Saturday 9: The Love Boat

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

1) The Love Boat ran from 1977 to 1987. It was in the Top 10 for seven of those 10 seasons. Are you familiar with the show? Were you a fan? I’m familiar with it, but I’ve never watched it.

2) Every week, viewers followed The Pacific Princess as she set sail to a glamorous destination. Have you ever taken a cruise? If so, where did you go? I haven’t.

3) Gavin MacLeod played Captain Steubing. Born Allan See, he came up with the stage name by combining the first name of a fictional character he admired, and the last name of a teacher who influenced him. Using his formula, give yourself a stage name. For example, Sam would be Hermione Hart (Hermione from Harry Potter; Hart for her Kindergarten teacher). Man, I can’t think of a good one!

4) After the series ended, Fred Grandy (aka “Gopher”) went on to become a Congressman from Iowa and then CEO of Goodwill Industries. If you had a bag of gently-used items to donate, where would you take them? Goodwill.

5) Ted Lange is best known for his role as the ship’s bartender, Isaac. But he began his career performing the classics and appeared at Colorado Shakespearean Festival and London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Let’s class up this joint. Give us a little Shakespeare.  I’d like to start by saying my favorite Shakespeare play is Much Ado About Nothing. I had to memorize Shakespeare a couple times in school and give you as much of the opening of Romeo and Juliet as I can remember: Two households, both alike in dignity, in fair Verona where we lay our scene…something something where civil blood makes civil hands unclean…something something a pair of star-crossed lovers take their life…

6) Bernie Kopell played the ship’s doctor, Adam Bricker. Kopell first appeared on TV in 1961 and was a regular on Get Smart and That Girl, and he’s still acting today. But Love Boat was, by far, his favorite role. Working on the show was “absolute heaven” because he was paid to travel the world and meet his acting idols, like Oscar winners Greer Garson, Joan Fontaine and Eva Marie Saint, who appeared on the show. When you think of the best job you have ever had, what made it so good: the pay, the location, the people you met, or the work itself? I’d say my freelance work writing about music was my favorite, definitely because of the work itself.

7) Lauren Tewes played Cruise Director Julie McCoy. Today she lives in Seattle, appearing in local theater and — between acting assignments — working as a chef for a catering service. Have you hosted dinner for more than 8 people? If yes, do you remember what you served? Not dinner, but we’ve had parties for groups of that size or larger. I think once, my husband made pulled pork for sandwiches, and I forget what my own contribution was.

8) For the first nine seasons, the theme was sung by Jack Jones. The Grammy-winning singer says one of his career highlights playing Sky Masterson onstage in Guys and Dolls. In his late 50s at the time, had had to go outside his comfort zone, dancing and acting as well as singing before a live audience. Tell us about something new you tried recently. Does childbirth count?

9) Random question  — Which would you rather receive as a gift: one $500 wristwatch, or five $100 wristwatches? One. I’d never wear it anyway, so I’d probably return it and get that money.

Friday 5: Scattergories, Part 10

My letter is “t”…after originally getting “z,” and no way.

  1. What’s something in your pantry, beginning with the letter? Tea. Tofu, although that’s technically in the fridge. And now that I think about it, we may be out of that, actually.
  2. What’s something in your car, beginning with the letter? Travel mugs that are empty. I had to think for a second because I haven’t actually been in my car in weeks. Thanks, COVID! (Don’t worry, my husband has made sure to at least start it so the battery doesn’t die. Again.)
  3. What’s something you miss, beginning with the letter? Travel! Thanks, COVID!
  4. What’s a character trait you admire but lack, beginning with the letter? Tenderness, maybe? I don’t think I lack it entirely, but I am not known for it.
  5. What’s a regular inconvenience, beginning with the letter? Traffic, but that doesn’t really count since I’m not leaving the house much. Thanks, COVID!

From Friday 5.

One of the nice things about being on leave is we have no real commitments, so we’re able to do things on weekdays we normally wouldn’t. Last Monday, Brandon and Kelly took Eliana over to my mom’s, and since we had nothing going on, we decided to join for kind of a cousin playdate, except not quite since Charlie mostly just eats, sleeps, and poops.

We had a nice lunch, Charlie got passed around among the adults, and Eliana, being over a year old now, was wide awake and playing and laughing and having us laughing at her. She was cute with Charlie. She’s too little to do much, but she can say “baby” and she would touch his hair and his hands when she was close to him.

