Dec. 31: Non-emotional scars

I was two years old and walking on the high cement wall around the Jacksonville museum when I slipped off it and got a teeny-tiny owie. Mom says I screamed and cried forever, and "bled like a stuck pig." I have one memory of it, and that is of the doctor putting two little bandages in an x-shape on the side of my face. For all the drama, that was all he had to do to protect my gaping wound? What a quack. But for all that drama, I do have a lasting token: a scar near my left eye that looks like a dimple when I smile. Also, when we drove past the museum last year I was surprised to see that the "wall" at its highest was only a few inches above the sidewalk. Hm.

A few years after that, I was riding my bike around our cul-de-sac. Mom had told me, as always, to stay on the sidewalk. At the very end of the cul-de-sac I rode out of one driveway into the street and immediately turned into another one to get back to the sidewalk. That was my intention, anyway. In the adrenaline surge of my first taste of street racing, I fell off my bike. Blood began to run from my knee down my light blue sock. I don't remember if I ran or rode home and I don't remember if I ever admitted what really happened, but besides ruining my sock, there was a gruesome scar afterward that always reminded me of the one time (ha!) I disobeyed my mother.

Fast forward 20 years to a sunny afternoon outside my apartment building in Johns Landing. I had just picked up my mail and was reading it as I walked through the parking lot. I stepped in a pothole and fell, breaking a metatarsal in my right foot and impaling my left knee on a large rock. This was my first broken bone. Memorable, yes, but oh-so-painful. The good news? The hole in my knee was exactly where the scar was from falling off my bike in the street. Now there's no proof I ever rebelled against Mom. (I've broken my feet eleventy times since then. I'm more than just a klutz, though. I think I'm also a little bit tender-boned. I don't know if that's actually possible, to be tender-boned, but I'm gonna say it is. Most of the time my feet have broken it's because I run into a chair leg or door frame, stuff that everybody does occasionally. But I always seem to break a bone when I do it. I'm special.)

On February 9, 2000 I got another scar, but I was given a gorgeous baby girl in exchange. Someone slashed me in the same place 21 months later, and I got a goofy looking baby boy that time. As proud I am of the reasons I have these scars, unlike Britney Spears, I'm not real eager to show them off every time I step out of a car. Besides, I'd have to move my droopy belly out of the way first, and I just don't have that kind of energy.

I read recently, "your scars indicate what type of life you've lived." My scars say I'm clumsier than hell, but they also say that I'm a mom. Not a bad thing at all.


Dec. 30: What's in your wallet?

The things I seem to need with me at all times:

  1. Oregon driver license, expires on my birthday in 2012. According to the state, I wear corrective lenses and am an organ donor. I don't wear corrective lenses. The state also says I weigh 135 pounds. Silly Oregon.
  2. Clackamas County library card
  3. Hollywood Video rental card
  4. Blockbuster Video rental card, issued 5/8/03. I haven't been there in years, but it has nothing to do with owing them, like, $12 in late fees for "The Wedding Singer."
  5. Bi-Mart membership card (issued 6/16/88, it still says "Jennifer Saltmarsh")
  6. list of my physicians and the medications I take, last updated in March 2006
  7. old medical insurance card
  8. new medical insurance card
  9. 2 39-cent postage stamps, snowflake design
  10. 1 63-cent postage stamp, Bryce Canyon design (used for sending out the Christmas cards that contained CDs)
  11. Albertsons Preferred Savings card
  12. Costco membership card, issued 6/97
  13. AAA membership card, issued 1997
  14. Hallmark Gold Crown card
  15. Safeway Club card (a new one, since those $%@#-ers got my phone number wrong when I first signed up and I finally decided to stop trying to get it corrected). I despise Safeway for oh-so-many reasons.
  16. Visa
  17. MasterCard
  18. debit card
  19. Great Harvest bread card ("buy 12 loaves, get the 13th free!"). #1-7 are checked. I was supposed to get a free cookie with #6 but I forgot.
  20. 2 Disney Store coupons for 15% off next purchase, good 11/1/06-11/13/06
  21. Eddie Bauer outlet store preferred shopper card ("Get 5 stamps. Get 10% off!"). I've got one stamp. Card valid 1/1/05 through 12/31/05.
  22. $1 bill
  23. $5 bill
  24. $10 bill
  25. 2 nickels
  26. 1 quarter
  27. 5 pennies (one is of questionable value, as Lincoln is completely obscured by some gooey unidentifiable substance ... where's my blacklight?)

OK, your turn.

Dec. 28: Carla Duncan, Carla Duncan

Carla Duncan, where are you? I've been trying to send a reply to your message from months ago but it keeps bouncing back. Send me your new e-mail address!

Dec. 27: My Christmas review

  • The work my mom started doing in my house the minute she arrived: 1 meelion stars
  • Friends and family we spent our Christmas with: 5 stars
  • Lucy, Erin & Kevin's pug puppy, not christening anything in our house: 5 stars
  • Airline dependability: 2 stars
  • Adorability of Presley: 5 stars
  • Sonya's new massage chair: 4 stars
  • Sonya sharing her new massage chair: 5 stars
  • Mail service in Colorado: negative 15 stars
  • Jack's new GeoTrax Rail & Road system: 5 stars
  • Toys that require weird size batteries no normal person would ever have in their home on Christmas morning: 0 stars
  • Stepping on parts of the GeoTrax Rail & Road system: 0 @$#&% stars
  • The Christmas dinner that Darlene & Sonya prepared: 5 stars
  • Katie & Jack's embarrassingly picky eating at Christmas dinner: 0 stars
  • The Tickle-Me-Erin, our newly invented beverage of Shasta Tiki Punch and Midori: 5 stars
  • Our Christmas CD this year: 5 stars (if I do say so myself)
  • Number of cards we received vs. number we sent: 4 stars
  • Hilarity of people wondering, after reading our Christmas letter, if I really did get a boob job in 2006: 5 stars
  • Rain, not snow, on Christmas: 0 stars
  • John's awesome gift to Lori: 5 stars
  • Sharing my seester: 1 star
  • What Santa brought me: 5 stars
  • Santa bringing gifts even though I was probably on the naughty list: 5 stars
  • Santa using "stocking too small" as an excuse not to get me a pony: 0 stars
  • My embarrassment at receiving the new Justin Timberlake CD for Christmas (which I asked for): 3 stars
  • Finding out that Daryl also received the CD (which he also asked for): 5 stars!
  • Christmas trees that dry out way too soon: 0 stars
  • Ending the Christmas holiday with a hacking cough and stuffy head: 0 stars

Dec. 27: The Pro Plan Diet

Funny story making the rounds on the 'net:

I was in Petsmart buying a large bag of Pro Plan today and was in line to check out. A woman behind me asked if I had a dog... Duh!

I was feeling a bit crabby so on impulse, I told her no, I was starting the Pro Plan Diet again, although I probably shouldn't because I ended up in the hospital last time, but that I'd lost 50 pounds before I awakened in an intensive care unit with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and IVs in both arms. Her eyes about bugged out of her head.

I went on and on with the bogus diet story and she was totally buying it.

I told her that it was an easy, inexpensive diet and that the way it works is to load your pockets or purse with Pro Plan nuggets and simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry. The package said the food is nutritionally complete so I was going to try it again.

I have to mention here that practically everyone in the line was by now enthralled with my story, particularly a tall guy behind her.

Horrified, she asked if something in the dog food had poisoned me and was that why I ended up in the hospital.

I said no, I'd been sitting in the street licking my butt when a car hit me.

I thought the tall guy was going to have to be carried out the door.

Dec. 24: The Santa Land Diaries

If you've never heard David Sedaris tell of his experiences as "Crumpet," a Macy's Department Store elf at Christmastime, listen to the audio here, courtesy of NPR. It's about nine minutes long and totally worth it.

A bit of trivia: In the movie "Elf" (one of the best Christmas movies ever, IMO), when Buddy approaches Jovie she asks, "Did Crumpet put you up to this?" Coincidence? I think not.

We're getting ready for our traditional Christmas Eve dinner of Chinese food. Nummers. This year we've got 16 people around the table. Yikes. Come on by, and we'll serenade you with an exuberant "Fa ra ra ra ra..."

Happy Christmas Eve Day and many lovies!


Dec. 21: Christmas crap?

Found at this morning:

Pooping Peasant Popular in Spain

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) -- The Virgin Mary. The three kings. A few wayward sheep. These are the figures one expects to find in a traditional Christmas nativity scene. Not a smartly dressed peasant squatting behind a rock with his rear-end exposed.

