Feb. 27: So long, fish dude

We go through comet goldfish like they were … um … comet goldfish. Every few months we stock up again, the kids give them all names, and one by one they meet their toilet fate. But one of them has lived through a few re-stockings and became the old geezer of the bunch. I can’t remember what Katie named him, so I’m going to call him “Him.”

I gave up on Him a long time ago because he started doing that fish-float thing where they don’t move their fins and just let the current of the other fish’s movements carry them around the tank. Isn’t that the equivalent of old people crapping their pants? They get this “you know, I’m old and I’ve worked hard and I don’t care anymore so I’m just gonna sit here and let someone else do the work” attitude, and then they croak or float to the top, as the case may be.

The odd thing is that Him would do that fish-float thing and I’d be all ready to get the net, but the next day he’d be swimming again, happy as can be, like he was a little puppy fish. A few weeks later, we’d see Him floating again.

This is how I found Him this morning. His fish-float seemed more grim than usual.

It’s hard to tell here, but his once pretty fins (for Him was a fantail, not just a 10-cent comet) have been nibbled upon. Notice the other fish, pretending to ignore him. They did that just for the camera, because as soon as I walked away they started eating Him’s fins again. Poor guy. It must suck to outlive your friends, poop your pants, and then watch everyone come in and take your stuff when they think you’re about to die.

I think what did Him in was bringing home the newest batch of comets a few weeks ago. He’d had the aquarium to himself for months. When I dumped the new guys in, I coulda sworn Him looked at me and mouthed “No. Effing. Way.

Besides the three comets looking innocent about Him’s missing fins, they’re also playing dumb about what happened to the algae eater we brought home with them. We haven’t seen him for more than a week and the tank’s getting algae-y again. Comets are nasty little buggers. I guess when you’re bred to be feeder fish you have no reason to play nice.

I got home this afternoon and more of Him’s fins were missing. His gills were no longer laboring. He was gone. Well, after I flushed him he was gone. Before that he was his roommates’ food.

R.I.P., Him. Ye lived a long, happy fish life.

Feb. 26: Jindal/McBrayer

Feb. 26: Ouchie, part XXVIX

A brief timeline of my health…

September 1968: I am born.

1968-2008: I injure myself on a regular basis, mostly due to clumsiness, zits from hell and bike-riding while blindfolded.

Early December 2008: I go in to my regular doctor for a physical. She tells me the pain I’ve had in my abdomen for several years is a hernia and refers me to a surgeon.

Late December 2008: I see the surgeon, who says because of the location of my pain, it is probably not a hernia. He orders a CT scan and finds a tumor on my abdominal wall, which he is fairly sure is not cancerous, but needs to be removed.

Early January 2009: The tumor, which is the size of a chicken egg, is surgically removed. I spend about a week and a half recuperating and go back to work. I later realize that was a teensy bit too ambitious.

Mid January 2009: Lab results show the tumor is endometrial tissue, which has been growing in my abdominal wall since one of my C-sections, either in 2000 or 2001. I blame the 2001 kid because that’s the kind of thing he’d do.

Late January 2009: I come down with a severe headache. It starts out like most do but after a few days the nausea sets in. I am unable to keep any food or liquids down for almost three days and finally go to the emergency room to be treated for dehydration. While there I am also given powerful pain medication, which takes the edge off the headache but does not make it go away. My doctor also suspects a urinary tract infection—for no other reason than having seen a connection between headaches and UTIs in women—and I go on antibiotics when the test comes back positive. It takes three more days before my headache is gone. I spend almost as long recovering from this experience as I did from abdominal surgery a few weeks earlier.

Early February 2009: Like the rest of the northern hemisphere, I come down with a cold. Mine is mostly in my throat and becomes so painful that I cannot swallow or talk or breathe without strangling whoever is closest to me. I lose my voice for a day. A large spot on the back of my tongue feels raw and makes eating or drinking virtually impossible. Doctor says it is not strep or tonsillitis; it is a nasty sinus infection. I go on antibiotics again. For almost a week it feels like there’s a potato chip lodged in my throat. It is an unpleasant sensation.

