Dec. 27: Undecorating for the holidays

My post-Christmas bummed-outedness is predictable only in that it is unpredictable every year. Sometimes I’m ready to tear down the tree immediately after gifts are opened on Christmas morning, and sometimes I want the holiday season to stretch way into mid-January. Much of this depends on when we put up our décor—which is NEVER before Thanksgiving—and whether we hosted any of the family holiday gatherings.

This year we put up the tree the first weekend in December. We hosted no family and, in fact, did not even spend Christmas weekend at home. I have not, even once, felt Christmas-ed out this season. But Christmas is over, and during our drive back from Medford yesterday I planned to undecorate the second we got home.

Then we got home, and I was tired. Sitting in the passenger seat on that five-hour trip is haaard.

This morning I was on hardcore puppy housebreaking duty and got little else done. I’ve lost the urgency to undecorate and, well, to be honest I’ve pretty much lost the urgency to do anything. I still feel crappy—even though I finally got antibiotics to treat my snotty ickiness, they’re taking their time to work—and have my eye on a nice little nap this afternoon. Nothing’s getting undecorated today, I’m pretty sure.

Maybe tomorrow.

Maybe this weekend.

It’s not a super-quick process, because as I put things away, I insist on being very organized about it. Several years ago I transferred our holiday things from cardboard and miscellaneous plastic boxes to a set of red and green plastic boxes. Everything Christmasy goes in those easily identifiable boxes, and then in our attic. I have everything clearly labeled and only pull the boxes I need each year. It’s a system that works well, but it could use some improvement. Here’s an article with some great ideas on holiday storage. And here’s an nice little inventory printable, handy for planning and shopping for next year’s holiday season.

If you have your Christmas décor up after January 1, it’s not a big deal—you’re allowed some time to get it all put away. But if it’s lit-up and trying to be magical anytime after January 1, I will punch you in the nutcracker. CHRISTMAS IS OVER, PEOPLE. TURN THAT SHIT OFF!


Dec. 26: 2011 in review

I used to enjoy Plinky, but then the site was sold to someone who thinks “What’s your favorite number?” is an interesting question. A Plinky prompt from last week, though, I can do:

Summarize your 2011 with one sentence for each month this year.

January: There’s nothing quite like being happy and feeling loved; visits with friends are the perfect pick-me-ups!

February: It’s a busy month of celebrations, with Katie’s birthday, Valentine’s Day, and our anniversary, but still so fun because, y’know, CAKE.

March: Sunshine and I met Curly Girl!

April: How can it already be 25 years since my high school graduation?

May: After giving us 14 years of unconditional love, sweet Scout, our baby beagle girl, died.

June: My first six-month follow-up after chemo assured us there was no new cancer.

July: Relay for Life was a day (and night) full of friends, love, and life.

August: A family trip to the coast was just the change of scenery I didn’t know I needed.

September: School started but my PTO duties kept me from enjoying quiet days with the kids out of the house--grrrr.

October: It’s hard to remember anything other than Jogathon in October.

November: How lovely is it that Vic’s sister and her family are just a few hours’ drive away, instead of on the other side of the world?

December: Puppy!

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


Dec. 19: Giggles

I should be finishing up our Christmas cards, but I don’t feel like it. So many steps, what with the CDs that go in some, the labels that go on the CDs, the other labels that go on the CD sleeves, the folding, the assembling, the sealing, the return address labels, and the trip to the post office because I chose an odd size for our cards this year and need special stamps. I’m a big dummy.

Or maybe EVERYONE will be getting an e-card this year. Pffft.

Time again to share pictures I’ve been collecting from ‘round the web. Think of these as my half-assed Christmas gifts to you. YOU’RE WELCOME.




Oh, you know you would too:





My kids are probably glad I didn’t find this until after I’d started Christmas shopping this year.
Still, it’s a good rule:









This is soooo Victor:



This one isn’t funny, but a good reminder:




Ha! So true:



I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve been watching Glee this season and I
honestly can’t even tell you why. I can’t stand most of the characters,
I don’t particularly enjoy their performances, and
I can’t figure out when the kids ever study. It’s insane that I watch.
I should stop.
I am going to stop.
I am.



