Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Emotional attachments

There are not many things I hang onto for sentimental purposes. I feel tremendous satisfaction when I can fill a garbage bag with “stuff” to donate or throw out. I try not to be too attached to material stuff. However, I have always had weird emotional attachments to the cars I drive. I’ve even named my cars. It’s not that my past vehicles were so good to me that they deserved my affection (it has typically been the opposite), but I get comfortable in what I drive, and I’ve made my vehicle purchases carefully. That is, until last weekend…

After being repeatedly asked by my car dealer to trade in my car (there is high demand for my current vehicle on the used lot), the hubs and I decided to check things out. Well, LONG story short…we bought a new car. But as soon as I began signing the papers, I started to feel uneasy. “Why are we spending money on a new car we don’t need? I love my car, why am I giving it up? Do I even like this new car?”

It went downhill from there.

We headed out to my trade in to remove my personal belongings. That’s when I started crying (yes, crying) and told Phil I wasn’t sure this was the right decision. I figured I was just being my overly emotional self and tried to move on. But the uneasiness only got worse. Finally, the sales guy handed me the keys to my new car. I got behind the wheel and headed home…in tears. I cried the entire drive home. At this point, I was sure we had made a mistake. I didn’t want to drive this car for the next 10 years. I didn’t like the color. It just wasn’t me. All I wanted was my cute little Toyota Corolla back.

And so my amazing husband came to the rescue. We got home and he announced that he was going to take it back for me right away (thank goodness for the three-day, no questions asked return policy). Still in tears and thoroughly embarrassed, I said, “No one actually does that! No one returns a brand new car! But…you would really do that for me?” Yup, he drove it right back to the dealer, told them we made a mistake and that he needed to get my old car back. I have never been more happy to see my cute little car pull into the garage!

One day I’ll be ready to part with my car, but it wasn’t time to breakup yet. So we wasted five hours on a Saturday…at least I got my car cleaned out!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Don't bug me

I adore springtime. I've been bursting with productivity lately because the warm sunshine and longer days are so motivating. But there are two things about spring that I hate: allergies and the return of bugs. Thank goodness for Claritin D. But, I’m still unsatisfied with the bugs.

Every day this week I have killed a spider or some other unclassifiable insect or flying thingy in my home. The other night, I had a dream (or was it…?) that something was buzzing in my ear and I woke myself up when my hand started flailing around my head.

I know these are all tiny, relatively harmless bugs. I know spiders are "good" because they eat other bugs. And yes, I can put on a brave face when others are around and pretend like that spider who can outrun a cheetah is no big deal. I was even on a first name basis with the pest control guy at my former office where we had a bit of a cockroach problem. But honestly, killing bugs in my house takes about as much courage for me as running into a burning building. And have you ever noticed that when you finally do kill a bug, you only think it's dead? Nine times out of ten, that sucker (no matter how crushed it is) somehow revives itself as soon as it's picked up with a tissue.

Disney makes movies in which the bugs talk, dance and save the world. They want me to think bugs are fun and friendly. No. They are not. They are icky. They belong outside and not in my house.

I don't need you to tell me all the gross facts like how the average person eats eight spiders in their lifetime or whatever. I've heard it. But if anyone has any brilliant advice to keep the bugs away—or to overcome my fear in some way that does not involve a Fear Factor-like stunt of letting hundreds of insects crawl on me—let me know. I'm over having all these extra roommates.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


It’s almost May, which means that almost every show on TV tries to up the entertainment value as they fight for the sweeps ratings and wrap up their seasons. As someone who admittedly watches too much TV, I’m approaching this year’s season finales with mixed anticipation.

I can’t wait for the reality show finales. It’s not because I’m excited to watch, but because I can’t wait for most of them to be over. Chief among them is American Idol…has there ever been a less entertaining season of that show? From what I’ve seen, Dancing with the Stars has also turned out to be pretty blah (not that I was ever a huge fan). Survivor and The Biggest Loser have been just OK. The Amazing Race will be good only if good-guy cowboys Jet and Cord come out on top.

As for my favorite comedies… We’ll see if The Office can top the hilarious episode where Pam had her baby. And unfortunately, the Glee finale is already nearing, even though the new season just started. At least we’ll have a few more weeks of their musical genius.

As for the dramas, I’ve lost most of my interest in Grey’s Anatomy. And, while 24 has been a bit of a letdown this season, I’ll be tuning in to the final six hours of Jack Bauer in the show’s final season.

If you want to set your DVR or mark your calendar for your favorite season finale, see a complete list here.

Next, it’s on to the summer shows…So You Think You Can Dance will likely be tops for me. And, for the sake of the hubs, I’m sure I’ll be subjecting myself to Wipeout. (I only like that one because I get a kick out of Phil’s hysterical laughter at stuff that is only moderately funny to me.)

So, what will you be watching?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Booty, God, Booty

Has a blog headline ever sounded so intriguing? Wish I could take credit for it, but instead I must give props to the author of Stuff Christians Like. Jen told you about this satirical guide to all things Christian a few months ago. Now the book is out and I give it five stars. Trust me, I'm not Jonathan Acuff's publicist, so I'm not even getting paid to say this.

You can actually download the audio version of the book for free this month with the promo code APR2010. I've been listening to it all week during my commute and I just can't wait to get in my car to hear more about the magical things that happen on stage when you close your eyes to pray, casseroles of hope, yoga, dating God, and of course booty, God, booty.

