It’s time for Thursday Thirteen.
I’ve been visiting many new (to me) web sites lately. Not all of them are corporate sites; some are personal interest, some research-based, and lots are blogs. And when I’m searching for something in particular, be it a product I want to buy or an exciting blogger, I have realized there are certain things I look for. More specifically, there are certain things I don’t want to see, and most of them will make me click the BACK button quicker than you can say you’re sorry and it’ll never happen again.
I share a list similar to this as a DON’T to students in my web design classes. Of course, some of these are my own personal preferences, and I’ve also limited the number to 13. If you’re looking for a boat-load of really great design tips, check out Web Pages That Suck. It is, in my opinion, the Holy Bible of web design.
13 web design elements to avoid
- Hard-to-read color scheme. High contrast is important. Is this a site for secret messages? Green text on a blue background is impossible to decipher. Hot pink background? Electric lime green? Bye-bye.
- Animated images. There are exceptions to these, of course. If they’re small, not too obnoxious, funny, etc. then I don’t mind. But I’d really prefer not to see them at all. Same goes for scrolling or animated text. Use in moderation, folks. Moderation is the key.
- Bad navigation. A landing page that gives me no clue how to move around your site. Give me an obvious clickable link, a short menu, anything. I don’t want to have to guess that the clever graphic in the middle of my screen is the entrance to actual info.
- Sound. Music, goofy sound effects, any kind of sound is so totally annoying, it makes me want to kill whoever thought it would be fun to play for site visitors. You think if you have an easy way to turn off the sound, then you’re being thoughtful? How about this: leave it off and let me decide if I want to turn it ON.
- Pop-up windows, I hate you. Pop-under windows, I hate you too.
- Slow loading pages. Why? Why must you do this to me? At least give me a warning.
- Bible verses. Yes, you’re a religious person. Yes, you are proud of it. Good for you. But if a Bible verse is the first thing I see on your site, I will probably move on. I don’t mean to be a jerk, but I have a problem with people that wear their religion like a badge. “You can trust me” or “I’m a good person” can be expressed better ways.
- Crowded text and images. If your site is hard to read I will not read it and I will not return.
- Misspelled words in the headers or other large text. I don’t like to see misspellings anywhere, but on personal web sites, blogs, etc. they’re slightly more forgivable. Exception: headings. Seriously, how can you miss those?
- Serious punctuation errors, like Capitalization where It Does not Belong and Apostrophe’s in place’s they should and shouldnt be.
- If your site requires Flash or other browser add-ons/plug-ins, warn me. If your site breaks when these add-ons are disabled, you need to do some re-design. And if your page crashes my browser because of one of these things, I shall curse your URL.
- Unidentified or broken links. Hyperlinks should be obvious. Broken links should not exist (exception: in archives, broken links are almost unavoidable; a disclaimer might be nice).
- Undated data. When was this site last updated? If you talk about an exciting event coming up “next month,” how do I know when that is?
I saw my rheumatologist last week for my annual make-sure-my-medication’s-still-working appointment. I take Plaquenil for my sorta-lupus, sorta-RA, slightly-mysterious pain and it can have some odd side effects. So far, so good.
However, he was concerned about a couple other things, one being my excessive bruises. No matter how much you assure physicians that your husband does not beat you (often), they’re suspicious. No matter how much you promise, “But he loves me! Well, he says he loves me. Y’know, when he apologizes for the smackdown,” you can tell the doctors still wonder if they should send an investigator to the house. The constant flinching probably doesn’t help.
Vic really is a pretty good guy, but he did hit me once. It was long before we were dating, and only after warning me—but I didn’t believe he would do it so I continued to punch him in the arm for ten minutes. He slugged me back—once—and I wailed like he had pulled out my nose hair. I totally deserved it, and that is not a battered wife talking. It’s the voice of a dumb girl who thought it’d be funny to see how long it would take her friend to hit her back.
I explained my bruises to the rheumatologist, but it was the stories of my constant foot injuries that made him write up the physical therapy referral. And as far as I know, there was no note made in my file about a “possibly abusive spouse.” This doctor, in fact, goes out of his way to let patients see what’s in their charts; he actually gives it to me to take to the nurse and then leaves the room. Thank goodness not all doctors are like this or there would be one less hilarious episode of Seinfeld.
The other concern was my blood pressure, as it was scary-high. It was only spooky-high on my last two visits.
When Vic got home he asked how the appointment went. I always assume he’s just counting down the days until he can collect on that life insurance policy, but occasionally there’s a chance he might actually care. When I told him,
there were dollar signs in his eyes he was very concerned.
Act I, Scene 1:
Vic and Jen are sitting at their respective laptops in the family room. Jen has just told Vic about her recent high blood pressure reading.
Vic: You know what you should do?
Vic: You’re not gonna like this.
Jen waits for him to say something she won’t like
Vic: You should spend less time on the computer.
Jen wraps her arms around her laptop and whispers into its USB port: That will never happen, my love. Pay no attention to the man across the room.
After witnessing the sister’s pants-dropping and now this, Vic is more sure than ever that he married into undiagnosed acute mental illness.
Act I, Scene 2:
It is several hours later. Jen looks up from her computer to see Vic lugging out the elliptical exercise machine.
Jen: Oh. You meant I should exercise more.
Jen whispers into her laptop’s USB port: Call off the electric shock, my love. It wasn’t about you.
We’re now trading back and forth on the elliptical machine while we watch TiVo’d programs together in the evenings, so he’s not making me exercise all by myself. And he found such a tactful way to tell me I should be more active that it took me two days to realize he was actually saying I’m a big, fat, hypertensive sow. At first I felt like punching him for ten minutes, but I’m exhausted.
I might just let this one slide.
Today it would probably be easier to scream “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” than to single each birthday person out. But single out I will, because I’m feeling generous with my time. Also, I’m staying here at my desk until I’ve finished my coffee so I might as well write.
Let’s start with the youngest.
Daryl, my brother-in-law and the husband to one of my favorite people, turns 38 today. Although he’ll probably spend the day like any other—playing games with his nerd friends online and “working”—I imagine he, Sally and Presley will be doing something more fun. Like going to one of the many exciting places that are but a short drive from where they live. (There is a slight possibility that I imagine life as a Rehling-Manullang to be much more thrilling than it actually is.) Anyway, have a good one, Daryl.
Next up is Scott Neil, who’s turning 39. He is older than Daryl. He’s probably feeling young, though, because he spends his days with people much, much older than he is. Happy birthday, Scott! We hope to see you guys someday.
And speaking of people much, much older, today is also Victor’s birthday. Vic is that guy I married 11+ years ago. He’s 44 now, and that means he is unbelievably elderly. But I still love him. He’s pretty much super-dee-duper (he made me write that—so clearly, the man is senile).
This evening we’re partying with Chris, Sonya, Julianne, Jacob, Darlene, Wellington, and the four of us, and will be singing to all three of today’s birthday boys. Feel free to join us in song.
Casey has been standing at the vent below our kitchen sink for the past hour.
She’s shaking a lot, but since the A/C is blowing she’s probably cold. It seems like if there were a critter in there, she’d be making some noise, maybe scratching around. But she’s not barking or whining at all; she’s just standing there, looking. So whatever she thinks is in there couldn’t possibly be dangerous, right? Right?
I was too busy last week but it’s time again for Friday Fill-ins.
- I believe whatever doesn’t kill you will probably make you want to kill someone else.
- If you’re good at something, start a blog so you can blab it to the world.
- Why so nonsensical a question?
- Something is out there, it’s watching me while I sleep.
- If my life were a sitcom, it would be titled How Was Your Trip Last Fall? (ha ha ha).
- Sitting on my back porch [if you don’t have one, use your imagination] I see that all my neighbors have much nicer yards than I do.
