Musings From A Bookmammal


Saturday 9–Vacation/The Go-Go’s

Click to play along!

Click to play along!

1) Do you know how to water ski? I went water skiing once when I was in college–a guy I was dating took me along on a family outing to a lake and water skiing was on the schedule. He had 7 brothers and sisters who were all great water skiiers. I was not—spent more time on my butt than up on the skis. The relationship ended about a month later, but not because of the water skiing. 🙂

2) Do you have 2014 vacation plans? I haven’t been on a real vacation in a long time, and I need to fix that. I’m making some tentative plans to go to Washington DC in September and I’m hoping that I’ll follow through and make it happen. I was there on a family vacation when I was in junior high, and I know I didn’t appreciate it enough then. I love history and there is so much that I want to see and do in that city!

3) Do you have a passport? Nope. I’ve never been out of the US.

4) If you took a 7-night cruise, could you completely unplug — no phone calls, no texts, no internet? I think so.

5) Do you own a travel alarm clock? No—I use the alarm on my iPod.

6) Though the Go-Gos broke up in 1985, they frequently reunite for live performances. What’s the last concert you attended? Oh boy—it’s been ages since I went to a concert! But I did see the Go-Go’s when I was in college. The opening act was Flock Of Seagulls–remember that hair???? Concerts that I’ve attended in the past that I’ve loved include Simon & Garfunkel, James Taylor, Harry Belafonte, Genesis. . . I know I’m dating myself here!

7) Their first hit was “Our Lips Are Sealed.”  Can you be trusted with a secret? Yes. My boss shares a lot of very sensitive work-related information with me and I would never do anything to damage that trust. Same goes in my personal life.

8) In 1982, when this song was popular, the comedy Tootsie was in theaters. What movie makes you laugh? I LOVE the movie Best In Show with Christopher Guest, Jane Lynch, Fred Willard, and many others. It’s a “mockumentary” about dog shows and dog owners and there are so many scenes that crack me up every single time I see them. (I also love Tootsie!)

9) Sam is chewing on a Tums as she composes these questions. What’s the last over-the-counter medication that you took?  Probably a Tylenol at work. . . it’s been headache season there for awhile now.


Saturday 9–Blues In The Night/Rosemary Clooney

Click to play along!

Click to play along!

1) Was last night a good night for you? Or were you singing the blues? I was in bed by 9pm and asleep by 9:02pm—no singing of any kind going on around here last night!

2) In this song, Rosemary Clooney sings about hearing “big talk” she didn’t quite believe. What’s the last fib, tall tale or out and out lie you heard? I’m stumped on this one. . . let’s move on.

3) Rosemary Clooney has a well-known nephew — George, the Oscar winner and frequent People magazine cover story. Do you have any nieces or nephews? Nope—I’m an only child.

4) Ms. Clooney married the same man twice. They married, had five children and divorced. Then three years later, they tried again … and divorced again. Have you ever been tempted to give it another try with one of your former loves? Of course! I only acted on it once—we were together about 9 months the first time, then about two years on the second go-around. Then we called it quits for good.

5) Singers as diverse as Linda Ronstadt, Bette Midler and Amy Winehouse have said they admired and were influenced by Rosemary Clooney. If you could meet any artist (singer, writer, actor, director, painter, musician …), who would it be? Oh—there are SO MANY authors I would love to meet. This is hard. I just can’t choose. (But as a side note–sometimes I look at my books and imagine what would happen if all the authors on a particular shelf came over for dinner together. Yes, these are the things that this particular book geek thinks about in idle moments. . . )

6) 1952, the year this record was a hit, is also the year the “Big Bang Theory” was introduced by physicists Ralph Alpher and George Gamow. That is too lofty a topic for this humble meme, so instead we’ll just ask: Do you watch the TV show of the same name?  Yes—love it! Leonard is my favorite. (“Here we go. . . “)

7) Sam Winters just broke her right thumbnail. While she won’t go so far as saying it has her singing the blues, she must admit it bugs her. What little annoyances are you dealing with today? Nothing yet—but it’s still pretty early!

8) The house next door to Sam’s has a FOR SALE on the lawn. Are you contemplating a move? I’ve been in my house nearly 15 years. I feel like I’ve outgrown it, but I don’t think trying to sell it in the current economy makes sense. I’m fine with staying put—I really like my house, with the exception of the fact that I really don’t have much storage space left.

9) What’s your search engine of choice: Google, Bing, Yahoo or Ask? I’m a Google Gal.


Saturday 9–I’ll Be There For You/The Rembrandts

Click to play along!

Click to play along!

1) This song begins with, “So no one told you life was gonna be this way …” What do you wish you knew five years ago about your life now? Wow—I really like this question! Five years ago, I wish I would have known how important it is to go with my gut. (If it looks like a duck . . . etc etc etc ). I could have saved myself a lot of heartache if I had paid more attention to that inner voice instead of trying to explain things away. Five years later, I pay much more attention to that inner voice.

2) This is, of course, the theme from Friends, which is frequently shown back-to-back on TVLand and TBS. Have you ever “binge-watched” a show, catching episode after episode? Absolutely! It’s one of my favorite things to do on a rainy afternoon. My most recent binge was watching a full season of NYPD Blue over a few days. What a great, smart show that was. Plus, Jimmy Smits. ‘Nuff said.

3) On the show, Monica and Rachel shared a beautiful 2BR/2BA Soho apartment with a private balcony. It’s estimated that such a pad would cost at least $3500/month in today’s real-life New York. Describe your dream home. Big kitchen with plenty of counter space and storage, a room for my office, a room for exercise, a library, and a bedroom with a sitting area. A yard with plenty of trees and plants and privacy. Close to stores and services but in a quiet neighborhood. My current home actually has a few of these things!

4) Of the six main characters, only Chandler was an only child. Do you have any siblings? Nope.

5) Gunther was the barista at Central Perk, the coffee shop where the Friends hung out. He had an ongoing, unrequited love for Rachel. Are you crushing on anyone right now? Does he/she know? Another nope.

6) Currently Matt (“Joey”) LeBlanc stars in the Showtime series Episodes, playing a character named Matt LeBlanc. If there was going to be series based on your life, who would play you? I’m a bit younger than she is, but I think Sally Field would be a good match.

7) Courtney Cox, who portrayed Monica, has the Twitter handle @CourtneyCox and has 628,000 followers. What was your last tweet? I have never tweeted. I don’t think there’s that much urgent or fascinating stuff going on in my life to justify tweeting.

8) The creators of Friends were massive soap opera fans. They named their characters after recurring characters on All My Children and had Joey appear on Days of Our Lives. Have you ever been hooked on a daytime drama? In high school I was addicted to All My Children and in college it was General Hospital. My friends and I tried to schedule our afternoon classes around GH. I still remember all of us watching Luke and Laura’s wedding together!

9) The band who performed this song, The Rembrandts, took their name from the famous Dutch painter. Can you see any artwork from where you’re sitting right now? Tell us about it (and yes, a school painting by your 7-year-old nephew counts). I have a couple of cartoons pinned up on the bulletin board above my desk. They really don’t translate well, so I’m not going to describe them—but they make me happy when I see them!


Saturday Nine–Too Close/Alex Clare

Click to play along!

Click to play along!

1. This song is about a friendship that turned romantic … and it doesn’t end happily. Have you ever crossed that line with a friend? If so, how did it work out? I’ve had the urge once or twice, but have never acted on it. My fear of damaging the friendship has always prevailed.

