Saturday 9: Cat’s in the Cradle

Cat’s in the Cradle (1974)

This song was chosen in honor of Father’s Day. Hear it here.

1) This song began as a poem, written by Harry’s wife Sandy before the couple even met. Have you ever tried your hand at writing poetry? Long, long ago. I used to write songs, though, and that’s practically poetry.
2) The lyrics include a reference to “The Man in the Moon.” The original Mother Goose rhyme ends: “It’s time for the children on earth to think about getting to bed.” Do you remember what time your childhood bedtime was? I don’t, but my parents will tell you that I almost always went to bed willingly because I was tired, so it doesn’t really matter. I do remember a point in elementary school where I was negotiating for it to be later because of something I wanted to watch on TV, but I don’t remember what that was or if I won. I probably didn’t.
3)  When did you go to bed last night? I screwed myself up because I fell asleep on the couch for like two hours and ended up not falling asleep until around 11 or later, but because I have to be at work at 7 a.m., I try to go to bed at 9:30.

4) In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signed the proclamation that made Father’s Day a holiday on the third Sunday in June. Can you name all 45 Presidents? (No, you don’t have to list them here.) Nope.

5) Since Sam’s father is particular about his Cole Haan loafers, her Father’s Day present to him is always a DSW gift card. Who on your gift list is especially easy to buy for? Neither of our dads, although mine is slightly easier because he’s a foodie, so I’m normally able to find him something. His last two gifts were an olive-oil infuser and a cheesemaking kit. Overall, my mom is the easiest, and my husband and I always have a really easy time with his youngest sister. It’s to the point where if we’re trying to spend the same amount of money on all the siblings, we buy for her last because if we let hers dictate everyone else’s spending, it’s a nightmare trying to find as much stuff.
6) Sam’s father is a voracious reader. So much so that the local librarian knows him on sight and by name. When did you last visit your neighborhood library? Today! My library lets you renew something a max of two or three times so that in the end, the longest you can have an item out is six weeks. Normally, I make decent progress and have to double down on a book in the last few days, but I’ve been so busy lately that I made so little progress on what I had out that I didn’t bother trying to finish it. So I returned it today and got something new, but I intend to check the previous unfinished book back out again next time.
7) Back when Sam was in high school, her father gave her driving lessons. Do you consider yourself a good driver? Sure do!
8) He is a stickler about car maintenance and reminds Sam to check her car’s air filter regularly, because a dirty air filter can reduce mileage. Share your own car maintenance tip. Man…I have none.
9) Whenever he fills up the car, Sam’s father also stocks up on his favorite candy: LifeSavers. So Sam is celebrating Father’s Day by giving everyone a roll. Would you prefer Wild Cherry, Butter Rum, Winter Green or Peppermint? Wild Cherry!

Friday 5: Opposite Day

  1. What food, normally eaten cooked, do you prefer uncooked? This doesn’t technically apply, or only half does, but I’m weird about my cooked vegetables. Unless they’re in soup, I don’t like them to get soft. I think it’s gross. I prefer to still have a little crunch, especially when I make stuffed peppers or if I have things like carrots and broccoli in a stir fry. My husband makes fun of me for this a lot and says I don’t like my vegetables cooked, I like them warm. I say this is an exaggeration, but if you ask him, he’ll insist.
  2. What food, normally eaten uncooked, do you prefer cooked? This still only half counts, but I know people who love raw cookie dough and I won’t touch it. Give me actual cookies.
  3. What food, normally eaten cold, do you prefer hot? I wouldn’t say I prefer one over the other, but my grandma’s potato salad. It’s served cold and that’s how I eat almost every time, but just like my mom, I enjoy the occasional bowl microwaved for like 30 seconds. It brings out some of the flavors more.
  4. What food, normally eaten hot, do you prefer cold? Probably nothing. If it’s served hot, that’s generally how I prefer it. I don’t even like cold pizza very much, even though it’s a childhood sleepover breakfast staple.
  5. What are your favorite dinner meals to have for breakfast and breakfast meals to have for dinner? Now we’re delving more into my kind of rigid ideas of meals and other things my husband teases me about. I can’t eat anything but traditional breakfast foods for breakfast–cue him sarcastically saying, “Oh, that’s right, you won’t eat anything that’s not eggs in the morning.” That’s what I want when I wake up in the morning, and I don’t like to eat any other foods in the morning. The one exception, and it’s only barely an exception, is cake for breakfast. I love having leftover cake for breakfast after a birthday. I had wedding cake for breakfast the day after our wedding. However! Strangely, I can do breakfast for dinner. I still prefer traditional dinner foods, but I won’t turn down scrambled eggs and pancakes for dinner. In fact, one of my favorite events in college they did every semester was Moonlight Breakfast, where one night during finals week, late at night, they’d serve breakfast in the cafeteria. And it was free! We always used to look forward to that. It was the highlight of finals week, outside of finishing finals and being on break.

