Mar. 31: Washer woman

This morning I found a Law & Order: Special Victims Unit marathon going on the USA network. I think they do them every Tuesday. You know what happens when you don’t turn off the TV at the end of a Law & Order episode? The next one starts and you have to watch the whole thing. You have to. It’s, like, the law in Law & Order, I think.

I had things to do at my desk for about an hour, so I kept busy while I watched. But after that I felt guilty not doing anything else BUT watching, and I knew I could easily waste the whole day in front of the TV. So I went upstairs to find something productive to do. Aha! Laundry!

CinderJen There were quite a few loads to run, as well as piles of clean things that had been left on the table in the laundry room. Those things needed to be folded and put away, and that would take a long time. I had pa-lenty to keep me busy for the whole L&O: SVU marathon. Yay. (Pssst. Don’t tell Victor, but I kinda like doing laundry. It’s a pain to keep up with, but completing it is quite satisfying.)

But wait! I discovered two hampers in the laundry room that were full of clothes. I knew one of them had clean clothes in it—there were dryer sheets in there—but I couldn’t tell if the other stuff was clean or dirty. Because who puts clean clothes in a hamper??? My husband does, that’s who.

Now, using the hamper to get clothes from the laundry room to the bedroom for folding would be efficient if they were taken out of the hamper immediately so as not to confuse them with clothes in hampers that had not yet been washed. But it appears that someone else in my house that does the laundry does not think about that. It is very, very frustrating for the other people in my house, particularly me.

I cannot express to you how difficult it is for me to leave the above paragraph un-bolded and un-huge-ified and un-emailed anonymously to Victor.

Don’t give me that “at least your husband does laundry” stuff. I’m lucky he does the laundry, I know. But if he leaves clean clothes in a hamper, where dirty clothes belong, then there’s a good chance they’ll just end up getting washed again. So “my husband does the laundry” is actually more like “my husband moves things around the house and leaves me to wonder if those things have already been washed or not so I wash them again to be on the safe side and then nobody really wins.”

There’s a happy ending. I got to watch the marathon most the day without feeling super guilty. The table in the laundry room has been cleared, the hampers are empty, and our dresser drawers are full. Yep, it feels good.


Mar. 31: Music lovin’ meme

Dan tagged me on this one. I’d link you to his answers but they’re on Facebook so maybe he’ll post them in a comment (because yours were great, Dan!). I wanted to use John Mayer as my artist but decided to let The Lovely Lori and Jen E fight over him. I went with James Taylor instead, and since he’s been around for a while I had a lot of song titles to choose from. Here goes.

OK music lovers, using only song names from ONE ARTIST, cleverly answer these questions. Pass it on to some people you like and include me. Try not to repeat a song title.

Pick your artist: James Taylor

  • Describe yourself:
    Night Owl
  • How do you feel about yourself:
    Something’s Wrong
  • Describe where you currently live:
    Up on the Roof
  • If you could go anywhere you wanted to go:
    London Town
  • Your favorite form of transportation:
    Riding on a Railroad
  • Your best friend is:
    Only For Me
  • Your favorite color is:
    Sunshine Sunshine
  • Favorite time of day:
    Little More Time With You
  • If your life were a TV show, it would be called:
    Woman’s Gotta Have It
  • What is life to you:
    How Sweet it Is
  • What is the best advice you have to give:
    Don’t Talk Now
  • If you could change your name, it would be:
  • Your favorite food is:
    Sweet Potato Pie
  • Thought for the day:
    Everybody Loves to Cha Cha Cha
  • How you would like to die:
  • Your soul’s present condition:
    Down in the Hole (that’s Hell, right?)
  • The faults you can bear:
    Only One
  • Your motto:
    Shower the People

This was difficult and time-consuming but a lot of fun! Now it’s your turn, and I offer this hint: use Wikipedia to get your artist’s discography and go from there.


Mar. 30: I saw Dooce

Heather Armstrong, more widely known as Dooce, is on a book tour promoting her new book It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown, and a Much Needed Margarita. Tonight was a stop in Portland so I met up with Erin for dinner and we walked over to Powell’s.

There was a line to go up the stairs to the Pearl Room, where the reading/signing was being held. Erin and I were fourth and fifth in line with about 20 minutes until showtime. We were sure to get good seats, right? Then some guy announced overhead that the Pearl Room had reached capacity and they would have to turn away any additional customers for Heather Armstrong’s reading.


