Saturday 9: Love Is All Around

Saturday 9: Love Is All Around (1970)

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

1) This week’s song is the theme from The Mary Tyler Moore Show, a sitcom that originally aired from 1970 to 1977. Were you a fan? Not really.

2) The song tells us that Mary Richards can turn the world on with her smile. Yet the real-life Mary Tyler Moore said she was uncomfortable with her “wide mouth.” If you could improve on one of your facial features, which would you choose? I’d make my face/neck thinner.

3) We also hear that Mary can “take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile.” What do you think makes a day “a nothing day?” Boredom.

4) Mary works in the newsroom at WJM. Her desk is neat as a pin. Are you neat? Or do you lean to the sloppy side? I’m messy, but my work desk is quite neat.

5) Mary’s best friend, Rhoda, worked as a window dresser at Hempel’s department store. What department store did you most recently shop at? What did you buy? I’m not sure. Does Target count? It was a Target in a mall. I bought closet organizers.

6) Mary Richards lived in Minneapolis. What city is nearest to where you are right now? The closest proper city is Pittsburgh.

7) Originally the part of Mary Richards was written as a divorcee, but in 1970, there were no TV shows that centered around a divorced woman. Think about the women in your life. Are most of them married, divorced, single or widowed? Most of them are either married or in committed relationships–my best friend is divorced but in a new-ish relationship with a great guy, and most of my other friends are either married or in long-term relationships.

8) The MTM production company logo featured a mewing kitten. The cat was found in a Minneapolis shelter, and, after her sequence was shot, she was adopted by a crew member who named her Mimsie. What’s the name of the last cat — or dog or hamster or rabbit — that you petted? My brother and sister-in-law’s two cats last weekend, Persia and Timothy.

9) Random question — Would you rather have a job that kept you seated on your fanny or standing on your feet? Seated, I think, although I have one of those now and it is kind of overrated. I think being on my feet all day would be more tiring, but sitting at a desk isn’t always comfortable.

Friday 5: Performance Evaluation

  1. In what way do you maintain a tidy and efficient workstation? Now, you might be saying to yourself, “Janelle, everyone knows you’re a mess, there’s no way you keep ‘a tidy and efficient workstation,'” but I’m here to tell you that would be wrong! Somehow, that’s the one area I can keep neat. Probably mostly because there’s not a lot I need at my computer. My cubicle before, when I was working in an office, had more stuff from the person I shared it with, and now that I’m working from home, I haven’t put anything on there. I do often snack at my desk here at home, but I often get up and move away from the desk while I’m downloading a video or after I’ve finished a task and am ready to move on to a new one, so when I do that, I take any dishes or garbage with me. And I’m actually pretty good at keeping shared spaces clean–I have more consideration for the other person, so that’s incentive.
  2. In what way do you maintain positive relationships with others? So I’ve gotten kind of selective with who I spend my time with, for starters, and I don’t mean that in a crotchety, antisocial way. A couple times in my life, I’ve had to distance myself from people for my own good, and I just feel like there’s no reason for me to spend time with people who are difficult or negative or draining, or if have no choice, limit that time the best I can. And in some cases–my mother-in-law is a good example–tread carefully. Not like walking on eggshells or, like, being super fake, but being aware that I’m with someone who has a reputation for being difficult and using that to inform things like how much I say and what I say. I do think I need to be more up front with people who are problematic for me, though, but that said, I’m  easy to get along with, so from my end, I’m not being the kind of person I try to avoid, you know? Not everyone gets along, nobody’s perfect, there are always personality clashes, and there will always be people who don’t like me, but I’m not rude or disrespectful towards people and I don’t dominate conversations.
  3. What effort do you take to be punctual? One might argue zero, and that might be valid. I have trouble leaving on time, and the reason depends on the situation. Normally, it’s either I hit snooze too much on my alarm or it takes longer to get ready than I thought or a combination of both. However! Working from home, at least so far, has me in a good routine. I get up 20-30 minutes before my shift starts, boot up my computer, let it install updates while I eat breakfast, and I’ve been clocking in exactly on time for the last two weeks. That hasn’t happened probably since my first few weeks on the job.
  4. What are your strengths and challenges in communicating effectively? When I feel comfortable, I’m excellent at it. Like, communicating within my marriage? Nailed it. When I’m afraid of someone’s reaction–because more often than not, I don’t want a negative reaction, so I don’t speak up when I really, really should, which is bad–I tend to not communicate at all, or at least not initiate something. If I’m confronted, or really pissed off, I do okay. I can typically say what I feel I need to say but it comes out probably a little harsher than it would have otherwise.
  5. What will be your focus for growth in the coming year? Clearly, communicating better is one! Punctuality is another ongoing one, but at least when it comes to clocking in for work, I’m good. And I’ll throw in being cleaner and more organized–more space in the new house will help with that a lot, but I write this surrounded by unpacked boxes, so…