2. When he was a kid, this week’s singer, Alex Clare, listened to his dad’s Stevie Wonder records. When you were in 7th/8th grades, what music were you into? Oh boy—let’s take a long walk down memory lane, shall we? I know I was really into Barry Manilow back then—plus the soundtracks to Grease and Saturday Night Fever.

3.  “Too Close” has been featured on the TV show, The Vampire Diaries. Do you enjoy shows/books/movies about the supernatural? Not really—I’m a skeptic at heart and it’s hard for me to get into the plot of supernatural stories.

 4. Some of Alex Clare’s tour dates were sponsored by Bud Light. Do you like beer? I used to, but I don’t drink anymore so it’s a moot point.

 5. Mr. Clare trained to be a chef, just in case the music thing didn’t work out. Are you a good cook? I’m a GREAT cook!

6. Crazy Sam is forever running out of mayo because she slathers it on her sandwiches. What is currently on your grocery list? Ground beef, green peppers, onions, and celery—I need to make sloppy joes for a farewell luncheon for a coworker for next week. I’m going to cook it all up tomorrow and then freeze it until Friday.

7. Where are you most likely to find spare change — between the sofa cushions, in your jeans as you toss them into the washer, or under the floor mat of your car? I don’t keep coins in my pockets, so it’s definitely the car—I regularly spill the change in my wallet into my lap when I’m at the drive-through.

8. How did you spend your Friday night — working late, hanging out with friends, or just enjoying a quiet night at home? Home by myself, reading and watching TV and in bed by 9pm-it was a really busy week at work and I was beat!

9. Do you use Pinterest? Yes–I’m a Pinterest Person!


Saturday Nine–Susan by The Buckinghams

Click to play along!

Click to play along!

1) In this song, our hero tells Susan that “no other girl could ever take the place of you.” Crazy Sam feels that no other earmuffs could ever take the place of the ones she left in restaurant coat room last month. Tell us about something you recently broke, lost or misplaced. Well, I almost lost my patience at work yesterday—does that count? If we’re talking about material things, I lost my window scraper for my car recently—probably left it on the hood or roof and lost it driving away. It’s just been that kind of winter here. . .

2) When this song was first released back in 1968, the name Susan was very popular. According the Social Security Administration, it was one of the top 10 baby girl names of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. Today it’s not even in the top 100. Do you know anyone named Susan (or Suzanne)? I know a “Suzann”—that’s right—no “e” at the end! She was probably born in the late 1960s.

3) The Buckinghams were Chicago’s attempt to get in on The British Invasion begun by the Beatles. (Hence the silly suits.) But they took their name from Chicago’s famous Buckingham Fountain. If Crazy Sam visited your neighborhood, what local site would you recommend she check out? If you come to visit, you need to go to the RiverWalk! Great walkways, cute shops and restaurants right nearby, nice sculptures, a fountain . . . and you can feed the ducks! What’s not to like?

4) Chicago is known for deep dish pizza. Describe your dream pizza. (Calories, carbs and gluten need not be a factor because it’s dream pizza!) Thin crust, plenty of sauce, topped with mushrooms, green pepper, onion, and good old mozzarella. No meat on my pizza, please!

5) The Buckinghams got their big break by winning a local “battle of the bands.” Do you often go to concerts or bars to listen to live music? I haven’t gone to hear live music in ages.

6) The best-selling book in 1968 (the year “Susan” was released) was Airport by Arthur Hailey. It was set during a snowstorm at Lincoln International, a fictional airport based on Chicago’s O’Hare. What’s the most recent airport you flew to? Why were you there? I flew back into Midway in Chicago this past summer from a business trip in Florida. It was the first time I’ve ever been in Midway Airport—I’d always flown in and out of O’Hare until this trip.

7) Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs, Sox … Chicago is a big sports town. What’s your favorite pro team? Big Chicago BlackHawks fan here!

8) Thinking of sports, did you watch the Olympics? If yes, which events? I am a complete Olympics geek. I love all of it! I’ll be a bit sad when it ends this weekend. This year I was really into the skeleton, luge, and bobsledders. Plus the speedskating. And the figure skating. . .

9) Do you consider yourself an idealist or a pragmatist? I always want to believe the best, but I temper it with reality. Can I be a pragmatic idealist?


Saturday Nine–As Time Goes By

Click to play along!

Click to play along!

1) This is the theme song of Casablanca, generally acknowledged as one the screen’s great love stories. In honor of Valentine’s Day weekend, what’s your favorite movie romance? My favorite romantic movie is Somewhere In Time with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour.

2) Even though he was only 5’8 and had a receding hairline, Humphrey Bogart was a popular leading man. What movie or TV actor or actress makes your heart skip a beat? Jimmy Smits. I’ve loved him and lusted after him from afar ever since his L.A. Law and NYPD Blue days.  He is a mighty fine looking man!

3) Sweethearts are those little heart-shaped candies that are printed with messages like, “Be Mine” and “Kiss Me.” Do you like how they taste?  Not really—they taste like chalk to me.

4) Valentine’s Day is a big day for florists. When is the last time a floral arrangement adorned your table or desk? Hmm. . . I’m not sure. It’s been awhile!

5) Do you think an e-card means as much as a conventional card in an envelope? No—with a “real” card, you have to go to some effort to purchase it at a store, address it, find a stamp, and mail it. E-cards can literally be sent in seconds–plus, you can send the exact same card and message to multiple people at the same time! No thanks . . .

6) Despite what you see on Valentines, the human heart isn’t bright red. It’s really a brownish shade of red, like a brick. Now it’s your turn. Share some trivia that’s been rattling around in your head. (It does have to be about Valentines or the human heart. It can be any random fact at all.) Gene Hackman was the first choice to play Mike on the Brady Bunch. That’s pretty random.

7) When is the last time you thought your heart would break? I had to euthanize one of my cats about six years ago. I knew it was time, but it felt as though my heart was collapsing. I dearly love the two cats that now share my home, but I still miss Max and I think about him often.

8) What is the most recent thing to lift your heart? As long as we’re talking about cats . . . I read this article the other day about kids reading aloud to shelter cats. It calms the cats, it helps the kids gain confidence in their reading skills . . . what’s not to like about that? (If you click on the link, be sure to scroll down for many heart-warming photos!)

9) Who is the most “hard hearted” person you know? The woman who runs the center where I work is often considered to be very hard hearted—but I guess she has to be. Many business decisions need to be made without bringing feelings into the equation. I’m glad that I don’t have her job or responsibilities.


Saturday 9–I’ve Gotta Feeling/The Black Eyed Peas

Click to play along!

Click to play along!

(Before we begin, I’d just like to say that I LOVE this week’s song! OK–now back to our regularly scheduled programming . . .)

1) What would make tonight a good, good night? It’s snowing right now (again!) and it’s supposed to continue all day and into the evening, so I’m looking forward to a good, good night of staying home and off the roads. I don’t have anything special planned–I’ll probably watch something on TV and read.

2) In the song, he sings that he’s got money and wants to “spend it up.” How much cash is in your wallet right now? Wait a minute while I go check—I’ve got $73 and some change.

 3) The lyrics include “mazel tov,” which means good luck or congratulations. What other Hebrew/Yiddish phrases do you know? I’ve been known to say OY VEY on occasion.

4) The colorfully named Black Eyed Peas include Fergie (born Stacey Ferguson) and (William Adams) and Taboo (Jaime Gomez). If you could choose a stage name, what would it be? I have absolutely no idea on this one—moving on . . .

