Jul. 28: Big day for Katie

before! I’m so proud of my sweet Katie girl today. She’s been talking about getting her hair cut short, and this week she decided she wanted to donate it. We looked into Locks of Love, which makes wigs for children with alopecia or cancer, but she preferred the Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths program because it makes wigs for women going through chemotherapy. She liked the idea of helping someone like ME. Beautiful Lengths accepts a shorter length than Locks of Love, and I think she was nervous about getting TOO much cut off. Who wouldn’t be?

We spent the morning washing, conditioning and drying her hair thoroughly. I kept telling her how much easier that process would be once she got the cut—I think it made me happier than it made her, because OMG, it took forever to dry her hair and I got soooo bored. I’m glad she doesn’t ask me to help her do that very often. Yes, I’m a horrible mom.

We went to my stylist extraordinaire, Michelle, for the cut. Michelle did my hair and makeup for my wedding, and she did my makeup for last year’s topless photo session. I’ve been going to her for nearly 20 years, and she’s gotten me through some very important and special moments in that time. This was definitely one more.

Michelle started out by putting Katie’s hair in a low ponytail, and then she braided it. Katie has a TON of hair—it was one very thick braid, and nine inches long. (I tried to take a picture of it but it looked less like a big thick braid than something really kinda gross that should not be photographed.) Then the cutting began. It’s probably a good thing Katie couldn’t see this part. It freaked me out—just the no-turning-back-ness of it, y’know? She hasn’t had hair this short since first grade.


We used Miss Emma’s hair as a guide for the new style—thanks, April, for getting your girl that way-cute haircut that Katie and I both love! There was more trimming and texturing…


And when it was all done, here’s how my very happy Katie looked:


Tomorrow we’ll be putting her giant braid in the mail to Beautiful Lengths. I hope someone will soon be wearing a wig made of Katie’s gorgeous hair and feeling more confident about the way she looks. That’s what this is all about, right?


Jul. 27: Whine, whine, whine

Alright. I have some stuff I need to get off my chest.

  • I’m sick of Pandora sometimes. I don’t think it’s very good at knowing what kinds of songs I like, even though I tell it all the time. On my Broadway musicals channel, it plays an awful lot of Maroon 5. That’s wrong.
  • Four times this week I have wondered if our house was on fire because my neighbors have fires going in their fire pits. I love the fire pit things, and we’ve talked about getting one for ourselves, but smelling fire scares me for a second every time. I mean, I live in a neighborhood where you don’t expect to smell fire. Well, *I* don’t expect it. I guess I should learn to. It would lower my blood pressure.
  • That reminds me, I don’t think it’s very nice to grill meat outside and not invite me over.
  • We went to a wrap-up meeting for Relay for Life tonight. A bunch of teams were all HRMPH, YOU HOE-DOWNS DIDN’T REALLY WIN BECAUSE TONY RAISED MOST OF YOUR MONEY. But then they also suggested that they would get Tony to join their teams next year and they would win and when they said that I flipped them all off. OK, not really. But I wanted to. I kinda did it in my head, if you must know. I’m only kinda joking about that part.
  • Our Relay event chairs are stepping down and they’re needing lots of new people to take on committee positions. Victor pinched me whenever I started to look like I was going to raise my hand. As much as I would love to be on the committee, I’m tied to PTO for the next two years and I know I shouldn’t take on anything else. Still, when they said that one web guy was leaving… I was tempted. I was.
  • Have I mentioned that I hate cancer? I hate it especially a lot today.
  • Popcorn, however, I like.
  • If you ask me what I’ve been doing for the past two days, I’ll make something up that sounds more exciting than “researching PTO bylaws.” This is not one of the funner things I’ve ever done. This long-ass sentence is exactly the reason why:

The PTO shall purchase and maintain Directors’ & Officers’ Liability Insurance (D&O) on behalf of an individual against liability asserted against or incurred by the individual who is or was a director, officer, employee, or agent of the PTO, or who, while a director, officer, employee, or agent of the PTO, is or was serving at the request of the PTO as a director, officer, partner, trustee, employee, or agent of another foreign or domestic business or nonprofit corporation, partnership, joint venture, trust, employee benefit plan, or other enterprise; however, the PTO may not purchase or maintain such insurance to indemnify any director, officer, or agent of the PTO in connection with any proceeding charging improper personal benefit to the director, officer, or agent in which the director, officer, or agent was adjudged liable on the basis that personal benefit was improperly received by the director, officer, or agent.

