Aug. 31: High Desert Museum

We went to the High Desert Museum today. If you’ve ever traveled on Hwy. 97 south of Bend, you’ve probably seen the signs. We’ve seen the signs for 20-some years and today was the first time we ever took the exit and checked it out. It’s a beautiful building and a pretty nice little museum, with the Schnitzers’ and Chiles’ and Autzens’ names on just about everything. The museum’s emphasis is on natural and living history (whatever that means)—they have a lot of pioneer/Oregon Trail artifacts and some of the cutest little critters you ever did see.

One of my favorites was the porcupine. Unfortunately, the new-ish baby wasn’t on exhibit because it’s being weaned right now so he and the momma are separated most of the time. One of the guides told me that the male porcupine just got put back in with the female; he was happy to be home and she was not so happy to have him there. Hm. Anyway, we didn’t get to see the baby, but we did see one of the parents. I love this video taken last month of the momma and baby.


The other big favorite today was the river otter. When we first got to the otter exhibit, he was curled up in his little nest, sleeping peacefully. Several kids crowded at the window and woke him, and he did not like that one bit. He got up and charged the window with a very big hiss. The kids all screamed, so he did it again. And again. And the kids loved it and that otter was PISSED. It was hilarious but also makes you kinda question the whole animals-in-captivity thing.

After he was done expressing his displeasure with/at the noisy kids, he went out to the water part of his habitat and started showing off. The kids all screamed again when he pooped in the water, of which they had an otter’s-eye view because the window is mostly underwater. It was pretty funny (the kids’ reaction, not so much the poo) and they were all, “He’s swimming in it! I think he’s eating it!” Here’s a video in which the High Desert Museum river otter behaves a little better than he did for us today.


Katie and I searched YouTube for High Desert Museum videos and found one called “chipmunch,” in which Thomas tortures and kills an adorable little chipmunk. You can look for that one yourself; Katie and I were horrified and decided that a video that disturbing doesn’t belong on my blog.

We also decided that maybe cute little river otters are in reality big, huge shitheads.

And speaking of chipmunks, they were everywhere. They kept sitting on their hind legs, like they expected to be fed—they certainly didn’t seem to be afraid of us. Technically, they were not chipmunks but some variety of squirrel, but to us they looked like chipmunks and what are they gonna do if we call them something they aren’t? NOT eat the hot sauce packet I so generously shared from my purse? Yeah, right.

The museum has a lynx and a bobcat on display, and they were both sleeping every time we were near. Boooooring. I didn’t like the Desertarium so much—scorpions. Ick. The only scorpions I can tolerate are the ones who announce their presence and then proceed to rock me like a hurricane. The bat exhibit had no actual live bats, but some interesting info and cool examples of how echolocation works. (Look at me, using big words that I totally did not have to look up in the dictionary.) I guess they have live bats at the daily bat show, which we missed, but I didn’t really care because bats kinda creep me out anyway. You know my whole thing with keeping my neck covered while I sleep…

Turtles? Way cute. Lizards and the like? Also cute. Snakes? Meh. Fox? Sleeping/hiding in its den, the a-hole. Owls and falcons? Stinky. But bald eagles? Oh my goodness, they were huge and quite beautiful—I really am not a fan of birds but there’s something about bald eagles that are majestic and gorgeous. I stood at their cage with my hand on my heart and sang “America, the Beautiful” because I. Am. That. Dork.

We didn’t even get to all the exhibits—there is a surprising lot of stuff to do and see. We all gave the High Desert Museum three thumbs up each. By the way, I didn’t actually give any of the chipmunks hot sauce. I love animals; they’re way better than most people. But mostly, I didn’t want to share my Taco Bell hot sauce. That’s good stuff.


Aug. 31: Another meme of miscellany

Yes, it’s another meme going around Facebook. Although it’s not Facebook-specific, there are some profile picture questions, so I’m posting my current profile picture:


  1. Who was the last person you rode in a car with under the age of 20?
    Katie and Jack
  2. How many times have you been pulled over by the police?
    Once, but no ticket. I’m a good girl when people are looking.
  3. Can you play Guitar Hero?
    I’m embarrassed to say I have never tried, but I’m pretty sure I’d love it
  4. When was the last time you walked further than a block?
  5. Name someone that made you laugh today.
    Victor makes me laugh all the time, but Lori’s Facebook comments had me hee-hawin’ too
  6. How late did you stay up last night and why?
    It was 12:30 the last time I looked at the clock, but probably at least an hour before I fell asleep. My back is killing me.
  7. What bed did you sleep in last night?
    It wasn’t a bed; it was a chair for a little while, then the couch. I hate back pain.
  8. Someone knocks on your window at 2 a.m. Who do you want it to be?
    Someone I wouldn’t miss, because I would kill them for knocking on my window in the middle of the night. Don’t scare me like that!
  9. If you could move somewhere else, would you?
    Maybe to another house, but probably not another city.
  10. Have you ever kissed anyone named Matthew?
    I don’t think so
  11. Do you believe exes can be friends?
    It depends on a lot of things, but probably
  12. When was the last time you cried really hard?
    Really, really hard, like nose dripping and all? A few weeks ago.
  13. Where is your biological father right now?
    On top of the china cabinet in my dining room
  14. What was the last thing you bought?
    Iced tea
  15. What was the last thing someone bought for you?
    My mother-in-law paid for my dinner
  16. Where was your profile picture taken?
    At the nunnery photo studio. Duh!
  17. Who took your profile picture?
    The Pope
  18. Who was the last person you took a picture of?
  19. Was yesterday better than today?
    No better, no worse. Both great.
  20. Can you live a day without TV?
    I try not to
  21. How do you feel about Diet Dr Pepper?
    I DETEST diet drinks
  22. Would you share a drink with a stranger?
    Are you kidding? Strangers are cootie factories!
  23. Who was the last person you visited in the hospital?
    Can I count myself? If not, I can’t remember.
  24. If we were to look in your email inbox, what would we find?
    Lots and lots of PTO-related e-mails. I delete Facebook notifications after I read them, or that folder would be overflowing.
  25. Do you like calling or texting better?
    I’m not a big phone talker but-cept with my mom and seester. If it can be handled by e-mail or text, I’m all for it.
  26. Who was the last missed call on your phone?
  27. What does the last text message you received say?
    “Awesome! We just got playing in Illinois. As we were playing people kept bringing shots to us, it was crazy. Fun show, really small place so we just had fun.” (From my rockin’ neph, Stephen. Obvy.)
  28. What’s the next item on your calendar?
    I have a conference call at 8 p.m.
  29. Has anyone ever called you perfect before?
    Yes. He was committed to a psychiatric facility shortly after.
  30. What song is stuck in your head?
    “Heat & Light” by The Rouge
  31. What was the last book you read?
    I’m currently reading “The Story Sisters” by Alice Hoffman
  32. What’s something that can always make you feel better?
    Alcohol. Lots and lots of delicious alcohol.
  33. Are you a bad influence?
  34. What do you want right now?
    I could go for some ice cream
  35. Where are you right now?
    Sunriver, sitting out on the deck playing lifeguard while Jack farts in the hot tub
  36. Look behind you. What do you see?
    Lots of trees. Sunriver is very tree-y.
  37. Is there something you always wear?
    My wedding rings and anniversary band—I rarely take them off
  38. What are you wearing right now?
    Besides my rings? Tank, jammie pants, flip-flops (yes, I’m OUTSIDE wearing my jammies—shut up! I’m on vacation!).

Answer this for yourself in a comment or your own blog blah blah blah you know the drill.


Aug. 31: This is a post.

I cannot bear to post two memes in a row because I feel like that is, like, the ultimate lazy blogger thing to do. So here is a regular post with text and a picture of a kitty. See? Now I don’t seem lazy at all!


That is all.


Aug. 30: Wedding memories

This wedding meme is making the rounds so I simply must play along.

  1. Our wedding party When was your wedding day?
    February 23, 1997
  2. What day of the week was it?
  3. Did you get married in a church?
    Tabernacle Seventh-day Adventist, in the Johns Landing area of Portland—this was when I thought things like church weddings were important. I was a member there at the time.
  4. How many were in your wedding party?
    Eight bridesmaids, six groomsmen, three flower girls and two junior ushers. Crazy-lots of people. I figured, we’re only doing this once so it’s gonna be good and we’re not leaving anyone out. So far, so good.
  5. How many guests were invited to your wedding?
    I think 350 invitations went out, and we had 250 or so guests
  6. Did anything go wrong? Groomsmen passing out? Flower girls crying?
    For the most part, the things that went wrong weren’t noticeable to the guests. Kathy’s accompanist messed up but Kath held it together and then killed the accompanist later. The pastor did his part before a song (instead of after), which meant there were two songs in a row—a little awkward. The church’s wedding coordinator was evil and wouldn’t help with anything.
  7. How long did you wait to tie the knot after your engagement?
    We got engaged in July 1996, approximately seven months before our wedding. I really wanted a Christmas wedding, but Vic thought there wasn’t enough time to plan it. I never should have listened to him—even his mom says that.
  8. Who did you hire as your photographer and videographer?
    Professionals recommended by friends. The photographer was excellent—ridiculously pricey, but worth every penny. The videographer did a good job filming everything, and he got a lot of neat shots of us, but throughout the ceremony there are very loud fart-like sounds on the video. I don’t know if it was a bad mike or a gassy uncle. Anyway, it irritates me that the videographer didn’t even try to filter that out. It took months for him to get us the finished product but the whole thing seemed a little thrown together.
  9. Did you have a DJ or a band?
    Neither. I was too concerned with offending church members by such a thing. Stupid, stupid, stupid. I would have loved to dance with my dad.
  10. My 'butterfly kisses' moment Did your father walk you down the aisle?
    Yes, and it will always be one of my best memories of him. He transformed into the perfect father of the bride for those few moments. (Later, though, he was back to being himself…)
  11. What color were the bridesmaid dresses and groomsman vests?
    Dresses were black. Groomsmen did NOT have matching vests; I was never a big fan of that look. They wore ivory dinner jackets with black ties, no vests.
  12. What kinds of flowers did you have?
    One nice thing about a late winter wedding? Tulips. The bridesmaids carried white tulip bouquets, along with some purpley accent blossoms. I liked them okay, but they were kinda sparse and a lot smaller than I had hoped. My bouquet, on the other hand, was HUGE. It had all white tulips and orchids and weighed a metric ton. My toss bouquet was similar to the bridesmaids’—good thing; I would’ve knocked someone out if I’d tossed mine. My favorite floral element wasn’t actually flowers, but an aisle runner the florist got for us—floral print and gorgeous; it matched the church and our decor beautifully. More people commented on that than they did our bouquets.
  13. Who were your maid of honor and best man?
    Kathy was my “attendant of distinction” and Sherrice Neil Croft was my maid of honor. Ted was Victor’s best man.
  14. Did you have a bridal shower?
  15. What type of vehicle did you leave the wedding/reception in?
    A limousine
  16. Where did you go for your bachelorette/bachelor parties?
    Bachelorette: The girls took me to that Mexican restaurant in Johns Landing… Who Song & Larry’s? I can’t remember what it was called at the time, but that’s the one. It was a fun, noisy, festive party place. Bachelor: The guys went out to eat somewhere and then saw the very lame Starship Troopers.
  17. What type of wedding gown/tux did you two wear?
    My dress was sleeveless, ivory with pearl trim, an organza overlay on the skirt, and an organza sash. I also wore long ivory gloves and ballet slippers. Victor’s tux was the same as the groomsmen’s—ivory jacket, black pants and tie, white shirt.
  18. How was the weather?
    Surprisingly gorgeous; it had been icky in the few days before but our wedding day was sunny and warm-ish, for Portland in February.
  19. Where did you go on your honeymoon?
  20. How long have you been married?
    Twelve and a half years. Two happy ones. smiley  (I kid, I kid.)