5) This song was crazy popular in Canada, debuting at #2 on the charts. Have you ever visited our neighbor to the north? No–I’ve never been to a foreign land.

6) When’s the last time you laughed really hard? I’m very lucky to work with several people who share my admittedly odd sense of humor—I usually have a good laugh with them several times a day. I’ve had jobs in the past where that wasn’t the case, so I don’t take it for granted!

7) Who received the last text you sent? I’m old school–I don’t text.

8) Which sounds like more fun — skiing or skating? I’ll pick skating. I used to LOVE to ice skate–in fact, my parents used to put an ice rink in our backyard every winter. The neighborhood kids and I spent hours out there. That being said, I do enjoy watching the ski-jumping events during the Olympics. Actually, I enjoy watching just about ALL of the events during the Olympics–I can’t wait until the Winter Games begin next weekend!

9) Thinking of sports, are you looking forward to The Super Bowl? I’ll probably watch at least part of it, but I’m not counting down the hours or anything. I’m not in a Super Bowl pool this year, so that also takes some of the fun out of it. I do like to watch the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet off and on during Super Bowl day–there is nothing that cures the winter blues like watching a bunch of puppies frolicking around!


Saturday Nine–Best Song Ever/One Direction

Click to play along!

Click to play along!

1) Dancing all night to the best song ever would be good for the cardiovascular system. When is the last time you exercised? I’ve been slacking—it’s been awhile. I need to get back on my bike!

2) The girl in this song is the daughter of a dentist. “Dentophobia” is fear of dentists. How do you feel about going to the dentist? Not a big fan . . .

3) One Direction performed this on Good Morning, America. Do you watch morning TV? If so, which show? I don’t watch TV in the morning—while I’m getting ready for work I listen to the local news/talk radio station to get caught up on the news for the day. I don’t allow myself enough time in the morning to sit down and watch TV.

4) Listening to upbeat pop songs like this one makes Sam feel young. When is the last time you participated in an activity commonly connected to childen (like swinging on a swing, drinking chocolate milk, playing a board game, etc.)? I honestly can’t remember—and that’s not good! Everybody needs to act like a kid once in awhile!

5) One of the boys, Louis Tomlinson, was an actor before joining the band. How many different professions have you tried? What were they? I’ve had four jobs for three employers and they all have a common link. They are: Teacher (high school special education—9 years), Retail (books—7 years), Sales Rep (books and educational materials—6 years), Marketing Manager (books and educational materials—6 years and counting!).

6) The fans that have made One Direction millionaires are also the target audience for series like The Hunger Games, Harry Potter and Wimpy Kid. Do you read Young Adult literature? I read Eleanor & Park a few months ago and it was one of the best books I read last year. It got me back into reading YA again—there’s some GREAT stuff out there!

7) If this is the “best song ever,” what song do you consider the worst? Tell us which song just sets your teeth on edge. I can’t stand those Christmas songs where it’s cats and dogs meowing and barking in place of people singing. I just can’t deal with those.

8) One Direction performed at the Royal Variety Show for Queen Elizabeth. If you found yourself presented to Her Majesty, what would you say? No idea—I’m sure I’d follow the prescribed protocol, whatever it is.

9) Right now, is your life moving in the right direction or are you feeling a bit aimless? I feel a bit adrift professionally due to a lot of ongoing changes at work—I’m confident I’ll keep my job, but I’m still not sure what my job will include once everything gets done shaking out. Personally, I feel like things are continuing to head in the right direction. I generally feel like I’m in a good place right now!


Saturday Nine—That’s My Kind Of Night/Luke Bryan

Click to play along!

Click to play along!

1) In this song, our hero offers to take his girl down to the river to catch a catfish dinner. What is your favorite seafood? I love crabmeat, shrimp is a close second—and I’ve never tasted lobster, but I bet I’d like it!

 2) Luke Bryan went to Georgia State University, home of the Panthers. What was your school mascot? For high school, I was a Huskie. (“We are the Huskies! The mighty, mighty Huskies! Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!”) In college, I was a Redbird.

3) Have you ever tried acupuncture? No—but I wouldn’t be against trying it if I thought it would help with a condition.

4) Just last night, Crazy Sam threw away a jar of Miracle Whip because it expired in September 2013. Is your refrigerator neat and organized? Or is it a disaster area, like Sam’s? My fridge is pretty organized—I don’t have any containers of mystery substances lurking around. My freezer, on the other hand, is so crammed full that I’m not even sure what’s in there anymore. Maybe I’ll do some freezer cleaning this afternoon!

5) Which is more important to you — saving time or saving money? Wow—this is a toss up depending on my mood. I’m usually really budget conscious and I’ll go without certain things if I just don’t feel like spending the money. On the other hand, if I can throw some money at a problem rather than dealing with it myself, I can be OK with that too. It really depends on my frame of mind at any given time. I feel very fortunate that I have the freedom to make choices like these.

6) Sam’s next door neighbor is named Jim. He’s retired, smokes a pipe and drives a red Corolla. Tell us about one of your neighbors. The house on one side of mine is vacant right now. On the other side—they keep to themselves pretty much and I’m not really sure what’s going on over there these days. I know there is a husband/wife and two early grade-school aged kids. The kids will sometimes make these great chalk drawings on my driveway. Periodically the parents of the husband stay for extended periods—and they’ve recently acquired two dogs. Their house is roughly the same size as mine—I have no idea where all of these people and animals are fitting.

7) What’s the most recent magazine you flipped through? Smithsonian—I love that magazine! There are always so many articles of interest, and they’re always timeless. I can pick up an issue from five years ago and it won’t seem outdated. I just read an article in a recent Smithsonian about how bomb-sniffing dogs are trained–fascinating!

8)  Could your vehicle use a trip to the car wash right now? Surprisingly, my car looks OK because it rained all day yesterday. I do need to get it washed soon though to get rid of all the salt that I’m sure is caked on underneath.

9) Did you hit the snooze button this morning? Nope—On Saturdays I usually don’t set the alarm, but I’m awake and (usually!) up by 7am anyway.


Saturday Nine–Believe/Cher

Click to play along!

Click to play along!

1) In 1998, Cher became the oldest woman to top the Billboard Hot 100 with “Believe.” She was 52 at the time. At what age do you think you did hit/will hit your prime? I think my fifties are going to be awesome! So far I’m not disappointed.

2) Cher is as well known for her outrageous outfits as for her singing. What’s the latest piece of clothing you added to your wardrobe? I bought some really cute (but not in any way outrageous) thermal Henley print tops right after Christmas.

3) Cher credits her unique looks to her diverse ethnicity. Her father was Armenian and her mom is English/German/Cherokee. From where did your ancestors come? My mom’s parents came to the US from Switzerland, and my dad’s relatives are all from Germany.

4) When she was a little girl, Cher produced and starred in a schoolyard production of Oklahoma. Were you involved in drama or theater in school? No, but I went to all the plays and musicals because a lot of my friends were either in drama or were in the orchestra. I think I would have liked being in plays—it’s just something I never pursued.

5) Cher is open about her plastic surgery, speaking freely about having had her breasts ‘done’, her nose bobbed and her teeth straightened. If you could change one physical feature about yourself, which would it be? And what would you never change, under any circumstances? I wish I had better hair. I’m always fighting with it.That’s all I’d change. Everything else (i.e. my weight lately!) is in my own power to change—I just need to DO IT!

6) There’s a stubborn rumor, often denied, that Cher had a rib removed so that she could maintain her long and lean silhouette. What’s the most outrageous thing anyone has said of you? Wow—I’m coming up blank here. Moving on . . .

