Apr. 30: Photo “friends”

Call them photocrashers, photobombers, photodouches, photo-imposers, whatever. The folks in the backgrounds of these pictures are hilarious: Photobombers of the Day.

And this is one of my favorites in my collection. It’s Sherrice and me at WWC graduation in 1990, with her brother Scott in the background acting like her brother Scott.
Clicky clicky for a larger look-see

Apr. 29: Mary’s no Bobbi... right?

My mom has done a few things over the years that age me. Her constant threats to get a tattoo are giving me osteoporosis. I attribute quite a bit of my grey hair to her willingness to drink wine. The fact that she watches Sex & The City is making my teeth fall out. And those wrinkles on my forehead? Every single one of them can be traced back to Mom’s potty mouth-ness.

It’s not that I’m so uptight (no! that couldn’t be it...). But hearing certain words come out of the woman who washed my mouth out with soap for saying “butt” when I was 14, well, it’s an adjustment that will take me some time.

And since you were wondering, yes, this was all prompted by something. There was an old episode of Will & Grace on this afternoon that gave me some hope that where my mother is concerned, certain areas are still sacred.

Grace’s mom, Bobbi (played fabulously over-the-top by Debbie Reynolds), is on her way up and Grace is trying to steel herself for this always-outrageous woman.

After her entrance (while belting a few lines of “Everything’s Coming Up Roses”) Bobbi says, “Grace, Grace, how do you like my new suit? Look, look, look. No panty line, because... no panties!”
Grace: “Ohh... there was just no preparing for that one.”

If my mom even owns a thong, I don’t want to know. Hear that, Mom? I. Don’t. Want. To. Know.

Apr. 28: Photo finds

I’m cleaning out my attic and found a huge box of photos today. Most of them are of me and Kathy when we were little and I’d like to say that our mom, along with most mothers of that era, should have been arrested for our haircuts and clothing. If we ever turn on you suddenly, Mom, you’ll know that the memories came flooding back and it was just too much even for all the Xanax in the world to cure.

While I’d love to publish a lot of the photos I found, I shan’t. But these two, well, I just couldn’t resist.

The first one is from 1977 or so—Kathy can correct me on that—when she took a modeling class and learned to do the robot. Mostly the “modeling” required staying in character (as a mannequin) while fending off fondling old men whose wives were shopping in the double-knit polyester department. ♪♫ “Everyone knows it’s Wendy...” ♫♪
click for a larger version

This other picture holds oh-so-many answers to life as a Saltmarsh. It was taken at my grandparents’ house in 1971. They hosted Christmas Eve every year for their five children and families, and with the number of kids, cigarettes and alcohol involved it was a fire code violation many times over. And yet, I think most of us have wonderfully happy memories of each year’s gathering. What I love about this particular photo is my grandpa’s proud display of his giant beer. It’s probably the only way he made it through the evening.
click for a larger version

Ah, good times... good times.

Apr. 28: “Enchanted” enchanting

I’m a teensy bit ashamed to admit that I finally watched Enchanted for the first time this past weekend. I meant to go when it was playing in the theater and never did. The kids have watched it no less than 438 times since we got in on DVD but I always had some reason not to sit down and watch along. Then last week Katie had to do a speech on her favorite book—which is currently the adaptation of the movie—so in helping her with the speech, I found out everything that happened in the movie and figured it was time to just sit down for two hours and watch the dang thing.

I’m a teensy bit ashamed to admit all this because, well, I’m a complete Disney freak (thank Erin for that moniker) and this movie was so charming, so delightful, so enchanting that I can’t believe I waited so long to see it. What’s not to love? The amazing Amy Adams is the ideal live-action Disney princess. James Marsden, whom I adored as Corny Collins in Hairspray, is great as the narcissistic Prince Edward—not as adorable as Corny, but he has some of the best lines in the movie. The incredible Idina Menzel doesn’t even sing and she still creates a totally likeable rival for Giselle. I’m not a Susan Sarandon fan but she’s perfectly cast as the bitch queen. And Patrick Dempsey—in my mind, a “poor man’s Matthew Broderick” ever since those stupid 80’s flicks he was in—might just have redeemed himself. (I obviously do not watch Grey’s Anatomy.)

