Nov. 29: Happy birthday, Sheila

I'm a big dummy. Sheila, I meant to post this earlier today and completely forgot. But the wishes are no less sincere: HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I tried to find food you'd like instead of cake, just like I did for Ed yesterday, but the only thing I could think of was Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. So here ya go. Mac & Cheese.

I hope you weren't too nauseous to partake in celebratory birthday food. What'd you do today?

Many lovies--

Nov. 29: I might need an eye exam

I swear, I just saw Chuck Norris getting his mail in my neighborhood. Who knew he lived in Clackamas?

Nov. 29: nibble nibble CHOMP

Posted on Cute Overload the other day:

What a patient kitty! Gotta love how it sets the pup all straight in the end.

Nov. 28: For your Christmas list...

Thank you to The Lovely Deanna™ for alerting me to the new Larry Craig talking action figure, available at His limbs are bendable, so you can give him a "wide stance." Press a button and he says, "I am not gay. I never have been gay." Whew, glad we got that cleared up. Seriously, don't you need to mention this in your letter to Santa this year?

I also ♥ the Ann Coulter doll, 'specially the idea of her making out with the Albert Einstein action figure (as if someone as smart as that guy would go for an a-hole like her). Unfortunately, she speaks. Why doesn't the doll come with a lighter and set of sharp objects? It is supposed to be a voodoo doll, isn't it?

Nov. 28: Smarter than a 6th grader

Hey, Chris, you gotta try this on your blog too.

I think I could raise my reading level rating if I regularly used more words like atrabilious, sapient, implacable, expeditious, supercilious, soporific and megrim instead of kinda, sorta, gonna and seester. Meh, I don't know.

Nov. 28: Not-so-beautiful Kathleen

I was making a photo gift for a family member this morning, and it took me forever to find a picture where my seester didn't look better than me. In every one of them her hair looks better, or her clothes are cuter, or she has boobies. But I found this one--totally unedited, because I would never do anything to make her look bad--and I think that, while I may not look better than she does, she's not looking her best.

There is absolutely no reason for this post. I would never write up a stupid excuse to share a less-than-perfecto picture of the Kath. I'm not that type of leetle seester. I'm a nice leetle seester who just has a teensy anger problem when it comes to family photos.

Nov. 28: Happy birthday, Ed

Today is my friend Ed's birthday. He is older than I am.

I was going to find a lovely birthday cake for this post but then I thought Ed would like a picture of delicious escargot better than a picture of lovely birthday cake. And because pictures of escargot on a plate are not very attractive or appetizing (sorry, Ed, but HOW CAN YOU EAT THAT SLIMY GOO???), here's a live one. Bon appétit, you weirdo.

I hope you have at least a small celebration planned for this joyous occasion, Ed. We here at Stuff Jen Says headquarters will be partying like it's 2007. And for your sake, I hope today's celebrations involve snails (unlike ours) and no tomatoes (very much like ours).

Nov. 27: Order your photo cards

Last year I posted some suggestions for ordering your holiday photo cards. Well, it’s that time of year again, and I’ve got some changes to last year’s list. Here they are.

NEW - Astonishing Cards. This site has a good selection, but I wouldn’t call it astonishing, exactly. A little expensive, and the site is a bit clumsy.

CLUB PHOTO. This used to be my favorite printing site. They closed suddenly and now refer members to Winkflash.

COSTCO (go to Costco site, then click the “Photo Center” link along the top). This site has a Snapfish interface, but not Snapfish pricing! Cards are excellent quality and very inexpensive. 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.

NEW - DimePrints. This site has some really neat folded cards. Their flat photo cards are pretty basic, but not bad.

DOTPHOTO. The 4x8 cards are 89¢; the folded cards are $19.99 for 20. Nothing special.

EZ PRINTS. Several size options for photo cards, which is something not found on very many printing sites. Prices are comparable to other sites.

FOTOTIME. Standard choices of 4x8 cards here. They’re on sale right now for $6.30/10.

NEW - Hallmark. Leave it to Hallmark to offer something nice and unique and expensive. Actually, what’s really great about this site is that cards can be made and ordered individually. If you have a few people on your list that deserve something extra special, this is the way to go. And if you’re one of those cheap-asses that tries to get away with sending everyone on your list e-cards (for shame!!), Hallmark offers a good variety of those too.