Victor and Jennifer Manullang

Share your wedding story in a comment or on your own blog.


Aug. 29: Much whining

I woke up with a headache Monday morning. Throughout the day it got worse, and by early afternoon the nausea had set in. It had “ER visit” written all over it. Sure enough, by 10:30 I decided to go in before I got too dehydrated. We dropped the kids at Vic’s parents and went to the ER.

When you’re carrying an emesis bag, they tend to admit you a little sooner than when your eyeball is dripping blood—my wait was shorter this time than on my last ER visit. When a nurse took us back to an exam room, we passed a crowd of cops; Vic said it was “the crazy end” of the ER, where put patients who have police escorts. Goodie.

Little side story: It was nearly two hours before a doctor came in to see me, and during that time we got to hear another patient—we’ll call him Dick—share his “How I ended up in the ER tonight” story with every nurse, aide, cop, and handcuffs other patient who would listen. Dick had been at the airport, his flight had been delayed and then cancelled, and even though he didn’t do anything wrong, the police escorted him from the airport to the hospital. Even though he didn’t do anything wrong! From what we could gather, Dick had been given a drug to calm him down and they were waiting for it to take effect before deciding what to do with him next. Apparently Dick thought it was necessary to wait in the hallway rather than his exam room. This is why we were able to hear every single detail about Dick’s removal from the airport and treatment at the ER. Lucky us, no? (No.)

Dick had his preschool-aged kid with him, who ran up and down the halls of the ER, hollering “Daddy, I’m hungry!” and “I want to go home!” Then Dick would yell at the kid to shut up because there were people sleeping. But each time Dick yelled at his kid, Dick first opened the door to my room, stepped inside, and yelled it to me.

Well, it seemed like he did. Dick was very, very loud. I knew right then that Dick and I could never be friends.

Eventually Dick needed a cigarette, and we heard why Dick needed a cigarette over and over and over, and then got to hear Dick ask everyone he saw if they had one he could have. I don’t know if Dick ever got a cigarette, but I was ready to send Vic out to buy some if it would make Dick shut the freakin’ frackin’ hell up so I could sleep or at least not have to listen to Dick anymore. Because by that time a Law & Order marathon had started and I had only seen that one episode six times before.

Then Dick started asking if he could leave because was he arrested or not, and if there’s paperwork why isn’t anyone doing it, because he really wanted to leave, and did you forget that he wanted a smoke? His police escorts had no idea what they were supposed to do with Dick, I guess, because they kept asking each other what they were supposed to do. And so they didn’t do anything except continue to let Dick yell from the doorway of my room. This all went on way too long.

I felt bad for Dick’s kid having to go through all that with his jackass of a father, but I did enjoy when he started taunting Dick: “Daddy, are you going to jail? I don’t want to go to jail. But you should go to jail. You’re bad. Wheeeee!”

Dick was there for several hours and then just like that, Dick was gone. It was peaceful again. My nurse said Dick was a scary fella. I asked why Dick didn’t spend his ER stay in his ER room rather than my doorway, and my nurse pretty much confirmed my suspicions: Dick was a dick.


When I was finally seen by a doctor, we decided to attack my headache and nausea with oral meds first, and if I could keep them down then I wouldn’t need an IV. I liked that idea, as I’m not a huge fan of the IV. They gave me Motrin for pain, a muscle relaxant, and melt-on-your-tongue Zofran for nausea. Unfortunately, none of happypills them really worked. I ended up with an IV after all, to which they hooked up a bag of fluids, a shot of Phenergan that made me all bugs-under-my-skin jittery, and two lovely doses of morphine. The morphine was really good. I liked the morphine a lot. Morphine makes me happy. I think the world would be a much more pleasant place if everyone had access to morphine.

