Saturday 9: No. 9 Dream

Saturday 9: No. 9 Dream (1974)
Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) John Lennon liked the number 9. It shows up in three of his songs (in addition to this song, he performed “Revolution #9” and “The One after 909” with the Beatles). He was born on the 9th of October, as was his son Sean. Coincidentally, “No. 9 Dream” hit #9 on the Billboard chart. Do you have a favorite number? 3. Not sure why.

2) The phrase repeated in the chorus, “Ah bowakawa pousse pousse” means nothing. It’s gibberish that John sang until he could come up with “real” lyrics for this melody. Then he decided he liked the sound of it, so he kept it. Can you think of a word that’s fun to say just because you like how it sounds? Do curse words count?

3) John referred to “No. 9 Dream” as an example of “craftsmanship writing.” A snatch of the melody just came to him and he got it down on a tape recorder, wrote lyrics, arranged it and recorded it in short order because he needed another song to finish the LP, Walls and Bridges. What’s the last thing that you did because you were supposed to or you had to, and not because you wanted to? I guess that depends on your perspective. I recently wrote an article because I claimed it in our queue and I was therefore expected to finish it, but I do that writing in the first place because I want to. It’s my side hustle, but it’s also a choice, and I could easily decide, like, right now that I don’t want to do it anymore and stop.

4) Yet once “No. 9 Dream” was recorded, it became one of John’s favorite of his solo songs. He loved its ethereal feel. Tell us about something that turned out better than you thought it would. I’ve had social interactions that have gone better than expected. I’m sure I’ve written things that have turned out better than I expected, but normally, I’m just critical of myself.

5) When he was working, John drank a lot of tea, as many as 30 cups in a day. Do you take your tea with cream, sugar, honey, or lemon? It depends on the tea, honestly. Black tea, yeah, I’ll do milk and sugar, but other flavored teas, I won’t touch, like fruit teas. Orange comes to mind–that one’s best left alone.

6) During his reclusive years (1975 to 1980), John didn’t have household help, preferring to take care of his young son and housework himself. He did, however, have a chauffeur on call around the clock. If you could afford to a staff of one, what single thing would you have him/her do? Oh, hands down, I would just hire a personal chef. Neither I nor my husband cooks much, but if we could just have someone make us delicious food, done.

7) When John was a boy, he requested water colors and colored pencils for his birthday and at Christmastime. Do you recall a special birthday or Christmas gift you received as a child? A dollhouse one year as a kid, a guitar one year as a teenager. Come to think of it, I think almost all of my guitars were gifts.

8) Beatles producer George Martin said John was “a completely impractical man.” Would you describe yourself as impulsive, with flashes of practicality? Or are you practical, with flashes of impulsivityPractical with flashes of impulsivity. I tend to think I’m more impulsive than I really am.

9) Random question — Congratulations! You just won the Saturday 9 Sweepstakes, and the prize is your choice of a boat or a motorcycle. Which one do you take? The boat. There are a few rivers nearby and I love being on the water, so I’d enjoy that way more.

Friday 5: Mischief Managed

  1. The Mirror of Erised doesn’t show a reflection of you at the moment, but of you and what your heart most desires. If you gazed into it today, what image would you see? My dad cancer-free and my husband and I each with our own books successful enough that we’re not working full time and possibly living in the mountains.
  2. A howler is a blood-red letter sent to signify extreme anger or to convey a message very loudly and publicly. When it is opened, the sender’s voice, which has been magically magnified to a deafening volume, bellows a message at the recipient and then self-destructs. If it is not opened or there is a delay in opening it, the letter smolders, explodes violently, and shouts the message out even louder than normal. If you were to receive one today, who would most likely be the sender? Ooh, I don’t know. I’m hoping no one because I don’t think I’ve done anything to deserve one at least within the last several months.
  3. What model vehicle would be great to turn into a flying car? I was gonna say a DeLorean, but I guess we’ve already seen that fly.
  4. What item in your house could use a dose of magic, and what extraordinary quality would you like to imbue it with? I’d just make everything clean itself. It would solve a lot.
  5. Among people you know, who is most likely and secretly born with magical ability? My husband. We’re known to be thinking the exact same thing sometimes, but aside from that, he’s correctly predicted the gender of every baby in the family except one and swears he has the occasional predictive dream. And although he seems to have bad luck with his employers shutting down or downsizing, he gets new opportunities faster than anyone I’ve ever known.

