Dec. 31: Month in summary

dec2012It’s the end of the month and time for my recap of December 2012. I would love to do a summary of the entire year, but my memory isn’t long enough. Also, I kinda did it in our Christmas letter.

Special days I celebrated this month and how:

  • At school, we got to reward the entire student body for their fundraising efforts during our Jogathon. We brought in Presto the Magician on Dec. 7 to perform for them, and it was truly magical to see the students’ excited faces during this event. I also found out that Presto lives just down the street from me—how cool is it to have a magician for a neighbor??? I plan to consult him the next time the neighbors behind us start in on another loud Live Like You Were Dyin’ marathon. He’s gotta be able to fix that hillbilly nonsense, right? If not, then I want to know which of my neighbors is a voodoo expert.
  • Well, this month held Christmas, so we celebrated that. Mother Mary was here. We got together with the other Manullangs on the 22nd, which was a blast. Many of them joined us on Christmas Eve for our traditional Chinese dinner at home. On Christmas Day, it was just us and MM around the tree. Later that afternoon we saw Les Misérables on the big screen (more on that below). The day was perfect.
  • My father-in-law turned 80. The family celebrated together on the 23rd; we went to Wellington’s favorite brunch place and then home for entertainment. The granddaughters sang “What a Wonderful World,” Alec performed a beautiful piano piece, and Presley showed off her Hawaiian dancing skills. It was a beautiful day and well-deserved. He is much-loved by many.
  • I didn’t do a lot of celebrating on my friends’ birthdays, but I can’t not mention them because it sucks to have a birthday so close to Christmas: Cassie, Stephanie, Fancy Lori, and my bloggy friend, Jen E all turned another year older in December. Our niece, Presley and our brother-in-law, Chris, also had birthdays. Exciting month!
  • Tonight we’re joining a small group of friends to usher in 2013.

Gifts I gave and/or received this month:

  • It was Christmas, so I gave Christmas gifts. Duh.
  • giftsThe use of beekeeping supplies I purchased last month were finally revealed in gifts I gave to several friends: Mom and I made lots of skin care products—hard lotion, eye cream, cuticle butter, and tinted lip balm—with all-natural ingredients. I’m not done yet—I’ve been creating recipes for some other cool stuff too. Why am I into this all-natural stuff? The idea of taking petroleum-based skin care products out of my regimen is most appealing, but I also like using specific combinations of essential oils to create really special potions. Yay!
  • We Manullang kids got Wellington an iPad for his birthday. This gadget was given with all the grandchildren’s phone numbers and email addresses, as they will provide tech support better than any of us can. I was excited to see him using his new gadget at his birthday party, but within an hour it was back in its box. What do you wanna bet it’s still in there?
    Winking smile
  • As mentioned in my last post, I got an iPad mini for Christmas, and I. Am. Loving. It. My favorite apps right now are Kindle, Nook, and Kobo; although I have them on my iPhone, it’s much easier to read books on a larger screen. Happy Jen!

Books I read this month:

  • I started re-reading the Tales of the City series. I plan to read one every few books, I think.
  • Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro. Odd story. Fascinating, and an easy read, but odd. I’ll remember it, however, as the first e-book I read start-to-finish.
  • I just started on Falling Together, by Marisa de los Santos, but the story involves three friends and I keep getting it mixed up with Never Let Me Go. I’m diving into Anna Karenina instead. Someday I’ll get through that list of 100 books. Someday.

Movies and TV shows worth mentioning:

  • We loved the Les Misérables movie. Russell Crowe was fabulous as Javert, but his singing was so-so. Otherwise, we enjoyed the cast. I wish movies like this could use talented singers, not big box office stars. My choices would be Alfie Boe for Jean Valjean, Michael Ball for Marius, and nobody would play Cosette because her voice hurts my head.
  • Vic and I finally saw Skyfall, the newest James Bond movie. I thought it was one of the best Bond flicks in a long time. The plot was actually follow-able, and although I didn’t love the ending, I hope that the new M and Q signify the return of a more traditional Bond.
  • I saw, for the first time, A Clockwork Orange, and found it utterly unwatchable. What a waste of time. I’ve never been a Kubrick fan, and I’m also not much for futuristic/dystopian stories… I should’ve known better than to think I might enjoy this movie.
  • The new version of Footloose confused me. It’s updated, yes, and the new cast was fine, but did a remake really need to be made? I’m still not sure.

New recipes or restaurants I tried:

  • I made my version of baked French toast for Christmas morning. I’ll share the recipe soon.
  • A new teriyaki restaurant opened nearby. So far, so good.

This month’s disappointments:

  • There were the shootings—the local one and way worse one. I have no words.
  • Seriously, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are having a baby? This is a sure sign of the apocalypse, isn’t it? Neither of these people have any business procreating, and certainly not with each other. Gah.
  • Of all the pets we’ve had in our 15 years in this house, none of them has ever had fleas. It’s not that we’re good at preventing them, we simply did not ever have a problem. When Lucy started scratching a few weeks ago, we assumed it was a skin allergy and changed her food, which made no difference. Then Mom actually SAW a flea hop off her. DAMMIT. Now it feels like they’re everywhere and I’m constantly itchy. We’ve done all the standard treatments to the dog and house, and the fleas appear to be mostly gone but I can’t stop thinking about them. This is soooo not fun, but I am glad we don’t have to change to fancy prescription food for Lucy.
  • Santa didn’t bring me a pony.

