Feb. 28: Daybook


Outside my window... it’s very, very cold. It’s not as bad as it has been the last several days, but it’s still cold. I’m done with this. Soooo done. Spring can get here any second, please.

This weekend, I… got a bit of a bug up my butt and decided to do some thorough cleaning. It was the kind of cleaning where the mattress and box spring are put out of the way so the whole underneath area of the bed can be vacuumed four times and the storage boxes are cleaned out and refilled. But it didn’t stop there; the project continued into our office and even downstairs. The good thing is that our bedroom is as clean as the day we moved in, and our office is well on its way. The bad thing is that Victor’s not speaking to me.

I am thinking... that I’m almost decided on a new color for the office and before I get all the bookcases re-stocked and other furniture in its new permanent place, I want to paint the walls.

I am thankful for... my very dear friends. As I work on the compilation of the past year’s blog posts, I’m RE-reminded of how often they’ve been exactly where I need them. I love them all mushy-like. So much.

I am creating... some monster projects in my head, and I’m going to have to say NO to more than one, I’m quite sure. I’m thinking of putting a team together for this year’s Relay for Life. I want to finish up my office décor. I’m trying to make practical menu plans for our family that we won’t be bored with after one week. I’m working on ideas for upcoming PTO events. My 25th high school reunion is being planned by two delightful girls (I’m one of them) who are possibly insane for taking on the responsibility. I’m thinking about going to my 20th college reunion in Walla Walla this spring. That’s a lot of things.

I am hearing... the sounds of Flight Control, a game that Val introduced us to and Victor’s playing right now. It has consumed us ever since Thursday night. It’s completely addictive and unrealistic but SO MUCH FUN OMIGOD SO MUCH FUN.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Work, some meetings, more cleaning, maybe some fun.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing, and I dedicate it to my friends who have been suffering from insomnia recently:


Want to blog your own Daybook? Here’s the info: The Simple Woman’s Daybook.

Feb. 27: All about Val

You think you know my friend Val, right? I thought I did too, but here’s proof that Google knows her better than anyone. When I searched for “Val ____” I discovered all sorts of things I never knew about the girl. Check this out:

valfukaiVal says…

  • …she never looks
  • …she hates the first 20 minutes
  • …the end is near
  • ...“it's an amazing tool”
  • …“I don't like the huge boobs”

Val thinks…

  • …she can hurt me. Seriously!
  • …it’s lame to complain
  • …you really need to see this
  • …dad is a turkey

Val wants…

  • …to rock!!!
  • …to be governor of New Mexico
  • …to use the school bus as a shelter
  • …to give you ten bucks
  • …to adopt you, sweetie
  • …to keep tonight’s dinner in the fridge
  • …boobies

Val has…

  • …indigestion
  • …a nice ass
  • …been giving private and public concerts around Spokane
  • …three grandchildren
  • …kinks
  • …a daughter named Mercedes
  • …become a Thai dancer
  • …fallen

Val is…

  • …the coolest
  • …back from Norway!
  • …not cheesy
  • …rolling in riches
  • …watching you cry
  • …a three-year-old

Val pretends…

  • …to be John Quincy Adams
  • …not to notice
  • …to be drunk
  • …to be French Canadian and wears Speedos
  • …to hate the cat

Val went…

  • …to Italy to stay with her son Paul’s lover Enzo
  • …for a walk and forgot where she was
  • …to circus camp and can juggle flaming torches!
  • …in and told them that I was freaking out
  • …on tour with Bobby Brown in 1988
  • …to work for Tupperware
  • …a little nuts this weekend

Val loves…

  • …Wookies
  • …you! Unless you’re Sarah Palin, then no.
  • …to hang out with her dad
  • …tax law
  • …Vic and vice versa
  • …the way of life in Asia
  • …animals so much she can't bring herself to eat them

Val tried…

  • …to actually wrestle
  • …to poison Georgia
  • …not to stare, but she couldn't help it
  • …to turn her head--and suddenly a pain, worse than she’d even felt in her brief life, seared through her anus (pretty sure this one is my favorite!)
  • …for the Money Shot
  • …to shout, “You’re so stupid!” but was laughing too hard

Here’s the one I did for Sunshine a while back. My friends are just so full of surprises! Rolling on the floor laughing


Feb. 23: Many words on Wednesday

It’s weird that it’s Wednesday and I’m doing a bulleted list post. I don’t know if it’s early for this week or late from last week, but here’s the kind of stuff I usually post on Fridays.