  • (I think I get lost somewhere around the first occurrence of “asserted.” Possibly “PTO.”)
  • In the next couple months, the four of us will be seeing three big-deal Broadway in Portland musicals: Les Misérables, Mamma Mia, and Shrek. Betchoo wish you were Jack, huh? That would work out well, because he sure doesn’t wish he was him. I swear to Buddha, my boy will learn to love musicals if it kills me.
  • I know I’m supposed to be thankful to have hair again, but my hair is being kind of an asshole lately.
  • Laundry takes forever and seems quite pointless. Being able to see the floor of my closet is totally overrated.
  • I still haven’t gone on vacation.
  • It’s been weeks since I’ve seen some of my friends in the neighborhood. Stupid summer.
  • Alex F’n reminded me of this blog post today. It’s from last summer and I’m hideous. (That’s not what he reminded me, it’s what I was reminded of when I looked at that post. Yuck.)
  • Speaking of posts from last summer, here’s a way-weird one about my eye. Don’t worry; it’s not gross like this one.
  • If you clicked on the gross thing, I’m laughing at you right now.
  • I went an entire post with only a slight complaint about Victor. Where’s my Awesome Wife award?

Done whining. Your turn.


Jul. 26: Where’s my AARP card?

You know what’s awesome about the Internet? It has everything. EVERYTHING. I can’t even begin to post links to all the cool stuff I find. Girl, you know it’s true.

But—sad face!—today a site that I love called me an old lady. This is worse than the gas station attendants calling me “ma’am” or my kids yelling downstairs to Vic, “She’s asleep in front of the TV again!” That’s right, The Oatmeal, one of the best things about the ‘net, suggested that 43-year-old women are “old ladies.” Technically, I won’t be 43 years old for… um… (quick consult at timeanddate.com because my brain is too decrepit to do math on the fly)… 54 more days.

I’m pretty sure it doesn’t matter that I’m not one of the Farmville-playing old ladies; Pinterest is probably just as make-fun-of-able.

Young whipper snapper Internet comedians…



Jul. 25: I *need*

Palm TreeMy Facebook status this morning says it: I NEED TO BE WITH PALM TREES.

Do you ever get a feeling, one that supersedes all others in its urgency, that you NEED to do something? Sometimes it’s just a simple thing for me, like I NEED to rearrange the furniture in this room, or I NEED to bake something, or I NEED lipstick. Sometimes it’s bigger, like I NEED to cut my hair, I NEED a puppy, I NEED to see a certain someone, I NEED to put on pants.

Everyone in the Northwest has been complaining about the weather this year; it’s been inconsistent and unseasonably… um… unusual. It snowed in the spring and it’s rained way too much this summer. Temps in the Northwest are traditionally moderate, but I’ve lived here my whole life and it’s never been like this before. This past weekend it was sunny and in the 80s—quite lovely, in fact—and yet, it didn’t take away that urgency I feel, that urgency to DO something.

The sunny weather didn’t last long, either; this morning we woke to a very loud rainstorm, and now the skies are overcast and dark. Pffft.

I feel all itchy and jittery and unsettled and anxious, and I NEED.

I NEED to do something that isn’t going to cost a bazillion dollars. That means I’m not headed to the mall or flying anywhere good (“good” = where palm trees grow).

I NEED to do something that won’t make my husband hate me. That means no puppy. He’s actually not too thrilled when I rearrange furniture either.