When we left the ER, I actually felt better than I had when I walked in—this has not happened at any of my last several ER visits. Too bad morphine wears off.

We got home at 5 a.m. and Vic slept for an hour before going in to work. I slept most the morning and still had a headache when I woke up, but the nausea was gone so I didn’t feel like I needed to go back to the ER. Darlene kept the kids all day—who couldn’t love that woman?—and I was able to rest and whine and moan in peace. When Vic got home from work he pretty much went straight to bed. Without even making me dinner!

By late Wednesday my headache finally started to disappear. So until next time—whenever that may be; I have no idea what the trigger is for these awful things—I’m home free, so to speak. I hate being at the mercy of this kind of spontaneity. Grrr, I say. And P.S. It sucks to be me.

I am done lamenting my ailments for now. There’s no moral to my long, boring story, but I do offer this advice: when you’re in a public place, especially if sick people are around, don’t be a dick.

Thank you, and good night.


Aug. 29: Poodle doodles

dandaWhy? WHY???

In my opinion, dog owners who dress their pets in goofy clothes or have their hair groomed to look like another animal or work of “art” fully deserve to be chomped in their sleep. It’s just plain mean. You know other dogs make fun of these freaks when they’re paraded around. Isn’t it enough that their genitals are always visible? Do we have to decorate them too?

(I gotta admit that danda thing is kinda cute, though. )

Here are some poodles who have been made into all sorts of other things. Check out the insanity. I’m almost speechless.

On the other hand, Sherilee, I think Ruby has “camel” written all over her—just a haircut, no dye, voilà! Bad Terrier Ruby becomes Good Camel Ruby! Maybe an art project for Seth, hm?


Aug. 28: iPhone app check

Thanks to Lovely Lori H for directing me to today’s Dilbert. It’s been ages since I’ve looked at the comics, and this one is awesome.


Aug. 27: Tradition!

Topol in Fiddler on the Roof Tonight we saw the first show of this year’s Broadway in Portland series: Fiddler on the Roof. Portland is a stop on Topol’s “farewell tour,” and I feel incredibly fortunate to have seen him perform in the role of Tevye. It was an amazing show—the music, the dancing, the funny asides to God and the audience… the guy has definitely made the role his own. I read that he is frequently skipping shows on this tour, so I feel even luckier that he was “on” for this one.

Although I’d never seen Fiddler on stage before tonight, I knew I’d enjoy it because I remember listening to—and loving—the movie soundtrack a LOT as a kid. Mom was as crazy for show tunes back then as my kids think I am now (not that there’s anything wrong with that…). And since Darlene was much the same way when Vic was growing up, it’s no wonder we both love musicals and continue to listen to the soundtracks over and over. We subject our kids to them, or censored versions of them, and they’re learning to love them too. I’d apologize, but I just don’t wanna. smiley

We had the record album of the movie soundtrack when I was a kid, which had a few pages of color photos from the movie inside it. I think I memorized every scene depicted in that folio while listening to the record on the huge console stereo in the living room. But it didn’t end there; we had a cassette tape of the soundtrack that we played in the car. And how did we get that cassette tape? Why, we made it ourselves, just like everyone did back then—by placing the tape recorder very close to the stereo speakers and then insisting no one make any noise for the next 45 minutes. I think every tape we made in those days had Skipper’s collar tags jingling along with the music, as well as a lot of “shhh, Kathy!” throughout. And playback? Duh… it was on that same tape recorder, placed on the seat in the car and turned up as loud as it could go (which was not 11).

Fiddler on the Roof So yeah, I was sure it would be a good show tonight, but my reaction as it began was different than I expected it’d be. For me, seeing and hearing all the Fiddler music really made me feel like a kid again. I recognized almost every song and was singing along (in my head! I promise, it was just in my head!), surprised at how easily the words came to me. Because, in case you’ve forgotten, I listened to Fiddler a LOT as a kid—just not much in the last 25+ years.

My favorites tonight: Tradition, If I Were a Rich Man (I had to keep reminding myself that that was Topol singing and dancing—THE Tevye—and that he was there IN PERSON!), and Do You Love Me? I guess The Bottle Dance was great too, but a little light on lyrics.

We got stuck in some road construction traffic just as we got downtown, so we barely made it into the auditorium before the show started. I had just enough time to run down to hug the Loveliest Lori before they started turning the lights down. I ran back to our seats and suddenly it was pitch black and I touched a dude I wasn’t married to (though I think we might be now, in God’s eyes) and finally found Vic and sat down. I hate cutting it that close! At intermission, Taylor and Eva traded seats with us (sweet girls, but no appreciation for musical theater, apparently) so Vic and I sat with Lori and Shelly for the second half. There was no whispering about any actors’ arse-ly beauty—requirements while watching Rent and (from the right angle) Wicked—but I did point out the striking resemblance between the woman who played Yente and Horatio Sanz. Otherwise, Lori and I were quite well-behaved. I think that’s why Topol waved to us in his curtain call.

While waiting to get out of the parking garage afterward, I looked up Topol on IMDB and Wikipedia, then read all the details of the original stage productions and the movie version aloud to Vic. I think he appreciated it, but hmmm, he didn’t say so. smiley   There are a few very interesting tidbits in there, so check them out, Lori (also, note who once played Tzeitel—perfect!).

