Saturday 9: GI Blues

Saturday 9: G.I. Blues (1960) 
Unfamiliar with this week’s song? Hear it here.

Memorial Day is a federal holiday that honors men and women who served and died in the United States Armed Forces. We want to make sure that message is not lost this weekend.

1) Are you a veteran? Are there veterans in your family? Do you know anyone who is active military? (We are grateful and want to hear about it.) I’m not, but I’m surrounded by military. My dad is an Iraq vet who was wounded in combat, my brother’s reserves, one of my brothers-in-law just left the Marines, both grandfathers were in and one was also a Marine, I had a few uncles in, at least one great-grandfather, who I believe was killed by mustard gas, and I’m sure plenty of other cousins and uncles along the way.

2) In this song, Elvis sings about marching, and complains that the Army doesn’t give Purple Hearts for fallen arches. Do you have any aches or pains to report this morning? I have an ear infection…again!

3) This song is from the 1960 film of the same name. In the movie, Elvis is in The 32nd Armor Regiment of the United States Army. That’s the same regiment he served with in real life. He had the 32nd written into the script as a shout-out to the soldiers he came to know, but realized he’d likely never see again. Is there an old friend you’re missing this weekend? All my friends, kind of! We don’t get to see each other often. Adulting.

4) Memorial Day kicks off the summer season. What’s your favorite picnic food? I’d say potato salad or pasta salad, but I eat both of those year-round.

5) Let’s celebrate the Memorial Day holiday with ice cream. What’s your favorite flavor? Cone or cup? It can change, but generally, strawberry, and that hasn’t changed for a long time. I’d say overall, I enjoy cones more, but sometimes, you just need a cup. Keep it simple.

5) This marks the weekend when Americans step up their outdoor activity and do things they may not have been able to do during the winter months. For example, when is the last time you applied mosquito repellent? Probably camping last summer.

7) Or swam? Man, I don’t know. I don’t remember if I made it to a pool at all last summer. It was too cold at camp to go in the river.

8) As you answer these questions, is there an air conditioner or fan on? Nope. One of the positive things I’ll say about the apartment we’re in the process of moving out of is that in the early summer months, it’s kind of perfect. Something about it keeps it cool enough that even though it’s been getting in the 80s, we haven’t had to turn the air conditioner on. This is kind of the best time of year for the utilities–no need for that or the heat.

9) Random question: How do you define success? A mix of the personal and professional, basically focused on my personal terms rather than, like, societal ones or other outside sources like friends and family–reaching goals I set for myself but above all, being happy. I may not be in some prestigious, high-paying job, but I’m consistently progressing towards what I want and where I want to be in life and I’m happy, so I’d say I’m already pretty successful.

Friday 5: Break of Day

  1. When did you last break something made of glass? I don’t think I’ve done it recently, but my husband (jokingly) gives me a hard time because when he moved in with me, he brought these nice glasses with him, and I managed to be responsible for breaking all but one of them.
  2. When did you last break something ceramic? Again, not recently, but I think a bowl or plate.
  3. When did you last break something electronic? It was definitely a phone. That’s also been a few years, but I can’t remember which is more recent–the one that fell in a public toilet or the one that tumbled out of my waistband at camp and landed not in the grass all around me but facedown on the only nearby rock.
  4. When did you last break a non-traffic-related law? I was a willing participate in letting my underage sister-in-law imbibe alcohol.
  5. When did you last break a promise? I have no idea, but it was probably one to my husband. I probably promised him we’d go somewhere or do something, then we didn’t. I’m not one for breaking commitments. I hate it being done to me, so I say I’m gonna do something, I really try.

As always, from Friday 5.

The last couple of weekends have kind of been packed with plans. First, there was Mother’s Day, which funnily enough, both sides of the family decided to celebrate a day early. We started with lunch with my mom around Belle Vernon, which is about the halfway point between where my parents live and where we live, with my brother and his wife not too far, and then went to said brother’s place to meet their new cat.

Jacob and Katie are officially back from a few years living in California and Julie and Michael came down from Erie, so Saturday afternoon was kind of all the kids/siblings over at my in-laws’. And in the evening, the over-21 couples of the group went to a bar in the middle of nowhere that Michael’s gone to a few times for more food and drinks, which was nice. We hung out with Julie and Michael up in Erie before, but it’s been awhile since we’ve been with Jacob and Katie, so it was nice to have a little bit of time for us three adult couple to go off on our own.

Sunday, we headed back into town to give my godmother her gift, and we squeezed in plenty more, too. First, coffee at the place near our apartment, then a brief mountain trip with my parents and the dog, then straight down to my godmother’s house, where we hung out for about an hour or so before she and her husband went to eat with their own mothers. Then we stopped at the mall, since I still buy CDs, only to be let down by the selection and general state of the mall.