I NEED to do something legal. That means pants.

I NEED to do something that will change my frame of mind. I NEED to go away somewhere, even just for a little while. I NEED an escape.

Should I make a trip to the Oregon coast, maybe? Icky weather there isn’t disappointing (to me) because it’s always unpredictable—and beautiful, regardless. A drive up the mountain, maybe communing with nature while my car gets broken into back in the unattended parking lot? A visit with a friend, over never-ending coffee, for many, many days?

When I Googled “Jen needs,” here’s what I found:

  • … to go away (see, even Google knows!)
  • … some serious help (obvy)
  • … to wash her windows
  • … ya for a minute
  • … a skin transplant
  • … a human anatomy lesson
  • … a helmet
  • … a hug

Thanks a bunch, Google. Fer nuthin’.


Jul. 24: Sleepy

It’s hot out today and Katie and I just got home from shopping and I’m doing my darndest to stay awake. Unfortunately, blogging is not helping, so I’m off to take a nap. Never fear! I’m leaving you with a boring meme (because I’m off to take a nap, duh).



  1. What’s the last movie you saw in a theater?
    Cars 2.
  2. What book are you reading right now?
    I’m in the middle of three different books right now, and have hardly read any of them lately. Obviously they’re highly entertaining…
  3. What’s your favorite board game?
    I love board games; it’s hard for me to choose just one. The ones I like to play most are Cranium, Monopoly, and Scrabble.
  4. What’s your favorite magazine?
    I rarely read magazines anymore, but I’m always up for a good perusing of People.
  5. What are some of your favorite smells?
    Lavender, brownies, The Body Shop…
  6. Do you have a favorite sound?
    I’m not sure anything beats the sound of many, many coins falling out of a slot machine in Vegas.
  7. What’s the worst feeling in the world?
    When you realize the last Oreo is gone. Also, despair.
  8. What is the first thing you think of when you wake up?
    “What day is it?”
  9. What’s your favorite fast food place?
  10. What’s under your bed?
    Storage boxes
  11. Finish this sentence: “If I had lot of money, I’d...”
    …go on a vacation. A long one. And I’d invite you to join me.
  12. Storms: cool or scary?
    If I’m somewhere safe, they’re cool.
  13. What’s your favorite drink?
    Iced tea
  14. If you had to dye your hair another color, what would it be?
    I loved being blonde.
  15. Where’s your favorite place to relax?
    Sunriver or the Oregon Coast. The Disney Cruise Line’s verandahs aren’t so bad either.
  16. Name all the different cities you’ve lived in.
    Oregon: Medford, Beaverton, Portland, Tigard, Hillsboro, Milwaukie, Clackamas
    Washington: College Place
  17. What is your favorite spectator sport?

Feel free to play along in a comment or your own blog.



Jul. 20: Sincerely

Here are some chuckles, and that’s all I have for you today because I’ve got a big to-do list to tackle and there’s no way I have time for you I love you.

Dear Noah,
We could have sworn you said the ark wasn’t leaving ‘til 5.


Dear Icebergs,
Sorry to hear about the global warming. Karma’s a bitch.

The Titanic

Dear America,
You produced Miley Cyrus. Bieber is your punishment.


Dear Yahoo,
I’ve never heard anyone say, “I don’t know, let’s Yahoo! it…” just saying…


Dear Girls Who Have Been Dumped,
There are plenty of fish in the sea. Just kidding! They’re all dead.


Dear Saturn,
I liked it, so I put a ring on it.


Dear Skin-Colored Band Aids,
Please make one for every skin color.

Black people

Dear Scissors,
I feel your pain. No one wants to run with me either.

Sarah Palin

Dear World of Warcraft,
Thank you for ensuring my son’s virginity.

Parents Everywhere

Dear Batman,
What was your power again?


Dear Customers,
Yes, we ARE making fun of you in Vietnamese.

Nail Salon Ladies

Dear Ugly People,
You’re welcome.