Well, it may be trite, but sitting in tonight’s show took me back to a very happy time in my childhood. I’m thankful to my mom for making music a big part of our growing-up, and also glad to share the part of her heart that attaches itself to memorable movies and musicals through song. If you know what I mean then that doesn’t sound wack-jobbish at all.

Anyway, thanks, Mom.  

And for warming our second-act seats, Taylor and Eva, too.


Aug. 26: Laugh, kookaburra

When my mom and I saw David Sedaris in May he read a story he said had just been bought by The New Yorker. It was about a kookaburra and featured his delightfully wacky sister, Amy, so I enjoyed it immensely. The New Yorker published the story last week. Check it out in all its kookaburra goodness.

(If you’re like me, you spent your childhood thinking “kookaburra” was one of those made-up words, like “Walla Walla” and “Timbuktu” and “Religious Right.” Nope. It’s a real thing. A bird, in fact. FYI.)


Aug. 26: Kennedy’s um… legacy?


America’s royal family has lost another; Senator Edward Kennedy died last night. I’m supposed to be sad about this, aren’t I? I’m supposed to reflect on all the good things Kennedy did throughout his life, how he survived longer than his brothers, did so many good things for our country, and eventually became the patriarch of the Kennedy family? I just can’t do it.

I feel bad for his grieving family—his children, his wife, his many nieces and nephews—but I’ll admit that I don’t feel a great sense of loss or sadness over his passing. While the Kennedys may be our royalty, I’ve never been all that fond of their behavior, especially when some of them have acted with a sense of entitlement in situations where most people would admit they’ve done something wrong. I think of the William Kennedy Smith rape trial, Ted’s behavior (silence, actually) during the Clarence Thomas hearings, and of course, Chappaquiddick.

I was an adult before I understood the circumstances around Chappaquiddick. Until then it had been more of a punch line than anything else. I was an infant when the accident occurred, but I remember it being mentioned frequently as I grew up, usually when comedians were poking fun at the Kennedy family. I’m not sure how that was funny, but given the circus surrounding the O.J. Simpson trial, I guess just about anything’s game for satire.

What I find shocking is how Kennedy recovered from the circumstances surrounding Chappaquiddick to continue winning elections and garnering respect from his constituents and peers. It’s hard not to see him as the pantsless, partying guy he was portrayed as on Saturday Night Live in the 90’s. Fair? Probably not. But accurate? It sure sounds like they were close to the truth.

The Kennedy family released this statement this morning:

“Edward M. Kennedy — the husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle we loved so deeply — died late Tuesday night at home in Hyannis Port.

“We’ve lost the irreplaceable center of our family and joyous light in our lives, but the inspiration of his faith, optimism, and perseverance will live on in our hearts forever.

“We thank everyone who gave him care and support over this last year, and everyone who stood with him for so many years in his tireless march for progress toward justice, fairness and opportunity for all.

“He loved this country and devoted his life to serving it.

“He always believed that our best days were still ahead, but it’s hard to imagine any of them without him.”

Their statement is (wisely) almost controversy-free. There’s no denying he was loved by his family. His work as a senator is admirable, and I believe he cared about making our country a better place. But it’s hard for me to separate that from the scandals of his younger days.


Aug. 24: Back to school

For grade school, what are some of your best and worst memories of starting back to school each fall? What about high school? College?

Grade school—five good back-to-school memories:

  1. All those new school supplies!
  2. Seeing who else would be in my class
  3. Wearing all my new clothes
  4. Meeting my teacher, seeing my classroom
  5. Getting new workbooks—I always loved to go way beyond our assignments. Unfortunately, that over-achiever-ness didn’t last through my entire education.

Grade school—five terrifying back-to-school memories:

  1. Surprises, like showing up to a different teacher than I expected, or having my arch nemesis in my class
  2. Doing something stupid that would draw attention to myself, like calling the teacher “Mommy”
  3. Seeing other kids wearing the same new clothes
  4. Bullies
  5. Getting in trouble for talking when I should be listening—so embarrassing.

I think my back-to-school memories for high school are pretty much the same. College was unusual, because on the quarter system, there was a first day of school every few months.

College—five good back-to-school memories:

  1. Being back in the dorm after vacations. I loved a lot of things about dorm life, but mostly enjoyed having my friends being nearby.
  2. Starting every class in each new term with an “A.” It took a week or two to give up on keeping that “A,” but it felt good for that little while. smiley
  3. Seeing who would be in each of my classes each new quarter. This wasn’t always a good thing, but usually alright.
  4. Finding a nice big hole in my schedule perfect for daytime naps. Even better? Having the 3:00 hour free to watch Days of our Lives.
  5. Every new quarter meant I was closer to graduation

College—five terrifying back-to-school memories:

  1. Not being able to find classrooms… being late… sitting in the wrong classroom but not realizing it
  2. Having to get from one end of campus to the other in the ten minutes between classes (eventually I learned to just skip one of the classes every day—smart, no? No.).
  3. Buying insanely expensive textbooks (not so much terrifying as a huge pisser)
  4. Getting the reading assignments on the first day of classes and realizing there aren’t enough hours in the day to keep up with reading for all of my classes that quarter. Yes, this happened.
  5. Finding out an ex would be one of my professors for an entire quarter. Yes, this happened too.