- And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to sitting on the front porch while K&J play outside, tomorrow my plans include lunch at my in-laws and Trudy’s birthday party and Sunday, I want to go bike-riding (yes, I said bike-riding!).
Please share your Friday Fill-ins in a comment. Have a great weekend!
OK, you gotta check out this web site. “PlateWire is a public repository and electronic forum of drivers by drivers. Using a drivers license plate, commuters can communicate their thoughts and feelings in regards to driving on today's roadways.”
Don’t know how far-reaching this is results-wise, but I’m all for calling attention to the many, many a-holes on the road. (Of course, I made sure my own license plate hasn’t been entered into the PlateWire database before I posted this.)
So this means it’s totally safe to get on the Internet... go to PlateWire.com... enter the info... using my cell phone... while I drive... right? Since now you’re wondering, my Oregon plate is “LRL.” (heh heh—kidding, “LRL” is a very safe driver and almost never texts her BFF behind the wheel.)
Alright, this is my last party-related post and I’ll never talk about the party again unless I feel like talking about the party.
One thing cool about celebrating your birthday two months early is that people give you gifts at the party and then hopefully forget and give you a gift again on your birthday. Yay for poor memory!
For a party on which the invitation specifically requested NO gifts, April and I were showered with many. There are a few of those I want to mention that are exceptionally... um... mention-worthy.
The first gift I received was when my mom and Kathy arrived Friday afternoon. Since we pulled the rail on our front porch down (intentionally), the front of the house looked so different. Something was missing. This bistro set filled in that space perfectly.
I love bistro sets, but not the fakey ornate ones. The one Mom chose is exactly what I wanted. Exactly. It’s very simple and has nice little details, like the pattern on the edge of the table and that pitcher of mimosas.
The next thing I was given was a Harvey seat belt bag. It’s black and a doctor bag style. My seester knows me so well.
I can’t stop touching it (heh heh, that’s what she said). It’s made of real seat belt material, so it’s smooth and simply fabulous. Someone told me it looks like it’s made of grosgrain ribbon, but of course, it’s much sturdier than that. A nice extra touch? It has four metal feet on the bottom—important on any handbag, but especially one made of fabric. Thank you, Kath! I love, love, love it.
April gave me a wristlet from Laura Bee Designs. You can have items custom-made in the store, and April chose the materials and little add-ons for this just for me. This is so cute. Does April have the best taste, or what?
One of Lori’s gifts—a Troy Bolton pillow—has already been stolen from me. I saw it in Katie’s room last night. Not to worry, I will steal it back. If Katie puts up a fight she’ll be given a warning (“I’m bigger than you, kid!”) and that’s it; after that I’ll sit on her. Sometimes you have to show your kids who’s boss. (Lori, if you ever get your very own Link Larkin pillow you’ll do the same thing.) And I know what you’re thinking, but it is untrue: I AM NOT A PERVERT FOR LOVING THIS GIFT. “Immature,” I’ll give you. But not “pervert.”
Time again for Thursday Thirteen.
For years, my roommate and I threw huge parties that were loads of fun. People would send us thank you notes afterward, just for being invited. Although my husband is not quite as interested in party planning as my roommate was, he follows directions well and is a lot of help to me when I do it. And even though we don’t have these big bashes as often as we used to, we still put a lot of effort into making them memorable and fun for our guests.
Last weekend was an early celebration of my 40th birthday party, an honor that I shared with four other friends also turning 40 this year. We had approximately 80 guests stuffed into our house—a bit larger than our usual party size—but, like old times, it was a fabulous evening for nearly everyone. Using this event and the planning that led up to it, here are some suggestions for throwing large parties in your home.
13 of Jen’s party planning rules
- If, when hearing about the party, a friend tells you they’re willing to help, remember that. If you can’t find anything for them to do, you will as the party date nears. It’s hard for me to ask for help, but when I remember that time I had an hour left before guests arrived and I still hadn’t showered or made the hollandaise, I remember how important it is to enlist the help of friends. Even more important: Do not ask unsanitary folk to handle food, especially if I’m invited to your party.
- Use your party date as motivation to get projects done around your house. Been meaning to paint your kitchen for months? Do it now. Do not, however, start anything that can’t be finished on time; an unpainted kitchen is better than a half-painted one.
- Make a list of ALL items that you’ll need for the party, not just the big things. With cake, you need candles, lighter, knife, serving spatula, etc. Don’t wait until cake time to start looking for them.
- Even if you don’t want to do much decorating, make a few bouquets of helium-filled balloons. They’re festive, fun and very easy. Send them home with the kids after the party.
- Confetti is also fun and festive—I love to sprinkle handfuls on the tables—but you’ll be finding it long after the party’s over. Consider alternative décor, or keep that vacuum cleaner handy for a few months.
- IKEA has glassware and tableware that is inexpensive (and sturdier than plastic, obviously). Consider spending a little bit more for party supplies that you can use several times.
- Put a few people in charge of specific tasks, à la Joe Mayo. Want everyone to wear name tags? Ask someone to make sure guests get them when they arrive. Want a guest book signed? Ask someone to take care of passing it around. As a host, you can’t take care of everything, and not having to worry about the little things will give you more time to socialize with your guests.
- If some of your guests are kids, make sure some of your food is kid-friendly.
- If you don’t want leftover food or cake, plan to send it home with your guests. Have disposable food containers, plastic wrap, plates, zip-loc bags, etc. ready to fill.
- Nobody ever eats as much as you expect them to. Don’t provide less food and risk running out; just make sure you LIKE what you serve because you’ll probably be eating it for a week afterward.
- Ask a few different people to take pictures throughout the party. Make the photos available to your guests on a site like Flickr, so they can view them and order prints if they choose.
- This is your party; give yourself the opportunity to enjoy it. Only jackass guests complain to the hostess about other guests, food selection, or crappy beer (um, it’s free! SHUT UP!). Don’t let them ruin your otherwise enjoyable evening.
- Schedule a massage for yourself in the day or two after the party as a little pampering reward for a job well done. But a brow wax and spray-on tan? They should not be done the day of the party. Have them done earlier in the week. Trust me on this.
Please share your valuable party tips in a comment. Thanks!
I created a newsletter-type thing of 1968 events for the party, just in case everyone got bored and felt like reading. Here’s the stuff that was in it.
1968: The Year in Review
In honor of 40 fabulous years
Future bright, said prognosticators—they were right!
Jan. 2–Cuba Gooding Jr., actor
Jan. 10–Sherrice Neil Croft, a most lovely person indeed
Jan. 14–LL Cool J, actor
Jan. 24–Mary Lou Retton, gymnast
Jan. 28–Sarah McLachlan, singer
Feb. 1–Lisa Marie Presley, singer
Feb. 3–Vlade Divac, ball player
Feb. 5–Roberto Alomar, ball player
Feb. 8–Gary Coleman, actor
Feb. 18–Molly Ringwald, actress
Mar. 2–Daniel Craig, actor
Mar. 26–Kenny Chesney, musician
Mar. 29–Lucy Lawless, actress
Mar. 30–Céline Dion, singer
Apr. 4–Deanna Peterson Gutierrez, silly Boise girl
Apr. 14–Anthony Michael Hall, actor
May 2–Lisa Ross Nicholson, party pooper
May 12–Tony Hawk, skateboarder
May 27–Frank Thomas, ball player
May 28–Kylie Minogue, singer
May 29–Karen Byrd Heinrich, winner of high school belching contest
Jun. 13–Kimberly Gibson Quishenberry, housemate extraordinaire
Jul. 16–Barry Sanders, ball player
Jul. 24–Trudy Whittaker, Jen’s cool neighbor
Jul. 24–Kristin Chenoweth, actress
Jul. 27–Julian McMahon, actor
Aug. 15–Debra Messing, actress
Aug. 25–Rachael Ray, TV personality
Aug. 31–Hideo Nomo, ball player
Sep. 4–Mike Piazza, ball player
Sep. 18–Jennifer Saltmarsh Manullang, gossipy blogger (so be nice!)
