Jun. 30: Online handles

My bloggy friend Jen E, of MommaBlogsALot fame, posted this link on Facebook yesterday. It’s about our discarded Internet IDs of yore. I loved reading the last part of the article, in which a handful of people explained their first online “handles.” It made me feel old, though, because many of them mentioned that they first started using the ‘net in middle school.

The first time I ever used a computer was in middle school.

The first time the ‘net was accessible to the average person (me), I was long out of college. ‘Scuse me while I go take my Geritol.

OK, I’m back. These were my first few online handles:

  • JenPDX: I first accessed AOL while at my sister’s in 1995-ish. This was my single girl username, perfect because it said I was female and from Portland. I managed to do quite a bit of flirting in chat rooms with this one. Those were some fun days. This handle is now used by someone else in Portland, but once upon a time it was all mine.
  • SaltmarshJ: On AOL, again, this time at home and on my own account. JSaltmarsh was already taken.
  • JManullang: Once married, I began to use this name on my AOL account. (According to Ed, I used AOL for way too long for someone who claimed to be “technically savvy.” He embarrassed me into getting a “real” ISP.) I still use JManullang, as evidenced by my blog URL.
  • JennySandM: My friend Paula made fun of my Jen S-M handle, calling me Jenny S&M. That sounded way better/funnier, so I changed it. Most people read it as “JennySand,” which was not at all funny. Whatevs.

I don’t think I ever had usernames that even attempted to be anonymous. Identity theft be damned, I said! (I guess…)

These are disappointingly uninteresting. What about yours?


Jun. 29: Diana at 50? Really?

Is anyone else horrified that a respectable (?) news magazine would publish an issue with this Photoshopped cover?

The article is somewhat interesting; who hasn’t thought about what Diana would be doing were she still alive? I like to think she and Kate would be BFF’s, but mostly that Diana would be HAPPY. The strangest part of the article was suggesting she and Charles would be confidantes. Yeah, um, I doubt that very much.

But the cover photo is what really creeped me out, and not a little bit. I would guess that it’s intentionally not a very good Photoshop job—it is so obviously not Diana’s body, her head is proportionately small next to Kate’s, etc. This inside photo was in poor taste, too:

Oh, so today’s Diana would have a few wrinkles and an iPhone? Gotcha.

The whole idea is just weird and, in my opinion, has an awfully high creep factor. Is Newsweek that desperate to sell their magazine? If I didn’t read all my news on the Internet, I’d totally cancel my subscription right now.

Winking smile

Whatever, Newsweek. I, for one, do not approve.


Jun. 28: Read between the lines

Here are a bunch of things separated by lines.

This is pretty much exactly how I feel right now.

We watched The Hangover the other night. Val told us we were the only people on earth who haven’t seen it, and she loaned us the DVD and we watched it and it was funny and now I want to talk about it but nobody wants to talk about it because the sequel is out now and everybody’s talking about that instead but Tina told me it’s got a lot of wieners in it and I don’t know if I’ll see it in the theater because we so rarely go to movies in theaters and when we do it tends to become a family event and I don’t want to take my kids to see The Hangover Part II because I am a better parent than that… maybe.

Dan posted the link to this David Sedaris piece on my FB wall today. My favorite part is about how he signed Judith’s book. I’m sure I’ve told the story before about when Sally went to a Sedaris show. She had been waiting in line forever to have him sign her book and Presley, who was a baby at the time, insisted they leave. Sally gave her book to her brother, who stayed in line for her. When he gave it back to her, she saw Sedaris had signed it, “It was nice to meet your brother.”
Tony posted this quote to Facebook this morning. This is truth:

