Saturday evening, we ran some errands–hair trims for both of us, since I can’t get to Emily for another two months thanks to working Saturdays in February, and a trip to the outlets for something my mom was looking for. From there, it was into Pittsburgh.

Earlier in the day, there was a nasty, tragic accident on the parkway. Two men were killed after being thrown off of a ramp and down onto a street below, where they were both hit by another car. Authorities think one man had car trouble and the other stopped  to help, and then a third came and either didn’t see them until it was too late or was going too fast. The men were either thrown from the ramp or were standing between their two cars and jumped to get out of the way. Hours had passed by the time we were going through, but there was a police barricade blocking the ramp to that stretch of the parkway, and although it looked like ay traffic had been cleared, we could still see the lights from the police cars along the stretch where it happened. I think everyone becomes kind of immune to reacting to car accidents, but it was tough to drive by the lights and barricades and not feel horrible for the men killed, their families, and the other drivers involved.

We met up with Chelsea and her friends for her roommates’ birthday at the same bar we went with them to for New Year’s. Katie and Jacob came out this time, too, and we had a nice evening of hanging out, drinking, and meeting a good number of new people, and everyone hit it off really well. Paul moved away from me at one point to the other end of the table to talk to one of Chelsea’s friends about meditation and tai chi and chakras, and I looked at Katie and went, “This is the kind of hippie shit people expect from me.” And there was a little talk of politics, with most of us being on the same side of things, and a little talk of sexism and social issues.

The place didn’t serve food, although we brought in pizzas from down the street, and Katie wanted ice cream, so as things were dying down, Paul and I went with her and Jacob to the closest Primanti Bros. because they’re open late. Turns out not all Primantis serve dessert. In retrospect, we should’ve looked for a Mad Mex, as they have ice cream and are open late, or an Eat ‘N’ Park, which, like Primanti’s, is easily found and open late.

Sunday, we thought about heading out to Row House for a screening of Metropolis, but neither of us was super into the idea of going out–Paul said he could be talked into going, and I said I could be talked out of going. So we decided to skip it, as much as that movie is on both of our lists of must-sees. But it also pops up at Row House often enough, so I’m sure we’ll get another chance to see it in the not-too-distant future.

Saturday 9: My Favorite Things

Saturday 9: My Favorite Things (2018)
Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) This week’s artist, Jennie Abrahamson, is very happy living in Stockholm, but she refers to Paris as “a flirt.” She enjoys her time there so much she always wants to return. Is there a place you’ve visited that tugs at your heart and imagination, tempting you to return? New York City. It’s been a good several years since I visited, but I always loved it and felt like I could live there.

2) Jennie has said her music has been heavily influenced by 80s pop, which was popular in her early teen years. Are your favorite songs the ones you listened to when you were growing up? Some of them. My parents raised me on the music from their teens, and I still love that. As for what I discovered and fell in love with on my own as a teenager, some of it I kind of got tired of and have left behind, some I still love–and sometimes there’s a middle ground, where I forget about something for a long time and then re-discover it.

3) “My Favorite Things” is from The Sound of Music. Crazy Sam’s high school claim to fame was playing Sister Margaretta in the senior class production. Though not a big part, her performance lives on because relatives love embarrassing her with pictures of her in an especially unflattering nun’s habit. Who took an embarrassing photo of you? What were you doing? There’s a very unflattering photo, or was, of me asleep on our flight home from Mexico.

4) The lyrics celebrate “brown paper packages tied up in strings.” What was in the last box you received in the mail? I believe it was a cat necklace I bought on Etsy. If not, it was clothes. Can’t remember what came on what day.

5) It mentions doorbells and sleighbells. What’s the most recent bell or alarm that you heard? Probably the bell in professional wrestling I had to watch at work on Friday.

6) This song has nice things to say about cold weather, specifically snowflakes and mittens. What do you like about winter? Snow is pretty. That’s it.

7) Dog bites and bee stings are singled out as things that can leave us feeling sad. What’s most recently given you the blues? A funeral.

8) In 2018, when this song was released, Roger Federer won the Australian Open. Are you good with a racket? Nope.

9) Random question — Your local zoo announced the hatching of three snowy owlets. All males. You won the honor of naming them. Go ahead. Harry Potter names are the obvious choice. You could go with Harry, Ron, and Hermione, or Hedwig and two other owl names from the books.