As always, from Friday 5.

Saturday 9: Gidget

Saturday 9: Gidget (1965)

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

1) Gidget was a sitcom that ran only one season. Have you ever seen it? Nope.

2) Gidget is a high school student who is more interested in surfing and boys than in the books. When you were Gidget’s age, was your top priority getting good grades? Or were you more involved in the social side of student life? Somewhere in the middle–I prioritized my fun, but I didn’t go out a lot, especially around 16, because my dad was deployed, and in what was effectively a single-parent household off and on for a couple of years in my teens, getting said parent to drive me to the movies or a friend’s house could be a struggle. And I get it. She worked all day, and often, my brother’s basketball games and practices were the driving priority. But it’s tough to be that age and feel like you’re missing out on all this time with your friends, and I was met with refusals to take me anywhere or scheduling conflicts so often that at a certain point, I just quit asking and never did anything. That said, I wasn’t exactly hitting the books, either. I was never a terrible student, I just never tried as hard as I could have. I’ve always been a procrastinator, and while that’s never really changed, I’ve gotten better at it. I did a lot better in college than in high school.

3) Gidget’s father was nearly always unflappable when it came to his daughter’s high-spirited shenanigans. Who is the coolest, calmest person you know? Most of my friends are, I think, in terms of most interactions on a day-to-day basis, myself included–in fact, I think I’m quite a cool, calm person. I rarely freak out about anything.

4) Gidget spends as much time as she can at the beach, hanging out with her best friend Larue. Fair-skinned Larue doesn’t share Gidget’s passion for surfing and prefers to stay on the beach blanket, wearing a floppy hat that protects her from the sun. Are you a sun worshipper? Or, like Larue, are you careful about your exposure to the sun? Both–I love being out in the sun, but with such fair skin, plus dyed hair I try to be careful about maintaining (it’s a very light green with a deeper pink at the tips right now) I do make sure to protect both.

5) Gidget, the quintessential California girl, was created by Freidrich Kohner, an Austrian-born screenwriter. Can you think of another Austrian import? Nope.

6) Howard Greenfield and Jack Keller wrote this week’s Gidget theme. They also wrote the 1960 hit song, “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool.” When is the last time you felt foolish? I made some pretty dumb work mistakes my first day working from home, likely just due to new processes and things.

7) This is the show that introduced Sally Field. She went on to win two Oscars and four Emmy Awards. When you think of Sally, what role comes to mind? Mrs. Doubtfire first.

8) Today Gidget is a grandmother. Sally reports that her grandchildren especially enjoy “sleepovers at Granny’s.” Where were you the last time you spent the night away from home? I think a hotel. We spent the night after a friend’s wedding, and I don’t remember sleeping anywhere else since.

9) Random question — Describe your perfect lazy afternoon. I don’t do true lazy–I always have to do something productive. I hate how I feel if I don’t, and the greatest example I have of this is the time I hadn’t written any articles in days and felt a wave of relief when I had time to. So it would be an afternoon where I didn’t have to be anywhere but could still do things, typically a good combination of things like reading and Netflix with writing articles and such.