lao tzu quote

Here’s a peek into my psyche that kinda explains why it’s so hard for me to get anything done around the house:
  1. I decide I need a bulletin board for my office, but I don’t want an ugly bulletin board. It has to be bulletin board-like, though, because I need to hang stuff right in my face(ish) so’s I don’t forget whatever it is that’s important enough to hang right in my face(ish).
  2. I buy a sheet of foam core. Foam core isn’t a bulletin board! I can still hang stuff on it, though. Perfect!
  3. I decide the foam core isn’t sturdy enough. I hang lots of things.
  4. I buy square sheets of cork to cover the foam core. That oughta strengthen it.
  5. I decide putting cork on the foam core will ultimately look just like any old bulletin board and I am trying to avoid the bulletin board look. I forget things easily.
  6. cuckooI take samples of my office colors to many fabric stores looking for a matchy-matchy fabric to cover the cork.
  7. It takes two days too long.
  8. I finally find the right fabric.
  9. I find the right fabric just before our big party, and while tidying up I put it in a closet and forget about it.
  10. I remember I bought the fabric but forget where I’d put it.
  11. I remember where I’d put it—it is with the square sheets of cork. Dur.
  12. I discover that the cork sheets are a different size than the foam core and I’ll have to cut them to fit. Have you ever cut cork? It’s totally messy and leaves an uneven edge. Even with fabric covering it, it’ll be hideous. I put everything back in the closet, and the bulletin board(ish) thing goes on hold.
  13. I find a bulletin board for super-cheap at IKEA, and make a note to get it.
  14. I remember I don’t want a plain ol’ bulletin board. Haven’t we already gone over this? UGLY.
  15. I discover many different styles of magnet boards at IKEA. I vow to check them out.
  16. I forget to check them out.
  17. On my visit to IKEA with Sherilee last week, I remember the magnet boards. I pick one out. I do not get the PØØPLÎ magnet board. Only dorks get the PØØPLÎ. I get a SPONTAN. When I get home, I set my new SPONTAN on the dining room table. It’s thin and very flat, and I forget it is there. I don’t turn the dining room light on very often, obvy.
  18. Yesterday I remember that I purchased a magnet board. When Vic gets home from work I ask him to hang it for me.
  19. He goes to change his clothes first and falls asleep.
  21. Hanging the magnet board requires a stud finder, laser level, drill, and apparently a lot of curse words, but eventually Victor gets my magnet board on the wall. Yay!
  22. Now there is a big black circle in my peripheral vision. It’s okay; it’s supposed to be there.
  23. The big black circle magnet board has nothing on it because I have no magnets for it. It might as well be sitting on the dining room table, or on the shelf at IKEA, really, for all the good it’s doing me.
  24. I decide that, rather than using random refrigerator magnets, I want something pretty. This will require some pondering. I decide to sleep on it.
  25. Because if I don’t have the perfect magnets for my magnet board, why bother?
  26. After said pondering, I decide this morning that the magnets for my magnet board absolutely must be matchy-matchy with the other colors in my office. And so it begins again…

And this, my friends, is just one of the many reasons I hate myself.


Happy Tuesday, y’all.


Jun. 27: Relay for Life is almost here!

The North Clackamas Relay for Life is only a couple weeks away. It’s gonna be tons o’ fun, and I’m getting really excited! Our team, The Hoe-Downs, is still in the top spot for fundraising, thanks especially to the hard work of Mark-Antonio Grant. There’s still a lot more fundraising to do, though, so keep at it!

July 16-17, 2011
Clackamas High School stadium

What is Relay for Life?

The American Cancer Society Relay For Life is a life-changing event that gives everyone in communities across the globe a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the disease. At Relay, teams of people camp out at a local high school, park, or fairground and take turns walking or running around a track or path. Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the event. Because cancer never sleeps, Relays are overnight events up to 24 hours in length.

I started getting an hourly schedule all set up and promptly forgot who wants to walk and when. Y’all need to remind me. I vaguely remember that Margaret wants the 2-3 pm slot on Saturday. As for the rest of y’all, I have no idea.


Comment on this post (or on FB) or email me and I’ll get you in a time block.