We were confused—was he saying there were enough people in line to reach capacity, or were all available seats already taken? Is she more popular than we ever imagined? The guard at the bottom of the stairwell said that there would probably be people leaving because the Pearl Room gets very hot, so we were welcome to wait for seats to open up.

Erin and I decided to wait, and it was just a few minutes before we got past the velvet rope. Heather was at the top of the stairs, about to be announced, and because all the chairs were occupied, we ended up standing near her until just before she went up front. I didn’t want to stick my camera in her face, so here’s a very blurry picture of her taken from behind one of my purse straps.

That's Heather Armstrong in the red

She read a couple of chapters from her new book and then started a Q&A. I couldn’t hear the Qs so the As didn’t mean much. It was god-awful hot up there—that guard wasn’t kidding—and I quickly decided I didn’t want to stand in line for two hours to have her sign my book. I went back downstairs and another person in line went up in my place. The line was still to the back of the store. Crazy. Not crazy like “why would anyone want to see her?” but crazy like “an awful lot of people really want to see her!” Erin came down soon after I did, and we escaped to the fresh cool evening air. Ah.

Dooce was entertaining, and the things she read were amusing. Erin and I both said her accent was much more southern than we expected, but because she occasionally posts videos on her blog, it wasn’t a complete surprise. She said lots of girly-parts words. She’s tall. She apologized for her hair, saying she got a little carried away with the curling iron—but it was cute and she knew it.

I’m glad we went, but big crowds at these events are always frustrating to me because I hate waiting in those horrific lines. At the same time, not getting my book signed means I don’t actually have to speak to the author. I’m never quite sure what to say to them when it’s my turn. “Hi. I like your book.” Memorable.

Also, for the author’s sake I always hope for a good turnout. I can’t imagine what it must feel like if no one shows, and you know that’s gotta happen sometimes.


Mar. 30: ‘Speriment

blue wig As of today, my hair’s dark. It’s not darker than it should be—it’s as close to my natural color as what is legally permitted by the curl-up-and-dye police—but it’s a lot darker than it has been for the past few months. I took a bunch of pictures but I didn’t like any because my face was in them all. Blech.

I’m not a big fan of my face. But mostly I deleted all the pictures because I noticed in them that I desperately need a brow wax. I swear, I pay attention to these things, I do! But sometimes all of a sudden I’m brushing my eyebrillos out of my eyes and realize I’m way overdue for some grooming.

You’ll have to wait a bit to give me your opinion on my new hair color. I’d be glad to post another picture of my eyeball if you think that’ll carry ya for a while. Just let me know.


Mar. 29: Three wishes

Darlene and Wellington toured the Holy Lands on their last vacation and brought back some neat little souvenirs for the kids. Jack got a cool tablecloth turban—we’re now calling him “Yasser”—and Katie got a beaded headpiece that makes her look like the Vegas diva version of The Lady of the Lake in Spamalot (I am totally stealing that headpiece). They also each got a small brass genie’s lamp, which comes complete with three wishes. Or so I have led them to believe…

Jack’s three wishes:

  1. genielampI wish I could be rich so I can have all the Legos
  2. I wish my mom and dad would let me do whatever I want
  3. I wish there was never school

Katie’s three wishes:

  1. I wish I had a hamster
  2. [glaring at Jack] I wish I was an only child
  3. I wish I had all the money in the world

They asked what my wishes would be and when I said one of them was “world peace,” Katie shrugged her shoulders and walked off. Apparently world peace benefits her in no way whatsoever.


Mar. 28: A milestone reversed

Katie got her ears pierced last summer. She was eight years old. We went over all the beforehand stuff about how important it was going to be for her to clean her ears regularly, to only wear certain types of earrings, etc. I thought she was probably a little young, but with our help she’d do just fine.

And she did do just fine, for the first few weeks. Then came the first infection. She screamed bloody murder as I tried to clean it for her. Right after, she got better about cleaning around the holes, twisting the earrings, and then must have gotten lazy again. Last AugustShe was afraid to tell us if her ear lobe got tender and/or puffy, so by the time we’d see it for ourselves, it’d gotten quite infected. It got to where she didn’t like us to even look at her ear lobes for fear we’d decide they were infected and put her through the torture of cleaning them. 