From Friday 5.

Saturday afternoon when I finished working, I put on plenty of glittery makeup and headed out to the annual Dancing Queen fundraiser Terra and her mom volunteer for and had a nice couple hours out with the usual crew for that–my mom, Aunt Elaine, and her friend Diane–dancing the night away. And then I came home and crashed for like 10 hours.

One of the things we’ve been meaning to do for the few years we’ve been living in this area now is check out our local symphony–or at least, check them out proper, as we do see them playing at the Whiskey Rebellion festival every summer. I happened to be scrolling through my phone and saw an ad for a performance on Sunday and sent it to Paul, who declared they were gonna be playing some of his favorite pieces, so we decided to go.

We had a really nice time. The symphony sounded fantastic, and we finished the evening up with Primanti’s. Because nothing goes together better than classical music and sandwiches with fries and coleslaw.

I slept in majorly again yesterday, too, which I needed, heading out only to go to the gym and run errands. I call that a successful day.

Saturday 9: Valentine

Saturday 9: Valentine (1993)
Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

This song was specially chosen for the Saturday 9 closest to Valentine’s Day.

1) This is a love song written by Willie Nelson for his young son. Have you sent any Valentines this year to someone you love who isn’t a romantic partner? The only time I really do this is with funny Internet Valentines. I share those with whoever I think would appreciate them.

2) Today that little boy, Lukas, is a singer/songwriter who wrote eight of the songs for the 2018 A Star Is Born soundtrack. Have you seen the Bradley Cooper/Lady Gaga big screen romance? I haven’t, but I do want to.

3) On Valentine’s Day in 1876, Alexander Graham Bell patented the first telephone. Who did you most recently speak to on the phone? The woman from my eye doctor, calling to tell me my contacts were in.

4) Penicillin was also introduced on Valentine’s Day (in 1929). When you get a shot, do you look away when the needle touches your skin? Yeah, it does freak me out a little bit. Not so bad that I can’t handle it, but enough that I don’t want to see it.

5) According to legend, a gift of red roses signifies love and romance. When did you last purchase flowers or plants? Did you buy them for yourself, or someone else? I don’t know, it’s been a while. They were most likely for someone else.

6) This week’s artist, Willie Nelson, can trace his family tree back to the Revolutionary War. Captain John Nelson served with the Minutemen back in 1776. If you could go back in time to witness any great moment in American history, which would you choose? Could I just hop around to concerts?

7) Before he became a musical success, Willie was a door-to-door salesman, peddling first Bibles, then vacuum cleaners. INC magazine tells us that the traits of successful salespeople include resilience and good listening skills. Do you think you’d make a good sales person? Just based on those two traits, yes, but not a single thing about that job appeals to me. I’d hate it.

8) In 1993, when this song came out, Saved by the Bell aired its series finale. Crazy Sam likes to tease her brother because he once admitted to her that he has seen all 86 episodes of this teen sitcom. Is there a show that you believe you’ve seen every episode? Oh, there are a few, especially now in the streaming age. I’ve seen every episode of Lost and The X-Files, for sure, and a few others I’ve watched on Netflix over the years.

9) Random question — We’re having milkshakes! What’s your favorite flavor? Strawberry, but depending on what I’m in the mood for, I could go for chocolate.

