Saturday 9: Go Where Baby Lives

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

1) The lyrics tell us that the girl of his dreams lives up on a hill. Is there a hill near your home? Or is the terrain pretty flat where you are? I kind of live on a hill. I just forget about it because it’s small and I don’t go down it much.

2) Another clue to her whereabouts is that she’s about a mile from town. Will you be staying close to home this weekend, or will you be traveling a mile or more? We’re heading into Pittsburgh for brunch this afternoon.

3) Sam admits she’s crazy about the sax solo. Is there a particular musical instrument that you love to listen to? Guitar, violin, and piano.

4) This is the only record The Strollers made for States, a company based out of Chicago. States was only in existence for five years (1952-57) and this was the 63rd or 64 records released before they went out of business. Tell us about a business in your neighborhood that recently closed their doors. It wasn’t super recent–within the last several months–but my favorite Italian restaurant in town. It was kind of a dive but everyone knew they had the best food, and they shut down. The story I heard was they couldn’t keep it staffed.

5) More than 60 years after its initial release, this song enjoyed new popularity when Xfinity used it in commercials for their wifi. What company is your internet service provider? Are you happy with it? I have Xfinity. I know hating Comcast is popular, but other than the prices, I have no complaints.

6) In researching this week’s song, Sam googled “strollers” and was surprised to discover how many different types of baby buggies are available today. When did you most recently push a child in a stroller? Strangely, despite having a baby niece, I haven’t in a long while. Last time I was out and about with her, she was in a carrier, and normally everyone just wants to hold her and fights for her.

7) In 1957, the year this song was released, President Eisenhower celebrated his second inaugural with a parade featuring more than 50 marching bands. The mercury never quite reached 45º that day. How’s the weather outside your front door? Well, we woke up to a nice dusting of snow.

8) One of the best-selling books of 1957 was Peyton Place. This steamy saga of small town life launched two films, two television series, and several made-for-tv movies. Is there a book that you enjoyed that was successfully turned to a movie? I’m reading a couple of those now, actually, now that I think about it. I’m reading The Girl Who Played with Fire, which didn’t get an American movie but did get a Swedish one, although I haven’t seen it yet; The Vampire Lestat, the plot of which was shoehorned into the movie Queen of the Damned and wasn’t necessarily what I’d call a success; and Good Omens, which got what sounds to be a very faithful and beloved miniseries adaptation on Amazon Prime.

9) A Peyton Place-inspired question: Can a man be physically unfaithful to a woman, but still love her? I think so because I think sometimes these things are more complicated than we think they are or want them to be–in some ways, it’s easier to think someone cheated because they don’t love you. But I do think if someone’s cheating, there are bigger problems that need to be addressed.

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.

Saturday 9: Miss Independent

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

1) The song begins with Kelly describing a woman who is “independent” and “self-sufficient.” Are you feeling especially independent and self-sufficient this morning? Or is there a particular task on your to-do list that you wish you had help with? Lately, I’ve been more self-sufficient, but a few weeks prior, I was needing some help.

2) Kelly especially enjoys that this song was a hit, because she had to argue with the record company to even include it on her album. Tell us about a time you’re glad fought to get your way. Most times I do it, probably!

3) The video depicts a very lively party that spills from the house to the pool area. What’s the last party you attended? Was it held indoors, outdoors, or did the revelers enjoy themselves both inside and outside? A family Christmas party, and since this is Pennsylvania and not one of those weird 60-degree days we did have recently, it was indoors only.

4)The partiers are playing with “silly string.” Have you ever indulged in a “silly string” battle? I think I have. They might not have been true battles so much as one or two people getting totally doused with the stuff–some of my friends were into that for a bit.

5) Kelly Clarkson has a new daytime talk show. Who hosted the last entertainment talk show (as opposed to news) that you watched? Dr. Phil, which I watched at my job.

6) Kelly Clarkson told a foodie website that one of her favorite foods is sushi (especially California rolls). She said she’s surprised how fond she is of it, since as a kid, sushi is a food she wouldn’t even try. Tell us about something you had to be convinced to try, or do, that you were surprised to find you enjoyed. Sushi was certainly one of them! I got half talked into repelling once, and I say half talked into because I felt comfortable with the group that was going but it was still intimidating. I loved it.