In an effort to get as much done at the house as possible so we’re ready as soon as Paul’s dad can install our new floors, we’ve been there almost every night for about a week or so, doing coats of paint and primer here and there and returning the next night when it’s dry and we can do another coat. We’re almost done–we can easily be done with the painting by the end of this week, but we’re not sure about the floors. We may not have them in for Memorial Day, despite planning a cookout, but we’re gonna go ahead with that plan and just hang out outside, since we have a nice deck.

This past Friday night, we picked up Paul’s sister Emily and took her with us to see Jukebox the Ghost in Pittsburgh. We took her to lunch Saturday, then left her to nap while we met my parents (and Seger, again) to pick out furniture for the aforementioned deck. We got a small set of chairs and a table that’s sitting out there now, then a bigger sectional sofa set to be delivered tomorrow. When we got back, Emily decided she wanted to head out to the South Hills for trips to Lush and Sephora, despite originally saying she didn’t need to spend the money, and when we were done shopping and after I had spent entirely too much money, we took her home and hung out there for a little bit.

Somehow, in the day or so since, I’ve managed to not feel so great–I have a bit of a sore throat right now, so I called in sick and slept in. I’m hoping I’ll be fine by tomorrow.

Saturday 9: Last Night a DJ Saved My Life

Saturday 9: Last Night a DJ Saved My Life! (1982)

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

1) This song is about a girl who is heartbroken about a boy who won’t take her calls. Do you screen your calls, deciding to let some go to voicemail? Or do you pick up whenever you possibly can? (We’re referring to calls from people you know.) From people I know, I almost always pick up, unless I think it was a butt dial, like from someone who usually doesn’t call. My best friend, for example, is not a phone person, so if I get a call from her, it’s almost always because she hit the wrong button. Occasionally, she’ll message me to tell me to answer because it’s her niece wanting to talk to people.

2) When she was feeling her lowest, she heard a song on the radio that lifted her spirits. What’s the last thing you heard on the radio? I came in from the car a few minutes ago, and I can’t even remember what I was listening to!

3) This song includes the sound of squeaky wheels, indicating a sudden stop and perhaps a near-miss. Tell us about your most recent traffic mishap. My husband isn’t the most attentive driver, so I’m frequently telling him to stop or slow down because he’s not paying attention to cars slowing or stopped ahead of him. I’m honestly amazed he’s not rear-ending people.

4) “Last Night a DJ Saved My Life!” is featured in the 2002 video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Do you spend much time on video games? No, and this has come up a few times recently. I enjoy them and do play them when I can, but with the other things I like to do on top of things that need done, I don’t play often. It’s not uncommon for me to go months without touching a game.

5) This week’s featured artist, Indeep, was a trio. We’ve had many groups, some duos and tons of solo artists on Saturday 9, but not many trios. Can you name another popular trio? I saw a trio in concert Friday night–Jukebox the Ghost!

6) The last time Indeep performed together was in 1997, at a New Year’s Eve show in Paris for French TV. Have you celebrated a holiday in another land? No, but I’ve always wanted to spend Christmas at the beach.

7) Britain’s Royal Family is in the news this weekend, with attention centered on the nuptials. The Royals made news in 1982, as well. When this song was popular, Michael Fagan gained momentary fame by breaking into Buckingham Palace. He found The Royal Bedroom, where he came face-to-face with the Queen. He reports that Queen Elizabeth sleeps in a nightie that “reached down to her knees.” What did you wear to bed last night? A pink T-shirt and fleece pants with penguins on them. Yes, it’s May and I’m still sleeping in fleece, and I’ll likely do so until we move into our house that doesn’t have central air. But even then, I can’t imagine I’ll feel the need to sleep in shorts, so…

8)  In 1982, you could buy a loaf of white bread for 50¢. Today, the national average price for that loaf of bread is more than $2.50. When you go grocery shopping, do you comparison shop and make purchases at more than one store? Or do you prefer one-stop shopping? We generally do one stop, with the exception of going to get a few things in bulk every couple of months.

9) Random question: What’s the first famous quote that comes to your mind? The one I have framed calligraphy of hung on my living-room wall: “Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.” By Henry David Thoreau.

Friday 5: How About a Knuckle Sandwich?