Please, please, pretty please share your back-to-school memories in a comment or your own blog.


Aug. 23: Plinky ~ first plane ride

I haven’t done a Plinky prompt in a while. I like today’s, even though it took me all day to make time to sit down and write it.

What was the first plane ride you took?

Describe the trip – what was it like? Were you excited or scared?

Kathy and I flew from Medford to Portland in 1975. I was excited because we flew on a “banana jet,” one of the yellow-bodied airplanes I frequently saw flying over Medford. I don’t remember being afraid, but I must have been, as I was only six years old and everything scared me back then. My older and braver sister was with me, though, so I felt safe. I vaguely remember the moments just before takeoff, that I didn’t really like that my feet couldn’t touch the floor, and that Kathy was holding my hand.

We went to Portland to visit our dad, who had been transferred up north to a new job with Rodda Paint. My memory of the trip is fuzzy, but this picture is one of the few we have from it:

Dad and Jen in 1975

This was in the zoo parking lot. I love Dad’s snazzy plaid pants, my scary-short dress and my beautiful hairstyle. What can’t be seen here is the inflatable Minnie Mouse toy I had purchased at the zoo gift shop. I set her right between us before Kathy took the picture. When we packed to go back to Medford, I couldn’t find Minnie and was really upset; neither Dad or Kathy seemed all that concerned, and now I think they probably had destroyed it and thought I wouldn’t notice. Meanies.

I remember little else about the trip. Not anything else we did, how long we were gone, Dad’s house, or flying home. But, y’know, BANANA JET! Woo-hoo!


Aug. 23: Facebook friendship stats

The latest thing going around Facebook:

According to I have 201 friends, 81 more than average. 38% are male, 62% are female. 23 are single, 140 are dating or married. If I contracted a deadly variant of flu, I would likely infect 10 people, 1 of whom would die. When I share something on Facebook, it is typically viewed by 18 people. If I died today, an estimated 400 people would try to attend my funeral. Based on my Facebook profile, I have a 90% probability of getting married. I am likely to earn US$2.7 million and have 2.2 children over my lifetime.  Calculate your own stats at

I know these stats belong on Facebook and not my blog, but my stats aren’t that different from everyone else’s so I’m not even gonna bother publishing them there. What I find amusing is the 90 percent probability that I’ll get married. I also like how they use a flu statistic rather than a sexually transmitted disease statistic—they go with the more acceptable rather than the most likely. smiley  Not in my case, of course. No matter what Sheila R says about the herpes I gave her at breakfast a couple weeks ago.


Aug. 23: Sunday a.m.

Too busy for a real post. Sorry.

  • Jack and I spent most of Friday in the car. We drove down to Cottage Grove to meet Mom—that’s the halfway point between here and Medford—and get Katie back from her. On our way back, we stopped in Salem to see Loveliest Lori. Jack stole many cookies and hung out under Lori’s desk like the strange little boy he is.


    Milkshakes at Sonic on the way home? Of course! I know if they had one closer than Wilsonville that I wouldn’t think Sonic was so special, but I do loves me some fresh banana shakes and tots.
  • We’ve been doing some clothes shopping for the kids. Both of them got shoes that I do not like and the fact that I’ve allowed the purchase makes me the best mom ever, I’m Katie's Twinkle Toesquite sure. I don’t know why I’ve always disliked  Chuck Taylors, but I have; they’ve both asked for them in the past and I’ve directed them toward shoes I like better. This time I didn’t. See? Best mom ever! Jack got some charcoal-grey Chucks. Katie’s shoes are actually Skechers Twinkle Toes and are as girly as girly can be. And I still don’t like them. But both kids are thrilled with their shoes and I’m dealing with it like a big girl. (Also, thank you, Mother Mary!)
  • We spent yesterday prepping Jack’s bedroom to be painted today. The color he chose is a butterscotch-y brown, or as he calls it, “Indiana Jones.” What-ever!  We’re trying that new kind of Behr paint they have at Home Depot, the one that’s supposedly primer and paint in one. It costs twice as much as the regular Behr, so it better be worth it. This “Indiana Jones” color is dark enough that I really do need primer, so if it doesn’t cover well I’ll be a bitter woman. A bitter woman going back for another gallon of the regular Behr to paint on a second coat of “Indiana Jones.”
  • We’ve been waiting to hear from the school on Katie’s and Jack’s classroom assignments for this next year. It seems like they’re usually sent out mid-August, but when the announcement of more district budget cuts came out on Friday, it made sense that letters are late this year. They’re advising that class sizes may be in the low 30’s, something that makes me not one bit happy. This last year they were in the mid 20’s, and even that was too high. But as long as Jack has Mr. N and Katie’s got Parker and Sophie in her class, I’ll keep my big fat trap shut. Actually, I’ll probably keep my big fat trap shut anyway…
  • … because a Facebook quiz I took yesterday told me I’m 75 percent asshole and I’m going to prove it wrong. I mean, I know in my heart that’s probably a low estimate for my actual asshole-ness, but I don’t like it being that obvious to everyone else.
  • The Rouge. Click to see their awesomeness in all its glory. My nephew’s band was written up in the Denver Post on Friday as “Denver’s next big thing.” Color me proud, and check out the little widget on the left side of the blog to hear the Rouge-y goodness.
  • My bloggy friend Jen E got me playing Farkle on Facebook. It’s addictive and I can’t stop! Just like most of those games, I’ll probably not care about playing it after a couple weeks, but right now… I’m dreaming about it, can’t wait to get home to play it, downloading the iPhone app, sending chips to all my FB friends, etc. (Could that be contributing to the asshole-ness??? Loveliest Lori, feel free not to answer that one.)