It’s the kind of movie that is so silly and sweet and fairy tale-like that I just couldn’t help but get completely wrapped up in it. So when I expressed one tiny bit of doubt, Vic flipped out: When Giselle first gets to New York City and she has that huge poofy wedding dress on and she can’t get through Robert’s door, I paused the movie and asked him, “If she can’t fit her dress through the door, how did she fit in the cab to get there in the first place?” He said, “Oh, that’s what you find unbelievable in this movie? Everything else is realistic—the animated characters transformed into live action, the ‘true love’s kiss,’ the talking chipmunk, the prince stabbing the bus with his sword—but the dress just takes it too far???”

Sometimes he’s lucky I don’t beat him up.


We watched Enchanted eight times this weekend.

The headache I had most of last week, which finally disappeared Friday afternoon, came back last night.

Could there be a connection between these two events?

Apr. 27: A wiki of dicks, etc.

Warning: snarky post ahead. Actually, it's not my snark so much as links to other people's snarkiness. So I'm absolved of any snarkiness myself. Right?

Check out dickipedia. Hilarity shall surely ensue.

Here's a guide to safe driving.

Read some of the complaints at Cap'n Wacky's.

And lastly, here's a link to a very funny bit about Star Jones. (Pssst... I think she belongs on dickipedia too.)

Apr. 25: Fight literacy with Gilly!

This is Gilly, my mom’s new dog. I finally got to meet him a couple weeks ago and he is such a sweet boy. He’s clumsy and playful and goofy and all the things a big puppy should be. He’s also an adoring companion for Mom and hardly lets her out of his sight. And let’s be honest, while that’d drive ya nuts in a person, in a puppy, it’s just the best.

Gilly shows signs of being a pretty smart guy. He’s getting the hang of house training quickly, obeys basic commands, and knows what to do to get treats, walks, all that “good dog!” stuff. There’s just one thing that concerns me. Apparently Mom’s love of reading keeps her from taking him on walks when he feels he deserves them. Sneaky Gilly waits until she’s left her books unattended and then eats them. He also ate a written prescription of my grandma’s but I think he was just trying to do all of us a favor that time.

Apr. 23: Why I ♥ volunteering

This is volunteers week in our school district, and because I go on field trips and help out in Katie’s classroom on Thursdays, I’ve gotten lots of “we appreciate you” kinds of goodies. Today Katie brought home a huge pile of papers for me—all notes from her classmates. They’re really very sweet, but also pretty funny, and that’s why I’m sharing them with y’all. Spelling and punctuation are exactly as the kids wrote ‘em.

Dear Mama, Thank you for buying me the best presents on my birthday, Christmas, Easter, Jack’s birthday and Valentines Day. Sincerely, Katie

Dear Ms. Manullang, Thank you for being our room mother! You are verry kind and funny! Thanks for helping us on math and reading. You have helped so much! You’re a great room mother! Sincerely, Karla

Dear Ms. Manullang, Thank you for being a great classroom helper. You help us learn math, and help us when we need it. You set up the Valentine Party, and the Thanksgiving party. Every Thursday you use your time helping us. You are very useful to us. Thank-you. Sincerely, Alice

Dear Ms. Manullang, Thank-you for all the help you have given us. I think you are funny! Sincerely, Skyler

[with a picture that looks like the Grim Reaper pushing an elevator button] Dear Ms. Manullang, Thank you for all the help you have given funny! Forexample. Sincerely, Sean

Dear Mr. Manullang, Thank-you for all the help you have given us. Sincerely, Austin [signed with a smiley face with two X-es for eyes]

Dear Ms. Manullang, Thank you for makeing the hole year wonderful. Sincerely Sophie

Dear Ms. Manullang, Thank-you for helping us whith our I have a dream progets. You help us and we love it! Come in evey day! Sincerely, Sierra

Dear Ms. Manullang, Thank-you for all the help you have given us. When we were doing our I have a dream project, you and your mom helped us hang them up. Thank-you for helping math problems when we need help. Sincerely, Jacquie

Dear Ms. Manullang, Thank you for makeing Katie part of our world and makeing Katie not evil. Sincerely, Caitlin

Dear Ms. Manullang Thank you for all the help you have given us I think you are funny forexample I like it when you warn me that you will spank me. Sincerely, [illegible]

Dear Ms. Manuilang, Thank you for helping the class with everything even I’m a new students. Sincerely, Trevor

Dear Ms. Manullang, I like wen you helpt me with flaash cords thank Ms. Manullang,. Sincerely Amy F.