As always, from Friday 5.

Saturday 9: (There’s) No Gettin’ Over Me

Saturday 9: (There’s) No Gettin’ Over Me (1981)
Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) Ronnie Milsap sings about how worrisome it can be when you realize you forgot to pay a bill. It’s happened to all of us, hasn’t it? Tell about about a time you accidentally missed a payment. The thing about still living in your apartment just after buying a house is that when we did the homeowners’ insurance, they naturally updated the address, so the bills for our cars are going there. We stop over a couple times a week, I’d say, but when we’re doing that on our way to or from another place, I easily forget about bills that show up–I have a habit of leaving them in the car, and then I forget about them. So I missed more than one insurance payment and got an e-mail saying they were gonna cancel our insurance for non-payment. Whoops. At least I was able to pay immediately and fix that.

2) He also references a dream that keeps him awake. Do you have any recurring dreams? I’ve had recurring themes recently of pregnancy and babies, which I attribute mostly to the subject coming up in conversation. But still, it’s weird.

3) He sings about the face you see in the crowd. Tell us about someone you see regularly, but don’t really know. A lot of coworkers, honestly. Our jobs are very solitary and don’t allow for a ton of socializing, so other than the few who eat lunch around the same time, I barely know most of them.

4) He mentions the book that you just can’t put down. What’s the last book that you finished? Democracy in Chains, which is basically about the way the radical right is attacking different political institutions and trying to dismantle certain things and also deals a bit with the influence of millionaires on American politics.

5) Ronnie Milsap is a big fan of new technology, and believes the advancements make both his professional and personal lives easier. What about you? Do you embrace new technology? Or do you long for the good old days, when we weren’t so connected to personal devices? I am a firm believer that it’s all about how we use it and technology gets blamed for things that humans are really responsible for–like, the whole attitude that people spend too much time on their phones? Then put down your phone. But I kind of fall in the middle of the two camps in this question. I embrace things that make sense for my life, but I’m not gonna run out and get the brand-new anything. I’m the type that’ll hold on to something until it’s broken beyond repair because I don’t see any need to upgrade if what I have now is working just fine. But there are some things that I just don’t really care for and don’t use, even if I can understand why other people do. Books, CDs, and, to a lesser extent, DVDs are the best example of this. I like having tangible collections of things rather than relying on devices to supply all that to me. If we lose Internet or power, even if it’s rare and short-lived, I’ve got an apartment full of ways to entertain myself.

6) As a child, Ronnie used to surreptitiously listen to late night radio, especially gospel broadcasts. When you were a kid, what rule did you break again and again? I’m a repeat offended for almost everything. I’m not sure why, but it’s almost definitely tied to my stubbornness. If I did it once, I’m probably gonna do it again sooner or later. So I can’t think of something, partly because I got in trouble for the same shit over and over. I was a backtalker, that’s for sure–my brother would do what he was told, and I’d argue.

7) Country star Blake Shelton says Ronnie Milsap was a big influence on his music. Do you watch Blake on The Voice? On occasion–I don’t have cable at home, but I’ve seen it at my job. And for the record, I think The Voice is the best of the singing-competition shows. I know American Idol has moved away from showing awful auditions, but the whole practice of putting someone on TV intentionally only to be annihilated by the judges and then made fun of by America was cruel and so off-putting to me. The Voice is, and always has been, so much more positive, and I’ve got a few albums and songs in my collection that are from people who appeared on that show, whether they won or not.

8) In May, Ronnie appeared at the Choctaw Casino in Grant, OK. Do you enjoy games of chance? Gambling is in my genes.

