Nov. 29: A Manullang Thanksgiving

Manullangs are known for gathering together and eating huge meals—so unlike every other American family, right? We don’t really need a holiday for an excuse to do this, but last week we used one. For Thanksgiving this year, Victor’s sister and her family offered to host. They’ve been living outside the U.S. for 14 years and I think this was the first Thanksgiving they were on U.S. soil in all that time. We’re glad to have them “home” for a few years.

On Wednesday evening we drove up to Issaquah in horrible weather and traffic. Vic and I came back Thursday evening—in rain but less traffic—because he had to work Friday like a sucka. In other words, our Thanksgiving was short but so lovely that all the driving was worthwhile. My sister-in-law is an amazing cook. I shall now document our day with pictures I stole from her Facebook albums:

393628_2736014202361_1317515274_3080343_48393237_n[1]Victor posted this on Facebook with the caption:
“I'm thankful for many things this day, my family at the top of the list.
At this very moment, however, #2 on the list is this cheeseball.”
(It was really, really good.)



Nothing makes me feel more like a grownup than sitting at the kid-free table,
where everything is breakable and no one is spitting food



Darlene and her grandsons—Alec, Jack, and Jacob



The girls had their own table, which was oh-so-giggly



Here are three of the five Manullang girl cousins—Abby, Julianne, and Katie.
Those are Jack’s fingers over Katie’s head.
(Jack is a turd.)

Thank you again, Sonya and Chris, for hosting us this year—it was definitely your turn. Winking smile You made our Thanksgiving a very nice holiday in your comfy, welcoming home. Please tell Julianne I’m sorry I peed her bed. Next time I’ll bring my own plastic sheet.


Nov. 23: Pictures and more pictures

I’m excited about tomorrow. Thanksgiving is such a fun holiday—all the good food and togetherness without the stress of exchanging gifts. Ah. A bunch of Manullangs are gathering, including Sonya and her family—a big deal, since we haven’t shared a Thanksgiving with them in many, many years, the silly world travelers. We shall have fun and more fun!

Yesterday I cleaned out my drafts folder and today I’m cleaning out my pictures folder. Here we go.


Warning! Crazy Cat Lady on board!



Battleship drinking game. Creative, right?
(Talk about getting bombed!)


Google’s header for the holiday. Love it.



True story. Pinterest Anonymous meeting at my house as soon
as I’m done looking at this one category… and the one after that…
oooh, check out this board…



Remember this scene from A Christmas Story—Randy sleeping with his new blimp toy?
Jack got a football for his birthday—a Nike one, which is supposedly much better than the
Wilson he already had, DUH—and here’s how I found him a couple days later.



He was taking a break from his Wii football game to toss a real football, but it wore him out
because kids today don’t exercise enough. I’d push him to exercise more,
but then I’d have to look up from my iPhone and we all know THAT’S not gonna happen.



How awesomesauce is this?
Extra points if you know why, when I saw this next thing on a
school bulletin board, I had to take a picture of it.


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Mario wisdom

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I can totally do this.
I know you’re jealous.


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You know who you are.

Smell ya later, doods. If I don’t post tomorrow, then Happy Thanksgiving! I am thankful for many of you. Winking smile


Nov. 22: “Peeking at my drafts” sounds naughty, but it isn’t

draftThis morning I opened the drafts folder in Windows Live Writer—the program I use to write my blog posts, which is awesome because it makes curly quotes and apostrophes instead of those neanderthal-like straight ones—and I found a whole bunch of long-forgotten posts. Since I began writing them, they have lost all their “punch,” which is kinda funny because that suggests they once had “punch,” and I’m quite sure their lack of “punch” is why I didn’t finish writing and post them.

I’ll let you decide.


Here’s an excerpt of one I wrote while being treated for cancer last year.

