Mar. 30: Spring break adventures

We went to Seattle for part of spring vacation this year. We go up there several times a year, actually, and Victor lived up there forEVER, but it had been a long time since we’d played for-realsies tourists. It was a quick, jam-packed trip. Here are the deets. (Most of the images are clickable.)


Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale…

After leaving Portland, our first stop was the Nike Clearance Store in Centralia.
It’s different than the Nike stores at most outlet malls
—better deals, better selection—
and is always Jack’s favorite part of heading up I-5.
He even talked us into stopping again on the way home.

We drove on to Lacey and I got to visit Shipwreck Beads, the biggest bead store you ever did see,
while the rest of my family wandered a preferable (to them) bead-free shopping center.

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The massive store was completely overwhelming, and I didn’t even spend much $$.
I can’t promise that the next time I go, though.

We had dinner at BBQ Pete’s, a Kent restaurant that’s been around for years.
You don’t think of Kent as being a city of good eateries, but WOW, Pete’s was fantastic.
I mean, ribs, beef brisket, pulled pork, delicious sauces… it’s all good.
We might have had another meal there before we left for home.

bbqpetes

Jake had a track meet in Woodinville one afternoon,
which was actually the event that led us to Seattle in the first place.
It was fun to see him compete, especially because he (and his team) won every dash and relay in which he ran.
We were a proud uncle, aunt, and cousins.

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We were grateful for rare nice weather, and spent as much time as we could out in it.
One day was all about Pike Place Market.

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We tried the world’s best macaroni and cheese,
saw a very long line at the original Starbucks,
watched those dudes toss fish until I couldn’t stand the stench anymore,
and spent way too much time searching for the Gum Wall.

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It was disgusting and funny.
(We didn’t create the “K & J” but couldn’t resist taking a pic of it.)
Katie tried to put a piece of her gum on the wall but it fell right off.
Oh well. At least we tried to play along.

We made a quick detour to Wallingford to shop at Archie McPhee,
where Katie got a handicorn and I bought a silly Jane Austen treat for Mother Mary.

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Jack and I visited the Seattle Aquarium.
I loves me some otters.
They have river otters and sea otters, and in case you don’t know the difference, here’s a pic of the sign.
(The only river otter I’ve seen before was at the High Desert Museum and he was a dick.)
The Seattle river otters wouldn’t sit still for a pic, but they sure did poop everywhere.
The sea otters were silly little goofballs and fun to watch.
I’m pretty sure they love putting on The Show.

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The jellyfish were mesmerizing,
and the harbor seals were cute.
Not sea otter-cute, but not I-want-to-club-them ugly.
Lucky for them.

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I thought the Seattle Great Wheel would be huge, like the wheels in London and Paris.
This thing was puny, like it was borrowed from a parking lot carnival.
Vic, who is not a fan of heights, thought it was pa-lenty big.

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We did the CenturyLink Field tour, and while the field was
disappointingly set up as a soccer pitch, the tour was still fascinating.
Our guide showed us how to see into the Seahawks’ locker room:
put a camera phone up to the crack in the door and zoom in.
Sure enough, it worked!

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“The State of Football” was a really cool display of all
the high school football helmets of Washington State.
My favorite moment of stadium-related things was being on Edgar Martinez Drive.
Edgar is my all-time favorite Mariner.
(“It’s a light bat!”)


Thoughts on Seattle:

  • OMG, the traffic sucks. It is soooo much worse than Portland, and at all times of day, and turned us into potty-mouths. Someday I want to make the trip by Amtrak.
  • Seattle kinda seems like Portland on steroids—the environmentalism, overall pride in its weird-ness, Starbucks saturation, weather. (I don’t hate that.)
  • There were “12”s everywhere, on everything. I like seeing the city band together as fans of their team. (No wonder Loveliest Lori hates Seattle!)
  • They sure do miss their NBA team. You make the mistake of mentioning it to the wrong person and get a lot of bitterness tossed back atcha. Jack got a Gary Payton jersey at one of the many, many team gear stores we visited. There’s still a LOT of Sonics stuff around. I don’t get that, but whatevs.
  • There are a lot of casinos in the outlying areas of Seattle. Just… a lot.
  • Mt. Rainier is beautiful and majestic, but nothing beats Portland’s beautiful peak. Mt. Hood was all aglow as we crossed the I-205 bridge, almost like she was welcoming us home by reminding us how pretty she is.