7) In 2003, when “Miss Independent” was released, Microsoft and Sony were furiously competing for gamers’ attention. Do you own Playstation or Xbox, neither or both? Both, but only the Playstation works–the Xbox is pretty old, probably from high school, and I’m 30 now. It crapped out on us maybe a year ago, and it’s still sitting there until we figure out what the hell one does with a broken Xbox. I hate to put it in the garbage when there are parts that can probably be recycled somehow.

8) Also in 2003, the best-selling cookbook was The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion. It features foolproof recipes for old favorites like waffles, pancakes, flat breads and crackers. When you look for a new recipe, are you searching for an easier/better way to make something familiar, or are you more likely looking to try something new? I’m definitely looking for something new, but I welcome it if I stumble upon an improvement for something familiar. I’m not super into cooking, so I’m happy to take any tips and tricks I can.

9) Random question: Which has gotten you in more trouble — love or money? Money, easily.

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.

Saturday 9: Sultans of Swing

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

1) The song begins by mentioning how it feels to shiver on a rainy night. As you answer these questions, is it chilly … or rainy … or dark? Dark.

2) The lyrics describe a bar at closing time, when the owner announces, “Goodnight, now, it’s time to go home.” Can you recall a time when you lingered until you closed the joint? Not in particular, but it’s definitely happened.

3) This song was written years before it was recorded, back in the days before Dire Straits was a success. Composer/lead singer/lead guitarist Mark Knopfler recalls that, when he was working on “Sultans of Swing,” he was worried about paying his gas bill. Is anything troubling you this Saturday? This pain-in-the-ass cold I have.

4) When this song was popular, Sam often played it on the jukebox because, well, who doesn’t like Dire Straits? 40 years later, both that  jukebox and the bar it was in are gone. Have you recently been in a restaurant or bar that has a jukebox? Those newer digital ones, yeah.

5) In 1978, the year “Sultans of Swing” topped the charts, Garfield first appeared in newspapers all around the United States. Over the years, it was revealed that the cartoon cat loved lasagna and hated raisins. What’s a food you love? What’s one that you hate? I, too, love lasagna and pasta in general. I don’t know that there’s I food I really, truly hate.

6) One of People magazine’s top-selling issues of 1978 featured Carrie Fisher and Darth Vader on the cover. The article celebrated the theatrical re-release of Star Wars and announced that the cast was on board for a sequel. How many Star Wars movies have you seen? Seven–the original three, the prequels, and The Force Awakens. We’re very behind on the new ones.

7) The most popular movie of 1978 was Grease. What’s your favorite song from the Grease soundtrack? Man…none? I don’t like Grease. It’s about changing for someone. No thanks.

8) In 1978, Yves St. Laurent made fashion news by putting his female runway models in menswear-inspired suits, complete with neckties and pocket squares. Do you know how to tie a windsor knot? Can you fold a handkerchief into a pocket square? Nope.

9) Random question: You’re visiting a friend. He graciously offers you the use of his super-expensive, brand-new luxury sedan for the duration of your stay. Do you take him up on it? Or do you rent a car instead? I probably avoid it as much as possible but take him up on it if necessary. And drive much more slowly and carefully than normal.

Saturday 9: Keep Me Warm

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

Here’s our first Saturday 9 of 2020!

1) Are you feeling warm and cozy as you answer these questions? Yep!

2) This time of year is important to college football fans. Are you watching/have you watched any of the Bowl games this year? Nope. I don’t like football.

3) Crazy Sam’s been cold/flu free so far this winter and credits the Echinacea she takes every morning. Her brother insists she’s wasting her money. Do you take any herbal supplements? I’m taking vitamins at the moment. They’re Flintstones vitamins. There’s a story behind this–in short, I was advised by a doctor to do so, and I find it hilarious.

4) In the video for this song, Erin Bowman is singing in front of lights and ornaments. Are you sorry to see the decorations slowly disappear? Or do you think they should all come down right away? I like letting them linger. No reason to tear it all down ASAP–it lets the Christmas spirit hang on until Hallmark is back at it in July.

5) She sings about socks, a scarf and a sweater. Tell us about your favorite sweater. I don’t know if I have a favorite!

6) Erin credits her 8th grade choir teacher for believing in her and giving her a solo. That helped give her the confidence to go into performing professionally. When you were in 8th grade, did you know what you wanted to be when you grew up? I think I kind of did, I just hadn’t considered it as a serious option.