7) When she was a kid, Cher practiced her autograph. Do you have a clear, legible signature? Or is it more of a scrawl? It depends on how hurried I am.

8) Cher asks, “Do you believe in life after love?” Crazy Sam’s question is easier and less profound: Do you believe in luck? I can’t claim credit for this, and I forget where I heard it, but I firmly believe in the philosophy that luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

9) Did you make any resolutions for 2014? I want to keep doing more things for the first time in 2014—it worked out well for me in 2013!


Saturday Nine—Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

Click to play along!

Click to play along!

1) How cold is it where you are? We’re having a heat wave! It’s 32 degrees right now and should get up into the mid 40s by afternoon! Then on Monday we’ll be down into single digits again for several days. I never know what coat to wear lately!

2) This familiar song was introduced in a 1949 film called Neptune’s Daughter.  Name another movie song. “Everybody cut loose . . . FOOTLOOSE!!!!!” I love that movie . . .

3) Who was the last person to call you “baby?”  no idea. . .

4) This time of year is important to college football fans. Have you watched/will you watch any bowl games? I used to like to watch the bowl games–back when there were pretty much just the Big 4—Cotton, Orange, Sugar, Rose. Now it seems like there are dozens.  I just can’t get excited about watching the Tostito Bowl.

5)  Are you sad to see the holiday decorations begin to slowly disappear? Or do you think they should all come down right away? I like to get everything down right after New Year’s. I worked yesterday and now will be off until January 2—I cleared my area of all holiday décor so it’ll be gone when I get back next week. I don’t do much seasonal decorating around the house anymore, so I don’t have too much to put away here.

6) Did you tell the truth about your weight on your driver’s license, or did you shave off a pound or two? OMG—I haven’t updated my weight in ages! They’ve never asked me if I wanted to change it. I haven’t weighed that little for probably close to twenty years!

7) Crazy Sam swears that the Echinacea she takes every morning keeps her healthy. Her boyfriend tells her she’s wasting her money. Do you take any herbal supplements? I sometimes use an herbal sleep aid, but that’s it.

8) The average restaurant in the US tip is 18%. Are you a generous tipper? I worked in food service when I was in high school and college, so I remember how much I appreciated a good tip. If the service is good, I’m generous. If the service is great, I’m extremely generous!

9) This is the last Saturday 9 of 2013. Do you know the lyrics to “Auld Lang Syne?” I know the beginning and the end—for the middle, I just have to hum along. This is also one of the songs that ALWAYS makes me tear up—no matter when I hear it!


Saturday Nine–Happy Holidays!

Click to play along!

Click to play along!

1. When Sam Winters was a little girl, she loved giving her annual wish list to Santa. If you could ask Santa for anything at all, right now, what would it be? It may sound sappy, but all I really want is continued good health for myself and my loved ones, and continued financial independence for myself. Truly, everything else is a bonus at this point in my life.

2. Are you currently on the Naughty or Nice list? How did you get there? I’ve had my moments in both categories this year . . .

3. Are you traveling this Christmas? If so, are you going by car, plane or train? I’ll be traveling about ten miles by car to my parent’s house.

4. Did you buy yourself a gift this year? I buy myself gifts throughout the year! If you’re not going to spoil yourself a bit, who else will?!?!

5. What’s your favorite holiday-themed movie or TV special? Have you seen it yet this year? Love, Actually is my favorite holiday film—I just watched it AGAIN about a week ago. When I was a kid, I used to love watching the King Family Christmas specials–does anyone else remember those???

6. Which do you prefer: candy canes or gingerbread? Do my mom’s ginger crème cookies count? I’ll pick those!

7. Close your eyes and tell us the first carol that comes to mind. John Lennon’s “So This Is Christmas”—it’s the last holiday song I heard on my car radio yesterday.

8. What’s your favorite winter beverage? Hot cocoa–made with milk–with a dash of peppermint

9. What will you remember most about 2013? Well, I happily turned 50 this year. I also adopted the quote “When was the last thing time you did something for the first time?” this past year—and consequently I did a lot of memorable things for the first time! I’m resolving to continue on in 2014.


Saturday Nine–Jingle Bell Rock

Click to play along!

Click to play along!

1) Sam has affection for this song because, when she was very young, she tap-danced to it for a Christmas recital. Her parents told her she was wonderful. Do you have any memories from a school/church program or pageant — either as a child onstage or an adult in the audience? Unfortunately, yes—when I was in sixth grade I was in the chorus and I threw up onstage at our Christmas concert. It remains one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. Thanks so much for bringing that up! 

2) Ok, she admits it: After too many cups of holiday cheer, Sam did a few steps of her “Jingle Bell Rock” routine at last year’s company Christmas party. Have you ever done anything at a coworker gettogether that you now regret? No—I’m always pretty conscious of the fact that it’s still a professional situation.

3) Since that unfortunate Christmas 2012 incident, Sam can’t even look at a cup of egg nog. How about you? Do you like egg nog? I wish I liked it, but I can’t stand it. Something about the texture . . .

4) For special events, Sam slips on her favorite piece of jewelry: a charm bracelet that once belonged to her grandmother. Do you have a special treasure from a previous generation? No—we are not an heirloom-y family.

5) The only Christmas card Sam has received so far in 2013 is from her insurance agent. How about you? Have any holiday cards arrived yet? Nope—less and less are received each year.

6) Because of the chill in the air, Sam gave her dog his Christmas gift — a sweater — early this year. He’s already gotten compliments on it. Are there any pets on your gift list? Of course! My cats and my parents’ beagle always get a little something from me—but none of them will be dressed in holiday outfits at any time.

7) Do you need snow to get “into the spirit?” I do like snow at Christmas—other than that, I’d rather skip it, but that’s not an option in my part of the country.

8) Are you going to get/have you gotten a flu shot this year? Nope—I never get one, and I haven’t gotten the flu in years.

9) December is an important fundraising month for charities. Here’s your chance to plug a worthy cause that means a lot to you. I donate to several organizations promoting literacy throughout the year. Reader To Reader is one of my favorites—among many other literacy projects, they provide new and used books to schools and libraries in need throughout the US. They are always accepting donations of money, or of new and/or gently used books.


Saturday 9–Back To Black / Amy Winehouse

Click to play along!

Click to play along!

1) Black is this week’s signature color because Friday, November 29, was “Black Friday,” when retailers cut their prices and consumers flock to the stores. Did you score any “Black Friday” bargains? No—I don’t like to shop on Black Friday. I do most of my holiday shopping online, and I’ll probably do most of it today and tomorrow—at home in my pajamas.

2) Legend has it that Black Friday began as a neighborhood phenomenon among storeowners in Philadelphia back in the early 1960s. What else comes to mind when you think of Philly? The very first thing that popped into my head was Elton John’s “Phildelphia Freedom.” And now it’ll probably be in my head for the rest of the day!

3) Feasting and football are also popular Thanksgiving weekend pastimes. Do your Thursday-Sunday plans include pigging out or watching a game? I don’t typically watch sports on Thanksgiving Day, but I will watch some football and hockey throughout the holiday weekend. (Side note–the Chicago Blackhawks won last night in a thrilling shootout! OK–now back to our regularly scheduled programming.) Feasting throughout the weekend is also a given…I usually like eating the leftovers more than the actual holiday meal.

