Saturday 9: Call Me

Call Me (1966)

Unfamiliar with this week’s song. Hear it here.

1) Chris Montez sings that you can always call him, regardless of the hour. Do you believe that it’s ever too late to phone someone? I’ll put it this way–I’m the type of person who says, “Call me if you need something, no matter what time it is,” and means it but also says, “It’s after 8, better not bother anyone.”

2) He insists that you can depend on him, even when your friends desert you. Who is someone you can trust to have your back, no matter what? My husband and my best friend.

3) Billy Crystal serenades Meg Ryan — via answering machine — with “Call Me” in When Harry Met Sally. Answering machines have been replaced by voice mail. Who most recently left you a voice mail? I have no idea. The only people who do are my mom and my husband, and that’s only if it’s important.

4) Chris Montez is a graduate of El Camino College in Torrance, California. The average daytime temperature in November in Torrance is 70º. How is the weather where you are today? Cold. I don’t think it rained or snowed at all, but we’ve had a lot of wet weather lately regardless.

5) Today Chris actively promotes a healthy lifestyle to children. He was honored for his efforts by the group SOPA (Stop Obesity, Promote Activity). Do you believe you get enough exercise? I could probably benefit from more, but I do okay. I alternate lifting weights and doing cardio throughout the week and would love to be able to go daily, but that rarely works. I made it four days in a row last week, though, and can probably do the same this week.

6) Released in late 1965, “Call Me” became a big hit in 1966, reaching #2 on the charts. Even though it sold millions of copies and was certified as a Gold Record, it never hit #1. Is winning, or being the best, important to you? Not really. Being good and getting acknowledgment for it, sure, but I don’t need to be at the very top.

7) In 1966, when this was playing on jukeboxes, kids were watching Batman and Star Trek. If you had your choice of watching an episode right now, which would you choose: Star Trek or BatmanIt depends entirely on which era we’re talking, because I cannot handle cheesy Adam West Batman.

8) Also in 1966, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay was born. Do you enjoy cooking? I enjoy having a delicious finished product, but I do not enjoy the process of getting there. I’m too impatient.

9) Random question — You have the opportunity to perform in the circus! Would you rather be shot from a cannon, or put your head in the lion’s mouth? Strangely, being shot from a cannon sounds safer, but I would love to get that close to a lion.


Friday 5: Off Kilter

  1. What actor or actress would you like to see in a film genre he or she has never attempted? It’s tough to say because I’m so behind on new stuff that I have a hard time pinpointing certain people. And on top of that, I’m the type, strangely, who has a hard time picturing it when someone is cast outside of their usual genres.
  2. When did you recently see something beautiful in an unexpected place? It’s not that unexpected, but the snow in our backyard. I commented when we bought the house, especially since we bought it at the end of winter when things were still dead but not really snowy, that I bet looked it beautiful in the snow, and it does. It’s more that sometimes, you take the beauty in your backyard for granted.
  3. In what way is someone you really admire flawed? I’m gonna throw in two–one personal, one famous, and the personal one has the delightful bonus of a trait I share. It’s my mother. She can be stubborn, and sometimes, if she’s convinced she’s right, she won’t back down, even if she’s wrong. She doesn’t always apologize or admit to mistakes. And…I do all of that, too, to varying degrees. Let me tell you, arguing with someone with the exact same arguing style as you is a great time. The famous example is Amanda Palmer. I love her, and I do think that she means well and that a lot of the criticism she gets is from a misunderstanding of something she’s said, nitpicking, and a small dose of her haters not wanting to acknowledge the ways that she does try to remedy things when she messes up. This might not necessarily be quite accurate now, but for a time, she seemed to not quite get some legit concerns with certain things.
  4. In what situation did you recently find yourself utterly out of your element? A little bit when we were helping my best friend’s boyfriend move on Sunday. I lift weights and I’m definitely stronger than I used to be, but I just can’t grab and carry large boxes full of stuff. A couple of times, I was able to carry something down the stairs, only to see my husband heading back up to get more, and I’d pass off my box to him because getting it the whole way to the car was gonna be a struggle. And at a certain point, when the boxes were all packed up and furniture was left, I was basically sitting there while the boys hauled the rest.
  5. What implement do you use in a manner unintended by its designer? I’ll use almost anything as a foot rest. And then our bed is one of the ones with drawers at the bottom, which is great for our small bedroom, and so the mattress sits kind of on slats above the drawers. The design creates a little ledge around the bed, and I basically use it as a nightstand–it’s where I put my glasses, phone, and anything in my hair like clips or pins when I go to bed. As a result, I have on more than one occasion lifted up the mattress to find hair ties and bobby pins scattered everywhere.

As always, from Friday 5.

Thanksgiving split over two days is so much better and so much easier.