Sep. 25–Will Smith, actor
Sep. 26–April Knudson Jordan, most perfect and delightful traveling companion
Sep. 26–James Caviezel, actor
Sep. 28–Naomi Watts, actress
Oct. 1–Ted Manullang, middlest brother
Oct. 11–Jane Krakowski, actress
Oct. 12–Hugh Jackman, actor
Oct. 17–Ziggy Marley, musician
Oct. 29–Sherilee Goerlitz Coffey, ten-fingered caterer
Oct. 31–Vanilla Ice, rapper/punch line
Nov. 8–Parker Posey, actress
Nov. 12–Sammy Sosa, ball player
Nov. 18–Owen Wilson, actor
Dec. 2–Lucy Liu, actress
Dec. 5–Margaret Cho, comedian
Dec. 8–Mike Mussina, ball player
Average Prices in 1968
New house: $24,950
Annual income: $7,850
Minimum wage: $1.15
New car: $2,822
Gas per gallon: 34¢
First-class stamp: 6¢
Movie ticket: $1.50
Major political events of 1968
March 31–U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson announces he will not seek re-election
April 11–President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1968
April 20–Pierre Elliott Trudeau becomes Canada's 15th Prime Minister
June 5–Democratic presidential candidate Robert Kennedy is shot by Sirhan Sirhan at the Ambassador Hotel in San Francisco. The 42-year-old Kennedy dies in the early morning of June 6.
June 21–Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren announces he will resign
August 5-8–The Republican National Convention in Miami Beach, Florida nominates Richard Nixon for U.S. President and Spiro Agnew for Vice President
August 22-30–Police clash with anti-war protesters in Chicago, Illinois, outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention, which nominates Hubert Humphrey for U.S. President, and Edmund Muskie for Vice President
October 14–Vietnam War: The United States Department of Defense announces that the United States Army and United States Marines will send about 24,000 troops back to Vietnam for involuntary second tours
November 1–President Johnson orders an end to bombing in Vietnam
November 5–Republican challenger Richard M. Nixon defeats Vice President Hubert Humphrey and American Independent Party candidate George C. Wallace
January 1–Federal guidelines state that all passenger vehicles must be equipped with shoulder harnesses
January 6–America’s first heart transplant was performed at Stanford University
February 16–The nation's first 911 emergency telephone system was inaugurated, in Haleyville, Ala.
March 1–Singers Johnny Cash (36) and June Carter (38) wed
March 13–Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) and Humble Oil and Refining Company (now Exxon Company, U.S.A.) announced the discovery of oil on Alaska’s North Slope (Prudhoe Bay). The oil companies soon began efforts to construct a pipeline, but work was suspended due to environmental concerns.
April 4–Martin Luther King, Jr. is shot at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. Riots erupt in major American cities for several days afterward.
April 18–London Bridge was sold to a US oil company. It was later erected in Arizona.
May 25–The Gateway Arch in St. Louis is dedicated
May 27–Memorial Day, which began in 1868 as Decoration Day, was set aside to remember those who have died in the service of their country. Celebrated on May 30 for the first 100 years, Memorial Day was officially changed to the last Monday in May in 1968.
June 16–The first automated teller machine in the U.S. is installed in Dallas, Texas
July 15–Commercial air travel began between US & USSR
July 15–The Intel Corporation was founded
September 30–the first Boeing 747 is rolled out
October 14–First live network transmission of video from inside a manned US space capsule in orbit (Apollo 7)
October 20–Aristotle Onassis and Jacqueline Kennedy marry on the Greek island of Skorpios
October–Redwood National Park is established in northern California
November 14–Yale University announces it is going co-educational
December 22–President Eisenhower’s grandson David Eisenhower marries Julie Nixon, the daughter of U.S. President-elect Richard Nixon
December 24–U.S. spacecraft Apollo 8 enters orbit around the Moon. Astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and William A. Anders become the first humans to see the far side of the Moon and planet Earth as a whole.
The Pathmark supermarket chain is established
Roy Jacuzzi invented the first whirlpool bath
January 8–Jacques Cousteau's first undersea special airs on US network TV
February 16–The Beatles travel to the Maharishi's ashram in northern India to meditate and bring Eastern worship back to the West. Now, four decades later, meditation is widely accepted within the scientific community as a beneficial practice.
February 19–The first episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood airs nationally
April 29–The musical Hair officially opens on Broadway
September 29–Spanish tenor Placido Domingo makes his debut
October 18–Circus Circus Las Vegas opens
November 1–The Motion Picture Association of America adopts its film-rating system (G, M, R, X)
November 22–William Shatner and Nichelle Nichols share the first interracial kiss on US television in the Star Trek episode “Plato's Stepchildren”
- Hot Wheels die cast toy cars are introduced by American toymaker Mattel
- The original Lava Lamp is patented in the U.K.
- Nearly 200 million households now own television sets, (78 million of which are in the US)
- Knott’s Berry Farm fences in the property and begins charging admission
- McDonalds introduces its Big Mac
- The fourth Betty Crocker (General Mills advertising icon) makes her appearance
- The J.M. Smucker Co. introduces Goober Grape, a single container with peanut butter and grape jelly swirled together
Musical groups established
In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, by Iron Butterfly
Build Me Up, Buttercup, by The Foundations
Born to Be Wild, by Steppenwolf
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, by Dick Van Dyke & Sally Ann Howes
I Heard It Through the Grapevine, by Marvin Gaye
I Say a Little Prayer, by Dionne Warwick
(Sittin' On) the Dock of the Bay, by Otis Redding
Stand By Your Man, by Tammy Wynette
Do You Know the Way to San José, by Dionne Warwick
MacArthur Park, by Richard Harris
Mrs. Robinson, by Simon & Garfunkel
What a Wonderful World, by Louis Armstrong
Yummy Yummy Yummy, by The Ohio Express
Put Your Head on My Shoulder, by Paul Anka
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, by The Beatles
For Once in My Life, by Stevie Wonder
Hey Jude, by The Beatles
Revolution, by The Beatles
Classical Gas, by Mason Williams
2001: A Space Odyssey
The Lion in Winter
The Love Bug
The Green Berets
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Night of the Living Dead
The Odd Couple
Planet of the Apes
Romeo & Juliet
Yours, Mine and Ours
Hang ‘Em High
The Thomas Crown Affair
Television series debuts
The Mod Squad
The Dick Cavett Show
The Doris Day Show
One Life to Live
Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In
Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood
Television series endings
Lost in Space
George of the Jungle
The Lucy Show
The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
The Andy Griffith Show
The Danny Thomas Hour
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
Airport, Arthur Hailey
Couples, John Updike
The Salzburg Connection, Helen MacInnes
A Small Town in Germany, John Le Carre
Testimony of Two Men, Taylor Caldwell
Preserve and Protect, Allen Drury
Myra Breckinridge, Gore Vidal
Vanished, Fletcher Knebel
Christy, Catherine Marshall
The Tower of Babel, Morris L. West
Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book
The Random House Dictionary of the English Language: College Edition, Laurence Urdang
Listen to the Warm, Rod McKuen
Between Parent and Child, Haim G. Ginott
Lonesome Cities, Rod McKuen
The Doctor's Quick Weight Loss Diet
The Money Game, Adam Smith
Stanyan Street & Other Sorrows, Rod McKuen
The Weight Watcher's Cook Book
Better Homes and Gardens Eat and Stay Slim
The Wide World of Sports
January 14–Green Bay Packers win Super Bowl II
January 20–Game of the Century in college basketball between the University of Houston Cougars and the UCLA Bruins played at the Houston Astrodome. It was the first prime-time national broadcast of a college basketball game and paved the way for the CBS March Madness television coverage.