The theme for our Relay 2011 is “Roundin’ Up a Cure.” Tonight I ordered two dozen cowboy hats for our team, and bandana-print slap bracelets we can sell as an on-site team fundraiser. I’ll also have lots of glow bracelets for us and our kids at nighttime. We will definitely be appropriately attired.  Winking smile

For my teammates, or for those who want to come hang with us on Saturday, here are some of the things we should plan to bring:

  • Tents
  • Sleeping bags/blankets and inflatable mattresseshoedowns
  • Flashlights
  • Camp chairs
  • Bug repellent
  • Umbrellas (hopefully we won’t need them)
  • Coolers—stocked with food and beverages, of course!
  • Hats or sun visors (If you’ve got a cowboy hat, wear it! If not, I’ll have extras)
  • Comfy shoes
  • Additional donations you’ve collected
  • Décor for our team campsite
  • Camera
  • A little bit of $$ for on-site fundraisers and concessions

During the Luminaria ceremony, which takes place once the sun has set on July 16, we’ll light up small white bags that will line the track with names of cancer fighters. If you’d like a bag to be lit for someone special to you, please contact me. You can decorate and personalize a bag for anyone, or I can do it for you. A $5 donation to ACS is requested for each Luminaria bag placed on the track for the ceremony.

If you can’t be a Hoe-Down but want to attend some part of the Relay, here are two ceremonies I recommend most:

  1. The Survivor/Caregiver Lap: This is done just after the opening ceremonies on Saturday morning (probably 11-ish). I would be very grateful if you could be there as my caregiver—my caregivers are one of the biggest reasons I made it through last year!
  2. The Luminaria Ceremony: Starting not long after the sun sets on Saturday, this is a solemn celebration of those who have survived cancer and those who have lost their fight. The entire length of the track will light up the darkness—it is beautiful for many reasons.

Can’t join us, but wondering how to donate? View our team page here, and donate to entire The Hoe-Downs team or choose an individual to donate to; either way, you’re helping to fight cancer. Thank you. Look at this page to see how your donations are used.


Jun. 27: Monday


Bring it, Monday.


Jun. 26: Daybook



Outside my window... it’s absolutely gorgeous. I’m not going to go on and on about it because Mother Nature might hear and change her mind. She’s kind of a bitch, and that is something she would totally do.

This weekend, I… worked in the front yard, pulling weeds and grooming plants. Turns out I have some muscles I haven’t been using; I’ve been achy and waddle-y ever since. Ouch. The yard looks better, though, and I have a little sunburn on my neck.

Today the four of us went to Cars 2. It was a pretty fun movie. The CGI, in some parts, looked more amazing than ever. They’ve really improved the way they do water, for instance—there were several splashes, and lake/ocean scenes. Beautiful. Oh, and the short film beforehand was a Toy Story thing, mostly starring Barbie and Ken—very, very funny.

This weekend I also ordered a new dining set for our kitchen. When Vic and I pulled our table apart to put the leaf in before the big party, I guess we were a little over-zealous, because a part snapped off. When we went to remove the leaf yesterday, the table absolutely would NOT go back together. We put the leaf back in and took it right to Goodwill (it’s fine with the leaf in—we didn’t donate broken furniture!). I hate surprise expenses, but I admit to being eager for a new table and chairs.

I am thankful that... I have the most fabulous friends ever. You think yours are fabulous? You’re probably right, but they can’t possibly be as fabulous as mine. For realsies. Last week Sherilee came down and let me hang with her in her hotel overnight—it was a lovely little break from being at home. The next morning we made a quick run to IKEA (yay!), and then headed down to Bridgeport for lunch. There we met up with Loveliest Lori, Kim F’n-W, Sunshine, and Val for a long and enjoyable chat over pasta.

You know what’s cool about this group of girls? They’re originally from very different parts of my past and present, and I love that they now come together and make my life so positively wonderful. This is part of what makes me the luckiest girl, like, EVER. Happy, happy.

Oh, but it doesn’t end there! Friday night was another girls’ night; I joined Sunshine, Val, and my new friend Jessica for the very hilarious Chelsea Handler show. We started with dinner at Higgins, and went back after the show for drinks and dessert because it’s not only a nice little restaurant, we had the best server—he even curtsied for us. He must know that curtsies get the big tips.

I am working on... getting my phone in shape again. The other day the home button stopped working, and today I went to the Apple store to get it repaired. They replaced the phone, and while syncing it with iTunes put almost everything back where it belonged, there are little things missing everywhere. It’s frustrating, but at least it’s working again. For a while there I thought I might D-I-E die.