Yet statuettes of "El Caganer," or the great defecator in the Catalan language, can be found in nativity scenes, and increasingly on the mantelpieces of collectors, throughout Spain's northeastern Catalonia region, where for centuries symbols of defecation have played an important role in Christmas festivities.

During the holiday season, pastry shops around Catalonia sell sweets shaped like feces, and on Christmas Eve Catalan children beat a hollow log, called the tio, packed with holiday gifts, singing a song that urges it to defecate presents out the other end.

These traditions, in the case of the caganer dating back as far as the 17th century, come from an agricultural society where defecation was associated with fertility and health.

While the traditional caganer is a red-capped peasant, more modern renditions have gained popularity in recent years.

Um, this might just be the weirdest Christmas tradition I've ever heard.

Dec. 21: Modern maladies

(from today's Yahoo! News)

PARIS (AFP) - The Internet has given birth to a quirky range of modern addictions and maladies, the British weekly New Scientist says in its Christmas issue published this Saturday.

They include these:

- EGO-SURFING: When you frequently check your name and reputation on the Internet.

- BLOG STREAKING: "Revealing secrets or personal information online which for everybody's sake would be best kept private."

- CRACKBERRY: "The curse of the modern executive: not being able to stop checking your BlackBerry, even at your grandmother's funeral." (A BlackBerry is a popular handheld device that can be used for phoning, emailing and web-browsing).

- GOOGLE-STALKING: Defined as "snooping online on old friends, colleagues or first dates."

- CYBERCHONDRIA: "A headache and a particular rash at the same time? Extensive online research tells you it must be cancer."

- PHOTOLURKING: Flicking through a photo album of someone you've never met.

- WIKIPEDIHOLISM: Excess devotion to contributing to the online collaborative encyclopaedia, Wikipedia. (Wikipedia even has a page where you can test whether you're an addict).

- CHEESEPODDING: Downloading of a song "so cheesy that you could cover it in plastic wrap and sell it at the deli counter." Cheesepodders are especially vulnerable to soft-rock favourites from the 1970s.

Of the afflictions on this list, I admittedly suffer from cyberchondria, photolurking, and wikipediholism. And I want to work on becoming a cheesepodder, so I'm off in search of the "True" mp3 by Spandau Ballet. I think that's a good place to start, don't you?


Dec. 18: My brush with greatness

If I have not already sung the praises of Amy Krouse Rosenthal to you, then listen to me now and believe me later. She is an amazing writer, one of my new favorites and currently my #1 superhero. Reading her stuff makes me laugh, think, and want to be a writer just like her.

The best way to get a good idea of what AKR is like is to peek at the web site for her most recent book, Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life. I love this book, and I love the style in which it was written--very clever and creative, and easy to read because it's all "tidbits." Other books she's written in a similar style, and I also highly recommend, are The Book of Eleven: An Itemized Collection of Brain Lint and The Same Phrase Describes My Marriage and My Breasts : Before the Kids, They Used to Be Such a Cute Couple. If the titles of those books aren't enough to make you want to read them, I give up on you.

One of the things I appreciate about AKR is that she doesn't claim to be anything more or better than anyone else, and yet somehow that comes across as an inspiration to strive for more. She also loves hearing that something she has done/written makes a difference. On her web site there's a big section about what happened when she intentionally left 150 copies of her book around three cities. She's tickled to hear people's reactions to finding the book, the circumstances in which they found it, etc. There's another area on her site where she'll thank anyone who asks to be thanked. And this is where my brush with greatness comes in...

I wrote a quick note in her "thank you" section a couple months ago: "I love, love, LOVE your books!" (is that the dorkiest fan letter ever, or what?). Of course, I never expected a personal reply from her or I would put forth a bit more eloquent effort. So, yeah, I'm a big dork, but the other day I got a response from her! It said, "Dear Jennifer, Thank you for the sweet note. I hope all finds you well in Portland (my favorite American city at the moment). And officially...thank you for reading E.O.A.O.L. All my best, amy kr"

And so now I'm even more impressed by her, even though she put two spaces between her sentences (as you know, I'm a bit of a spacing cop). If you go to this page on her site you can even see my name in her list of thanked people. Look now, because soon it'll be on one of the previous pages of the list. So far I've checked about eleventy times every day to make sure I'm still on that first page.

Read Amy Krouse Rosenthal. If nothing else, ooh and aah over the fact that she thanked me on her web site.


Dec. 12: They're just born that way

This is a transcript of an actual encounter I had with my son this evening. I wish I was making it up, but alas, this very Peter Griffin moment needs no exaggeration.

Jack comes running into the kitchen, where I am, and looks at the fireplace in the family room.

Jack: "Mommy, you need to put our stockings up on the thing!"
Me: "I will. Now go to bed, Dad's waiting for you."
Jack: "K!"

Jack runs away, but I call after him. He stops at the front door and turns around to look at me.

Me: "Good night, honey. I love you!"

Jack just stares.

Me: "I love you, Jack."

Jack stares and starts to smile.

Me: "Do you love me?"
Vic (upstairs): "Tell Mom good night and tell her you love her." (We encourage total sincerity in our home, as you can clearly tell.)

Jack smiles bigger.

I wait. A few seconds later, I hear something.

Jack's butt: "Vrrrrrrrrrrrrr."
Jack laughs and runs upstairs, where his father undoubtedly (but quietly) praises him for such well-timed punctuation.


Dec. 12: I KNEW it!

Dec. 12: How to Become Internet-Famous 101

I've got some new pictures at My friend Sheila sent the most adorable shot of her little monkey (that is NOT a euphemism for anything) and a new-ish family photo, so I updated her page. I also created a new page for my niece Erin, in which to showcase her lovely wedding photos and she-devil puppy.

The moral of the story? If you want your picture on the Internet, e-mail it to me. It's pretty much that simple.

Oh, and if you inadvertently send me nekkid pictures it will take a nice bribe to un-publish them. Ye be warned.

Another way you can get mentioned here is to tell me you don't like something (say, an annoying animated GIF image) because then I will publish, say, every annoying animated GIF image I ever find. Like so:

There's only one way to get me to stop posting annoying animated GIF images and that is to invite me on your annual San Francisco trip with you and your BFF instead of calling me from there saying, "Guess where we are!" and "Please read us a list of every San Francisco hotel because we're too drunk to remember where we stayed last year," and "What should we order at this fabulous restaurant you recommended?" and "Guess how many oranges I rolled down the sidewalk to homeless and/or toothless people today?" and "I saw Jackie Mason and he boob-grazed me!"

Get it? Enough already!

I forgot my point. Oh yeah. It pays to know me. I think that was what I was trying to say. I feel dizzy.


Dec. 11: Christmas CD 2006

We sent out CDs in our Christmas cards. If you didn't get one and want one, let me know. I know we forgot to put them in a few. Here's the playlist for this year's masterpiece, Holly & Jolly:

  2. SANTA BABY - Eartha Kitt
  4. THE CHRISTMAS SONG - Mel Torme. He actually wrote the song, even though Nat King Cole made it famous. I like this version by the Velvet Fog.
  5. SLEIGH RIDE - Johnny Mathis
  6. BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE - Leon Redbone And Zooey Deschanel. From the "Elf" soundtrack.
  8. MERRY CHRISTMAS BABY - Otis Redding
  9. LET IT SNOW - Ella Fitzgerald
  10. CHRISTMASTIME IS HERE - Vince Guaraldi. From "Charlie Brown Christmas."
  11. COOL YULE - Louis Armstrong
  13. MISTLETOE AND HOLLY - Frank Sinatra
  14. I SAW MOMMY KISSING SANTA CLAUS - The Jackson Five. A cute song such as this simply must be performed by a cute little boy (in this case, when he was cute and when he was male).
  15. GREEN CHRISTMAS - Barenaked Ladies. Listen to the words and you'll find this isn't exactly the cheeriest of Christmas songs, but the melody is one of those that sticks in your head for days. I like it anyway.
  16. WHAT ARE YOU DOIN’ NEW YEARS’ EVE - Donny Osmond. Duh... just for Kath.
  17. HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS - The Carpenters. What would a Christmas album be without a contribution from the Carpenters?
  18. JINGLE BELLS - Jim Reeves
  19. SANTA BRING MY BABY BACK (TO ME) - Elvis Presley
  20. I’LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS - Bing Crosby
  21. LITTLE SAINT NICK - The Beach Boys
  22. WHITE CHRISTMAS - The Drifters. This is the version used in "Home Alone." It's the only non-Bing version I can tolerate.
  23. MERRY CHRISTMAS - Bette Midler

Previous years' playlists can be read here.