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One of the best ways to end a vacation like this is to have your husband drop you off at Val’s house before you even get home. That way you don’t have to help unload the car AND you get to see your best girls and clink many glasses. Then the next day you’re reminded that vodka is your enemy but still don’t wish you’d gone straight home. And then the NEXT day, when your sides are still aching from Buddha-knows-what, you have to have someone drive you over to Val’s to pick up your eyeglasses and wonder if MAYBE you should’ve gone straight home from Seattle after all. In fact, how did you even get home from Val’s? You don’t want to know. (But some pathetic person might have puked in Vic’s car and Val’s driveway at the same time. Someone might have really bad aim. Someone might regret so many, many things.)

Happy spring! :)

jenblogsig2015

Mar. 20: Please learn my kids stuff

I know I speak for many parents when I say how frustrating it is to tell your kids the same things, over and over, and they STILL don’t get it. There are the standards, like:

  • meanmomWash your hands
  • Wipe your feet
  • Clean your room
  • Turn lights off when you leave a room
  • Do your homework before you go out and play
  • Don’t fart in the car

My children fail at these standards 70 percent of the time, or it seems that way. Grrrrr! But there are other concepts they refuse to learn, too, the ones that you think are common sense but find, in many unfortunate ways, that they are not common sense to your (apparently) deaf children. For instance, I actually had this conversation the other day:

Me: OK, I just picked up four towels off the floor of your bathroom. If a towel falls down, PICK IT UP.

Jack: But what if it’s Katie’s towel?

Me, incredulous and through clenched teeth: YES, even then.

Since it seems my kids still haven’t learned the things I’ve repeatedly tried to teach them, I’d like to suggest a possible solution.

LET’S TRADE KIDS.

I’m not being Lazy Momma; I’m simply out of ideas after my gazillionth effort to get my kids to follow some really basic rules. Maybe they’ll listen to someone else. It takes a village, right? So, just for a couple hours one day, maybe we could teach each other’s children how to be decent human beings. Perhaps hearing it from someone else’s mouth can make the difference? Besides the ones listed above, here are a few of the ideas I want my children to grasp:

  • Clean clothes belong in your dresser and/or closet; dirty clothes go in a hamper. There is absolutely no debate on this issue.
  • Garbage goes in a trash receptacle, not on the ground and not on your bedroom floor.
  • If you spill something, clean it up. If you don’t know how to clean it up, ask.
  • Food in your bedroom = ants in the whole house.
  • If you’ve washed your hands thoroughly, the hand towel should not be filthy.
  • You can’t wear the same [article of clothing] five days in a row. Two is probably pushing it.
  • Do not leave the house without having brushed your teeth. This is another “no debate” thing. Bonus: you’ll make friends!
  • You may “hate” your sibling, but you still need to treat him/her decently.
  • A glob of toothpaste in the sink turns to cement if you don’t clean it up immediately. And it’s really easy to clean up immediately…. so… clean it up immediately.
  • Would it kill you to offer to help out with household chores?
  • Your toys (iDevices, video game consoles, sports gear) are expensive. Treat them with care.
  • Seriously, stop farting in the car.

I’m ready to draw up a chart to schedule all our children to rotate houses until we’re not embarrassed to release them to the general public. Yes?

Yes.

jc

jenblogsig2015

Feb. 23: Logic? What’s that?

