Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bob! (Baby on Board)

Me: (Tap, tap on Alex's shoulder; it's 8:15 a.m. and he's sleeping). "Hey, I think we might be pregnant."

Him: (Confused from the "early morning" wakeup call). "Huh?!?" (grunt, grunt) "What?" (He rubs the sleep out of one eye, and leaves the other eye at half-mast). "Why?"

Me: "Because I just took a pregnancy test. And it's positive."

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I recently became a little, um, "over-interested" with the whole business of human trafficking, which is apparently one of the largest and most profitable businesses internationally. And no, I'm not doing research in order to start my own company or anything. Although it does sound rather profitable. It is just an intriguing business from both a financial and sociological perspective. Buying, trading and selling people?!?! Weird.

Apparently heroin plays a big role in sex trafficking. News to me. In a Vanity Fair article I found online, there was a quote that was something like: "To older people, maybe your parents, heroin was injected."

Wait, wait, wait. Heroin is NOT injected?!? Then how is it administered? And also, am I really in the "older people/parent" category? Pretty sure I haven't even hit the 3-0 mark. I mean, I'm a married professional, so my drug and sex experimentation days are (mostly) over. When Alex and I want to try something new, it usually means a new restaurant or food cart we read about in the Willy Week, or maybe a new television show a friend recommended we rent on Netflix. Or maybe, just maybe, a new bar or club, if the spirit so very rarely moves us. But it hasn't been THAT long since our sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll days. So this heroin business? News to me. And for the record, apparently it is snorted now. Like coke. Which makes much more sense why upper-middle-class white kids are using heroin, since it doesn't seem like a far stretch from any other white powder.

But back to the sex trafficking. I sort of thought it was one of those things that low-life hookers who wanted crack did. That is partly true, only it's a whole lot more twisted and abusive than that. For most young women, their "pimps" make promises to them - of a better life, money, love, work, etc. And then often times drugs to get involved. It helps the pimps keep the girls around and further dependent on them. The craziest way some women get trafficked is that they are sold by their husbands or families. Or they respond to some sort of an ad for opportunities abroad. While they are not necessarily outright kidnapped and then aggressively stabbed with heroin needles, like in that movie with Liam Neeson, the victims are indeed kidnapped and drugged up.

We saw this documentary called "Very Young Girls" the other night. The movie itself actually sucked. It made me less sympathetic toward the cause. The girls were pretty obnoxious, being teenagers and all, and they were using the resources of this fabulous NYC-based nonprofit to help get them off the streets. Then they would sneak off and use their cell phones to call their "daddies" that "they loved and missed so much." Pathetic. But point being, being down-and-out, or a down-and-out-hormonal-teenage-woman, makes for a good victim, whether it's drug or human trafficking.

The Vanity Fair article was very informative and interesting. I am posting a link to it for a more eloquent report:

Alex looks to either side of him to make sure no one is within earshot, leans over and whispers in my ear.

"Can I tell you something?" he asks seriously. "I'm not wearing any sunscreen."

He leans back, glances to either side of himself again, and leans back in to whisper.

"It sort of feels like having sex without a condom," he smiles broadly.

The Perfect House

Now that the dog thing has been settled, I am on the brink of my next obsession - a house. Fortunately, this is not something I can act on quickly. Given that we have no savings to speak of, owe a ton-and-a-half in school debt, and had to borrow money just to pay Kenny for our Subaru repairs - we are not exactly the ideal potential buyers.

When I was a teenager, I had made a list of all the qualities I wanted in a future husband. Funny, Smart. Polite to my parents. Likes children. Perfect teeth. And so on. Alex is both everything and nothing I had dreamed of. Case in point: at one stage I decided that my future-baby-daddy needed to "love Christ more than me." Needless to say, that has long since been a priority of mine.

So I'd like to approach this house thing a lot like I approached men at the tender age of 16 - optimistic, overzealous ... totally naive.