KODAK GALLERY (they bought ofoto a while back). A nice variety of styles--many in multi-photo layouts--and prices. Offers Martha Stewart designs.

NEW - MPIX. This site is for more advanced users. Great photo gifts and decent prices.

NEW - OregonPhoto. Standard 4x8 photo cards. I used this company to print the photos we sent out with our wedding invitations so I love them even though I don’t think they love me back.

PHOTO AFFECTIONS. I believe Lori ordered her photo cards from this site last year. They’re really beautiful, and best of all, unique.

NEW - PhotoCardCafe. Nice and unique, gotta love it. A little more expensive than other sites, but if you’re looking for something different, this has it.

PhotoMax. Standard 4x8 cards here, nothing exciting.

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. The site runs frequent discounts advertised on the home page.

SearsPhotos. Pretty basic stuff here.

SHUTTERFLY. Offers lots of different styles at affordable prices. The site runs frequent specials. One of my favorites.

NEW - SmugMug. This is my new favorite site. Membership is not free, but there’s a free trial so you can print holiday cards during the trial. Cards are totally unique and silly and fun. You’ll need to sign up and upload a photo before you can even try to create a photo card. This site is designed for more advanced users, so it’s not the most intuitive.

SNAPFISH. Lots of choices here. Photo cards come 4x8 or 5x7, and many styles have multi-photo layouts. No room for a lot of text, so don’t use them if your names are long. Some nice photo gifts. Good sales.

TARGET (click “Photo” at the top of the home page). Affiliated with Kodak Gallery and Shutterfly. Nothing special here style-wise.

THE FRONT DOOR. This site is closing down its operations in December, so order quickly if you’re going to use them. They have beautiful items.

TINY*PRINTS. Beautiful and unique and a bit expensive. Fabulous variety of sizes and shapes. I love these cards.

WALGREENS PHOTO CENTER (go to Walgreens’ site, then click the “Photo” tab). Photo cards can be printed and picked up at your local store.

WAL-MART (go to Wal-mart site, then click the “Photo” tab). Offers a lot of the same styles as Walgreens, and comparable prices.

NEW - WINKFLASH. A few unique items, and pretty great prices. This is a site I use frequently for basic photo printing.

YORK Photo. This used to be Mystic Color Lab. Snapfish interface. Nothing special.

Zazzle. Lots of options. Folded Disney photo cards are one thing nobody else seems to have much of, so that might be the biggest appeal here.

Lastly, have you tried Photo Stamps? If you order them from the photo section of the Costco web site, you can get up to 20% off the regular price.

edited 11/28, 11:30 a.m. to add Hallmark and Zazzle

Nov. 26: Monday meme

Today’s meme is taken from the site every, every minute.

YourTurn: As you look back on your education, can you identify which teacher(s) had the greatest influence on you? In your opinion, what qualities made them a great teacher?

My first grade teacher was Mrs. Ferguson. I remember she was kind and gentle and I learned a lot from her. I don’t remember anything specific except that I adored her. Katie had an amazing first grade teacher last year and we’ve talked many times about how special those first all-day teachers are; kids never forget them!

My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Lippen-Holtz, had long hair and wore a lot of turquoise jewelry and no makeup. She loved books, and because I loved books too, I loved her. I remember a lot of story times in our classroom, listening to her read Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Harriet the Spy, and other kid classics. She was fabulous. But that was my last year in public schools and my last year of having a “normal” book in the curriculum. Sad. Priorities in SDA schools can be so screwed up.

My fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Webster, had a great influence on me, but not great-good. Great-huge, and negative. Bleah. She is one of the biggest reasons I am no longer SDA. She was as hardcore as they can be, and in my memory, pure evil.

In junior high I had an English teacher that I wrote about a few days ago. He read Where the Red Fern Grows to us. He cried at the end, and I always thought that was brave of him. I wondered if the school knew he was reading that book to his class—it had the D-word in it, for goodness sake!—but didn’t care because it was like fourth grade again.