9) Random question — When did you last “do it yourself” and repair something around the house or yard? I mean, my husband and I both do this regularly–not that things often need repaired, but that when they do, we can almost always handle it ourselves. We currently have a malfunctioning lawnmower which isn’t completely fixed but is getting there. And we’re also doing a lot of small upgrades on our new house ourselves. We did all the painting ourselves, and he and his dad ripped out old carpet.

Friday 5: With a Capital T

  1. What kind of trouble are you getting yourself into? Well. I told my cousin, who’s getting married today, I’d make some cookies for the wedding. Now, the bulk of them are done and ready to go–but I stashed one bag in the freezer at the house and need to get over there soon to pull it out to thaw for this evening, and then one batch is in the oven as I type. I wasn’t able to get them done earlier in the week, and I opted to go out with other cousins last night. So I got up around 6:30 when my husband left for work to get started so I can get them over to the hotel preferably by about lunchtime at the latest, which is actually looking pretty doable. Procrastinators, everyone!
  2. What was your most recent car trouble? Just the tires needing air. The car’s too new to be giving me real problems.
  3. What’s a rhyming phrase (such as “work jerk” or “poo shoe”) to describe something causing you problems lately? I can’t think of one! Is there one for self-sabotaging going to bed when I should?
  4. What’s something that needs loosening or unsticking? Hmm. My husband would say it’s my routines, but I say they work. Last-minute baking notwithstanding.
  5. What’s your favorite board game involving rolling dice? Probably Clue.

As always, from Friday 5.

Saturday 9: It’s Impossible

Saturday 9: It’s Impossible (1970)

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

1) In this song, Mr. Como maintains it’s impossible to ask a baby not to cry. When did you most recently hold a baby? Did you ask him or her not to cry? I held my friend Stephanie’s baby on Memorial Day, but I did not ask him not to cry–he was pretty chill the whole time they were over, and really, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him particularly fussy, so it wasn’t a concern. And he’s since celebrated his first birthday the other day!

2) Perry Como was known for his casual, easy going style. Therefore people were surprised to learn that he could lose his temper. His long-time musical director reported that bad drivers really got under Perry’s skin. What is one of your pet peeves? Bad drivers is a good one. One that’s been really getting me lately is whoever in my building keeps leaving one of the main doors propped open overnight.

3) Though Perry Como was born in Pennsylvania, he didn’t speak English until he began grade school. His parents were Italian immigrants and the family only spoke Italian at home. Do you know any words/phrases in Italian? Fun fact, he was born in Canonsburg, where I work! I pass a road name after him on my commute. Anyway, I know a little Italian. Not much.

4) He met Roselle, the girl he would marry, when they were both still in high school. Tell us about a high school classmate you were crazy about back in the day. I joke that I got my bad-boy phase out of the way really early and before it could cause me any problems–I never dated any, but almost every guy I liked in high school was kind of a jerk. But my brother and I were friends with this guy named Ian. I’m known for my frequent concert-going, and in our youth, my brother and I did a lot of that with Ian. Our parents would switch off driving us, really. And I had a huge crush on him at one point, and looking back, honestly, I think we had on-again, off-again things for each other, but never at the same time. He has a kid now, and I’m married.

5) When he was just 14, his father’s ill health made it essential that Perry begin working after school to help support his family. He apprenticed to a barber but was so short, he had to stand on a box when he cut hair. Again, going back to school, were you taller than your classmates? Shorter? Or were you the average height for a kid your age? I was on the short end, but most of my fellow lady friends were about the same height.

6) While taping his annual holiday special in 1971, he fell from a platform and broke his knee. He had to wear a cast and endure 8 months of rehab. Have you ever broken a bone? No, never! It’s one of the things people are usually surprised to learn, but anyone who’s known me for a long time wouldn’t be surprised. I wasn’t a very active child and I hated sports in my teens. I’m more active now, but not likely-to-break-a-bone active.

7) During the decades when he was a recording and television star, Perry Como was also an avid golfer. He was so popular that many of the best pro golfers of the day — Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, etc. — were happy to play with him. It’s estimated that it takes about 4 hours to play 18 holes of golf. What celebrity would you most like to hang around with for four hours? Just about any of the musicians I’m a fan of, as well as any of the writers. Maybe a handful of filmmakers.