As I told her every time, there was no reason to scream like that. I had occasional infections when my ears were first pierced, and I knew how much it hurt. But it didn’t hurt THAT much. The girl has always had an extremely low pain threshold. A tiny scratch gets her panicked and hyperventilating. A real wound makes her cry so hard, it’s almost impossible to get her calmed. I remember being a little like that at her age, but when I started getting headaches in high school, I learned to deal with pain more like a normal person.

I made Katie a necklace this evening, and when she pulled her hair up so I could clasp it, I noticed one of her earrings was falling out. When I looked closer I saw that her lobe was so swollen it had enveloped the stud. Although it was painful, the earring came out the back of her lobe easily, along with lots of other goo and blood. Katie immediately started freaking out. I sent her upstairs to get her ear cleaning solution, and decided with Vic that we’d had enough of the earrings. They were coming out.

There was no argument from Katie. She’s tired of it all too.

I’m so disappointed. I’m discouraged with Katie for not taking care of her ears better, but I know the blame for that is ultimately mine. I’m frustrated at the way she deals with discomfort and concerned that if it doesn’t eventually improve, she’ll be spending a lot of her lifetime in hysterics. And I’m also just plain bummed out that we gave up on this thing that made her so proud just a few months ago.


Mar. 28: Plinky ~ Nostalgic reading

There was no way I could resist today’s Plinky prompt:

Name a children's book that makes you nostalgic.

In my memory of childhood, books play a huge part. I learned to read young—thanks to a big sister with lots of patience—and remember frequent trips to Kathy’s school library before I was actually a student. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, the Berenstain Bears, Amelia Bedelia, and Dr. Seuss books were favorites. As an early reader I also loved anything by Syd Hoff, Richard Scarry, Beverly Cleary, and Maurice Sendak. There’s no one book that stands out as THE nostalgic favorite, but there were two books that immediately popped into my head when I read the Plinky prompt.

Richard Scarry’s Great Big Mystery Book

bookrichardscarryThis book had two mysteries in it, but I remember very little about the second one—something about pies. The first, The Supermarket Mystery, was about a thief who cleverly stole groceries right out in the open. I remember solving the mystery long before the pig detective did, and after the first time through, I always read it with kind of an attitude because HOW COULD HE NOT SEE WHO THE CULPRIT WAS?

One of the things I loved best about Richard Scarry’s books was all the detail in his illustrations, and although this book had more of a story to it than other Scarry books I had, there was still so much to see on every page.

I spent a lot of time with Richard Scarry books. Another favorite was What Do People Do All Day? Who couldn’t love Huckle and Lowly Worm? I was not a big fan of Bananas Gorilla, though—my anti-monkey-ness started before I could even identify it.

A Bargain for Frances, by Russell and Lillian Hoban

A Bargain for Frances has changed over the years and now comes in different levels of “I Can Read” books, but after an extensive Google image search I found a photo of the version I actually had.

There were several things that fascinated me about this book. One was that Frances appeared to be a badger and even as a beginning reader, I knew that badgers are assholes. Interesting choice for a whole series of sweet little critter books, huh? Something else I loved about the story was Frances’ tea set, which she and her friends played with often. I had tea sets when I was little, but I don’t remember them being a big deal with me and my friends—possibly because my best friend was a boy. I was a girly-girl, no denying that, but just never got into that whole tea set thing. This book made me want to. Lastly, the whole idea of one friend cheating another on a trade was a lesson that was not lost on me. Even in my young innocence I could detect asshole-ish behavior (…so maybe making Frances a badger wasn’t such a bad decision).

Frances appeared in a series of books but this is the one I remember owning and really, really loving. I bought it for Katie when she started showing an interest in books, but she’s never cared too much about it.

There are lots of children’s books that make me nostalgic, and I love that my kids are reading some of my favorites now. Thanks to them, I’m also enjoying the discovery of a lot of new writers that are very well on their way to being authors of new classics.

Cuz books pretty much rock.


Mar. 27: Photo fun

My Facebook friends have seen some of the fine work I’ve been doing with photos lately. I decided I should show them off here too because I’m so dang talented. Or maybe it’s not talent but a secret weapon that I’m hesitant to share. Not sure.