Mr. T-Bury was my favorite teacher in high school. He taught history and citizenship education, both of which I hated, but I still loved going to his class every day. A few times a year he would call us into his office individually to discuss our grade and things that might be affecting it. Even though I did all my assignments, I usually got C’s on exams. I really made no attempt to hide my disinterest in the subject, but Mr. T-Bury still cared. When he retired from teaching six or seven years ago I went to his retirement party and was not one bit surprised at the huge turnout. He was an incredible teacher, the kind you know is not paid nearly what he is worth. The kind that also has no idea how much he positively influenced his students.

I had a few professors at Walla Walla College (now University) that stand out as no less than amazing: JoAnn Wiggins, my adviser and major professor, (whom I consider a good friend now) is admirable because of her dedication to teaching applicable lessons and knowing that technology changes how business is done; Becky Hendricks, a business professor—she’s the one responsible for my love of the bookkeeping part of accounting and, surprisingly, the play “Our Town”; and Dan Lamberton, my modern poetry professor, whose influence opened my eyes to the beauty that is poetry and literature.

I think what stands out most as I collect this group of most influential teachers is that they all truly loved what they did/do. They weren’t just coming in to work every day; they cared about the things they taught, they cared that their students learned, they really did believe in the things they were teaching. As a trainer, I have tried to apply these same principles to my teaching style because I know how important they were to me as a student.

What about you? Who were your most influential teachers, and why?

Nov. 26: She be psycho

If you’ve been paying attention, you know I am not incredibly fond of my grandmother. She isn’t very nice. Granted, anyone would suffer in comparison to my Grandma Saltmarsh, who was an angel. But the living grandma’s still just a big meanie and I’m pretty sure she’s hanging on just to piss me off. It’s not just because of the senility or aging. She’s unbelievably self-centered and justifies her evil behavior as self-defense. I gave up on trying to be patient with her a long time ago, when she responded to my invitation to Christmas one year (for which neither she or I had other plans) like this: “No, I don’t want to celebrate Christmas this year. It just isn’t the same without family.”

Nice story, eh? I got a million of ‘em, but I won’t share them all today. Maybe after being with her at Christmas this year I’ll lose my last smidge of concern for the curmudgeon and tell y’all the rest. Meh.

And that brings me to this transcript of a kinda funny conversation I had with Grandma the other day (not an example of her mean-ness, but her tendency to hear only what she chooses):

GRANDMA: Jen, I don’t know what to get Jack for Christmas. He said he’s not allowed to have any more trucks.

ME: (wondering when she spoke to Jack about this...) No, Grandma, he’s still allowed to have trucks! He just doesn’t play with them very much anymore. And since he doesn’t play outside this time of year, trucks are not the most practical. (hoping this will make her understand that I’m not being a bitchy mom, I’m just trying to find a nice way to tell her to get him something he’ll actually LIKE, and also that if she gets one more truck that belts “Who Let the Dogs Out?” I will hit her with her leg stump)

GRANDMA: Well, is there something he would like better?

ME: (thinking how about ANYTHING???) Y’know, right now he’s really into Legos.

GRANDMA: Your mom got him some already.

ME: Yeah, she got him a big tub of them and they’re perfect. But you can’t have enough Legos. He loves the little car kits and Star Wars ships, etc. He follows the directions so carefully; it’s very cute to watch him concentrating—

GRANDMA: (interrupting) Where do you get them?

ME: (Dark alley, and ask for Tony Soprano... overseas mail order... ANYWHERE, you insane woman! They’re freakin’ Legos!) Target...

GRANDMA: Oh! We have Target!

ME: (yes, I know...) Or Toys R Us...

GRANDMA: Oh! There’s a Toys R Us right down the street!

ME: (yes, I know, that’s why I said it...) Toys R Us probably has the best selection, you should check there. They range in price from about $3 up to $400.

GRANDMA: OK, I’ll get him some Legos if that’s what he likes. I want to give him something he’ll enjoy playing with on Christmas. I just don’t want to give him another truck if he’s not allowed.

ME: (feeling bad now...) Grandma, he’s allowed to have trucks, he just doesn’t really play with them.

GRANDMA: OK, I’ll get him a truck then.

ME: (wuh-huh?)

My mom is deathly afraid of turning into her mother—you can probably understand why. But Kath and I have assured her that we have no interest in letting her get that way. We’ll kill her at the first sign.