  • mickeyminnieToday is our anniversary of 14 delightful herpes-free years of wedded bliss. Yay us! Victor and I are going out for dinner tonight, and that’s about it for celebrations. Next year, though, I’ll need someone to walk around with me all day just to hold my hand up, as it will be too heavy with new diamonds for me to hold it up myself. Yep.
  • The 80’s radio station on Pandora is funny. In the past 20 minutes they’ve played Chicago, Thompson Twins, and Barry White. It’s just… funny. I don’t think I’ve ever owned anything by Chicago, but they are one of the sounds of the 80’s, for sure. I don’t hate them. I loved—looooooved!—Thompson Twins back in the day, and had (OK, have) everything they ever produced, including imports and the stuff they did that was total crap. I still love them, and when I hear “If You Were Here” from the last scene of Sixteen Candles? Swooooon! And Barry White, the King of the Panty Remover Voices™? Yowza. Again, I don’t have anything of his except a single here and there, but boy, can that guy sing. More than anything, listening to Pandora’s 80’s radio station reminds me how much shitty music came out of that decade. But it’s my music, and my decade. Yeah, I know: yikes.
  • Speaking of the 80’s, my 25th high school reunion planning is now in full swing. Lisa and I are busy perfecting a fabulous event for our classmates. Here’s a suggestion if you don’t want to help plan high school reunions for the rest of your life: don’t be friends with your class historian during the key reunion years. I mean, I love Lisa and stuff, but after all the work surrounding our 20th, and now this… I might re-think our friendship when our 30th is on the horizon. Winking smile
  • It’s supposed to snow today. Loveliest Lori and I are most certainly displeased about this forecast, as we are both firmly in the I-Hate-Snow-And-Threats-Of-Snow-Or-Anything-Related-To-Snow camp. I’m worried that this predicted storm will keep me and Victor from going out for our anniversary dinner tonight, and that it will greatly lessen the number of people who show up for our school’s California Pizza Kitchen fundraiser tomorrow night. Remember, Portland totally shuts down with a mere inch of snow. Grrr.
  • I mentioned last week that I’m compiling blog posts relating to my kicking of cancer’s ass. As I fill in the gaps with narrative, I’m feeling forced to be more honest than I really want to be. Is this how autobiographies become “inspired by” fiction? I think I’d much prefer to tell the “loosely based on” story of my life. I’m not quite so repellent in that one.
  • Here’s a secret that has nothing to do with the above: I have at least 15 items of clothing hanging in my closet that I haven’t worn in ages because they need to be ironed. Ironing just seems so pointless; as soon as you put on a seat belt or pass out on Val’s couch the clothes get all wrinkled again. Pffft.
  • (I know that secret was not very revealing. You can’t make me say anything I’m not ready to say. So there.)

That’s it for now. I need to go make California Pizza Kitchen posters to hang up at the school for the fundraiser that probably won’t raise very many funds. Unnecessary effort? Pick me! Pick me!


Feb. 20: Chats with Jen and Vic

This is a real and mostly factual account of conversations between me and my husband in the last 24 hours.

Victor walks into the room, drinking coffee.

Jen: I want coffee! Where’s my coffee?

Jen: Close your eyes.

Victor: OK. (closes his eyes)

Jen: Now don’t open them, no matter what I do.

Victor laughs.

Jen: And don’t laugh.

Victor tries to frown. He fails. Jen proceeds to stick her fingers in Victor’s ears, nose, and mouth. Victor keeps his eyes closed, but he laughs.

Jen: You are not following the rules!

Victor tries to stop laughing. Apparently it’s hard to stop laughing when someone’s fingers are in your mouth, and he keeps laughing.