Dec. 11: Christmas letter 2006

Seasons greetings to our friends and family! The letter we sent in our Christmas cards this year was very brief and, in some places, a teensy bit fabricated. Here is the non-sweetened, non-condensed version.

A few highlights of 2006 from the House of Manullang:

Darlene and Wellington joined us for an adventurous week in Disneyland last February, where we celebrated Katie’s sixth birthday. One of my favorite memories is attending the Princess luncheon with Katie; watching Katie meet each of the Disney princesses in person was absolutely magical. One of my least favorite memories is driving (yes, DRIVING!) from Portland to Anaheim and back. I must’ve been totally drunk when I agreed to that. I was awake for much more of the trip than I had hoped to be, and the kids wouldn’t share their DVD players with me. The good news is that we survived and Victor did not file for divorce the minute we got home. In fact, there was really only one disappointing thing about the trip, and that was not being able to see our southern California friends and family—there was so little time, it seemed, for us to travel out of Anaheim.

Later in February we attended my 20th high school reunion at PAA. It’s hard to believe 20 years has gone by! I know everyone always says that, but it’s just so strange that in some ways it feels like yesterday, and yet life has changed so much for all of us that it seems like ages ago at the same time. It’s funny to look back to those angst-filled high school years and remember how seriously we all took ourselves. Ba-ruther! Oh, and it was also pretty cool to see how many of us still live in the Portland area. I’ve gotten together with classmates a few times since then, and we hope to plan some semi-regular get-togethers in the next year.

Jack went to Medford with Grandma Mary on a bit of a house-hunting trip last spring. She’ll be moving there after her retirement from WWC in June. I doubt he was much help with the house-hunting, but he did have a great time learning to ride a horse.

I had LASIK surgery in March. Results were amazing—I could actually see quite clearly for a few weeks. For any of you that know about vision stuff, I was almost a -10 going into surgery, so this was a huge change. After a month or so, my vision began to deteriorate and I got glasses with a -1.5 prescription. Eventually I needed a -3, and after about six months my vision stabilized. It took a while to get used to the “halo” effect but it really doesn’t bother me at all anymore.

I went to Boise in April to meet Gwen Nelson, my friend Debi’s first baby. I also met her cousin Dorothy Frances, who was born almost three months earlier. Both girls are beautiful and such sweethearts!

In May, my nephew’s high school graduation took us to Colorado. He graduated with all sorts of honors (I’m still trying to find a way to take credit for his smartitude). Sean and Stephen’s band performed, and Jack got to sit in a little. It was a really fun week of family stuff—my aunt (Curt’s sister) and favorite cousin came, as well as Mom and her brother Paul. Kathy’s best friend Lori and her family were there too. Big crowd = big fun + lots of memories. We had family portraits done with a very creative photographer.

The Lassens

Stephen’s school’s FFA Clean Barn Award + cowboy hat rack = many laughs for me and Lori.

We spent a few days at Sunriver with Sonya’s family in June. Although it rained a lot of the time, we didn’t mind the excuse to stay indoors and relax (gotta love the vacation rentals with wireless Internet!). When it wasn’t raining, the kids had a great time playing on their scooters and bikes. Each visit to the resort pool was cut short by evacuations due to gross bodily functions (for which no one in our party was responsible, I might add). Of course, not having gone to the pool myself, I found the experiences hilarious!

Daryl, Sally and Presley were here for the summer. Sonya and her family were here briefly, between their move from France to China. Katie and Jack loved having their cousins around so much.

Katie started first grade in September. She adores her teacher and classmates and loves to read. While her soccer skills had improved since last year, she decided the games aren’t fun because she can’t play around with her friends like at practice. She got up to Level 3 in swimming lessons over the summer. Her piano repertoire is finally getting beyond “Hot Cross Buns,” for which we are very thankful. And if you come near our house this holiday season, expect to hear “All I Want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth”—Katie’s got quite a gap.

Katie's first day of school

Jack is in his second year of preschool. He didn’t take swimming lessons this year because he refuses to get his face wet. And when I threatened that all his teeth would fall out if he didn’t brush them, he decided that would look awesome, just like a pirate. Even though he likes the new pirate decor in his bedroom, he will sleep in Scout’s crate if we let him. Needless to say, he’s our special boy! Truthfully, he’s revealing quite a sense of humor, and we have to try to suppress our laughter as we threaten to wash his mouth out with soap.

My niece Erin got married in September. She was gorgeous. I can take absolutely no credit for it, no matter how hard I try. (At least Stephen and I are related by blood!)

Mary and Erin

In October I had a LASIK “enhancement,” which is essentially a do-over. Again, I had great vision immediately after. Again, it has already begun to deteriorate. I’m not sure I want to go in for a third surgery, but stay tuned to next year’s letter for the (hopefully happy) ending to this saga.

Disneyland was our destination once again in November (we flew!), where we partied like it’s 2006 for Jack’s fifth birthday. Mary came along on the trip—she hadn’t been there since 1980, when our family went for the first time—and she was as enchanted by the Disney magic as the kids were. Also, I think she appreciated that my behavior had marginally improved. We got to ride the new and improved Pirates of the Caribbean (A+) and loved seeing the attractions decorated for Christmas. One of my favorite memories of this trip is the snow on Main Street—fake, yes, but a beautiful sight nonetheless. It really did look real, but when it landed on my tongue it tasted a lot soapier than the snow at home does. Hmmmm…

Victor and I subscribed to the current “Broadway in Portland” season and are enjoying an excuse to have a date night every few months. This past year we saw Hairspray, Wicked and Sweet Charity, and there are four more musicals scheduled for the first half of 2007.

How are we celebrating our tenth anniversary in February? How nice of you to ask! We’re going on a Western Caribbean Disney cruise—kid-less!—and hope to spend a few days at Disney World before or after. I know what you’re thinking: two trips to Disneyland + a Disney cruise + Disney World = TOO MUCH DISNEY! But you’re wrong. You’re very, very wrong.

Two years ago I wrote in our Christmas letter about my little friend, Olivia Medici, who was about to undergo treatment for a rare disease. I know many of you followed her progress, which is why it breaks my heart to tell you, if you haven’t already heard, that she passed away November 12. You can read her story at, as well as her parents’ plan for The Olivia School. They are nothing less than AMAZING.

Sonya, Ted and Daryl, along with their families, will be in the Portland area for Christmas this year. It’s the first time we’ve all been together for the holidays; with everyone spread over the world, this is quite a feat. You can be sure there will be much taking of pictures and covert counting of gifts under the tree.

Best wishes for a very happy holiday season—

(and Casey and the fish, Flush1 and Flush2)

Our family photo, taken in front of the Disneyland Christmas tree:

Dec. 5: Gift Giving Guide

Exchanging gifts, while fun in theory, offers endless potential for aggravation: Thronging crowds, ransacked stores, confusion, indecision, cash depletion and, finally, the belated knowledge that you bought the wrong thing.

And even worse, perhaps, is receiving a spousal gift that you wouldn't buy for your worst enemy. Well, maybe for your worst enemy, but only if it's on sale.

But there is a cure for the holiday gift blues. Just substitute this agreement for those subtle hints -- the ones that are always either missed or misconstrued. Then kiss that Returns Counter good-bye. This year's gifts are for keeps.

AGREEMENT entered into this ___________ (Date) by Husband and Wife, hereafter called "Couple."

WHEREAS, Couple often argues over ill-chosen gifts; and

WHEREAS, a gift giving agreement may save Couple's marriage and/or reduce return trips to the mall.

NOW, THEREFORE, Couple hereby agrees to these provisions:


Self-serving gifts shall be avoided. For example, Husband shall not buy Wife the following:

  1. Chocolate when Wife is on a diet.
  2. Tight clothing meant to encourage Wife to diet.
  3. Anything transparent.

Husband shall not give Wife practical gifts such as an iron, a dish washer, or a vacuum cleaner... unless husband plans to use them.

Husband shall keep track of Wife's clothing sizes, except those Wife refuses to divulge.

Husband shall not give Wife anything that can be bought at an airport.

Husband shall not buy Wife earrings that weigh more than her head.

Husband shall remember that gifts should be personal. Gift certificates, checks, and wads of cash are not personal... unless large enough to buy a diamond watch.

Husband shall avoid all of the following:

  1. His former girl-friend's favorite fragrance.
  2. His mother's favorite fragrance.
  3. Anything Wife admires on someone else, unless Husband confirms candor of compliment.

Husband is encouraged to buy Wife gifts in the following categories:

  1. Anything Wife specifically requests.
  2. Catalogue items discreetly circled by Wife.
  3. Any object containing silver, platinum, and/or gold.