As of July 26, 2011, these are the qualities I am looking for in a house:
- Location, location, location. I want to be able to walk and/or bike to a grocery store, library, bank, park, school, and public transit
- Tree-lined sidewalks
- Front and back/side porches
- A mother-in-law unit, or the capability to build one with a garage or in a finished basement
- Enough room to accommodate two children, an office/hobby area for me, and a garage/"man cave" for Alex
- A yard, so that when the house is too small, the kids have to go outside to play
- Gas appliances
- A fireplace
- Big, open windows
- South facing windows; lots of natural sunlight
- An open kitchen design
- No stairs up to the house entrance

Friday, July 22, 2011

Little Dog in a Big CIty

I now fully understand the meaning of "getting the shit scared out of you." No, not by personal experience, per say, but because of my fraidy-cat new doggie. The poor little bean pooped herself not once but twice! The first time, I'm giving her a get-out-of-jail-free-card. It was her first night at our place, and she was to freaked to go up the stairs so I carried her. Guess she didn't like that. And yesterday? Well yesterday, (as I looked like a street-kid dressed in a baggie hooded sweatshirt sitting outside the fancy liquor store waiting for my husband to get his boutique whiskey or whatever) a long-haired skateboarder launched out the store door, dropping his skateboard in a fit of "bam" and rode off, each groove in the cement making vibrating the sidewalk. Gizmo nearly shit herself right there, but instead let 'er rip during the series of the next FIVE long-haired skater dudes who did the same thing. It's amazing how much noisier the world is when you're trying to consider the needs of a traumatized little pup. Alex and I decided we should write a children's book with sound effects about Gizmo being afraid. OF EVERYTHING. Our storybook would go a little something like this ...

A Little Dog in a Big City (said slowly, exaggerating each sound with excitement)

There once was a little dog. Her name was Gizmo. She was 2 years old (that's 14 in dog years).
She had lived her whole life in the country. And then some people wanted to give her a new home. In the city! She thought the city was just too loud. And it scared her.
"This city is very, very noisy," she thought, concerned.
First, there are all the cars driving by. "VROOM."
And those cars have horns that get honked. "BEEP."
And there are the people. So. Many. People. "CHITTER CHATTER."
And there are trains that drive through. "CHOO CHOO."
There are the kids playing in the parks. "CHILDREN'S LAUGHTER."
There are sounds of people eating. "CRUNCH CRUNCH CRUNCH."
And dogs barking. "WOOF WOOF."
There are cell phones ringing. "BRRRRING."
And people eating. "CRUNCH CRUNCH CRUNCH."
And bicycle bells dinging. "DING DING."
And people singing. "FA LA LA LA LA."
And then there is me. I don't make a peep!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Gremlin in the House

You know that saying about being full of pride? Well I feel bloated with doubt. Bloated the same way I feel after eating a series of processed foods with garlic and onion spice in them, followed by bad cheap beer, and maybe a little Mexican food in there.

The dog fight, so to speak, has come to an end. I did it, I pulled the trigger, and I got a new furry four-legged friend in Centralia last night. Her given name is Cleo, she's a corgi, she's two years old, and boy is she skittish. She's a low rider, maybe something like 30 pounds and one-foot-nuthin. We haven't settled on a name yet, but are entertaining Gizmo, Foxy, Booger, Nugget, Bunny, or Mouse.

As for my favorite furry two-legged friend. Well, let's just say he's not doing cartwheels about our expanding family. We continued to go back and forth and back again about getting versus not getting a dog. It was the kind of fight that was having us, not the kind of fight we were having. And I felt like it was eating away at me in a way that previous disagreements had not. After a lot of talks-turned-arguments, and eventually a few shed tears, I realized that my dog-fever was related to my baby-fever - and my serious self-doubts about being able to care for another living creature.

One night, after I locked myself in the bathroom and laid on the floor so I could cry in peace and comfort, I discovered just how much I felt like everybody's doubt of me as a good dog owner felt like doubt of me as a good mother. I couldn't understand why Alex would want me to have his children (not to mention wreck my body and possibly compromise my professional future) if he didn't even entrust me to care for a grown ass dog. And as time and tears often do, he eventually conceded and told me that if it was that important to me, and if it would build my confidence, I could get a dog.