  1. When did you last punch someone?  Alternate question: When did someone last punch you? The answer to both is probably very similar: probably as a kid, probably involving my brother.
  2. How many of those frequent (whatever) stampcards/punchcards do you have, and which are you most likely to fill and redeem? Maybe about 10? Not a ton, but not a tiny amount, either. Most likely to be redeemed, at least in the near future, is one for frozen custard. It’s only a seasonal thing, but of the ones I have, I probably go there the most.
  3. When have you had a really good fruit punch? The restaurant where one of my cousins had her bridal shower back in March served a really good punch. It was some sort of delicious peach Bellini concoction.
  4. What are your thoughts on boxing? I kind of enjoy watching it–there’s a side of me that likes that kind of roughness and grit. It’s like it satisfies something violent in a kind of acceptable, organized way, which is odd because otherwise, I don’t condone or enjoy violence at all. I think that fact that it’s taking place in a designated sporting event is why. That said, I don’t think the damage it does to the boxers is worth the entertainment factor or worth them making that their career. I think we have a few sports/recreational things we as a society ought to reevaluate and stop prioritizing the entertainment over health and wellbeing.
  5. When do you usually punch in and punch out? Well, I’m late pretty much every day, so a few minutes after I’m supposed to start. 7 a.m. on a normal weekday, 6 if I’m going in early. Typically, I punch out a little after 3, but I’ve been known to stay until close to 4 to finish up something.

As always, from Friday 5.

Saturday 9: Mother and Child Reunion

Mother and Child Reunion (1972)
Unfamiliar with this week’s song? Hear it here.

1) The title of this song, “Mother and Child Reunion,” came from a dish Paul Simon had at a Chinese restaurant. “Mother and Child Reunion” was chicken and egg drop soup. When did you last eat chicken? I went vegetarian at around 14 or 15, but I’ve consumed it since then–some slip-ups in the transition, some accidents. But it’s still been years.

2) Paul Simon’s mother, Belle, was an English teacher Monday through Friday and then gave piano lessons on the weekends. Have you ever worked more than one job? I have writing side hustles right now in addition to my full-time job.

3) Mother Winters taught Sam to always dispose of the dry cleaning bag, as storing clothes in the bag may discolor the fabric. Do you have any useful household hints to pass along? Come back to me when I’m living in a proper house and not an apartment.

4) Have you put away your winter clothes yet? Nah. I keep them out all year partly because I don’t have the motivation to go through everything and put things away, partly because in said apartment I have nowhere to put them, and partly because I get cold easily and the weather can fluctuate in weird ways. So I’d rather have easy access just in case.

5) Flowers and plants are popular on Mother’s Day. How is your yard or garden? Is it green and/or blooming? At the apartment, there is none, but at the house we’re in the process of moving too, we’ve got a little plot we’re trying to keep an eye on. We have some nice flowers coming in and some tall asparagus stalks we have to cut when we’re over next, but we’re not sure what else is planted on the property. The plan is to watch everything this year and decide what to do with it all for next year, but the asparagus is definitely staying.

6) In the 1600’s, the British began celebrating “Mothering Sunday.” Children presented flowers to their mothers after Sunday service. When did you last place flowers in a vase? Where they store-bought, or picked from someone’s garden? I put my wedding bouquet in a vase for a little bit after the wedding last summer, then preserved them before they started to wilt.

7) The German word for “mother” is “mutter.” What other German words do you know? I can count and I can cuss, so clearly, the most important words. There are probably some I would recognize in print but don’t remember offhand.

8) When Sam was a teen, her mother used to scold her for monopolizing the family landline. With the advent of cell phones, do you think parents and children still clash over telephone etiquette? Probably–I’m guessing there are disagreements over whether or not to spell things out and use full sentences in texts and when to call rather than text.

9) To celebrate Mother’s Day, Sam is giving away her mother’s favorite, Hershey Bars!Would you prefer classic milk chocolate, dark chocolate or milk chocolate with almonds? Classic milk chocolate!

Friday 5: Who Put the Pomp in the Pomp Bah Pomp Bah Pomp

  1. What’s something you remember about your high school graduation? Not much, at least about the actual ceremony–it was boring. Almost all graduation ceremonies are. Sorry, graduates. That’s why I didn’t go to my own college graduation ceremony. I remember hanging out with my friends afterwards more than anything.
  2. If you were asked to speak at a commencement ceremony this year, what would be the theme of your message? I’d focus on building a future and a life that you love, no matter what that looks like, and not giving in to outsiders telling you what you should do. A lot of people around us mean well when they try to steer us certain directions, but they’re not the ones waking up every day and living your life. Do what makes you happy, not what makes your parents happy.
  3. What items in your possession are marked with the name or logo of your high school or college? I’m sure I have something from my high school around here somewhere, I just don’t know what or where. I do think I have a few more things from college–definitely a hoodie and tote bag, maybe a couple more other things lurking.
  4. What do you expect will be your next rite of passage? So I’ve finished high school and college, got a job, moved out of my parents’ house, got married, bought a car, and bought a house, so I guess the next big thing would be having a kid, which is…kind of terrifying.
  5. What’s a good movie with a graduation scene, or a good movie with a graduation theme? Legally Blonde. Duh.

As always, from Friday 5.