I really wonder about those terminally ill people who never complain. Y’know how witnesses to their suffering always say that about them? “And she never complained about her illness. She never questioned why this happened to her. She accepted this fate with her head held high.” If anyone ever says that about me when I’m gone, you absolutely must punch them in the eye for being a big fat liar. I bitch and whine and moan about being sick more than anyone… because I’m human and humans suffer and it’s not fun and it’s not painless and there is NO way even the saintliest of people can go through something like this without having the occasional negative thought. I’m gonna call bullshit on “she never complained.”

Fine, maybe those non-complainers know something I don’t. Maybe they have something I don’t. Faith helps the fight, there’s no doubt about that. But if you don’t have faith—if you’re not sure that a higher power even exists—you miss out on the peace that comes with turning your worries over to someone/thing else. I’m the first to admit that it sucks, facing cancer without the safety net of prayer. Prayer is something I grew up believing could “fix” everything, and it’s a slow, strange transition to go from praying without ceasing to not praying at all. I’m not going to go into how I got to where I am belief-wise (not right here, right now, anyway), but I will say that my cancer diagnosis got me no closer to adhering a Jesus fish to my car.

I know that some people think that’s my problem—that I need to turn my cancer over to God to relieve myself of the burden that it brings, and only then can I have a more positive attitude. And to that, I say that I have a positive attitude. It is occasionally suppressed by fear and frustration, but it always comes back. Because I want to live. I will do what I need to to make sure I’m around to see my kids grow up. I don’t think prayer would keep me from going to the dark place once in a while, and I don’t think it’s going to take my cancer away, either.

If it makes you sad that I haven’t turned to God in this, feel free to pray for me.

I think I intentionally didn’t polish/finish/post it because I was afraid of offending my many Christian friends. I post this now, not because I don’t care about offending my friends, but because I have since realized that my Christian friends who truly love me will respect my beliefs the same way that I respect theirs.


This next post was from a year ago. Here’s just one paragraph:

I may be wiser, but Victor is a way better person than I am, even though he can be annoying as hell (he can! trust me!). His goodness makes me want to be gooder too. (Fancy Anthony™, please forgive me for just making your wife’s ears bleed.) I’ve made more friends in recent years who manage to bring out just enough of my fun, light-hearted, cheerful side that I like who they help me to be. It’s good to feel good about ourselves, isn’t it? Most importantly, it’s good to walk into a room without sending people screaming in the opposite direction.

This happy-sounding bit turned into a very depressing post in which I opened the floor to suggestions about how to fix things between me and my sister. I actually stopped writing mid-sentence because I could see where it was going (nowhere). So sad about this, still.


Here’s a post from May:

You need to be aware of what others are doing, applaud their efforts, acknowledge their successes, and encourage them in their pursuits. When we all help one another, everybody wins.

Jim Stovall

My intention, I assume, was to write something that would relate this quote to my life, but we’ll never know because that’s all I wrote. Ooooh, aren’t I mysterious?


Another unposted draft in my folder was the beginnings of a long meme that Sherilee posted. It was fun and interesting and I wanted to play along, but when I started answering the questions for myself they seemed like nothing but nonsense. Pretty sure this means that Sherilee’s life is much more exciting to other people than I think mine is to other people.


This last draft was written a few days ago, when I was crazy-busy with things that kept me from everything but occasionally checking Facebook, which basically kept me out of the loop of what my friends are/were doing.

But the new Facebook makes decisions FOR ME about which posts are important, and for this I am pissed. (Yep, that kinda rhymed. I’m a genius.) One friend has been in a local ICU for nine days, and it just showed up in my feed yesterday. Another one moved Far Far Away. And Sunshine went to that new vampire movie, which I heard about immediately EVEN THOUGH I DIDN’T EVEN CARE. What I’m saying is that Facebook is kinda being a jackhole, keeping information from me about important people and opting to put nonsense front and center.

Sorry, Sunshine and my other friends who like those vampire movies, but OMG I DO NOT CARE!!