First, the photos I’ve done of myself…

princessjenF jen-elphaba2edit



One of my adventurer husband:


Victor as Nacho Libre—this is one of my favorites


Chris and Sonya as Sonny and Cher

chrissonya (2)

Chris and Sonya as the Phantom and Christine


Cassie as Wonder Woman


Dan as a New York Yankee—another favorite


Darby as James Bond, who thinks he’s more Q-like than Bond-like (poor Dawn!)


Don’t worry, if you don’t see yourself here it’s only a matter of time. I’ve got many more of you I plan to put in photos; you’ll probably hate me when I’ve tired of this little activity. Requests are gladly taken (unless they are requests to STOP NOW), and nice full-face photos of your gorgeous self are accepted via e-mail.


Mar. 27: 99 things

This list is similar to several that have been going around, but I’m doing it because it’s enough different that I can pretend I haven’t done it before. I stole it from Sherilee.

Of the following 99 things, the ones I’ve done are bold. When you leave your list in a comment or on your own blog, you can use asterisks if you’re HTML-impaired.

  1. Started your own blog
  2. Slept under the stars
  3. Played in a band
  4. Visited Hawaii
  5. Watched a meteor shower
  6. Given more than you can afford to charity
  7. Been to Disney World
  8. Climbed a mountain
  9. Held a praying mantis
  10. Sang a solo
  11. Bungee jumped
  12. Visited Paris
  13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
  14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
  15. Adopted a child
  16. Had food poisoning
  17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
  18. Grown your own vegetables
  19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
  20. Slept on an overnight train
  21. Had a pillow fight
  22. Hitch hiked
  23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
  24. Built a snow fort
  25. Held a lamb
  26. Gone skinny dipping
  27. Run a marathon
  28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
  29. Seen a total eclipse
  30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
  31. Hit a home run
  32. Been on a cruise
  33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
  34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
  35. Seen an Amish community
  36. Taught yourself a new language
  37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
  38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
  39. Gone rock climbing
  40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
  41. Sung karaoke
  42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
  43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
  44. Visited Africa
  45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
  46. Been transported in an ambulance
  47. Had your portrait painted
  48. Gone deep sea fishing
  49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
  50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
  51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
  52. Kissed in the rain
  53. Played in the mud
  54. Gone to a drive-in theater
  55. Been in a movie
  56. Visited the Great Wall of China
  57. Started a business
  58. Taken a martial arts class
  59. Visited Russia
  60. Served at a soup kitchen
  61. Sold Girl Scout cookies
  62. Gone whale watching
  63. Got flowers for no reason
  64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
  65. Gone sky diving
  66. Visited a Nazi concentration camp
  67. Bounced a check
  68. Flown in a helicopter
  69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
  70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
  71. Eaten caviar
  72. Pieced a quilt
  73. Stood in Times Square
  74. Toured the Everglades
  75. Been fired from a job
  76. Seen the Changing of the Guard in London
  77. Broken a bone
  78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
  79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
  80. Published a book
  81. Visited the Vatican
  82. Bought a brand new car
  83. Walked in Jerusalem
  84. Had your picture in the newspaper
  85. Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year’s Eve
  86. Visited the White House
  87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
  88. Had chicken pox
  89. Saved someone’s life
  90. Sat on a jury
  91. Met someone famous
  92. Joined a book club
  93. Lost a loved one
  94. Had a baby
  95. Seen the Alamo in person
  96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
  97. Been involved in a lawsuit
  98. Owned a cell phone (how old is this list???)
  99. Been stung by a bee


Mar. 27: Home again

We’re back from the coast and had a great time. It started raining as we got on the highway so it wasn’t totally depressing to leave. We had lunch at CPK once we got back to Portland, and then made a quick stop at Blockbuster on the way home.

Tonight’s Manullang Family Movie Night movie is Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. Katie and Jack couldn’t find a new release they wanted to see, so Vic and I chose this family classic. So far they’re not too sure about it. The movie kids better get shrunk pretty soon or our kids are going to disappear.

More later.


Mar. 26: Life sucks at the beach

Click to see our view to the north That’s not true. Life sucks not even a little bit at the beach. Not here, anyway.