February 6-February 18–The 1968 Winter Olympics were held in Grenoble, France
May 2–NBA Finals: Boston Celtics won 4 games to 2 over the Los Angeles Lakers
May 8–Catfish Hunter of the Oakland Athletics pitched the first perfect game in the American League in 47 years before a crowd of 5,000 at the Oakland Coliseum
June 16–Lee Trevino wins the US Open golf championship
September 9–Arthur Ashe became the first African-American to win US Open tennis tournament
October 10–World Series: Detroit Tigers won 4 games to 3 over the St. Louis Cardinals
October 12-27–The Games of the XIX Olympiad are held in Mexico City, Mexico
November 17–The Heidi game: NBC cuts off the final 1:05 of an Oakland Raiders-New York Jets football game to broadcast the pre-scheduled Heidi. Fans are unable to see Oakland (which had been trailing 32–29) score two late touchdowns to win 43–32; as a result, thousands of outraged football fans flood the NBC switchboards to protest.
December 5–Heisman Trophy Winner: O.J. Simpson
Teams established: Atlanta Hawks, Cincinnati Bengals, Milwaukee Bucks, New York Nets, Oakland Athletics, Phoenix Suns, Denver Spurs
In the Northwest
February 13–Voters approve $40 million of “Forward Thrust” bonds to build the Kingdome, the Aquarium, youth centers and highways
May 3–Opening ceremonies are held for Portland’s Civic Auditorium (now Keller)
May 28–Senator Eugene McCarthy wins the Democratic primary in Oregon
July 31–Westfield Southcenter Mall opens in Tukwila, Washington
September 30–the Boeing 747 is rolled out
November 30–Aaron Frank, primary founder of the Meier & Frank store chain, dies at the age of 77
December 3–The Central Association unveils its plan for Westlake Park in downtown Seattle
North Cascades National Park is established in Washington State
Eddie Bauer retires and sells his company
Seattle’s Best Coffee is founded in Coupeville, Washington under the name “Wet Whisker,” an ice cream and coffee shop
Bob Packwood is elected to represent Oregon in the U.S. Senate
The Rogue River in southern Oregon is named one the country's first national wild and scenic rivers
Sunriver Resort in central Oregon is created
Ted Bundy manages the Seattle office of Nelson Rockefeller’s presidential campaign
The Black Panther Party for Self Defense established its Seattle chapter, one of the first outside California
The John Day Dam project is completed 76 miles downstream to form Lake Umatilla
Scientists cross the Pacific oyster with the Kumamoto oyster to produce the Gigomoto oyster. They had hoped for a cross that would have the best traits of both oysters but instead produced a cross with the worst traits of both oysters.
Martin Luther King, Jr. (b. 1929); Helen Keller, American spokeswoman for deaf and blind (b. 1880); Robert F. Kennedy (b. 1925); Rose Wilder Lane (b. 1886), American author and reporter, and the first child of Laura Ingalls and Almanzo Wilder; Upton Sinclair, U.S. novelist and social reformer (b. 1878); Tallulah Bankhead, American actress (b. 1902); John Steinbeck, American writer, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1902)
You’re over 40 if...
- People who call at 9 p.m. ask, “Did I wake you?”
- There is nothing left to learn the hard way
- Things you buy now won’t wear out
- You enjoy hearing about other people’s operations
- You get into heated arguments about pension plans
- You have a party and the neighbors don’t even realize it
- You no longer think of speed limits as a challenge
- Your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off
- You sing along with elevator music
- Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can’t remember them either
“Life begins at 40 - but so do fallen arches, rheumatism, faulty eyesight, and the tendency to tell a story to the same person three or four times.”
Did you know that turning 40 means you are now older than 58% of America, and that you’ve lost 10% of your muscle mass in the last decade? And that almost 90% of 40-year-olds are in debt? But don’t despair—at 40, Lucille Ball’s television career was just beginning, Gandhi’s plan for civil disobedience was just an outline, and John Glenn’s career was about to go into orbit. Chances are you own a home (71%), you feel you’re in good or excellent health (87%), and you are happy (51%). About 91% of women and 88% of men have been married, 82% have children, and, best of all, you’re still gettin’ it on—1.8 times a week. —“The Big 40”
The “I just woke up” face of your 30’s is the “all day long” face of your 40’s. —Libby Reid
Yummy, yummy, yummy, I got party food in my tummy.
If you’ve been to gatherings at our house before, you know that food is always the component with which I spend the majority of my time planning. This party was no exception. Mary (my mom), Pat (April’s mom), and Darlene (Vic’s mom), April and I provided a lot of the prepared food and beverages. While those things were delicious, it’s the homemade foods that people have been e-mailing me about. Here are the details.
Camille (April’s sister) and Roger were responsible for that huge and beautiful and very tasty fruit salad that was the centerpiece of the table. They also made the hummus and flatbread, as well as the curry chicken salad. Camille, if you’re willing to share your recipes, e-mail them to me. I should also mention that these two very helpful guests tended to the food throughout the party. They made sure all dishes were restocked and none of you starved. Aren’t you glad they came?
Dawn, my caterer neighbor and new favorite person in the world, made the to-die-for macaroni and cheese. She was generous enough to send me the recipe, which many of you have requested, so here it is. Dawn also made that amazing sundried tomato and pesto torte and the I-just-can’t-get-enough onion puffs. I was tempted to sneeze on any one (or all three) of these dishes so I could have them all to myself. Lucky for you, I didn’t.
I made the orzo pasta salad and tapenade pinwheels.
Here’s a tip: if you get invited to a party at our house, change whatever other plans you might have so you can be here. Especially when other foodie-types are involved, it’s worth coming just for the grub. Your gut will be forever grateful, even if your waistline will hate you.
Our fridge is still full of delicious leftover party food and cake, and I keep finding “40” confetti around the house, but otherwise you’d hardly know there were 75-85 guests here for the big 40th birthday bash on Saturday night. Let me tell you, if you want a good party, invite these same 75-85 people and you’re guaranteed an evening of belly laughs. I love our friends.
Toby (April’s uncle) and Jean brought their grandson, who made friends quickly and soon had a large group of kids following him into the neighbor’s yard. They gave me and April names of hymns for people over 40:
Precious Lord, Take My Hand (And Help Me Get Up)
It Is Well With My Soul (But My Back Hurts)
Nobody Knows The Trouble I Have Seeing
Amazing Grace (Considering My Age)—this clearly does not apply to me
Just A Slower Walk With Thee
Count Your Many Birthdays, Name Them One By One
Go Tell It On The Mountain (And Speak Up!)
Give Me That Old Timers’ Religion
Guide Me Oh Thou Great Jehovah (I’ve Forgotten Where I Parked)
Lafe, Rebecca, Cooper and Rowan came from Walla Walla for the party. I hadn’t met the boys in person and it had been years since I’d seen Rebecca. Although I didn’t get to spend much time talking with them, it made me feel very special that they were here. The thought of them making the effort to be here still puts a smile on my face. I’m also enjoying the beautiful bouquet of roses they brought.
David, Cristina, Sally, Mack and Phoebe, some of our delightful-er neighbors, left their pug Eddie at home. That greatly decreased the chances of my mom getting peed on during the party, for which she was thankful. Personally, I think it would’ve been a hoot.
Deanna, my favorite cousin, stayed up with me and Kathy until 3 a.m. after all other party guests had left or gone to bed. We gossiped about family and Kathy told the same stories at least three times.
Dominic “Honey Bunny,” Janet and Danell hit it off with our neighbors and now have a standing invitation to all our barbecues, beer busts, beer blasts, keggers, steinhoists, AA meetings, and beer nights.
Kendall, Karen, Anna, Andrew and Abi were guests of honor, as Karen is an oldster like me and April. Abi slept through most the party. Karen pretended to try to hide her voluptuousness but failed miserably (photographic proof to be posted later this week). April and I have known Karen since high school, and have all been roommates at different times; for us, this celebration would have been incomplete if any one of us had not been there.
