Booking Through Thursday: Stylistic

What’s your favorite style of book? Serious? Playful? Humorous? Thoughtful? Action-packed? Moody?

It’s hard to say because generally, stuff like that’s not what I look for the most. I’m more interested in good writing. That said, just thinking about what my favorite books tend to be and what I’m usually drawn to, seems like I lean toward the more serious side of things.


Saturday 9: A Summer Place

Saturday 9: A Summer Place (1960)
Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.
1) This song highlights the soundtrack from the movie A Summer Place, which is about two teenage lovers named Molly and Johnny. Did you ever have a youthful summer romance? If so, what was his/her name? Not in the sense of, like, a summer fling, but my fiancé and I met and started dating in the summer.

2) The “summer place” of the song/movie is a resort along the Maine coast. What “summer place” are you day dreaming about this wintermorning? Pretty much anywhere warm with a beach. I’m not picky.

3) In the movie, Johnny was played by Troy Donahue, who is remembered as nice looking but not terribly talented. Can you think of one of today’s actors who you could describe as “nice looking but not terribly talented?” I honestly don’t know. I can’t really think of anyone that I don’t think is very talented.

4) Molly is played by Sandra Dee, a perky blonde who was one of 1960’s bankable movie stars. Two other blondes — Doris Day and Debbie Reynolds — joined Sandra Dee in the Top 10. The only brunette to sell a lot of movie tickets that year was Elizabeth Taylor. Do you believe men find blondes more attractive than brunettes or redheads? No, but I believe women think they do. Or that women themselves prefer being blonde.

5) “A Summer Place” was by far the best-selling record of 1960. Also in 1960, two brothers in Ypsilanti, Michigan, opened a pizza place called Dominck’s. That was the beginning of a chain now known as Domino’s. What’s the last food you had delivered to your front door? Probably pizza. There are a few other restaurants around here that deliver, like Chinese and Greek, but typically, we just pick it up. Part of that is the logistics of having food delivered to an apartment.

6) In 1965, one of the brothers sold his share of the business to his brother for cash so he could buy a VW Beetle. Tell us about a time you had buyer’s remorse. I don’t get it often at all! If anything, I feel like I shouldn’t have spent the money, but I don’t regret the purchase itself. Nothing a couple hours of overtime won’t fix.

7) In 1960, novelist Ernest Hemingway returned to the United States from Spain and settled in Ketchum, Idaho. Tell us about the last book you read. Was it a novel or non-fiction? The last one I finished was fiction, The Subtle Knife, which is the sequel to The Golden Compass.

8) In December, 1960, John F. Kennedy, Jr. was baptized in the Georgetown University Chapel. His godparents were Charles and Martha Bartlett, the couple who originally introduced young John’s famous parents. Do you have godparents? I do! My dad’s oldest brother is my godfather, and one of my mom’s cousins is my godmother.
9) Random question: You’re at dinner with a married couple who begins to fight. Would you intercede and try to make peace? Or would you just sit back stay out of it? Might depend on the couple and the fight. If I thought interceding would be helpful, sure, but sometimes, it’s best to stay out of it.

Friday 5: Questions to Make Your Hands Clammy

As always, from Friday 5.

  1. Who’s been a ray of sunshine lately? In all seriousness, my fiancé. I finally got him to look into antidepressants, and they’re working.
  2. When do you next expect to be stuffed to the gills? Whenever I go out next, probably. Which is typically once a week, but with an upcoming visit across the state to see my grandfather, it’s tough to say when that’ll happen. I’d kind of like to go out to dinner somewhere while we’re there, though it’ll just be us visitors, since he’s unfortunately in a nursing home.
  3. Among people you know, who can really tell a whale of a tale? Honestly, my group of friends from high school/college had some great ones. And even though we had a bit of a falling out and aren’t together the way we used to be, I’d be lying if I said they weren’t still some of the best stories I have.
  4. What’s something you’ve been herring good things about? The school district where a house we’re looking at tomorrow is located. Thinking way ahead, ya know.
  5. Which of the S.S. Minnow‘s passengers or crew do you think you’d get along best with? Either the Professor or Mary Ann. I mean, she could be my bestie and he could be my lover.