Friday 5: Acromony

  1. When were you recently SOL? Probably cleaning out the apartment. We still have over a week to finish doing it, but my father-in-law came over with one of my husband’s brothers today to move furniture and I hadn’t made nearly as much progress cleaning and hauling shit out as I’d hoped.
  2. What was a recent SNAFU? My first day working from home, which was last Friday, I made a few pretty dumb mistakes on a show. I chalk it up to being distracted by getting thrown on a rush job in the middle of it and just not being super attentive to it.
  3. From what social gathering were you most recently AWOL? A couple–my best friend’s brother and his wife did a brunch at a coffee shop in Pittsburgh, which I always enjoy going to, but it was moving day. We did have time to make it out there, but we were exhausted. The other is the family reunion, which we missed for like the third year in a row. This year was potentially moving day and that ended up not being the case, but a friend of my mom’s wanted to get together for lunch, so she opted to do that instead and so the rest of us didn’t go either. And last year, we were deep in wedding planning, and the year before that, we were deep in planning my brother’s wedding.
  4. When has someone reminded you to MYOB? Not recently! Look, I’m nosy as fuck–where I come from, we call it nebby–but I’m not obvious about it. Although one time, my best friend did call me a “neb shit.”
  5. What might get in your way this weekend as you TCB? My body. I completely wore myself out at the apartment last night–my whole lower body aches, and I’m not sure if it was the cleaner I was using in the bathroom or kicking up dust in the whole place or both, but I was sneezing and sniffling a ton. It happens sometimes and normally is fine a little bit later, but I haven’t slept it off yet. It doesn’t feel like it’s turning into a bigger problem, fortunately, just one that’s not going away, and with bad timing–tomorrow is my company picnic at Kennywood, followed by an Erasure concert. At least I took Monday off.

As always, from Friday 5.

It’s been an eventful couple of weeks–first, the weekend after the 4th, we had the Internet set up and started staying at the house, even though we were mostly confined to the bedroom while we waited for the rest of the floors to go in. They’re done now, and all that’s left is new molding and vents. We’re holding off on getting all the furniture moved in until that’s done, but we did at least pull out the kitchen table and chairs, so we have somewhere to sit and eat and we’re not living out of one room.

We got the news at work that we were gonna be able to transition over to working from home, so after working some weird hours to get trained on some new processes last week, I’m on Day 3 of working from home. It’s about as nice as everyone who wants to work from home thinks it is. The convenience is too great, and I think I’m gonna eat a little better as a result. For some reason, I have more of an appetite when I’m in the office as opposed to home–it’s something I noticed even on days off. So far, I’ve eaten less for lunch at home than I ever have at the office, and I’m eating an actual breakfast. It’s really nice so far. Even working overtime feels less draining because hey, I’m at home. As soon I finish up and clock out, I’m done and free the rest of the evening. And I like to think that if I’m not wearing makeup daily, my skin will be amazing, and if I’m not having to be seen in public, I can really make my fun dyed hair last.

The weekend was simple–graduation party and hanging out with the siblings-in-law Saturday night, house stuff most of the rest of it. There are a few projects we still ought to tackle, but for the most part, everything we wanted to do is done and now it’s just a matter of cleaning the apartment and moving in. We’re swiftly running out of time and shit’s sneaking up on us, but we’ve been going over daily and hauling out bags of clothes and boxes of books and any other items we can throw in the car and move on our own. The goal is to get it down to just big pieces of furniture we can’t get on our own, then have help with those. Maybe we can tackle big stuff this weekend, but based on the slow progress of everything else so far, I’m betting it’s gonna be a rush the very last weekend on our lease, which is exactly what I really, really wanted to avoid. And hey, I did what I could.

This weekend, it’s the company picnic, then I scream myself hoarse when Erasure comes to town. Mom’s offered to help move stuff next Monday, so we’ll see. It would definitely be helpful, but the apartment is a hot mess and I don’t know if I want her in there. The good news is moving gives you a good excuse to be a mess.