Do you ever find yourself getting angry at really, really stupid things? Yeah, me neither. But if I wasn’t so calm and even-keeled all the time (cough!) and DID let myself get mad at anything, it wouldn’t be jerk-ass politicians or anti-vaxxers, it’d probably just be stuff like this:

  • Side-by-side cabinet doors that don’t align properly. I think it’s due to house-settling, but it’s also possible we live right on top of a fault line. I know our crawl space is pretty deep…
  • The possum that just moved into the neighborhood and likes to walk on our fence. Thanks to our beagle’s twilight “aroooooo”-ing, everyone knows about the possum from here to the next county over.
  • Things I’ve misplaced and searched for and still can’t find.
  • benfquote Sinuses. I’ve had it with mine and would like them removed, thank you.
  • Over-enthusiastic parents that sit next to me for youth sports. The other day the score was something like 54-7, and some dork kept saying to other parents of the loser team, “Well, they got heart! You can’t deny they got heart!” If I’d known whose kid belonged to them, I’d have wanted to yell out, “Hey YOU. Your dad thinks you suck and you do! And bee-tee-dubs, your jersey’s tucked into your underwear.”
  • Also sports-related: I don’t know the first thing about coaching a basketball team, but somewhere in the rec league coaches’ manual there are apparently instructions to leave rebounds to the professionals. Here’s my play-by-play of every single game so far: A kid tries to make a basket and EVERY OTHER KID ON THE COURT stops to see if it goes in (it doesn’t), and then a kid from the opposing team catches it and dribbles down the court. Repeat 7,398 times. Hear Jen scream. I know, rec league players are rec league players because they aren’t good enough to play in a real league, but COME ON. Even *I* know that rebounds are… things… you should try to… get.
  • Kanye West. Seriously, people need to stop letting him do stuff. He is not the artistic force he thinks he is.
  • People who drive under the speed limit. People like my husband.
  • People who don’t obey traffic signs. “No turn on red” means WAIT, idiot. (That is NOT my husband. He obeys all the traffic signs that don’t have big numbers on them.)
  • Broken stuff in my house.
  • Broken stuff in my body.
  • Madonna, trying way too hard. Sure, she looks good for being 85 years old, but WOMAN, PUT ON SOME FRIGGIN’ PANTS.
  • And speaking of trying way too hard… Lady Gaga. My tune changed—slightly—when I realized she can play the piano and therefore might actually have some talent, but generally speaking, she is close to Kardashian-level overrated. And while her performance on the Oscars last night wasn’t the worst thing ever, by far, if you ask me, she had no business imitating Dame Julie.
  • Dog hair everywhere.
  • Text-speak. Well, text-spell, anyway. C U L8R, really? Is it really that hard to spell out “see you later,” especially with auto-complete on your phone??? Answer: it isn’t. So stop. I can’t read it.
  • People who don’t proofread their texts before tapping “send,” making them impossible to understand. (Although sometimes that ends up being hilariously make-fun-of-able, amirite, Theresa???)
  • Emoticons that don’t exist: the rolling eyes, the puking face…
  • Those blue-ish headlights. They make my eyes scream.
  • Muscle cars. Also antique cars—I just don’t understand the point. When I was a kid my dad bought an old car, and I would watch him night after night in the garage, restoring it. I remember asking “why?” an awful lot.
  • Bananas that turn brown the second you bring them home.
  • Weeds. Not weed. Weeds. Especially when they really ugly-up the yard but it’s too muddy to go out and dig them up.
  • How my kid thinks I’m the meanest mom EVER because I remind him to do two things every day: practice piano and brush his teeth. Even with my nagging, he still manages to get out of doing one or both. At least he doesn’t tuck his jersey into his underwear.

Anything driving you crazy? Feel free to share. This is a safe place.

jenblogsig2015

Jan. 30: Chuckle rerun

I promise I’m not going to start re-running all my old posts, but this popped up in Timehop this morning and I just had to share it. Again. Here are funny tweets from five-ish years ago. They made me LOL this morning.