Friday 5: QoTD

  1. What kind of drunk are you? Chatty, generally more outgoing. I loosen up some and am more open to things like dancing and karaoke, and I’ll probably tell you anything you want me to.
  2. What’s one of your language-related pet peeves? “Could of” instead of “could have.” You’re wrong. And then someone once tried to tell me that it was their “local dialect.” No, it’s isn’t. You’re confusing the contraction of “‘ve” with “of,” even though they mean two very, very different things.
  3. What would be a good question to ask people you’ve just met, if what you really want to know is what they’re passionate about? You know, an alternative to “What do you do?” or “How do you know so-and-so?” If they could be anywhere in the world doing anything they wanted, where would they go and what would they do? Or if they won the lottery tomorrow–like, a sum so huge that they never had to work again–how would they spend their time? Or even how would they spend the money?
  4. When you get home super tired and super hungry, do you usually eat first or sleep first? If I were only a little bit hungry, I’d just go to sleep. If I’m super hungry, though, I have to eat first, because otherwise, I’ll be uncomfortable. I’ll probably fall asleep anyway, but I really won’t like it. Plus if that’s the case, I was probably out and it’s probably late at night, and if I was out and it’s late at night, I need to put on my jammies and take my makeup off, so another few minutes to scarf down a snack isn’t gonna hurt me.
  5. You’re taking an exam. You aren’t sure about the answer to question 5, but you know it’s either “lions” or “tigers.” You get to question 11 and realize whatever the answer to 5 is, 11 is the other answer. Do you write “lions” as your answer to 5 and 11, thereby ensuring you’ll get one of them right? Or do you write “lions” for 5 and “tigers” for 11, risking two wrong answers but giving you a chance at two right ones? I probably take my chances putting down two different answers, because even though I know I’ll get one right no matter what, I’ll also be annoyed at putting down two of the same thing. I’m also a born gambler, so it’s a risk I’m okay with.

From Friday 5.

As always, with me working Saturdays for the month, that leaves Sunday as our only day to really do much together over the weekend. This past weekend, we planned to go to a movie…and then I fell asleep for a few hours and ruined that plan. But by the time I woke up, Paul was in the mood for all-you-can-eat sushi, so that’s how we spent our evening.

On the other hand, I do like having Mondays to myself because it gives me the whole day to run errands, make phone calls, and get stuff done. I made it back to the gym after about a week out due to a combination of being a little sick and spending a lot of time at my parents’ house, and I used some of my free time to check out the new coffee shop in the same plaza as the gym. I did some cooking, too–a pretty simple lasagna roll-up recipe, and I took a couple of them over to my parents’ house the next day. I figured either my parents cook divvy them up or my mom could have them for lunch or dinner one evening.

I was back over there Tuesday while they were seeing doctors again, and the mood is a little more optimistic now–I think my dad was expecting to hear his tumor is inoperable or something, but that’s not the case. They do need to treat him with either chemo or radiation before they do surgery, but the doctor sounded pretty confident and my dad’s in better spirits. I think my mom was, too. She seemed to kind of feel like the last round of appointments was bad news on top of bad news, and this appointment wasn’t like that. He can’t see an oncologist until the 25th, though, so there’s no treatment scheduled or even a definite plan yet and that’s frustrating, but at least we know what we’re dealing with now.

So I hung around the house all day Tuesday, and in the evening, Paul and I met up over at his parents’ house for cake for his brother Jonathan’s 17th birthday. Jonathan was 8 when Paul and I first started dating, so…

It was a nice evening. We hung out for a bit before us working adults–which would be the two of us plus Katie and Jacob–had to hit the road and go home to go to bed to get up for work the next day.

So at least for now, I’m expecting some calm. Maybe we’ll make it to a movie this Sunday, and I’ll probably have a normal week or two at work without having to take time off. I’m gonna enjoy that. We’re all staying optimistic, I think, but I don’t expect this to be an easy year, so any time that feels normal is gonna be good.

Saturday 9: Waiting for a Star to Fall

Saturday 9: Waiting for a Star to Fall (1988)

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

1) “Waiting for a Star to Fall” was literally inspired by a falling star. The singing/songwriting duo of Boy Meets Girl was at a big, outdoor concert and could have sworn they saw a falling star in the night sky. Have you ever seen a falling star? No, I always manage to just miss them. There have been at least two occasions where I’ve been with other people who have seen one while I wasn’t looking at the sky.

2) They offered this song to Whitney Houston, who declined to record it. Whitney did have hits with two other songs they wrote: “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” and “How Will I Know?” What’s your favorite Whitney song? “I Wanna Dance with Somebody.” I love it so much.