Julia (April’s sister) and Ralph played social butterflies to critical acclaim. We were honored that they were able to make it here to help us celebrate.
Mary (my fabulous mom) played nametag creator/enforcer. She also helped tremendously with party preparations, while my sister spent the afternoon at the mall, not helping at all. Mom gave me a bistro set for my birthday, which kind of completed the new front porch décor.
All the festive balloon bouquets were the work of Jim, April, Emma and Trevor. April, as one of the five guests of honor, spent most of the party welcoming all the family and friends that came to help us celebrate our 40th birthdays. I think she was better at this than I was, but it could be because she was less drunk.
Shawn, Heather (April’s sister), Kaitlynn, Mitchel, and Wyatt were instrumental in getting our guests fat and happy.
Michael (April’s brother) and his daughter Miah were surprise guests—we weren’t sure they would make it, and were thrilled to see them show up.
Pat (April’s delightful mom) arrived early to help with party preparations and I don’t think she stopped working the whole party long.
Dave and Cindy brought me a beautiful sunflower bouquet and their glowing smiles. The party wouldn’t have been the same without them here.
John, Lori, Taylor, Trevor and Theo—my BFF-in-laws—were the guests that were hard to let go of, and we made them stay much later than they wanted to. Of course, since Lori and Kathy disappeared for a good portion of the party, they sorta owed us that extra hour.
Jerel, Sabrina, Jordyn, Jessie and Josh managed an evening outside of the E.R. to join us for the celebration. Their summer has been Jen-like in its misfortune so I felt quite honored that they all made it here!
Jim (without Tina, Kailey and Sammi, who are currently vacationing on the equator) let us borrow his driveway and ignored noise ordinances, for which we are especially grateful.
Vic, Jen, Katie and Jack—that’s us—got most of the house projects done in time for the party, though we question whether our efforts were worthwhile; when the house is crammed so full of people I don’t think anyone is noticing crown moulding and new paint colors and alphabetized bookcases. But we all had a wonderful time at the party and are truly honored by the many family members and friends that joined our celebration.
Wellington and Darlene, Vic’s parents, had a mini-fit just before the party when they stopped at Costco to pick up our birthday cakes and found the store had just closed. If not for the very kind employee who took sympathy on her and snuck her through a back door, we wouldn’t have had cakes.
Kevin and Erin arrived with an armful of lavender from their garden, which is still making my whole house smell like my sleep mask (this is a good thing). I have already forgiven Kevin for thinking I was 50 and not suggesting that I look way too young to be that old.
Kim had RSVP’d but she has the kind of schedule/life that doesn’t always let her carry out plans so I was thrilled beyond belief when she showed up! I love that girl; we don’t see each other nearly often enough but when we finally get together it’s like no time has passed. Next year is HER year for the big milestone party.
Lisa and her daughter Sage arrived late, but because I didn’t think they’d show up at all, it was a lovely surprise to see them. Another classmate and friend since high school, Lisa was a guest of honor and made me publicly announce that I was wrong about her. And now I’ll announce it to the Internet: Lisa is not a party pooper. She was hot and grimy from camping but came to the party anyway because she is a good person and cake is yummy.
Ed, I am very sorry about my sister. She told me she took your shoes. I am also very sorry that I didn’t notice how fabulous your shoes were or I might have tried to steal them myself.
I hardly got any time to speak with Dick and Dotti because it seemed like every time I saw them I was rushing off to take care of something important/party-related.
Roger and Camille (April’s sister) were of huge help before and during the party with making sure the food was prepared and frequently re-stocked. They’ve got that Ralph Knudson hosting thing perfected. Thank you!
Darby, Dawn and Lauren are responsible for much of the delectable food items on our table. If you didn’t eat at the party then you are very, very unfortunate. Many guests asked for Dawn’s macaroni and cheese recipe, as well as the sundried tomato/pesto torte, and I’ll be posting that stuff tomorrow. Dawn is not only one of my favorite people, she is an amazing cook and incredibly generous. Darby’s a good guy because he was not offended when my sister started calling him names for no reason at all.
Part of the reason we had this party in July instead of closer to our birthdays in September is so Kathy (that oft-mentioned sister of mine) could be here. Most parties are more fun when Kathy is at them. But this time she and Lori came up with some reason to leave just as the party started, which I think had something to do with an emergency spray-on tan situation. I don’t know. I do know that when Kathy came back, she proceeded to get her drink on. And on and on and on. And then she pulled down her pants. (Yes, there’s more to the story but it still doesn’t really explain WHY she stripped in my dining room so I’m not gonna bother.)
Share (April’s aunt) and Ed were surprise guests, too, because Ed was in the news recently and we weren’t sure he would be up to partying. We felt honored that he was able to make it to the celebration, and wish him the best in his ongoing recuperation.
Rob, Trudy, Travis, Tyler and Taylor were especially kind about our yard overflowing into theirs with partying children and passed-out guests. Trudy celebrates her big day Thursday but she was honored at our party a little early. Congratulations, Trudy!
And that’s how it went, guest-wise. Hopefully I got everyone. I’ll share other party-related items over the next few days, but I’m still recovering from all our preparation efforts, as well as that poorly-proportioned Tickle-Me Erin. Sunday was the first day in weeks that I haven’t awakened with a to-do list being written in my head. And last night was my first full night’s rest in a couple weeks. I’m glad the party’s over, but I have memories that will last me a long, long time. Thank you to all of you who contributed to that. You may have come to the party for Dawn’s unbelievable food and free booze and to see my sister drop trou, but I choose to believe you were there for me, April, Karen, Trudy and Lisa.
Much to report about the party, but so little time. I’ll write later and probably continue to write as the week goes on. So here’s just a brief summary of the evening’s events: it seems a party ain’t a party at my house until Kathy loses her inhibitions and pants.
If you left early, too bad for you.
Time again for Thursday Thirteen.
The other night I tripped on my front porch. The amount of dark purple skin I have now is unbelievable. And the muscles that are sore are muscles I don’t think I even had before. If you’re a regular reader of this blog—or a person that’s actually met me—you know that I am not a graceful person. I never took ballet but I doubt it would have helped. My dance moves are not admirable. Even walking can be a challenge for me. But in addition to being clumsy, I also make idiotic mistakes that cause injury to me or stuff or other people or other people’s stuff. (Don’t feel guilty, Mom; I blame Dad’s genes for this.) I would like to point out, however, that I have never been the cause of a car accident of which I’m aware. So… y’know… there’s that.
13 ways I’ve been clumsy or unfortunate or stupid
- I slipped while walking on a short brick wall when I was two years old and scratched the side of my face. It left a scar near my eye that looks like a dimple when I smile.
- Third grade. Picture day. Our class was sent to recess just before we stood in line for pictures. I ran across the blacktop to the swings, where I slipped on someone’s jacket and landed on my face, tearing all the skin off the side of my nose. Those were some pretty school portraits that year.
- When I was in grade school, my friends and I were always challenging each other to try daring things on our bikes. We would try to pop wheelies, ride backwards, put our feet on our handles, etc. One time I came up with a brilliant idea: how many times can I clap while riding with my eyes closed? I crashed (duh) and got a fat lip and mouthful of gravel. Clumsy AND stupid.
- While walking into a grocery store, I slipped on ice and fell against the bar separating the entry/exit doors. I broke two ribs. I was in an incredible amount of pain for quite a while, and the area was sensitive for several years. I think it’s only less painful today because there’s a good layer of blubber around it now.
- My senior year in college, I was making dinner for a date. I had visions of it being a fancy meal with soft music, candles, and him realizing how completely fabulous I was. During my preparations I started my kitchen on fire. The only thing I had to put it out was flour, so I dumped my entire canister on my stove. It put out the fire, but not before my entire studio apartment was filled with smoke and flour dust. I started waving a towel around and when the smoke and dust cleared, I found him standing in my doorway, his jaw on the floor. I think we ended up eating microwaved Rice-a-Roni.