Dear Ms. Manullang, Thank-you for a and thank for helping me to do my Math thank you for the class and the scool you are Cool you are funny and you are fun and you help Us ulot and you help us do wereds and thanks for us Thank-you for all of our scool and class and thank You. Sincerely, Asher

Dear Ms. Manullang, Thank-you for all the help you have gien us I think you are funny! For example I like tIwarn me [unsigned]

Dear Ms. Manullny, Thankyou for all The help you have given us. Sincerely, Dennis

Dear Ms. Manullang, thankyou for all the help you have given us. I think you are funny. Sincerely, Ethan

Dear Ms. Manullang, Thank-you for all the help you have given us. I think you are funny! For example, I like it when you warn me that you will spank me. Sincerely, Tommy

Dear Ms. Manullang, Thank-you for all the help you given us! Sincerely, Dani

Dear Ms. Manullang, Thankyou for all the things you done forour classroom comunity. Sincerely Devin

Dear Mrs. Manullang, Thank you for helping us with math, writing, reading, spelling, capitalazation, puchuuastion. You have bin a wonderful parent in our lives oh yeah! Thankyou for comeing every Thursday. Thankyou. Sincerely, Amy Y.

Dear Ms. Manullang, Thank-you fo all you dun. Sincerely, Parker [I’m pretty sure the errors are intentional—Parker’s a goofy kid]

Dear Mrs. Manullang, Thak-you for all the theings you do for me. And when I had a headake you toled me to put my head down and tate made me good. Sincerely, Anna

Dear Ms. Manullang Thank you for all the hell you hve given. Sincerely, Gabe

My heart grew three sizes today. I love those kids.

Apr. 23: No forgiveness necessary

My mom e-mailed this to me today.

Toward the end of Sunday service, the minister asked, “How many of you have forgiven your enemies?” Eighty percent held up their hands.

The minister then repeated his question. All responded this time, except one small elderly lady.

“Mrs. Neely, are you not willing to forgive your enemies?”

“I don’t have any,” she replied, smiling sweetly.

“Mrs. Neely, that is very unusual. How old are you?”

“Ninety-eight,” she replied.

“Mrs. Neely, would you please come down in front and tell us all how a person can live 98 years and not have an enemy in the world?”

The little sweetheart of a lady tottered down the aisle, faced the congregation and said, “I outlived the bitches.”

Apr. 23: Photo fixin’

I learned a little Photoshop trick that makes pictures beautiful without totally faking them. Here’s an example, using my bee-yoo-tee-full seester.

It’s true: I. Am. Magic.

Apr. 23: Like a supermodel

The first autumn we lived in our house I planted a ton of tulip, crocus and daffodil bulbs in our front and back yards. Over the years they have disappeared for various reasons—I mostly blame failing to care for them in any way. But this morning I noticed this tulip in full bloom in our front yard, in an area that I’m quite sure I never planted a bulb.

Bad idea to choose our yard, Tulip. Your time is short; except for blackberry vines and dandelions, nothing lives long here and nothing ever comes back. You may be pretty, but you sure is dumb.

Apr. 22: Be a rock star

So you want to be a rock star, but you don't know how to start? Here's some help. Go to...

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random
The first article title on the page is the name of your band.

2. http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3
The last four words of the very last quote is the title of your album.

3. http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days/
The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4. Use your graphics program of choice to throw them together, and post the result as a comment in this post. [Or just list them like this and include a link to the photo:]

My band name: Deception of Zeus
My album title: Your Mistakes Seem Worthwhile
My album cover pic: http://www.flickr.com/photos/24367079@N04/2429202145/

I love my band name and album title, but the cover pic... I don't know. Tagging Kath, April, Lori, Chris, Sheila and whoever else wants to play along.

Apr. 21: Kisses and cure-alls

Jack started this thing with me a long time ago, where I blow him a kiss and then he “catches” it in the air and shoves it in his pocket to save it. Eventually he started blowing kisses back to me, so I always have a pocketful of kisses from my boy. Before he goes to bed, we have a routine: he kisses me on the lips and cheek, then hugs me, then kisses my hand, and then we blow kisses to each other and put them in our pockets.