MikeyADHD MOMMY DOESN'T LET ME KEEP TWO OF THE SAME HAPPY MEAL TOYS CAUSE SHE KNOWS I WILL SET ONE OF THEM ON FIRE.tw1

fireland You ever get drunk and buy something online but forget all about it until she shows up on your porch, yelling something in Russia-talk?

CranberryPerson Almost barfed on my morning run. Dunno if it was because I've been sick for weeks, or if I had too much red wine for breakfast.

lonelysandwich Really, Art Linkletter? I've heard darnder.

This is Stephen Colbert: StephenAtHome these boots were made for walking as well as kicking over office chairs when my assistant brings the wrong coffee

I don’t know if the links to their Twitter profiles still work. I guess you’ll just have to click and see.

Moltz Oh, the things these walls would say if they could talk! Same thing with the gagged hostages! And if I untie them, oh, the places they'd go!tw2

secretsquirrel Listen, it says right here "Petting Zoo" and 'heavy' IS a kind of petting so either leave us alone or help me get this llama's bra off.

wordlust The worst threat to a marriage isn’t the seven-year itch—it’s the two-and-a-half-year skidmark.

biorhythmist Are you not familiar with the concept of a wet nurse? Anyway, I'll give your baby back if you apologize for yelling at me in the food court.

biorhythmist Oh, ANISE. Sorry, yeah, that's why these cookies taste horrible.

If they do work, and if you check in at Twitter once in a while, you’ll do your laugh-er good to follow them.

CranberryPerson My dad taught me how to throw a baseball. I taught my son that you can get 1ups if Mario repeatedly jumps on the same turtle shell.tw3

sween My wife leaves for girls' night. I go upstairs and put the toilet seat up. Just to remember I can. Then I put it down. I'm not an idiot.

strutting Crap. Just toppled my pile of clothes. I didn't know that was a load-bearing sweater.

Moltz I'm pleased to report that tonight at dinner Hank figured out the most important rule of football: "The Cowboys smell like poopie monkeys."

GorillaSushi Sometime you want to do GREAT things with your life. Then you DO THEM! And then you think "maybe homemade hot dogs weren't the best idea".

I don’t do Twitter much these days. These make me think I need to change that.

CranberryPerson I had to promise my kid I wouldn't play Mario while he was sick in bed, and now he's playing without me! AIN'T NO WII AT MILITARY SCHOOL.tw4

samhey I'm about to get savage up in this bitch. And by 'get savage' I mean clip my toenails and by 'bitch' I mean adorable terrycloth bathrobe.

biorhythmist Can you believe this guy watching porn on the bus over my shoulder?

sween How to wear a fedora: 1) Be Indiana Jones. 2) Stop chuckling. I'm serious. 3) Hey. Numbnuts. You're not Indiana Jones. Take it off.

luckyshirt SCIENCE FACT: If you took all of the veins from your body and laid them end to end, you would die.

I do loves the funnies.

hotdogsladies When I sautée green peppers, I often remove the tiny slivers from the sticker I forgot to remove. That's how you know I'm a "foodie."tw5

phillygirl Had full-fat salad dressing & did not immediately become obese. I'm baffled. Also, it tasted like...flavor? Yes, that must have been flavor.

copyblogger Funniest country song lyric ever: "I'm at home getting hammered while she's out getting nailed."

CranberryPerson The three Ms of parenting: McDonald's, movies, and I forget the other one but who cares because 67% is still a passing grade most places.

Zaius13 Submitting a picture of Mickey Rourke to crappytaxidermy.com.