Friday 5: Teal This Record

  1. Where in Africa would you like to visit? I’d say my #1 would be Egypt, but I’m so interested in travel that I’d go see just about anything.
  2. If you ruled the world, what would you forbid people to talk about in the company of strangers? I don’t know. I’ll talk about or listen to anything.
  3. In what way do you tolerate (or enjoy) being used? A few people come to me to look over writing–usually formal communication to make sure everything is correct, and my mom’s one to come to me and ask if there’s another way to word something. I don’t mind it. It’s the kind of work I’d prefer to be doing.
  4. When did you recently have an a-ha moment? I don’t think I did. Do with that what you will.
  5. What’s something you know about turtles? That they’re the only reptile I would describe as “cute.” Ask me this again when my husband comes home. He’ll tell me something I don’t know that he knows I’ll think is cute or interesting.

From Friday 5.

Man, my family had a week.

First, my dad’s been having some health issues that aren’t a huge deal but also aren’t great. The good news is he’s getting it looked at, it’s just that it was one thing in a list of a few.

And then at work, my brother had a client get physical with him. Again, nothing serious, but a trip to the hospital was involved and the guy’s being charged with assault.

And then, on our end of things, not to be outdone, Paul found out he’s losing his job because that particular location’s work is being shipped to Mexico. The good news is he has up to a year before that happens and will be given 60 days’ notice and severance pay. Of course, neither of us really wants to wait around for that to happen, so he’s been sending out resumes and did get a response pretty quick, so he has a phone interview Wednesday evening. If he gets it, the commute will be long and terrible, but the money might make it worth it.

In the meantime, we’re tightening things down financially in case we end up needing to live off of just my income temporarily. We’re curbing most unnecessary spending for now, and between that and the weather, we spent last weekend pretty much lounging at home.

As for this past weekend, Paul decided he wanted to make his mom’s recipe for homemade pizza, but it makes four pizzas and we definitely can’t polish that off on our own, so we invited some nearby siblings and friends over. Turns out only Jacob and Katie could make it, but we had a nice night stuffing ourselves with pizza, having some beers, and playing Catan. As much as we’ve enjoyed hosting bigger gatherings, a small game night was also super fun, and I definitely want to do more of that.

My mom’s Aunt Cecilia, or Aunt Cis, died during the week, and although I didn’t spend a ton of time with her, I did want to stop by the funeral home, so I went to the funeral Saturday morning with my parents. She was one of my grandfather’s sisters, and I ended up thinking about him a lot during the funeral. It had me missing him and Grandma pretty bad, and it’s been a little while since I felt that. I think of them often enough, but this was different. I felt the sadness of it more.

There was a nice, small lunch afterwards for everyone who went, and after that, I spent a lot of time at my parents’ house just kind of dicking around, mostly just not feeling like driving an hour back home quite yet. And since I had the time and (sort of?) the space, I offered to take a look at the stash of shit I still have in their basement and left with some of my old stuffed animals to go through and other little things, like nice towels my mom is getting rid of because they don’t match either bathroom now and some of the afghans my grandma made that my mom had. I still have plenty in my own house to go through and put away, but I’m not opposed to taking stuff out of my parents’ basement a little at a time.

Going into Sunday, the big weather story was a snowstorm, but it was…anticlimactic. We got an inch, maybe not even, although crews took their sweet time treating the roads and apparently, ice was an issue. So we spent the bulk of our day at home, and when we did go out, it was to run some errands, and that was it. And that was after accidentally taking a nap for a few hours.

This weekend, we’re heading out again with Paul’s cousin living in Pittsburgh, and with any luck, he’ll have a new job to get ready for.

Saturday 9: ’65 Love Affair

Saturday 9: ’65 Love Affair (1977)

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

1) The first line of this song is, “I was a car hop.” Car hops used to take orders and bring diners food to eat in their cars. Today, the drive through lane has pretty much replaced car hops. Think about the last time you went to a fast food restaurant. Did you order at the counter or at the drive through window? Drive-through, and it was without a doubt at Taco Bell.

2) Mr. Davis sings that his girlfriend was “bad with her pom-poms.” Presumably she was a cheerleader. Share one of your school’s cheers. Our mascot was a gator, so the one everyone remembers is, “Let me see your alligator!” And we’d respond, “What did you say?” And it would repeat like two or three times, and then we’d imitate a gator’s jaws with our hands and clap.