You’re probably thinking, “Oh, how sweet!” (except Chris, who’s probably thinking “Ew, germs!”). But quite frankly, the precious-ness of this ritual disappeared a long time ago, because on your average day, it happens over and over. Most the time—even though he’s the one to start the whole thing—he doesn’t even make eye contact because he’s in a hurry to get back to Phineas & Ferb (if you don’t know, don’t ask...) or Katie’s racing him upstairs. It’s one of those rote things I figure he doesn’t even think about anymore.

I just dropped him off at school because we were running late and missed the bus. He was taking his time getting out of the car and I was frustrated that he—like every other Manullang male—has no concept of time. Just before he opened the door he blew me a kiss. I hastily blew one back and said, “Now, go!” through my clenched teeth. Jack caught my kiss and with what appeared to be seriousness he said, “Thanks, Mom. I really needed that today.”

I think my heart actually skipped a beat. He slammed the door and ran off to catch up with Josh and Jayson. And I drove to New Seasons feeling like an insensitive clod of a mom.

Fortunately, the macaroni and cheese at New Seasons fixes anything. Because, well, yum.

Apr. 21: Scout’s special too

Debi’s not the only one with a birthday on April 21. Scout, our beloved beagle, turns 11 years old today! Right now she’s celebrating with a nice nap, though she’s got one eye open to make sure I don’t stray too far. Because goddess forbid I leave her alone with that bitch, Casey.

Here’s my favorite of Scout’s baby pics:

Katie and Jack are insisting we celebrate this evening with a cake (for them) and a big piece of cheese (for Scout). And I can’t resist this squeaky toy, which she’ll undoubtedly destroy within three minutes:

Debi, please note that I posted the news of YOUR specialness before the dog’s. Actually, until Scout came along, I had a terrible time remembering your birthday. Scout says, “You’re welcome, Auntie Debi!” and she steps on your C-section scar with her tiny but very heavy feet. (That’s how she shows her love.)

Apr. 21: Happy birthday, Debi!

Today’s my pal Debi’s birthday. Happy birthday, Debi!

Yes, I realize this cake has nothing to do with birthdays. But it made me think of this:

...which made me think of Debi because she enjoys funny things like I do (like Mike Myers as an angry Scot), and also lived in Scotland for a wee bit, and this all made me think the Scottish non-birthday cake was appropriate. Now that I explain it... not so appropriate. Oh well. Debi understands. She’s younger than me, so senility has not yet fully set in.

Deb, here’s hoping you have a wicked awesome day and get everything your heart desires.

Apr. 20: Save the date

April and I will both be turning 40 in September 2008. We’re planning a trip to Las Vegas to celebrate with a few good friends, but our husbands are throwing a party for ALL our friends to come to in July!

Yes, reserve the evening of Saturday, July 19, 2008 in Portland for the big bash. You’ll be getting a paper invitation in June (if I have your mailing address), which will have more details. Important details. Details like ring sizes and desired automobiles and favorite vacation destinations, that sort of thing.

Why are we having a party in July when our birthdays are not until September? Several reasons: some of April’s specialest family members and my seester have already planned to be in Portland that weekend, and our date books are cram-packed for September (uh, vive Las Vegas, duh). Perhaps most importantly, though, is that April and I are not going to be the only guests of honor at this party. We plan to celebrate YOUR birthday, too, if you were born in 1968. We mean YOU, Lisa, Karen, Deanna, Sherrice, Trudy, Kim, Ted, and whoever else I can’t think of right now. Plan to be here or someone else will totally eat your cake.
Click to read a bigger version, you silly blind person

Apr. 20: Crimes and punishments

Did you see The Office this last week? Jim and Pam were lightheartedly discussing living together, getting engaged, etc. Then Jim showed the camera the ring he bought for Pam. And I totally got goose bumps, like he was showing the camera the ring he bought for ME. When we’re watching The Office and there are tender moments between Jim and Pam, Vic looks at my reaction because he knows that I’m getting goose bumps, crying happy tears, or texting Alisa about it.