- I broke my foot when I stepped into a pothole while walking across a parking lot; the fall twisted my ankle and knee so bad that the tendons actually yanked one of my metatarsals apart. That was the only time I ever wore a cast.
- Victor would pick me up from work occasionally in downtown Portland. It was a busy street at the end of the day, of course, so I would wait outside my office building and when he pulled up I would jump in the car. Every single time, I bonked my head on the door. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
- I fell down our stairs and strained my shoulder trying to catch myself. This injury wasn’t especially serious but my doctor put my arm in a sling that made it impossible to drive or teach for a few days. It also made the injury look much worse than it was.
- I broke my foot during my first pregnancy but I don’t know how. One day it was swollen and I couldn’t put any weight on it. I was on medical leave the last couple months of my pregnancy because I couldn’t stand (I was a full time trainer at the time). I broke both my feet during my second pregnancy. The first break happened when I ran into a door frame. This was the week before I left for my first trip to Europe, so staying off my feet, as instructed by the doctor, was difficult. I toured Europe wearing my walking cast from another injury. The second break was much later in the pregnancy, but still a result of extreme clumsiness. So began a new question in my weekly OB appointments: “How many bones did you break since your last exam?”
- I overflowed the kitchen sink and slipped in the puddle on our new hardwood floors. I remember very little about it because I hit my head on the way down. When I came to, the kitchen looked like a crime scene; there was blood everywhere. I went to the emergency room, where they had a heck of a time finding the gash in my head through all the matted hair and blood. When the nurse finally found it, the “gash” was a teeny-tiny hole.
- I was setting up computers for a class when I tripped on a chair leg and fell, twisting my ankle. Only one person was there to witness my clumsiness, but it was still quite embarrassing. Within ten minutes, when students began to arrive, my ankle was swollen and I couldn’t put any weight on it. I taught class from my chair that day, and could hardly wait to get back to my car and take off my freakin’ shoe.
- I contracted E. coli poisoning in 2004, a few days before I was to have 50 people at my house for my husband’s and sister’s 40th birthday party. Thankfully there were none of the horrific symptoms you hear about when people eat tainted meat; apparently I had a different strain of E. coli that pretty much just shut down my kidneys. I was weak and delirious during most of this illness and while my mom saved the party by taking on all my hostessing duties, I lay upstairs and missed the whole thing.
- I saved my favorite one for #13. I had been sick for a few days and started picking at a zit that showed up on my jawline. Like an idiot, I couldn’t stop messing with it—but instead of going away, it just kept getting bigger. I finally saw a doctor and he said it was a bad infection, gave me antibiotics and told me to get some rest. The next morning it had gotten even bigger and was all the way up to my cheekbone. I was told to get to the emergency room immediately, where two nurses actually met me at the car and grabbed my hands and ran me into an exam room. There they picked and excised and drained and then put me on IV antibiotics for three days. The doctor said another few hours and the infection would have gone into my eye and blinded me, by the next day it would have gotten to my brain and killed me. And that is my story of how a zit nearly killed me in 1986.
What are some of your crazy injuries or foibles? Write about them in your blog or in a comment below.
You may ask, “Why???”
And I would probably answer, “I have no idea.” Blame it on all the paint fumes I’ve been inhaling, maybe?
“You know they say that Chuck Norris is so tough, there is no chin under his beard. There is only another fist.” (Family Guy)
Chuck Norris facts
- If you have five dollars and Chuck Norris has five dollars, Chuck Norris has more money than you
- There is no ‘Ctrl’ button on Chuck Norris’ computer. Chuck Norris is always in control.
- Apple pays Chuck Norris 99 cents every time he listens to a song
- Chuck Norris can sneeze with his eyes open
- Chuck Norris can eat just one Lay’s potato chip
- Chuck Norris is suing MySpace for taking the name of what he calls everything around you
- Chuck Norris destroyed the periodic table, because he only recognizes the element of surprise
- Chuck Norris can kill two stones with one bird
This story will either make you puke a rainbow of preciousness, or just plain puke. I think it’s very sweet.
Momma Duck lets human help her babies
I just hope they didn’t swim straight over to that Chinese restaurant in Riverside Park. Because, well, yum.
As I rushed around today I recalled preparing for Victor and Kathy’s 40th birthday party four years ago. The week before the big event my back started to hurt, and within a couple days I couldn’t stand up straight. I went to the doctor, who immediately hit me in the lower back and made me wonder what I pay her for. From my reaction, which was somewhere in the XXX-rated realm of profanities, she determined I had a kidney infection. I went home with antibiotics. I knew I’d be moving a little slower but was determined not to let it interfere with my party hosting.
The next day the doctor’s office called to say they’d done further pee tests and determined I had E.Coli poisoning. I needed a much stronger type of antibiotic, and the new one completely zapped me. I slept for three days. I’d nap for a few hours until Vic would wake me to change my sheets, which were drenched in sweat, then go back to bed until he’d wake me again to change my sheets. It was a foggy time for me. I don’t think he has the fondest memories either.
Meanwhile, my saint of a mother and her best friend drove from Walla Walla and Medford to meet at my house and get it party-ready. For two days they worked their hineys off. They cleaned the whole house top-to-bottom, prepared and set out food, and threw the party in my stead. I lay in bed upstairs during the party—weak and still foggy—listened to the festivities going on without me, and cried. I’d been planning this thing for roughly two years and suddenly couldn’t attend. It was very, very sad to me.
It’s sort of became a joke how well I timed my E.Coli poisoning and got people to do all this stuff for me. If the current party preparations were following the same schedule, it’s just about time for the doctor to punch me in the kidneys. I have no lower back pain, so I’m not letting her get near me.
And yet, I should have known better than to mentally pat myself on the back for avoiding injury and illness this 40th birthday party go-round. It’s only Monday. Tonight as I was bringing some groceries in from the car, the toe of my slipper caught on the porch step and I fell. And remember, when I fall, I don’t fall a little bit. I do it big. When I fall, bones break. Arteries spurt. Passers-by point and laugh and call 9-1-1.
I left a large section of my right knee on the exposed aggregate outside my front door. The ants are probably carrying it away as I type (which is good, I guess, because it’s less for me to sweep up tomorrow). A lot of skin from my left palm is missing, too. And my chin. Yes, my chin. BECAUSE I LANDED PARTIALLY ON MY FACE.
I came in and showed my owies to Vic, who just shook his head sympathetically and humorously (you’d think that combination would be impossible, but he’s perfected it). After getting myself cleaned up, I now see that the bandage on my palm and wrist kinda looks like I’m recovering from a botched suicide attempt. Believe me, while this party is stressing me out a little, it certainly isn’t that bad. Yet.
The best news is that even though my knee is suddenly swollen to the size of Cleveland, I did not break my foot, which I tend to do frequently. And there was no loss of consciousness.
But the most painful injuries? They’re on the inside.
It’s my blog and I’ll whine if I want to.
My neck hurts. My back hurts. My knees hurt. My butt hurts. Why? I’ve been painting. Jumping onto and down from chairs and ladders, kneeling on the floor, reaching, stretching, bending… and I’m not even done.
This is the big pisser of the whole thing: I just painted for four hours and only crossed ONE thing off my list. I hate my list.