Since both sets of grandparents live about 20 minutes apart, I figure at least right now while we have ample free time, we ought to keep things fair, so if we’re planning to see one side of the family, I’ve been trying to go see the other, too. So later that afternoon, we went to Paul’s parents’ house, had a small dinner, and once again passed Charlie around.

This kind of repeated this week, too. This time, Loretta, a sort of grandmother figure to Paul and his siblings, was celebrating a birthday at his parents’ house, so knowing we’d be there in the evening, we started with a visit with my mom in the early afternoon. It was more of the same–food (Taco Bell) and not so much passing the baby around as my mom holding him nearly the entire time we were there. At Paul’s parents’, dinner, cake, and passing the baby around.

The big thing that comes up with a newborn is lack of sleep for the parents, and for the most part, I think we have a good rhythm down. They tell you to sleep when the baby sleeps, but as another mom I know put it, that’s hard to do when so many other things need done around the house. He’s three weeks old and I only just had a hot minute to wash all the towels that got used since before he was born yet. So generally, I go to sleep around the same time I always have and Paul stays up a little bit later, and I breastfeed him every three hours while Paul prepares his supplemental bottle of formula. Since our sleep is being interrupted, we either normally sleep pretty late or nap during the day, which doesn’t happen if we’re running off to see family. So by the time we left to go home Sunday evening, I had a pretty bad headache that I attributed to being tired, and I asked Paul if he could handle the baby to give me a little more uninterrupted sleep time.

I woke up somewhere in the wee hours of the morning with godawful pain around my left eye and some congestion in my left nose, and my first thought was, “Fuck me, I’m coming down with a sinus infection, and at the worst possible time.” (My second thought was, “Fuck me, I have the ‘rona.”) I needed to do something about it, so I took a Benadryl–which meant no breastfeeding for at least 24 hours. And since I felt so crappy on top of that, Paul had a night of baby feedings all on his own, until I woke up in the morning feeling fine, by some miracle. There’s a tiny bit of lingering pain, but nothing a little more sleep won’t solve. And not breastfeeding even for just a few hours has been uncomfortable as hell, and if not for the fact that I’m positive I’d be worse off without the Benadryl, I’d say never again. He and I are probably both looking forward to when I’m in the clear to give him a boob.

At this point, I’m about halfway through my leave. I could go longer if I wanted to, but with Paul unemployed, it’s probably not the best option. Plus working from home, even though I won’t be able to tend to him while I’m working, I’ll still be around and don’t feel like I’m going back too soon or missing too much time with him. I am concerned, though, that it’ll make it even harder for me the first time I have to be away from him.


Saturday 9: Flipper

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

1) Flipper ran for three seasons, from 1964 to 1967. Are you familiar with the show? Were you a fan? I’m familiar with it but was never a fan.

2) Brothers Sandy and Bud consider a bottle-nosed dolphin, named Flipper, their pet. Do you currently share your home with any animals? Two cats, Robin and Sarge. Robin’s black with some white patches on her chest and tummy, and Sarge is a mackerel tabby.

3) Bud and Sandy’s dad was Chief Warden Porter Ricks of the fictional Coral Key Marine Preserve. In reality, the show was filmed in Miami and Key Biscayne. When were you last in the ocean? Which ocean was it? I think it’s coming up on two years ago now, most unfortunately, when we went to a wedding in Virginia Beach. We took a few extra days off of work and made it a mini vacation. It was the off season, too, but still pretty hot out, so we got the fun of the beach experience without the crowds.

4) There was no one single “Flipper.” In close-ups, the role was played by a dolphin named Susie. While Susie was good at interacting with people, she had trouble with stunts, and sometimes a male dolphin named Clown was brought in for action sequences. Do you consider yourself more social, like Susie? Or are you more athletic, like Clown? More social, if I have to pick.

5) Without looking it up, do you know the difference between a dolphin and a porpoise? Nope.

6) Flipper wasn’t just a TV pet. He was an industry! During the show’s run, Flipper comic books, coloring books and puzzles were very popular. As an adult, do you entertain yourself by reading comics, coloring, or completing jigsaw puzzles? I read the occasional comic and do have an adult coloring book floating around somewhere. I find it relaxing.