Later that night I dreamt that Pam finally broke it off with Roy and she was free to date Jim (yes, like two seasons ago—evidently my dreams have been affected by the writer’s strike too). But Pam waited too long, and Jim had already hooked up with me. Gee, that’s a shame, Pam. I win, you lose. Neeners!

But then things really fell apart. Like, Jim and I were holed up in a high-rise hotel in Scranton and a SWAT team was called in and Angela was giving us her sanctimonious stare from the parking lot. It made me feel bad, so I told Jim he should be with Pam and I turned myself in. I’m so generous. Well, since I was already married to Vic it wasn’t so much generosity as it was guilt from the adultery. Heh heh.

When I woke up it took a while to shake the dreadful feeling that I had been so cruel to Pam, especially after she and I had always been such good friends. I was not, apparently, feeling so bad about cheating on Vic. I’m gonna pretend there could not possibly be an underlying reason for that and investigate it no further.

Jim was the star of my REM sleep again Friday night, when he made me a smiley-face pancake. Unfortunately, that is not a euphemism for anything.

Usually I don’t describe my weird dreams to Vic because it just confirms the tenuous grasp I have on my sanity. But yesterday morning he slept later than I did and I HAD TO MAKE MY OWN COFFEE. I know! I can’t believe how abusive he is. So, to punish him, I told him all about my two Jim dreams. He didn’t seem to mind that I hooked up with Jim. He also said I should make my own coffee more often.

Oh, yeah, I’ll make the coffee. And I’ll go back to spitting in his commuter mug every morning. “Hyock-too... ♫ Have a lovely day, dear! ♫”

Apr. 19: Rather embarrassing

Well, my score on this test totally sucked and I’m thoroughly ashamed. I’m a font nerd and should have done much, much better. I got more than half right, but barely.

See how you do on The Rather Difficult Font Game. I won’t make fun, I promise. For reals. If you get more than half of them right, I’ll challenge you to a font-off. Ooooh!

Apr. 18: Ouch, my teeth!

I was Googling for a good family quote to go with a portrait I’m framing. This one won’t work for the portrait, but it’s worth sharing with you smart folk.

“Okay, conservatives have changed my mind. Allowing gay marriage, I have been persuaded, will destroy the family, weaken Western civilization, turn America into Sodom and Gomorrah, increase the trade deficit with Japan, endanger the family farm and promote tooth decay. The impeccable logic of conservative opponents is simply too powerful to deny.”
—Stephen Chapman, Chicago Tribune columnist

Back to my search.

Apr. 18: Anger management

If you’ve never checked out the dooce.com, you need to. Heather B. Armstrong is fabulous. It’s no wonder she’s one of the Internet’s top bloggers.

I read a recent article about how she handles negative reactions to her blog: she prints e-mails and runs them over with her car. I am totally stealing that from her! Just imagine how satisfying making those tire tracks could be. Now, if only I can find a way to get my grandma to lie down in my driveway.

Oh, right. Like you have a better idea.

Apr. 18: Have a slice of soup

I just have to brag on myself a little, mmkay? Because I make a kick-ass potato corn chowder. I made a kettle last night and am currently eating my fourth bowl since it was deemed ready. And it is dee. Lish. Us.

You’re probably not interested, but here’s my general recipe. Specific amounts are totally up to you.

  1. Chop up potatoes, or if you’re lazy, use frozen southern-style hash browns. Boil them in a big ol’ pot of chicken broth.
  2. Add fresh or frozen corn.
  3. Add diced green chiles. I like lots.
  4. Add black pepper. Throw in some red pepper, too, if you like it.
  5. Let all this stuff continue to boil for a while. When the potatoes have softened a bit, use a masher to smash some. This will make the chowder thicker and creamier. Turn down the heat to let it simmer after this.
  6. Slice a block or two of cream cheese (I actually use Neufchatel) and melt it to a liquid in a separate pan. Add this to the chowder and stir until it’s completely blended in. If there are lumps, break them up. The cream cheese adds a lot of flavor and makes the chowder very creamy without the calories you’d get using heavy cream.
  7. The longer you let the chowder simmer after you’ve added the cream cheese, the more “skin” you’ll get on the edges. If you like this, let it go for a while. Otherwise, serve it up. Add grated sharp cheddar to the individual servings for more color, texture, and yumminess.