Here’s what said list looks like:
- Prime crown moulding
- Paint crown moulding
- Touch up wall/ceiling paint
Here’s what said list should look like:
- Remove cobwebs from ceiling
- Move all living room and dining room furniture to center of room
- Pick up all the books that fell out of the shelves when I moved the bookcases to the center of the room
- Krazy-glue all the wedding china that fell out of the china cabinet when I moved it to the center of the room
- Wonder why we needed all this china anyway when we never use it
- Prime crown moulding
- Re-paint ceiling where I farked up on the primer
- Re-paint wall where I farked up on the primer
- Tape ceiling
- Tape wall
- Paint crown moulding
- Remove tape
- Touch up ceiling where I farked up on the paint
- Touch up wall where I farked up on the paint
- Use a teeny, tiny art paintbrush to touch up crown moulding where I farked up on the primer and/or paint and got it on the wall and/or ceiling
- Move furniture back into place
- Dust the backs of the sofas because oh lord, how’d they get so dusty?
- Re-tune piano
- Remind self that next time we paint, the wall and ceiling and crown moulding will be the same farking color
- Also, there will never, ever be a next time
Is it any wonder this project sat incomplete for five years? It feels like it’s been five years since I started on it this morning. And I am not done AND the day’s not even half over. AND that’s just today; yesterday I painted the family room and kitchen. The day before that I painted the base trim throughout the house. I do not want to paint anymore. Ever. EVER.
The 2008 Fourth of July party on our street was fun. This evening we had a pizza-s’mores-Sambuca party and it was even better and this is why:
(‘Scuse the poor photo quality; this was taken not at all illicitly but with my very crappy non-iPhone.) The view up the baby daddy’s shorts almost draws your eye away from Baby’s First Brewski, huh? Right after the picture was taken Baby stuck his hand in his diaper and yelled for Baby’s Second Brewski. And these neighbors, whose shorts and child shall remain anonymous, should probably expect a visit from DHS any day.
We will miss them.
Yeah, everyone else is getting their new iPhone today. Not me. Grrr, I say. Very grrr. So even though I’m not busy standing in line somewhere, you’re still getting a meme this morning, just because I am feeling grouchy and resentful.
- Oh, I can't wait until I have a tropical vacation again.
- Ketchup is the first thing I see when I open my refrigerator. (Don’t know why; it’s just a normal sized bottle.)
- I never leave home without hand sanitizer.
- If I were a condiment, I would be hot sauce because that sounds a lot sexier than ketchup.
- Two spaces between sentences is really high up on my list of pet peeves. (It was really hard to limit this to ONE peeve)
- The last thing I thought of before I went to bed was “I have so much to do tomorrow.”
- And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to painting; tomorrow my plans include painting and Sunday, I want to not still be painting.
I followed a link from momma blogs a lot to find Friday Fill-ins. Similar to Thursday Thirteen, it’s a way to increase blog traffic, but more importantly, come up with a post when ideas have run dry. If you have your own blog, post your answers there; otherwise please put them in a comment below.
Chloe Rose Rothstein was born June 27, 2008 and weighed 7 pounds, 12 ounces.
Congratulations to Mathew, Sheila, and new big brother Aiden. She’s just beautiful! Sheila, does she look like Aiden? I LOVE her name.
It’s Thursday again and time to participate in Thursday Thirteen! Get the details here.
My name is Jennifer. I have a love-hate relationship with this name. I love that it’s familiar enough that I don’t usually have to spell it for people, it’s easy to find personalized items—though they’re often sold out—and there are a variety of nicknames that can be made from it. What I hate is that it’s so very, very common, it’s one of those names by which my age can be pretty easily guessed, and at eight letters, it’s a long one. Like most people, I’ve had lots of different nicknames over the years. Some are perfectly fine; others I’d just as soon forget.
13 Names I’ve Been Called
- Jennifer. This is my first name. I was named Jennifer because my mom’s maiden name is Jenny, and I think my parents wanted to pass the name onto their favorite child (my sister might disagree).
- Jen-Jen. Apparently this was my nickname as a baby/toddler, but it wore off around the time I started school.
- Jenny. This nickname never really fit me. People that didn’t know me well sometimes assumed I went by Jenny, but they were wrong. It wasn’t until college that friends started calling me Jenny, but even then they did it only because they knew it bothered me. It stuck with some friends, and eventually Jenny actually became endearing. In fact, Vic frequently calls me Jenny (but he says it like Forrest Gump so it makes me laugh). I don’t mind being called Jenny anymore but my sister still gets all worked up when she hears it: “That is not your name!”
- Toad and Bucket were Dad’s pet names for me and Kathy, as well as our friends whose actual names he never bothered trying to remember. I don’t know why Dad couldn’t use sweet nicknames like Princess or Baby like our friends’ dads did. It was always Toad or Bucket or, if he was feeling generous, Toad Bucket.
- Fer. My friend Sherri’s dad thought this was cleverer than Jen. I always thought it was sorta weird.
- Lynn. In fourth grade I wanted to start going by my middle name. This was short-lived.
- Sally, as in Charlie Brown’s sister. In high school, my friend Janelle said my head was in her way and she called me Big-Headed Sally. I think it was actually my hair that was big, not so much my head (this was the mid-80’s, after all). A bunch of us took on Peanuts character names but mine was the one that hung on. Yay.
- Teacher Jenny. When I taught preschool the administrator paid no attention when I introduced myself, and she referred to me as Teacher Jenny to the children. I corrected her many times but after a few weeks of Teacher Jenny-ing, I figured it was easier for the kids to pronounce, and I let it go.
- Buttercup. I dated a guy that was a real jackass and whenever he pissed me off or hurt my feelings—frequently—he’d call me Buttercup while apologizing. I’m embarrassed to admit that I melted into a pool of forgiveness every time.
- Ed. A guy I worked with insisted that I dressed like I walked right out of the Eddie Bauer catalog. He was right; I shopped there a lot back then. Every time he thought I was looking especially Eddie Bauer-ish, he’d call me Ed.
- Katie’s mom/Jack’s mom/Victor’s wife. When I was younger I thought being called names like these would feel like a loss of my own identity. Turns out I really don’t mind them. I even kinda like them.
- Mrs. Manullang. A lot of the kids’ classmates are instructed to call parents Mr./Mrs. It feels strange, but I understand the reasoning; it sounds respectful. When it’s followed by “why are you here again?” or “you look like Chewbacca,” though, I want to beat me up some little grade schoolers.
- Jen. This is the one nickname that has stood the test of time. It is, evidently, “me.”
First, I want to thank Camille for making this post possible. She asked me for some pictures of me and my dad together and I sent her a bunch but lamented that this one had a wrinkle across it; she ‘shopped the wrinkle out, fixed the color, and e-mailed it back to me. Yay, Camille!
So, there’s baby Me, sitting in Daddy’s lap… this was sometime mid-1969. Dad probably just finished washing the car (seriously, that was usually what he wore), and it was time for cuddles with his little baby girl that looked like a little baby boy.
And so to get comfortable, he lit up his pipe and blew huge puffs of tobacky smoke right into my personal space. Did baby Me care? Not a bit. In fact, Daddy completely bored baby Me, as evidenced by my big baby yawn. Either way, I doubt my lungs were pink for very long. To my parents’ credit, the dangers of second-hand smoke were not widely known back then or Mom never would have allowed this scene to take place, much less let it be captured on film!
I love this photo; it’s always been one of my favorites but means even more now. I hated those years when Dad smoked but oh, what I would give to smell that pipe again.
Alright, so The Lovely Lori wants Lemon Drops at the bash and I always do what Lori wants. Problem is, the only Lemon Drops I’ve had—at a two-drink minimum impersonator show in Vegas—weren’t very good. They were alcohol-y, though, so my brother-in-law grabbed them as soon as I made the “Yuck, sour!” face. While I remember the show we were seeing, I think Ron had the better evening.
So where do I find a good recipe? There’s Webtender, which gives me six very different versions of Lemon Drops. Joe Bartender’s got a pretty good variety. DrinkNation has an extensive recipe collection too. How am I supposed to choose?