Saturday 9: I Love Lucy

Saturday 9: I Love Lucy (1951)
Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) Before today, did you know that the “I Love Lucy” theme had lyrics? I did not!

2) Since its premiere in 1951, I Love Lucy has never been off the air. Are you a fan? I am.

3) On the show, Ricky Riccardo supports his family by performing in a nightclub. Do you know anyone in show business? I know some writers, actors, and musicians.

4) Lucy and Ricky’s best friends are Fred and Ethel, their landlord and his wife. Are you friendly with your neighbors? Kind of! We’re new to the neighborhood and have only actually been staying in the house for about a week, but we’ve met the neighbors across the street and on either side. Everyone’s nice.

5) One of the most popular episodes has Lucy and Ethel working on the conveyor belt at a chocolate factory. When did you last have chocolate? I had chocolate ice cream last weekend and chocolate cake on Saturday, but I’m not sure when I had, say, chocolate candy.

6) Another famous episode has Lucy promoting Vitametavegimin. This tonic is made with vitamins, meat, vegetables — and 23% alcohol. Do you read the ingredients statement before you take an over-the-counter medication? Or do you trust that it’s safe because it’s on the store shelf? I don’t bother.

7) I Love Lucy was filmed before a live audience. Desi Arnaz (Ricky) always maintained he could identify the chuckle of his mother-in-law, who attended every taping. Do you know anyone who has a distinctive laugh? My husband, for sure. He sometimes has this high-pitched laugh that’s more of a giggle, and it’s weird coming from him because he’s 6’5″.

8) The show ended when the Lucille Ball/Desi Arnaz marriage ended. Have you ever had to choose sides when a couple broke up? No, I’ve pretty much stood by my friends during their breakups, and I’ve never been in a position where something was super messy and I felt like I had to choose a side.

9) Random question — You must eat the same dinner, every day, between now and Labor Day. An identical menu, no deviation. What will you be having? Pasta. I guess if I’m eating it every night for the next couple months, I specifically want my grandma’s sauce recipe.

Friday 5: The Road to H.E. Double Hockey Sticks

  1. What are some titles in your to-read stack? Woof. There’s a lot. A few political books, the latest from Augusten Burroughs and David Sedaris, some classics I somehow missed in school…
  2. What are the highlights of this weekend’s to-do list? Continuing to clean out the apartment and move things into the house. Funnily enough, the book shelf was the goal for this weekend. Yesterday, we packed up as many books as we could and had a few left on the bottom two shelves, so we’re going back today to pack those up and hopefully take the shelf apart so it’s in two halves that’ll fit in my husband’s car and haul it all over.
  3. Which current or upcoming movies are you looking forward to? We haven’t been able to make it to the movies in months, so we still need to see Solo. I also really, really want to see Hereditary, but my husband isn’t big into horror so I’ll need to find someone to go with.
  4. What’s something you meant to do this past week that will have to wait until next week? I keep meaning to call my therapist, but that’s a solid year in the making. Like, last year before our wedding, I wanted to pop in as a precaution leading up to potential in-law stress, and I just kept forgetting to call, and here we are!
  5. What’s an unfinished project (unrelated to media consumption) you haven’t touched in at least a year? I have some unfinished writing projects I haven’t touched in even longer than that, although in some cases, it’s a matter of knowing they need more work but being kind of stuck about what to do. But I think any writer will tell you they’ve got stuff sitting around that’s been in progress for a very, very long time.

As always, from Friday 5.

Saturday 9: Chains

Saturday 9: Chains (1962)

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

1) The song is about a woman who is in love with her boyfriend, but still attracted to someone else. Do you believe a woman can be in love with more than one person at a time? Yeah, I think anyone can love more than one person at a time. Emotions are complicated, and I don’t think there’s anything about people or love that limits it to one person at a time–I mean, look at the few incidents now on shows like The Bachelor where guys are telling two women they love them or are changing their minds after filming wraps. This is starting to go another direction, but I also think some people are hardwired for monogamy and some people aren’t.