Now that the chaos of the holidays is behind us, Paul and I actually have time to do whatever the hell else we want. Of course, soon enough, this is going to be 90% wedding planning, or at least should be. But for now, we took a day to go to Phipps.

The original plan was to go Saturday, but with the threat of bad weather I don’t think we ever even got, we decided to stay in and made the trip Sunday instead. I would’ve loved to have stopped over around Christmas, actually, because they decorate it really beautifully, but seeing as we just barely made it to The Nutcracker, it wasn’t possible. We made it just in time for them to switch their exhibits over to orchids, which was still really nice. And thanks to a display on climate change, we came out of it with a fancy new green power company. And because I’m a sucker for damn soaps, I left with some of that, too. And almost a bonsai tree, but Paul talked me out of that since we’re thinking about moving.

I felt well enough to hit the gym, fortunately, and we ended up being there for nearly two hours, we think–we’re not totally sure. But of course, my immune system still doesn’t seem to be thrilled about that, because here I am three days later with a damn sore throat again. Fortunately, it’s not nearly as bad as it was before and DayQuil made it disappear for most of the day, but it’s still really frustrating and I’m still afraid to do much as long as it’s hanging around. The last thing I want is to end up back in MedExpress or calling off work again. Even though I have the days, I just really don’t want to have to use them again so soon, even if it’s totally justified.

I spent my first weekend as a functioning human again eating at Primanti’s–because when you’ve barely eaten in a week, why not start with a sandwich topped with coleslaw and fries?–and running some errands. I bought a wall-mounted shelf on Etsy, convinced it would improve my quality of life, and when it arrived, I insisted we go buy tools to mount it rather than waiting to borrow them. We’re gonna need them eventually anyway. I was right about it improving my quality of life, too, because now I have a spot to put mail, my keys, and my coat as soon as I come in the door. It’s cut down on coats strewn everywhere, and I’m hoping it cuts down on mail ending up all over the place, too.

The next day, my mom and I met up at the casino for a bridal show that I got into for free by saying I was booked with my wedding DJ. At this point, there’s really not much at all bridal shows can do for me since all my major things are either booked or chosen and waiting to be booked/paid for, but because it was so close and, well, free, I figured I might as well. And of course we took the opportunity to gamble, too, and when I ended up hitting and pulling a tiny bit ahead–like 20 bucks ahead–I was satisfied enough to leave.

One of the frustrating things about getting sick was that it happened just after I’d started going to the gym and intended to get into a good workout routine, and of course I wasn’t going while I was in bed all day. Even when I did get back up and off to work, I didn’t feel great about going back to the gym, but we did it one night with Paul’s friend Marc again while he was still in town. They kicked my ass again, though not quite as bad as last time, and I was glad to be getting back to my plans.

When I started feeling a little ill a few days before New Year’s, I figured I was just coming down with a pain-in-the-ass cold that I’d sleep off over the long weekend, returning to work Tuesday just fine. Not so!

I had a sore throat that persisted for days and only teased me with improvements–it would feel better over the course of a day, but overnight, the pain would wake me up. Every day that went by, I was convinced I’d be fine the next, even to the point that I was sure I’d be able to go to Terra’s for New Year’s, as planned. Didn’t happen.

Although I didn’t really have any other congestion or anything, by about Sunday, my ears had filled with fluid. I was able to relieve the left, but the right wouldn’t let up. I’ve kind of been through this before–just around the time Paul and I met and started talking, almost the same thing happened, and it knocked me on my ass for about three weeks that summer.

For the most part, I was awake and lounging around the apartment at first, but somewhere around Monday and Tuesday, I slept through both days almost entirely. I was awake maybe only a couple hours total, and with zero improvement in anything, I waited for Paul to get home from work and take me to MedExpress.