Wife shall not give Husband anything that smells like perfume... no matter how macho its name or spokesman.

Wife shall not buy Husband home repair manuals.

Wife shall not give Husband anything "cute" or containing the word "organizer."

Wife shall not get Husband anything used in a gym.

Wife shall not buy Husband silk boxers, unless she agrees to wear a matching pair.

Wife shall not give Husband anything that's for Husband's own good.

Wife is encouraged to buy husband items in the following categories:

  1. Anything Couple's twelve year old son would like.
  2. Sporting equipment, provided Husband can exchange it for something with a better feel.
  3. Stereo and electronic equipment, provided Husband can exchange it for something with more oomph.


Husband won't buy their son a toy gun, provided Wife doesn't buy him a doll. Puppets, however, are permissible.

Wife won't buy anything that requires assembly.

Husband won't buy children toys he plans to play with.

Whoever picks the gift must make the emergency trip for batteries.

Couple shall try to buy the children educational toys. The following shall not be deemed educational:

  1. A toy stove for their daughter.
  2. Anything bearing the name "Barney."
  3. Anything involving a drum.

Couple shall not succumb to hunting for elusive fad gifts. But if they do, they'll take turns waiting in line.


Husband concedes that writing thank you notes for the entire household and buying gifts for Husband's business associates are not the Wife's job.

Husband acknowledges that reminding Husband about his parents', uncles, aunts, and siblings' birthdays is not the Wife's job. However, in light of Husband's actual or feigned absentmindedness, Wife will make reasonable efforts to do so. But if Wife screws up, Husband has to deal with his mother.

Husband concedes that there is no connection between gender and gift wrapping.

Couple agrees that the phrase "Someday I'd really like to get...," if uttered by Husband or Wife, shall trigger Pavlovian note taking and an appropriate gift. If uttered by one of Couple's children, however, the proper response is "We'll see."

If despite all precautions, one spouse buys the other something he/she hates, Couple shall behave in a diplomatic fashion. Saying the following shall not be deemed diplomatic:

  1. "Are you insane? How could you get me something so ugly, stupid, and out of style?"
  2. "Give me the receipt you cheapskate. And while you're at it, give me your gift back."
  3. "But you said you wanted this. I have you on tape."

Couple shall cherish the loving thought behind every single gift... even the ones they exchange.


Husband _______________________

Wife __________________________


Dec. 5: Yule shoot your eye out

Sally e-mailed me yesterday about Presley's very unusual Christmas list and her subsequent visit with Santa:

Yesterday we went on the Santa Express train ride. Presley was really "brave" she said because she actually talked to Santa & told him what she wanted... "a beard" (as you know). Santa said "What?" Then asked if she liked Dora, blah, blah. It was like A Christmas Story when Santa asked Ralphie if he wanted a football & he just said yeah. I'm sure after she wanted to shout in his ear "I WANT A BEARD!!!!"

Presley is not just the most adorable girl I've ever seen, she's also the funniest. I bet you're really jealous she's not YOUR niece, hm?

Nov. 29: TV catchphrases

The TV Land network has released their list of the top 100 TV catch phrases. I can't say I completely disagree with them, but I do question the state of the world when our pop culture references presidents AND Paris Hilton.

In alphabetical order, here's TV Land's list:

  • "Aaaaaaay ..." (Fonzie, Happy Days)
  • "And that's the way it is." (Walter Cronkite, CBS Evening News)
  • "Ask not what your country can do for you ..." (John F. Kennedy)
  • "Baby, you're the greatest." (Jackie Gleason as Ralph Kramden, The Honeymooners)
  • "Bam!" (Emeril Lagasse, Emeril Live)
  • "Book 'em, Danno." (Steve McGarrett, Hawaii Five-O)
  • "Come on down!" (Johnny Olson, The Price is Right)
  • "Danger, Will Robinson!" (Robot, Lost in Space)
  • "De plane! De plane!" (Tattoo, Fantasy Island)
  • "Denny Crane." (Denny Crane, Boston Legal)
  • "Do you believe in miracles?" (Al Michaels, 1980 Winter Olympics)
  • "D'oh!" (Homer Simpson, The Simpsons)
  • "Don't make me angry ..." (David Banner, The Incredible Hulk)
  • "Dyn-o-mite!" (J.J., Good Times)
  • "Elizabeth, I'm coming!" (Fred Sanford, Sanford and Son)
  • "Gee, Mrs. Cleaver ..." (Eddie Haskell, Leave it to Beaver)
  • "God'll get you for that." (Maude, Maude)
  • "Good grief." (Charlie Brown, Peanuts specials)
  • "Good night, and good luck." (Edward R. Murrow, See It Now)
  • "Good night, John Boy." (The Waltons)
  • "Have you no sense of decency?" (Joseph Welch to Sen. McCarthy)
  • "Heh heh ..." (Beavis and Butt-head, Beavis and Butthead)
  • "Here it is, your moment of Zen." (Jon Stewart, The Daily Show)
  • "Here's Johnny!" (Ed McMahon, The Tonight Show)
  • "Hey now!" (Hank Kingsley, The Larry Sanders Show)
  • "Hey hey hey!" (Dwayne Nelson, What's Happening!!)
  • "Hey hey hey!" (Fat Albert, Fat Albert)
  • "Holy (whatever), Batman!" (Robin, Batman)
  • "Holy crap!" (Frank Barone, Everybody Loves Raymond)
  • "Homey don't play that!" (Homey the Clown, In Living Color)
  • "How sweet it is!" (Jackie Gleason, The Jackie Gleason Show)
  • "How you doin'?" (Joey Tribbiani, Friends)
  • "I can't believe I ate the whole thing." (Alka Seltzer ad)
  • "I know nothing!" (Sgt. Schultz, Hogan's Heroes)
  • "I love it when a plan comes together." (Hannibal, The A-Team)
  • "I want my MTV!" (MTV ad)
  • "I'm Larry, this is my brother Darryl ..." (Larry, Newhart)
  • "I'm not a crook ..." (Richard Nixon)
  • "I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV." (Vicks Formula 44 ad)
  • "I'm Rick James, bitch!" (Dave Chappelle as Rick James, Chappelle's Show)
  • "If it weren't for you meddling kids!" (Various villains, Scooby Doo, Where Are You?)
  • "Is that your final answer?" (Regis Philbin, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire)
  • "It keeps going and going and going ..." (Energizer Batteries ad)
  • "It takes a licking ..." (Timex ad)
  • "Jane, you ignorant slut." (Dan Aykroyd to Jane Curtin, Saturday Night Live)
  • "Just one more thing ..." (Columbo, Columbo)
  • "Let's be careful out there." (Sgt. Esterhaus, Hill Street Blues)
  • "Let's get ready to rumble!" (Michael Buffer, various sports events)
  • "Live long and prosper." (Spock, Star Trek)
  • "makin' whoopie" (Bob Eubanks, The Newlywed Game)
  • "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!" (Jan Brady, The Brady Bunch)
  • "Mom always liked you best." (Tommy Smothers, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour)
  • "Never assume ..." (Felix Unger, The Odd Couple)
  • "Nip it!" (Barney Fife, The Andy Griffith Show)
  • "No soup for you!" (The Soup Nazi, Seinfeld)
  • "Norm!" (Cheers)
  • "Now cut that out!" (Jack Benny, The Jack Benny Program)
  • "Oh, my God! They killed Kenny!" (Stan and Kyle, South Park)
  • "Oh, my nose!" (Marcia Brady, The Brady Bunch)
  • "One small step for man ..." (Neil Armstrong)
  • "Pardon me, would you have any Grey Poupon?" (Grey Poupon ad) )
  • "Read my lips: no new taxes!" (George H.W. Bush)
  • "Resistance is futile." (Picard as Borg, Star Trek: The Next Generation)
  • "Say good night, Gracie." (George Burns, The Burns & Allen Show)
  • "Schwing!" (Mike Myers and Dana Carvey as Wayne and Garth, Saturday Night Live)
  • "Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy." (Lloyd Bentsen to Dan Quayle)
  • "Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids." (Trix cereal ad)
  • "Smile, you're on 'Candid Camera'." (Candid Camera)
  • "Sock it to me!" (Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In)
  • "Space, the final frontier ..." (Capt. Kirk, Star Trek)
  • "Stifle!" (Archie Bunker, All in the Family)
  • "Suit up!" (Barney Stinson, How I Met Your Mother)
  • "Tastes great! Less filling!" (Miller Lite beer ad)
  • "Tell me what you don't like about yourself." (Dr. McNamara and Dr. Troy, Nip/Tuck)
  • "That's hot." (Paris Hilton, The Simple Life)
  • "The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat ..." (Jim McKay, ABC's Wide World of Sports)
  • "The tribe has spoken." (Jeff Probst, Survivor)
  • "The truth is out there." (Fox Mulder, The X-Files)
  • "This is the city ..." (Sgt. Joe Friday, Dragnet)
  • "Time to make the donuts." (Dunkin' Donuts ad)
  • "Two thumbs up." (Siskel & Ebert, Siskel & Ebert)
  • "Up your nose with a rubber hose!" (Vinnie Barbarino, Welcome Back, Kotter)
  • "We are two wild and crazy guys!" (Steve Martin and Dan Aykroyd as Czech playboys, Saturday Night Live)
  • "Welcome to the O.C., bitch." (Luke, The O.C.)
  • "Well, isn't that special?" (Dana Carvey as the Church Lady, Saturday Night Live)
  • "We've got a really big show!" (Ed Sullivan, The Ed Sullivan Show)
  • "Whassup?" (Budweiser ad)
  • "What you see is what you get!" (Geraldine, The Flip Wilson Show)
  • "Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis?" (Arnold Drummond, Diff'rent Strokes)
  • "Where's the beef?" (Wendy's ad)
  • "Who loves you, baby?" (Kojak, Kojak)
  • "Would you believe?" (Maxwell Smart, Get Smart)
  • "Yabba dabba doo!" (Fred Flintstone, The Flintstones)
  • "Yada, yada, yada ..." (Seinfeld)
  • "Yeah, that's the ticket!" (Jon Lovitz as the pathological liar, Saturday Night Live)
  • "You eeeediot!" (Ren, Ren & Stimpy)
  • "You look mahvelous!" (Billy Crystal as Fernando, Saturday Night Live)
  • "You rang?" (Lurch, The Addams Family)
  • "You're fired!" (Donald Trump, The Apprentice)
  • "You've got spunk ..." (Lou Grant, The Mary Tyler Moore Show)