Or if she just really gets on our nerves. Ye be warned, Mom.

Nov. 26: “Savings” cards, my arse

Can we all agree that the club cards at grocery stores are just flat tools of the devil? I hate them. I hate having three extra cards in my wallet just so I can save 47¢ on a box of cereal. And I only carry the ones from Albertsons, Safeway and Fred Meyer; I know there are a lot more stores that make its shoppers use them. The little key fobs they give out aren't any better; I don't want a bunch of extra shiat hanging off my keyring. I prefer to shop at stores that don't use club cards, but they're inconvenient and/or smell like very full litter boxes (think that one Winco on 82nd).

Add these to your driver license, Costco, library, debit, credit, and Bikini Inspector cards and you've got a George Costanza-like wallet. It's insane.

This might help a little bit. A web site called Just One Club Card will help you create a single card that holds up to eight barcodes. There are even instructions to make a windowed sleeve that hides the other barcodes to make scanning a little easier. Give it a try. Or don't. I don't care if your spine has to be realigned on a regular basis because you carry hard candy in it...


Nov. 23: Stuffing recipe

Every time I've ever made turkey stuffing from scratch it's a lot of chopping and dicing and drying, and it ends up tasting just like Stove Top stuffing with a few things mixed in. This year I decided to do the easy thing and start out with Stove Top, then add goodies to it. I searched the Internet for a good recipe and decided on this one I found at (hey, they make that glorious mac & cheese, so I trust 'em).

Apple Cranberry Pecan Stuffing

1½ cups apple juice
2 T. butter or margarine
1 small apple, chopped
½ cup cranberries
1 pkg (6 oz.) Stove Top Stuffing Mix for Chicken
¼ cup chopped toasted pecans

Bring juice and butter to boil in medium saucepan on high heat. Stir in apple, cranberries and stuffing mix; cover. Remove from heat. Let stand five minutes. Stir in pecans.

Here's what I did differently:

  • I used one cup apple juice and ½ cup chicken broth. There was a comment on the recipe that someone thought it was too sweet with so much juice.

  • Margarine? Margarine is disgusting. No one should use margarine in the kitchen but-cept in place of WD-40. Use butter for food. Always.

  • I used Craisins instead of cranberries. This made it sweeter than it was probably meant to be.

  • I used Stove Top Stuffing Mix for Turkey, not chicken. It was Thanksgiving, after all. Dur.

  • Definitely toast the pecans. It makes the flavor more rich and roast-y. Directions for toasting pecans are probably on the bag, but just in case: spread them out on a cookie sheet or shallow pan and bake at 350° for about seven minutes. Make sure they don't get too dark.

And here's what I will do differently the next time I make this stuffing, which will probably be at Christmas:

  • Use less apple juice and more chicken broth. As long as there's 1½ cups of liquid, it should be fine. The apple juice makes the stuffing sweet and with the Craisins, it was sweeter overall than I thought it should be.

  • I would stick with the Craisins, but probably use a little less. They're much sweeter than cranberries. They're also prettier--this was actually a very festive looking dish. Perfect for a Christmas feast.

  • I bought whole (shelled) pecans and chopped them but left a few big pieces. This makes a nice texture and I loved the taste. I would probably leave more big pieces next time.

  • I might also add chopped celery for some added texture and a more savory flavor.

But that's just me.

Nov. 23: Play and help

My English teacher in junior high was a bit of a nut job (Sally and Kath can vouch for me on this one). I learned a lot of good stuff from him, though. Every Monday he gave us a list of vocabulary words (think "Word Power" from Reader's Digest), and we'd study them all week and have an exam on Friday. It was a big deal. Everyone in the school, even if they weren't in Kendall's English classes, knew about "vocab." We all hated it, but I was one that just pretended to hate it, because I loved learning new words. I still do.

Here's a way you can test your vocabulary skills and feed people at the same time. Check out, a web site that will donate ten grains of rice for every word you define correctly. In other words, if you're an idiot, then it's your fault people in developing countries are starving. Hope you can live with that. uses the advertising revenue the site generates to donate rice via the United Nations World Food Program. Be sure to click on a few ads during your game to help them along.