‘Cept Jack fell in the ocean. But that pretty much only sucked for him.

Katie and Jack weren’t excited about the whale watching excursion, so in keeping with The Lovely Lori’s warning to NOT GO ON THAT BOAT, we did not go on that boat. The whale sighting counts for the past week have been kinda crazy—four one day, 85 the next, then none the next—so I was a little bit glad that we didn’t have to deal with disappointed kids. That is not to say they’ve enjoyed every minute here. Oh, no. They especially hated the part when we went shopping. Vic forgot his swim trunks so we ran by the outlet mall and I dragged Katie and Jack with me into kids’ clothing stores while he shopped. They hated that. But I reminded them that it’d be worse if Daddy went swimming nekkid. That wouldn’t have been good for anyone.

Katie and Jack became happy again when we went to the condo pool, all properly swimsuited.

The only thing I’ve been unhappy with here is that the Internet connection has been either highly erratic or nonexistent, depending on the room in which I sit. I specifically rented a condo that had wireless Internet access, so this angers me greatly. I need to get my Google Reader on!

Our GPS has been helpful with finding restaurants and other important places. I have it set to speak as “British English (Daniel)” but Vic thinks “Daniel” sounds like too normal a guy and not the jackhole that’s always yelling at us when we don’t go where he tells us to (I swear, his “recalculating!” is getting huffier and huffier). So we spent much of the trip here yesterday trying to think up a new name for him. I think we’ve settled on Nigel Fingerbottom. ‘Sgood, no?

I’ve just watched my second sun set over the Pacific in 2009. Love it. Happy happy happy.


Mar. 25: Beautiful view

The view from our deck. Looks like the weather's nasty, but it's actually not too bad.We drove over to the coast today and are staying here in Lincoln City for a few days. It rained most the way down, but the sun’s actually peeking out between the clouds now and it’s quite beautiful.

There’s a kid on the beach losing a fight with his kite and I know this makes me a big meanie, but it’s hilarious to watch.

Oh, come on. You knew I was going to hell anyway.

Vic has already thrilled the kids with the gas fireplace in our condo. He used “the force” to turn it on and off and had them going for about half a second. They may not know how to spell, but they ain’t idjits. Nice try, Dad.

Darlene and Wellington are staying in a hotel about five miles south of us on 101; we’re meeting them for dinner in a few minutes. Not sure what the rest of our vacation involves, but a lot will depend on the weather. It’s a perfect time for whale-watching, so if the seas aren’t too rough tomorrow we’ll probably go out on a boat. I went years ago with some friends and it was a lot of fun. That was before my equilibrium was so sensitive (is that a thing? let’s say it’s a thing), so who knows how I’ll do out on a rocking boat. Maybe tomorrow I’ll post some photos of me puking over the side of the boat. Lucky you!

It’s easy to forget how beautiful this part of Oregon can be, even in less-than-ideal weather, and I plan on bundling up this evening to watch the sun set over the Pacific. From the veranda, of course, not the beach. Hee hee—“veranda.” I’m so hilariously cruise-speaky I’m gonna punch myself in the face for you.


Mar. 25: News item

You know my feelings toward the church in which I was raised. But because I continue to associate with a lot of people who are still active SDAs, I hear the big news and sometimes even care. The plane crash in Montana last weekend hit a bit close to home. I didn’t know any of the victims personally, but they were friends of friends. 

There’s been a lot of coverage of the story here in the West, as the victims were from two different areas of California and the accident occurred in Montana. I found one of this morning’s articles in the Sacramento Bee especially heartbreaking.

Yet another reminder for us to hold our loved ones close to our hearts.


Mar. 25: It’s about time

I have to work this morning, so you get a stolen video from EmCityGuy’s always-fab WTF Wednesday.


Mar. 24: Like he invented the idea.

Jack comes downstairs with a big grin: “Dad, can I teapot the whole house?

Vic and I look at each other, confused (and hoping like hell he didn’t mean ‘teabag’).tprolls

Vic: “Teapot? What’s that mean?

Jack, laughing all sinister-like: “It’s when you put toilet paper all over the outside of the house!

Us, now also laughing: “That’s ‘TP,’ mister, and the answer is NO.