I haven't laughed this hard in a long time. Maybe it's because, for better or worse, I can relate to a lot of it. And amidst the humor, there are nuggets of truth and heartfelt reminders of God's love for me. Not to mention some classic nods to Fergie, creepy mimes and My Little Pony. Download the book and enjoy it on your next road trip.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Coming soon: Blogging in 3D

All of a sudden, 3D films (which have been around for 50 years) are the next big thing. I don't really get it. Maybe it's because I don’t have great depth perception to begin with. I run into things more often than I'd like to admit here. And my memories of 3D movies growing up mostly involves motion sickness. Basically, 3D just sort of creeps me out. I already jump out of my seat in movies when there's a loud noise (even when I know it’s coming). Why do I now need to embarrassingly dodge flying objects from my seat?

But some people love it. That's cool. I've heard the 3D was great in Avatar. I can see how it would enhance the entertainment value for a lot of people. However, the news that ESPN will offer some of its coverage of this weekend's Masters Golf Tournament in 3D is puzzling. Jen already voiced her confusion about watching golf here. I echo the sentiment and now add: What is cool about watching golf in 3D?! Where are the special effects? After you've seen one guy swing a club in 3D, is there any point to it anymore? Perhaps I'll be less likely to fall asleep while watching if a golf ball is flying toward me at 150 mph. I'll never find out since I lack the 3D TV. Somehow, I'm ok with that.

But back to movies for a moment. Check out the new movie trailer for Step Up 3D. Suddenly I'm changing my tune on this 3D thing. I can't believe I've yet to address my love of all things Step Up on this blog. (If I could turn the clock back 15 years and actually attend the Maryland School of the Arts, I would do it in a heartbeat. And if I could dance with Channing Tatum…yep, I'd do that too.) As soon as the lines begin to form for this flick, I'll be there. I wonder if I should take some Dramamine beforehand. I never thought of a little breaking and booty shaking as causing nausea, but I don't want anything to ruin this movie for me.

So, some like big-budget movies and special effects, some like golf, and I like epic dance battles. I wonder where 3D will catch on next.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Awesome 80s Flashback

Have you noticed that every once and a while something random comes along that uncovers something from the hidden depths of your memory? For me, it was hearing a brief news report that The Jets are going to be having a reunion concert in Minneapolis this Friday. Please tell me you remember The Jets and their 80s hit, “Crush on You.”

Anyway, I’m sure this group has not crossed my mind in about 20 years, but with one mention of their name, I was taken back to a screaming Metrodome arena where The Jets were the special guest act at a Girl Scout convention I attended. (Oh yeah, you read that right: Girl Scout convention. Top that!) I can hear thousands of elementary school girls chanting, “We want The Jets. We want The Jets.” In fact, now that I think about it, that was probably the first “concert” I attended. Here all this time I thought it had been Michael W. Smith and DC Talk, but no, it had to have been The Jets.

I bet you didn’t know that The Jets (who were siblings) were only the oldest eight in a Mormon family with 17 children. That kind of makes them the R&B Osmonds!

Ah, the 80s…unforgettable music and fashion, plus great cultural icons like Pac-Man and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Those were the days. It’s just a shame I’ll be out of town for The Jets’ big gig this weekend.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Our Saturday existence

From where I sit, I see two magazines on my coffee table. On one cover is a photo of Sandra Bullock with a headline about her marital problems. On the other cover is a large clock, with a promise that the articles inside will help me find more time in every day. And in their own separate ways, both stories seem like giant downers to me this Easter Sunday. In fact, I'm exhausted just thinking about them!

So perhaps I should write about something positively wonderful and refreshing instead. For example, I could say a lot about the return of new episodes of GLEE in just 10 days! But I feel like blogging about anything other than Easter would be a disappointment today. So I went in search of some inspiration to write some Easter reflections.

First I came across the winners of the Peeps diorama contest. Inspirational in its own way, I suppose. But not entirely blog worthy. (Why talk about odd uses for disgusting candy when Jesus ROSE FROM THE GRAVE, right?!)

Luckily, I also came across this Easter reflection, Getting through Saturday. And I was struck by a new way of looking at the "in between" time of the Easter story. The article is better than any Easter reflection I could write myself so just read that instead of this blog today.

You don't need to "get" the artsy literary and music references in the article to understand. We live in a Saturday world. Struggling to escape the clock and find peace in the midst of uncertainty, abandonment or struggle. Waiting for something better. And luckily, we know something better is coming! Today is a great reminder of that.

So for the rest of this Easter Sunday, I'm going to ignore those 30 Hall of Fame Time-Savers in my magazine and the Post-it note to-do list in my kitchen. I hope you and your loved ones can also enjoy a time of peace and reflection this day. And may that peace last well into the busy week ahead. Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Wanted: A new music playlist

Last week I became the happy owner of a couple of iTunes gift cards, and I’m going to shamelessly use my blog to ask for recommendations about what music I should now be adding to my iPod.

You might wonder, “Would Jen like what I like?” Probably. I like just about everything (though I guess I’m not huge on rap or country or Lady Gaga). On any given day, you’ll find me shuffling between tunes from Michael Buble to Linkin’ Park, Chris Tomlin to John Mayer and literally hundreds more. Oftentimes, my favorites are artists who aren’t necessarily seeing a ton of mainstream success. I love to find a hidden gem like Brooke Fraser or Pricilla Ahn. I think the last music I downloaded was the cast recording of Glee. I know…I’m so very cool and sophisticated, right?

So please tell me…what’s your favorite recent music purchase? Or, maybe it’s not recent, but an old tried and true tune that you just love to blast loudly from your car stereo now that it’s warm enough to drive with the windows down. Help me spend my gift cards wisely!