My accomplishments:

  • Lots of school-related stuff… but no time to reflect, because we’re already busy planning the carnival in February!
  • We undecorated the house yesterday. Sometimes this doesn’t happen until mid-January, so yay us.

Anything else noteworthy:

Just some funny pictures to share...





I think I need this shirt. Val definitely does. Smile



How cute are these iPhone shelf backgrounds???


That’s all I got. Be careful tonight.


Dec. 26: Post-holiday hangover

In recent years I've felt the need to undo Christmas celebrations as soon as possible. I think it's because I start celebrating too early, and I'm plum Christmas'd out by Dec. 26. Or SUGARplum Christmas'd out, if you will.

(Rest assured, I am punching myself in the throat for even *thinking* that horrible, horrible pun.)

Here's my to-do list for today:

1. Think about undecorating. It took days to get the house done up; it'll take at least that long to undo it up, right?

2. Accept that I will not undecorate today, but I might get around to cleaning up wrapping paper and boxes.

3. Read.

4. Eat leftovers from our Christmas Eve Chinese dinner.

5. Read some more.

6. Curse at Vic's new Bluetooth keyboard Christmas gift, which is enabling me to blog semi-easily on my iPad mini Christmas gift. The keys are way too close together and I keep pressing Page Up instead of Shift and it is making me angry at the keyboard and also a little bit at Vic but not too much because he gave me my new iPad so I love him today.

7. Read even more. I got some great books for Christmas!

8. Think happy birthday thoughts for my brother-in-law, Chris, who turns a very high number today, and my dear friend Stephanie, who turns a number that is still lower than mine. Pffft.

Alright, Mom just helped me clean up wrapping paper and boxes. Since I don't want to tackle the rest of the undecorating project, I guess I'll spend the next couple hours napping, reading, and napping. Yep, that sounds like a good way to spend the day after Christmas. Later, doods...

Dec. 14: Festive goofiness

This gave me the giggles, even though it’s really, really stupid. Really.

Yep, that’s Grace of Daily Grace and Hannah of My Drunk Kitchen. They be funny together.


Dec. 13: In which Jen bitches a whole bunch

impissedoffBefore I get to the funny pics, I need to vent. It’s my blog, so I have the right to do it and I’m gonna. So pffffttNote: I removed a section of this post, for several reasons. I’m sorry.

  1. On Tuesday there was a random shooting at Clackamas Town Center. This is scary for tons of reasons, but for us, Clackamas Town Center is the mall we shop at most often—it’s LITERALLY too close to home.

    I’ve always joked that of the three largest malls in the Portland area, the worst crimes shoppers might face would be…
    1. Lloyd Center: gunfight or gang activity
    2. Clackamas: fist fights or gettin’ beaned by empty PBR cans
    3. Washington Square: whapped by a Coach purse in a random swinging
  2. Turns out I was wrong, and that makes me mad.
  3. I know we’re supposed to focus our thoughts on the heroes of the event—the positive things that happened during this tragedy, the ways people showed kindness to strangers—and all the ways it could have been so much worse, but what I think more than anything is that people are assholes. The shooter’s aforethought (stealing the gun, getting dressed in camo clothes and a hockey mask, planning for a crowded mall, etc.), not caring at all that it would affect thousands of people for the rest of their lives… only an asshole would commit a crime like that. Maybe an insane asshole, but definitely an asshole. Also a coward, who shoots himself at the end.
  4. BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE. There was recently another tragedy in our area in which a father woke his kids up in the middle of the night and shot himself in front of them. How do witnesses ever recover from something like that? I don’t think they do. Yep, all signs point to ASSHOLE.
  5. GUNS. Say what you will for or against gun control; I don’t care. I just hate guns. I hate them, hate them, hate them.
  6. I’m not done venting! (Does that make you mad???)
  7. WHO MAKES THESE DECISIONS? Clackamas Town Center used to be in Clackamas, but now it’s in Happy Valley. Clackamas is not actually a city. There’s a county called “Clackamas,” and Clackamas is a region that makes it on the news when, say, Tonya Harding does yet another stupid thing, or when there’s a mall shooting, but that’s it. Wikipedia says Clackamas is a “census-designated place” (well, that clears it right the eff up!). On the other hand, Happy Valley, which is all around Clackamas, is a city. Happy Valley has changed its boundaries about eleventy times since we moved here in 1997, and I honestly don’t even know where we live anymore. There are signs in three different places on the way into my neighborhood that say “Welcome to Happy Valley,” but technically we are still in Clackamas. Why doesn’t stuff make more sense?

And now I shall share the silly stuff I’ve been saving up for y’all.



Mother Maaaaary:

Winking smile





Y’know how the past few election losers have quietly disappeared
for a while, not giving all sorts of reasons/excuses the other guy won?
I respected Dole, Gore, Kerry, and McCain for their post-election behavior.
Romney, take a cue and shut the holes in your perfectly-coiffed head.


Redneck advent calendar







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