7) The Flipper lunchbox was also a big seller. It came with a Thermos topped with a red cup. Do you own a Thermos? Maybe? There might be one lurking from my youth, but if so, it’s most likely at my mom’s house.

8) In 1964, when Flipper premiered, it was up against The Outer Limits and The Jackie Gleason Show. If those were your only viewing choices, would you watch the family show about the dolphin, the sci-fi anthology show, or the comedy-variety show? (Or would you rather flip through a magazine?) Oh, definitely the sci-fi.

9) Random question  — Which would you be more comfortable explaining: how a car engine works, the current IRS tax brackets, or the rules of baseball? Oof. Probably the rules of baseball, which is pretty sad since I don’t even watch baseball.

Friday 5: Hopscotch and Crayons

  1. What was your favorite piece of playground equipment when you were a kid? The swings and monkey bars. Mastering how to do flips off of the monkey bars was the thing for the girls to do at a certain age.
  2. What do you remember about your first-grade teacher? Pick the earliest grade teacher you remember, if you don’t remember anything about your first-grade teacher. Her name was Miss Marino, and she was older with dark hair that was greying.
  3. What’s an especially memorable field trip you took with a class in your very early years? I remember going to the ballet a couple times, which in retrospect was probably not the greatest thing to hold young kids’ attention.
  4. What are some fads you remember from your elementary school days? Did you get into them? Pokemon! Pogs! Yo-yos! Slap bracelets! I did it all!
  5. If your elementary school had food service, what’s a lunch you were especially fond of, and what’s a lunch you were especially not fond of? We didn’t have food service. I went to a Montessori school, so we packed our lunches. I didn’t have food service until I went to middle school, and I honestly don’t remember hating anything. I think for me, the idea of buying lunch was so new that I kind of enjoyed it, and that’s what stands out still.

From Friday 5.

Saturday 9: 77 Sunset Strip

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

1) 77 Sunset Strip was one of TV’s early hits, running for six seasons. Before this morning, were you familiar with this show? Vaguely.

2) The show’s jazzy theme is punctuated by finger snaps. When you snap your fingers, is the left-handed snap as loud as your right-handed snap? No.

3) The show revolved around Bailey and Spencer Investigations. Stu Bailey and Jeff Spencer were among TV first “private eyes.” Who is your all-time favorite TV PI? I don’t know that I have one.

4) Their office had “a fancy label,” meaning an attractive address, on Los Angeles’ Sunset Blvd. Tell us about the prestige area of your neighborhood. It’s a weird neighborhood, to be honest–it’s a mix of large, newer and therefore more expensive houses and smaller, one-story ones like ours built around the ’60s. It’s nice and quiet and I would say has a good reputation.

5) Next door was Dino’s Lodge, the real-life restaurant and bar owned by entertainer Dean Martin. Are you a Dean Martin fan? Not really.

6) The valet at Dino’s was Kookie. He was known for his perfect hair, his slang (“ginchy” meant cool, “germsville” was the hospital, “a dark seven” was a bad week) and his desire to someday be a private investigator, like Stu and Jeff. Do you think you’d be a good detective? I do, because I’m nosy.

7) Stu and Jeff had a loyal secretary named Suzanne, played by French actress Jacqueline Beer. In real life, she was married to adventurer Thor Heyerdahl, who famously traveled from Peru to French Polynesia by raft. Does 100 days on a raft, sailing the south seas, sound fascinating to you? It sounds exhausting, but not necessarily bad.

8) Clint Eastwood was fan of the show and, in the 1990s, tried unsuccessfully to bring 77 Sunset Strip back. Is there a show from the past you’d like to see “rebooted?” I don’t know. I think reboots have had varying degrees of success/quality, so it can be kind of a “be careful what you wish for” scenario. Although two I definitely wouldn’t mind being resurrected: Firefly, because of course, and Agent Carter, because I think it was the best of all the Marvel shows and deserved more time.

9) Random question: Thinking about the last week, did you nag anyone? Or were you the one who was nagged? So I’m two weeks postpartum, and during the pregnancy, especially the closer it got to the end, I relied on my husband a lot and felt like I was nearly constantly asking him for one thing or another. That’s continued a little–I’m hesitant to call it nagging, but as I recover and as we both adjust to life with a newborn, I still do need an extra hand with a few things. Although he insists I’m doing better now than I was nine months pregnant, and he’s probably right.