Jen: (gives up) Whatev.

Jen: If you had a superpower, what would it be?

Vic: I would fly.

Jen: FLY? That’s so stupid! How does that help anything? What’s so super about being able to fly?

Vic: Well, what would would your superpower be?

Jen: I’d be invisible and I’d follow you to work to listen to you tell your coworkers what a screechy wench of a wife I am, and then you’d feel terrible because you’d know that I know what you say about me.

Vic: You better not cough.

Jen: I think the power of complete silence comes with the power of invisibility. You wouldn’t be able to hear me when I’m lurking around you.

Vic: Hm. Would you be naked?

Vic: Really, please get your fingers out of my mouth.

Jen: Jack just came in here and farted and then left. I blame you.

Victor: How is that my fault? I wasn’t even in here.

Jen: You’re teaching him how to be a boy like you. I want him to be a boy like me.

Jen: Where’s my coffee?

Victor obediently gets Jen a cup of coffee, with equal parts creamer and spit. He says the spit part’s not true, but Jen knows better. Still, coffee’s coffee.

Jen: You have grey beard hairs.

Victor: You married an old man.

Jen: I bet Zac Efron doesn’t have grey beard hairs.

Victor: I bet Zac Efron’s mom is younger than you.

Jen and Vic are watching the latest episode of Portlandia together.

Victor: I don’t get why…

Jen: Quiet! Here’s one of the Joel McHale commercials!

Vic: His hair looks weird, like he’s been sleeping on it. It looks like mine.

Victor takes off his cap to show flat, greasy, disgusting hair.

Jen: No. He’s dreamy. He’s a hipster, but the good kind. Look, he’s crying about his prom date. It makes me love him more.

Vic: Pfft. He has bedhead. You don’t think I’m sexy with bedhead.

Jen: Please put your cap back on.

And… scenePrincess


Feb. 18: IDCEAYWTPFriday

fridayIt’s Friday, and that means you get a post called I Don’t Care Enough About You to Write in Transitioning Paragraphs Friday. I haven’t done one of these in a while, but please don’t think that means you can expect anything interesting.

  • I worked a couple long days this week and spent the rest of the time doing PTO-related things. Today I pretty much didn’t do anything all day long, and it was awfully nice. I get tired of having to use my noggin. As much as I love the work I do, it’s a constant brain-drain.
  • Since Katie has a new iPod, we’ve all been trading music back and forth and in the process I’ve decided that I’m tired of my music and need new music and I’m saying the word “music” way too many times in this sentence. Nothing in the iTunes store appealed to me today. I stopped by the free mp3 downloads section on Amazon and found a whole bunch of stuff that—in preview mode, anyway—sounds great! The Benjy Davis Project is my favorite album so far, but I downloaded five others that I hope I’ll like too. I always forget about that section on Amazon, and sometimes it’s pretty cool. Today it was pretty cool.
  • As I wind down in the evenings, I try to find something mindless to do. This week it was playing Texas Hold ‘Em online that helped me get sleepy. It’s fun, yes, but it’s nothing like hanging wit’ my peeps for reals on Poker Night. And you know something that really drives me nuts? I swear, almost every time I get beat online it’s by a pair of fours, but when *I* play a pair of fours, I lose to, like, a nine of a kind or something. Every time! Something else I hate is when somebody goes all in before the flop. HELLO! Now  none of us can play, thankyouverymuch. I guess my point is that my opponents online are jackholes compared to my opponents who are my friends.
  • Speaking of friends and poker, WHEN IS OUR NEXT POKER NIGHT? Pretty sure we’re overdue, folks.
  • Did you watch The Office last night? Threat Level Midnight was the best movie I watched… um… all day!
  • I spend a lot of time at the kids’ school, and not just because rubber cement is so readily available there. Here’s one of the other bonuses: reading student projects. I saw a report by Fancy Riley™—she did “How to Train a Dog,” and I was impressed at how thorough (and fancy!) it was. But the one below hers really caught my eye, and here’s why:


Yes, that says “How to draw a bunny that got ran over by a car!”