And so I did.

Only now, I'm starting to believe everyone's questions about whether or not it's worth it, or whether or not I'm able to care for my canine pal. Truth is, after I thought I was being patient by waiting 20 minutes for her to walk up the stairs she was so desperately afraid of, I was overwhelmed with the, "Oh fuck, I've done it again" feeling. The one that feels all-too-familiar. The one that tells me everyone else (father, father-in-law, husband) was right, and that I've made a mistake. Alex doesn't love her. She's spooked by her own shadow. She drools a lot. She's afraid of all 12 of my carpeted stairs. She doesn't sniff around out of curiosity. And she has not once peed or pooped on any of our short walks.

Yes, it's been all of 10 hours. So in all fairness to her, and to myself, we're going to give this a shot together.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Working it out

Ugh. Alex and I just got back from the gym. And I'm just so TIRED. We went to both 24 Hour Fitness and LA Fitness. I needed a rest, so I am sitting in my favorite divot on the couch. No, no, we didn't actually "workout," per say, but it was exhausting exploring each of the fitness rooms and learning about the various contract agreements.

Kind of reminds me of that scene in Old School, the one where Frank the Tank and his wife haven't seen each other in awhile, and Marissa asks Frank what he's been up to. He mentions that he "tried" joining the gym. Me too, buddy, me too.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Dog Fight

Nesta, on the gondola in Telluride last summer.

Alex and I have been scrapping in the yard (get it? tee hee) for the last three weeks. I want a dog. He doesn't. I recently posted in defense of my "obsession" with acquiring a new dog. I have since conceded and admit I am NOW obsessing over getting a dog. It is all I can think about, read about, and shop for.

Until yesterday.

Alex and I took Nesta for a walk (note the irony). We decided to have a once-and-for-all conversation about this whole dog business.

"Why do you even want a dog?" He asked me.

"Well, I've thought a lot about that." I have, honestly. Although I may seem impulsive to outsiders, I actually like to think long and hard about bigger decisions. I just am not one to vocalize it to my friends and family all the time. "I want a dog because I think I would be a really good dog owner. I have this recent inclination to love and nurture something, and people really seem to enjoy their pets. I want in on a relationship like that."

"I think you just want a baby and since you can't have a baby NOW, you want something that you can have NOW, so you want a dog."

For the record, I do not, by any stretch of the imagination, think a dog and a baby are synonymous.

"No, no, no. I am not even sure I am ready for a baby yet. But I feel like caring for a dog is a good first step. And with everyone telling me I won't be a good dog owner, it makes me question my own capacity for motherhood. Why is it you want to get me pregnant, but you no faith I can take care of a dog?"

"It's not like that, at all. I think you'd be a great dog owner and a great mom. Let's make a deal, how about you let it go unt-."

I interrupt him mid-sentence.

"I do NOT want to wait until I go back to work," I whine. "I have the time, energy, and desire for a dog this summer, when I can dedicate my free time to training it properly."

"You didn't let me finish. I was going to ask you if you can drop the whole dog thing until we get back to Portland."

"But I already HAVE let it go. Remember when we got in that dog fight before we went to dinner at that Lebanese place with my dad? I let it go for awhile after that. And it's back, with a vengeance. At what point am I supposed to trust myself, maybe even learn from my own mistakes, rather than listening to all the old, cynical men in my life who don't think I should do anything but work and save money?"

"Well, what about trying it again? Letting it go until we get back to Portland? You can't get a dog here in Tahoe anyway. That's just dumb."

"You mean let it go like that butterfly quote? Something about 'let it go and if it comes back to you it's yours.'"

"Uh, sure. But you have to ACTUALLY let it go. You can't just tie some invisible fishing line to the butterfly and then say, 'See, look, it came back. That means it's mine!'" He smiles at me. He looks pleased with is witty little analogy. But also endeared to me that I might have actually considered doing that.