Dear World,
Please stop freaking out about 2012. Our calendars end there because some Spanish d-bags invaded our country and we got a little busy, OK?

The Mayans

Dear White People,
Don’t you just hate immigrants?

Native Americans

Dear iPhone,
Please stop auto-correcting all of my rude words into nice words, you piece of shut.

Every iPhone User

Smell ya later.


Jul. 18: Weekend recap

I’ve been talking about it for months, and now it’s come and gone. Relay for Life was this past weekend. Even if you weren’t part of it, I promise this post won’t be a complete bore. We had an almost entirely fabulous time, and you are about to feel like you were right there the whole 24 hours.

Saturday morning started with a downpour and it looked like we were in for a very damp Relay. We set up our camp site in the pouring rain, but by the time we were finished it was just sprinkling. For the next 13 hours or so, we had dryness. Whew.

See? Blue sky! Sunbeams!

After Opening Ceremonies, I walked the Survivor Lap and was joined by the rest of my team for the Caregiver Lap. I have the best caregivers EVER. If you’re not jealous, you’d best GET jealous—I really am the luckiest girl there could ever be. Here are just a few of my amazing caregivers:

(Mother Mary, me, Fancy Lori, Dana, Sunshine, Cindi, and Val)

I was thrilled to meet Dana for the first time—she’s my cousin’s cousin and until Saturday we had only met on Facebook. Dana and I have way too much in common not to be friends; in fact, I’m totally gonna say that she’s my cousin now. It’s the right thing to do, because she is awesome to the moon and back.

Throughout the day, friends and teammates came and went. We loved all of our visitors.

We kind of especially loved Jenn K and Dina, because they came by to drop off a care package. It was cram-packed with all sorts of delightful and necessary goodies, like Ben-Gay, Febreze for stinky tents and/or shoes, toilet seat covers for the camp toilets we didn’t have (THANK GOD), disposable toothbrushes, SPAM for protein, 5-Hour Energy for whoever had the middle-of-the-night shifts, sunscreen, glow sticks, M&Ms, and best of all, a bunch of happiness to pour into orange juice. All of this was arranged neatly in a box that was labeled “GENUINE HOE” and “HOE BITS.” Is that perfect, or what?

Yay! The Castañedas are here!

Jim Jordan suggested that “Sit Around for Life” sounds easier than “Relay.” Sunshine suggested “Buffalo Wings for Life.” These are both excellent ideas that I think need to be examined further.

The Turners have arrived!

In the afternoon, Victor and I were apprehended, handcuffed, and sent to jail. The charges were “abusing the cancer card” and “not sharing Cakesters” …


… and to get out of jail, we had to do the chicken dance at center field.


It was easy to figure out that Fancy Lori was the one responsible for putting us in jail. We didn’t get our revenge during Relay; instead, we’re waiting to surprise her with it. <Insert evil laugh here.>

The Archibalds dropped by!

Margaret and her posse showed up in the afternoon. They walked a couple hours and when it was April’s turn, she made Margaret walk with her “for just a little while,” which became the entire hour. Margaret *might* have been cursing her feet when she came back to the camp site. One of the day’s funniest comments came from her, though, during the Miss Rodeo Queen competition. When this guy walked by…

… Victor said, “Those aren’t real!” and Margaret asked, “But how does he get them to stay up like that? I try and try.” (Thanks to my friend Jenny—the REAL beauty in the pic above—whose FB album I stole this photo from.)

Katie and Kailey faced each other in a jousting match at center field. I don’t know who won, but I’m giving some extra points to Kailey because she competed with a broken foot.


Some Knudsons (specifically, Knapps and a Clay) are here!

Mom and I made a “wanted” poster and a bunch of mustache props.