4) At Thanksgiving dinners, Crazy Sam’s homemade gravy is always a hit. (Probably because she’s so generous with the cognac, which gives the gravy a nutty taste.) Do you have a signature dish? For Thanksgiving, I’m usually asked to make a cauliflower/broccoli/cheese casserole/side dish. For everyday cooking—I’m known for my spaghetti sauce with meatballs (my go-to company meal).

5) Among the biggest the Black Friday advertisers are Target, Kohl’s, Macy’s and Best Buy. If you could have a $100 gift card to any one of those stores, which would you choose? Although I love Kohl’s, I’d pick Target—you can find just about anything there!

6) You’re in a public restroom that offers both paper towels and a hot air hand dryer. Which one do you choose? Paper towels. I’m never patient enough to get all the way dry with those blowers.

7) While Back to Black is the best-selling Amy Winehouse CD, her first was called Frank, named for her hero, Frank Sinatra. Tell us about someone you inspires you. Hmmm…I’m drawing a blank on a person who inspires me. So instead, here’s a quote that continually inspires me:


8) Do you consider yourself a pessimist or an optimist? I really try to be a “glass half full” kind of gal. Some days it’s harder than others.

9) Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone (a verbal conversation — not an exchange of texts)? I don’t text. The last person I spoke to on the phone was my mom.


Saturday 9–Sugar Shack / Jimmy Gilmer & The Fireballs

Click to play along!

Click to play along!

1) In this song, our hero orders espresso. What’s your standard coffee order?  I try to limit my caffeine so I don’t drink coffee.

2) Originally the phrase “sugar shack” meant a small cabin where sap from maple trees was boiled into syrup. So for breakfast today, would you rather pour syrup on pancakes, french toast or waffles? French toast—preferably French toast that’s stuffed with some sort of jam. Yum . . .

3) The name of the group that recorded this song is The Fireballs. “Fireballs” is also the brand name of a red hot jawbreaker. Do you like cinnamon? You bet–you can’t bake Snickerdoodles without cinnamon!

4) In 1963, when this song was a hit, newscaster Walter Cronkite was one of the most trusted and influential men in the country. Do you have a favorite TV newsperson? She’s a commentator rather than a straight newsperson, but I love Rachel Maddow. I haven’t watched network news regularly in years, but I used to like Peter Jennings.

5) The Rambler was named 1963 Car of the Year by Motor Trend, and their most popular model was a 9-passenger station wagon. What’s the car of your dreams? I am not a car person. In my family, we take really good care of our cars and we keep them until they die–I’ve only owned four cars in the past 30 years. I want a car that’s reliable and that has a good sound system to keep me occupied during my one-hour commute each way to work. I don’t really care about all the bells and whistles. I bought my current car almost exactly one year ago and I was just thrilled that it had automatic windows!

6) The Zip Code was first introduced in 1963. How many different Zip Codes have you had throughout your life?  I think. . . six. All in the same state.

7) What was the first thing you thought about when you woke up this morning? “Wow—that was a really cool dream!”

8) Are you a good pool player? I think I’ve played pool once, but there was alcohol involved. It was not a serious game of pool.

9) Do you actually make a wish when you blow out your birthday candles? Sure! Why not?


Saturday 9–1,2,3,4 / Plain White T’s

Click to play along!

Click to play along!

1) In this song, the singer tells his girl he appreciates how she makes him feel. Who is the most supportive person in your life? I have different people who give me support in different areas these days.

2)  Our singer only has to count to 4, which is a cinch. Do you understand the more sophisticated math sciences, like geometry and algebra? I’ve never considered myself to be good at math. I was a Language Arts/History gal all the way in high school. The only D I ever got was in Algebra. I do remember not hating geometry and trig, but I never exceled at them.

3) This video features a couple who shared their first kiss behind the high school. Tell us about your first kiss. Oh my . . . my first REAL kiss was with JLM and it was everything a first real kiss should be—I can still remember feeling like the room was spinning—and there wasn’t even any alcohol involved! It’s a really nice memory.

4) Filmed in Chicago, this video features the Art Institute of Chicago, home to works by Monet, Gauguin and Van Gogh. How do you express your creativity? (Draw, paint, write, sing or play music … ) Definitely writing. I enjoy the other arts but I don’t have any talent for them.

5) Chicago is home to two of the world’s tallest buildings — the Willis aka Sears Tower and The John Hancock Center (which appears briefly in this video). Both have observation decks that offer panoramic views of the city. Are you afraid of heights? Not really.

6) The Plain White T’s got their start in Lombard, a suburb of Chicago and home to Yorktown Center — a huge, two story shopping mall. Do you enjoy going to the mall, or would you rather shop online, or in small, independent stores? I used to love going to the mall—I could spend the better part of a day wandering from store to store. Now, I do most of my shopping online—I just don’t have the patience to deal with the crowds, and I get frustrated about how poor the customer service has become. If I have to go to a store in a mall, I get in and get out as quickly as possible. (Can I just say–oh my gosh! I remember when Yorktown was the ONLY mall in the area! Going there to shop was a really big deal–I can remember my mom and I planning our whole day around driving out to Yorktown. And it was definitely where we did practically all of our holiday shopping back then. Nice memories–thanks!)

7) Naturally Yorktown Center has a food court. Would you prefer a pretzel from Auntie Anne’s, a cinnamon roll from Cinnabon or a cookie from Mrs. Field’s? Yes, please.

8) While we’re at the mall … Imagine you’re at the customer service counter of a big department store. As you wait for help, you see an older lady pocket a Timex watch. Would you turn her in or look the other way? I don’t think I wouldn’t shout out or anything, but I’d probably let a clerk know. I worked in retail too long to turn the other way.

9) Which puzzle would you have more success with: crossword or sudoku? Probably crosswords, but I do enjoy sudoku.


Saturday 9: Potential Boyfriend/Dolly Parton

Click to play along!

Click to play along!

1) In this song, Dolly Parton locks eyes with a definite maybe. What’s the first thing that attracts you to a potential new boyfriend or girlfriend? If you’re currently in a relationship, what first attracted you to your partner? I’m attracted to smart men who read and who like to laugh. Plus, I’ve always liked forearms. I can’t explain it.

2) When Dolly was still a very young girl, she met Johnny Cash, who told her to follow her instincts and pursue a music career. Obviously this worked out very well for her. What’s the best advice you ever received? “Quit the job—there’s no sense in staying if you’re going to be too depressed to enjoy the money you’re earning.” I did—and I’ve NEVER regretted it—not for one second.

3) Dolly enjoys telling interviewers how she met her husband at the Wishy-Washy Laundromat in Nashville. Do you have a load of dirty clothes, or some other household chore, waiting for you after you finish this week’s Saturday 9? I have laundry to do, plus if I don’t vacuum soon I’m going to be able to build a spare cat with all the fur drifting around.

4) Dolly’s Imagination Library is a charity devoted to children’s literacy. What book did you enjoy as a kid? Or, if you’re a parent, what book did you enjoy sharing with your own children? Way too many to count! If I had to narrow it down to two, I’d pick Charlotte’s Web and Harriet the Spy.

5) Dolly’s theme park, Dollywood, is a very popular vacation destination. When you have time off, would you rather travel or have friends/relatives visit you? Honestly? My first choice would be to spend time by myself with no commitments. After a few days of that, I’d go to visit family.

6) Dolly is godmother to Miley Cyrus. If you could advise Miley, what would you say? I really have no opinion about Miley Cyrus, so I have no advice to share with her.