Personally, I think there should be a lot more Seinfeld quotes in this list. Is there any single show (besides Saturday Night Live, probably) that has had more catchphrases?

Nov. 29: I like to eat ham and jam and spam a lot

Have you gotten any of the "new" kinds of spam e-mails, the ones that are full of big unrelated words that are supposedly able to get past spam detectors? Here's an example:

"It articulates the various factors it has to take into account to make SL an attractive environment. newspapers that interviewed members of the public who feel lifting the ban opens the door for irritating noise and subsequent passenger stress. When web services erroneously over-report 'popularity' or 'relevancy' of a webpage, is that a material misrepresentation of a quality of the gamer's product?"

Needless to say (but of course, I do anyway), I hate these. I almost never get spam e-mail at my regular e-mail address because I'm careful with it, but occasionally these messages get through. It makes me go "grrrrr."

HOWEVER, today was an exception. Today I got a spam e-mail that made me go "ha ha ha ha ha" all the way home, because the subject line was so creative: "purgatory menorah."

I'll forward the message to you if you'd like. And yes, sometimes I am amused by the simplest of things. That is not to say I'm simple. Or easy. Ignore whatever else my seester might say, it ain't true.



Nov. 25: The Legion of Pale

How do I love TiVo?
Let me count the ways...

TiVo lets me go to bed at a decent hour because I can sleep whilst it records all the fabulous TV that airs in the wee hours. Then I can watch it at a reasonable hour. Before TiVo, I had to stay up to watch late-night TV, and then I wouldn't get enough sleep and I'd yell at the kids a lot.

Ergo, TiVo makes me a better mom.

Alright, that might be pushing it a little.

If you haven't seen Pale Force on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, you're missing out. These are little animated webisodes starring that "pale fella" Jim Gaffigan (one of my favorite comedians) and Conan (also portrayed by Jim) as superheroes who fight crime with their paleness. And they shoot lasers from their nipples. Tooooooootally makes sense.

Honestly, the shows are pretty funny. Conan wets himself often, and really, what's funnier than an animated pants pee-er?

If you don't have TiVo and don't like to stay up late, check out the Pale Force web site to catch up on all the episodes.

Also, if you don't have TiVo, why not? Don't you listen to anything I say? Do you think I write all this stuff for my own entertainment? Huh?


Nov. 23: Happy Turducken Day

I just re-read my post from yesterday. It sure was mean. I guess I got so caught up in the perfection of the "if brains were gasoline" jab that I lost all sense of decorum on the eve of this hallowed day. But sometimes the need to tell you how I really feel simply overcomes me. I'm human. I make mistakes. Please forgive me.

Is that an O.J. Simpson/Mel Gibson/Michael Richards kind of apology, or what?

BTW, "hallowed" sounds much cooler if you pronounce it with three syllables rather than two. Try it and you'll see.

In an effort to make up for yesterday's cruelty, I shall attempt to write a much less offensive post today. For instance, being that it's Thanksgiving, I could list the things for which I'm thankful. Let's see...

  • My seester. She's super smart and pritty.
  • Deodorant.
  • Disneyland.
  • Coffee.
  • Drugs.
  • The movie "Elf."
  • My Grandma Saltmarsh, who taught me how to make the best mashed potaters EVER. The secret ingredient? Love. And a pound of butter.

I should also say that I'm thankful for my family, a roof over my head, food, etc. And all the other things I'm supposed to be thankful for that I just can't think of right now.

I need to finish up the potatoes. Have a great day. And remember, you can shop on the Internet tomorrow morning instead of getting up before dawn and fighting traffic and moms desperate for $3 Barbies. It ain't worth it.

Nov. 22: What will it be?

When it comes to unfortunate nicknames, would you prefer to be called a "weasel-faced arse" or an "arse-faced weasel"?

Heh heh. Sometimes British humor is actually humorous.

And to continue with the same line of thinking, here are some randomly generated insults for you. Any one of them would be darling on a t-shirt. Please use these in a sentence at least once a day (as if I need to encourage you):

  • If brains were gasoline, you wouldn't have enough to run an ant's go-kart around the inside of a donut.
  • You must have a very large brain to hold such a vast amount of sheer ignorance.
  • You've got a big hole in your head, now shut it.
  • When you are at a loss for words, your loss is our gain.
  • To quote Thomas Brackett Reed: "They never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human knowledge."
  • I'm busy trying to imagine you with a personality.
  • Maybe you'd be less boring once I got to know you, but I don't want to take that chance.
  • You are the kind of person who, when one first meets you, one doesn't like you. But when one gets to know you better, one hates you.



Nov. 21: Tis the season

Don't you hate receiving Christmas cards in which there are no photographs? Me too. I didn't ignore these people all year just to get a terse signature and nothin' else! Don't be one of those people, mmkay? Promise me.

I have decided that I'm going to help you out by sharing the fruits of my research of photo printing web sites. I know, I know... my benevolence is overwhelming to me, too. Note that most of these sites have quantity discounts and only the starting prices are listed here. And unless otherwise noted, it's assumed that envelopes are included. Here, in no particular order, are some web sites that print holiday photo cards:

  • Club Photo. Your traditional 4x8 cards. Prices start at $12.95/set of 20.

  • Photo Affections. A site with absolutely gorgeous cards. Quantity discounts start after orders of 50. The 5x7 photo cards start at $1.69 each, but that appears to be a sale price.

  • Shutterfly. Offers 4x8 photo cards ($8.28/12), as well as regular folded cards with photos($2.49/each). Both styles can be done in a "collage" format with multiple photos--my fav new feature. Some really nice designs, too.

  • dotPhoto. The 4x8 cards are on sale right now (66 cents each), and styles are pretty standard fare (read: blah). The 5x7 folded cards are $19.99/20. Something very unique on this site: talking cards. They're $5.99 each, batteries included, has hangtag, message plays over 400 times. To add your voice, there's a toll-free number to call. I have no idea if these talking cards are worth $5.99. The site is offering free shipping right now.

  • FotoTime. Standard choices of 4x8 cards here. They're on sale right now for $6.30/10.

  • PhotoWorks. I love this site, but prices are quite high. If you're looking for something truly unique, though, this is your answer. Prices range from $2.95 to $4.95/card for their very cool styles, which can be purchased in any quantity. They also have standard 4x8 cards priced at $18.75/20. Additional 20% off site-wide through 11/26.

  • Snapfish. Lots of choices here. Photo cards come 4x8 ($14.99/20) or 5x7 ($16.99/20), and many styles have multi-photo layouts. No room for a lot of text, so don't use them if your names are long. Snoopy cards available. Calendars can be printed on cards, which will encourage recipients to stare at your picture on their fridge for at least 12 months. Prices for photo greeting cards (regular folded cards) start at 99 cents each.