In case you can’t read it, the sign says:
For being a killer of cancer, a fighter of important causes, and walking in circles for 24 hours.
25¢ reward for the safe return of this little rascal

Lisa Schroeder was our celebrity Hoe-Down. We were honored that she joined our team, and had fun hanging out with her for the afternoon. It was cute watching all the little star-struck Hoe-Downs interact with Lisa; they remembered her from her school visit in May. She just returned from her first visit to New York City and shared some advice with the Jordans, who are about to go for their first time.


Many of the teams hosted on-site fundraisers like jousting, kids’ zone, the aforementioned jail, craft center, etc. The kids talked Jim Jordan and Vic into sumo wrestling. I took a million pictures of this because it was OMG so funny.


The suiting-up took forever and required much assistance. Vic said the suits were super-stinky.
I guess being the FIRST sumo wrestlers of the day would be most sanitary.


Victor took on the sumo wrestling look way too well. (Love the nipples!)


That’s Emma, Jim’s daughter, watching with glee.
Look, Dad’s a dork, and so is his friend!


This is totally something Jim and Vic would have done 25 years ago in college, probably instead of going to class.
I love that they did it as the old men they now are.

Alex F’n showed up in the evening, proud as can be to finally, officially be a Hoe. If you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting that boy, you are truly missing out—he’s a chip off his mom’s F’n block, for sure. She arrived just after 9pm, in time for CAKE!

In the evening was the birthday celebration for survivors. They had us all grab a section of a chain made of links representing each survivor participating in Relay, and we did a partial lap and then returned to center field for cupcakes. This was a good way to transition into the luminaria ceremony. Here are two gorgeous photos from my teammates:



It was beautiful to see the track lined with the bags all aglow. We walked around a few times and took pictures of several of the luminary bags.


Although the ceremony was almost exactly as I remembered it from last year, it really zapped me emotionally this year. I think that was partly because I felt so much more a part of the event this time, but also because my closest friends and family were there with me. And this year I really felt like a survivor, where last year I was still in the middle of treatment and felt like the “survivor” thing was a little presumptuous.

What also felt heartbreaking was the reality of what was missing. I was celebrating conquering cancer and remembering those who lost their fight—both incredibly emotional things—but there was a tremendous hole where my sister should have been. I have deliberately talked very little about this on my blog, but my sister told me months ago that I was too focused on my illness, that I didn’t appreciate the things she did for me and that I seemed angry at her all the time. Even though I told her that wasn’t true, she refused to discuss it. It’s been nothing but horrible ever since. I thought we had a breakthrough when Scout died, but I was wrong. If I knew what to do to fix our relationship, I would do it, because I ache for the closeness Kathy and I shared for 40+ years; that hurt was even stronger on Saturday night. It was like it happened all over again, and I couldn’t cry hard enough.

I hate that I have so much to celebrate and feel such a loss to be doing it without my sister. To not try to change that, though, is her choice. I suppose that should make me care less, but it actually makes it hurt more. Argh.

In spite of the extreme emotions I felt during the luminaria ceremony, it was still beautiful and moving. As Sunshine said on Facebook, it was the best and worst part of Relay for Life.

Most of us returned to our camp site and chatted the night away. We had lots of snacks for snacking and orange juice-ish beverages for beverageing. What more could a person want?


Kim F’n-W, Sunshine and me
(Yes, Sunshine totally looks like she’s wearing a onesie. It’s a trick of the camera. Promise.)

I eventually tried to get some sleep while my awesome teammates walked the middle-of-the-night shifts. The people next to us talked loudly the ENTIRE night, and that kept most of us from getting any decent rest. They’re lucky we didn’t set fire to their tent. It would have been a teensy bit mean and illegal, yes, but also hugely satisfying, as the best crimes are. Sunshine and Val, you guys were smart to go home to sleep.


