick to try new things? I don’t know that I’d use the word “quick,” but I am open to it. Sometimes it depends on my mood. I can be persuaded, though, and I’ll rarely refuse outright.

Friday 5: Tubular

  1. What TV series have you watched every episode of? There are a few, especially since they’re so easy to access now. The X-Files, Lost, Weeds, Queer as Folk, Firefly, Blood+, Cowboy Bebop, 30 Rock, Arrested Development, and a few others I’ve worked through over the past couple years. I just can’t remember them. As a bonus, the only one of those I actually watched every episode of when it was on is Lost. I only missed a few, and I caught them either in a rerun at another point in the week or online the next day.
  2. What are your favorite instrumental and vocal TV theme songs? The only one that stands out is The X-Files.
  3. What’s a TV series you stuck with even when it got bad? It would be easier to name shows I gave up on, because unless I know I don’t like it from the start, I tend to stick everything out. There’s only one show I abandoned recently, and I don’t even remember what it was called. It was a British comedy from the ’80s-ish that just had really creepy, kind of sleazy jokes about men watching/targeting/preying on women that was more unnerving than funny for me, and I gave it a full season before I quit. But I’d say The X-Files is a good example, because although the later episodes are better than they’re often given credit for, the show did run past its prime. I swear The X-Files isn’t gonna be my answer to all of these.
  4. What supporting TV character would you like to have seen featured in his or her own spinoff?  If you’re feeling creative, what would be the premise of that series? I honestly don’t know, because everything either got a spin-off (uh…The X-Files) or I just don’t find any other characters to be worthy of one.
  5. What is the single funniest moment on TV you have ever seen? I don’t know that I’d say this was the funniest ever, but at least the funniest of recent memory–my fiancé and I tackled all the Bob’s Burgers on Netflix, and there was an episode where Linda’s sister, Gayle, was reciting some poetry she’d written or something. One of the lines was, “Little cat, you’re just like me/You go outside and squat to pee.” I can’t remember the last time I laughed that hard.

Brandon’s wedding is creeping closer and closer. I have a dress, shoes, and Kelly found hairpieces she wants us to wear, and yet other than a moment when she was opening monogrammed blankets at her bridal shower, it hasn’t really, really hit me that he’s getting married in a few weeks.

Part of the prep process was an appointment for my mom and I to have a make-up test-run, which was fun. Afterward, we went to lunch at Meloni’s, because I was hungry and couldn’t resist the temptation. And from there, I pretty much spent the bulk of the day at my parents’ house. I did some free laundry and my mom and I watched a ton of episodes of I Am Jazz, and that was that.

The make-up trip got us out of a trip dress shopping and lunch with Paul’s mom for Katie and Jacbo’s wedding–or so I initially thought. She ended up with a case of poison ivy, and Emily and Julie question its existence and timing, thinking she just didn’t want to go anymore and bailed. It’s possible. My concern now is that I’ll have no way to get out of it other than lying, I’ll have to suck it up and go and it’ll be a shitshow, or I’ll be busy every other day she suggests, which is actually pretty likely. The only issue with that is the possibility of her complaining that I do have other plans, because of her tendency I have my own family and friends and all.

My mom also wanted to go see The Secret Life of Pets, so Sunday morning, I drove out and met her and my dad in Greensburg to see it. Paul didn’t want to go and stayed behind, and Brandon and Kelly had wedding-cake stuff to tend to, so it was just me and them and their bickering. But the movie was good–it was cute and funny and pretty much what one would expect it to be, given the trailers and plot. I do recommend it if you’re into that type of thing. We also made a quick trip to the mall, ate in the food court, and then I headed home in time for church, some errands, and a walk in the park.

Funny thing is, even though I didn’t actually do a whole hell of a lot, I was gone most of those two days.

Saturday 9: Hotel California

Saturday 9: Hotel California (1977)

… Because Country Dew suggested it. Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) Composer Don Henley says this song is about the “journey from innocence to experience.” Where do find yourself on that journey? Are you more innocent, or experienced? A little bit of both, I think, depending on the situation.

2) The lyrics refers to the “warm smell of colitas.” Do you know what it is that the Eagles noticed in the air? Was it drugs? I bet it was drugs.

3) The girl in the song had her head turned by luxury, including jewelry from Tiffany’s and Mercedes Benz autos. Do you consider yourself materialistic? Nope. Don’t get me wrong, there’s part of me that loves stuff and buying stuff, but I wouldn’t at all say it matters to the point of materialism, especially considering I don’t care about what’s trendy or new. And you know how they say to spend money on experiences rather than things? That’s so, so easy for me to do.

4) This recording has been lauded by music publications for for its long guitar solo. Are you good on the guitar? Ya know, I’m gonna be honest–I don’t even like this song, so whatever.

5) There’s an error in the lyrics and Don Henley can get a bit testy when interviewers bring it to his attention. Here’s the lyric: “So I called up the captain and said, ‘Please bring me your wine.’ He said, ‘We haven’t had that spirit here since 1969.'” Do you know what’s wrong with it? I’m gonna guess it’s that wine’s not a spirit. Also, Don Henley is testy about just about everything anymore.

6) Known as the Eagles’ drummer, Henley now spends less time at his drum kit. Sitting at that angle for an extended period of time hurts his back. Sam believes this proves all those warnings she heard from her parents about good posture are true. Do you pay attention to your posture? I try, but I’m bad at it. My fiancé tries to keep it in check, though, often by pulling my shoulders back.

7) Joe Walsh is considered the wild man of the Eagles. Think of your circle of friends. Who is the most unpredictable? These days, I don’t think any of us really are. But if I had to choose, probably my cousin Meredith.

8) In 1977, Star Wars premiered. How many Star Wars movies have you seen? Uh, all of them!

9) Random question: “Nosocomephobia” is the fear of hospitals. Are you  nosocomephobicNope.

Friday Five: Food Pyramid

  1. What constituted your most recent six to eleven servings of bread, cereal, rice, or pasta? I had pasta for lunch.
  2. What constituted your most recent three to five servings of vegetables? I just ate three tacos filled with veggies and tofu!
  3. What constituted your most recent two to four servings of fruit? A clementine with lunch, plus some applesauce. Wait! Technically, the tomato on the tacos.
  4. What constituted your most recent two to three servings of yogurt, milk, or cheese? Sour cream on the tacos, milk in instant breakfast, yogurt for lunch.
  5. What constituted your most recent two to three servings of meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, or nuts? I don’t eat meat or fish. Not sure when I last had some beans, but I know it was somewhat recently. As for eggs, I typically only eat them on the weekends because I actually have time to make them, so sometime last weekend.