I know, yesterday I promised I'd be back to my sniveling, sarcastic self today. But GEEZ, I just woke up--give me time. I'm still in a gracious mood from yesterday's stuffing of the belly. Which reminds me, I tried a new stuffing recipe with moderate success. I'll post it later.


Nov. 22: Happy Thanksgiving

Today I am feeling thankful for:

  • My in-laws, who had our kids overnight. Vic and I stayed up late working on our office-to-playroom conversion project, and slept in a little bit this morning. I love my in-laws every day and feel very fortunate to have such lovely people in my life (and they never read this, so I'm not just sayin' stuff), but Thanksgiving is a good day to remind them. They'll be over a little later today, so I'll be sure to do just that.
  • TiVo. Duh.
  • Books. Bookstores. Libraries. Friends that recommend good books.
  • Ed, who made me learn HTML. I use it every time I blog. I make nice little lists like this with HTML. HTML is old-school, but ever-so-cool. And so is Ed, for many more reasons than making me learn HTML.
  • Christmas music. I realize that makes me a big dork, but I just can't help lovin' that stuff.
  • My mom and my seester. They're just the best. Too bad they aren't your mom and seester.
  • My husband and kids are just super. The dogs are too. Even the fish are good guys.
  • Jack asked me the other day who I've known longer than anyone. I was thinking that, of the people I still have regular contact with today, it might just be Sally, my sister-in-law. We were buddies in grade school and then married brothers. She is one of the funniest people I know, and makes every family get-together so much fun.
  • I'm thankful that my mom has amazing friends that make her happy and let her be who she really is.
  • IKEA.
  • Mashed potatoes.
  • The Elf-ed Manullangs (thank you, Sheila!!)
  • Coffee.
  • People magazine, which is total trash and fun to read.
  • My neighbors. They're more than a little bit fabulous, at least most of them, and make me glad we live where we do.
  • Xanax, for handling the neighbors not so fabulous.
  • My kids' teachers. I spend time in the classroom and see how hard they work and many of the challenges they deal with every day. Their dedication is incredible.
  • My kick-arse friends--you know who you are, and you know how kick-arse you are. Yeah, you do.
  • Disney. (Sorry, Ed, it's true.)
  • Burgerville.
  • Amazon wish lists. If you don't have one, I highly recommend you make one.
  • Lori and Sheila and the other people who regularly comment on my blog and make me feel a little less lonely.

Well, that oughta do for now. Since I typically spend most of my blogging time complaining about the minutiae of life's less thrilling moments, it's about time for a positive post, don't you think? But don't get too comfy, I'll be back to normal tomorrow, you can be sure of that.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Nov. 22: Hometown favorites

Chris has tagged me to answer this meme. Feel free to play along.

Hometown Favorites

The task is to list 3 of your favorite places in your hometown. We moved from Medford 32 years ago this weekend; I think it’s safe to call Portland my hometown.

  1. Pittock Mansion. The mansion itself is pretty cool, though I haven’t been inside it for years. It’s the view behind it that knocks me out every time: an absolutely gorgeous panoramic view of Portland and Mt. Hood.
  2. Bridgeport Village. This has been one of my favorite places in town since it opened a few years ago, and I readily admit it’s the restaurants that make it so. But I also love Crate & Barrel, Borders and The Container Store. The one consistent downside is the parking situation. It always always always sucks.
  3. Portland Saturday Market. Love it!

    Nov. 21: We've been elfed!

    I heard about Elf Yourself on the radio yesterday and intended to elf myself as soon as I got home, then promptly forgot. And then Sheila, the fabulous Sheila, just e-mailed me a link to the elfed versions of us that she created. Oh. My. Goddess. This is the funniest thing I've ever seen! What is it about Elf-Vic that is so impossible to look away from?

    Thank you, Sheila--you've totally made my day. I haven't laughed this hard in a long, long time.

    Try elfing yourself or your family and post the link in a comment--you must share!

    Nov. 20: Monday Meme

    I know today is Tuesday but I never got around to posting yesterday's meme and "Tuesday Meme" is bad alliteration so it's still "Monday Meme" even though I know today is Tuesday.

    What's in your glovebox?