When this chowder is cold, you can practically slice it. That means it’s gooooood. Trust me.

Apr. 15: Happy Birthday, Steve

Big birthday wishes go out to my little nephew Stephen today. He's 20 years old and that means my seester is super-duper old because her little baby is now 20 years old. Hee hee hee... that oughta keep me going today.

Have a great day, Steve. Jack is totally jealous because he wants to be 20 "right now!"

Love, Auntie Jen

Apr. 14: God’s infallible wing-man

Lori sent me the link to an interesting comparison of the polygamy compound in Texas and Catholicism: Real Time with Bill Maher. I don’t watch the show regularly, and I don’t always agree with his comments, but this is spot-on, IMO.

“Far be it from me to criticize religion...”

Apr. 14: Demon composer

Last Thursday night was our second-to-last show of the current Broadway in Portland series, Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. I wanted to watch the Tim Burton movie beforehand, but never got around to it. On the way downtown I read the synopsis of the original production, and I felt that I understood the basic story and main characters. And who wouldn’t love a bunch of throat-slicing and people-eating? Everyone seems to rave about this show, so I was sure we would enjoy it.

As Larry the Cucumber says, I couldn’t have been more wronger.

All the characters are on stage throughout the performance and they move around. The scene being performed is spotlighted, but you can still see the other actors on the edges of the set. It took me a bit to realize that the actors were also the orchestra, and there were several instruments placed around the stage. Someone walking across the scene with a cello? The pianist turning around to speak some lines? If the cast was supposed to be a kind of Greek chorus, it didn’t work for me. I found all this commotion terribly distracting.

There was a large coffin-like box in the center of the stage that was used in many ways; it was Mrs. Lovett’s countertop, a café table, the judge’s bench, a platform, and a coffin. The actors moved it around, covered it, set it upright, etc., and I realized they are not just actors AND the orchestra, they are also roustabouts. I’m all for simplicity on the stage, but geez. I guess I expect the characters’ actions to be purposeful, and when they do the work of stagehands I get all confused.

Very little dialogue was spoken. I was warned about this so it was not a surprise. What was a surprise was how operatic the music was. This meant that the performers emphasized their trills and vocal range more than their ability to effectively communicate dialogue (in my simple, unappreciative noggin). I caught about every fourteenth word. Although I was still able to follow the basic plot, it was frustrating to miss so much detail.

At intermission I turned to Victor and said, “Wanna leave?” and he said, “Yep!” We were not the only ones walking out of the theater. There were so many of us that the parking lot attendant asked if the show was already over. I was more than a little relieved to see we were not the only uncultured swine who didn’t “get” Sweeney Todd. Unless they ditched the opera crap in the second act, I’m pretty sure we made the right choice.

Isn’t Stephen Sondheim supposed to be some kind of genius? Isn’t he right up there with Andrew Lloyd Webber as a composer, playwright, lyricist, everything-he-touches-turns-to-gold? Of course, I hated both Cats and Phantom of the Opera, so maybe it’s the high-brow opera crap that I just can’t tolerate. Maybe I am uncultured swine, but if hating these guys’ work is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

Being season ticketholders, each of these shows costs just a little more than it would to go to a movie. When I see things like Wicked and Spamalot, I think “We are sooooo getting a bargain!” With Sweeney Todd, it was more like “Meh, at least it didn’t cost much.”

I still want to see the Tim Burton movie. I’m hoping the things I hated about the stage musical will not be in the movie musical.

So, one more show for the season. Avenue Q is next. There are puppets. It’s naughty and irreverent. Its soundtrack includes “The Internet is for Porn” and “What Do You Do with a B.A. in English?” It’s pathetic, but oh man, we’re gonna love it.

Apr. 12: Where does he get this stuff?

We’re at my mom’s this weekend. She has a mini-trampoline that Katie and Jack both like to use, and they always fight over it. This morning Jack runs into the living room and says, “Katie just pushed me because she wanted to jump on the trampoline.”

Katie yells from the other room, “It was my turn and I was using it and he got on it and I wasn’t done but I wanted to be on it…”

Jack starts running back to her and screams, “Oh yeah? Bring it on, Betsy!”