Mid February 2009: I’m all better! For a whole week, I’m able to work and volunteer and try to get caught up on life! I’d forgotten how nice it was to feel alive and (mostly) well.

Late February 2009: I start feeling dull pain in my lower back, and after a couple days I head to the doctor because it feels like a kidney infection again. I’m relieved when tests show it isn’t my kidneys, but then why all the pain? The doctor presses several points on my spine and says a vertebra has slipped out of position (or something like that); he does some chiropractic adjustments that seem to loosen things. Whew! I leave feeling better, but by the same time the next day I’m worse than ever. It’s hard to stand up straight. It hurts to sit. It hurts to lay flat. It hurts to lie on my side. The only way I can sleep is with drugs, and the leftover supply of Vicodin from my surgery is quickly depleted. The pain gets worse and worse until the only thing I can do is tell you about it.

I think my health can best be described with a phrase made famous by the very wise Roseanne Roseannadanna: “It just goes to show you, it’s always something.”

I’m really tired of it always being something.

Feb. 25: Nothing rhymes with orange

My sister sent us a fruit basket for our anniversary this year. It wasn’t just any fruit basket, though; it was a delicious, colorful and beautiful arrangement of creatively cut fruit. In fact, because it was a Mickey Mouse themed basket, it had pineapple slices cut in the shape of Mickey ears. As with all Mickey-shaped food, that made them extra delicious.

She ordered the basket from EdibleArrangements.com and I gotta tell ya, it’s a pretty great gift. I have all the tools to make these fruit baskets, but it’s an awful lot of work and I don’t deliver. If you’re looking for a unique gift to send someone—they have locations just about everywhere—take a look at the web site to see the variety of baskets Edible Arrangements offers. Use coupon code TYLR0338 for $5 off pickup or delivery (betchoo wish you’d known that a few days ago, huh, Kath?).

And big thanks to Kathy for helping us celebrate our anniversary with such a fun, festive, HEALTHY gift. This is when I’m kinda glad our kids hate fruit because we don’t have to share.

Many lovies to my beeg sees!

Feb. 24: Filet-induced coma

Last night Victor and I celebrated our anniversary at Morton’s, the most perfect restaurant in existence of which I’m aware. The fact that it’s across the street from where our Broadway in Portland shows are held makes it tempting to eat there before every show, but it’s too expensive to go that often. Instead, it’s our special occasion place.

When Vic made the reservations they asked if we were celebrating, and he told them it was our anniversary. So when we got there last night, three different people immediately said “Happy Anniversary!” to us—so nice. They had a booth prepared for us; it was one of those big U-shaped ones and they seated us not across from each other, but right next to each other. I think it was supposed to be more intimate this way, but we had to turn toward each other to talk so it was a little awkward. But hey, we’ve been married 12 years. We didn’t need to talk, right?

My favorite part of their warm welcome: our menu said “Morton’s Wishes You A Happy Anniversary!” with the date underneath. Yes, I realize they probably have them printed for every day of the year. It was still a nice touch.

We opted not to see the table presentation of the menu items, having eaten there enough times to know what cut of meat we’d each order. I certainly did not miss having the live lobster—which, let’s face it, is nothing more than a giant creepy-crawly bug—reaching for me. The first time I saw it I didn’t realize it was alive, and when it moved it scared the shit out of me. (OK, not really.) (But I was frightened.)

They started out with a round loaf of bread that is not my favorite. It’s onion-y. It’s also not cut, so it’s totally messy whether you try to cut it or tear off a piece. The little onions on the outside go flying, as well as the crust. I don’t understand why some restaurants don’t cut the bread they bring to the table, especially when it’s a shape that’s virtually impossible to break into without smashing most of it. Macaroni Grill’s bread is the same way. Also, it seems kind of unsanitary for everyone at the table to be manhandling (breadhandling?) the bread. But whatever… At Morton’s, the butter is cold and fresh and makes even one’s least favorite type of bread completely edible. Nummers.