"Fine, fine. I'll drop it until we get back to Portland. But you have to re-consider the topic then. This can't just be some tactic to delay telling me a final, definitive 'no'."

"Okay, if you agree to stop talking about dogs, then I'll agree to re-visit this when we get home."

Needless to say, I have stopped talking about the whole dog thing, but I haven't stopped thinking about. I am weighing in my mind the pros and cons of dog ownership. What if we do get pregnant soon? What about the financial costs associated with a puppy versus an adult dog? I have the time now, but will I be annoyed of a needy creature come work time? Do I want a dog just because I think it will help get me back into shape? What if it shits in the house, am I going to try and pawn it off on Alex? What about when the days are short and it's rainy outside, will I still be dedicated to walking the dog? Am I stable enough to make a 10-15 year commitment?

These are the things getting tossed around in my head, like a small load of laundry in a big, industrial-sized dryer. And I don't think I'm keeping the butterfly on a string. I am simply thinking about the butterfly, willing it to come back my way. If, and only if, it is indeed the right decision for me at this juncture.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


I am an avid onesie decorator, as of late. And I think I just got my first "business deal" with my girlfriend who owns a spa on Block Island. I'm thinking this will be my cash cow. Now if I can just figure a way to get a whole gaggle of Chinese girls and their nimble little fingers to work on making these much faster and with higher quality ...

"My heart is in Block Island"

"My heart is in Lake Tahoe." Baby Bella is already sporting this fashionable ensemble.

"My heart is in Oregon." Illicitly stolen idea from the bumper stickers that already exist.

Ahoy, Matey

To honor the 10-year-old poet in me, I would like to use this space to recite a poem I wrote in 4th grade while dining at Old Wives' Tale on East Burnside. And to accompany this original piece, a photograph of my love, on his 12-foot Blue Jay this afternoon on Lake Tahoe.


By Joanna Hartman, circa 1992

sailing, sailing, on the sea
look at the seagull, looking at me
look at the boats, sitting on the water
bobbing up and down, like a child's teeter-totter
sailing, sailing, on the sea
won't you come, and sail with me?

Why I have this memorized, two decades later, I will never know. But it may have been the beginning (and end) of a burgeoning writing career.

Would You Still Love Me?

Alex and I have some of our best conversations in the mornings while laying in bed after sleeping in on the weekends or during the summer.

This morning, after waking up to Nesta barking rudely to be let outside, we were cuddling and he was trying to make a not-so-smooth move, if you know what I mean. No sense elaborating on Alex's tendency toward humping my leg like a dog, aggressively grabbing at my boobs, or breathing his morning dead-squirrel-breath in my face; it would only embarass him.

"Would you still love me if we found out, after not being able to get pregnant, that I was actually an intersex person? Like, if I had testes. Would you still want to be with me?" I asked, curious about his response.

"Um, well, I'm not gay." Duh, I figured this whole leg-humping-boob-grabbing thing meant you were straight. And if sexuality is a continuum, you might even be at the straight and narrow end of the scale. "But yeah, I'd still love you. I just wouldn't necessarily want to be doing this with you. Although, I guess it would all depend whether the news changed anything. Like, if you all of a sudden decided you wanted to be a dude. Then maybe I would love you and want to be involved. But not like this." Further leg-humping ensues.

"Okay, so let's say I have testes, but I don't want to be a guy. Then would you still love me?"

"Yeah, sure."

A few minutes pass. I check my iPhone, play a few round of Words With Friends, disappointed with my lack of good letters. I role back over, frowning, with my lower lip protruding a bit.

"I'm mad at you. I can't believe you wouldn't still love me if I wanted to be a dude."

"Mmm hmm. I'm sorry," he says, bored at the game already. And I'm just getting started.

"How about if I had a brain injury. Would you still love me then?"

"Yes, definitely."

"I wouldn't. I don't think I'd want to be with you if you'd had a bad TBI. I'd still be around, and help take care of you, and love you and stuff, but I wouldn't want to necessarily be your wife."