Vic just yelled down that he’s ready to start painting. Gotta go.


Aug. 20: Random people’s random thoughts

  • I wish Google Maps had an “Avoid Ghetto” routing option.
  • Have you ever been walking down the street and realized that you’re going in the complete opposite direction of where you are supposed to be going? But instead of just turning a 180 and walking back in the direction from which you came, you have to first do something like check your watch or phone or make a grand arm gesture and mutter to yourself to ensure that no one in the surrounding area thinks you’re crazy by randomly switching directions on the sidewalk.
  • That’s enough, Nickelback.
  • I totally take back all those times I didn’t want to nap when I was younger.
  • The letters T and G are very close to each other on a keyboard. This recently became all too apparent to me and consequently I will never be ending a work email with the phrase “Regards” again.
  • Do you remember when you were a kid, playing Nintendo and it wouldn’t work? You take the cartridge out, blow in it and that would magically fix the problem. Every kid in America did that, but how did we all know how to fix the problem? There was no Internet or message boards or FAQ’s. We just figured it out. Today’s kids are soft.
  • There is a great need for sarcasm font.
  • I think part of a best friend’s job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.
  • LOL has gone from meaning “laugh out loud” to “I have nothing else to say.”
  • My brother’s Municipal League baseball team is named the Stepdads. Seeing as none of the guys on the team are actual stepdads, I inquired about the name. He explained, “Cuz we beat you, and you hate us.” Classy, bro.
  • Whenever someone says “I’m not book smart, but I’m street smart,” all I hear is “I’m not real smart, but I’m imaginary smart.”
  • I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars teams up to prevent a dick from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers!
  • Every time I have to spell a word over the phone using ‘as in’ examples, I will undoubtedly draw a blank and sound like a complete idiot. Today I had to spell my boss’s last name to an attorney and said “Yes that’s G as in... (10 second lapse)… ummm... Goonies.”
  • While driving yesterday I saw a banana peel in the road and instinctively swerved to avoid it... thanks, Mario Kart.
  • MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5. Pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.
  • I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t at least kind of tired.
  • Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after DVDs? I don’t want to have to restart my collection.
  • There’s no worse feeling than that millisecond you’re sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.
  • While watching the Olympics, I find myself cheering equally for China and USA. No, I am not of Chinese descent, but I am fairly certain that when Chinese athletes don’t win, they are executed.
  • I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.
  • I like all of the music in my iTunes, except when it’s on shuffle, then I like about one in every fifteen songs in my iTunes.
  • As a driver I hate pedestrians, and as a pedestrian I hate drivers, but no matter what the mode of transportation, I always hate cyclists.
  • I keep some people’s phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.
  • The other night I ordered takeout, and when I looked in the bag, saw they had included four sets of plastic silverware. In other words, someone at the restaurant packed my order, took a second to think about it, and then estimate d that there must be at least four people eating to require such a large amount of food. Too bad I was eating by myself. There’s nothing like being made to feel like a fat bastard before dinner.

Thanks to my friend Cassie for forwarding a very long list of hilarious random thoughts collected from the Internet. It was hard to filter out just the funniest ones to make this post less than five screens long. smiley


Aug. 20: Because camping sucks

It’s shocking how many of my Facebook friends have been camping this summer. I thought the people I know were, for the most part, pretty normal. But apparently they’re more than a teensy bit insane. It saddens me. (Christina, RV/trailer camping is civilized, so I’m excluding you from my “crazy friends” list. You’re welcome.)

I think this video pretty well sums up what I think about camping, specifically the part where he gets up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and says to his friends, “Anyone wanna come and get killed with me, or you wanna get killed lookin’ for me?”


What’s wrong with the indoors, anyway? Y’know, there are creepy-crawly things outside. You really want to sleep on them? And there’s weather. Plus there’s all that dirty dirt—my god, the dirt!


Aug. 20: Good news, eh?

mapleleaf When we went to Vancouver, B.C. last year to celebrate April’s and my 40th birthdays, we looked into taking the train because HELLO, it’d be way nicer to let someone else do all that driving. Unfortunately, the only way to get from Portland to Vancouver via Amtrak is to take two different trains, and the way they’re scheduled means you have to spend the night in Seattle. How much does that suck? I mean, I love Seattle, but the cost of travel gets up there near airfare when you factor in two hotel stays. Never mind, thankyouverymuch. We let Jim drive instead. Lucky Jim.

There have been rumors for a while now that Amtrak was going to add another train to make the travel take just one day, or make a direct route between Portland and Vancouver. And today the announcement was made. Hooray! My Amtrak travel experience is limited—my longest trip was Pendleton-Denver and back—but the trains around here are much cleaner than, say, every European train ever. Except for the Chunnel train; that one was pretty nice. Anyway, this news makes me happy happy happy because this is definitely something from which we will benefit.