Brandon had to work Thanksgiving day, so my family opted to eat dinner Wednesday night instead. The two of us and our spouses headed over after work–late because of weird traffic on the interstate–and had a nice, calm dinner. Rather than drive home only to come back out Thursday, Paul and I just stayed overnight and spent the day catching up on shows I’d asked my mom to record for us, like American Gods, which is taking forever for us to finish. The good news, for us, anyway, is it’s also taking them forever to do the next season.

We did it all again Thursday afternoon at Paul’s parents’ house, and honestly, this is probably the ideal way to do Thanksgiving. It’s kind of how we do Christmas, and it’s less hectic and you’re not cramming in two meals. And we got sent home with a ton of leftovers.

I had to work Black Friday, as usual, but Paul was off, so he spent the day at home while I was holed up in my office and then headed out with a friend.

We’d decided to have people over Saturday night, and first of all, never doing Facebook invites again. Too many people ignore them now, and I absolutely don’t blame anyone for that, but what should be a super easy way to invite everyone you want over is just kind of a waste of time. Direct texts to everyone next time it is.

It was pretty small, a lot like Emily’s birthday party, only this time, Marissa came over. I knew she was back in the area, and for some reason, something in my brain just kinda went, “Text Marissa,” and so…I did. And I’m so, so glad I did, so much so that the next day, I said that out loud a couple of times and Paul was like, “Yep, I get it.” She didn’t stay super long–really, we’re all so used to going to bed by like 10 that everyone decides to go home pretty early–but we talked pretty much the whole time and I think it was really good for both of us.

And now we enter the hectic holiday season. We’re pretty much booked from here on out, with something going on every weekend in December. I’m debating hosting for New Year’s, but I can’t decide. Normally, we hang out at Terra’s, which might be good to stick with since her migraines mean driving to our place can be dicey, and I’d hate for her to be missing out if that were to happen. But I’ve always wanted to do something for New Year’s, and yet I also know if we’re gonna be busy for much of the month, I might not feel like putting the effort in, and so on and so on…

But the start of the fun is this weekend. We’re going to see Craig Ferguson Friday night, and then on Saturday, my brother and I are going to a local radio station’s Christmas concert featuring The Struts. My mom wants to make my grandma’s pheasant soup and asked us to pick a day to go over, so I suggested Sunday. And if that works for Brandon, there’s my whole weekend.

Saturday 9: Black Magic Woman

Saturday 9: Black Magic Woman (1970)

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

Okay, first of all, we need to talk about the fact that Fleetwood Mac did this song originally–before Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham joined, obviously–and I never knew that until they played it live earlier this month with Stevie singing.
1) Black is this week’s signature color because Friday, November 23, was “Black Friday,” when retailers cut their prices and consumers flock to the stores. Did you score any “Black Friday” bargains? I think the only thing I bought all holiday weekend was my sugar scrub I use, mostly because it was 25% off and it’s almost never on sale. Nothing else caught my eye or seemed worth it.
2) On busy shopping days, carts often litter parking lots. After loading your items into your car, are you careful to return your shopping cart to the store or the designated cart receptacle? Yes, because there are only a tiny handful of good reasons not to and none of them apply to me.

3) Who on your gift list is hardest to buy for? My in-laws, followed by my dad. I just never know what my in-laws would want or need, and I’ve exhausted the few ideas I’ve had over the years. My dad’s tough for similar reasons, mainly limited interests, but he’s also a foodie and I usually find something neat that appeals to that side of him. I’ve done various food kits the last few Christmases and birthdays, like kits for making cheese, infused olive oil, an herb garden, and I think I did a sauerkraut one once.
4) Feasting and football are also popular Thanksgiving weekend pastimes. Do your Thursday-Sunday plans include enjoying leftovers or watching a game? Leftovers always, football never.

5) Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade is an annual event. It began in 1924 as a local event in New York. Today it’s nationally televised. Did you watch it? Parts of it. I’ve never really cared for it, especially the blatant lip syncing, even though I know it’s out of necessity. It annoys me.

6) What did you give thanks for on Thanksgiving 2018? We didn’t go around the table and say what we’re thankful for, probably because I’m a smartass about it every year, but my husband, my family, and my whole inner circle. And having a new house this year!

7) At the first Thanksgiving, there were no forks. Pilgrims ate with spoons and knives, and forks didn’t become popular until the 18th century. Think about your Thanksgiving place setting. Did you have both a salad and a dinner fork? Nah. We don’t get fancy.

8) Pies are a popular Thanksgiving dessert. What kind of pie did you enjoy? Or did you have ice cream? Or did you skip dessert? Since my brother had to work Thursday, my family did Thanksgiving dinner on Wednesday night. My dad made pumpkin creme brûlée, so I went for that, although it’s not too far off from pumpkin pie, really. The next day at my in-laws’, I had apple pie, and then we got sent home with a couple pieces of chocolate cake.