"Well that's not very reassuring."

"How about if I had trichophagia, would you still love me?"

"Depends. I don't know what that is," he responds, skeptical.

"It's where I eat my own hair."

"Yeah, I'd still love you. But I'd shave your head. And mine. And we could only own a hairless dog."

"What would we tell people? Why would they think we're bald?"

"It would be a problem, too, because of my body hair. I wouldn't want you to feel compelled to eat that, too. And what about our kids? Are you going to eat their hair? I guess I would shave everything. On Sundays. And we would tell people that we're really devoted to people with cancer. Most people would find that sympathetic."

"What about if I had a small brain tumor, one that made me bark like a dog or chirp like a bird? You know, like that annoying girl we saw at the beach the other day."

"I would remove the tumor. With my pocket knife."

"What if it was one of those tumors with fingers, not just one that was circular?"

"I'd get a scalpel. You know, from the hobby shop. First I'd Google the brain, so I knew where to perform the surgery."

I laugh hysterically. He's a creative problem solver, that guy.

"Would you still love me if I was a burn victim?"

"I'd just wrap you in gauze and call you my Mummy Bitch."

He's funny, really funny.

"How about if I lost both my legs in a fight with a grizzly bear?"

"I would wheel you around on a skateboard."

I like this one. Then I could go everywhere with him and we could recount my survival story to everyone who seemed interested. Maybe I could even get on that Discovery Channel show about "I shouldn't be alive."

"What about if I couldn't talk or write or type at all, would you still love me then?"

"I'd be really sad. And I'd miss you. I love talking to you. It's one of the things I love most about you," he says sweetly, kissing my forehead and wrapping me in his arms. "Please don't ever get sick or lose your legs or die. I would miss you too much because you're my best friend, and I can't be without you."

He's witty. He's sweet. And he'd love me. Even if I ate my hair, barked like a dog, lost language, or was injured in an accident. He would love me. And for that, I am grateful.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Pot, This is Kettle

If there is one thing that bugs me more than anything else, it is not the frequent but unsolicited advice from parental units, per se, but being given "advice" that is more of a masked criticism.

Let me start this post by admitting to the fact that I have been rather interested, nay, consumed, by the prospect of getting a puppy. This has expressed itself by my devoted research and discussion of the possibility of bringing a new dog into my life. Alex is not on-board, whatsoever, and I do believe it is my responsibility to ensure that the dog would be brought into a loving and supportive home. Contrary to pop ...

Excuse me, I just got distracted by the "adopt" sign in the coffee shop where I am sitting. I have since been perusing the Humane Society of Tahoe Truckee website. Several cute faces, may be worth a visit this afternoon. Mimi, a big lab mix, looks particularly sweet.

But back to the story at hand ..

Contrary to popular belief, I am not as impulsive as I may seem. Don't I get any credit for diligently researching all there is about dog breeds, their appropriateness for apartment living, for a young working couple, for their exercise needs? How about the fact that I went for a bike ride to purchase a dog owner's manual by the Dog Whisperer himself, Cesar Millan, and I've already begun reading it?!? I think I deserve a pat on the back, truly.

Flash back to yesterday evening. I was quietly perusing Portland-area shelter animals on I commented on the sad fact that a majority of the available rescue dogs are pit bulls. Simple fact. No response necessary. Just sharing a piece of information with some people who haven't dog shopped in several years.

"Are you always this obsessed with things?"

This, from the man who reportedly woke up at 5 a.m. this morning consumed by thoughts of "it's a money pit," "boats are a wasted," "who would make such a stupid purchase?" This from the man who spends the majority of each day either looking at the same two dozen pictures of the sailboat in question. This from the man who demanded his wife spends hours creating an Excel spreadsheet comparing several 300 grand boats. This from the man who we humor by listening to the minutae of an otherwise big decision. Because that's the kind of person I am.

"Yeah, she is," my husband chimes in. Thanks, babe, for the support.