3) The lyrics tell us he believes that if he could go back in time, his girl would still be his. If you could travel back in time to your high school years, what would you enjoy doing again? What would you do differently? I think I’d join the musical from freshman year instead of waiting until junior year, and I’d give more of a shit about my schoolwork. I did well, but if I’d put more effort in, I could’ve had straight As or very close to it.

4) During his performing days, Paul Davis sported a full beard and flowing hair. We’re using that to check your powers of observation and recollection. Think of the last man you spoke to. Who was he? Describe his hair, and tell us whether he was clean shaven. It was my husband, his hair is a mess because it’s getting a little too long so it’s just kind of a mop on his head, and he’s a little scruffy. To be honest, I didn’t notice his facial hair, but I can promise you no matter when he shaved last, there’s scruff.

5) Paul Davis was born in Meridian, MS, and that’s where he returned to when he went into semi-retirement in 1982. Meridian’s biggest employer is the Naval Air Station in Meridian. Do you know anyone who is currently in, or employed by, the military? My brother is in the reserves, and so is my best friend’s boyfriend. One of my brothers-in-law is a former Marine, my best friend’s soon-to-be ex-husband is in the Navy, and my husband’s college roommate is in the Air Force. My dad and one uncle are both retired Army.

6) He was a pool player and a golfer. Which sport are you better at? Does mini golf count? If not, pool, but I’m pretty terrible at both.

7) Sadly, he died in 2008, on the day after his 60th birthday. His best friend remembers him as “a homebody,” who enjoyed staying up long into the night with his friends, playing and listening to music. Describe your perfect way to spend an evening. With people I love hanging out with–lately, I’ve most enjoyed the nights where we have people over at our house, but going out is fun, too. As long as I still have a little time to myself. I always feel like I have something I need to get done.

8) The publishing rights to “’65 Love Affair,” as well as Paul Davis’ bigger hits (“Cool Night” and “I Go Crazy”), are owned by another Paul — Paul McCartney. Sir Paul’s MPL Publishing Company has made him a very rich man, and Paul says that’s because he chose to invest in music, something he loves. What about you? If you were to invest in a business or industry you love, which would you choose? I’d go his route with music.

9) Random question –You’re at a party and one of your host’s best friends is a real egghead who tries to draw you into a conversation about paradigmatic counter existentialism. Would you: a) just listen politely while letting your mind wander; b) admit you don’t know what the hell he’s talking about; c) explain why you personally feel that the counter existential paradigm just adds unnecessary complexity to the individual’s search for meaning? I would admit I don’t know what the hell he’s talking about but ask for an explanation in the fastest, simplest way possible so I could chime in. I wouldn’t pretend to be able to talk about it at length or in depth, but I’d factor in my own opinions and jump into the fray accordingly.

Friday 5: Movement

  • What’s a song that recently moved you? On my way home last night, one of the local classic-rock stations played Elton John’s “Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding.” That song gets me every time in an exciting way, and as much as I normally can’t nail down one single song by any artist that I consider to be my favorite, I just might be able to say that this is my all-time favorite Elton song.
  • What’s a song that recently moved you — right out the door? I haven’t had a strong negative reaction to a song in a while. If I don’t like something, I just kind of ignore it, and if I’m somewhere where I can’t escape it, like in public, I tune it out. Tell ya what, though, I’ve tried and just cannot enjoy Cardi B. At all.
  • What kinds of dance performances interest you? Ballet will always be my first love, and that’s the one that I’m most interested in. But outside of that, all dance is kind of even. I love the way dance makes the human body itself an art form, and I’ll gladly watch anyone do what they want with that.
  • What’s a good song with the word move (or some form of it) in the title? The first one that came to mind is “Move Along” by The All-American Rejects, who I still love. But I’m also partial to Elvis’ “I Shall Not Be Moved,” particularly from the Million Dollar Quartet session, with Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, and Carl Perkins.
  • How do you feel about prunes? Never had them and don’t intend to.

From Friday 5.

We always say we’re wanting to go to brunch when Tina’s serving up at Black Forge, but it seems the brunch schedule and our schedules never mesh. But at last, last Saturday, we had a free morning, so we went up for some coffee and a delicious sampling of quiches. And then we stopped at the mall on the way home because, I mean, might as well if it’s right there.