We each had the Morton’s salad—iceberg and romaine lettuce with blue cheese dressing and chopped egg. It doesn’t sound too special, but it was surprisingly good.

This is when I realized that they’ve changed their menu a little. The salad I’ve ordered in the past was a warm spinach salad with a Dijon vinaigrette that sounds yucky but was absolutely flavorful and delicious. It’s no longer on the menu. There were lots of other changes too, mostly small and not too noticeable. I do not remember Mr. Morton ever seeking out my approval for these changes, so I was slightly disappointed, although it made me feel a little less guilty about all the vacuuming they’d need to do around our table after we left (stupid onion bread).

My favorite cut of meat is the filet mignon (duh) and at Morton’s I always order the petite filet because I am such a petite flower. Also because the side dishes are so big and delicious; I need room for them. Last night we chose the sautéed garlic green beans and mashed potatoes. The steaks are served with Béarnaise sauce. There were oh-so-many Perfect Bites™, Sherilee—just perfect. Can’t remember if you’re a big steak eater, but I thought of you.

Victor also ordered shrimp Alexander and a crab cake. They were stinky, but not moving or trying to git me.

Dessert? But of course! We ordered Morton’s Legendary Hot Chocolate Cake (formerly their Godiva chocolate soufflé, or something like that—another menu change) and Key lime pie. We each took a couple bites of both and realized we’d explode if we ate any more. They boxed them up for us to take home. Late last night we ate the pie, but the cake is in the fridge and I’m not sure it’ll be there when Victor gets home from work today… it’s totally calling my name right now…

We’ve never left Morton’s without racking up a bill that’s right around $140, even without wine. This, of course, is why we don’t go there more often. But last week we got a promotional flyer in the mail for a special they’re running through the end of March: Steak & Seafood for Two. Here’s the link to the menu choices for the special—best of all, it’s just $99. Yes, it’s still crazy expensive, but if you’re a Morton’s lover (Lori), you know that’s a pretty darn good deal. I normally hate going into restaurants like that with a coupon, but they didn’t make us feel cheap at all. Our server said several times that it was a great deal, and also told us we could get larger steaks for extra $$, or where we could switch out some items.

A near-perfect meal, and pretty good companionship too. No one yelled about the mess we made with our bread. Neither of us exploded. We’re still happily married. That made for a nice evening all around.

Oh, and on the way home we stopped at Home Depot to buy a new toilet plunger. I know, I know: we’re hopelessly romantic.

Feb. 23: Twelve years down

February 23, 1997

Today’s Victor’s and my anniversary. We met in 1982, started dating in 1994 or so, and got married in 1997. That makes 12 years of wedded bliss, Einstein. To honor this very special day, I wrote a poem. It’s simple, but I spent, like, a whole minute on it:

I love you,

For reals, I suck at writing poems. Surprised, aren’tcha? Instead, I’m sharing the lyrics to a song that’s kinda perfect for us because we’re not one of those lame-o, super lovey-dovey couples. Ugh.

You’re lucky I love you

Hey baby stop clickin’ that pen
I’m gonna take it away if you do it again
Sometimes I think you just love gettin’ on my nerves
And I believe opposites attract
Cause I wouldn’t have you if it wasn’t for that
You like the music I like the words

Don’t you know how good you got it
Listen up and I’ll tell you all about it hey

You’re lucky I love you like I do
Everythin’ for you I do cause I want to
I wouldn’t feel this way if you were anyone else
Yeah and you know it’s a good thing that I think
You’re the only one for me and that you hung the moon
You’re lucky I love you you’re lucky I love you yeah

You got your ways and you got your quirks
But you got my heart and that’s why it works
And I wouldn’t change the way you are
And whenever we fuss and fight
Fore the end of the day we always make it right
We never let it go that far

Anything you want you know you got it
But every now and then you need remindin’ hey

You’re lucky I love you like I do...

Darlin’ you know that I need you
But it’s a safer bet to say that you need me too

You’re lucky I love you like I do...

