Monday, March 12, 2007


OK, so this post is not about knitting either...

Up until Saturday, I drove a 1991 Toyota Corolla sedan. For the first 2 years I lived in Connecticut, the car still had Louisiana plates. So a guy I know called it "The Swamp Thing." Then one day at work I said something about how my car (which runs a lot better than it looks) gets no respect. He replied, "Yeah, it's like the Rodney Dangerfield of cars." So we've called it Rodney for about a year.

Well, Rodney the Swamp Thing has served me well over the years, but it was finally time to look for another car. For several weeks I've browsed used car inventories online. I'd been looking mainly at Honda Civics.

Saturday, for the second weekend in a row, Oscar and I went car shopping. I test-drove a couple of Civics, but I wasn't feeling too enthusiastic. Then we went to another Honda dealership. I was about to test-drive another Civic when Oscar suggested that we go to the Chrysler dealership next door and see if they had any good used Sebring convertibles. I'd rented one a few years ago and it was the coolest rental car ever.

While we were looking at other cars, Oscar spotted a 2003 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder convertible. He and the salesman both suggested that I take a closer look and a test-drive. At first I laughed it off ("Way too much car for me! Now where are the Civics?"), but eventually I did take a closer look. And I started to fall in love with a damn car (and I don't even consider myself a "car person"). As Oscar observed, I had trouble getting excited about the other cars I'd looked at this month, but in the presence of the Spyder, I practically had to wipe the drool from my chin. We test-drove it and it really was a great car.

Well, after a lot of negotiation and a lot of paperwork, I bought the car! I even got them to let me take the car home Saturday afternoon, with the understanding that I'd return Monday to finish the paperwork.

Like I told my family: The practical side of me negotiated a good deal for a 4-year-old car with 44,000 miles, good fuel economy, and a reputation for reliability. And the crazy side of me bought a convertible with a V6.

Saturday night I woke up in a cold sweat thinking, "What have I DONE???" I hadn't bought a car in 16 years and then I run out and buy a convertible? Am I crazy?

But since then, I've gotten more comfortable with my decision. I feel like I got a good deal on a good car. And besides, it's so pretty!

By the way, yesterday's weather was nice, so Oscar and I took the new car out for a drive. We put the top down, but after a few minutes, we pulled over and put the top back up because we were freezing. Oh well -- maybe in a few weeks.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Chinese New Year - Alabama Style!

Well, I didn't post last weekend because I traveled to Fairhope, Alabama to visit family. An unexpected highlight of the weekend? The Chinese New Year parade put on by a Fairhope-based international adoption agency. Each year, adopted children and their parents parade through the streets of downtown Fairhope (a charming town located on Mobile Bay). Many of the children are adopted from China, but some are adopted from Guatemala, Russia, Kazakhstan, Vietnam, and other countries. Sure, Chinese New Year wasn't last weekend; they usually push back the parade a week or two to accommodate Mardi Gras (or as Yankees call it, Tuesday).

So we went to the parade. Lots of participants and spectators - some local, and some who travel from other states every year to be part of the celebration. Not only did Margaret and Baby Helen "march," but Aunt Helen, Pop (Baby Helen's grandpa), and I (the other doting aunt) all participated as well. Here are some photos:

Margaret and Baby Helen (note the blue & white crepe paper on Helen's "float")

Most of the floats were parent-propelled.

But this one was battery-operated!

Wait a minute - this isn't the Year of the Dog!

Yeah, that's more like it!

There were lots of very cool floats and outfits:

Even the Azalea Trail Maids were there.

Helen seemed a little tired when the day started...

...And this was Helen at the end of the parade.

So it was great fun.

Next time, a knitting post of sorts.