Appie, your nephew doesn’t need help learning the naughty words you taught me when I was his age, but he could use some lesson on correct prank terminology. Please add that to your agenda for next month’s visit.

jen says stuff

Mar. 24: Darndest things

Got a couple “cute kid” stories.

One evening last week we put Jack on homework duty at the kitchen table while Vic and I sat in the family room and discussed spring vacation plans. Jack kept interrupting us to ask for help, and we kept answering back that one of us would be there in a minute but he should just do whatever he could on his own until then. About ten minutes and 47 interruptions later, he ran over to us, dropped this note on Vic’s lap, and ran back to the table.

Jack's note

There he goes again with the misspelled words and poor punctuation usage. But the message is clear, that’s for sure: I need help now. That is all.

Darlene and Wellington got home yesterday after being out of the country for a couple weeks. Katie was thrilled when Grandma invited her to spend the night at their house, since it had been, in Katie’s words, “such a long time!” Darlene e-mailed this morning to share this:

I was watching TV with Katie but by 7 PM I kept falling asleep. When I woke up around 8 PM, I realized that I had a small pillow under my head and a blanket over me. What a thoughtful young lady she is.

That’s our sweet girl. Jack would never do anything like that. He has no respect for the jet-lagged and would be yelling right in Grandma’s face to feed him now now now now!

Lest ye think Sweet Katie was birthed by someone other than Evil Jen, though, here’s proof of the girl’s absolute need to be forthright with people:

Thanks for letting her stay over. I missed seeing Katie and Jack for a while. I am so used to seeing them often. Katie did say, though, that I was not as fun as usual.

That’s our sweet girl.

This last thing isn’t so much a cute kid story as it is a screen capture of a friend’s good timing. This was my Facebook status on Sunday. Chris (“emcityguy”) Paton’s comment would have been much less amusing if he’d been the first one to write, don’t you think?



Mar. 24: Plinky ~ First kiss stories

‘Member how I said I’m going to try to answer Plinky prompts once in a while? Here’s my first effort. Today’s Plinky prompt is:

Where was your first kiss?

I have a few answers to this question because there are categories of first kisses, at least in my vast history of kissing. Ha ha. Also, I’m intentionally leaving out names because all of these male-types are related to (or friends of—or are) my Facebook friends, and in many cases I prefer not to let them know I have memories of them AT ALL, let alone semi-fond ones. Here goes:

First kiss ever: it was at my eighth grade graduation, when one guy made his way  down the reception line and kissed every single female graduate, undoubtedly on a dare. He was a couple years older than me and a friend of a classmate; kissI knew who he was but I doubt he even knew my name. I saw him kissing the other girls so I knew I was probably going to get lucky, but I did not know he was going to shove his tongue in my mouth. That was an odd—though not exactly unpleasant—surprise.

First kiss from a guy I liked: it was my sophomore year in high school during a Christmas party at school. I had a huge crush on him and he knew it, but didn’t feel the same way toward me. I think he came at me with the mistletoe because he knew I was a sure thing. We were standing at my locker just outside the classroom door and immediately after, I ran in the room to ask my girlfriends if they had seen what just happened. They hadn’t, and were totally unimpressed. Bitches.  :)

First kiss from a guy who liked me back: this one was the summer before my freshman year in college. Sherilee and April, you are cordially invited to shut up right now.

First kiss from a guy I eventually married: I have pictures of Victor’s and my first kiss, which was long before we even started dating. On my 25th birthday a bunch of us went to Red Robin at Pier 55 after the Mariners game. Vic was sitting across the table from me and kept saying he had “a gift” for me, and we finally stood up and leaned across the table toward each other and kissed. It was quite lovely, even accompanied by all the hootin’ and hollerin’ from Sherrice, Karen, and April. Here’s where my brave birthday behavior reached its limit: Vic was sitting next to a guy I’d had a secret crush on for years, and I wanted so much to move down the table and say, “OK, your turn…” (Oh, come on! It was my birthday!) I didn’t, but mostly because my ex-boyfriend was sitting on the other side of him, and the guys on the other side of that guy were not what I considered kissable types. (Word to the wise: don’t date a guy in your circle of friends if you want that guy NOT to show up to every important gathering ever for the rest of your life.)

Wow. This wasn’t nearly as painful or awkward as I thought it might be. Share your own first kiss stories in a comment, please, and keep ‘em family-friendly.