    • proof of insurance
    • phone charger
    • garage door opener
    • Spamalot and Wicked soundtracks, a CD of Bing & Frank Christmas music
    • Carmex
    • ballpoint pen
    • gum, Altoids
    • a big wad of napkins from various fast food restaurants

    Kinda boring because I just cleaned it out last week. It wouldn't have been any less boring before I cleaned it out, but the list would have been a lot longer. At least I don't drive around with a Billy Ocean cassette like some people I'm married to do.

    Share your glovebox contents in a comment.

    Nov. 15: Personality plus?

    According to this test, at least one of my personalities is "sentry." I'm not sure what I should name her, but she sounds terrific.

    Nov. 15: Jen's many travels

    This is pretty pathetic. I need to make my map a little more green before I die.

    Nov. 15: Miss Smartypants

    Totally scientific results, I'm sure:

    IQ Test Score

    Nov. 13: My birthday boy

    Jack turns six years old today. He might just be the happiest six-year-old on Earth right now. All morning he walked around saying, "I can't believe I'm six! Mom, can you believe I'm six?"

    Indulge this proud mom by ooohing and aaahing over some of my favorite pics of the boy.

    This one was our favorite of Jack's 1-year portraits because of that middle finger. He showed 'tude a little early.

    At Disneyland in February 2006

    Sweet boy, 18 months

    Captain Jack Sparrow Manullang, Halloween 2006

    Jack's first Halloween costume

    Happy birthday, Buddy. We love you smoochly!

    Nov. 13: Hooray for Sheila!

    In case you missed Sheila's clever announcement in a recent comment, she's pregnant! That's so exciting! Congratulations!

    Other people's pregnancies make me happy. Thanks for sharing the news, Sheila.

    Nov. 12: Monday meme

    Today's meme is late, but it's still Monday so just shut up.

    List ten words that describe you

    1. tired
    2. blotchy
    3. stressed
    4. silly
    5. sentimental
    6. creative
    7. undrunk
    8. helpful
    9. considerate
    10. braless

    Share your ten words in the comments section or your own blog. Have a great week!

    Nov. 11: It's Game Night

    We've been playing a lot of board games this past week. I don't know why K&J are suddenly into all their games again, but I don't mind one bit. I love playing with them. We're working on the "good sportsmanship" concept, which is just about the only lesson one can learn from games like Chutes & Ladders. Oh, and "cheating is wrong." Jack's getting the hang of sportsmanship, but the cheating thing, well... my advice is to pay close attention when playing a game with Jack.

    Some of our family's favorites:

    Disney Scene It?
    Pass the Pigs
    Disney DVD Bingo
    Pretty, Pretty Princess
    Cranium Hullabaloo
    Texas Hold 'em (um... well, that's my favorite)

    Unfortunately, the list of games I really do NOT enjoy is quite a bit longer. Meh.

    Both our kids are starting to enjoy some longer, more complex games. I'm looking forward to being able to play a decent game of Monopoly or Clue with them. Maybe someday we'll even have Manullang Family Poker Night™.

    Here, courtesy of, are some Monopoly cards that we'd like to see.

    Nov. 11: “My Turn”—Blogging

    Y’know how you can find yourself in the strangest places on the Internet, with no clue as to how you got there? Occasionally I’ll be telling Victor about something I saw on a web site and try to explain how I found it; most the time I just give up. You keep clicking links, and you’re bound to end up worlds away (almost literally).

    Well, it’s that way with blogs too, of course. Lots of people list other blogs they enjoy in the sidebar of their own blogs. For some bloggers, this increases ad revenue. For those of us that don’t put ads on our sites because we are looking for fame, not fortune, this simply allows more readers to find us. We are desperate for attention. Recognition. Comments.

    The difference? Blogs will often introduce you to incredibly interesting people that you would otherwise never meet. If I visit a blog I’ve never read before, I might read a post or two, and then I read the blogger’s profile. If I like what I read, I bookmark the blog. Here’s what will keep me from bookmarking or ever reading you again:

    • Poor spelling/punctuation. I’m sorry, but if you can’t use spell check, you should not be writing for publication, even on the Internet. The occasional error is acceptable. The constant errors... bye-bye.
    • Obvious indicators that you’re unaware you’re a complete Jesus freak. Your beliefs are your own; I can respect that. But I don’t have to agree with you and I don’t have to read you. I will also turn away if you regularly write about worshiping Satan or reading Danielle Steel novels. It ain’t just Jesus.
    • Unwavering support of George W. Bush. Come on! He’s an idiot and you know it.