The train leaves Vancouver pretty early in the morning, which sucks, but it’s still a better option than before.

Now I can hardly wait to go to Canada again—gotta stock up on caffeine-free Mountain Dew and those yummy Coffee Crisp bars. If I didn’t have a codeine allergy I’d get a bunch of 222’s too, because they sound like something I would otherwise enjoy very, very much.


Aug. 19: We’re a bad Nielsen Family

Homer Simpson’s TV wisdom

“When will I learn? The answers to life’s problems aren’t at the bottom of a bottle. They’re on TV!”

“It’s not easy to juggle a pregnant wife and a troubled child, but somehow I managed to squeeze in 8 hours of TV a day.”

“Television! Teacher, mother, secret lover.”

“Let’s just plop them in front of the TV. I was raised in front of the TV and I turned out TV.”

I rarely watch TV when I’m home during the day. Every once in a while I’ll see a movie I enjoy is airing on one of the Encore channels, or there’s a marathon of a show I like running for an entire day. Those are the exceptions. For the most part, though, when the TV is on it’s turned to Disney or Nickelodeon, or the kids aren’t around and I’m watching TiVo.

Most of the shows I save on TiVo aren’t the most appropriate for kids; they’re either dramas or naughty-humor sit-coms. When Katie or Jack walk in while I’m watching, I pause the show. If they start making themselves comfortable, I remind them that “this show’s not for kids,” and they grumble and stomp out because I am totally the meanest mom ever. I like quiet while I’m watching TV, and it’s very, very rare that I’m watching anything that would interest them anyway.

Until last week. Last week Jack came in and caught me watching the first Batman movie, which I found while flipping channels. It’s a fun movie; Jack Nicholson is at his best as The Joker, he plays it mostly campy, and the plot is much simpler than the later Batman movies. Jack has taken a sudden interest in Batman since he got the Lego Batman video game, and asked if he could watch it. I looked at Victor, and both of us did a quick inventory of the violence we could remember in the movie. We told him it was alright to watch, and he saw about half an hour of it before it was time for bed.

Since then, every time he’s come into a room I’m in and the TV’s on, he asks if it’s Batman.


No, it’s not.

No, not this time either.

It was Batman once, honey, and it probably won’t ever be again.

Because here’s one thing you can be sure of: if Mommy’s watching TV, there’s a 75 percent chance it’s some variation of Law & Order or CSI.

It’s kind of Mommy’s thing.


Aug. 18: Jack’s new ride

Last fall we knew it was time for Jack to have a new bike, but we wanted to wait until this year to get it, y’know, just in case he went through a tremendous growth spurt over the winter. As soon as the weather Giant boy on a teensy bikestarted to improve this past spring Jack started asking when he was getting his new bike. We kept putting him off; there were always other projects going and things keeping us busy and other reasons we didn’t want to take him to the store, like having to walk past the Lego aisle and the Wii games and other things he always always always asks for.

Several times we tried to talk him into taking Katie’s bike. We promised to paint it for him. Vic suggested that where it says “SeaStar,” he could paint over the “Sea” and then Sharpie the word “Wars” after “Star.” Jack soooo did not go for that. smiley

So far this summer he’s been riding the too-small bike, and we chuckle because he looks so little on it, like Homer Simpson riding a tricycle in clown college. The real push to finally go shopping, though, was when he wore a big hole in his tire on Saturday. Jack and his weird friends think it’s super-cool to ride really fast and then brake really hard, and we’re pretty sure that’s how the tire wore all the way through. (Look at the pic above and guess which tire is the flat one. And no helmet? I know, but he really just sat on the bike so I could take his picture. It’s not exactly ride-able anymore.)

Sunday morning Victor and Jack trekked over to Toys R Us and came home with a big-boy bike that Jack chose all by himself. It’s got hand brakes and everything! Now he looks so little because the bike is not just taller, but longer than his other one. This is one proud little man, finally having the right sized bike with which to race his friends. The weather here is usually good enough for bike-riding through October or so—pa-lenty of time to learn to wear through his tires with hand brakes, as well as break bones and get road rash. Yay.

Happy boy

Oh sure, he loves the bike now. But he’s gonna hate when we add the big orange flag and white plastic flower-festooned basket and spoke lights. And then wrap him in bubble wrap. And kisses.


Aug. 18: Tuesday

Busy. Work, house projects, more work, and more house projects. Also some blogger’s block, I guess, because I can’t think of a thing to say. So instead I’m going to share this charming little video Sherilee posted on Facebook this morning.


Aug. 16: Loneliness

Millie loves that Mom’s giant, noisy Gilly has finally gone home, but I think she’s kinda sad that Katie went with them. She’s been napping on Katie’s bed, and if the bedroom door is closed, she cries until someone opens it. I think I know a sweet little kitty who misses her favorite girl.

Click for a larger view
Mom and Dad are missing Katie too, of course. And he’d probably never admit it, but even Jack seems a little lonely without his big sis around.


Aug. 15: Hotel for dogs

From last night’s episode of The Tonight Show, this little gem (not for little ears):



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