7) Dolly has earned a reputation for being very warm and friendly to the public. Have you ever had a celebrity encounter? OK—I’m going to sound like a total geek here. I met Brian Lamb (creator of CSPAN and host of the old BookNotes interview program) and was able to have an extended conversation with him. This was when I was working at the bookstore—he just happened to come in one day when he was traveling through the area. He couldn’t have been nicer. I don’t think I stopped smiling all day—and that memory still makes me smile. (I told you–smart men who read!)

8) As you can see by the photo, this song was originally released on vinyl. Do you still have any old-school LPs or 45s? I do—they’re up in my parent’s attic.

9) Sam simply cannot stand Dish TV’s Hopper commercial, where hysterical grown men hide under the bed and up in a tree house because they’re afraid of … something. What commercial just bugs the beejeesus out of you? There’s one that features an abnormally large baby that I think is kind of creepy. I have no idea what the commercial is for—maybe insurance? It’s obviously not an effective ad if I can’t remember the product!


Saturday Nine–Twilight Zone/Golden Earring

Click to play along!

Click to play along!

1) This is one of the first songs to see a bump in sales after its video was shown on MTV. Do you ever watch music videos? Do MTV or VH1 even show music videos anymore? I do remember watching tons of music videos on MTV when I was in college. I remember watching the premiere showing of Michael Jackson’s Thriller video in the TV lounge in my college dorm—we’d never seen anything like it before!

2) Golden Earring is from the Netherlands. The average life expectancy there is 79 years old. Who is the oldest person you know? My dad is 77.

 3) The song’s composer says the song and especially the video were inspired by the 1980 book, The Bourne Identity. The espionage thriller was finally made into a movie with Matt Damon in 2002. Do you have a favorite secret agent/spy? Can’t think of one . . .

4) The song’s title comes from The Twilight Zone TV show, which ran from 1959 to 1964. Are there any old shows that you enjoy watching in reruns? I love running across reruns of the Mary Tyler Moore show, and I also like the old Dragnet reruns with Jack Webb for all the unintentional humor and horrible acting.

5) “All guys cheat on their girlfriends, so yeah, I forgive him.” Sam heard a young woman say that into her phone as they waited in line at the drugstore. While Sam is always surprised by how much personal information people share in the public, that’s not what we’re concentrating on this morning. Do you think that it’s true? Do all guys cheat on their girlfriends? I don’t think there’s anything that “all guys” do.

 6) Whenever Sam goes to the grocery store she picks up Milk Bone Dog Biscuits because her dog looks at her with sad eyes when she tries to reward him anything else. Is there any product that has your brand loyalty? With most things I buy whatever brand is on sale—but I only buy Heinz ketchup!

7) Do you have a piggy bank or a coin jar? I have a vintage hot chocolate tin on my desk where I save my spare quarters.

8) Sam knows that she’s always supposed to wear sunscreen, even on cloudy days, but she sometimes forgets. What do you know you should do, but sometimes don’t? I don’t check the oil in my car or the air in my tires nearly as often as I should. Maybe I’ll go do that now . . .

 9) Retailers report that sales of Halloween costumes for grown-ups are strong. Since Halloween was earlier this week and there will be parties this weekend … What’s your costume for Halloween 2013?  If you aren’t dressing up this year, tell us about one of your favorite outfits from a Halloween gone by. Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I wore a Halloween costume as an adult. I do have a photo of myself dressed as a “scary witch” when I was a toddler—I’m trying to make a scary face but I’m laughing instead.


Saturday Nine–If It Makes You Happy/Sheryl Crow

Click to play along!

Click to play along!

1. What’s something that always makes you happy? My two cats always make me happy. They’re always so content and they love to bask in my attention. They have perfected the art of relaxation.

2. In the lyrics, Sheryl Crow refers to a poncho. How do you usually protect yourself from the rain? Poncho? Umbrella? Raincoat? Hat? I have a raincoat but it always makes me feel too warm. I usually just use an umbrella. I’ve had the same one for about 20 years. It’s pink.

3. Early in her career, Sheryl made ends meet by singing commercial jingles, including one for McDonald’s. When was the last time you visited The Golden Arches? I only eat there a few times a year–but about two weeks ago I had a huge craving for a Big Mac.

4. Sheryl rode a horse into the ring of a Wyoming rodeo and then sang. Have you ever been to a rodeo? Nope.

5. Sheryl lives outside of Nashville, which is known as Music City. What type of music do you listen to most often? This is a tough one—I listen to lots of different kinds of music. Here are the first 10 songs that came up when I just put my iPod on shuffle (I promise I didn’t cheat!).

Lucy—The Commodores

Best of Both Worlds—Van Halen


Little Village—Van Morrison

Maryland—Vonda Shepard

Silver Springs—Fleetwood Mac

I Want It That Way—Backstreet Boys (Don’t judge me! I can’t help it—I like the song!)

Me and Julio Down By The School Yard (live version)—Paul Simon

I’m A Believer—Smashmouth (yep—remix of the classic Monkeys tune! Must be played at full volume!)

Brown Eyed Girl—Everclear (I have the original version too)

I’m surprised that no country songs came up because I listen to a lot of that, too.

6.  Crazy Sam is a massive Sheryl Crow fan, and is sure that the only reason why she and Sheryl aren’t best friends is that they haven’t met. What famous person do you think could be your BFF? I think I’d get along pretty well with Rachel Maddow. We could talk politics but we could be silly, too. Plus she has a really cool dog.

7. Sheryl and cyclist Lance Armstrong were once engaged. Had they tied the knot, she would have become stepmother to his three children. Are you a step-parent, stepsibling or stepchild? No

8. Sheryl has performed carols at the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Washington DC. Have you ever visited our nation’s capital? Yes, and I would love to go back. We went there on vacation one summer when I was in junior high—I think I would appreciate it so much more now.

9. Do you consider yourself easy going or do you have a fiery temperament? I’m a pretty emotional person and sometimes it doesn’t take much to set me off. I’m continuing to learn that I don’t have to necessarily voice everything I’m thinking when I’m mad.


Saturday Nine–Come To My Window

Click to play along!

Click to play along!

1) This song is about a woman passionate about love and willing to pursue it, no matter what “they say.” Are you fearless when it comes to public opinion? Or do you worry about what “they” think of you? I’ve been working on this and I’m much more open about expressing my thoughts in public—especially at my job, and somewhat better in my personal life. It’s a work in progress! I actually found that once I hit 40, I stopped caring so much about what other people think.

2) Melissa’s father was a high school teacher. Tell us about a teacher who had an impact on you. So many—but I’ll pick Dr. Davis who taught my Essay Writing class when I was a senior in HS. I thought I was a pretty good writer when I started that class but Dr. Davis didn’t let me rest on that–he showed me how far I could go, and he helped me start to get there. It was hands down the most challenging class I ever took—in HS or college.

3) Melissa won a Grammy for this song. If you won a major award, where would you display it? Maybe at home on one of my bookshelves or on my desk.

4) Which TV game show do you think you’d do better on — The Price Is Right or Wheel of Fortune? Definitely Wheel of Fortune! I’m good with words—not so much with shopping.

5) Are you neat and organized? I go in phases on this—I start out super organized, then slowly grow more and more disorganized until I’ve had enough. Then I tidy things up and start again. I know that I feel much better emotionally and mentally when I’m organized.

6) When was the last time you went more than a day without washing your hair? OMG—if I washed my hair every day it would get so dry it would fall out! I wash my hair every 3 days. The other days I shower and very carefully keep my hair out of the soap and water.