I feel like time is getting away from me, like last week was an endless succession of intending to tackle certain parts of the to-do list and never getting to any of it. Things just kept coming up or taking up more time or attention than I expected or wanted.

But Saturday, we got to enjoy a wedding. Paul’s work friend Andrew and his now wife have been together about as long as we have–about eight years for us–but also like us, waited a while to get married. We started hanging out with them after our wedding but during the course of their planning, and it was enough to get us and a couple other familiar faces from their work group on the guest list. It was a tiny wedding down in West Virginia, and we had a good time, as we always do at weddings. And I was smart enough to realize a week or so prior that we were not gonna feel like driving back home, even though it’s less than an hour, so I decided the smart thing to do would be get a hotel room. It turned out that the wedding did not last as long as we expected, and therefore we were not as drunk and tired as we expected, but still, a night in a nice, big king-sized bed away from home was nice. I feel like most people need a long, far-off vacation to recharge; I just need an overnight stay in a place that’s not mine.

Just for shits, I should compare the first time I went to my high school’s fundraiser auctions and this last time. Like, the first time, I think I was still living with my parents, and if I wasn’t, I hadn’t been out long and I was probably near broke and arguably shouldn’t have even gone to said auction, but my now in-laws probably were selling tickets through their kids. I paid closer attention to the bids I put in and came home with a few nice things.

You’d think a year with more spending money would bring that, but no, I paid less attention. Probably because I knew all those middle-aged Catholic parents were gonna beat me out anyway, and I know it’s to benefit the school, but I’m not really interested in overspending here for a weekend stay at a hotel in the mountains. I want to get stuff below its market value. Come on. I’m a newlywed millennial who just bought a house a month ago.

I was prepared to eat and drink the cost of the ticket, but turns out Leah, who I’ve known since middle school, was there with her family, which shouldn’t be a surprise. We squeezed in at their table, did a little catching up, and generally drank and enjoyed the night. In the end, all Paul and I walked away with was the raffle winnings of a serving dish, along with some restaurant gift cards, but hey, not bad for the cost of the raffle tickets.

We talked to one of my favorite teachers, and I still wonder if it was obvious I was drunk. I think I’m a subtle drunk, but I also think most drunk people think that.

We spent the next day working on the house, as we spend most of our free weekends lately–and a couple weeknights, but we’ll get to that later.

Saturday 9: Standing on the Corner

Saturday 9: Standing on the Corner (1956)

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

1) In this song, four friends congregate on Main Street to look longingly at pretty girls. In your town, where is the best place for people watching? Probably one of the events at the community pavilion on Main Street, just because otherwise, there’s not much to see. People are usually out walking, sure, but your best bet is probably when there’s a lot of them in one place.

2) This song was written for the Broadway musical The Most Happy Fella. Who is the happiest person you know? Me, maybe? I seem to be the most satisfied with where I am in life out of the people I know.

3) The members of The Four Lads met at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Choir School. Growing up, did you attend parochial or public school? Catholic school pretty much my whole life.

4) The Four Lads always wore jackets and ties when they performed. Do you enjoying dressing up? Or would you rather keep it casual? I’m more comfortable casual, but I do love dressing up. It’s just that I’m the type who at the end of the night is talking about how I can’t wait to be out of my pretty dress and in pajamas.

5) While this song was a hit for The Four Lads, they were completely overshadowed in 1956 by Elvis Presley and “Heartbreak Hotel.” Who do you think dominates today’s music scene? I don’t know that I’d nail down one artists that seems to constantly be on the charts, but my coworker and I joke about Pitbull a lot and how he announces himself in every song he’s in.

6) The Wizard of Oz aired on TV for the first time in 1956. Sam was never crazy about those flying monkeys. Tell us about something that frightened you when you were a kid. E.T. scared the shit out of me for years.

7) What scares you now? In general, more realistic things, like the threat of war and psychopaths. But a nice, well-done alien tale still can get me, or just generally disturbing horror.

8) Since this week’s song is about pretty girls: 1956’s Miss America was Sharon Ritchie of Colorado. Today Colorado has the distinction of being the home of more microbreweries than any other state in the union. Which are you most particular about — your beer, your wine, or your coffee? My beer–I’m not a big beer fan, and I’ve found that there are a few particular companies I really like and I’m not crazy about everything else. I don’t really drink coffee, but that also means I’m not picky about it, and with wine, I do tend to know what I like and stick to it, but I’m more likely to enjoy a random wine than a random beer.

9) Random question: We all have small, irritating habits, like soup slurping or not replacing the cap on the toothpaste. What’s your nasty little habit? Man, I don’t know. Ask my husband. I do know he hates it when I pour myself a drink of something, usually iced tea or juice, then don’t finish it and put the cup back in the fridge. I’ve been known to forget about a cup I already have and amass a bunch of cups in the fridge with the same thing in all of them.