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.

Friday 5: Tubular

  1. What’s your least favorite episode of your favorite television program? So one of the fun things about being a devout X-Files fan is recognizing that there are more than a few serious duds over the course of the show. Like “Space.”
  2. Across its series run, in what way did a favorite television program get worse? I have to examples of kind of the same thing–Glee and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, both musical shows but very different in their subject matter. But also very similar in where the quality suffered, and in the case of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, only a little. The music in both shows, for the most part, was not as good after the first season. In Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, this is a minor criticism. The music was great throughout, it’s just that the songs in the first season were often clever and unique and after that, they started doing more clear parody. They did it really well, mind you, but one of the things I missed in the later seasons was stuff like “The Sexy Getting Ready Song” where it very much stood on its own but was funny, clever, and geared towards women, which was one of my favorite things about that show in general, but I digress. In Glee’s case, I think the missteps were more egregious. I’ll always maintain that the show’s popularity hurt it because it lost some of the first season’s edge, and it turned into a showcase of what covers they could do, what guest stars they could get, and what plots they could shoehorn in.
  3. Among television programs you like very much, which ended far too soon? I know Firefly is a cliched answer at this point, but… Also, Agent Carter! It only got a couple of seasons, but it was fantastic. I dare say it was the best Marvel show on at the time, and it deserved more praise and a pickup on streaming or something.
  4. Among television programs you like very much, which dragged on for too long? The X-Files. The Mulder-less episodes, with the exception of some amazing performances from Gillian Anderson while he’s missing. just aren’t as good. Generally, anytime you can watch a show and say, “This season finale was written as the series finale just in case,” things should’ve been wrapped up then, if not sooner.
  5. What are some lines of dialogue you love from a favorite television program? I’ll be honest, I’m just looking for an excuse to cram Lost episode “The Constant” into this because it’s probably the single best episode of the series, dare I say one of the best episodes of television ever.

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Friday 5: Under Lock & Key

  1. What’s your mask situation like? So being pregnant, I was advised to stay put as much as possible and not go anywhere for anything, and since I work from home and have a husband to take care of things, that was pretty easy. I didn’t have a mask for weeks, and my husband was using a homemade one from a t-shirt. At some point, I did see my mom, and she had bought some of the paper ones last year before my dad died from cancer and gave me a couple on a few different occasions, which generally got me through doctors appointments. I had ordered a couple online, and they only just came in in the last week or so. They’re plain grey but good quality. I like it, as much as one can like a mask they dislike wearing.
  2. In what way is your life better today than a few months ago? I guess that because Pennsylvania has done a good job of keeping things under control, we’re in a phase of gradual reopening. I’m still really skeptical of it–I think we’re all still moving too fast–and so I’m still avoiding going out and wearing a mask when I do.
  3. What do you miss from normal living? Just being able to go out and do something. Like, we went to Target last weekend to fill the gaps in the baby needs and use a 15% in-store coupon, and we made sure we had our masks and sanitized our hands and mostly went in with a plan and stuck to it. Under normal circumstances, I probably would’ve gone shopping with my mom more than once by now, and after that Target run, we probably would’ve gone out to eat somewhere. I miss browsing stores. I miss not having to feel like I’m relying on the rest of the population to do the bare minimum, especially as a pregnant woman who’s considered at higher risk. And concerts! But at this point in my pregnancy, I wasn’t gonna be going anyway. I choose to believe the universe is doing me a solid on that front, canceling everything I would’ve missed out on.
  4. When this is over, what will be your major takeaway? That this country has a lot of problems we need to solve, from smaller-scale cultural issues like a bizarre distrust in science and the media to bigger issues of how to handle something like this properly from both public health and economic standpoints. That only some of us are listening.
  5. What are your feelings about getting back out there sooner, rather than later? I think based on my previous answers it’s pretty clear I think it’s a bad idea. I think we were presented with two options–reopen or stay shut down and let the economy crash–when in reality, plenty of people had other smart, viable ideas that would’ve allowed us to stay safe without us all going broke, too. I think we’re gonna see a spike in cases in areas where we haven’t already. I think it’s irresponsible and selfish, in some cases. Naive, even, especially since there’s a lot we don’t know about it. Why would we take our chances with that?

I do want to add one thing–because I’m pregnant and being induced in less than a week, I had to get tested for the virus as a precaution, and that was one of the most uncomfortable things I’ve ever experienced. Some people’s accounts of actually having it are worse, of course, but just the test was extremely unpleasant and nothing most of us would want to experience. If nothing else, take the recommended precautions to save yourself that discomfort.

From Friday 5.


