If you don’t think I would gladly spend a weekend dog-sitting, you don’t know me at all.

My mom’s friend’s daughter got married over the weekend and my parents decided to get a hotel room Saturday night. With new puppy Seger, they wanted him to have a sitter, and I more than gladly took the job. I mean, how could I not want to spend a weekend with a soft, snuggly puppy?

We joke that he’s a Gremlin because his breeder had some requests regarding his diet in particular, but on top of that, he’s a puppy who’s still exploring and in training and does need some supervision, so my mom wanted me over Friday night to see his routine. I went home for a little bit after work, got some dinner, then gathered my things and headed over.

I squeezed in a quick shopping trip Saturday morning since I still buy CDs but don’t have anywhere near me to get them, and then once my parents were ready and gone, it was just Seger and I.

Ever since they got him, I’ve been pretty entertained by my parents’ tales (tails) of trying to keep up with a puppy. My mom says they’re too old, and my dad would say, “Just wait,” anytime I’d tease him about how Seger couldn’t possibly be that bad. So I was completely prepared for karma to bite me in the ass and for Seger to run me down hard, but honestly, it was pretty okay. He needs watched, sure, and that makes a lot of simple tasks take longer, but it wasn’t hard. He got frustrating Saturday night and part of Sunday morning when nothing really kept his interest and he kept trying to wander around the house, but he wasn’t bad and he wasn’t much of a handful. I tried to play with him in intervals where he wasn’t napping to keep him active, and then that way he’s not packed full of energy he needs to burn off. He’s actually a really sweet dog–maybe it was because my parents were gone, but he stuck right with me all weekend. Save for a few minutes here and there, if he was lying down to nap, he was doing it smack against my leg while I was sitting on the couch.

Sure, I chased him around enough that my ass and thighs were sore Sunday, but I think we both had fun.

Sunday morning, my parents brought me breakfast, I squeezed in some final puppy snuggles, and headed home to go back out to Greensburg to see a play Paul’s sister Emily was in, and then we had dinner after and hung out.

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Saturday 9: Son of a Preacher Man

Saturday 9: Son of a Preacher Man (1968)

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

1) This song was originally offered to Aretha Franklin, who turned it down. What’s the most recent thing that you said “no” to? Putting in overtime at work over the weekend for double the usual overtime rate, but only because I was dog-sitting and couldn’t reasonably squeeze in a few hours.
2) Two years later, Aretha recorded “Son of a Preacher Man.” What’s something you changed your mind about? I feel like I’m frequently changing my mind based on new information. Not being indecisive, just informed.

3) This song tells the tale of Billy Ray, a young man who could be very persuasive. If we wanted to change your mind about something, would you be more easily swayed by an emotional argument, or with verifiable facts? Facts, completely. I usually feel manipulated by emotional appeals.
4) If you ordered a “Son of a Preacher Man” in a bar, you’d get a cocktail made with peppermint schnapps, gin and lemonade. When did you last have lemonade? Was it just lemonade, or was it spiked with alcohol? It was probably just lemonade, for once, because I do really enjoy it in the summer. I’m known to drink it a lot at any sort of outdoor summer event.

5) Dusty had a thing for maps. She admired them artistically and enjoyed using them to take long car trips. Do you use printed maps? Or do you rely on technology, like GPS or Google Maps? Technology, but I’ll grant that I do still see a good use for paper maps. No battery or data to worry about.

6) As a girl, she attended convent school. There, one of the nuns discouraged Dusty from performing, telling her that if she would do better to be a mother or a librarian. When you were growing up, did the adults in your world encourage your dreams? Yes and no. I wasn’t strongly discouraged, but I wasn’t strongly encouraged, either, and my family certainly wasn’t thrilled about me choosing to major in English in college. But here I am, making a living and having the occasional piece published. Piece of advice: people leave you alone the second you make a little money/prove them wrong.

7) That nun inspired Dusty’s first major act of rebellion. In an attempt to make herself look less like a future librarian or housewife, she bleached her hair platinum blonde. In school, were you much of a rebel? Or did you conform to the expectations adults had of you? I definitely conformed more in school, especially when I was younger, because I hated getting in trouble. I wasn’t the type to act up. At home, though, I definitely pushed limits more, and as an adult, I feel like I still have that balance where I’m not doing anything bad, not doing anything that would get me in legal trouble, and not doing anything to hurt anyone, but I do things on my terms and don’t quite fall in line with certain societal expectations.

8) Early in her career, Dusty provided the entertainment at a family summer camp. She appeared on the bill with a clown, a fire-eater and a hypnotist. Have you ever been hypnotized? No, and I’m a little afraid to try.