    On the other hand, if you have a great sense of humor, I love you. Sometimes that’s all it takes.

    What brought on all this blog talk, you ask? I’m fighting another headache--right now it’s mild enough that it could quietly go away or turn into a big ol’ beeyotch--and have spent the last hour following blog links in an attempt to fool my head into thinking it’s too busy to hurt. So far my head has not been fooled. I hate my head.

    This morning I found a blog called Every, every minute. The name comes from part of a quote from the play Our Town, which I love, so it appealed to me from the very start. The author has a regular My Turn/Your Turn entry, and this week I’m playing along (though this is actually his My Turn post from last week).

    My Turn/Your Turn

    1. What motivated or inspired you to start blogging and how long have you been doing it?
      I’ve been blogging since 1999, though it wasn’t widely called “blogging” at the time. I created a web site to share family pictures when I was pregnant with my first child. It has become an excellent way for me to communicate with family and friends. A couple years ago I started using blogger software and that made it a lot easier to blog, which made my blog a lot more active.
    2. What are your goals, purposes, or reasons for blogging?
      Communication. Pride (um, have you seen Presley???). Humor. And I love writing, so there ya go.
    3. In your opinion, is your blog “successful?”
      If “successful” means “handful of regular visitors” then I guess I’m successful.
    4. If you pay attention to your blog statistics, rankings, number of comments, number of visitors, etc., share some of your significant numbers.
      The search statistics (how people get here) are interesting to me, but the other stuff doesn’t change much. Here are some numbers for the past 30 days:
      376 visits from 21 countries/territories
      532 page views
      46.01% new visits
      1:09 average time on site
      194 unique visitors

    Any fabulous blogs to recommend? Leave them in a comment. Thanks!

    Nov. 10: Today in history

    Today in 1969, Sesame Street debuted on PBS. Like many people my age, I loved the show as a kid and appreciated it even more as a parent. The addition of Elmo is a teense questionable, but I do enjoy Mr. Noodle (R.I.P., Michael Jeter). Trivia question: how many years after Sesame Street's debut were we all sitting in movie theaters thinking, "Geez, this Yoda guy sure sounds a lot like Grover..."?

    Also, 32 years ago today the Edmund Fitzgerald sank in Lake Superior. I don't want to make light of the tragedy, but if not for the sinking Gordon Lightfoot would not have written that song about it and we would have one less weepy ballad through which to suffer. And for those of us unfortunate folk who married guys that are way too young to think Gordon Lightfoot is cool, but do anyway, it makes for an even sadder anniversary.


    Nov. 9: Grief counseling

    There was a time, and oh how I long for it again, when I never knew what to say to someone in grief. Somehow "I'm sorry" never felt like enough. But then I lost my dad. I know now that any gesture of kindness is appreciated by a grieving person. Well, I guess I shouldn't speak for all grieving people, but for me, the simplest acknowledgement was comforting.

    And yet, even now that I know how much your heart can hurt when you've lost someone you adored--more than you ever thought possible, and in a much more physically painful way than you ever imagined it would be--I still search for the perfect thing to say. I know that "I'm sorry" is probably sufficient, yet I still feel the need to say something more, something that conveys how truly sad I am. I still try. Most of us probably do.

    Today I was shopping at the Powell's Books web site and saw that Lauren Weedman, whom you may recognize from those funny "I love the [whatever]" shows on VH1, was a recent guest blogger. She wrote this piece on interesting ways some people react to others' suffering. I thought it was funny and heartwarming and real. Here it is:

    Grief Counseling
    November 5th, 2007: Posted by Lauren Weedman

    Noooooo. Is this the last day of my blogging for Powells? I hate that.

    I may have to start my own website called "Blogging for Powells" just because I've loved the mere idea of waking up and the first image in my mind is a bookstore in Portland. It replaces the image of me naked and sobbing on a scale. I guess that one's not an 'image'... more a memory.