Friday 5: Aa Bb Cc Dd Ed Ff Gg Hh

  1. When did you last do something resembling a book report? A proper one, probably college.
  2. What was your most recent art project? I’m not an artsy person. I’m really bad at drawing and things, so I don’t enjoy it, so I avoid it. Closest I came was a sign for the gift drop-off for my drive-by baby shower. My mom got pretty creative with it. The printable invitations we found had little safari animals with masks on, and she took that design and put it on a sign and arranged plastic fern-like leaves to the corners. One of my tasks the day of the shower was to affix the leaves to the sign, which I did with a hot glue gun.
  3. When were you last called upon to do show & tell? That’s kind of what opening gifts was like. If we didn’t have a few cars lined up, I went ahead and opened the visitor’s gift right then and there, but for the most part, we put them in the garage and filmed me opening them later so we can send them to the gift givers. So it’s a lot of me opening things, showing them off to the small group who was there, announcing who it was from, and thanking them.
  4. When did you last feel like someone playing hide and seek? I’m playing hide and seek from the ‘rona.
  5. When did you last have some milk and/or cookies? Just now! My husband is on Day 1 of unemployment and made cookies over the weekend, and he just came back with a small plate of them to share.

From Friday 5.

Friday 5: Un_____able

  1. What’s a movie you once liked but is now unwatchable? I was a Twilight fan for a hot minute back in those days, but it didn’t take long for that to fall apart–the writing is awful. But it did mean seeing most of the movies as they came out, and granted, by that time, we were heckling them more than truly enjoying them, I think. Kristen Stewart, with a few exceptions, is just a bad actress, I’m sorry. I realize she was given a weak character in this instance, but the only two movies I’ve ever seen her in where she was either good or her style worked were Adventureland and Into the Wild.
  2. What’s a song you once liked but is now unlistenable? I don’t know that there are any I’d call totally unlistenable, but I definitely burned myself out on a lot of stuff I loved as a teenager. There’s a lot of stuff from then that I still love, too, though.
  3. What’s a book you once liked but is now unreadable? Ha, see above. I’m also tempted to include 50 Shades of Grey not because I liked it but because up to a point, it wasn’t that bad. It’s one of those books that destroys itself as it goes by just getting worse and worse. I truly started it thinking, “Okay, this isn’t good, but it’s tolerable,” and ended on burn it all down.
  4. What’s something you once found unbelievable but whose truth is now undeniable? I don’t know!
  5. What’s something you once found tasty but is now unpalatable? Please, this was my entire first trimester of pregnancy. Nearly all of my staple foods sounded disgusting, vegetarian foods in particular. I’d just jumped on the Beyond Burger craze, and the thought of any meat substitutes was awful–that, fake chicken patties, fake hot dogs, even the things like orange chicken made me nauseous to even think about. For a while there, I needed very simple, almost bland foods. I’m mostly out of that now, but I’m definitely not back to normal. There’s still a freezer full of food I’m just not quite ready for. I’m also really tired of hard-boiled eggs. They were great for a little while as something quick, easy, and healthy for me, but that got old fast.

From Friday 5.

Friday 5: Grace

  1. When most recently did someone show you unexpected courtesy? I don’t know. I mean, it’s not like I’ve been around many people lately, and being pregnant, everyone tends to cater to me a little more now, too.
  2. What were you most recently forgiven for? I don’t know about this, either. Because in my mind, at this point in pregnancy, I’m needing more help doing simple things, and I don’t like it and view it as a nuisance to myself and therefore think it’s a nuisance to other people (mainly my husband). And of course he doesn’t see it that way and has been nothing but a saint, which I think most people would say, “Well, of course, as he should be,” but I’ve been on Reddit enough to know there’s lots of shitty dads-to-be in the world. Although I guess there are two things he’s dealt with impressively. The first is an increase in snoring that has twice pushed him to sleep on the floor of the unfinished nursery in a sleeping bag. The second is that because of congestion that comes with pregnancy, I’ve been sleeping with my mouth open, which for reasons I do not comprehend means I apparently just, like…spit at random? I guess it’s kind of like blowing raspberries. My best guess is it’s something I’m doing weird when I breathe, I don’t know, but I’ve now more than once just kind of spit in his face. And other than a, “You spit on me last night,” he hasn’t said a word.
  3. What did someone most recently buy for you? For me but also the baby–we’re doing a social-distancing drive-by baby shower in about two weeks, and we’ve gotten a few gifts sent to the house from people who aren’t participating. Most recent one was a little rocker.
  4. What did someone most recently make for you? My best friend made the baby a tie-dye onesie for each month. My mom’s making some things for said shower. My husband made cookies yesterday, which weren’t strictly for me by any means, but I do benefit. Oh, I guess there’s also the fact that he’s making my meals almost exclusively now. Standing in front of a stove is surprisingly exhausting.
  5. Who could you probably be a bit nicer to? I think I’m nice to just about everyone, although I can be cold towards people I don’t like. I could probably ease up on that.

From Friday 5.