  • ez prints. Nothing special in their selection of 4x8 photo cards, which are $7.95/10.

  • Kodak Gallery (they bought ofoto a while back). They proudly advertise the new Martha Stewart cards. A nice variety of styles--many in multi-photo layouts--and prices. The least expensive are 5x7 photo cards, which start at $9.99/10. Good promotions running right now--check the "Credits and Discounts" section on the home page.

  • Walgreens Photo Center (go to Walgreens' site, then click the "Photo" tab). Licensed characters available here--Snoopy and Disney styles. Photo cards come 4x8 ($14.99/20) or 5x7 ($16.99/20), and many styles have multi-photo layouts. Allows 180 characters of text--more than some sites. Very similar to the Snapfish interface, but not all the same designs. Can be printed and picked up at your local store.

  • Wal-mart (go to Wal-mart site, then click the "Photo" tab). Offers 4x6 (84 cents each) and 5x7 ($1.03 each) photo postcards, folded 5x7 cards ($1.42 each), 4x8 photo cards (33 cents each, or 40 cents for in-store pickup), and 5x7 photo cards (49 cents each). Snoopy appears to be the only licensed style, but there's a decent variety of others. The big advantage is that you don't have to order in sets; you order however many cards you need, AND you can have them printed to be picked up at your local store. A cool thing: you can buy a Wal-mart gift card with any photo on it for only 88 cents. I don't know if they'd put a pic of a Target store on one, but you can try. I got a gift card with Katie & Jack's pic for my grandma last year and she almost peed herself over it (note to self: put a towel under Grandma before she opens gifts this year).

  • Target (scroll to the bottom of the home page and click "Target Photo" under the Target Services list). Affiliated with Yahoo! photos. Their 5x7 folded cards are $1.45 each, 4x8 photo cards are $7.95/20 or $8.80/20 for in-store pickup. Nothing special here style-wise, and personally, I think the interface is very clumsy. Yahoo! is promising a new version of their photo storage, but as of today it pretty much sucks.

  • tiny*prints. Beautiful and unique and a bit expensive. Prices start at $42.25/25 for the 5x7 photo cards. These cards, however, are not printed on photo paper like most photo cards, but heavy cardstock. Use coupon code HAPPYHOLIDAYS and receive 10% off your order through 12/6.

  • Costco (go to Costco site, then click the "Photo Center" link along the top). This site has a Snapfish interface, but not Snapfish pricing! Their 5x6 photo cards are $15.99/50, and $5.99/25 after that. Convenient, too, because you can pick them up at your local store. Not a lot of text will fit on the cards. They have Disney styles, including Mickey, Pooh, and Princesses. You must have a valid Costco membership to pick them up.

  • Mystic Color Lab. Yet another site with a Snapfish interface and Snoopy cards. The 4x8 cards are $12.99/20, 5x7 are $15.99/20, and they offer greeting cards in three sizes starting at 99 cents each.

  • The Front Door. This site's photo cards are all folded cards, though they come in different sizes and types of folds. Like other higher-priced sites, the styles they offer are unique and quite lovely. The lowest price appears to be $30.00/24 cards. Ten percent off your first order.

While there may be lots of other photo printing sites out there, this is my list. If you have any other good ideas, please share. And hey, if you don't send out a photo card for the holidays this year, it's not because I didn't tell you to.

I love you anyway.


Nov. 20: Geez, Kramer

Before and since Seinfeld, I've never really enjoyed Michael Richards all that much. Unless he's being Kramer, I don't think he's funny. Besides Seinfeld, his TV shows sucked. I've seen him do stand-up and never laughed. I think this video (courtesy of of him absolutely losing control during a stand-up performance might just reveal something that isn't very funny at all. I mean, any comedian has the right to scream at hecklers, but he went straight for some of the worst kind of racial insults. Yikes.

(The video link will open in a new window. You might be prompted to install an ActiveX control. You might also see an ad before the actual clip begins.)

Too bad, dude. It's a big headline today, and this kind of news certainly can't help the guy's career (just ask Mark Fuhrman). But I believe in karma. So whether this was a lousy attempt at humor or an intentional diatribe, I'm confident that karma will figger it out.


P.S. I think I would make a really good billionaire if given the chance.

Nov. 9: The road not taken

When choosing between two evils...

...choose the closer one. Why get up?

Nov. 9: Blog software upgrade

Just an FYI... The blogger program I use ( is trying out a new and improved version of their software. So far I haven't noticed a big change in the way things look to you, my fine audience (of four), but-cept you might see a "labels" line at the bottom of some posts. This new feature allows me to categorize my posts, and then you four loverly people can easily view all posts in each category. For instance, if'n you click the "funny stuff" link on the labels line, it'll put all other posts from the "funny stuff" category on the page. At that point you'd see the Weird Al video, the list of silly baby names, the fake poopy undies, etc.

This particular post doesn't fit any category, but just to show you how it works, I'm putting it in several. Click the links below to try it out. Sorta cool, huh?

I know, I know. It's the little things that make me happy.

Nov. 9: The Honorable Jennifer presiding

Well, that Ted Haggard dude has Britney Spears to thank for taking him off the front page this week. But I’m not done with him. Oh, no. Between being Curt’s daughter and being raised Adventist, it’s in my blood to critique others. I simply must.

Haggard preaches against homosexuality, and that’s where my problems with him begin. Saying someone is evil because they’re gay is like saying they’re evil because they’re a different race. Or left-handed, as the popular comparison goes. But if you want to interpret the Bible as anti-homosexual, go ahead. Just make sure you never wear any clothing made of mixed fabrics, eat shellfish, or style your hair in a beehive, mmkay?

Y’know what? I don’t care who you love or what you believe. If it doesn’t affect me or the people I love, you can do whatever the hell you want. But don’t tell me I’m wrong for the way I live my life when you’re secretly living your life the same way. You don’t see me privately supporting George W., do ya? (talk about evil!) I detest my homeowners’ association management company, but when I reluctantly pay my annual fee, I don’t write “Thanks for all your hard work!” on the check’s memo line. And I don’t have a-holes on my Christmas card list. I try to make my life reflect the words that come out of my mouth. I don’t think that’s an especially noble thing to do, I think it’s the only thing to do.

Ted Haggard’s problem is not being a closet homosexual. It’s not even believing that being gay is wrong, as much as I disagree. His problem is that he’s a total hypocrite. He IS exactly what he says it is so wrong to be. I feel sorry for his family. I feel sorry for all his disillusioned followers (who now need to find another idiot to idolize). And ultimately, I really do feel sorry for Ted Haggard himself, because his ridiculous beliefs won’t allow him to be who he really is.

But wait, there’s more. Don’t forget about the jackass that exposed this guy. This male escort decides he just can’t live with himself if he doesn’t tell what he knows about Ted Haggard's secret life? Honestly, who made this guy Mr. Morality all of a sudden? He’s a prostitute, for jeebus’ sake. Yes, a person in Haggard’s position having a secret life that he condemns so vehemently from the pulpit is dishonest. But as a very wise woman told me, a hooker thinking he has the moral obligation to expose him is nothing but that hooker wanting his 15 minutes. What a loser.

As I’ve said a billion times, I can’t stand people judging others, which is why I have little interest in religion anymore. And yet, this whole post has been me doing exactly that: judging these two guys. I’d like to say I’m just calling ‘em as I sees ‘em because it’s easy to justify judging others when you KNOW you’re right. So I guess if there really is a God and he really does see all sins as equal, I’m going straight to hell.

Meh. At least I’ll have interesting company.

Nov. 8: @!$%#& overhead storage!

Nov. 8: Gwen's a star!

Check out this photo that was published in today's Idaho Statesman. Apparently I'm not the only one who thinks this adorable 8-month-old deserves to be seen by the masses.

And thanks, Greg, for helping to bring the Democrats back into power in the House (and hopefully the Senate too). In Clackamas County, only 54.98% of registered voters cast ballots. What is wrong with people? Sheesh.

I know someone who was an election judge and she said I could vote as many times as I wanted. Cool, huh? Of course, she wasn't election-judging in Oregon, so it didn't help me one bit. Also, I think she was lying.

Nov. 2: Costumage, Episode II

OK. It's cute overload here. You're totally gonna need a shot of insulin after looking at these pictures. Ye be warned.

First Gwendolyn Nelson, whose parents dressed her as Princess Leia. Get a load of that wig!