Mar. 24: Here’s a surprise

I’m pretty sure I’ve taken this quiz before, but I thought it was worth a re-take. People change, y’know! Well, people do. Apparently I don’t. Please share your test results in a comment so we can plan our eternal life death whatever accordingly.

You Are Going to Hell
Going to hell is fine with you. You're not sure if you even believe in hell. And if there is a hell, it's probably a pretty fun place! You rather be stuck with the troublemakers.

Life is short, so why wouldn't you live it up? Being good is incredibly boring. You're not going to miss out on anything in life... even if you have to lie, steal, or cheat to get it.


Mar. 23: Coffee? Tea? Me?

  • Quick, what’ll it be: coffee or tea?
    Coffee in the morning, definitely. Tea the rest of the day, preferably iced.
  • How many “hits” a week that you would say that you take?
    I drink a large cup of coffee every morning. I’m not quite as addicted to tea, although I drink it often. I can stop anytime, really. :)
  • If there was to be a coffee or tea drink named after you on the menu board at Starbucks, what would it be?
    “Jen’s Mystery Mocha”—a regular mocha with a shot of something surprising and kinda nasty, like mustard or Comet. Oh come on, you know you’d order one.
  • Do you drink coffee when it’s hot out?
    I love iced mochas, but they’re not exactly quenching; I prefer iced tea in hot weather.
  • How do you feel about Starbucks Frappuccinos?
    The ones they blend in Starbucks are okay. I don’t order them often. coffeeteaThe ones they sell in bottles in the grocery store? Blech.
  • Where in the world would you most like to sit down and order a coffee or tea?
    I know this is so typically “stupid American,” but one of my favorite memories of our trip to Europe is relaxing in a big comfy chair in a London Starbucks. I actually fell asleep—I was still dealing with jet lag, was five months pregnant and had a broken foot. I think my impromptu nap was excusable, considering. My favorite place to sit and drink coffee would have to be Paris, though—just because it’s the most beautiful and romantic city to which I’ve been and I’d love to go there again. Amsterdam would be good too.
  • Were your parents coffee drinkers? Tea drinkers?
    My dad drank coffee like his daughters like their men: black. I don’t remember him drinking tea except in Chinese restaurants. Mom wasn’t much of a coffee drinker when I was young, but she likes it now.
  • Would you prefer coffee or tea in a shop or at home?
    I love the coffee shop atmosphere and it’s almost always  cleaner than my home.
  • Would you ever wear jewelry made out of coffee beans or earrings shaped like coffee cups?
    Only if it was subtle, like a sterling silver coffee bean charm. That would keep people guessing. “Is she wearing a coffee bean around her neck? An egg? A silver nugget? A turd?”
  • What is the absolute most perfect pastry to be taken alongside a coffee or tea?
    Mmmmm… banana bread.

Your turn…


Mar. 23: Let’s hear it for the boy

You GOTTA click this! Is it any wonder I love him so???This article says that Zac Efron has backed out of the remake of Footloose for fear of being typecast. It makes sense—after the three High School Musical movies and Hairspray, he’s well on his way to being known as a song-and-dance man boy. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

But apparently Zac thinks there is. What does he know? He’s just a kid. Maybe he needs an adult to guide him through decisions like that, or something else that doesn’t make me sound like a pervert.

I heard about this remake a while ago and my first thought was that yes, my Zac could make a decent Ren—he’s done an angry/tormented dance in the last two HSM movies, so he’s got that action down. But it also made me wonder why they’re remaking Footloose in the first place. What’s the logic behind remakes? Aren’t the originals usually old-ish movies that did alright at the box office and someone thinks they’d do blockbuster-better in an updated format? Footloose isn’t old enough to be remade! It’s, what, 25 years old? That’s not old! It isn’t! Not when I remember it like it was yesterday!

Vic thinks Hollywood’s run out of ideas. He also said, “You’re just angry cuz you’re getting old” and then he ran because he’s a smart man and I am fast. (I’m not fast, really. But while pretending to be, I could very likely trip and fall on Vic and that’d show him, oh boy.)