Awesome, right???

  • I’m following advice and have begun to compile last year’s blog posts and messages into a document that will tell the story of how I kicked cancer’s ass. I’m not very far into it yet, but just setting up the document was a big step. I don’t know what I’ll end up doing with the finished product; it may just be a story for my grandchildren. Whatevs. I need to do it for me, too. It’ll be therapeutic, especially if I stick to the truth. I’m debating fiction vs. nonfiction… because how else can I work Agent Michael Scarn into the story?
  • The other night I woke up to something super-smelly. At first I thought it was Vic (because I’m kinda mean and because he’s sometimes stinky) and then I thought the dog farted. But the smell just wouldn’t go away, and I finally got up to see if I was the only one smelling the B.B.O. And what did I step in on my way to the light switch? One of six or seven soft turds the puppy had left outside the bathroom door. Curses! So, in the middle of the night, we spent 20 minutes picking up poo and scrubbing the carpet and swearing at every dog who has ever lived in the history of the world. It was 40-ish degrees outside, but we opened the windows wide anyway to air out the stench. It took a really long time to get back to sleep, and I kept thinking, is this a good enough excuse to get me out of work in the morning? Because my dog pooped?
  • I have two new iPhone apps to share! Ted, my brother-in-law, makes fun of how I write entire posts about iPhone apps I like, so maybe he just shouldn’t read this paragraph. Nyah-Nyah

    Both apps have free versions, and might be available for the Droid.
    • SoundHound will tell you what song you’re listening to. It just hears it and displays the song title and artist, lyrics if they’re available, and a link to download the song. You can even sing into it and it’ll tell you what song you’re singing! So cool.
    • IntoNow is similar, but it works with the TV. It listens to what you’re watching and tells you what it is.
  • Here’s something I’m feeling grateful for this evening: Katie’s going to the new Justin Bieber movie with her friends next week! I don’t have to take her! I don’t even have to make up an excuse for why I can’t/won’t! This is a very, very good thing. My Mother of the Year crown may be crooked and tarnished, but it’s still on my damn head.


Feb. 17: Roadus rageus maximus

OK, so I was driving home from work today, on a 35-mph hour street leading up to Division, and a car stopped in front of me with its turn signal on. This usually means the person is going to turn, correct? This person did not turn. This person stayed right there in the street, where I could not get around him. I waited for a bit before I honked a little tiny honk, like “ahem!” He stuck his hand out and waved to the side like I should go around him. I could not go around him, though; besides there being no room, there was also a bike lane and the only time I’ve ever been stopped by a cop was when I once went in a bike lane to pass a turning car. Even if there had been room to pass this guy, I probably wouldn’t have.

So, I sit there, waiting and waiting while this jackass is pretty much parked in the middle of the road, and finally I lay on the horn. This time I really gave it my all. It was a big ol’ HOOOOONK! and didn’t do a bit of good. The driver waved me on again. I’m all, I CAN’T GET AROUND YOU, EFFER! (Should I mention that the car had California plates? It seems like that is a detail that should not be left out. California plates. Yes.)

Another guy walks over from the side of the road, where the car would have turned had it done what its blinker said it was going to do, and gets in the back seat of the car. I think, OK, NOW he’s going to go. But did the car move? No. So I lay on the horn again, and this time three hands come out from the windows to wave me around them. Hands of JACKASSES, all three. Idiot jackasses, in fact. Because only idiots do what these guys were doing.

Cars are starting to line up behind me when another guy comes over and gets in the other side of the  car. Finally, the blinker turns off and the car moves forward. Of course, even though they’re moving, by now I’m completely pissed at their rude behavior—we don’t drive that way in Oregon, idiot jackass from California!—and can feel my blood start to boil. It’s right about now that I think it’s probably a good thing I don’t keep a gun in my car, because I would have totally used it on them. I’m thinking I might have to start carrying one just for situations like this. My gun would not shoot bullets, though; I’m a peace-loving person. Instead, I think I’d make it shoot staples or nails or maybe live piranha. That would get my point across just fine, and I wouldn’t go to prison. Not for life, anyway.