9) This week’s featured band, Santana, was named for its founder, Carlos Santana. He was born in Mexico. When at a Mexican restaurant, what do you usually order? Usually something simple and vegetarian, like a quesadilla. If I’m at local chain Mad Mex, though, their tofu tacos all the way. They’re so good. I’ve only ever ordered something different one time, and I liked it, but I was like, “Man, should’ve got the tofu tacos.” And I’ve never ordered anything else since.

Friday 5: The Game’s Afoot

  1. Where’s a nice place to take a walk? There’s one little fitness trail here in town that’s only about a mile looped and it’s really close to the interstate, but they somehow managed to make it feel like a nice, leisurely outdoorsy stroll for most of it. There’s a little pond and a ton of trees once you’re down away from the start of it. There’s also a bigger park closer to my job’s main office that has a paved trail that runs a long a creek.
  2. What do your everyday shoes look like nowadays? I work from home, so lately, it’s been rainbow fuzzy socks. When I do leave the house, this time of year, it’s boots. Lately, I’ve been wearing a new grey pair, but there’s a black pair I bought at the same time from the same company that I’d like to dig out.
  3. What separates a good pedicure from a bad one? I couldn’t tell you because I have a thing about nails. Like, someone losing a fingernail or torture scenes with people’s nails being ripped off really, really bug me, and I don’t like the idea of someone messing with my nails. So I refuse to have someone touch my hands or feet, although I’m sure I could use a good pedicure.
  4. When did you last go for a hike? It’s probably been a little while. While we have been to the mountains somewhat recently, we didn’t really hike. Over the summer, maybe?
  5. What’s a good song with the word “walk” in its title? You can’t go wrong with “I Walk the Line” by Johnny Cash, but the first one that popped into my head was “Walk Away” by Dropkick Murphys. I haven’t listened to it in ages, but it’s the first song of theirs I ever heard and still one of my favorites. Honorable mention: “Walking in Memphis,” especially Cher’s version and its use in one of the best X-Files episodes of all time.

As always, from Friday 5.

The only thing we really did over the weekend was go to Emily’s play at school this semester. A restaurant we like in town had a LivingSocial deal, so we got dinner plus some beers, ended up not spending enough money to cover the deal, and watched Emily do her best creepy vampire in Dracula.

I had the day off Friday and Paul called in sick, and the only thing we really did was some much-needed sleeping in. We ran errands on Sunday, and that was that.

Of course, the holidays are about to start, so that’s the last weekend we’ll have like that for a while. My family is doing Thanksgiving Wednesday night because Brandon has to work Thursday, so we’ll probably spend a good 24 hours back in our home county before I have to be home for work on Friday. I didn’t get tomorrow off, too, which I knew was a longshot anyway.

And now, a brief interlude to revisit mid-September, back when the whole family went for a very late Father’s Day brunch and I said there was a little more to the story.

Now that it’s Facebook official, I can reveal that my brother and his wife are expecting a baby in the spring, and they announced the news over that brunch.

Now, the original plan for that weekend was an annual trip to Gettysburg, but the event we always go to was canceled because we’d had a lot of rain and the event is on a farm, which was basically a swamp. We never went out for Father’s Day, so I said, “Hey, Dad wanted to go to Grand Concourse some weekend and we’re all free, why not this weekend?” In the meantime, when the trip was still on, Brandon had already called my mom and told her the news since she doesn’t with us, and they were gonna tell the rest of us in Gettysburg. The plan they came up with would’ve been so great–we were gonna go screw around in the allegedly haunted battlefield, Brandon was gonna snap some pictures on his phone, do a, “Hey, guys, look at this!” and show us a picture of a positive pregnancy test. My dad’s reaction would’ve been priceless and I would’ve died laughing.

My mom knew about a week before the rest of us, and keeping her mouth shut was a struggle, by all accounts. She and Brandon used an inside joke of theirs to communicate via text that she wasn’t around us or my dad and that it was safe to talk about the pregnancy, and reading those exchanges afterwards was super entertaining. As for not saying anything to me, the toughest part of that was going to see Morris Day Saturday night and not being able to say a word.

And so Sunday, as everyone was sitting with their first plate from the brunch buffet, Brandon handed my dad a small gift bag and said, “I know we already got you something, but we picked up a little something else.” And it was a mug that said, “Grandfather,” and my dad stared at it and said, “Are you trying to tell me something?”

And then my father, a known foodie and former chef, the man who (like me) gets genuinely excited over trips to good restaurants, was so surprised that he lost his appetite. The ice cream with his bananas foster melted, and while the rest of us piled up more plates, he sat there drinking coffee, almost speechless.

I was certainly surprised, but his reaction, especially in our family, trumps them all. And Paul and I got little gifts, too–he got a mug similar to my dad’s and I got a bracelet.

My little brother having a baby is super, super weird, for sure, but it’s also super, super exciting. I’ve done a good job resisting buying a bunch of stuff for the baby, but I did grab a few things last month when we were in Virginia. My plan for the baby shower is a bunch of baby band tees and little baby Converse shoes, and you know that kid’s first concert with the family is not far away.