Here’s the tastiest sounding one I’ve found so far (I likes me the sugary cocktails):
- 1 oz. citrus-flavored vodka
- 1 oz. lemon juice
- 1 tsp sugar
Shake with ice and strain into a shot glass rimmed with sugar
And here’s what I think is a bumpkin version, ‘specially if you replace “vodka” with “moonshine”:
- 1 oz. vodka
- 2 Tbsp lemonade (Country Time)
- Mountain Dew
Mix lemonade mix with vodka in a cocktail glass. Fill with Mountain Dew. Stir well and add ice.
Maybe Lemon Drop Jell-o shots?
Lori and Kath, I know you’ve had the good ones. I know you’ve had them because you call me every year from San Francisco asking me to Google for the booziest drinks that will get you boob-grazed by Jackie Mason, and once those were Lemon Drops. So give suggestions, please.
One consideration: I don’t have all the fancy glasses and I can’t bear the thought of serving something in a plastic cup that belongs in a martini glass. But I can serve Jell-o shots in Dixie cups, right? (Yeah, who wants to come to this hillbilly party now???)
I think I need Debi. She’s, like, the best booze wench ever. Or maybe the real experts Erin and Kevin should play bartender?
BTW, there will be lots of other things to drink at the party, so our teetotaler guests won’t go thirsty.
The type of help I need is debatable, but I think we can all agree that I do need help.
I’ve been reading The Bloggess lately and I love her. I admit, it’s primarily because she’s clever and hilarious—the best combo, in my book—but also because we have the same name. AND her husband’s name is Victor. I’m sorta hoping her readers will get us confused and start praising me for her snarky and oh-so-witty writing. She uses the f-word more frequently in her blog than I do in mine, but maybe people will just think I finally started acting-speaking-writing like a normal person. A girl can dream.
Her Houston Chronicle column today is laugh-out-loud funny and I am never wrong about this kind of thing. Never.
- What do you add to your coffee?
I like it black, like my men. Ha, aren’t I hilare? For reals, at home I add French vanilla creamer. In restaurants, two creamers and 1/3 sugar packet.
- What are you reading now?
When You Are Engulfed in Flames, by David Sedaris
- Do you own a gun?
- Are you registered to vote?
- Do you get nervous before doctor appointments?
Only the ones involving my nethers, and it’s not so much nervousness as dread
- What do you think of hot dogs?
(Don’t gross out, Kath…) I’m embarrassed to say I think they’re delicious
- Favorite Christmas song?
I love love love Christmas music, so it’s very hard to choose just one. Probably one of the classics, like White Christmas.
- What do you prefer to drink in the morning?
Coffee, coffee, and more coffee
- Can you do push ups?
Why the hell would I do a push up?
- What was the name of your first boyfriend/girlfriend?
I think Brad was my first “real” one—but oh, what a summer before that! (Now you just be quiet, Sherilee…)
- What’s your favorite piece of jewelry?
I wear my dad’s thumbprint in sterling silver
- Favorite hobby?
- Do you work with people who idolize you?
They don’t idolize me, but some think I’m a magician and I let them believe it
- Do you have ADD?
What? Oh look, a chicken!
- What’s one trait that you hate about yourself?
- What’s your middle name?
- Name three thoughts at this exact moment.
My head hurts, I’m thirsty, why hasn’t the air conditioning clicked on yet?
- Name three things you bought yesterday.
Party goods, churros for K&J on the way out of Costco, iced mocha
- Name three beverages you regularly drink.
Coffee, water, iced tea
- Current worry right now?
Will this house ever be ready for the bazillion people that will be here on the 19th?
- Favorite place to be?
Right now I would love to be in Sunriver (we just made our Christmas plans so it’s been on my mind lately)
- How did you bring in the New Year?
Every year since we’ve been married we toast each other with our wedding goblets
- Where would you like to go?
Anyplace cleaner and quieter than where I am right now
- What color shirt are you wearing?
- Do you like sleeping on satin sheets?
- Can you whistle?
- Favorite color?
- Could you be a pirate?
No, but I would love to be a pirate’s wench
- What songs do you sing in the shower?
None, usually. There’s a window in our shower and people outside can probably hear whatever goes on in there.
- What’s in your pocket right now?
- Last thing that made you laugh?
A blog where someone called her “Parisite Hilton”
- Best bed sheets as a child?
- Worst injury you’ve ever had?
It was 1995; I twisted my ankle and fell, breaking my right foot and putting a giant hole in my left knee. Can’t decide which hurt more at the time, but the foot still bothers me every day.
- Do you love where you live?
The area? Yes, yes, yes! The house, not so much.
- How many TVs do you have in your house?
- How many dogs do you have?
- Does anyone have a crush on you?
Unrequited? I doubt it.
- What are the most fun things you ever did?
Where do I begin? I’ve had a pretty fun life so far.
- What are your favorite books?
To Kill a Mockingbird, The Tales of the City series… I could go on and on
- What is your favorite candy?
Today, it’s Now & Laters. I obviously care little for my dental work.
- Favorite team?
The only team I ever follow anymore is the Seattle Mariners, and I’m a bit of a fair-weathered fan so I haven’t paid attention to them in a long, long time
- What songs do you want played at your funeral?
Funny stuff, like from the Simpsons soundtracks.
- What were you doing at 12 AM?
- What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up?
Shit. Another headache.
Please share your answers in a comment!
Invitations to the big 40th birthday bash have been sent out. If you have not received one yet, it was either an oversight or we don’t like you. Feel free to send a gift or four anyway.
Here’s a copy of the invitation, just in case.
If you need directions to our house, please e-mail me (jennifer-at-manullang-dot-com) or Vic (victor-at-manullang-dot-com).
RSVPs are beginning to come in, and I’d like to address some of the questions that have accompanied them because I am concerned. Why do people think April and I throw naughty parties? We are not naughty girls. We are good girls. Oh fine, we’re not good girls, but we’re not the naked party kind of girls either. Anymore.
- Are kids allowed?
Yes. We are parents of young children and while we would all love an evening off, this is a time that our kids can get together and cause trouble that we can then blame on other parents. Also, we’ve scared off all babysitters in the area so we don’t really have a choice.
- Is this clothing-optional or what?
Clothing is not optional at this party for most people. We can tell you at the door if you’ll be asked to perform a slow, seductive strip tease. Most of you can count on arriving dressed, though, and not because we don’t want to see you naked but mostly because we don’t want to see you naked.
- This isn't one of those parties where you have to drop your keys in a goldfish bowl is it?
I do not know if I should be offended at this question because I’m not sure what it even means. That’s how clueless I am about naughty parties. But either way, the answer is no. I will not be taking anyone’s keys, nor will anyone be allowed to kill our goldfish.
- We will not be playing “Two Minutes in the Closet.” That got old real fast at our 20th reunion a couple years ago.
- We will not be playing “Spin the Bottle.” If any of us tries to sit on the floor, we’re so old we’ll never be able to get up again.
- There will be some single people at the party. You might meet someone, you might not.
- You will be able to gorge yourself on much delicious food. There will be some adult beverages. There will be kid-friendly grub as well. Birthday cake as far as the eye can see. All guests will be fed and watered sufficiently.
- Gifts for me and April, as well as other guests turning 40 this year, are actually not necessary. The party hosts, however—April’s and my husbands—would like to encourage all guests to bring gifts for them and, in fact, have suggested that you must bring them gifts or you will not be fed or watered or entertained in the least. Ignore that advice at your own risk.
I hope that settles all the nudity mysteries for you weirdies. If you have any other questions, please let one of us know and we’ll do our best to provide you a satisfactory answer.
You people scare me a little.
One last post for today and I’m off to bed.
Here’s what I love best about my neighborhood.
We had a joyous party today, with delicious food, good friends, loud fireworks, a mini-parade, and all the other things that make a Fourth of July celebration memorable and fun. Every year at this time we feel so fortunate to have moved onto this street, to live near these people. It’s not just the Sambuca talking, either—they are truly delightful folk.