Anyway, I’m sure the original Footloose could be improved upon. It wasn’t sheer perfection, like, say, Sixteen Candles. But I don’t want them to ruin it, y’know? I don’t want them to “creatively” cast Kevin Bacon in the John Lithgow role. Or make Ariel a guy. Or have John Lithgow play Ren’s kindly old boss that helps them find a place for their dance just outside the city limits so they won’t get in trouble and then he finds the angry preacher and his wife slow-dancing out there and OH MY GOD THAT WAS SUCH A GOOD MOVIE I’M GOING TO WATCH IT RIGHT NOW.

Coincidentally, Sherilee posted this chuckle-worthy video on Facebook the other day. It won’t be of much interest to you if you haven’t seen Footloose or are at least a tiny bit familiar with Flight of the Conchords.

Don’t worry; I’m not going to start writing angry letters to Hollywood, at least not yet. If I start hearing talk about a Ferris Bueller’s Day Off remake, though, all bets are off (am I the only one that remembers what a disaster the TV show was?).


Mar. 22: “You can’t make that Shiite up”

I have just a few points:

  • It’s a real thing and according to Darby, who is a proficient intertube user, it’s called “Kuku ye shevid obaqala” and it really is delicious and I am NOT a lima bean fan so I was surprised I liked it.
  • I do not know why Google won’t tell me “kuku ye shevid obaqala” is a real thing. Is it possible that Google just doesn’t index Chef Boy-ar-dee products? (Heh heh heh…)
  • That was a joke. I know Chef Boy-ar-dee only does Italian food.
  • Darby is right: no one would actually choose the name Jennifer Saltmarsh Manullang. I do prefer that over what he normally calls me, though, which is something closer to “Manullang-a-ding-dong”—and that’s just to my face. I know the names get much more profane when I’m not around.
  • My name may be odd, but I’m glad not to have a name that makes marketing companies question my gender and so, to be on the safe side, send feminine hygiene products to me all through college, DARA.
  • Happy Persian New Year or some such holiday!
  • That is all.

Oh, and muchas smoochas to that guy around the corner whose name I don’t know and whose blog I don’t read and who I’ll be waving at with one finger next time I see him.  :)


Mar. 22: My mom, according to me

I thought this little quiz was too good to leave to the kids, so I answered the questions for my own mother. Kathy, you need to do this one too—on your blog (or in a comment, I suppose). The rest of y’all—feel free to answer about your mom too.

  1. What is something Mom always says to you?
    “Do you have time to talk?” and “I love you”
  2. What makes Mom happy?
    Everything. She’s a happy person. Sometimes too happy. Sometimes I want to slug her.
  3. What makes Mom sad?
    When I slug her
  4. How does your mom make you laugh?
    Her Gilly stories are pretty funny
  5. What was your mom like as a child?
    From the stories I hear, exactly like Kathy was as a child—but-cept Mom danced on the bar. True story.
  6. How old is your mom?
    She’ll be 67 in June
  7. How tall is your mom?
    I think she’s 5’4”
  8. What is her favorite thing to do?
    Defy gravity :)
  9. What does your mom do when you’re not around?
    I’m afraid she talks to herself. Seriously, it really concerns me.
  10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
    Having THE most amazing daughters, of course! Honestly, it’ll be for being a sincerely kind person.
  11. What is your mom really good at?
    Bein’ nice to people who don’t deserve it, like her mother
  12. What is your mom not very good at?
    Remembering that I’m not a morning person
  13. What does your mom do for a job?
    She’s a part-time university professor, member of the Oregon Citizen Review Board, semi-retiree, and pooper scooper extraordinaire
  14. What is your mom’s favorite food?
    Mom likes pretty much all foodkanga
  15. What makes you proud of your mom?
    Certainly not the filthy mouth. I’d have to say it’s following her heart—“defying gravity!”
  16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
    Probably Kanga from Winnie-the-Pooh—sweet and nurturing
  17. What do you and your mom do together?
    Watch movies, shop, organize, paint, bead…
  18. How are you and your mom the same?
    We both cry over way too much crap
  19. How are you and your mom different?
    She’s a morning person
  20. How do you know your mom loves you?
    She tells me so. And she buys me stuff.  :)
  21. What does your mom like most about your dad?
    What did she like? Probably that rarely-seen tender heart he had. There were moments when he was a pretty good guy.
  22. Where is your mom’s favorite place to go?
    When she visits Portland, it’s IKEA



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