Here’s Cindi with her four little Hoe-Downs, walking the last lap of Relay

Sunday morning we woke to a hard rain and lots of very wet gear. The camping rule “always leave your shoes outside the tent” doesn’t apply in Oregon, or so Tina told us as she poured out her shoes. We started to pack up our site and went to closing ceremonies at 10am. We gave much-deserved applause to the event volunteers. Lots of awards were given out, and The Hoe-Downs came in first place for team fundraising! Tony was the #1 individual fundraiser, of course, and I was #4. Another team donated $25 to get me over the $1,000 mark so I could be in the ACS Grand Club. Isn’t that nice of them? I tell ya, this whole event is nothing but giving and generosity. It’s a wonderful thing of which to be a part.

The Hoe-Downs were given signs that we’ll get to show off at our camp site next year for our fundraising accomplishments this year. We got bronze, silver, and gold. Woo-hoo! (Or maybe I should say “Woo-HOE!”)


Me with some of the littlest Hoes—Jack, Katie, and Kailey

As exhausted as I still am after the crazy weekend, I’m already looking forward to next year’s Relay for Life. What will the theme be? What will we call our team? Who will join? What silly activity will we host for a team fundraiser? It’s all so mysterious and exciting!

The overall fundraising total for the North Clackamas Relay for Life was over $44,000, and the Hoe-Downs brought in about $10,000 of that. We are so pleased to have been such a big part of this event, but we’re especially grateful to the people who made it happen:

  • Alisa Gillett
  • Annette P. Johnson
  • Annie Patterson
  • April Henry
  • April Jordan
  • Barbara DeJager
  • Bill & Carie Maniscalco
  • Carole & Hugh Bobys
  • Cathy Salser
  • Charles Repp
  • Cheryl Herbsman
  • Cindi Edwards
  • Connie Witzing
  • Dan Kaempff/Kim Foren
  • Dana Gronemyer
  • Darlene Manullang
  • Darryl DuFay
  • David Archibald
  • Deanna Giubbini
  • Denise Rutman
  • Drake
  • Ed Reilly
  • Eileen Tennant-Grant
  • Flora Haus
  • Fran Tolle
  • Fred & Marie-France Ward
  • Fritzie Paine
  • Gail Hall
  • Gina Martinez
  • Heather Knapp
  • Ione Brunt
  • Iris Austin
  • James Austin Sr.
  • James Johnson
  • Janet Graziano
  • Dr. Jeremy Archibald
  • Jill
  • Jill Prestup
  • John & Patricia Tennant
  • Karen Dial
  • Kathy Millar
  • Kelly Turner
  • Kerry Silverstrom
  • Kimberly Wick
  • Kirsten Salvador
  • Kristi Knight
  • Laura Tarter
  • Leigh
  • Len Nguyen
  • Lenore Ritkes
  • Linda Mackett
  • Linda & Pieter Kokelaar
  • Linda Tennant
  • Lisa Schroeder
  • Liz & Phil
  • Lori & Anthony Hall
  • Lori Reisinger
  • Louise & Ernest Frankel
  • Lynn Cooper
  • Margaret Abdelfadi
  • Mark-Antonio (Tony) Grant
  • Mark Sokol
  • Mary Jenny-Saltmarsh
  • Mary Misono
  • Mavis Presler
  • Michael Ambrosino
  • Mike & Ruthie Newhouse
  • Murray & Maxine Leral
  • Nina Nelson
  • Norman Kulla
  • Pat Clay
  • Pauline Chan
  • Playa Capitol Group, LLC
  • Robin Rudisill & Marianne Snell
  • Sam Miller
  • Sherilee Coffey
  • Sunshine Buzo
  • Ted & Jocelyn Manullang
  • The Cyphers Family
  • The Donn Family
  • The Mick
  • The Sidewalk Cafe
  • The Smillies
  • The Storms Family
  • Tina Maciokas
  • Valerie Fukai
  • Victor & Jennifer Manullang
  • Venice Beach Suites LLC
  • Walter Zifkin
  • Wendy Wilson
  • Westchester Elks Lodge 2050

Thank you so much to everyone who donated, for all the ways you helped make this Relay the huge success that it was. Please know that every last cent you contributed is going to cancer research. We shall keel eet!



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