Paul’s co-workers are big fans of doing escape rooms and one of the nearby libraries set one up for free, so in the evening, we went to do that and ended up being the fastest team, escaping with 10 minutes left on a 30-minute time limit. As a result, we got put in for a drawing for prizes, and Paul’s name was drawn for a Starbucks gift card. Nice to go do something and get money for it instead of having to pay for it, plus that library was pretty nice. I know my brother visits that one a good bit and our library is connected to it and others in the county, I’ve just never stopped in.

And afterwards, a few of us went out to Mad Mex, because Paul and I can’t be within 15 minutes of the place and not go. It’s just so good.

Our favorite movie theater, Row House, was doing a sci-fi, memory-focused theme for the week, and they were showing Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Blade Runner. As much as I would love to see Eternal Sunshine in a theater, I’ve already shown it to Paul–but he’d never seen Blade Runner. And if we’re gonna go, I’d rather go see something at least one of us hasn’t seen before. It’s part of what I love about Row House. It makes movies you have seen a little more fun, but because it exclusively shows older releases surrounding a different theme every week, you get a chance to see something that’s long left theaters on a big screen in surround sound.

Of the two movies, I think I enjoy Eternal Sunshine more, but as far as seeing something in a theater, Blade Runner was the right choice. I’d forgotten how beautiful its cinematography is, and when the movie started with those awesome, ridiculous noir-esque shots of what they thought of as a futuristic LA, I was really happy Paul’s first exposure to the film wasn’t on one of our laptops in our bed. Hilariously, the movie is set in 2019, and when that title flashed on screen, I laughed out loud. But also…Sean Young. That is all.

Wait, one final thing–approximately everyone out-acts Harrison Ford in that movie.

We seem to only do this when we go to Lawrenceville, maybe because it’s super easy to do it, but we make it a point to never eat at the same restaurant twice. We just kind of had the idea and stuck to it, I think because the first time we decided to eat in the area, we decided to just walk until we found something interesting, and in the process, we just saw how many neat restaurants there are. So we try something new every time, and usually, we choose just based on walking until we hit something we’ve never been to. It was a Sunday evening, so a few places were closing up, which made taco place Condado the winner.

Condado is essentially build-your-own tacos. They have a menu of suggestions to choose from, sure, but you can also just fill out what you want–basically the same concept as Burgatory, just with tacos. We opted for some of the suggestions, and I took it easy because both vegetarian options sounded spicy, and I went for the one that sounded less likely to destroy my tastebuds. I ended up being wrong, but that aside, it was a great taco. It also introduced me to jackfruit, which is apparently a pretty good meat substitute due to its texture and the fact that it takes on other flavors similar to the way tofu does.

So basically, despite eating a taco that was a little too much for me, I loved the place. Paul did, too, and it may put a wrench in our plans to just wander Lawrenceville for food.

I was toying with the idea of hosting a small party for New Year’s, but Terra beat me to it before I made up my mind. I think one day, I’d still like to do it, but for now, it can be tough for her to get out here and I wasn’t super committed to it, anyway.

And then Paul’s cousin Chelsea invited us to join her and her friends for some drinks, and we figured what the hell, we can do both–we pass through Pittsburgh on our way to Terra’s house anyway. so we can pop in, have some beers, then continue on our way for the rest of the New Year.

It ended up taking us forever to find parking, mostly because we were in a part of the city we don’t usually visit and one of the garages was closed. Because it took so long, we decided to hang out longer than we planned to, and I felt kind of bad because most of Terra’s other guests bailed and she was basically waiting on us. But we had fun hanging out and having some drinks before we hung out at Terra’s.

Now, she doesn’t have cable, and neither do we–so really, no matter what, we weren’t watching a ball drop unless we got on a computer and streamed it. But we opted to not bother and just wait and guess when the New Year started based on the influx of texts. It sounds really anti-climactic, but I found it pretty entertaining. I do enjoy New Year’s, but not to the point that it all hinges on watching TV.

We hung around for a couple hours, headed home, and crashed pretty hard, considering we were out until like 2 a.m., and enjoyed a lazy New Year’s Day.

Saturday 9: I Forgot to Remember to Forget

Saturday 9: I Forgot to Remember to Forget (1955)
Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.
In honor of Elvis’ birthday (January 8.)

1) Elvis sings that he thinks about this girl all the time. What person or topic is on your mind this Saturday? My family. The week has been a run of bad luck, from job news to health issues. Nothing dire, just a bunch all at once.