I’m not a huge Harry Potter fan, but I love this because it’s anti-Twilight.
I love anything that’s anti-Twilight.


Have a great day, peeps. Smell ya later.


Dec. 18: Doggie updates

I don’t know what happened last week, but suddenly I had a million things to do and hardly even turned my computer on. Part of the chaos was school stuff that needed to be done before Christmas break. The rest of it was the puppy, who came home to us on December 7.

Internet, meet Lucy (shhhh… she’s sleeping):


She’s a lover. She and Oliver are already BFFs, and they almost never stop wrestling. It’s adorable. We’re hoping some of her friendliness to people will rub off on him because he’s kind of a brat to people he doesn’t know. Like most Labs, Lucy is a goofy, affectionate cutie-pie.

BUT… it’s like having a newborn again. A newborn who’s way too mobile and chew-y and runs around without a diaper. She completely wears me out during the day. I thought if I spent a lot of time at home her first week here, it would be good for bonding, but mostly I’ve just been following her around with a mop.

On a sad note, we had Casey, our little white dog, put to sleep last week. She was old—probably even older than Scout—and her quality of life was quite low. Casey was never a fan of the other pets in our house, but she adored the two-legged residents, and we loved her right back. She was a faithful companion and we’re glad her final years were spent in a home where she was treasured and cared for. We miss her wiggles and huge, gentle eyes that seemed to see right into your soul. She was a sweet girl.

Here are Casey and Oliver last year, probably scheming against the cat—their resentment of her was the only thing that brought them together:


We are down to young-ish pets now; Millie is three, Oliver is almost two, and Lucy is eight weeks old. That is a LOT of energy.


Dec. 9: Oliver has now been tutored

tutoredOn Monday I took Oliver in to get neutered. We’ve been meaning to do it pretty much since we got him, but just now got around to it. The fact that an unspayed female puppy is just about to join our family might have lit a fire under our collective arses, yes.

It sounds so easy, doesn’t it? “Taking the dog to get neutered.” It was not easy. It wasn’t.

Ollie pooped in the waiting room of the vet’s office, but was nervous, so he kept walking and I had to chase him all around the room to pick it all up. Un-fun, to be sure, especially in the crowd of other dog parents who all wore the THANK GOD THAT’S NOT MY DOG expression on their faces. I might have muttered “assholes” under my breath. I might have been talking about those dog owners as well as all dogs in general but mostly mine, because OMG.

Then, THEN, he peed on the front door. That was more difficult to clean up. I apologized a million times to the receptionist and was ready to toss my dog into traffic. If I didn’t want to cut off his important parts already, I definitely did when, immediately after he peed, he looked at me, all WHAT? Like what did I expect?

Then, THEN!!, they called us into the exam room and when the nurse tried to take his temperature he just about took her arm off. OK, I did feel a little sympathy for him after that. He knew he had done bad by nearly biting her, but he also had that LET ME SHOW YOU ON THE BEANIE BABY WHERE THE BAD WOMAN TOUCHED ME! look. I cuddled him and talked softly while the nurse left to retrieve another nurse and a muzzle.

That didn’t work either. He would have none of the muzzle and none of the temperature-taking and he was out for blood. They left again.

This is when I realized that they had inadvertently (I assume…) drained an anal sac while trying to get his temperature, and that his rancid, molten goo was all over the front of me. I thought I might die, right then and there, but I hung on because I can’t bear the thought of people laughing hysterically at my funeral knowing that I was killed by Oliver’s wretched ass juice. Ugh.

The nurses came back with the big guns (the vet) and he tranquilized Oliver. It took four of us to hold him down and even then, Ollie broke the friggin’ needle. Everyone hurried out and over his shoulder, the vet promised Oliver would be calm soon. I cuddled him while we waited, and when the door opened a couple minutes later he immediately worked up a snarl. They gave him another couple minutes and he growled again when they dared show their faces. Finally, a nurse came in with a thick blanket and whisked him away. When she turned around to close the door, I was wiping the sweat off my face and she assumed I was crying. She said, “Don’t worry, he’ll be fine!” but I assured her that I kinda hated my dog right then, and they could do whatever the hell they wanted to him and those were definitely not my tears pooling on the floor.