Feb. 12: Katie’s 11th birthday celebration

For Katie’s birthday on Wednesday, we went out for dinner with the grandparents. The kids really like Gustav’s lately, and we grown-ups are just fine with that, because HELL-OOOO! Fondue is deeeelicious.

The celebration with her friends was last night. Three girls came over around dinnertime and finally stopped giggling at 5:00 this morning. I’d be tired and exasperated and swearing off all future sleepover parties, but I went to bed at 11. Smart, no?

Katie was in charge of most of the entertainment, but OK’d a few ideas I had to keep the girls busy when they first arrived. We had dinner and then made cupcake pops. I got the cupcake mold from My Little Cupcake (totally cute, huh?) and used their recommended recipe: a package of Oreo cookies, crushed, and mixed with a brick of softened cream cheese. I was thankful for my KitchenAid appliances to get that done with very little effort, to be sure. We then dipped the cupcakes in candy melts of different colors and decorated them with sprinkles, colored sugars, and candies.

Totally messy, and look who didn’t freak out? Me, that’s who! I know, I’ve totally matured.



The finished product looked nothing like the pictures in the My Little Cupcake samples, but they were tasty nonetheless, and the girls had a blast. We’re definitely going to do these again sometime.

After the cupcakes, the girls puffy-painted cupcake aprons for themselves. They were cute and creatively done, until poor Amanda’s paint bottle burst all over her apron and now she has a puffy-Jackson-Pollack cupcake apron.

The last thing I was in charge of was the cake. I got one of those cupcake cake pans…

…and made a giant cupcake cake. Because it was my first time using the pan, I was unsure of how full the sections should be when I put it into the oven. Turns out they should have been fuller than I filled them. The batter really needs to almost completely fill the two sections because it rises in the middle but not so much on the edges. I have this cool cake cutter…

…so any over-height is totally fixable. With two separate sections in the pan, Katie opted for two different flavors of cake because I suggested two different flavors before I realized that I am an idiot for suggesting such a thing. It became a tremendous pain in my arse, and many messy bowls later, the cake was complete.


Not perfect, but passable. See, if the pan had been more full, there wouldn’t be such a big difference in the sizes of the two sections. This looked a little too mushroom-y for my hyper-critical eye, but whatevs.



Here’s the birthday girl surrounded by her friends Phoebe, Nikki, and Amanda. These are four very sweet girls, that’s for sure.





The top layer is cherry chip; the bottom one is red velvet. You can’t really tell how perfectly RED this red velvet was, but it was. It made for a very pretty inside of the cake.

(Hey, notice the busted light switch in the background? That’s my handiwork! I was moving a bookshelf and ran right into it. Yay!)

<cough> IDIOT! <cough>



Here’s what I found when I came downstairs this morning. I woke the girls up, served them a confetti pancake breakfast, and sent them home. Katie’s gotten dressed, but has otherwise spent a lot of time in this exact place all day. So have the rest of us, to be honest. Why are birthday parties so exhausting?

But they are definitely fun. So much fun.


Feb. 10: Wrappity wrap wrap

I’m not one of those who goes out of their way to disguise gifts I give. If I’m giving you a DVD or a Wii game, it’s gonna look like a DVD or a Wii game. It will be wrapped attractively, yes, but not deceitfully. However, as I began to wrap Katie’s birthday gift yesterday, I realized I had to do something to make it look less like what it actually was. See, we gave her an iPod touch, and I knew that if it looked like an iPod touch, Jack would say so loudly before I had a chance to tell him to shut the hell up and just let his sister open her birthday gift.

I walked around checking closets for a box I could wrap the iPod in, and found one that our wine glasses came in. Once the cardboard divider was removed, it was the perfect size—not huge, but enough to throw off Katie’s and Jack’s pre-unwrapping guesses.

It was a nice box, very sturdy, with a lid. The bottom was pink and the top was printed with the wine glass info, so I thought, “Hmm… I’ll just wrap the lid in a paper that coordinates with the pink. BECAUSE EVERYTHING HAS TO LOOK OH-SO-PRETTY AND MATCH ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS.