Friday 5: And We Are Merely Players

  1. When were you last onstage, literally or figuratively? Literally, it’s been a while. Probably whenever I last read at an event, which would’ve been two years ago or so. Figuratively, childbirth kind of felt that way, with a whole room full of people focused on you.
  2. Beginning with the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, what would you name the different personal stages you’ve been through to today? It’s mostly been one long stage of Homebody, broken up by the stages of pregnancy–this all started near the end of my second trimester, escalated in the third, and my area then relaxed into a “green phase.” But now that the baby is here, cases are spiking and things seem to be getting worse, so we’re doubling down on staying home. The only public place the baby has entered is his pediatrician’s office.
  3. When did you unintentionally upstage someone, or when did someone unintentionally upstage you? I don’t know!
  4. How or when do you experience stage fright? I get nervous before any sort of reading or performance or anything like that I’ve ever done. It’s normally a little bit of uneasiness in my stomach and an inability to sit still. With readings, it tends to persist until I’m done, but back when I danced and did musicals in high school, it disappeared about a minute or so into the performance, maybe not even that long. I always knew that once I was out there, I’d be fine, and in fact, it kind of turns into a rush.
  5. What are you in the early stages of, and what are you the late stages of? I’m in the early stages of parenthood (and my leave). I don’t know about late stages. I can’t really say pregnancy, and although there’s probably a logical transition into parenthood, it’s not like I’d spent the last few months or even the time before I got pregnant still drinking and partying a ton. I had the occasional late night, but it’s not like my lifestyle has changed dramatically, strange as that may sound coming from a new mom.

From Friday 5.

I’ll repeat something I said on Twitter the other day–the more I think about it, the more I think Paul losing his job the week before I was induced is a blessing in disguise.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still bad timing, although at least we’ll have his severance pay, but we’re getting time together as a new, small family that we wouldn’t have otherwise. The original plan was for me to take my leave, and then for him to take a few weeks of FMLA to get some bonding time in. Instead, we’re getting most likely my whole six weeks together. Women always say maternity leave is not a vacation, and it’s not, but…it’s hard not to feel like I get six weeks to just hang out at home with my husband and newborn.

Last week was a whirlwind. After coming home and introducing him to grandparents and cousins in the early part of the week, he and I had checkups later in the week. He’s doing great and just needed to put some more weight on, so we’re now supplementing his breastfeeding with a little bit of formula.

The thing about breastfeeding is that I knew going in it would potentially be hard and that I’d have to be committed to it. Of all the moms I know, I can think of maybe only one or two who did it–and that’s not a judgment on commitment or parenting or anything at all, it’s just to get the point across that I know more women who struggled than not for various reasons. So my attitude going in was I’m gonna do it, but Charlie being fed is the most important thing and if my body just isn’t up for it, that’s fine. I wasn’t so hellbent on it that I’d get upset if I was told he needed a little boost, and I wasn’t. I had a few “Don’t get discouraged!” messages, which I appreciated but didn’t need. The pediatrician said he wasn’t gaining enough weight, so I said, “Okay.” Or I said it to Paul. Similar to my appointments since March, only one person is allowed in the office with Charlie, and being that I’m stitched up and moving slowly, handling a carseat with a baby in it isn’t the easiest thing for me. So I’ve been tagging along and waiting in the car while Paul takes him in.

Speaking of my stitches, I’m doing well, physically and mentally. I’m healing well and I feel good. Paul said I get around better now than I did nine months pregnant, and it’s true. And despite a family history of postpartum depression, I feel fine emotionally, and I’ve had a few people check in on that to be sure–Paul, Terra, and my mom, of course, but unexpectedly, a classmate from high school who I really only see at reunions sent me a Facebook message to check in, saying she likes to do so with new moms as she had postpartum depression herself.

We didn’t do anything for the 4th, which is probably for the best. If it wasn’t for having a newborn baby, we might’ve done something small. We weren’t invited anywhere, either, but probably wouldn’t have gone even if we had been, with the exception of something small.

On Sunday, we took Charlie to Paul’s parents’ house to meet his great-grandparents, and Jacob and Katie brought Arlo, finally after he was born right at the start of the lockdowns. The four of us kind of want to be on the same page with these things–it’ll make life easier for all of us–so we made sure they were going before we committed. The great-grandparents were all thrilled to see the babies, and it was a pretty nice afternoon with everyone. And the boys are adorable, of course.