7) When you eat Chinese food, do you use chopsticks or a fork? Fork

8) Are you a good cook? I’m not even going to attempt modesty here—I’m a really good cook. My specialties are spaghetti with meatballs (my go-to “company meal”), homemade soups (I’m planning to make homemade vegetable beef barley soup today), and various chocolate treats. My mom is a fabulous cook and we share recipes all the time.

9) We’re having a party in your honor! Would you prefer a costume party, a bowling party or a pool party? Do I have to pick from these? Can we just get together and eat great little snacks, have some adult beverages available for those who want them, some nice music in the background, and just visit and laugh a lot? That’s what I’d like!


Saturday Nine–Hopelessly Devoted To You

Click to play along!

Click to play along!

1) This is a sad song about unrequited love. What’s your favorite love song, and is it happy or sad? I really like “Taking You Home” sung by Don Henley. It’s about happy, contented, appreciated love.

2) This song is from the Grease soundtrack. When that movie came out in 1978, the price of a postage stamp was just 15¢. When’s the last time you visited the post office? I can’t remember—I buy stamps at the grocery store or online.

3) Not many people know that Olivia’s maternal grandfather, Max Born, won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1954. Share something about yourself that we might not have known before this morning. I am a Brady Bunch trivia expert. Ask me anything. (Not exactly on par with the Nobel Prize, is it?)

4) Olivia’s father was an officer in MI5, the UK’s secret service. Tell us about your most recent encounter with law enforcement. I got pulled over for speeding on the way to work recently—and discovered that I didn’t have my proof of insurance with me. The police officer told me that since I had a clean record he would only ticket me for the lack of insurance, and that I could get it removed by presenting by proof of insurance at the county courthouse within a week—which I did. He was pretty decent about it since he did clock me at going about 15 miles over the limit.

5) Olivia is part owner of an exclusive, luxury retreat called Gaia. If you had a day of free access to a heated pool, golf course, tennis court, gym, and day spa, but could only use one, which one would you choose? Day spa all the way! I’d get a mani-pedi, a massage, and a good haircut.

6) Are you flirtatious? Nope.

7) Do you more often wear silver, gold, or platinum? Yellow gold. I wear gold studs, a thin gold chain, and a gold ring on my right hand ring finger at all times.

8) When you’re on the phone, do you usually make the first move toward ending the call? Or do you find it hard to say goodbye? Depends on who I’m talking to.

9) Would you rather be smarter, richer, or more attractive than you are right now? I’m going to go with more attractive, since I’m not feeling very cute these days. My hair is doing funky things and I can’t figure out why.


Six Word Saturday

Click here to play along!

Click here to play along!

Please–no unexpected guests this morning!

cleaning supplies

My house is a mess. And, since I’m the only human living here, I have no one to blame it on but myself (the cats refuse to do chores). The bathroom needs a good scrubbing, the kitchen needs some serious attention, and I can’t even see the top of my dining room table because of all the mail, paperwork, and general STUFF that has migrated there. I can always tell that I’ve let things go when I start thinking that if someone stopped by unexpectedly, my first impulse would be to visit with them outside and not let them in.

I’ve also discovered that my emotional and mental state of mind seem to be linked to how cluttered (or uncluttered) my environment is. I feel so much more energized when things are picked up and clean!

So–this morning will be devoted to CLEANING and UNCLUTTERING. If I stay focused,  I think things will be under control in  a few hours–feel free to stop by anytime this afternoon!

What about you? What’s on your agenda for this fine Saturday? Please share!


Saturday Nine–You’re So Vain

Click to play along!

Click to play along!

1) Samantha Winters is very vain about her light blonde locks. What’s your best feature? I like my hands and my fingernails. I bit my nails horribly for years, so I love the way they look since I’ve broken that habit.

2) Carly Simon is the daughter of a wealthy family (Simon & Shuster Publishing). Do you think your life would be very different if you knew there was a large sum of inherited money in your future? Hmmm . . . My money philosophy has always been “If you don’t have it, don’t spend it”—so I’m not sure that the mere thought of money coming my way would make much difference. Once I’d actually inherited the money…that would likely cause some lifestyle changes.

3) October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Carly is a proud breast cancer survivor. Has breast cancer — or cancer of any type — touched you, your family or your circle of friends? I’ve been lucky enough than cancer has not touched my immediate family. However, many of my coworkers have survived multiple rounds of various types of cancer.

4) Carly has been known to perform with her sister, Lucy, and their oldest sister Joanna is a mezzo-soprano. Is your family musical? Definitely not! We enjoy listening to music but none of us create it ourselves in any way. (However, I am a big “Car Singer”–but only when I’m alone!)

5) Carly suffers from stage fright, a liability in her profession. When was the last time fear got the better of you? Wow—that’s a good question. I’ve become a lot braver in the past few years–I’m still afraid of things (who isn’t?) but I’m usually able to power through my fears and do or say what needs to be done or said. I really can’t think of a recent time that I didn’t do something because I was afraid.

6) Do you wear hats? Only when shoveling snow. “Hat Hair” is not a good look for me!

7) Autumn is known as “sweater weather.” Is there a chill in the air where you are today? NO—and I wish there was! It’s been rainy and in the 80s all week—hot, humid, and steamy. Bring on the autumn weather, please!

8) Do you drink bottled water? At home I drink straight from the tap. At work I drink from a water cooler. No bottles!

9) What color is your toothbrush? Hang on while I go look . . . it’s clear and hot pink.


Saturday Nine–Ain’t That A Kick In The Head?

Click to play along!

Click to play along!

1) In this song, Dean sings, “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head?” to express how delighted he is to discover the girl loves him. When was the last time you were pleasantly surprised? I was pleasantly surprised when I found a great parking place last night at a very busy restaurant.

2) Martin was born Dino Paul Crochetti, and his family only spoke Italian at home. Do you speak any language other than English? No

3) Before he became an entertainer, Martin fought under the name “Kid Crochett.” Do you watch boxing? What about wrestling? Do you really want to get me started on boxing? Well, OK—since you asked! I don’t consider boxing to be a sport, in that it’s an activity where the best thing you can possibly do is hit someone so hard that you knock them unconscious. I consider that a brawl—not a sport. So NO, I do not watch boxing. (Wow, that was pretty restrained for me—I can usually go on and on about boxing!)

I do consider wrestling (REAL wrestling as opposed to the whole performance-type wrestling stuff) to be a great sport because, no matter what your size, you’re evenly matched and it comes down to pure skill. I like that kind of wrestling but I don’t watch it.

Performance-type wrestling (Hulk Hogan, etc) is pure theater and not a sport. I don’t watch that either.

4) This song appeared in the original Ocean’s 11 (1960). That film was remade in 2001, with basically the same plot — a group of suave criminals knock off the casinos on the Vegas Strip. Why do you think so many movies feature crooks and con men as heroes? I think we secretly admire their nerve and confidence. 

5) Crazy Sam’s college sweetheart took over his family’s wholesale liquor business, married a woman named Helene and has two sons. How does she know this? She checked his Facebook page on the sly. Have you ever used the internet to look up an ex? Yes. That’s actually how I found out that an ex from many years ago had passed away. That’s not the way you want to get that news.

6) As she writes this week’s meme, Sam is sipping from a Big Bang Theory cup that features Sheldon’s face and the word, “Bazinga!” Tell us about your favorite mug or water bottle. I have a very large acrylic cup at my desk at work that has big pink flowers painted on it. It has a cover and a pink straw attached. It looks quite spiffy!

7) Are you a good judge of character? I think I’ve gotten better at this—I’ve learned to go with my gut and I’m almost always right.