3) Boy Meets Girl were George and Shannon, a husband-and-wife team originally from Seattle, WA. In 2016, Seattle was named America’s most “bike-friendly city.” Do you own a bike? No. I wouldn’t mind getting into biking in nearby parks and trails, but otherwise, there’s no point. I work from home, and although most of the places I go are probably bike-friendly enough to get by, my house is near a lot of hills and back roads, and one in particular leading into to town is a curvy hill that seems like it would be super dangerous to bike, plus a huge pain in the ass. You’d have to be super careful going down, and going up would be exhausting.

4) George and Shannon met for the first time at a wedding. She was a guest, he was in the band. Think of the last wedding present you bought. Was it from the bride and groom’s registry? 99% of the time, I give money. Aside from a bridal shower, the last give I remember taking to a wedding was not from a registry but was a cute little hand-painted set of Christmas ornaments that were personalized. They were for my youngest cousin on my dad’s side.

5) In 1988, when this song was popular, 98% of American homes had a TV set. Today, that figure has dipped to 96%, presumably because Millennials are watching more content online. What’s the last video you watched online? I believe it was Trevor Noah’s take on Liam Neeson’s recent racist comments. I 1,000% agree with what Noah says.

6) In 1988 saw the introduction of one of the most memorable slogans of all time: “Just Do It.” Without looking it up, do you know what brand “Just Do It” promotes? Nike.

7) In 1988, Sonny Bono went from entertainer to Republican politician when he was elected Mayor of Palm Springs. Have you ever met the mayor of your town? Nope.

8) Michael Douglas took home the Oscar in 1988 for his portrayal of Gordon Gekko in the movie Wall Street. The American Film Institute named Gekko one of the “top movie villains of all time.” Do you think bad guys are as interesting as good guys? When they’re well-written–both bad and good guys–yes. It’s easy to make either one too simple, and I think with villains in particular, sometimes it’s like, “This character is evil because I said so and that’s all!” Well-written characters have depth. I love a bad guy whose motivations I understand, and I love a good guy who isn’t perfect.

9) Random question: Have you ever seen a photo of yourself naked? (Baby pictures don’t count.) Just those baby pictures.

Friday 5: Salt Fat Acid Heat

  1. What are some very salty foods you enjoy? God, I over-salt everything. Soups, pretzels, Ramen when I still ate it…
  2. What areas of your life could stand a little fat-trimming? Debt, but that probably goes for all of us, and it’s a work in progress anyway. My closet because I have way more clothes than I need, but I can tell you I’ll part with a tiny fraction of it. Stuff in general, especially having bought a house last year. There’s the shit from the apartment we don’t need–we still have a lamp surplus–plus my mom took that opportunity to unload junk of mine that was stashed in her basement. So there are all sorts of things lying around that could go.
  3. How acid-tongued are you? I can be, but I choose not to be. All in all, though, I think I’m pretty mild, especially compared to how nasty some people can be. I can be biting, but not horrible.
  4. What’s an interesting way you’ve burned yourself? I once spilled hot chocolate in my lap as a kid. But now it’s either I’m not waiting for my food to cool down or I used a straightening iron like three times out of the whole year and hurt myself. Or curling iron. Why does someone with natural curls need a curling iron? To make the curls look nice, duh.
  5. What are your favorite everyday cooking implements? I don’t think I have one. Could be because I don’t cook enough.

From Friday 5.

So. It turns out that the stomach trouble my dad has been having is cancer.

A tumor, to be specific, where the esophagus meets the stomach. It’s also spread to his lymph nodes, and we’re still waiting on test results to find out if it spread to any other organs.

So over the past week, I’ve spent like four or five days at my parents’ house. I went out last Tuesday night. He had appointments in the morning to figure out what was going on and with snow coming in, my mom figured it made the most sense for them to get a hotel room in Pittsburgh, so I took Wednesday off, drove over Tuesday night, watch Rent live, and essentially dog-sat for the night.

They found out at that appointment about the tumor. I headed home and requested Friday off, then headed back over Thursday night, again, with snow coming in. That Friday appointment revealed the cancer in his lymph nodes.