But I already waste too much time on social media.

cpinck Who’s got two thumbs and might be doing this police lineup wrong?tw6

EffingBoring You'll be *falling* in love to the rhythm of a steel drum band? So you aren't *in* love yet? WHY DID YOU AGREE TO GO TO KOKOMO WITH THIS GUY

MrBigFists Looking at my resume. Says here, I left a job in 95 due to "Gross Incontinence." That can't be right... Oh. Yeah. No, that's totally right.

wigu Women. They don't want you to sing about poop, and they don't want you to sing about NOT singing about poop.

bcompton For every communicable disease I get from my son that he got from school, I teach him a new swear.

OK, just a few more…

FakeAPStylebook Avoid corporate buzzwords such as "paradigm" and "synergy." Simply use "bullshit."tw7

paul_e_wog I *hate* traveling. They're all "take off your shoes!", "take off your belt!", "no fluids!" It's like TSA hired all of my ex-girlfriends.

adamisacson They say 1 glass of wine a day is good for your heart. But what about 7 glasses of wine once a week? I'll let you know how that works out.

CranberryPerson My three year old just berated some toys for being "nerds." Dunno where he learned that, but I can never let him see my old yearbooks now.

exframebuilder On public toilet wall, "My mother made me a homosexual." Underneath, "If I bought the yarn, could she make one for me."

Just kidding. There are lots more.

gordonshumway I always get chloroform confused with chlorophyll. This guy I kidnapped is awake and angry but his leaves have never been more lush.tw8

MooeyTie Sorry about that accidental flatulence, WalMart. Although, I'm pretty confident that you won't notice.

CranberryPerson Asking guests to make donations in lieu of gifts for a 7 yr old's birthday party will teach the kid an important lesson- get better parents.

_loveclaire It's not that I hate my downstairs neighbors, I just want to put them on a rocket ship and aim it at a giant planet made entirely of shit.

phillygirl Boy with toy laptop sits next to me w/my real one. "I brought mine,too," he says. I warn him about the patchy wifi. He nods in appreciation.

For realsies, now, I’m almost done.

FakeAPStylebook Don't use two words when you can use one, unless those two words are "chainsaw duel" because that's awesome, dude.tw9

Dogphorisms Humans call it a gerbil cage, but it’s a mesmerizing combination of TV, the Internet, and a lunch box to me.

FanEffingTastic No sweetie, we don't call it "drunk" anymore. Mommy is just alcohol enhanced.

ladawn Nothing like parent drop-off in the rain to make you...OMG MOVE YOU ASSHOLE...oh, sorry Ms. Jones, see you at parent-teacher conference!

Dogphorisms Oh garbage can lid, foul garbage can lid... Merciless gatekeeper of heaven! What did I ever do to you?

This is the last bunch. Promise.

essdogg Paula Deen just discarded the egg whites and kept the yolks. Run away with me, you sexy minx, you!tw99

fireland YOU KNOW I DON'T LIKE BEING INTERRUPTED DURING SOUR CREAM TIME

MooeyTie Isn't it possible that there actually were chocolate covered candy hearts to give away, but Stevie Wonder just couldn't see them?

lafix Lube, batteries, wine & a wheel of Brie are the ingredients of homemade shark repellent when a nosy kid looking in your cart asks.

fireland Woke up in the ball pit at McDonald's, underwear full of dollar bills. So far, best birthday ever.

It feels like winter in Portland today, but it looks like summer so I’ll take it. Not a bad way to (almost) end January.

jenblogsig2015

Jan. 26: Choosing joy (between clenched teeth)

My self-improvement effort this year is to choose joy; when faced with a situation that has the potential to super-duper piss me off, I want to try NOT to be pissed off. I don’t know if that’s how everyone else defines the “choosing joy” thing, but that’s how I’m doing it, because it has the greatest potential to being life-changing for me. I realize this is a very lofty goal. ;)

understand-people-seinfeldWhen crossed, my usual first reaction is to defend myself. This might be because I’m human, but also because dissension and confrontation make my heart beat too fast and I prefer for everyone to always be on the same side for always and ever ever ever… or at least not to be assholes. During the State of the Union address last week, when so many Republicans refused to applaud or even pay attention to what the president was saying? Oh. Em. Gee. That made me furious, not because they disagreed with the president (that’s their right), but because their behavior was completely childish. And while I know we’ll never reach consensus on how this country should best be run, do we have to be assholes?