Turns out that although my right ear felt worse than my left, my left was actually infected, so MedExpress hooked me up with prescription-strength decongestants, antibiotics, and steroids, all of which I was thrilled to have and take. I swear the decongestants must be magic because I felt better after one dose of all my drugs than I had in days, enough that if I really wanted to, I probably could’ve gone back to work the next day. But I decided to take one last day to give the drugs a chance to really work, especially on my ears.

I went back on Thursday, still sounding pretty shitty but feeling immensely better, a full week after I’d last been in. One of the supervisors even commented that they figured it must’ve been pretty bad. I think in the past, I’ve only ever called off two days in a row, and this time, I hit three spread out over a holiday weekend.

And here, over a week after that yet, I’m still not 100%. My ears took a few more days to make any significant improvement and still pop and feel a little clogged sometimes, mostly in the morning. Even my sore throat still won’t leave me the hell alone–I keep having days where it starts to hurt a little again, but then the next day, it’s gone. At the moment, it’s bothering me enough that I’m concerned I’m gonna wake up back to where I was when this all started. I think part of it was going to the gym yesterday and just wearing myself out at a time when maybe I shouldn’t be, but the fact that I’ll feel okay one day then kind of shitty the next is really frustrating. It’s like I can’t quite shake whatever it is I got, and as much as I don’t want to overdo it, it’s like I can’t even trust it when I feel okay and it’s not taking much to move backwards. I’m really hoping going to bed early tonight will be a good solution because I’m gonna be pretty pissed if I go through another round of being sick.

The day after Christmas, I did the unthinkable–I went to the gym.

I’ve always been kind of anti-gym, just really feeling like it wasn’t for me and I hated it and didn’t see the need for it. And for a while, that was all true. But while Paul and I were in a good walking routine while it was warm, it’s not something we can really keep up now that we’re in the middle of winter, and if I want to lose weight, that’s not gonna cut it–especially as I’m closer to 30 than I am 20. So I decided it was time to do a little more. Paul had been going to the gym and lifting weights every so often with a friend of his, so I decided to tag along.

And so the boys put me through a weightlifting regimen, obviously with a pitiful amount of weight because, you know, I’ve never actually done this before and have no muscle to me at all. But I trusted them, and I held my own–I may have done a tiny fraction of what they did in terms of weight, but I did nearly everything they did until about the end, when I really just couldn’t anymore. But I was pleased with and proud of myself for having done it, and I was happy to find that I didn’t hate it. Maybe it’s that I’m older now and my opinions on it are different than when I was scrawny, maybe it was just the better attitude in general, I don’t know, but I actually kind of enjoyed it and was looking forward to continuing to go, most likely on weekends with Paul and Marc.

We went home, got cleaned up, headed to the South Hills to buy books at Half Price Books that I’d wanted for Christmas and hadn’t gotten, then went on our annual trip to see The Nutcracker, the only day we were able to squeeze it in. Usually, Brandon and Kelly join us, but they saw it down in Morgantown since one of Kelly’s friends (and bridesmaids) had a lead role this year. So it was just Paul and I, out on the town on our day off.

The next day brought the annual Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert, too, and I lucked out and got the day after that off–I had one floating holiday left to use by the end of the year and the schedule was full, but I took my chances and requested it anyway. I figured I’d lose the day entirely if I didn’t bother and that it didn’t hurt to try, and it paid off.

Paul’s college roommate happened to be in town from California, where he’s still in the Air Force, so we met up with him for dinner and a movie. We saw Assassin’s Creed, which did make for an entertaining movie but still felt very much like a video-game movie in that it just kind of felt underdeveloped, like the characters and plot could’ve used a little more depth.

Paul and I went out again for dinner the next night, and then I started feeling a little pain in the back of my throat. It wasn’t too bad, but I decided the smart thing to do was take a day and call off. I felt a little bad calling off in a week where I’d already had one day off for a holiday and a second day off for vacation time, but I’ve learned by now that it’s better to take a day early on and recover rather than push myself and feel worse as a result. And I figured it was the weekend of New Year’s, so I’d have a nice, long weekend to get over whatever little bug I’d come down with.

I was wrong.