First off, I want to take a moment to wish all my Jewish friends and the greater, worldwide Jewish community a happy, safe Passover. I encourage all my non-Jewish friends—especially Christians, who share much of the Jewish religious heritage—to read up on what Passover is all about and take this as an opportunity to learn about (and pray for) the Jewish people, their history, and their safety. Claire Simmons has an excellent column in the Washington Post today that discusses Passover in the context of the Jewish peoples’ incredible strength and tenacity that held fast even even as some of the worst atrocities in history were committed against them in Nazi Germany. Check it out.

In other news, I’ve been as busy as ever but things are going pretty good. My mom is in town this weekend so Melissa and I got to hang out with her some yesterday and will see her again tomorrow. Meanwhile I’ve continued trying to stay motivated to write both for this site and on more long-term projects I’ve had in mind. So far it’s going pretty well. I’m also mentally preparing myself to get back into biking now that the weather has turned warmer. I probably won’t be able to get out there this weekend, but I’m expecting to venture out on a 10+ mile ride sometime in the next week. I’m going to make a low-budget bike rack for the back of the SUV (inside), a project for which I already have all the material, so I’ll probably do that first . . . maybe tomorrow.

Lastly, Melissa has started her new job (as of last Monday) so we’re not commuting together anymore. Unfortunately [for me], Melissa has repossessed our Honda Civic as her daily-commuter which leaves me to downgrade to our older Mazda Tribute as my primary vehicle. This really isn’t so bad, except that the Tribute gets significantly worse gas mileage than the Civic so our regular contributions to Islamic terrorism and regional pollution [a.k.a., gasoline expenses] have gone up quite a bit.

We haven’t paid off the Civic yet, so I’m reluctant to take on another car payment, but at the same time I’m starting to give some thought to replacing the Tribute with something newer and more fuel-efficient (and I got spoiled by driving a new car as my main vehicle). Requirements are better than 20mpg (the higher the better), enough room to move Melissa’s art stuff, and a good track record of reliability. So far the only vehicles I’ve found that meet these requirements are the Ford Escape, Subaru Outback, and Subaru Forester.

The Jeep Patriot is out there too, but it just barely meets my personal definition of a Jeep (as a former driver of a 1978 Jeep J-10 ‘Honcho’ pickup) and it doesn’t have a proven track record of reliability since it’s only been out a couple of years. If you have any thoughts or recommendations, let me know . . . no rush though, probably won’t be making a purchase for a while.