9) Random question: Have you ever played matchmaker to your friends? If yes, did your efforts lead to romance? No, but I’ve expressed it when I thought two people might be good for each other, although never awkwardly in front of both of them together. It’s just never gone that extra step of actually setting something up.

Friday 5: Makin’ It

  1. What skill seems like it would be really fun to learn? I keep saying I’m interested in taking up glass blowing.
  2. Which of the winter Olympic sports would you love to compete in? Curling!
  3. What fun craft did you make when you were a kid, in school or at camp or somewhere else? I don’t know. I remember not really liking art-project stuff in school, and I know things that were more crafty than artsy I did like more, but none of them really stand out.
  4. If everyone in the world is the best in the world at some very specific thing, what are you most likely the best at? Being me, which I realize is a cliched answer, but still!
  5. What’s something you own that was handmade by someone you know? My best friend makes jewelry, so I have a lot of things she’s made me over the years, including my wedding jewelry in August. And one of my favorite wedding gifts was an afghan crocheted by my sister-in-law’s best friend, and it’s big, soft, and warm and I love it. I have a lot of handmade things lurking around the apartment, really.

As always, from Friday 5.

Lately, Paul and I have both been feeling a sort of burn out, I guess you could call it, where even in a week where I took a day off, it still felt long and I was still looking forward to Friday. He’s been talking a lot about needing a break, too. I don’t know what it is. We suspect the time of year–creeping closer to the holidays but not quite there, along with the change of clocks that’s made evenings darker faster. And it’s been cold lately. The weather seemed like it was clinging to summer, not quite done with it, for weeks, then all of a sudden I’m having to get up a few minutes earlier to have that extra time to zip up boots and pull on gloves some mornings, and being a die-hard summer girl, it’s rough.

And yet, the promise of double overtime pay was enough to get me to go in on a Saturday morning for four hours. I know a good opportunity when I see it, and it’s hard to pass up good pay like that. And it’s temporary–like we were this time close to a year ago, we’re really busy, and I like knowing I can put in a little more effort for a weekend or two and have a little more money at the end of it to squirrel away. And the nice thing is on weekends, you can essentially work whatever hours you want, so I went in until 11, which still left me with the whole afternoon for whatever else I wanted. It sucks up some of the weekend, sure, but you still get the majority of it to enjoy.

My dad was out of town for the weekend, so my mom was home with new puppy Seger for four days. She’d joked last weekend that she was dropping heavy hints about coming to relieve her, so Paul took her a few homemade cookies, a six-pack of beer, and we picked up new bones for Seger to chew and headed out to hang out for a couple of hours and do free laundry, play with the puppy, and watch the shows I’ve been having her record since we don’t have cable. We spent most of the afternoon there, then headed home in the evening.

We’d thought Sunday was just gonna be a calm day to ourselves, but it turns out we were invited to Terra’s nephew’s first birthday party–she’d just either forgotten to invite us or something got screwed up along the way. She asked me if we were going that morning and I was like, “Uh, no?” But at least it was something we could easily account for. We hung out in the morning and headed over in the early evening, out to the deli Terra’s brother and sister-in-law recently opened and used as the party space, because why not?

It’s funny that slowly, our lives are transitioning into more adult things and looking more like, say, our parents’ lives. I mean, we found ourselves surrounded by excited kids with treat bags and party hats, while the adults hung around catching up or, in our case, getting congratulated by acquaintances who saw on social media that we got married. And lots of, “How’s married life?” People love asking newlyweds that, but honestly, it’s exactly the same as it was before. We just wear rings now.

Terra has a new boyfriend, which is a pretty recent development–she only started talking to him within the past week or so, but they clicked really well, so we got to meet him. I keep joking I was too easy on the last boyfriend and the soon-to-be-ex-husband. But if I’m being honest, I have a much better feeling about this one than the others. It seems like a much better match, and although he was quiet, in part because he was surrounded by psychos like me, they have a lot in common. Paul got along great with him and gave his approval, but Terra’s childhood friend Gemma and I say the boys get no say in this.

We ended up hanging out for a little bit after the party broke up, what with it being an actual business and all, and bought some food from them before heading out and running some errands before we had to go to bed, get up for work, and lament not being ready for another work week again. Paul actually decided to call off and give himself a day, but I’m not quite there. I can push through the work week a little easier than he can, and besides, Thanksgiving is–incredibly–next week, so I’ll get a bit of a break then. I mean, it obviously won’t be enough, but it’ll be something.