And now…we have no other plans in the near future. Sure, there’s some things to be done  related to life with a new baby, but overall, we have time for me to recover physically and for the three of us to continue bonding. It’s one day at a time, and it’s kind of nice.

Saturday 9: You’re a Grand, Old Flag

Unfamiliar with James Cagney’s 1942 version of this song? Hear it here.

1) The flag we currently fly, with 50 stars and 13 stripes, was designed by a high school student. When Alaska and Hawaii were added, President Eisenhower invited Americans to submit designs for how best to incorporate the two new states. Ike chose 17-year-old Robert G. Heft’s submission from more than 1500 entries. Tell us about a contest you entered and won. (Or really hoped to win.)  Man, I don’t know. I don’t think I’ve entered very many, and I’m not very lucky, so I haven’t won many, either.

2) The government also has another of Mr. Heft’s designs waiting: one that incorporates a 51st star if another state is added. When you were in school, did you memorize the states and their capitals? Yep!

3) Six American flags have been planted on the surface of the moon. Those are undoubtedly the flags farthest from you this morning. Where is an American flag flying near you today? My neighbors across the street have one in their front yard.

4) This version of the song was performed by James Cagney in the 1942 classic Yankee Doodle Dandy. Have you ever seen it? I have not.

5) In that film, Cagney portrayed George M. Cohan, the composer of this week’s song. In 1940, Cohan was honored by with a Congressional Gold Medal. In presenting him with the award, President Roosevelt specifically thanked Cohan for “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” and “Over There.” What’s your favorite patriotic song? I don’t know. I tend to dislike them, honestly, just because they’re often cheesy.

6) Though a performer his entire life, Cohan disliked listening to recordings of his own voice. How about you? Do you like your singing and/or speaking voice? Oh, I hate hearing my voice played back to me. I think I sound dramatically different and, like…weird, I guess?

7) James Cagney won the Oscar for Best Actor his performance as George M. Cohan. Also nominated that year was Gary Cooper, who portrayed Lou Gehrig in Pride of the Yankees. Tell us about another movie about a great American. I don’t know about this one, either!

8) As a teen, Cagney juggled high school with a variety of jobs, including bell hop and delivery boy, and gave all his earnings to his family. Looking back, Cagney was grateful that he had to begin work early, saying, “I feel sorry for the kid who has too cushy a time of it. Suddenly he has to come face-to-face with the realities of life without his mama and papa to do his thinking for him.” Do you agree? I think there’s an element of truth to it, but I also think it verges on being judgmental and hints at criticisms I’m tired of hearing as a millennial, even though he’s not talking about that group in particular at all. I think it is important to teach the value of hard work, but I think that can be done without sending a kid into the workforce or without bordering on insulting kids (or adults) who weren’t. Calling that approach “cushy” isn’t really fair.

9) Cagney had a rebellious streak. His boss, studio head Jack Warner, nicknamed Cagney, “The Professional Againster.” Cagney joked that he enjoyed earning the title. What about you? Are you rebellious? I don’t know. I’m 31 and a new mom, how rebellious can I really be?

Friday 5: She’s Going the Distance, She’s Going for Speed

  1. What’s your favorite cake? I’m a huge fan of angel food cake.
  2. When did you last have pancakes? A few days ago. I had a baby a week ago! And I was in the hospital for about 2 1/2 days total, and breakfast one morning was pancakes.
  3. When did you last bake a cake or a cake-like thing? It’s been a little while. But my husband made me a cake about two weeks ago for my birthday.
  4. What part of your job is a piece of cake? It has elements of copyediting, so that.
  5. Where have you had a really good cupcake? There’s a little bakery in Gettysburg–or there was–that had great unique cupcakes that my whole family was really into the last time we were there. Given my dad’s cancer diagnosis and death last year, though, we haven’t been there in a few years.
  6. Bonus question: What are your thoughts on icing? I don’t like the icing that comes on most storebought cakes, but I love something with cream cheese. My husband made a pretty simple one with lemon and once made a great peanut-butter icing. There are so many super easy ways to make a delicious icing that doesn’t taste like straight sugar, and it’s a shame that storebought cakes are generally so disappointing on that front.

From Friday 5.