Obsessed. This word strikes a particular chord with me. It inspires images of windowless vans. Stacks of illicit photos and news articles stored in a trunk in the closet. Dexter's blood samples of his murder victims hidden in his heating vent. Jennifer Jason Leigh in "Single White Female."

... In other words, it connotes some level of psychosis.

For the record, according to the American Heritage Dictionary, the definition of obsession is as follows:
1. Compulsive preoccupation with a fixed idea or unwanted feeling or emotion, often accompanied by symptoms of anxiety.
2. A compulsive, often unreasonable idea or emotion.

Trust me, I know obsessed. And this dog thing? So not.

Obsession is food.
I've been there, I've done that. This desire to add a four-legged friend to my family? This is not obsession.

"Actually, I'm not obsessed," I say, rightfully defensive. "I'm just being a well-educated future dog owner. I believe it's my responsibility to acquire as much information about breeds, temperment, adoptions, training, etc as possible."

If I do thorough research and talk it through, I'm obsessed. If I don't, I'm impulsive and irresponsible. How about we focus on our own preoccupations rather than throwing stones from a glass house?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Crafts, Lately

Let it be no secret, I like to craft. Never stick to one artform for long enough to make it good. But I like to dapple in a bit of it all - knitting, applique, embroidery, blankets, what have you. Here are a few of my latest and greatest.

Knit placemat. It's wide enough you don't have to use your elbows to ward of threatening fellow diners.

Blankie for Harlow Huff. Felt applique.

Hand-embroidered tea towels. Plus machine-emboridered border.

Hand-embroidered onesie for Harlow. This is more in the French knot style.

Felt applique onesie for Baby Boy Franzke! Due around Turkey Time.

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Decade's Past

July 8, 2001. One decade. Ten years ago today.

In 2001 Wikipedia launched its website on the Internet. Beijing won the bid to host the 2008 Olympics. American Airlines and United Airlines planes crashed into the Twin Towers. George Harrison died. Bush signed the US Patriot Act. The US invaded Afghanistan. U2 won a Grammy for "Beautiful Day." "A Beautiful Mind" won Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

Ten years ago today my mother passed away. She died during the night, after my father, brother and I said our collective and individual goodbyes. She was 57 years old. I was 19.

In the years since she died, I have graduated from college. I have traveled to more than a dozen countries. I learned to knit. I fell in love and got married. I was published in a regional magazine. I visited the Lair. I volunteered at a center for grieving families. I hosted a Serbian exchange student. I moved back in with my dad. Twice. I lived with my brother in Colorado. I baked lace cookies. I studied abroad. I decided I want children of my own. I rekindled friendships from my youth. I walked 60 miles to raise money for breast cancer. I got together yearly with my best college girlfriends. I sent regular family Christmas cards. I rode on a ferry even though I was terrified. I hosted my best friend's baby shower. I got glasses. Then contacts. I got sick in Italy. And again in Argentina. I overcame my fear of flying. I went back to the house we lived in when I was little. I visited her college best friend. I graduated with my Master's in Communication Disorders and Sciences, and got the job of my dreams.