Dining at Palo on the Disney cruise, 2003

Disney World 2004

Disneyland 2006

Disneyland 2006

May 2006 family portraits

December 2007 family portraits

How are we celebrating our big day? We’re both working. But tonight we’re going to our favorite restaurant, Mortons, for a delightfully delicious steak dinner. Yum.

Feb. 22: Jen’s v-log = yikes!

This morning Victor was watching a video blog on the Seattle Times web site (boooriiiing!) and I said *I* wanted to do a video blog. The one he watches answers audience questions, so I started thinking about the kinds of questions y’all might send me, and how much fun I would have putting the thing together.

Then Vic started brainstorming about all the ways he could “accidentally” walk across the background of my v-log, buck nekkid, as often as possible.

Please, I beg of you, do not send me any questions that can only be answered in a v-log, OK? Because at first the only thing I was worried about was finding a camera angle that makes me look a hundred pounds smaller, and now I’m quite a-scared of Vic’s exhibitionism, of which, I assure you, I was heretofore unaware.

Feb. 21: It’s a DOG door

Last night as we were rounding up the critters before bed, we couldn’t find the cat. Like most indoor-outdoor cats, sometimes she goes out in the evening and disappears. Usually she’ll come in when we call her or shake her food bowl outside, but nothing would work last night. I finally gave up and went to bed, hoping she’d find a warm place to hunker down for the night.

Vic stayed downstairs and read while waiting a bit longer for Millie to come through the door. He considered leaving the dog door up all night—it’s a panel that fits in our sliding glass door frame, but it’s never seemed all that secure so we take it out at night. Vic said he kept looking at it, thinking, “I could totally fit through that thing.” He finally decided it just wasn’t safe, and locked things up and went to bed.

During the night Millie jumped on our bed and woke us up with her purring and licking, as she often does. Turns out she had been under our bed for who-knows-how-long and ignored our calls for her. Typical cat, hm?

This evening:

Jen: “So, you think you can fit through the dog door, huh?”
Vic, way too defensively: “Yes.”
Jen: “I gotta see this.” I grab the camera because I know I’m about to witness a moment that is just too good not to photograph.

Well, he got his head in, but wasn’t even close to getting the rest of himself through that little opening. So if some criminal’s body is smaller than Vic’s head, well, then that criminal’s got a chance.

Feb. 21: Thankfulness

When I think back on the past week, these are the things for which I’m most thankful:

  • Health. I finally felt like “Jen” again, and it was very nice. I’m still not 100 percent back to my normal energy level, but I got a lot closer than I’ve been since the beginning of the year. Whew.
  • Friends, specifically The Lovely Lori. We spent Wednesday together. We live an hour apart but don’t get together very often, so this was a real treat! (Still, we’re doing better than we used to, when we only saw each other in Colorado.) It was a lot of fun for me to play the baby sis for a day.
  • Haircuts that make you feel like a new person. My hair gal, Michelle, coiffed me, Jack and Katie yesterday. We. Look. Stunning.
  • People I found on Facebook this week: Linda, a friend from high school and college; Dennis, Vic’s uncle; and The Bloggess, who’s named Jennifer and married to a guy named Victor, but much funnier (and potty-mouthed) than I. And I wasn’t unfriended by anyone the whole week!
  • TiVo. There weren’t very many new episodes of my favorite shows this week, so I got a little more caught up on what TiVo’s been storing. And OMG, did you see Christine? She’s the best.
  • Productivity. Maybe it’s partly my improved health and partly that this is the time of year when I feel like organizing; I don’t know. But this week I sorted through a ton of papers and junk mail, gathered all the paperwork for our taxes, backed up my digital photos and documents, and straightened up the complete disaster that had covered my desk for way too long. I got some for-pay work done too. There’s still a lot to tackle, but this was a decent start.
  • Spring is coming! We had two beautiful, warm days this week. Two sunny, cold days too. I’m excited that there will be flowers blooming and leaves on trees again soon!

