Back when we met with the music directors at church about choosing music for the wedding, we were pleasantly surprised to find that having the choir sing is an option, and we decided to spend the money and spring for it. So Saturday, we snuck in the back of church–at the invitation of the choir director–to sit in on the ceremony of one of the choir members herself so we could hear what it sounded like.

I knew if we didn’t do it, we’d regret it as soon as we heard the choir the first time after the wedding, so I don’t really think it was a matter of deciding whether we really wanted them so much as it was what song choices might work best. But sitting in on the wedding reaffirmed our decision–that choir’s gonna sound damn good.

Also, attending the wedding ceremony of someone you don’t know feels so weird. I mean, the choir director asked us to and it’s pretty unobtrusive–we just sat in the back–but it’s still so strange. I felt like I was breaking a major etiquette law.

As for today, we made it into Pittsburgh for the last weekend of the annual Three Rivers Arts Festival and enjoyed walking around checking out the vendors and eating. Normally, I find some kind of handmade jewelry or something, but lately, it seems like a lot of that kind of stuff is all looking the same and is a style I don’t really like, but that might be a good thing–keeps me from spending money on things I don’t need just over two months out from my wedding. But Paul found some art he really liked, so we did spring for that.

We did a little shopping on our way home, mostly just taking advantage of stores in South Hills Village so I don’t have to make a special trip out when I inevitably run out of shampoo and conditioner from Lush.

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Friday 5: Straight No Chaser

  1. What keeps you on the straight and narrow? As a kid, I was terrified of getting in trouble, at least in school–at home, I wasn’t exactly a bad kid, but I definitely pushed things. So then, it was probably just not wanting to get in trouble, but now it’s for sure just wanting to be a good person and a genuine desire to do the right thing. I make mistakes, but I almost never intentionally do something to be a dick.
  2. Who in your life is a real straight shooter? My fiancé, which is one of the things I love about him. It’s gotten him into trouble a few times, naturally, but I know I can count on him to be really honest with me and he knows that even if I don’t react well, that is what I want.
  3. How straight are your teeth and hair? My teeth are pretty straight, thanks to braces. I can feel that some are a little crooked, but it’s not visibly noticeable. My hair, however, is nowhere near straight. It’s been gradually getting curlier and curlier since about puberty.
  4. What’s a good song with the word straight in its lyrics or title? I got nothin’. My collection in iTunes isn’t up-to-date to help me. Wait! “Straight to Hell” by The Clash. You may also recognize it as the song MIA sampled for “Paper Planes.”
  5. What’s something that needs straightening? My entire apartment.

From here.

2017 Resolutions, Only Five Months Late

Sure, the year’s almost half over already and I’ve already had my resolutions in mind, but I like having a record of them.

Do no harm, but take no shit. It’s a repeat from last year, but I think it’s worth repeated. Granted, the “take no shit” part is what needs the most work.
Enjoy what’s left of the wedding-planning process, and be a good wife when it’s over. I know people say married life is different, but honestly, by the time we’re married, we’ll have been together for seven years and living together for two, so I don’t think this is gonna be a huge adjustment, and we’re doing pretty great. But it doesn’t hurt to strive to keep it up.
Get more paid writing gigs.
Get a new job? 
It hinges on having the time to look, as well as whether or not that’s something I want to do if we…
Buy a house.
Save money. 
I mean, buying a house isn’t gonna help, but once the wedding is over, it’ll be easier to put money away.
Go an a real vacation. I don’t think we had a proper vacation since we went to Jacob’s Marine graduation, and even then it wasn’t just the two of us. Honeymoon plans are kind of up in the air for a couple reasons, but we’re looking at maybe doing something in January of 2018 when our vacation time resets. And there’s a very real possibility we’re gonna be talking kids within the next year or so, and I’d like to get traveling done before that.
Purge stuff we don’t need/want/use.
Pay off a credit card.
Publish some writing.
Continue to be active.
Take more initiative in…everything, I guess.
Get involved in politics. I’d like to maybe volunteer or something, but this absolutely must be after the wedding. Unfortunately, there’s just no way I can squeeze it in before. But I’d like to try to get involved more, be more proactive, and try to actually make a difference in things.
Get back into semi-abandoned hobbies.
Put the phone away when socializing. Honestly, this isn’t something I’m bad at and feel I need to work on, but it’s something I do think is important. I’m actually pretty good at ditching the phone when I’m with people, but I’d like to keep that up.

I mean…it’s a pretty simple year. I tackled a lot of what I wanted to last year,

Saturday 9: I Won’t Last a Day without You

Saturday 9: I Won’t Last a Day without You (1972)

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

1) This song makes reference to rainbows. Have you seen one lately? No.

2) When Sam heard this song, it occurred to her that she wouldn’t last a day without a game of online Yahtzee. What little commonplace pleasure reliably brightens your day? Probably most of the ways I unwind in the evening, like just messing around online or watching a movie or reading.

3) Richard Carpenter was emphatic that his group’s name was “Carpenters,” NO “the.” Whenever he hears the group referred to as “The Carpenters,” it gets on his nerves. What little commonplace annoyance reliably sets you off? Professional publications hyphenating adverbs. Incorrect hyphenating in general, really.

4) Karen Carpenter said she drank iced tea all day long. What beverage do you think you’ll have with your next meal? I’m having green tea at this moment, but after this, depends on the meal. Probably water.