Saturday 9: Get Down Tonight

Saturday 9: Get Down Tonight (1975)

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

1) Tonight, KC has three things on his “to-do” list: do a little dance, make a little love and get down. Tell us three things you’d like to accomplish this weekend. Writing articles for Thanksgiving event coverage that are technically far overdue, writing thank-you notes from the wedding that are still within reasonable etiquette range but too for out for my liking, and cleaning that rarely gets done.

2) This week’s song is considered emblematic of disco, a genre that had as many detractors as fans. Is there a kind of music you simply cannot stand? No. I’m a firm believer that every genre has something someone will like, it’s just a matter of finding it. I have my genres I listen to significantly less, but I still found great artists in them.

3) Before becoming a musician, KC, aka Harry Casey, worked in a record store. In those days, record stores were very popular. Peaches, Coconuts, Sam Goody and Tower Records are four store chains that once dotted the landscape but now are gone. Today, if you wanted to purchase a CD, where would you turn? I’d either go into Pittsburgh to one of the great record stores there, or I’d go back to where my parents’ live to a surviving FYE. There’s also one out in Greensburg about the same distance away, so that’s an option, but I’m obviously near my parents more often.

4) One of his duties at the record store was unloading the big corrugated shippers filled with LPs. What’s the heaviest thing you’ve lifted lately? A mini washing machine full of water and clothes. Lifted it up to the edge of the tub to drain.

5) KC is proud that he’s lived his entire life in Miami-Dade County. Do you expect to change your address in the next year or so? Yes. If it’s not a house, it’s gonna be a bigger, nicer, and better-run apartment.

6) In 1975, the year this song was popular, former Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa disappeared, never to be seen again. Many theories flourish about what may have happened to him. Is there a famous criminal case that has a hold on your attention? There’s not one single one I keep going back to, but I enjoy true-crime stories in general. I’m fascinated by what makes people do the things they do and then how people figure it out and catch them.

7) Jaws was the most popular movie of 1975. Are you afraid of sharks? Yes. It’s not a paralyzing fear–I’ll still go in the ocean–but it’s in the back of my mind. It’s not just sharks, though. Oceans and large bodies of water in general that are very deep freak me out a little when I think about what could be down there.

8) Actress Angelina Jolie was born in 1975. People magazine once named her “most beautiful.” Who is the most beautiful woman you can think of? I’ve got lots of beautiful friends and family.

9) Random question: A wizard offers you a choice — would you like your life to stay as it is right now (in terms of your health, your career, your relationships and your finances) for the next 5 years, or would you like to take a chance that the future will be brighter? Take the chance!

Friday 5: Space

  1. Of all the spaces in your residence, which is most powerfully your space? It’s a tough call because I’m married and we’re in a small apartment, so neither of us really has a dedicated space that’s our own. But when we’re doing our own thing in the evening, on our computers or reading and whatnot, I tend to park on the couch and he goes back on the bed. And we’re still within reasonable speaking distance.
  2. What’s the most spacious space in your everyday life? God. Nothing? I guess the living room in my apartment, but there’s not really a lot of space.
  3. What’s a good song about space? I’m thinking of “Space” by Something Corporate, but if we’re talking about, like, the cosmos, I’ll just go with Sufjan Stevens’ Planetarium EP. Or Bowie’s “Space Oddity” or “Starman” or “Life on Mars?” Elton John’s “Rocket Man.” Or Flight of the Conchords’ “Bowie’s in Space.”
  4. What’s under your bed? A box of my husband’s clothes and God knows what else.
  5. What are your thoughts on typing one or two spaces after sentences? One space. Two is outdated and unnecessary.

As always, from Friday 5.

My 2017 concert run is coming to a close–the only one left is the annual Trans-Siberian Orchestra show, so that aside, I guess the last one of the year was Regina Spektor over the weekend.

I’ve been lucky to see a ton of musicians live, and at this point, there are very few I haven’t seen at least once. But Regina Spektor was one of those few. After several years and undoubtedly thousands of dollars spent on tickets, the thought of experiencing a musician live for the first time was exciting, especially one I’ve been a fan of for years.

And she started a little late, but she delivered. She played a lot of new songs but threw in some old ones, too, and I was really happy to hear songs like “Us,” “Apres Mois,” “On the Radio,” and “Samson.” She’s a beautiful singer, and live, her voice has a power that’s surprising. And for someone who goes to a lot of energetic rock shows, seeing a woman at a piano for almost two hours was absolutely a change of pace, but impressive nonetheless, especially watching her actually play piano–plus the other things she did, like get on a guitar for a few songs and do a few a cappella. It was a great show, a really nice night out, and Paul and I bother left quite happy.

And with that, I say bring it on, 2018. I may be looking at buying a house, but a wedding didn’t stop me from a steady stream of concerts in 2017, so why stop now?