7) This song has been used in commercials for McDonald’s and Turner Classic Movies. What commercial have you seen recently? Was it on TV or online? My mom sent me one this morning for cat food, where it’s implied a mom is more attentive to her cat than her kid. I swear it was funnier than it sounds.

8) In 2014, when this song was first released, we lost both Joan Rivers and Robin Williams. What comedian always makes you laugh? There are a few, but my husband’s been on a John Mulaney kick lately.

9) Random question — There are two performers in the trapeze act: the one who flies through the air and the one who catches the flier. Which would you rather be? As risky as it is, the flier! I don’t need the pressure of catching someone. I can barely catch a ball.

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.

Saturday 9: Cold as Ice

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

1) Look back on 2019 and share a happy moment. When my niece was born! And one forthcoming announcement. And that’s about it. 2019 was a shitshow. My mom has said that the two things mentioned here were the only good things to come out of the year for her.

2) As 2019 ends, are you making any New Year’s resolutions for 2020? I usually do make some sort of list of goals for the year, at least, and I’ll be getting to posting those soon. But I don’t have any true resolutions, no.

3) Tell us about an obstacle or challenge you faced in 2019. Oof. My dad was diagnosed with cancer around February and died in August. And while my mom handled the brunt of things like his care, obviously, watching your parent waste away and die is rough. My mom said she felt like she was having an out-of-body experience, and that’s probably the best way to describe sitting at your parents’ dining-room table with your uncle, mom, and a hospice nurse going over what’s happening.

4) Is it “cold as ice” outside where you are today? It is not. It’s cold, but it’s in the 40s. Yesterday was a 70-degree heatwave, though!

5) Foreigner is this week’s featured artist. The band formed in New York City. If you were to travel to New York City, what would you be sure to see? I’ve been twice and tackled a few of the big touristy things, but I didn’t see a Broadway show or the Statue of Liberty, so those would be on my list. I’d definitely eat my way across Chinatown and Little Italy again, though. That was great.

6) The band went by the name Trigger. They changed it because their prospective record label was already auditioning a different group named Trigger. They settled on Foreigner because half the members were foreign — from England. If you received a free, round-trip airline ticket to any foreign country, where would you go? I’d visit truly every country in the world if it made financial sense and was safe. But if we’re talking a free one-time thing, probably Australia. As much as this is probably an awful time to visit, I’d also spend my time doing what I can to help with the devastation of the fires.

7) In 1977, when this song was popular, Star Wars was breaking all box office records. The Spy Who Loved Me, a James Bond movie, was also a 1977 hit. Which film series do you prefer: Star Wars or James Bond? Star Wars. James Bond films are so hit and miss, and it’s easy for them to be predictable or silly.

8) In 1977, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak incorporated Apple. Are you answering these 9 questions on an Apple product (PC, laptop, pad or phone)? A laptop, yep.

9) Random question: What was the last thing you thought of as you dozed off last night? I was a little hungry but didn’t want to get up, so I was hoping I’d fall asleep anyway. Success.

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.

Saturday 9: Happy Holidays

Saturday 9: Happy Holidays! (from the archives)

1. As you can see, Sam loved giving her annual wish list to Santa. Yet some children are reluctant to climb into Jolly Old St. Nick’s lap. Did you enjoy the tradition or were you shy? Or did you bypass it altogether — either because you wrote him a letter or because your family didn’t celebrate Christmas? I enjoyed it when we went, but it wasn’t something we did every year.

2. Are you currently on the Naughty or Nice list? How did you get there? Nice because I’m not an asshole.

3. Did you ship any gifts to friends and family this year? If so, which one traveled the farthest? Nah, not this year.

4. Did you buy yourself a gift this year? You know, I usually do, but I don’t think I did this year.

5. What’s your favorite holiday-themed movie? Have you seen it yet this year? A Muppet Christmas Carol, and although I try to make it a point to watch it every year, I did not this year!

6. Thinking of movies, Christmas is lucrative for Hollywood. Have you ever gone to a movie theater on Christmas Day? No.

7. Have you ever suffered an embarrassing moment at the company Christmas party? Nope! My company only started having them in the last few years, we’re limited to two drink tickets, and I’m not the type to overdo it at an event like that anyway.

8. What’s your favorite beverage in cold weather? Tea.

9. Share a memory from last Christmas. My brother and sister-in-law found out like the day before that they were gonna have a baby girl, my niece, Eliana.