If my mother were alive today I'd like to believe she would be very proud of me. I'd like to believe she and I would be very close, friends even. We would talk, email, or text daily. I think she would love Alex the way the rest of my family does. She would have welcomed the Close Family with open arms and heart. I think she would be proud of my recent accomplishment of finishing graduate school. I think she would tell me to do a better job of brushing and flossing twice daily, and to not eat candy so I wouldn't get so many cavities. I think she would take me shopping, especially for housewares and home decor. I do not think she would approve of my recent tattoo. I think she would be really proud of my brother, Brian's, culinary talent, and his leadership in the kitchen. I do not think she would be surprised that everyone both respects and adores him. Or by his nickname, "B Love." I think she would like that my dad is still in the Grove Street house and that he cares for his yard. I think she would be proud that he stepped up to the plate and continued to be a fabulous father AND fill-in mother. I think she would wish that Brian lived closer to the West Coast, and that we visited with or spoke to our cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandmother more frequently. I think she would love my new downtown apartment, and would gladly join in our once weekly dining outings. I think she would be delighted to know that I have followed in her footsteps and nurtured close bonds with my girlfriends. I think she would particularly love Stacy, and would be thrilled that Katie, Rachel, Erika and I are still best friends. I think she would be impressed with Bri's travels and my dad's walks. She would have looked forward to their postcards from all across the world. She would think my brother's standup paddle board was cool, and she would like watching him paddle around the ocean. I think she would laugh and roll her eyes to learn the motorcycle is still parked in my dad's living room. I think she would be proud of each of us for carrying on with our lives, being true to ourselves, and following our dreams. I think she'd want us all to eat healthier and go to the doctor more regularly. I think she would be sad to know we are still so sad and miss her, but she would be grateful to know that is just how much we love her. I think, more than anything else in this world, she would want her husband and ducklings to be healthy and happy. And we are.

Dear Mom,
I can't believe it's been 10 years. I love and miss you and wish you were here to offer me maternal wisdom, friendship, and wake me up from my naps.
xoxo always, J

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Broke Down Suby Palace

I want to start this post by publicly accusing my in-laws of rufying our Subaru.

But without them, Kenny would have never entered my life.

Let's take a few steps back, to last week, when our trusty (or so I thought) Subaru Impreza Outback was getting all hot and bothered as we climbed the mountains from Portland to Tahoe - through Ashland, around Shasta, and with a vengeance over Donner Pass.

And after a few days rest, she continued to red-line on our way to a hike up Mount Rose. She needed a doctor, stat. In the meantime, we stopped at the auto supply store for some coolant. When asked for a referral for a good mechanic, the store owner chuckled and pointed to a stack of business cards next to the register.

The business card was for Ken's Auto Supply, with a phone number and a name. It simply said "Kenny." Not Cher, not Britney, not Justin. But Kenny.

Here are just a few of the reasons we should have run like hell from Kenny instead of giving him a wad of cash and entrusting him with our only asset:

---He does not operate an actual, legit business. Instead, he works on cars from his driveway. Or more accurately, from the driveway of the guy he rents a room from.
---He did not know the address of said residence/business.
---He asked for $300 upfront. Cash.
---He does not accept credit cards. Did I mention we're broke?
---He does not own/use a credit card. We used our own credit card to order car parts from his dealer. At least we hope it's his parts dealer.
---He told us that after he was finished, our car was going to be "bomber."
---He described his (attempted) trip to Canada with an ex-girlfriend. The mounties wouldn't let him into the country because he's an ex-con. "Just some old drug charge or something."
---Upon meeting him, we discovered he was slower than molasses. Turns out he has a sprained ankle, swollen to the size of his knee. All of this, because of a bout of gout. The first one he's had since he was 12 years old. No, he doesn't eat rich food. But thinks it might be the marinated artichokes on his Tuscan Sandwich from his Safeway. No, I should never know this much information about anyone, let alone my new mechanic. But he offered all this and a bag of chips within 10 minutes of introduction.
---While he was looking under the hood of the Suby, his roommate came out of the house with a backpack on, unscrewed a California license plate from one of the other Subarus in the driveway, and proceeded to screw it on to a busted old truck that he drove away leaving a tail of black smoke.
---One of the cars for sale in the driveway said something to the effect of: "$2,500, OBO. Great condition for age. Except no reverse." I didn't even know there were cars that didn't have reverse. And if the guy's a mechanic, couldn't he fix the malfunction and sell the car for more dinero?!?

Needless to say, Kenny somehow managed to endear himself to me. Maybe it's his verbal vomit, his swollen cankle, or his felony record. When it's all said and done, I'm just crossing my fingers that for what he lacks in brains, beauty, social skills, and health, he can make up for in Subaru mechanic prowess. Kenny, I have faith in you. Make our car bomber again, and we'll be sure to name it after you.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Fortune Telling

I thought I was actually preggo this time around. But Aunt Flo showed her face instead. Uninvited guests, ugh. But I did want to post this adorable picture of Alex and my fortune from a Japanse dinner out a few weeks ago. We suppose it means that either we're going to have a baby of her own very soon, or that a special midget will become a part of our lives. It's anybody's guess at this point!