The other thing I’m working on is getting the last few connections to our wireless network back up and running like normal. I went to look up our password to get my phone on the network, and thought maybe it was a good time to change it to something that’s easier to remember. In the process, I totally farked up the connection for all the other computers and devices that access our network. I finally got it working (I think) with an auto-generated password, which is even harder to remember than the other one. Grrr.

I am kind of excited because… some of our summer plans are coming together and our calendar is filling up. So far, so good.

That’s it for now. Have a great week!


Jun. 24: But they’re *our* little freaks

Cassie and I played the “take a penny/leave a penny” game yesterday with the kids. She and Erika took Katie, and Jack and I took Alec and that made for two pairs of very happy kids at each house. We moms were so thrilled to have a new kid at home, and so full of plans to keep them entertained, that within 15 minutes we ran into each other at Blockbuster. Yes, Cassie and I are both of the “games and/or movies ought to keep these rugrats out of my hair for the night” school of thought. Hey, it’s kept us sane(ish) for this long…

We’ve done this kid exchange many times now—since our kids are the same gender and age and get along well, we’d be stupid not to—and over the years we’ve debated who gets the worse end of the deal. Sometimes the girls are more trouble; sometimes the boys. And nowadays it’s not so much that they’re trouble as they’re completely, totally nut-job wacko .

For instance, on the way into Blockbuster, Alec suggested they walk like E.T. This is not a pretty look for a kid. Hell, it wasn’t a pretty look for E.T. And since they kept turning around to see my reaction, there was no way I could pretend they weren’t with me, so there I marched, behind two little freaks, into the video store. Once inside, the E.T. walk continued, and on top of that, they added a thorough discussion of every Wii game in the store, which made them sound like Vulcan ear-wearing mini-nerds. I stood off to the side and pretended not to know them. As we were eventually the only people in the store, I was probably unsuccessful.

On the way home, the boys noticed the fireworks stands that have popped up along Sunnyside. Their conversation made me laugh:

Jack: I like burning ants with the sparkling things.
Alec: Sparklers?
Jack: Yeah, those stick things. You put ‘em right on the ants.
Alec: It’s fun because the ants get on fire.

(Cassie, I do believe this is how a serial killer gets his start.)

When we got home, they eagerly opened their rental, only to find the guy had given us a PS3 game instead of the Wii disc. Back we went. The boys were really worked up by now, and it was constant chatter the whole way:

Alec: Hey! That’s where my grandma lives! Wait, that’s the dentist.
Jack: Mom, did you hear that? Alec thinks his dentist is his grandma.
Alec: Wait, no. My grandma lives there.
Jack: Your grandma lives in the gas station bathroom? That’s stinky.

[Cue ten solid minutes of laughter for the dumbest joke ever. At least it made them forget to do that creepy E.T. walk.]

This morning I went downstairs and found Jack and Alec playing the game again (still?). The Oreos were gone and the breakfast bars were unopened. I tried for a few somewhat-healthy snacks, I did! As I waited for my coffee to brew, I listened to their game convo:

Jack: We need to buy a ray shield protector for the base so the AT-AT can’t destroy our landing station.
Alec: Let’s get a speeder bike first! And a launcher. THIS IS GONNA BE AWESOME! We need cookies.

Gah. These are a pair of 9-year-olds who are well on their way to being Cheetos-addicted, convention-attending, living-in-our-basements-when-they’re-40, stormtrooper costume-wearing virgins. Dina, in case you’re laughing your ass off at Cassie’s and my futures, you’re not exactly off the hook—Jack has accidentally called Alec “Blaine” several times. I think that must mean something.

Cassie, next time I want the girls. And let’s make it soon, before they get all weird.



Jun. 22: Recital Day prep

Spa Girl - Spa girl illustration with a towel wrapped...Katie is such a girl. Not in the I-can’t-get-dirty way (yet), but in the stressing-over-accessories way. Actually, it’s not just accessories. It’s her occasional concern with head-to-toe attire, and it absolutely drives me nuts sometimes. When it becomes a constant concern, Momma’s gonna lose it. Pretty sure.