2) What about the male of the species? Do you believe a man can be in love with more than one person at a time? See above.

3) This lyrics were by Gerry Goffin and the music by Carole King. Carole was a favorite guest of David Letterman’s. When she appeared on his show, he often commented on how impressed he was by her firm handshake. She credited her memorable grip to time spent milking goats on her Idaho farm. Have you poured goat milk on your cereal? Eaten goat milk yogurt or cheese? I don’t know that I’ve had goat milk, but goat cheese is one of my favorite cheeses. Maybe the favorite.

4) When it first came out, “Chains” was a favorite of 18-year-old George Harrison. It was at his recommendation that the Beatles added it to their early stage shows and even recorded it on their first album. When you were in high school, what was one of your favorite songs? “Dancing Through Sunday” by AFI.

5) In 1962, when this song was released, epic movies were popular on the big screen. The Longest Day was three hours long, and Lawrence of Arabia ran more than three and a half hours. Today’s most popular movies are nowhere near that long. Do you think the average American has a shorter attention span today than he did in 1962? No! I say things like this all the time because I very, very firmly believe it, but I think studios and executives keep getting it wrong when it comes to what audiences want. Sure, certain types of movies do well, but that doesn’t mean something different won’t. I think audiences will watch things they think are good, and if that means three-and-a-half hours, fine. I think sometimes people like to think we have shorter attention spans now and blame everything on smartphones, but I don’t think we’re as distracted as people like to think.

6) In 1962, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy went on a two-week goodwill tour of India and Pakistan. She received a ceremonial “welcome necklace” in India. Made without jewels or precious metals — just beads, sequins and paper — it was valued by the First Lady for its delicate appearance and craftsmanship, and today it’s on display at the John F. Kennedy Library. Tell us about a piece of jewelry that means a great deal to you, and why. I’ll give you two–my engagement and wedding rings, for obvious reasons, and any jewelry I have of my grandmother’s. I have a ring of hers, some earrings, some necklaces, and all it means a lot because it belonged to her.

7) In Pakistan, Mrs. Kennedy made headlines by riding a camel. Have you ever ridden a horse, donkey, camel or elephant? I’ve ridden a horse, but that’s it.

8) Also in 1962, the New York Newspaper Guild went on strike, so the nation’s largest city went 114 days without a single daily paper. In 2018, how do you get your news? Online, but I keep meaning to subscribe to the local paper, especially now that we’ve bought a house and are living there. I should pay closer attention to the local news. I also up to now have listened to the local radio station and gotten news from there, mostly while I got ready for work, but since I’m working from home now, my routine is changing and that might not be part of it anymore. We’ll see.

9) Random question — Complete this sentence: Before I go to sleep, I always ___________________________. Pee and check my phone. That’s usually when I update apps.

Friday 5: Happy ASLIRT

  1. What are your favorite and least favorite nuts? Favorite is peanut. I’m not sure that I have a least favorite, but I also don’t really eat a lot of nuts. I tend to stick to peanuts, and when they’re in food, walnuts and almonds.
  2. What are your favorite and least favorite berries? Favorite is raspberry, by far. Least favorite is probably blueberry. I don’t dislike them, I just…don’t really care.
  3. What are your favorite and least favorite tropical fruits? My favorite is…all of them? I love mango and pineapple–like, they’re my go-tos if they’re on any menu. Least favorite might be papaya, but like blueberries, it’s not so much dislike as it is indifference.
  4. What are your favorite and least favorite varieties of M&Ms? Peanut is my go-to, although strangely, I think I like the crispy ones better. At this point, plain might be my least favorite.
  5. What are your favorite and least favorite raisin-containing foods? I like oatmeal-raisin cookies. I can’t think of a least favorite, mostly because I don’t come across raisins in a lot of things, but I will tell you that I recently heard putting raisins in potato salad is a thing and I find this deeply offensive.

As always, from Friday 5.