Google It

Tell me, what on earth did we do before the age of Google? I mean, I can remember the time before the iPhone, although I didn't have such easy search access at my fingertips 24/7. Here are just a few of the recent things I have become privy to thank to our friends at the mega-website.

The Brain That Changes Itself - a friend whose son has cerebral palsy recommended this book to me. It's about neuroplasticity, overcoming limitations, and changing the way we look at human nature. Once I make it back to the land of the largest independent bookstore (Powell's, I miss you already) I'll have to purchase myself a copy.

The location and phone numbers of Tahoe area auto repair shops - yes, yes, my poor car luck continues; the Suby overheats everytime we go up a hill. No good when you're in the mountains. Maybe our car needs a granny gear.

The definition of "arbitrary" - according to, it means "subject to individual will or judgment without restriction; contingent solely upon one's discretion"

Both traditional and modern wedding anniversary gifts - looks like this year it's either cotton or china.

Tom's shoe styles and prices - too trendy and expensive for me, even if they do donate a pair of shoes for every one purchased.

The size of a 6-week fetus - no, not for me, not yet anyway. A fetus at six weeks is the size of a lentil. A lentil! How cute is that?!?

The video preview of the movie "Life as We Know It" - to watch my favorite scene, when the guy "stalls" the baby from taking her first steps by pushing her over.

A map of Western Canada - planning a summer roadtrip to the Canadian Rockies. Banff and Jasper here we come!

The number one reason men commit suicide - I thought it was because of financial or professional failures, but I couldn't find any factoids about this.

Thai tea - took me to a Wiki page about iced tea in general. Then Alex and I found a tea shop in North Portland that had the perfect loose tea for me to brew at home.

Jill Biden - to see whether or not it was her real self or an actress version of herself on an episode of Army Wives. Turns out she has her doctorate and is an English professor. She is thought to be the first Second Wife to hold a paying job during her husband's tenure as America's VP.

Inhalant abuse - I don't even know, something about huffing, I presume. And I doubt it had to do with nitrous oxide and the dentist.

Chelsea Handler - I think I might love her. Haven't read any of her books yet, but it's definitely on my to-read list. I'm particularly intrigued by her Jewish upbringing courtesy of her Mormon mother. Then again, there's her sexual escapades with "little people" and 50 Cent.

Selena Gomez - there was a biography show about her on E! yesterday, and I didn't catch the beginning so didn't really know who she is. Turns out, I still don't care about her.

Ann Packer's new book, Swim Back to Me - just reading the NY Times book review.

The movie, The Guardian - because as of yesterday I am a sailor, I was interested in watching the thriller about the Coast Guard. Netflix doesn't have it on instant play, so Ashton will just have to wait.

C.S.A. - I always see the acronym in movie credits and finally looked it up. CSA stands for the Casting Society of America. Apparently it's a professional society and they don't like to be called "casting agents."

Needless to say, I'm much, much smarter, thanks to you, Google.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Life's a Beach

I have never considered myself much of a water baby, or a beach bum, but what's not to love?!? High altitude fresh air. Vitamin D in the form of true blue sunshine. Kids burying their sisters in the sand. White trash families cheersing Miller Light cans in sleeveless tees. Oiled down teenage bodies working for a deeper tan. Toddlers throwing rocks toward the lake, missing, and hitting unsuspecting older ladies.

Alex blows in to the East Shore.

Same same.

Lovin' life in the sun on the East Shore.

Chillaxin' after a kayak from Tahoe Vista to Kings Beach

East Shore

East Shore

Captain and First Mate sailing in Another SNAFU

Knitting in the sun

Hover to Pin

Designed with ♥ by Nudge Media Design