I’m not, even for a second, suggesting that I was not once this way. I know I was. In fact, if you’re my mom, by the time you’re finished reading this post you’ll be thinking, NOW YOU KNOW EXACTLY HOW I FELT, and I will reply with YEAH, BUT IT’S DIFFERENT BECAUSE YOU THOUGHT I WAS ADORABLE WHEN I ACTED LIKE THAT, which is a safe thing to say because if you’re my mom, you’re 277 miles away right now and can’t slap me for lying.

Several months ago Katie asked if we could go shopping for her piano recital dress. Her recital is at the end of the school year, and I told her we’d wait until we were closer. Knowing her growth spurts and the way her fashion preferences change, I wasn’t about to get her something she’d outgrown or hate by the time Recital Day arrived. Of course, not long after that we spotted The Dress and I couldn’t resist; it was adorable and we both loved it and damn the possible growth spurt—we bought it. Momma’s a sucker for The Dress.

We weren’t even out of the store when Katie started asking about shoes. Argh.

Last week we went to way too many stores but finally found The Shoes—perfect color, style, everything. Besides the fact that they cost too much, it was a no-brainer. I do love when my girl and I agree on these things.

The other day she had her hair up after her shower and I commented that it looked cute—kind of a messy up-do, so unlike the things she normally does with her hair. Ever since, she’s been wearing it that way. Not out of the house, though… god forbid she trust Mom’s hairstyle preferences in front of her friends. Then yesterday she asked if she could wear it that way for the recital. I was all “meh” about it, trying not to be too excited lest she think it was suddenly uncool. Inside my head, though, I was all OMG SHE MIGHT REALLY DO IT with 14 exclamation points and a very big smile.

Yesterday Katie also asked which purse she should carry. That’s when I started getting a little BA-RUTHER about this, because does she really need to carry a purse for her piano recital? First of all, what will she put in it? (Her answer: phone.) And what will she do with it while she’s playing? (Her answer: you can hold it.)


I’m a little surprised she hasn’t talked much about jewelry choices. She doesn’t wear earrings (I still cringe over that whole experience), but she hasn’t even suggested a necklace or bracelet and she ALWAYS seems worried about the perfect jewelry. I suspect a last-second argument is headed our way.

So today is Recital Day, and ever since Katie got up this morning, she’s been planning out the hours until we go: what time she should do her nails, whether she should do her toenails, or fingernails, or both, when she should take a shower (“before or after my nails?”), what time we should leave to go the mile up Sunnyside to the church in which the recital will be held... Not to mention the questions about the kind of cookies we’ll take for the reception, if we should we get them now, if we’ll have time to stop at Albertsons on the way, what time Dad will be home so we can leave not a minute later than we should…

Remember that scene in A Mighty Wind, in which the organizer of the concert asks one too many questions of the stage manager? It’s been running through my head most the day (see it at 8:30 here). So far I have not let myself get too close to the girl, y’know, just in case I’m tempted to re-enact the scene.

So, do you notice anything missing from Katie’s many Recital Day concerns? Maybe PRACTICING THE SONG SHE IS GOING TO PLAY AT THE RECITAL? Deep breaths, Momma. Deep breaths.

Jack, on the other hand, can hardly be bothered with preparing for the recital in any way. I was tempted to ask Mrs. Jordan not to use his last name in the program because of the very good chance that he will be THAT student who obviously has not prepared for the recital in any way. What terrible parents that students must have! I feel so sorry for them him them.


Jun. 21: Photo Tuesday

Today I need to run some errands, there’s an SVU marathon on, I need to finish sorting through boxes, and I have to work. But there’s a beautiful blue sky outside and Portland’s first deliciously high temp forecasted, so what am I doing? Sitting indoors, blogging. I know. I don’t get me either.

I started to do a Post-it Note Tuesday, but then decided that since most of what I have to share are photos, I’ll just do Photo Tuesday. It’s not a new thing; it’s just what I’m calling this post. YOU try coming up with titles for everything you blog about and see if someday you just don’t want to try anymore. So there.

Here are some images I’ve been collecting from around the Internet (mostly Pinterest, lately). Many of them are clickable to larger versions. I might have shared some of these before, and if so, oh well.

There are your smiles for the day. Enjoy the rest of it, wherever you may be and whatever you may be doing, and remember that I probably like you.



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