And next we have my niece Presley. She wanted to be Grandma Phyllis' cat, Mr. Bond, for Halloween this year. Sally said she got to dress up four times for different activities, but she appears to have enjoyed it completely. (Actually, it's impressive that she's wearing clothes at all, since she's going through one of those nudie phases!)

(Note Mr. Bond's "claws")

Oh man. I need to lie down for a while.


Nov. 1: Costumage

Happy November.

Trick-or-treating was a big hit last night. We had a lot more kids this year than we have for the last few years, but still not like when we first moved here. I think in 97-98-99 there were hundreds of kids, probably bussed into the neighborhood or something. They must have hit Happy Valley on Halloweens after that because crowds have been lighter since then. It was awfully windy last night but that didn't seem to stop any of the little ones. Or big ones. I didn't want to be one of those people that said, "Hey, you guys are a little old to be doing this, aren't you?" but I was surprised at how many teenagers came by. Anyhoo.

I wanted to "dress up" by smearing lipstick all over my mouth, because when you see someone like that, isn't it just about the scariest thing EVER?

Our Halloween bash for the neighbors on Sunday was a lot of fun. Even the ones I don't love very much were well-behaved. I had a ball, and preparations didn't totally stress me out like they usually do. My fabulous mother-in-law made the most amazing plates of candy sushi. Take a gander:

A few months ago Jack brought me his Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest picture book and pointed to this:

He was determined to be Cannibal Island Jack Sparrow for Halloween. It took a lot of the time since then to get all the parts of the costume together, but this is how he looked yesterday afternoon when we took it for a trial run:

Katie's costume was a little easier. She was Princess Ariel. I ordered everything from, and even though their costumes are obviously not made to last forever, I was impressed with some of the detail work. The dress was very pretty. She loved the sparkly makeup and frosty lipstick. She hated the wig. Just before they put on their shoes and went out, they let me get these pictures:

When they got back from trick-or-treating, Vic and I went through their candy to pull out all the crap to hand out to other trick-or-treaters. Unfortunately (or fortunately, according to K&J), they brought home only good stuff! Pa-lenty of good chocolate and a minimum of poison-laced popcorn balls, razor bladed apples, and Primary Treasures. Not a bad haul.

Deanna sent pictures of her little darlings this morning. Pete was a scarecrow and Dorothy Frances was a crow. Aren't they adorable?

And these two are kids I don't even know, but they have the cleverest costumes! Deanna saw them at a Boise event last weekend. A lobster trap:

And a garden gnome:

Hoping to see Gwen's costume soon... (hear that, Debi?) Anyone else want to share theirs?


Oct. 28: Statistics 101

Today I was looking at site statistics for, and found some odd bits of information. I know you care. I know you're curious to hear everything. And so, because I hate to disappoint my readers (all four of you), here's the scoop:

First of all, it appears I have more than four readers. In fact, so far this month there have been 2,212 unique visitors to and more than 16,000 hits. That's just for October! How is that possible? Even my mom doesn't read everything I write.

Well, my site statistics show me why some people visit Google leads them here!

Top 20 Search Strings

  1. kitty litter dessert - in case you haven't seen this delicious dish, you must. Go here. Lori says you don't actually have to use a new litter box, just wash the one you've got.
  2. french sentence translator - a silly thing I put on the site when I was playing with JavaScripts. If you're curious, here it is.
  3. vegetable bouquet - Another great recipe.
  4. civil air patrol uniform - I used to have a picture of my nephew in his Civil Air Patrol uniform on my sister's page.
  5. naked boy - this scares me more than just a little bit. Must be disappointing to pedophiles and child pornographers when a pic of 6-month-old Jack is all they find.
  6. photo of dog eating at table - this is humiliating, but yes, we once took a pic of Scout enjoying Christmas dinner with the family. (And no, those people are not me. They were my step-family back then.)
  8. civil air patrol bdu
  9. Civil Air Patrol uniforms
  10. French Sentence Translator
  11. disneyland castle florida - what searching dummy thinks Disneyland has a castle in Florida? After we went to Disney World, I did compare the castle in Magic Kingdom to the one in Disneyland, but I certainly never put those three words together.
  12. donkey dung sea - heh heh. One of my favorite things from our Disney Cruise in 2003 was the Donkey Dung Sea Cucumber we saw at an aquarium in St. Thomas.
  13. scrapbooked christmas cards - no idea, except maybe text found in a few different places
  14. ultrasound 13 weeks - this could be one of mine or my friends'.
  15. vegetable Party Bouquet
  17. 11 weeks pregnant ultrasounds
  18. Airman Uniform
  19. Civil Air Patrol BDU
  20. daryl Manullang - the only surprise here is that it's #20 ... who wouldn't want to know about my fabulous brother-in-law, Daryl?

The other thing I found was the top ten pages at which visitors actually entered the site (beside the home page). This wasn't quite as surprising, especially after reading the search stats.

  • DCLcruisingtips.htm (this link is published on the Disney Information Systems forum, so there are lots of recent hits)
  • jensblog.htm (my "latest news" page)
  • kitty_litter_cake.htm
  • voss.htm
  • cruiseintro.htm (first page of our 2003 Disney Cruise trip report)
  • vegetablepartybouquet.htm
  • translator.htm
  • attire.htm (part of our pre-cruise packing documents)
  • orlando2004.htm (WDW trip report)

I can also see the countries from which my faithful followers are visiting. Keep in mind that besides the first two, the others range in percentage from .01% to 1.33% ... so these foreigners really don't find me all that interesting. Where's the love?

  1. US Commercial
  2. Unresolved/Unknown
  3. Indonesia
  4. US Educational
  5. Canada
  6. Non-Profit Organization
  7. Australia
  8. US Government
  9. Germany
  10. US Military
  11. United States
  12. France
  13. United Kingdom
  14. Poland
  15. Belgium
  16. Brazil
  17. Czech Republic
  18. Netherlands
  19. Seychelles
  20. Argentina
  21. Croatia (Hrvatska)
  22. Spain
  23. Japan
  24. Sweden
  25. Italy
  26. Slovak Republic
  27. Yugoslavia

What, no Whitetrashistan?

Unfortunately, that's just about all I can find out about the people that hang out at I don't collect IP addresses, nor do I have any other identifying code hidden on the site. And, quite frankly, these statistics are so unimpressive that I read them only a couple times a year. And then I am consumed with them for a couple days because I can't possibly imagine what someone in Seychelles could find interesting here. But then I forget and go back to writing for my regular little audience.

My four lovelies, you are so dear to me. :)


Oct. 25: X-ray vision, the sequel

I got my eyes fried again. My LASIK enhancement was last Friday, and I could see better almost immediately. Five days later, my vision is still great, even while reading. We'll see how things end up once it has all stabilized. Before my first surgery I was -9, and ultimately ended up a -3. Obviously there was a lot less correction to be done this time. Keep your fingers crossed! Mostly, I just really don't want to go through the surgery again. It's quick and completely painless but the smell of the laser burning through one's eyeballs is --shudders-- revolting.

Never been much of a Rush Limbaugh fan. I avoid stories with his name in the headline (although I greatly enjoyed the one about him being detained at an airport for being caught with a big stash of Viagra!). But this story, in which he makes fun of Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's disease, proves he has reached the same level of JACKASS-itude as Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell.

I think Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip is a great show. I've never regularly watched one of Aaron Sorkin's productions, but I'm finally seeing why they've been so popular. Other season passes on our TiVo right now: The Office, My Name is Earl, The Simpsons, The New Adventures of Old Christine, CSI, CSI: Miami. Shows I'm not yet sold on: Six Degrees (I do enjoy seeing Campbell Scott every week), 30 Rock (love Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin is hilarious in this), The Class (trying awfully hard, and not quite there).

The last movie I saw in a theater was Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. When it comes to the cinema, it's depressing to be me.

I added a few Simpsons quotes to the "Click here for chuckles" link on our home page. Check 'em out.

One of Katie's top front teeth fell out yesterday. I'm hoping the other one will start loosening soon, because right now she looks like she lost a boxing match. She is completely thrilled about it, though, and her little brother is trying not to show how jealous he is. Sorta cute.

Daryl and Sally went to a Doodlebops show. I think they took Presley too. I haven't heard how they liked it (possibly because they have not yet recovered), but Sally said she was pretty excited because she knows every word to every one of their songs. YES, I know she was kidding. She's not a nutjob. Anyway, if this doesn't get them the Mom & Dad of the Year award, I don't know what will. Hey guys, ya want the Aunt & Uncle of the Year award too? Cuz Katie and Jack would love to see the Doodlebops in concert, and we aren't ever going to take them.