Feb. 20: Senior year meme

  1. Did you date someone from your school?
  2. Did you marry someone from your high school?
  3. Did you carpool to school?
  4. What kind of car did you have?
  5. What kind of car do you have now?
    Volkswagen Jetta
  6. It’s Friday night... where were you?
    With friends but not doing anything dangerous or naughty
  7. It’s Friday night now... where are you?
    At home with the family, probably not doing anything dangerous or naughty
  8. What kind of job did you have in high school?
    I was a reader for English teacher and an office assistant where my stepsister worked
  9. What kind of job do you do now?
    Trainer, programmer, reverend
  10. Were you a party animal?
    Not even close
  11. Were you considered a flirt?
    I don’t think so but some might disagree
  12. Were you in band, orchestra, or choir?
    Not my senior year, although I sang in churches almost every weekend. For some reason, I thought getting out at noon every day was better than doing a bunch of extracurricular activities. Days of Our Lives was very important to me back then, and I got home just in time to watch it until they moved it to 3:00, dammit.
  13. Were you a nerd?
  14. Did you get suspended or expelled?
    Not even close, though I should have been.
  15. Can you sing the fight song?
    If that’s the school song, my answer is “sorta.” I mumble through some parts, but I know the tune.
    ♫♪ “My dear old PAA…” ♪♫
  16. Who was/were your favorite teacher(s) or staff?
    Mr. T-Bury (History/Cit Ed), Mr. Munroe (English)
  17. Where did you sit during lunch?
    Cafeteria or home—I got out at noon and usually left right away.
  18. What was your school’s full name?
    Portland Adventist Academy
  19. When did you graduate?
  20. What was your school mascot?
    Um… cougar? Yeah, I think it was a cougar.
  21. If you could go back and do it again, would you?
    I absolutely LOVED high school, but I wouldn’t go back there for anything.
  22. Did you have fun at Prom?
    Ha! Adventist schools don’t do proms. We did two or three banquets every year, and they didn’t even come close to comparing.
  23. Do you still talk to the person you went to Prom with?
  24. Are you planning on going to your next reunion?
    Definitely. My 25th is in two years.

Your turn.

Feb. 20: Sinfully high taxes

I love that Oregon doesn’t have sales tax and hated those years I was a student in Washington State and had to pay theirs. But I’ve always thought “sin taxes” were just fine because they don’t apply to me; I don’t smoke (and abhor it) and drink very little.

I haven’t done the research to know if sin taxes have a dramatic effect on purchases of said sin, but my guess is that the tax increases of a few coins every once in a while probably don’t keep many people from smoking and drinking. Of course, that doesn’t really seem to be the point (to discourage sinners into righteousness). But some Oregon lawmakers recently proposed a tax increase of 1900% on barrels of beer. The funds would go toward rehabilitation programs—a worthy cause, yes. But 1900% seems excessive, even to me. I wouldn’t be surprised if Adventists and Mormons were behind this one.

KGW story
Oregonian story
Proposed bill

Smallish breweries are concerned that this new tax could put them out of business, and pretty much all the breweries say they’ll be passing this cost increase onto the consumer. It’s not going to affect me—I’m not so much a beer-disliker as I am a beer-loather—but Portland’s kinda proud of its microbreweries and this could disable a lot of them. This just doesn’t seem like a great idea.

I don’t have a better alternative to propose; honestly, I’m just being pigheaded. But how ‘bout a saturated fat tax? YES! Tax Twinkies and donuts and corn dogs! Or maybe put those holier-than-thou tofu eaters to task. Tax Brussels sprouts! Wheat germ! Prunes! Vitamins that pass through your system whole!

Any thoughts from you beer drinkers out there?

Feb. 19: Another Oscar pick

The Lovely Lori, Curt-D (like Ice-T) and I saw a matinee of Milk yesterday, and if I remember correctly (sooooo much booze…) we gave it an enthusiastic six thumbs up. I thought it was very well done. The story moved at a fast pace and I liked that there was a lot of real footage mixed in with Sean Penn’s fake hairline.