8) Do you know how to turn a somersault? I used to—I’m not sure I still can!

9) Which one do you use — roll-on, stick or spray deodorant? I use unscented Sure Stick.


Saturday Nine–Domino

Click to play along!

Click to play along!

1. Have you ever carefully set up dominos and then watched them fall? Or built a house out of playing cards? I’m sure that I did both when I was a kid. But I have to admit—the first thing that comes to mind when I think of building a house of cards is . . . the Brady Bunch episode when the boys and girls were in a “card-house-building contest” on one of the very early episodes. (I can’t quite believe that I just admitted that!)

2. In this week’s song, Big Pink lead vocalist Robbie Furze sings, “The hottest love has the coldest end.” Have you ever had a relationship that started out so promisingly and passionately but then quickly flamed out? Once—it started out as your typical hot young love . . . and then he dumped me. Wow—I haven’t thought about him in years!

3. This is from Big Pink’s CD, A Brief History of Love. What about your personal history of love? How many times would say you have truly been in love? Twice. (Neither time was with the guy referred to above!)

4. Nicki Minaj sampled this song for her own, “Girls Fall Like Dominos.” Nicki won’t be back on American Idol this season. Is your reaction a) delight or b) sadness or c) a yawn. I haven’t watched American Idol for the last couple of seasons, and I’m not too familiar with all the hot new singers—so I have to say I have no idea who this person is. I couldn’t pick her out of a crowd.

5. While nationally the news centers on foreign policy and the economy, Sam’s hometown is abuzz over the new Asian-fusion restaurant on Main Street and whether it can get a liquor license. What’s the big local story where you are? A schoolbus driver in a nearby suburb has been charged with drunken driving.

 6. Mary Jane Kelley is believed to be the fifth and final victim of Jack the Ripper. OK, now it’s your turn. Share a random fact that’s rattling around in your brain. Talk about being put on the spot. . . I’ve been staring at this for at least 5 minutes, and I’ve got nothing. I usually feel like my brain is full of randomness! Not today, apparently. Moving on , , ,

7. Crazy Sam cursed last night when she dropped a can of tomato paste on her foot. (Hey! It really hurt!) When was the last time you swore? I don’t remember—I’m sure it was over something ridiculous at work.

8. Sam has a grocery bag filled with hoodies and t-shirts she no longer wants and plans to take them to The Salvation Army store. What do you do with your gently used clothes? Toss them or donate them or hand them down to a friend or relative? I donate clothes to several local charities about four times each year.

9. Do you blush easily? I’m a fair skinned blonde—when I was in my teens and early 20’s I blushed extremely easily and I was really self conscious about it. I still blush now, but not nearly as often—and it doesn’t bother me as much.


Saturday 9–Come Monday

Click to play along!

Click to play along!

1) What will you be doing come Monday (Labor Day)? Not much! I’ll be with family on Sunday, but Monday will hopefully be a pretty lazy day since I have the day off from work.

2) This song is about a performer who is “heading up to San Francisco for the Labor Day weekend show.” When you think of San Francisco, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Cable cars! I’ve been to San Francisco twice and riding the cable cars is so much fun. I love San Francisco.

3) As he sings, Buffett tells us he’s wearing Hush Puppies casual shoes. What’s on your feet as you answer these nine questions? Does nail polish count? Other than that, I’m barefoot!

4) So many Jimmy Buffett songs take place on or around the water. When was the last time you were on a boat? About ten years ago I was on a dinner cruise as part of a sales conference.

5) Everyone knows Jimmy Buffett can write music, but he also has more than half a dozen books to his credit. What’s the last book you read? I read all the time. The last book I finished was The Astronaut Wives Club, which is a nonfiction book about (who else?) the wives of the astronauts in the 1960’s-1970’s.

6) Jimmy’s persona is that of a simple beach bum, but in reality he’s a conglomerate, with his own beverage company, more than a dozen restaurants and a couple hotels. He’s so successful he has several homes, including a luxury mansion in the Hamptons! If you, like Buffett, could just take off and spend Labor Day weekend anywhere, where would you go? Who would you take along? Honestly, right now, the mere thought of packing and traveling to go somewhere exhausts me! I’d stay right here. I’m kind of a homebody at heart, I guess.

7) This weekend may offer a golden opportunity for napping and sleeping in. Do you snore? I’ve been told that I do not.

8) Labor Day was introduced to celebrate the achievements of the American worker. Yet this Recession has taken its toll on many of us laborers. Sam’s brother, a movie projectionist, hasn’t worked full-time in his chosen profession in more than a year. Is anyone close to you struggling with unemployment or underemployment? (If so, they are in our thoughts this weekend, too.) Everyone I am close to is employed. I’m lucky—it’s rough out there.

9) Onto something happier … Labor Day traditionally marks the beginning of the new school year. When she was a kid, Samantha was crazy for her brand new box of 96 Crayola Crayons. It even had a sharpener in the back! What do you remember about preparing to go back to school? If you’re a parent with schoolage kids, are they ready? I LOVED the first day of school, both as a student and as a teacher. As a kid, I remember that my mom took my photo every year on the first day–every year up through high school! I’m sure there were years that I rolled my eyes, but it’s a lot of fun looking at those pictures now!

As a teacher, there are always two first days–first day of faculty meetings, and the first day with the kids. I was always so excited to meet the kids in my new classes on the first day and start to figure out what the personality of each class would be. I left teaching almost twenty years ago, and I still have “school dreams” every August.


Saturday 9–Easy Lover

Saturday 9
Click here to play along!

1) This song is about a heartbreaker who just can’t commit. Have you ever fallen for an “easy lover?”

I have–but I’m usually the one who has the commitment issues.

2) This song is one of Crazy Sam’s “earwigs.” Each time she hears it, it bores in and stays in her head forever!  Do you have a song like that? 

Lately I’ve had “Just Give Me A Reason” by Pink and Nate Ruess in my head—so far I’m not tired of it.

3) Both Phil Collins and Philip Bailey have stars on The Hollywood Walk of Fame. Have you ever visited Hollywood? 

I went to LA on vacation once when I was a kid, but I don’t remember going to Hollywood specifically.

4) Hollywood is the movie capital of the world. What’s the last movie you saw in the theater?

Wow—it’s been a really long time. I think it might have been The Help, which was at least a year ago, right? There just haven’t been that many movies lately that I want to see—although I probably will go see The Butler and the new movie about Steve Jobs.

5) Phil Collins was a child actor in his native England, appearing onstage in musicals like Oliver! Can you think of another child performer who went on to entertainment industry success as an adult?

I always think of Ron Howard as an example of a childhood star who grew up to be scandal-free and successful—although he is now on the other side of the camera.
6) Philip Bailey joined Earth, Wind & Fire while still in college, so he’s been a performer throughout his working life, as well. Have you ever been tempted to try your hand at show biz?


7) Is there a profession that you never, under any circumstances, want to try?

I would never want to be a 911 dispatcher.

8) What are you looking forward to right now?

After a very hectic week at work, today I’m looking forward to an easy, lazy Saturday—some reading, some playing with pets, some napping, and some homemade enchiladas for dinner tonight.

9) Do you suffer from trypanophobia (fear of needles/injections)? Or can you bravely donate blood or get a shot, without freaking out? 

Getting shots are no problem at all for me. I can have blood drawn if I don’t watch and if I don’t think about what is actually happening. I get queasy and lightheaded if I think about the blood drawing process while it’s going on.