Friday 5: Shifting Sands

  1. When did you last feel sand between your toes? Probably the last time we were in Erie, about a year ago–Lake Erie’s beach isn’t the same as a proper ocean, but man, when you need something, it’ll do.
  2. When did you last have a sandwich? I don’t know. We ordered from Subway at some point in the last few months. Unless a burger counts, in which case, last week.
  3. What kinds of sandals do you own? Not many because I really don’t like them. I only own flip-flops at all because we do occasionally go to pools, and it’s just not practical to wear regular shoes.
  4. How trustworthy has the Sandman been these days? I’ve mentioned this before, but I am now in week 33 of pregnancy, the point where most women are having trouble sleeping. At my last doctors appointment, where I reported that I was still sleeping just fine, she was sure that wouldn’t be the case in another couple of weeks, but alas! Here we are, and although I do wake up a few times a night, normally to readjust and get comfortable (and maneuver around cats), I’m not really having any trouble. The baby moving keeps me awake for a little bit when I first lie down, but that’s about it.
  5. What do you know about San Diego? I know I’d like to go there!

From Friday 5.

Friday 5: Getting It Back Together

  1. What instrument in an orchestra would you least like to play professionally? Ooh, I don’t know. Probably something big, like a cello. My little hands couldn’t take it.
  2. How long would it take you to find a rubber band wherever you are now? Funnily enough, my husband had been looking for some and I could’ve sworn they were just in a drawer in the kitchen, but they weren’t. Turns out that’s because they were in a bag in my office from when we moved that never got sorted through and pout away, like many things in this house.
  3. In your area, what’s the name of a local band you like? So there’s my longtime favorites, Punchline, but one I discovered more recently and really like is Young Lungs. Ooh, I’m gonna through in Nevada Color, too, because my brother knows one of the members from high school.
  4. How good was your high school band? Better than the football team, that’s for sure.
  5. Of bands whose names are listed like Joan Jett and the Blackhearts or Neil Young and Crazy Horse, who’s got the best name? I’m a big fan of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, as well as Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra.

From Friday 5.

Saturday 9: All Right

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

1) This song has an optimistic message about love: “It gets tough sometimes, but you can give it one more try …” Do you tend to take an optimistic look at life? I think so, for the most part.

2) In this song, Christopher Cross sings, “Time and time again I see people so unsure like me …” Tell us about a recent time when your confidence could have used a boost. I made some mistakes at work, which left me feeling not great.

3) The Doobie Bros.’ Michael McDonald plays on this record. Do you have a favorite Doobie Bros. song? My husband and I were just talking about this not too long ago because we were listening to a song I didn’t realize was by The Doobie Bros. I haven’t listened to them a ton,  but I’d have to go with “Listen to the Music” and “Black Water.”

4) Though no longer making hits, Christopher Cross still has loyal fans who attend his concerts. Time permitting, he spends time after each show signing autographs. Have you ever asked a celebrity for his/her autograph? Yeah, I have some signed ticket stubs.

5) Christopher Cross’ dad was an Army doctor stationed at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, DC. With all the museums and monuments, our nation’s capital could be a great place for a kid to grow up … except sometimes we take the advantages of our hometown for granted. Tell us about a nearby museum, park, theater, etc., you’ll visit again when this period of crisis is over and it’s agreed that it’s safe to do so. I’d like to go to the conservatory/botanical gardens in Pittsburgh, as well as the botanical gardens where our wedding was–I actually always thought it would be cool to go back and do newborn/family portraits one day when the time came, and, well, the time has almost come, so I want to do that when I can. I want to go to the zoo, the symphony, the ballet…

6) In 1983, when “All Right” was popular, Flashdance was a hit in movie theaters and on the radio. What’s the most recent movie you watched? Most recent song you heard on the radio? I believe the last movie I watched was Jojo Rabbit. I haven’t listened to the radio in a while because I haven’t been driving, and when I did go to take my car to a doctors appointment, the battery was dead and I ended up taking my husband’s car (and he couldn’t come with me to the appointment due to social-distancing guidelines the office put in place). He had an ELO CD in, and I believe the song that played when I started the car was “Telephone Line.” At this moment, I am listening to “Shades of Scarlett Conquering” by Joni Mitchell.
7) Also in 1983, America West Airlines took off, flying between Las Vegas and Phoenix. They went nationwide in 2005 after they merged with US Airways. In 2013, they merged again, this time with American Airlines. Do you collect miles in an airline loyalty program? No, I haven’t flown in years. I’d like to, it’s just that the timing and finances have never worked out at the same time.

8) Super Mario Bros. debuted in 1983. Can you name gaming’s most famous siblings? Mario and Luigi!

9) Random question — Under hypnosis, you discover you lived three past lives. In the first, you were wealthy beyond your wildest imaginings, thanks to a loveless marriage. In the second, you were a star on the roller derby circuit who had earned the nickname “Smasher.” In the third, you were a brilliant mathematician who worked your way through school as an exotic dancer. Which of these would you find most shocking? I think the roller derby is the least shocking–it’s not something I see myself doing, sure, but marrying someone I didn’t love and being a mathematician  are far more out of character. Even exotic dancing, I’d just be like, “Eh, alright, cool, good for me.”