As most of this story occurred before I turned ten years old, I had forgotten how evil Anita Bryant was back then. On her web site, which I am not going to provide a link to because she is still quite evil, her profile states: “Anita liked that she will always be remembered as a witness to and defender of the Truth in the twentieth century. A real heroine.” Oh, yeah. She’s somethin’, alright. Love your fellow man, my arse. “Christians” that incite fear and hatred over things they don’t understand? How are they heroic? Apparently the poor woman has gone through some bankruptcies and other difficult personal trials. Sing with me now: KAAARMAAAA! (Or is this the very definition of schadenfreude?)

Although I found the story captivating and liked that it filled in the gaps of what I already knew about Harvey Milk, it was incredibly heartbreaking at the same time. Not just because of his assassination—of course that was sad—but because I see how little we’ve moved forward in his cause. Yes, Milk made some huge strides, but until homosexuals have all the rights that heterosexuals do, his work is not done. The movie made me want to march!

Not having seen too many other Oscar-nominated films this year, I don’t know what Milk’s chances are for winning, but it certainly deserves the nominations it got. Here’s an official Oscar ballot for you to track your picks as you watch the ceremonies Sunday night.

BTW, it was all I could do not to make the title of this post “Got Milk?” You’re welcome.

Feb. 17: My Oscar picks

The movies I’ve seen that are nominated for Oscars this year:

That is all.

Because I’m a big loser. And it seems I only get to see movies that are rated G and sometimes PG and they are almost never nominated for awards because they suck.

But tomorrow I’m seeing Milk with The Lovely Lori. On Sunday I’ll probably be rooting for Milk to win in every category, even if I hate it.

Feel free to share your picks in a comment.

Feb. 17: Another evil monkey

This gives me one more line for my list of why I don’t like monkeys, specifically chimpanzees. They’re hairy, unpredictable carny freaks and touch their nether regions with less shame than Mickey Rourke.

Huge chimp shot dead after mauling woman in Conn.

Here’s my brilliant suggestion: pets should weigh less than their owners. Considerably less. And pets with thumbs? Well, that’s just bad business.

Feb. 16: Amante della pasta

A while back I attempted a rave review of the dinner we were served when we visited Jack and Nobbi. I don’t think I did that meal justice in my reporting; it really was exquisite. I mentioned the unique pasta they served us—maccheroncelli—and guess what? A Christmas elf named Sherilee sent me some for Christmas!

Clever, sneaky elves that use their powers for good are the best kind, especially when they’re my friend.

I wanted to wait for a special occasion to make it, and Katie’s birthday last week was the perfect opportunity; every time she’s opened the pantry since Christmas she’s asked if we can cook up “the big noodles.” The cooking suggestions I found across the Internet recommended a thick, hearty sauce to go with maccheroncelli so I went with a Bolognese. However, I thought pesto would be good too, and being able to see the noodles through the sauce was a plus. Why does being able to see through the sauce make me so happy? I have no idea. I also provided an Alfredo sauce for no reason whatsoever.

Everyone at the table made up their pasta a little bit differently. Katie ate hers with a bit of olive oil and myzithra cheese. Jack had browned butter and myzithra—you can tell our kids enjoy the Spaghetti Factory, huh?—and the rest of us used combinations of the Bolognese, pesto, and Alfredo sauces with shaved parmesan and reggiano cheeses. My plate:

Not a great pic, I know... I ain't a food blogger, okay?

The verdict: Il piatto della pasta era squisito (thank you babelfish, BTW). Maccheroncelli isn’t the easiest thing to eat; it doesn’t wrap around your fork like most long noodles, and that means you end up cutting a lot of it. But it’s still tasty, and it’s kinda fun to have an unusual pasta once in a while, don’t you think?

You can find your own maccheroncelli at a specialty shop near you, or by searching the Internet, or by coming to my house. I have two more boxes!

Thank you, Sherilee, for this Italian delight! We’re planning to experiment with it again soon.

