Friday 5: Free at Least

  1. What’s the most recent pleasant item you received for free? I have a sort of subscription box coming soon that I only had to pay to ship. Not entirely free, but it’s supposed to have a lot of good stuff in it worth a good bit of money, so only paying to ship it’s not a bad deal.
  2. What do you wish to be free of? Feeling crappy physically.
  3. What do you wish to be freed from? Having to work a full-time job, but I’ve got good reasons for this right now!
  4. What’s a song you like with the word (or some form of the word) “free” in it? The two obvious choices are “Freedom! ’90” by George Michael and “I Want to Break Free” by Queen (and its amazing music video), but lurking in my iTunes library are the gems “Free Coffee” by Ben Folds and “Olly Olly Oxen Free” by Amanda Palmer. 
  5. What’s something you could do so you’d have more free time? I honestly don’t know. I could dump my side hustles, I guess, but I enjoy them and they make me money. I feel like I use my free time, for the most part, in ways that are serving me well. Even with side hustles, I never feel like I’m doing too much work or that I’m neglecting hobbies or downtime–today, for example, I’ll likely be home all day and in between some transcription work, I’ll be writing, reading, watching Netflix, all that kind of stuff. I have no complaints on that front.

From Friday 5.

Friday 5: Master of Your Domain

  1. What are the areas of your expertise? Literature, the English language in general.
  2. What are you territorial about? Huh, I don’t know.
  3. What’s a bit of specific wisdom from your field that could apply to life in general? That there’s always an exception to a rule and sometimes there’s no clear right or wrong, just a judgment call.
  4. How big or small is your personal space bubble? It’s small but not tiny, but people I know can get really close before I’m bothered. It’s more for strangers–like, I’m definitely the type who can’t stand people who like to get a little too close standing in a line.
  5. What are your current emotional and mental states? Mostly calm with occasional moments of freaking out about the future.

From Friday 5.

Friday 5: Ho! Haha! Guard! Turn! Parry! Spin! Ha! Thrust!

  1. What’s your strategy for eluding danger? Paying attention to what’s happening around me.
  2. What have you recently escaped? Feeling shitty, physically speaking.
  3. When did you last dodge a question? Not recently, I don’t think. I expected to have to do it over the holidays, but I was wrong, fortunately.
  4. Whose slings and arrows of outrageous fortune are you grateful aren’t yours? Lately, my best friend. She has two concussions from two car accidents.
  5. What’s something (or who is someone) you’ve rescued? Baby birds! I had to work from the office in September and came home one day to find two baby birds had fallen from their nest in the tree in our front yard–it looked like rain or wind had pretty much split the thing in half. One was already dead and did look younger and more fragile than the other, but the other was still alive. My mom had done something similar once, so I called her and asked her what to do. Combined with her experience and a website for a local wildlife rehab, I made a makeshift nest out of a plastic box that had kiwi in it originally, and my husband picked up the bird and put him in it. We checked on him for the next couple of days, and Mama did come for him and used our little next. But not too longer after, it looked like they moved on, perhaps to a sturdier tree.

From Friday 5.

Friday 5: Handle with Care

  1. What is your most recent experience with caring for plants? We have a garden! Of course, it’s winter now so there’s not much to be done, but we had cherry and grape tomatoes into September and October. We’re supposed to have a pretty warm day today, so I’d like to take advantage of that and pull out a lot of the weeds and other crap that sprung up and got unruly and difficult in the summer.
  2. When was the last time you administered first aid? I have no idea. I’ve only really had to do minor care on cat scratches.
  3. When did you last receive words of encouragement? I’ll go into more detail later, but there’s been some excitement around me lately that’s been encouraging–when you’re facing something big and genuinely life-changing, even if it’s a good thing, it can be overwhelming, but seeing other people get excited is contagious and helps shift your focus.
  4. When did you last hold a baby animal? Probably not since our first cat, Robin, was a few months old, but I could hold a baby animal every day of my life and it would never be enough.
  5. What was your last alcoholic drink? A mojito with dinner at PF Chang’s in early November before we saw Puddles Pity Party, and I promise I have a good reason for remembering that much detail.

As always, from Friday 5.

Friday 5: Year-End Awards

  1. Who is your 2019 most valuable player? My husband. 2019 was a crazy year for my whole family, and the craziness never really stopped. One of the biggest things was my dad being diagnosed with cancer and dying just moths later, and watching your spouse’s family been thrown into chaos that ultimately ends in grieving can’t be an easy thing. But his was supportive through the whole thing, not to mentioned other things 2019 tossed our way.
  2. Who is your 2019 newcomer of the year? I’ll tell ya later. But runner up goes to my niece, Eliana, who is adorable.
  3. Who is your 2019 most improved player? Ooh, I don’t know. I feel like my family stagnated in the wake of everything–that’s not a criticism, it’s just a reflection of the reality of what was going on and the impact it had. But maybe my brother and sister-in-law, as they became parents. It’s not like I thought they’d be bad at it by any means, but you definitely see a different side of people after they have kids that can be impressive. That said, though, if you have a sibling who is the type to hold a compliment over your head, do not tell them they’re a good parent, even if your dad just died and it’s been a long, hard day and it’s true and you think they deserve to hear it because you will never, ever hear the end of it.
  4. Who is your 2019 comeback player of the year? My friend Marissa. She moved back to the area this year, and she was part of a group I removed myself from a few years ago but was not part of the reason why I did so. When I found out she was back in the area, I was like, “Well, screw it, I might as well get in touch,” and it was probably one of the things I’m most happy I did in 2019. We’ve hung out about as much as two working adults who live 45-60 minutes apart can.
  5. Who receives your 2019 team spirit award? My niece, Eliana. She kept us distracted and was our bright spot this year. Christmas and Thanksgiving would’ve absolutely, 100% been awful if we didn’t have her to turn our attention somewhat from the absence of my dad. It was still felt, but it’s easier to push through it when there’s a six-month-old laughing and opening her first Christmas presents.