    At the hair salon place yesterday I was lying back to get my hair washed by my hair lady Sashiko — and I heard the lady next to me say, "My brother died in March and this November is his birthday. And it's the first birthday without him. And with the holidays coming right after that — it's going to be so —" And the lady who was washing her hair chimed in — loudly and with a crazy cheerful voice — "Isn't Emily's Birthday in December?"

    Apparently she didn't want to hear this sad news as she deep conditioned. So she just chirped her way past it. I should have leaned over and chirped in a, "Hey! Did I hear March? MY birthday is in March!" That's the way they do it in the Midwest.

    I remember right after I got divorced and I called my parents and started crying about how it was all so much harder then I thought it was going to be — and my mom brought her voice up into a happier octave and sang, "Oh my gosh — it's just tough all over! Are you still liking your car?"

    Her idea is always that she wouldn't want to upset me more by saying something like "That must be hard," just in case I'd completely moved on in the half a second since I MENTIONED IT and she was just bringing up all these painful memories. That I'd moved on from... in that half a second.

    But I love her. I can tell stories like that about her on a blog for all to read — BUT YOU BETTER NOT TALK SHIT ABOUT MY MOTHER.

    The woman in the salon — she was so sad. Oh, her voice... I wanted to reach over and grab her hand and tell her that something like, "Yeah, that's tough," but she had on this giant smock that they give us to wear — this big poncho to protect us while we get our hair cut. I'd have to pat around for a while to find her hand under it. I imagined myself patting away — pat... pat... pat... pat... "That's not your hand... okay, there's your belt... now I'm going in the wrong direction — where's your damn hand so I can... comfort — GOT IT!"

    I thought about the lady and her brother as I got my hair cut — and as I was walking out I passed her buying some shampoo — and I really wanted to tell her something so I told her that her hair looked amazing.

    I should work in grief counseling.

    ÷ ÷ ÷

    Lauren Weedman made her television debut on Comedy Central's Emmy Award-winning The Daily Show with Jon Stewart in 2001 as a featured correspondent. She is the author of A Woman Trapped in a Woman's Body.

    Totally unrelated fun fact: Lauren Weedman was once a cast member of Almost Live!, the Seattle sketch comedy show. One of my all-time favorite sketches: Cops in Ballard. Man, I miss that show.

    Nov. 9: Don't rush me

    Sometimes there's just too much to write about that it's difficult to get started. Busy weekend, busy week. And my sister has updated her oh-so-"chatty" blog twice this week, so I know I've fallen way behind. The next few days look a lot less stressful, so I ought to have some time to get y'all caught up with my veeeery exciting life. Because I know it's hell waiting.

    Yeah, that's it.

    P.S. Here's something you can do while you wait... answer the meme from Nov. 5 in the comments. I know it's kind of a boring one, but it's something.

    Nov. 5: Monday meme

    Memories... like the corners of my... um... uh...

    1. What kinds of things do you find it easy to remember?
      People's birthdays, meaningless phone numbers
    2. What kinds of things do you find it difficult to remember?
      Things I need to accomplish (without a list), the kids' schedule
    3. How does your short-term memory compare to your long-term memory?
      Both suck a lot worse since I had kids
    4. How do you commit things to memory? Do you use songs, images, word associations or other tricks?
      Some things, I just say aloud and it seems to be enough to commit to short-term memory. In school, I used acronym mnemonics. Sometimes they worked.

    Nov. 4: Pa-too-ee

    Long before I ever had children of my own, I vowed I would never use my own saliva to clean their faces. My mom did this to me and Kathy all the time (well, it seemed like she did) and we hated it. And when we told her we would never do it to our own kids, she laughed and insisted that once we became moms, we would. "Every mom does." She could not have been more wrong. I can't speak for my sister, but I have never cleaned my kids with my spit. Their spit, yes. But mine? No way.

    If the thought of spitting on your children disgusts you like it does me, you might be interested in this product, MomSpit™. It's supposedly sanitary.

    Because this product does not appeal to me in the least (could it be the name???), I'll stick to the baby butt wipes I keep in my car, thankyouverymuch. There are plenty of other ways I'm sure to screw up my kids; this is not going to be one of them.


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