Feb. 15: The dynamic duo

Mack is Jack’s best buddy in our neighborhood. Both boys are obsessive about all things Star Wars, especially Legos. They memorize the Lego magazines, comics, and catalogs to which they subscribe. When playing outside during the summer, they can easily be found at dusk by their glowing light sabers. They occasionally alienate the other neighbor kids when they don’t play Star Wars “right,” which is aggravating and also kind of amusing. At this rate, Mack and Jack will be attending those geeks-only sci-fi conventions and living in their parents’ basements in 40 years. (Pssst, Vic… we need to build a basement.)

That's Jack on the left... I think...

Mack’s mom took this photo of the boys right after Jack got his glasses. Jack looks quite a bit smaller than Mack here, but I think it’s because he’s sitting lower. We often have trouble telling our sons apart from afar; now they look alike even close-up. With our increasingly poor eyesight, they could easily pull a “Parent Trap” thing with us. Good thing we like Mack.

Feb. 13: Friday the 13th

I’m not gonna lie to you: I had a pretty rotten week. But this is not going to be another post about how much my life totally sucks when it really sucks only a little and only sometimes. Instead, I’m taking a cue from my friend Sherilee, who posts a list of things for which she is grateful every Friday. Positivity is good.

People I found on Facebook this week: Maria, who was once my Partylite gal and became a friend; Claire, my “auntie” in Ashland; Katie, a coworker and former student; Cindy, my ex-stepsister and current friend; and Sheila, a former coworker and occasional commenter here at Stuff Jen Says. Facebook is OH so much fun.

“Meeting” Dana: She’s my cousin Deanna’s cousin and recently introduced herself to me via Facebook. Dana is, coincidentally, a former SDA so we connected easily based on that, but she’s also a punctuation and grammar snob and little bit nutty to boot. I like her lots!

Katie’s birthday: my sweet little Bug turned nine years old on Monday. I am in awe of her on a regular basis and can’t believe I helped make her.

My mother-in-law: she’s a gem.

Shopping steals: No, I didn’t start shoplifting. While Vic was getting an eye exam the other night I walked around the mall. I found some great bargains at Gymboree and got out of there with $130 worth of adorable goodies for Katie—but spent just $28. Had similar luck for Jack at Crazy 8, though finds were not as adorable (boys’ clothes are boring). I also ordered a new set of Kitchen Aid cookware at 60 percent off. Gotta love Amazon.

Health: mine, not so much. But Jack’s appointment with the pediatrician yesterday showed us that he just has the yucky cold that’s going around, and nothing more serious.

Next week: I’m hoping to finally get back to work on Monday. And Wednesday I have a fun day planned with The Lovely Lori. It doesn’t get much better than that.

And finally, happy news for our neighbors: they’re expecting a baby boy. Congratulations!

Have a good weekend and Valentine’s Day. xoxo~

Feb. 12: I want beef jerky!

I don’t know why this made me laugh. I’m hardly on any mind-altering drugs at all anymore.

Feb. 12: Pretty girl

I think my seester’s the best. The amazing part? She’s beautiful on the outside too. Here’s proof.

click to see a larger version of this beautiful photo of  my seester, ch-k

click to see a larger version of this beautiful photo of  my seester, ch-k

click to see a larger version of this beautiful photo of my seester, ch-k

And as if that isn’t enough for you to grasp the depth of her beauty, here’s a picture of me, y’know, for comparison and contrast. Mom says I wasn’t adopted…

click to see a larger version of the piggy face of Jen

Feb. 12: A cry for help

I just got back from seeing my doctor because my throat still hurts and I’m getting even grouchier about it because my entire face is starting to hurt. [insert “I know, it’s killing me!” joke here and shut up already]

Turns out I have a severe sinus infection. Why this is making my throat hurt, I do not know. I was prescribed Zithromax, and because the infection is so bad, I’m on four Z-Paks at once. OK, that’s not true. But if they woulda offered, I totally would have taken them up on it.

I stopped by the pharmacy to get my newest drugs and then came home and took pictures of my eye. I don’t know why I felt the urge to do this, but I stopped caring when I realized my makeup looked this shitty (click the pic below to get the full, horrific effect). I had no idea. The bloodshot whites, I was aware of. Not so much the weirdness of the lashes or what looks like mascara bits from last week and possibly the week before. It may surprise you to know that I do wash my face, and I do use a mirror when I apply my mascara.

