For those of you familiar with Colgate, it has been a long acknowledged fact that his primary (and perhaps sole) redeeming quality was that he was extremely inexpensive to obtain. Back in September of 2010, I found him on Craigslist for $1000 and talked the seller down to $800.

He was kinda beat up, but ran strong. He had some electrical gremlins, but once I took a refresher course in “Ignition switch workaround as effected by application of screwdriver” he always started, got me where I was going, and while utterly unglamourous, was basically quite trusty.

Until about two weeks ago when at a stop light, and for no discernible reason, he stalled. This would have been annoying enough, but paired with the fact that I have to GET OUT OF THE CAR AND GET UNDER THE HOOD TO RESTART HIM it presented an extreme inconvenience at best and a threat to my safety at worst.

At the time, I hoped it was a fluke and carried on with my day. When it happened again earlier this week, I was disconcerted, but still determined to hold out on replacing him until my tax return came in. When it happened again two days later, it was the end of the line for me and the ol’ Toothpastemobile.

So, the scouring of the landscape for my new ride began. I require and demand several important things in an auto; this narrowed the field considerably and immediately:

  • Manual Transmission*: I loathe the automatic transmission. Colgate had one and I almost didn’t buy him on account of it. With the budget I had to work with at the time he was simply too good a deal to pass on, but never in this lifetime will I consent to buy a car without a manual again.
  • Excellent Visibility: Working with only one eye makes the whole problem of a “blind spot” turn into more of a “blind hemisphere.” Most sedans have windows that can be difficult to see out of under the best of circumstances and my wonky eye can hardly be classified as such.
  • Volkswagen: I didn’t even briefly consider another make. I am a enthusiastic adherent to the cult of Volkswagen. Every day since Klaus died I have felt a hollow place inside where my farfegnugen used to be.
  • 2.0 Engine: As much as I loved Klaus, his 1.8 turbo is a notoriously troublesome motor. Talking to my VW guru before purchase, he said the single best thing I could do with the ‘wags is to avoid the turbo.

Only certain models even offer that engine: the Golf, the Jetta, and the Beetle. My first instinct was to try to find a Golf. Apart from the catchy name, it seemed to have a good amount of cargo space and they get excellent mileage. I hadn’t cared for the feel of the Jetta I had driven and worried about the Beetle having enough space to hold my skis.

I went out and drove a Golf and knew almost immediately it wasn’t for me. It handled with disappointing stiffness and lacked the luxurious appointments that I expect from a VW. It also had a shockingly large blind spot. Moving on…

I drove another Jetta, and while it performed better than I recalled, it had a hesitation in the engine that made me nervous. At this point I was curious enough about a Beetle that I wandered the lot looking for one that might suit…

Around the corner; there she was. 



White isn’t naturally a color I would gravitate toward** but somehow she looked sweet tucked back in the corner there. And, she had an all important moon roof. I eyeballed her from a dozen yards away and thought

“There is no way my luck will hold and she’ll be a manual…”

But, oh frabjous day, she was.

We went for a spin and I was immediately taken by the feeling of moving through space in a giant bubble. It was sort of odd, but ultimately pretty enjoyable. More, it was incredibly easy to see out of every angle of this car. It had the handling and appointments I was looking for, and within about ten minutes, I was sure this was the car for me.

My first drive was out Skyline, moon roof open, music blaring, taking corners at speeds much greater than strictly advisable. It was glorious; farfegnugen, regained.

And after some deliberation, her name is Svanja. German, for Swan.



*There is a whole rant in me on this subject, but I’ll save it for another day.

**Unless we are talking about boys, in which case, the pastier the better.

It’s 5 days early and I am a spoiled brat but I have been without a camera since June and so I don’t care.

Happy Birthday to me!



Many thanks; you know who you are.

After Klaus’ sad demise, I’ve been without a car for a while. Was getting pretty sick of it. Being broke was getting in the way of resolving the problem. I’m still broke, but someone floated me the cash money to score some wheels. The fella was asking $1000, but I talked him down to $800. Yay haggling!

Inaugural beach trip this weekend. Who wants to camp in the rain with me??

And it’s Colgate cause he’s toothpaste colored.

i have it. bad.

this was reinforced last night when i picked up my latest random acquisition from the library; a book called The Rain Before it Falls by Jonathan Coe. this book is not only enjoyable to read, with a breathtakingly lovely premise and resonant singing prose, but it is a pleasure to touch and feel and hold in my hands. i am a great lover of the tactile merits of books, and this one is a beauty. a hardback from the library, i can’t strip it of its cover like i am wont to do left to my own devices, c’est la vie. it is otherwise delightful. taller and narrower than a typical hardback, the pages are an ever-so-slightly thicker than usual weight of paper finished in an uneven pseudo hand hewn edging that is a true delight to take hold of when the time comes to turn the page; soft and fringe-y. there are no heading numbers on the chapters, and i find this attractive for its spareness. the overall physical presence of this book is as lovely as what is unfolding in its pages, and that is a rare treat indeed.

and i realize this is something i haven’t thought about very much, but that i have definite opinions about. i like the variety of surfaces a hardback can offer; some are smooth and satiny in their paperstock, others have a more clothlike exterior with a nubbly texture that provides a satisfying grip. in terms of bed-friendliness (i must read myself to sleep at night or not get there at all) i prefer a stiff cardstock cover paperback of the type that are becoming more popular. they are larger and more enjoyable to hold than the standard paperback novel (though these cant be beat for one-handed-splayed-fingers reading while doing something else). they are also nicer to look at on the shelf; which i will admit has caused me more than a few times to spend extra money on the edition with the nicer spine and cover. silly, but a powerful motivator for me nonetheless.

listening to NPR the other day they were discussing the merits of various electronic reading devices and that same inner librarian i was mentioning yesterday shuddered at the notion of giving up a paper book to be held in hand. the weight of the text in my fingers, smell of ink and paper, the sound of the page as i turn through from one to the next; all these add in small but crucial ways to the pleasure i take in  discovering a book in full. i suppose one could say i want to know a book. in the biblical sense.

Need specs for all my various personalities: these are the frames they’re comping me. i like to think of this one as “naughty librarian fabulous”

not be be confused with “teachers pet pretty” or “audrey hepburn wannabe”

So I’m out on Saturday walking around downtown Portland in the lovely crisp fall afternoon when I strolled past the J-Crew window display. It was a terrible mistake.

It is well known that if I had to subsist with only 3 brands ever again it would be Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, and J-Crew. I love their cheeky preppyness. I love their devotion to the tall collared rugby. And I love their hats. I think I have like 23 J-Crew hats. And now, I want one more.

Thing is, this hat is currently $50, give or take. But if I wait 3 weeks or so, this hat will be $25. If it can still be found. And this is my main problem with J-Crew. When they do discount something it offends me to have paid full price so recently. On the other hand, if I wait in hopes of said discount, it may well sell out before I get to it. It is a bitter dilemma and I am not happy to be having it. I’ve had a fair amount of success waiting and trying again. I have a skirt that started out $60 that I only paid $20 for. I suppose I ought to wait and see. After all, if we are destined to be together, I suppose we’ll find a way somehow…