(That answer for many would, apparently, be “Yes, because Obama.”)

 joy Choose joy, Jen. Choose it. It’s right there. Embrace it.

Ooooooommmmmmmmm…

Sometimes I read the news and think, “Why is this news?” because the issue seems so the-answer-is-clear-why-would-anyone-argue-with-this? straightforward. Example: “bee stings hurt!” Duh. They do. That’s probably 95 percent fact (I suppose some people like ‘em). Not news.

Articles about the importance of getting our kids vaccinated so we don’t revive long-dead pandemic diseases? WHY IS THIS NEWS? It’s news because people have chosen not to vaccinate after a few celebrities said vaccinations are bad. Not scientists, or physicians, or people who actually know what they’re talking about, but people who are beautiful and happen to have a platform.

Brilliant parenting move, people. Brilliant move, too, as a member of the human race.

I take these irresponsible decisions personally, because my immune system was completely zapped during chemotherapy. I did my best to stay away from places where I could easily be infected—airplanes, crowds in general—but couldn’t avoid the occasional risk. The idea that someone I encountered might be carrying measles, and my body couldn’t have fought it off? Geez. It’s scary to think there are people out there who don’t even know they have a weakened immune system, and they go on a little ol’ vacation and come home with the Plague. (Worst souvenir ever.)

There was a piece in The Onion last week about parents’ choice to immunize their kids. It’s satire, but only barely.10428432_10155228305585624_8585930351024235717_n

joy So, I’d love to choose joy when I read about WHY people aren’t vaccinating their kids, but it ain’t easy.

Same thing, though slightly less significant for the short term, with, saaaay, climate change deniers. How do people so easily disregard scientific facts? And how is that EVER a political issue?

It kinda reminds me about a Sabbath School teacher who insisted dinosaurs, like unicorns, weren’t real because they weren’t mentioned in the Bible. I remember wondering then, even at nine years old, what those huge fossils archaeologists had found were, if dinosaurs never existed.

Goodness and gracious. Serenity now.

My biggest challenge, obviously, is choosing joy when I see absolutely no joy in or around a situation. It becomes even more challenging when the situation involves people who have attacked me personally. I asked a very wise friend about how to deal with these things better, and she assured me that karma is a very real thing; if I can believe that all people eventually get what they deserve, I can probably back off from my need to exact revenge on the mean ones. She was very right.

I’m not perfect, and there’s still time for me to get fed up with choosing joy, but nowadays, when rotten stuff comes along and I just can’t get it out of my head, my method of coping goes like this:

  1. I remind myself that we get out of life what we put in. When I’m especially hurt or angry, I like to think of driving the karma bus through a parking lot full of mean people. (I don’t think that’s exactly what my wise friend had in mind, but hey, it works for me.)
  2. I watch cat videos on the Internet, read quotes about kindness and authenticity, pet my critters, cook stuff, or clean.
  3. I make a conscious choice not to be angry, hurt, or sad about things/people not in my control.
  4. Sometimes it works. More often than not, it works.todayiwillchoosejoy

If you’re looking to be less critical and/or bothered by the things around you, here’s my advice to you:

  1. Ignore it if you can.
  2. Distract yourself.
  3. Express yourself in a way that will not hurt others (write in a journal, create something, scream into a pillow)
  4. If possible, find a way to fix the things that bother you—as Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
  5. If those things don’t work, avoid people and weapons and alcohol and posting on Facebook. In other words, don’t be an asshole.

Take it from me, because, y’know, I have no idea what I’m talking about.

jenblogsig2015

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