What is with that one long lash? Where’s it going off to? The bottom lashes that are growing out of the bags under my eyes? I’m a freakin’ wolf-woman. And is that a cataract I see? Sheesh. At least the camera didn’t highlight that one hair that grows out of my neck. That woulda required the wide angle lens.

I hated mirrors, and now I hate cameras too.

Feb. 12: You’re lucky I love you

I know I make fun of Victor a lot in my blog, and he’d be the first one to tell you it’s well-deserved. But I don’t very often mention his better qualities, and that kind of talk is just as well-deserved. So here, dear, is a my-husband’s-super-great post.

I typically get up after he does in the morning, but if we’re up at the same time, he makes coffee and brings me a cup. It’s always perfectly (lightly) sweetened and the right shade of tan. We drink our coffee out of 20-ounce Starbucks city mugs, and when we drink it at the same time he tries to choose mugs from two cities that are near-ish to each other, as though we’re on vacation there together. He doesn’t do this because he’s sweet and thoughtful; he does it because if he gives me London and uses Manila for himself, I accuse him of wanting to be far away from me. And if he chooses Hawaii and gives me Tacoma, I accuse him of being totally unfair that he’s in paradise and I’m in, well, Tacoma. I mean, Tacoma? Come on!

Goodness. I think I’m getting off track here. Where was I?

When I get up later than he does—like a month ago, when I was recuperating from surgery, or a couple weeks ago, when I was recuperating from dehydration and the headache from hell, or this week, while I’ve been fighting something else of a mysterious and sinister nature, or other days when I just don’t feel like getting out of bed—I can’t remember where I was going with this but I’m suddenly really tired.

Ah, I know. When I get up after Victor’s been up for a while or left for work, he doesn’t leave me coffee in the carafe (which, by the way, does not keep the coffee hot for very long and let me just offer this piece of advice: if you need a good carafe that actually keeps coffee hot, you will not find it in the $4 SKAFFA you bought at IKEA, dummy). No, what he does—and this is the part where I admit he’s awesome—is make up an entirely new pot of coffee, with just the right amount to fill a 20-ounce mug and still have room for creamer. All I have to do is walk over to the coffeemaker and push the ON button. Voilà! In a few minutes there’s nice, fresh, hot coffee for Jen.

Of course, when he says, “Coffee’s ready to go; you just have to push the button,” on his way out the door, I shriek, “GEEZ! I have to do everything!” and then he shakes his head and gets that faraway look that I think means, “I’m so lucky, my wife is so amusing!” but more likely means “Why didn’t I marry that girl who wasn’t so lazy and occasionally did the laundry and the dishes and the cooking instead of this one, whose coffee I spit in every day?”

(Sometimes Vic has to be reminded that I totally do my share around here—the TiVo won’t program itself, you know. Well, actually, I guess it does. But who cleans the bathrooms? That’s right. Occasionally it’s me.)

There. I’ve (kinda) bragged on my husband and (mostly) managed to make myself look lazier and more pathetic than ever. Really, Victor’s awfully good to me, even when I so obviously don’t deserve it.

We now return to our regular programming of mocking and jeering and griping, oh my.

Feb. 11: Our Katie

I planned to post these pics on Katie’s birthday and got too busy. So here they are, just a few of our favorites of our baby girl over the past nine years.

3 months old

5 months old

Our sweet little princess, 9 months old

1 year

2 years

Trying out olives, 2 years

Hangin’ with Uncle Paul, 2 years

On the boat off St. Maarten, 3 years

On the Disney cruise, 3 years

After a haircut and sparkle spray, 3 years

3 years

Two Kathleen Anns—Katie and Kathy, 3 years

Celebrating at preschool, 5 years

Why do we have to sit so close? 5 years

With Appie’s baby Shelby, 5 years

At Disneyland, 6 years

Meeting Ariel, 6 years

Napping with Gilly, 8 years

Happy birthday to our sweet Katie girl. We love you!


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