Have you ever tried to wrap just the lid of a box? What was I thinking? The outside can pretty much be wrapped like a normal gift, but then the inside looks all stupid with only a little bit of wrap here and there. Does it matter that no one really looks on the inside of the lid? No. I still had to cover every bit of that damn thing, inside and out, and I swear I used almost a whole roll of wrap and I was cursing at kids these days and Steve Jobs and I’ll admit it: I kinda didn’t even like Katie very much by the time I was done.

‘Course, when she saw what was inside, the expression on her face was worth all the cursing and wrapping paper waste-age. And when she was presented with her very own iTunes account, I was proud as could be with her first purchases: Pictureka and Talking Carl. That’s my girl.


Feb. 8: My hair does things

guyI got my hair cut today, by a real stylist and EVERYTHING.

I went back to Michelle, who—with the exception of the past year—has been my stylist for almost 20 years. I haven’t needed to see her for quite a long time, although I did ask her to give me a face back in May before I had my topless photos done. (Sorry for that very misleading/disappointing link, Chris Fukai.) But today I actually needed her to cut my hair. I needed it, and it was a lovely thing to need.

Michelle, whom I trust implicitly, suggested some texture on top and to keep it short at my neck until the top grows longer. Makes sense to me. But the really fun part came when she used some thick styling paste-y stuff to make my hair all stick-y up-y in some places after she gave it some texture. It was cool to walk out of her salon feeling like I had an actual hairstyle—a really-and-for-true style. It’s been a long time, folks. Let me have this.

When I came home I flattened the back of my hair when I leaned against the sofa cushion. I went upstairs and smashed one side of my hair when I lay on my pillow briefly while on the phone. When I changed out of my itchy haircut shirt, the remaining cute stick-y up-y parts moved into a style that I can only describe as “either Jen just got electrocuted or is really, really scared.” Also, the stickiness of the styling stuff grabbed all sorts of lint when I put a different shirt on. Pffft.

I forgot; with style comes difficulty. Beauty can be inconvenient and painful and messy.

Still, I’ll take all the messy there is if it means I have hair. And I do have hair—so much, in fact, that I needed a cut. Yes, indeed.


Feb. 7: Daybook


Outside my window... there is sky and clouds and trees and things going on. Pretty sure.

I am thinking... about how very, very tired I am, and that this week I’m probably not going to be as productive as I’d like to be. My mom is spending some time here this week, though, so it oughta be fun being unproductive with her.

I am thankful for... a successful school carnival on Saturday night. We did well $-wise, but most importantly, it seemed like the kids had a great time. We went through over 10,000 game tickets! That’s way up from previous years. We’re not sure how this year was any different than others, but we had a great turnout and we’ll take it.

I am creating... a vision in my head of what I want my office to look like. I’m picturing a variety of wall colors, trying to decide which one is best, and also picturing a different arrangement of furniture. And fewer papers. I’d looove to have fewer papers piled up in there.

I am going... to get busy planning some activities for Katie’s birthday slumber party on Friday. Why do I find all the cute ideas when it’s too late to actually use them? I curse my belated planning! More specifically, I curse that school carnival for taking all my attention these past few weeks. Katie’s chosen a cupcake theme for her party (cute!), and she wants to watch Beverly Hills Chihuahua II (god help us). Victor and Jack are being sent away.

I am hoping... to recuperate a little this week from the sheer exhaustion of all the work that went into making the carnival happen. Today I slept in until 8 (not nearly late enough) and fell asleep again at 11 and slept ‘til after 3pm. That was quite lovely. I hope for more and more naps this week, but I’d be happy for a short one every day. Yes.

I am hearing... Victor snore. (I’m writing this at 1am Monday morning because I can’t sleep.)

A few plans for the rest of the week: Work a little, spend time at the school a little, go to the bank a little, see my mom a little. Good stuff.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing. I stole it from Sherilee’s blog:


Want to blog your own Daybook? Here’s the info: The Simple Woman’s Daybook.


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