I drove away wondering if I’d be the worst dog mom ever if I never came back. Then I smelled my stenched-up clothing again and knew no one would ever blame me.

Had I abandoned Oliver at his weakest moment, YES, I would have been a rotten dog mom, I know. I went back in the afternoon to get him, and he was so drugged and sleepy that it was kind of adorable and sweet. It made me feel bad for cutting his balls off. (Not really.)


Dec. 3: So much Christmas

We decorated the Christmas tree last night. It used to be fun, unwrapping each ornament, remembering its significance, and then finding the perfect spot for it on the tree. Now it’s a lot of I GET TO HANG THAT ONE NO IT’S MINE I WANT TO HANG IT YOU HUNG THE LAST ONE I HATE YOU CHRISTMAS SUCKS. And then the kids join in.

Total bummer bringing out the Scout ornaments… we have several. It’ll be so strange not having her lounging under the tree this year.

Sad face.

That reminds me, I made up a Scout memory book to give the kids for Christmas. I tried a new (to me) site—Mixbook—and really loved the interface and designs, plus I found a few great discount codes. You can see the book I made here. It’s way cute. It is. I wouldn’t lie about the cuteness of a beagle.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m going to be sending a lot of e-cards this year. I’ve always been a hater of e-cards at Christmastime, but y’know, they just make sense nowadays. If you get one, please don’t be offended. If you want to get a Manullang Christmas card in your real mailbox, you might have to wait until February. I know; I hate me a lot right now too.

On the other hand, our annual Christmas CD is as rockin’ as ever. It’ll be online for download pretty soon.

Katie dropped her new iPod just weeks after she got it for her birthday this year. The screen cracked but (thankfully) it still worked. We told her she’d need to save her pennies to get it replaced. I found iPhone Steve on craiglist and he came yesterday—yes, it took her that long to save her pennies—and repaired it. She is happy as can be, and Jack’s pretty happy too, since he doesn’t have to share the old iPhone 3 with her anymore. If you ever need an iPhone or iPod repaired, call iPhone Steve—he was awesome.

Tonight Sunshine and Cindi are throwing a “Bridesmaids” party and everyone’s supposed to wear an old bridesmaid dress. Not surprisingly, I can’t fit into the only one I held on to. I’m probably just going to wear something normal and hold the dress in front of me all evening, or for about five minutes because who am I kidding? No way am I holding a dress up in front of me all evening. If it weren’t Sunshine and Cindi’s party, I’d probably opt out of going, but any excuse to hang wit’ my girls is good for me.

OK, I’ve kind of avoided my mom all week because I have to tell her something I’m afraid to tell her: we’re getting a puppy next week. The reason I’m afraid to tell her is that we’re spending Christmas at her house this year and she just got new carpet. Ack.

So, what am I doing? I’m posting the news here on my blog so I don’t have to hear the heavy sigh I’d hear if I told her over the phone. When she reads this, she’ll let the idea soak in a little and then call me and say, “Silly girl! It’s no big deal!” That’s what I’m hoping she’ll say, anyway. It might take a few hours of soaking-in time for her to come to that. Maybe this will help:


She’s a yellow lab and will be seven weeks old when we pick her up next weekend. We met her on Sunday and all four of us fell head-over-heels in love. We aren’t sure what her name is going to be, but we’re leaning toward Lucy (her momma’s name is Lulu). Other name suggestions are welcome.

And yes, this makes three dogs in our house. We had three dogs before Scout died, but they were all smallish. This pup isn’t going to stay small for long. Honestly, I didn’t think Casey would last this long; I still wonder if she’ll make it to Christmas, really, because she has doggie Alzheimer’s, barks all night long and sleeps all day, no bladder control, and snarls at Oliver if he even looks at her—which he does frequently. Let’s just say her quality of life is quite low... so we’ll probably be down to two dogs again soon.



(Y’all totally want your own blog now so you can break unwelcome puppy news to people with new carpet, huh?)

Some more very exciting dog news: Oliver’s getting fixed on Monday! Oh, how happy it makes us that those little nuggets will be gone, gone, gone.

Lots to do today. Bye.



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