My mom almost wanted me to stay over again Friday night, but at this point, I’d been over four days in a row and had slept over there two nights, and I kind of wanted to go home.

And I was back again Monday morning anyway while they were getting more tests done.

So things have been…weird. Personally, I don’t think it’s really hit me yet, but it’s also been a really busy week–it’s easy for something to not feel quite real when you don’t have much time to sit still. I think what I’m thinking about the most is how he must be feeling, especially with the first grandkid on the way.

The whole family dynamic is weird. At home, it’s easy to not forget about it, because it’s certainly on my mind, but it’s not in my face. At my parents’ house, the mood is much more somber. For the most part, aside from the initial evening we first found out, everyone’s been their usual selves, but any time I’ve been over since, I’ve definitely had this feeling of heading into a certain vibe. My mom keeps saying she thinks they’re depressing the dog.

And my dad is, naturally, not quite himself. He kissed me on the head and told me he loved me before they left for his appointment, and I can count on one hand the times either of those things has ever happened. One was when he deployed.

My mom said they’ve both been having their ups and downs. She said they went to his childhood church and Sunday and he broke down in full sobs when he saw one of his friends, and he’s been just generally most sentimental and expressing things in a way he never has.

Like I said, weird.

So there’s still some things we have yet to find out and certainly a long way to go. We’re all hoping for the best.

Saturday 9: Backfield in Motion

Saturday 9: Backfield in Motion (1969)

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

1) This week’s Saturday 9 has a football theme because there’s a big game Sunday. Will you be watching? Nope.

2) The Super Bowl is the second-largest day for food consumption in the US, second only to Thanksgiving. What’s on your menu this weekend? Last night, it was the new Chinese buffet in town, and today, it was the Cheesecake Factory.

3) Super Bowl Sunday is the #1 day for consuming guacamole. When did you most recently eat something with avocado in it? I actually had a little bit of guacamole today, but normally, it’s rare. I think avocado is boring and overrated.

4) The Pro Football Hall of Fame is in Canton, OH. Have you ever visited Canton, or any other city in Ohio? I haven’t been to Canton, but I’ve been to Columbus and Cleveland. I live close enough to the Ohio border that it’s not a long drive, and my mom has some family in Ohio.

5) This song mentions different moves that football players — and, it seems, girlfriends — can make that will result in penalties. What’s the last rule you broke? What were the consequences? Eh, probably speeding, and there were no consequences.

6) In 1969, the year this song was popular, the Colts lost to the New York Jets in Super Bowl III. The game is famous because of all the hype leading up to it, including Joe Namath “guaranteeing” his underdog Jets would win. Tell us about a time when you felt like an underdog. Ooh, I don’t know. I mean, there have been a lot of times I’ve felt, like, belittled or small or disregarded, but not necessarily an underdog.

7) This week’s featured duo, Mel and Tim, are cousins from Mississippi. Tell us about one of your cousins. My cousin Meredith lives in Texas now, we send each other pretty great politically themed gifts, and I keep telling her I want to go to visit her and the universe keeps conspiring against that.

8) The song is about a man who catches his girl cheating and he just won’t put up with it. In romance, do you find it easy to forgive and forget? I mean, it depends. With my husband? Almost always, yeah, but that’s also because he’s never done anything so egregious that it was difficult to move past or a dealbreaker. But I think sometimes, the idea of “forgive and forget” is applied when maybe it shouldn’t be, in the sense that some people put up with some pretty big things in the name of love when maybe it’s unhealthy to do so.

9) Random question: You’ve collected a box of gently used items to donate to a second hand store. What would it be most likely to contain: clothes, housewares, or books/video/music? Clothes, hands down. I have tons, and I slowly but surely fill bags of stuff I don’t like or that’s old and doesn’t fit anymore to take to donate or sell on Poshmark. Books, movies, and music rarely leave this house at all, and I often try to sell those, too. I don’t think we’ve ever donated housewares. We’ve never had anything to take, although now that we’re going through things from the move, that may change. A few things are going to siblings, but we have so many unneeded lamps that one or two will surely end up being donated.