Apr. 10: Bitch is the new black

I've mentioned this video to a couple people lately who said they haven't seen it, so here's Tina Fey's Weekend Update appearance on Saturday Night Live a few weeks ago.

Isn't she just the most? (To say the least)

Apr. 10: Car Talk (non-NPR version)

Two things:

  1. I listened to and appreciated your suggestions and advice about cars. If you don’t want to believe it (Lori), that’s your own paranoia.
  2. Next year we will probably be getting rid of the MPV so I’m filing away the aforementioned suggestions and advice and will refer to them often, I’m sure, as we get closer to making a decision about that.

And the winner is...

I bought a Jetta yesterday. Don’t be bitter at me for not going with the Prius (Lori).

Sheila, the Highlander is my top choice for a larger vehicle. We looked at them before we got the MPV a few years ago but the third row was a new feature then and really uncomfortable and awkward. Only the kids and my teeny mother-in-law would have fit back there. It’s supposedly gone through some refinements and is now better, though I doubt it is or ever will be roomy enough for adults on long trips. Everyone I know that owns a Highlander loves it.

Victor doesn’t know that much about hybrids, it seems—after all, he did say “PRY-us” until yesterday when I showed him the blog comments and texts I received!—but I’ll make sure we do some good research over the next year. I think the hybrid Highlander might just be for us.

And if we decide to replace the MPV with something smaller, then the Prius looks promising. It will probably be Vic’s car and he doesn’t have the VW devotion that I do.

Not that you care (Lori), but I love my new Jetta. They didn’t have the white I wanted, so I went with silver even though it’s kinda blah. And I didn’t spring for the fancy wheels because I was trying to keep the $$ low. I’ve convinced myself that even though the exterior isn’t exactly what I wanted, it doesn’t affect the zippiness I so dearly love. It’s still a VW and therefore pretty darn near perfect in every other way.

Well, perfect but-cept the cup holders. What the hell? Do Germans just hold their beer while they drive? VW cup holders are the worst, and have only marginally improved in the 10+ years since my first VW.

Thanks again. You guys are wicked cool.

Apr. 9: Cars, part deux

Guess what? We’re going to look at cars today. Well, we might. Depends if we get off work when we’re supposed to, which almost never happens.

I appreciate the automobile advice y’all offered. I looked into Priuses (Priuii? Priapism?) last night and got all excited about them. They’re cute, they’re efficient, and they seem fun. Then Victor said if I don’t like the way a Camry handles, I’m not going to like a Prius any better because they’re designed to be even more aerodynamic.

When I’ve driven my mom’s and mother-in-law’s Camrys (Camries? Camrii?), I can turn the steering wheel back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, and I’m still going straight down the middle of the road, all the while terrorizing my passengers. Wheeeee! Oh yes, the Camry is a lovely car to drive; it’s effortless and easy to terrorize one’s passengers and who wouldn’t want that?

But here’s the thing: driving the VW, if I turn the wheel just a teence, the car goes in that direction. Steering is very responsive and that’s what I love about it. I think it’s called Fahrvergnügen, if I remember my mid-90s advertising correctly. Whatever it is, it’s perfect for the person that needs to feel in control of everything. That would be me. Yes, the VW has quite possibly contributed to my need for a rheumatologist, what with the steering wheel requiring a GRIP to turn, not just a knee. But if the VW didn’t do it, the 20-hour/day keyboard use would have. Meh.

Lastly, every VW we’ve had could turn on a friggin’ DIME. I’ve been driving the MPV the past few days and I don’t think I could do a U-turn on a 7-lane road with that thing. (Plus it’s a minivan, sorta. Me no likey no matter how practical.)


As you might have guessed, I’m looking at the Jetta if we go look at cars today.

Now I need two other important questions answered:

  1. How the h-e-double-hockeysticks do you pronounce “Prius” anyway? I say “PREE-us” and Vic says “PRY-us.” He’s wrong, right? (Lori and Chris, you can argue this one out.)
  2. Why can’t Toyota, a company that makes great cars, give them names that pluralize more easily? Sheesh.
  3. Is “pluralize” a word? I’m too lazy to look it up.

Apr. 8: R.I.P. Boz

Well, this news just bums me out. Local news personality Jim Bosley died Sunday. He was such a nice guy. Click the photo for the KATU story.


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