5) “I Won’t Last a Day without You” was written by Oscar-winning composer Paul Williams. He also tried his hand at acting, most notably appearing with Burt Reynolds in Smokey and the Bandit. Back in the 1970s, the three movies in the Smokey series were very popular. Have you seen any of them? Nope. I’ll probably watch them someday because they’re so well-known, but I’m not confident I’ll actually like them.

6) This song was recorded in 1973 by Diana Ross. Now in her 70s, Miss Ross is still going strong with a busy calendar of appearances in 2017. What’s your favorite Diana Ross song? I don’t think I have one.

7) In 1972, the year this song was popular, the United States and the United Kingdom joined forces and launched the Copernicus satellite. Today it’s remembered for the discovery of long-period pulsars. Crazy Sam got bored writing this question. Do you enjoy reading about science? It depends on what it is and how it’s written. I can get bored easily and I’m not too science-oriented, which generally makes it better for me to watch something science-related than read it, but if the subject matter is interesting to me and/or if the writer handled it well, I can do it.

8) Before Michael Phelps, Mark Spitz was American’s premier Olympic swimmer. In 1972 he won seven Gold Medals. After making millions in endorsements and TV appearances, he settled into a career as a realtor in Los Angeles. Are you contemplating a change in residence any time soon? If you move, will you be consulting a realtor? My fiancé and I are slowly starting the search for a house, but with the wedding coming up in August, that’s at the very bottom of my to-do list, right above looking for a different job. It’s looking like if we look at anything, it’s gonna be squeezed in on weekends when we have no other plans, with the buying and moving process moving pretty slowly–our lease will need renewed soon enough that getting a house before then is not just unlikely but not too smart. But I’m guessing it’s more likely that the whole process will be put off until either after the wedding or when there’s no real planning left. We have talked a little bit to a realtor.

9) Random question: Which of these is completely, 100% UNTRUE of you — boring, lazy or stupid? I mean, I think they’re all a little true and a little untrue. I’m boring in the sense that my day-to-day life is pretty mundane, but I don’t think that I’m boring as an actual person. I’m lazy in the sense that I don’t want to walk across the room to get something, but I’m a hard, dedicated worker and I don’t put things off due to laziness. I’m stupid in the sense that I repeat the same bullshit mistakes and I’m not great at math that’s simple, but I’m generally intelligent and well-read.

Friday 5: Food Me Once, Food Me Twice

From here.

  1. What do you like on your frozen yogurt? It depends on the flavor of yogurt, but I tend to stick to fruit. When I’m keeping it really simple, sprinkles.
  2. How do you feel about hot breakfast cereals? Growing up, I never did like oatmeal, despite giving it a few tries. But when my fiancé made it for me, I ended up really liking that. Turns out I just like it the same way he does–a lot thicker than most people make it.
  3. What did you last put brown sugar in or on? Probably oatmeal, but possibly tea.
  4. What’s a food item you willingly overpay for? Honestly, if I know it’s good quality, I’ll overpay for anything when it comes to food.
  5. What did you last add vinegar to? As far as I can remember, just homemade salad dressing.

Friday 5: Picture This

  1. What’s your favorite monster movie? I’m not too into monster movies, but of the ones I’ve seen, I think I most enjoyed Pacific Rim.
  2. What’s your favorite social issues movie? I don’t think I can pick one. It’s been a while since I’ve seen one, and of the ones I have, I can’t really single one out as a stand-out favorite.
  3. What’s a movie you dislike in a genre you love? I love horror movies, but I dislike a lot of the movies that have been put out lately. But I think the biggest surprise is probably that I don’t like The Exorcist, which is always praised. Although I’m starting to think that only gets hailed as terrifying by non-horror fans.
  4. What’s a movie you like in a genre you dislike? I dislike chick flicks and rom-coms, but I like a lot of the ’80s and ’90s ones, especially ones where Julia Roberts was involved. War movies is another one–they tend to bore me, but I really liked Blackhawk Down.
  5. What’s a movie everyone else has seen but you have not seen? Basically everything that’s come out in the past six to nine months. I only saw a couple things in theaters then, and I haven’t seen any of the big summer blockbusters or the number-ones lately.

From here.

Friday 5: Count All the Bees in the Hive

  1. Which of the Winnie-the-Pooh characters do you most relate to? So you’d think that I watched or read a lot of Winnie-the-Pooh in my youth, but nope. It’s especially weird considering everything else I liked as a kid involved talking animals. So most of my Winnie-the-Pooh exposure has been as an adult. Based solely on his relationship with food and quest to get it, Pooh himself. While Tigger entertains me just as much and I love his energy, I can’t necessarily relate to it.
  2. Which of the Winnie-the-Pooh characters has qualities you’d find most attractive in a romantic partner? I can’t decide! Maybe someone that has a little bit of all of them, but it’s also worth noting that my fiancé is hands down Eeyore.
  3. In what way have you “wandered much further” today than you should? There were some things I could’ve finished up faster if I’d put in a little more focus.
  4. Of Winnie-the-Pooh stories you can remember (from the books, Disney cartoons, or other sources), which is your favorite? So most of what I’ve seen has been clips my fiancé has shown me, and we have two go-tos–“The Rain, Rain, Rain Came Down, Down, Down” and Pooh the little black rain cloud. Oh, and his exercises, including the “rumbly in my tumbly” line. In fact, we’re known to sing “I’m so rumbly in my tumbly” when we’re going to dinner.
  5. Which quote from the Winnie-the-Pooh stories would be good for the epigraph in the book about your life? I mean, it’s kind of obvious and so easy: “But wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the forest a little boy and his bear will always be playing.”