2) He wants to forget the day he met his girl, but simply can’t. Think about someone very important in your life. Did you know right away that they were going to be influential? The first time I met my husband, he was super quiet–our younger brothers were best friends in high school, so we met at their graduation. He barely spoke, and in fact, when we went to dinner, due to the numbers, I ended up sitting with the parents on my own because I was the oldest and all he said to my was a reply to a joke my brother made at my expense when I was over with him after dinner. So nope, not at all.

Since this week’s song is about memories, let’s check on how well you recall events in your own life.

3) What was the first concert you ever attended? Technically, it was when I was a little  kid and it was a live performance from some kids’ show from the ’90s. But as far as a legit concert, Good Charlotte, when I was about 14 or 15 with my friend Stephanie.

4) Where did you get your first piercing? (Not only where on your body, but who did the deed and where did they do it?) I was six, and I had my ears pierced. A girl did it at a Claire’s in the mall.

5) What’s the name of the bank where you had your first checking account? PNC, and I still have that account. They had a table set up at orientation in college.

6) Tell us about your first bicycle. A pink Barbie bike. I think it had streamers on the handles, but I don’t think they last long.

7) Who received the first text you ever sent? I have no idea. Probably one of my friends at the time.

8) What had you been drinking when you suffered your first hangover? I don’t really get proper hangovers, even when I get drunk enough to warrant it. My brother doesn’t, either. Superior genes. However! The one time I did was the day after my 21st birthday party–I was taking a summer class and had class or an exam or something the day after my birthday, so that celebration was tame, but the party came that weekend. First of all, it was David Bowie-themed, and second, the drinking game Bros Icing Bros was a thing at the time–in short, if you’re presented with a Smirnoff Ice, you have to chug it, and one can hide Ices to be discovered. So first, there was one under a party hat in the center of my birthday cake, I found one in the bathroom, and I was probably presented with a couple more, plus we made Jungle Juice that was much stronger than it tasted. Now, when I get sick when I drink, it comes on hard and fast, and although I know people who puke and keep going, I puke and can’t stop puking for a long while, so once that started, I was done. I was lying on the bathroom floor for a long time that night. So the next morning, I felt like trash. But that’s not all! I mentioned a few questions ago that my husband and I met at our brothers’ graduation. Well, his brother Jacob’s party was the day after my 21st birthday party. My husband and I had been talking a little, and I even invited him to the party. I rode over with my parents since my brother was basically spending the whole day hanging out over there, and it was only like a 20-ish-minute drive, but I fell asleep. When we got there, my dad said to my now-father-in-law that my 21st birthday party was the night before, and he laughed and offered me a beer. I declined and ate instead, which made me feel much better, so then I grabbed a wine cooler and Future Husband started talking to me a lot the rest of the evening. So that’s how that started. He obviously now knows I was hung over that day, but I don’t think my father-in-law does. Frankly, he’d find it hilarious.

9) Whose was the first wedding you ever attended? I have no idea. My mom has a lot of extended family, so we’d get invited to a lot of weddings as a kid and I couldn’t tell you whose was first. My mom might, just going off of who got married when, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I was at a wedding as a baby or toddler. There was a long succession of weddings as a kid, then a long dry spell in my teens when everyone was either married or too young, and then another small burst of them in the last few years when my cousins and my brother and I all started getting married.

Friday 5: My Dreams They Aren’t as Empty as My Conscience Seems to Be

  1. What’s got you behind the 8-ball? My husband got word today that his employer is moving production from their site down to Mexico. He has time to find a new job, but man, that is not the way to start the year, and obviously, it could put us in financial trouble.
  2. Who would you like to see a VH-1-Behind-the-Music-style documentary about? Honestly, I’d just like to see that show and other similar programming make a comeback.
  3. What are you likely to find behind your sofa? Cat toys and dust.
  4. What’s something you’d like to put behind you this year? Debt. Aside from the mortgage, because we’re obviously stuck with that for 30 years.
  5. What’s something you don’t want to eat if there’s no ketchup? French fries, unless they’re seasoned or they’re sweet-potato fries. Or my veggie burgers or fake chicken sandwiches. When I go out, other condiments and toppings are totally fine, especially places that make interesting burgers and if I have some other interesting condiment at home, fine, but I can’t have nothing on it.

From Friday 5.