We're having a Halloween party for the neighbors on Sunday. I've been putting together a playlist of Halloween music, and I just have to share it with y'all because it took me a very long time to find everything. The criteria: scary-sounding music or scary-sounding song title or dark theme or Halloween-y (costumes, candy, tricks and treats) or dark arts kind o' stuff, etc. Pretty much anything you would've been forced to throw into a bonfire if you went to an Adventist boarding academy in the 70's and early 80's (right, Lori & Kath & Martin?). Here ya go:

  • Spooky (Dusty Springfield or Santana)
  • You Can Do Magic (America)
  • Love Song for a Vampire (Annie Lennox)
  • Bad Moon Rising (CCR)
  • Stayin' Alive (BeeGees)
  • Bewitched TV show theme
  • In the Midnight Hour (Billy Idol)
  • Only the Good Die Young (Billy Joel)
  • Wanted Dead or Alive (Bon Jovi)
  • I Want Candy (Bow Wow Wow)
  • The Devil Went Down to Georgia (Charlie Daniels Band or Johnny Cash)
  • Freak Out (Le Chic)
  • Ding Dong the Witch is Dead (from The Wizard of Oz)
  • Do You Believe in Magic (Shaun Cassidy--heh heh--or The Lovin' Spoonful)
  • She's Freaky (Pitbull)
  • Spirit in the Sky (The Eagles or Norman Greenbaum or Nitty Gritty Dirt Band)
  • Devil in Disguise (Elvis Presley)
  • That Old Black Magic (Frank Sinatra)
  • Midnight Train to Georgia (Gladys Knight & the Pips)
  • I Will Survive (Gloria Gaynor)
  • Crazy (Gnarls Barkley)
  • Knockin' on Heaven's Door (Guns 'n Roses)
  • I'm Your Boogie Man (K.C. & the Sunshine Band)
  • Beetlejuice theme (Danny Elfman)
  • Munsters TV show theme
  • Supernatural (Raven)
  • The World is a Vampire (Smashing Pumpkins)
  • Addams Family TV/movie theme
  • One-Eyed, One-Horned Flying Purple People Eater (Dr. Demento)
  • I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight (Cutting Crew)
  • Jaws movie music
  • Stairway to Heaven (Led Zeppelin)
  • Dead Man's Curve (Jan & Dean)
  • Devil with a Blue Dress (Little Richard)
  • Little Shop of Horrors theme
  • Die Another Day (Madonna)
  • Men in Black (Will Smith)
  • Thriller (Michael Jackson)
  • Sugar Sugar (The Archies)
  • Love Potion #9 (The Drifters)
  • Monster Mash (Big Bopper)
  • I Put a Spell on You (Nina Simone or Ray Charles or CCR)
  • Magic (Olivia Newton John)
  • Friend of the Devil (Counting Crows)
  • Ooogie Boogie Song (Danny Elfman, from Nightmare Before Christmas)
  • Psycho movie music
  • Vampire Heart (HIM--funniest drummer name: Gas Lipstick)
  • Crazy (Patsy Cline)
  • Live & Let Die (Paul McCartney & Wings)
  • Candy Girl (Jackson 5)
  • Toccata & Fugue in D (Bach, used in Phantom of the Opera and every creepy movie ever made)
  • Let's Go Crazy (Prince)
  • Some Call it Magic (Raven)
  • Witch Doctor (Ray Stevens)
  • Superfreak (Rick James)
  • Somebody's Watchin' Me (Rockwell & Michael Jackson)
  • This Magic Moment (Roy Orbison)
  • The Candy Man (Sammy Davis, Jr.)
  • King Tut (Steve Martin)
  • Strangers in the Night (Frank Sinatra)
  • Tainted Love (Soft Cell)
  • Magic (The Cars)
  • The X-Files TV show theme
  • Ghostbusters (Ray Parker, Jr.)
  • They're Coming to Take me Away, Ha Ha (Dr. Demento)
  • Get Your Freak On (Missy Elliott)
  • Very Superstitious (Stevie Wonder)
  • Weird Science (Oingo Boingo)
  • Go Away Little Girl (Donny Osmond)
  • Witchy Woman (The Eagles)
  • YMCA (The Village People--best costumes EVAR!)
  • Nightmare on My Street (DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince)
  • Halloween (Dave Matthews Band)
  • Jeepers Creepers (Billie Holiday)
  • Suspicious Minds (Elvis Presley)

Yes, this is a very strange combination of music styles and no, some of these songs will not make it into the final playlist. And I may just set the mp3 player to play "random" because then no one can make fun of me. Right? No one will ever make fun of me...

Of course, a mention of the Smashing Pumpkins reminded me of one of my favorite Simpsons quotes. This is during Homerpalooza, or something like that, when Homer first meets them:

Billy Corgan: "Billy Corgan, 'Smashing Pumpkins'."
Homer Simpson: "Homer Simpson, smiling politely."

Gwen is coming for a visit! Aren't you jealous?


Oct. 19: I'm the Diet Coke of evil

I'll bet you thought I was a villainous wench, didn't you? But according to this highly scientific quiz, I'm only 33 percent evil. Now, is that really that bad? I mean, we all have our days, right? Take the quiz yourself, and let me know what your results were. 'Specially you, Martin.

How evil are you? (The quiz starts about halfway down the page)

By the way, happy Halloween! Here's an animated image to celebrate the season, cuz I know ya loves 'em.

Happy birthday, Ron!

Oct. 14: It's all in your perspective

You might have heard me say before that the one reason I enjoy shopping at Wal-Mart is that my self-esteem is raised about a thousand points. It's not that I think I'm better than the other shoppers, but I do take a little more time preparing to walk out my front door. I usually don't leave home without taking a quick peek in the mirror, my clothes are mostly clean and not hole-y, and my children don't call me "Ma." Or as Vic says, "Oh, you think you're sooooo good, just because you're wearing shoes AND a bra!"

Yes, that's an awfully long explanation to introduce today's funny graphic.

Oh, but that's not all! I will pay one meeeelion dollars* to anyone who can find an actual doorbell like this one.

I had two dreams last night. In one, I forgot to tell my hairdresser to give me bangs. In the other one, Vic got off a weird carnival ride and his hair was so windblown and bouffant, he looked just like one of his aunts. I call my dreams "imaginative," but I think the medical diagnosis is "cuckoo."

Many lovies--


*Yeah, right. Don't you think if I had a meeeelion dollars that I'd find the dang doorbell myself??? Or maybe having all that money, maybe I could buy myself a little good taste...

Oct. 10: Gotta getta skidmark

Oh my word.

This is real, folks. It's a "brief safe," and it's the latest in security. Here's what the web site (Shomer-Tec) says (punctuation and spelling errors are theirs!): "The "Brief Safe" is an innovative diversion safe that can secure your cash, documents, and other small valuables from inquisitive eyes and thieving hands, both at home and when you're traveling. Items can be hidden right under their noses with these specially-designed briefs which contain a fly-accessed 4" x 10" secret compartment with Velcro closure and "special markings" on the lower rear portion. Leave the "Brief Safe" in plain view in your laundry basket or washing machine at home, or in your suitcase in a hotel room - even the most hardened burgler or most curious snoop will "skid" to a screeching halt as soon as they see them. (Wouldn't you?) Made in USA. One size. Color: white (and brown). To add realistic smell, check out "Doo Drops" on Page 65."

I especially love that last sentence, so I searched for "doo drops" at Shomer-Tec and found this: "These "special ingredients" are just what you may need in some "special situations". Manufactured under contract by DSG Laboratories to fulfill the occasional unusual operational requirement of CIA and other federal agents, these products are now available for non-governmental sale. Use only with utmost discretion. Doo Drops look and smell just like real diarrhea. Many useful applications, all of which will be left to your imagination. It's just like a tube of explosive diarrhea, except silent for stealth deployments. It comes in a handy dropper-top squeeze dispenser for rapid, realistic applications. All-natural. SMELLS LIKE CRAP."

You wouldn't think a last sentence in a product description could get any better than the one for the Brief Safe, but then you read the Doo Drops description, hm? This is one of the best things I've seen in a long, long time.


Oct. 9: got pearls?

Here's a web site that has some very pretty jewelry. And what's even better, if I tell you about it, I get a free pair of pearl earrings. Click the "buy pearls" link below to visit their site. If you put a link to it on your blog then you can get free earrings too.

Oh, by the way... you're welcome. (must read in "Nick Burns, Your Company's Computer Guy" voice)

Discount Pearls from PearlsOnlyOutlet

And hey, speaking of pearls--or treasures, anyway--Debi sent some new pictures of Gwen and one of Dorothy Frances.



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