8) After he retired, Perry’s passion switched from golf to fishing in the waters near Palm Beach, Florida. His catch of the day often ended up as his family’s dinner. What’s for dinner at your house tonight? No idea yet. I have a feeling my husband’s gonna suggest getting takeout or something since we have errands to run.

9) Random question — They say “birds of a feather, flock together.” But that’s not always true. Can you think of an area where you are out of step with most of your friends/family? Politics with most of my extended family, with the exception of my cousins–most of us are really closely aligned in that sense. But I’m also the only writer of the family.

Saturday 9: GI Blues

Saturday 9: G.I. Blues (1960) 
Unfamiliar with this week’s song? Hear it here.

Memorial Day is a federal holiday that honors men and women who served and died in the United States Armed Forces. We want to make sure that message is not lost this weekend.

1) Are you a veteran? Are there veterans in your family? Do you know anyone who is active military? (We are grateful and want to hear about it.) I’m not, but I’m surrounded by military. My dad is an Iraq vet who was wounded in combat, my brother’s reserves, one of my brothers-in-law just left the Marines, both grandfathers were in and one was also a Marine, I had a few uncles in, at least one great-grandfather, who I believe was killed by mustard gas, and I’m sure plenty of other cousins and uncles along the way.

2) In this song, Elvis sings about marching, and complains that the Army doesn’t give Purple Hearts for fallen arches. Do you have any aches or pains to report this morning? I have an ear infection…again!

3) This song is from the 1960 film of the same name. In the movie, Elvis is in The 32nd Armor Regiment of the United States Army. That’s the same regiment he served with in real life. He had the 32nd written into the script as a shout-out to the soldiers he came to know, but realized he’d likely never see again. Is there an old friend you’re missing this weekend? All my friends, kind of! We don’t get to see each other often. Adulting.

4) Memorial Day kicks off the summer season. What’s your favorite picnic food? I’d say potato salad or pasta salad, but I eat both of those year-round.

5) Let’s celebrate the Memorial Day holiday with ice cream. What’s your favorite flavor? Cone or cup? It can change, but generally, strawberry, and that hasn’t changed for a long time. I’d say overall, I enjoy cones more, but sometimes, you just need a cup. Keep it simple.

5) This marks the weekend when Americans step up their outdoor activity and do things they may not have been able to do during the winter months. For example, when is the last time you applied mosquito repellent? Probably camping last summer.

7) Or swam? Man, I don’t know. I don’t remember if I made it to a pool at all last summer. It was too cold at camp to go in the river.

8) As you answer these questions, is there an air conditioner or fan on? Nope. One of the positive things I’ll say about the apartment we’re in the process of moving out of is that in the early summer months, it’s kind of perfect. Something about it keeps it cool enough that even though it’s been getting in the 80s, we haven’t had to turn the air conditioner on. This is kind of the best time of year for the utilities–no need for that or the heat.

9) Random question: How do you define success? A mix of the personal and professional, basically focused on my personal terms rather than, like, societal ones or other outside sources like friends and family–reaching goals I set for myself but above all, being happy. I may not be in some prestigious, high-paying job, but I’m consistently progressing towards what I want and where I want to be in life and I’m happy, so I’d say I’m already pretty successful.

Friday 5: Break of Day

  1. When did you last break something made of glass? I don’t think I’ve done it recently, but my husband (jokingly) gives me a hard time because when he moved in with me, he brought these nice glasses with him, and I managed to be responsible for breaking all but one of them.
  2. When did you last break something ceramic? Again, not recently, but I think a bowl or plate.
  3. When did you last break something electronic? It was definitely a phone. That’s also been a few years, but I can’t remember which is more recent–the one that fell in a public toilet or the one that tumbled out of my waistband at camp and landed not in the grass all around me but facedown on the only nearby rock.
  4. When did you last break a non-traffic-related law? I was a willing participate in letting my underage sister-in-law imbibe alcohol.
  5. When did you last break a promise? I have no idea, but it was probably one to my husband. I probably promised him we’d go somewhere or do something, then we didn’t. I’m not one for breaking commitments. I hate it being done to me, so I say I’m gonna do something, I really try.

As always, from Friday 5.