As always, from Friday 5.

Friday 5: It’s Around Here Somewhere

  1. What was your most recent unexpected expense? It might’ve been some minor work that needed done on my car when it got inspected, but that was a few months ago yet.
  2. What was your most recent pleasant surprise? I’ll tell you later. But I’ll tell you that part of it is doctor’s appointments I haven’t had to pay for thanks to insurance. That said, insurance companies are still the worst and our healthcare system is still broken–I’m just fortunate enough that I have good coverage.
  3. What can’t you find? My glasses! I cannot for the life of me find them–they’re not in any logical place. I’ve been relying on an old backup pair, but I suspect they’re partially responsible for the headaches I’ve been having.
  4. What are you hiding from? Nothing, I think.
  5. Who is a mystery? Most recently, my mother-in-law.

Friday 5: Five for Five

  1. In exactly five words, how was your week? It’s only just getting started.
  2. In exactly five words, what’s up this weekend? Nothing that I know of.
  3. In exactly five words, what are you feeling great about? What the future may bring.
  4. In exactly five words, what’s giving you confidence? How the past week was.
  5. In exactly five words, what’re you listening to? Joni Mitchell’s Clouds on Spotify.

As always, from Friday 5.

Friday 5: Thrill of Victory

  1. Which summer Olympics event would you have the best chance of winning? I don’t know how fast I could go, but swimming.
  2. Which winter Olympics event would you have the best chance of winning? Again, I don’t know how good the chances really are here, but I feel like curling is my speed.
  3. Which competitive reality TV program would you have the best chance of winning? None of them, unless we’re counting new game shows, because I could absolutely win Beat Shazam. However! Back in the day, when VH1 still aired the delight that was Tool Academy, my best friend and I concocted a brilliant plan. For the unfamiliar, Tool Academy was a Charm School-esque reality show where men came on, usually at the urging of their long-suffering significant others, to learn how to abandon their toolish ways–cheating, getting into fights, binge drinking, that kind of thing–and someone was eliminated each week. The tool/couple who made it to the end won money. So Terra and I figured we could rig it in our favor pretty easily. Since we both have brothers, our idea was to trade them and have fake relationships where we’d “date” each other’s brother, who would do their best to be the worst and change accordingly with the challenge each week and one of us would win and split the money with the other fake couple.
  4. Which traditional TV game show would you have the best chance of winning? Probably Wheel of Fortune.
  5. The Pulitzer Prize is awarded for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature, and musical composition. The Newbery Medal is awarded to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. What would a prize named after you be for? At this particular moment in my life, sleeping and procrastinating. Well, the procrastinating is always applicable.

As always, from Friday 5.

Friday 5: Places to Go

  1. What’s the closest you’ve come to having a hangout where everybody knows your name? My cousins grew up across the street from a bar, and the older get the more I realize that the location of the bar was kind of weird because it was really in the middle of a rural-ish residential area. But of course, when we were of age (and, uh, sometimes when we weren’t), we spent a lot of time there. The owner knew my cousins’ family already from doing business across the street for years, but she came to know the rest of us, too. These days, the owners of a coffee shop in town recognize my husband and I–he went in by himself to get me something one morning and told her some news, and she mentioned it to me when I was in by myself a week or so later.
  2. Where do you go when you want to be around people but don’t want to talk to anyone or be recognized? Probably the library. Someone is always there, but it’s quiet.
  3. Where can you go if you need a little bit of sleep but home is unavailable? My mom’s. It’s almost an hour-log drive, but if I had to, I could.
  4. Where do you dine out when you’ve got very little to spend? The easiest answer is Taco Bell, but aside from that, local chains Eat ‘N’ Park or Primanti’s. We can–and have–eaten full meals at both for about 25 bucks for both of us, and we could get that even cheaper if we had to.
  5. What TV show’s characters’ hangout spot do you most wish were right around the corner? I don’t know! Most of them don’t sound super appealing, but I think it’s because I wouldn’t want to run into those particular characters.

Friday 5: Body of Evidence

  1. Among people you know, who’s got the softest shoulder? My husband, which is probably obvious. He’s supportive and sympathetic, and I can talk to him about anything, of course. He’s the one I go to first.
  2. Among people you know, who’s got the stoutest heart? It was probably my dad, and frankly, most of the time, it manifested in bad ways–he wasn’t always empathetic, and I think sometimes he could come off as callous without intending to. I think what he saw as strength and pragmatism sometimes came off as being cold and uncaring, mostly because of poor word choice and a bad sense of timing. But he didn’t care what people thought of him, and he’d give pretty blunt advice.
  3. Among people you know, who’s got the most soul? Ooh, I don’t know. I’m gonna go with my six-month-old niece, Eliana, who loves life right now.
  4. Among people you know, who’s got the biggest mouth? My best friend, Terra. Now, she’s shy, so generally, no, but if she gets pissed off enough, she’s not holding back. She’s certainly pissed off a few exes, and I know what you’re thinking–that’s how they ended up exes, but nope.
  5. Among people you know, who’s got the toughest liver? Oof, my friend Marion. The amount I’ve alcohol I’ve seen consumed…although my brother and I can hold our own, too. Not necessarily in such mass quantities, but neither of us really gets hungover, and it’s certainly not because we’ve never been drunk enough.