I’m deleting all of these drafts. They will never be published in their entirety, for which you are probably grateful, in which case you should pretend that you aren’t because that will make me feel better and remember? I like friends who make me want to be a gooder person. Please be one of those.


Nov. 18: Back in my day…

Jack and I were leaving the grocery store this afternoon when he asked, “Did you ever think you committed a crime?”

Me: “What?”

Jack: “Did you ever think you committed a crime?”

(Thanks, that totally clarifies your question.)

Me: “What do you mean? Did I ever accidentally commit a crime?”

Jack: “Yes.”

Me: “No. Well, I walked out of a store without paying for something, but as soon as I realized it I went back in and paid.”

(Jack seems fascinated by this and is quiet for a moment—his expression says he’s picturing women’s prison visiting day and me running a tin cup back and forth across the bars of my cell while I wait for him to arrive with a file-cake.)

Jack: “Didn’t the alarm go off?”

Me: “No, it wasn’t that kind of a store.”

Jack: “What do you mean?”

Me: “Not all stores have alarms if you walk out with stuff.”

Jack: “So the alarm didn’t go off when you stole something?”

Me, possibly shrieking: “I didn’t steal anything! I walked out with it ACCIDENTALLY. I went back and paid for it.”

Jack: “Did the alarm not go off because there wasn’t electricity back then?”

And we’re not supposed to strangle our kids when they say stuff like that? Not even a little bit?


Nov. 8: A list of things

Randomness because my thoughts are anything but incoherent these days:

  1. The other night I watched part of that PBS thing in which Will Ferrell got an award. It was pretty funny. They showed clips of his performances over the years, and this particular one made me LOL fo’ realz. Blades of Glory is a stupid movie, but that one part kinda rocks, in that that-did-NOT-just-happen way.
  2. I honestly don’t get what the big deal is about pumpkin. Everyone’s raving these days about pumpkin-flavored everything and I’m just so “meh,” because HELL-LOOO, it’s just pumpkin. BFD. You can eat it year-round, people. Sheesh.
  3. Oh, but PumpkinPumpkin, our hedgehog niece? She’s adorable. (She belongs to Presley.)
  4. When I told Vic I finally decided on the accent color for our bedroom, he acted like he didn’t even care. He was all “Um, OK.” Pffft.
  5. Jack’s birthday is Sunday, and he’ll be 10 years old. Is it wrong that I’m so happy that he’s that far from baby-ness? I love having kids that are independent. Now if I can just learn ‘em to bring me beer.
  6. This SNL sketch cracked me up.
  7. Can someone give me a good reason to keep cable TV? Can’t everything be seen online these days anyway? I rarely watch TV on TV anymore; why am I paying for it?
  8. Applying for work sure has changed. I’ve been updating my resume, and it’s taking way too much time because I’m finding conflicting advice everywhere I look. I mean, I know you’re not supposed to say you’re “detail-oriented,” a “people person,” or a “team player.” Duh. But some sites say you should always list a career objective and others say you don’t need one. Some say you shouldn’t list anything but work you’ve done in the past ten years, and others say to include everything from your first job on. Cover letters are optional? Whatever. And pink perfumed paper is a no-no? What kind of world are we living in, when a girl can’t make herself stand out from the rest by sending an application drenched in Sweet Honesty? Geez.
  9. This Jogathon fundraiser I’ve been blathering about for the past two months? It’s completely over and we reached our goal! We reached our goal AND THEN SOME. Happy, happy Jen. Happy, relieved Jen.
  10. Want some Christmas music? You don’t even have to ask; you know I’m good for it. I’ve been looking for new songs for this year’s CD and I’m finding some VERY cool stuff. Not Partridge Family cool, or Bobby Sherman cool, or Carpenters cool, but still cool. Trust me. You’ll find out soon.
  11. I was very un-Halloweeny this year. I don’t know why, but I just felt DONE with the holiday before it even began. Normally I tolerate it—it’s one of my least favorite, all that death and gross stuff—but when the kids started talking about their costumes a couple months ago, I even tried to convince them they were too old to trick-or-treat. Mean momma, right? They both looked at online costume shops and came to the decision—ON THEIR OWN, I can’t emphasize that enough—that they’d make their costumes. Katie went as a ninja and Jack as a football player. I could not have been more proud of them. I don’t dare hope that they’ll do the same next year, do I?
  12. Of course, there are times when costumes end up looking so fab that they’re worth however much effort it might have taken. Do I have an example? You bet I do! Here’s what my friend Stephanie and her husband did this year:

Photo shamelessly stolen from Steph's FB album
The ‘fros are just… killer, man.

I close this nonsense with recent Pinterest finds. You will love them because you have a twisted sense of humor like I do, you sicko.




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(I love what’s in her lunch bag)







FB bitch





Later, doods.


Nov. 6: Stupid & Clumsy

Occasionally I go back and read old blog posts and I’ll cringe—usually at the wording I used or the fact that I thought the topic was worth blogging about. Sometimes the cringing even makes me a little sweaty and anxious-y, and I’m tempted to dig up the original post in Blogger and delete it. However, I don’t delete old posts because you’re not supposed to do that. Don’t you know anything? It’s history, baby.

(Or something else that makes me sound like I’m contributing generously to our ever-improving world…)

Also, finding super-old posts in Blogger takes a super-long time and I’m super-lazy when it comes to finding super-old posts, unless, of course, there’s a misspelling or too many commas or a straight quote mark where there should be a curly one. That’s when I move mountains to fix it.

(Ha ha ha. I make myself laugh when I imply that I’m that concerned about perfect spelling and punctuation.)

(Oh, shut up. Humor me.)

Tonight I ran across a post from 2008 in which I tell about 13 stupid or clumsy things I did. When you put all 13 things together and read them at once, it’s kind of a wonder that I’m still alive. And that post was written a year before this happened and this happened within two weeks of each other.

There’s stuff I never even bother mentioning, too.

(You’re welcome for that, by the way.)


Nov. 1: I don’t get this.

Between trick-or-treaters last night, Vic and I sat in the living room doing what we usually do when we’re together: playing on our phones. (You’re envious of how romantic our lives are, I know. Everyone is.) I read random headlines to him while he played Words with Friends and mostly ignored me.

Me: “Kim Kardashian filed for divorce after ten weeks of marriage. Shocking.”

Him, not looking up from his game: “Her family makes the Hilton sisters look classy.”

Me, in a voice that got increasingly loud and complain-y: “I can’t stand these famous-for-nothing celebrities. No talents, no skills, nothing. But they show up at every friggin’ event in Hollywood so their pictures are on the front of every magazine and we’re supposed to care about them and their pregnancies and plastic surgeries and brief marriages and endorsements of every imaginable product on which their face can be plastered.”

Him, still not looking up from that damn game: “What’s the deal with the Kardashians anyway?”

Me: “Their dad was a friend of O.J. Simpson’s and their mom is married to Bruce Jenner and someone thought those things seemed like a good premise for a reality show, and that’s turned into, like, eleventy more reality shows about their family. Also, Kim has a big ass that she frequently shows off and apparently people like to see. The bits they do on Saturday Night Live are way too accurate.”

And that’s when I stopped talking and realized I know way more about these people than I want to (which is, yes, almost nothing but THAT’S STILL MORE THAN I WANT TO KNOW). I hated myself for a little bit. If we stop looking, won’t these faux-celebrities go away? Can we just agree as a society that ignoring them is the best idea EVER? Because OMG I’m tired of them showing up in my “Breaking Showbiz News” as though they matter. If ignoring them doesn’t work, can someone maybe pay me a vajillion dollars for having no talent or skills? I realize that my ass, while big, is not the kind of “big” that people want to see more of, but COME ON.



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