Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Takin' What They're Givin'...

I am tremendously bored at work, so I thought I'd take this time to update y'all on Happenings in My Neck Of the Woods (thank you, Mr. Roker).

Me: I'm fine, just bored. Tired, but looking forward to my cuppa tea at 4 PM.

JD: Out of work -- again. The nature of John Dear's chosen career path is that he doesn't have a whole lot of job security and is in and out of jobs every couple of months. So, he's out again. This time, we're hoping for a better work environment than what he had the last two jobs. Major boss problems at the most recent, and major commuting issues with the one before that. Hopefully, we can counteract some of that problem by having John Dear ACTUALLY CONSULT ME BEFORE TAKING THE JOB! Not that I've said "I told you so," but yeah, I so could've.

JD: Health. We've been going through issues with JD's health for the last 8 months or so. Namely, JD has major pains in his feet and ankles. JD has flat feet and needs orthotics in his shoes. For the 2 years we were dating and the first year we were married, JD had the same pair of orthotics. This is bad because orthotics wear out and lose their cushioning.

Here's the math: Say that the orthotics were bad for the first year and 3 months of marriage. Add to that finally going for new orthotics and having 2 pairs being made incorrectly. That's about 2 months. Then add 2.5 months of not doing a BLANKETY-BLANKING thing about the situation and walking around with no support to his feet and ankles whatsoever. After that comes numerous trips to the podiatrist, the orthopedist, the orthopedic specialist, the orthopedic specialist's orthotics guru, the hospital for a bone scan, the out-patient clinic for an MRI, today, the orthopedic specialist's brace fitter and soon, the orthopedic specialist's teacher. Oh, also JD has just started acupuncture. We don't know if that is helping yet. Added up, I'd say that JD has been experiencing foot, leg or back pain every day for the last 2 years (but drastically for the last 8 months).

MUST VENT: I am sooooo sick of JD and his feet and his legs and his back and his pain and his whining and the fact that I always have to walk the dog every day and JD gets out of doing anything because he's in so much pain and that's NO FAIR!!!!

Vent over. He really does make an effort, and I'm trying to be a good support to him.

Guess what? No one knows what's wrong with JD's feet (and now ankles, legs and back). It could be from the flat feet, but such extreme pain is uncommon. It could be plantar fascitis or tendinitis, but that would have shown up on the scans. It could be nerve damage (which JD sustained from bad asthma medication during childhood). It could be anything!

I'm sure our insurance company just loves us! Course now that JD is out of work again, we are going to switch over to my company's health insurance, as my job seems secure (despite my blogging) and I'm unlikely to leave any time soon.

It's be nice if we could get a diagnosis, but really I just want JD to be able to get through the day without pain. Where's Dr. House?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Before I Lay My Head


After finishing one last round of Sudoku, and grooving to the smooth sounds of John Mayer, I'm in such a mellow mood I'll be going to bed now.

But before I do, I just wanted to exhort any of you up late around here to visit and leave a comment at Margalit's blog. Margalit is participating in Blogathon (blogging every 30 minutes for 24 hours), in order to raise money for Children's Hospital in Boston. So, please stop by, comment (to keep her awake) and help her raise money for a wonderful cause.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Home Again, Home Again

After preparing a long(ish) post for Works For Me Wednesday (which you can find out about here), I realized that the carnival is closed this week. So, you'll get my wonderful, can't-be-missed advice on life, love and happiness next week.


Till then, I submit an apology for leaving you, dear readers, so long without a post. Work has been hectic with multiple tasks and multiple task lists required to organize such. I was so overwhelmed at one point, that I attached the following sign (edited for broadcast; parenthetical comments are for this post only) to my office door:


John Dear and I spent the weekend up in Philadelphia (well, Bucks County) visiting our wonderful friends, Iambe and Engel and their friends. Most importantly, Engel allowed me to read his copy of Harry Potter all-day Saturday while he was working.


Why Jendeis Is Awesome: She started reading Harry Potter at 10 AM on Saturday. She finished Harry Potter at 7 PM on Saturday. She still took a 1-hour nap on Saturday during the reading. All hail the awesomeness that is Jendeis.


Spending time away from home was nice and really needed. Most important to JD was that we were able to eat cheesesteaks and buy a half-dozen Popeye's biscuits while we were there. Iambe also introduced me to this wonderful fig jam from Wegman's (a high-end supermarket), which I have promised to ship up to her from my more-easily-accessible Wegman's.

On Monday afternoon, I left with a co-worker to go drive down to Richmond, VA for a site visit. We got a lot accomplished on both Monday and Tuesday, despite the fact that I had left my wallet in my office desk drawer. (It was fine and still there, when I checked on it late last night).

To sum up:

Cheesesteak was had,
JD's foot wasn't hurting really bad, and
Philly and Richmond are rad.

Gimme a break, I'm a lawyer, not a poet.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Jerry Maguire Goes Medieval

So, I've been listening to a very interesting* audiobook. It is A Distant Mirror by Barbara Tuchman, of Guns of August fame. While Guns of August focuses on World War I, A Distant Mirror is an ingenious telling of the history of Western Europe in the 14th century.

Because Tuchman uses a narrative format, I find her books to be much easier to get through and so much more interesting. I also think that the narrative format allows the reader to more easily consider historical context than a straight reference book. (That is, events do not happen in a vacuum. There are many causes to single events and it is important for the reader to consider such things.)

In any event, I was listening to the book this morning at a section on Sint Birgitta of Sweden and St. Catherine of Siena. Both women were remarkable in their outspoken criticism of the corruption within the Catholic Church. I can't remember now, but it was Bridget or Catherine who wrote that the problem with the Church was that the cardinals concentrated on who could "bringeth forth the money."

And I thought Jerry Maguire was original! Smilies

*Very interesting, that is, to people who are obsessed with history like I am.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

Continuing the plan from last week, since we ate out a couple of times. The first three meals are recipes from Leanne Ely's Saving Dinner the Low-Carb Way.

Monday: Skillet Salmon with Horseradish Cream (tomato salad)
Tuesday: Pub Beef Shortribs (coleslaw and Faux-tay-toes)
Wednesday: Crock Swiss Steak (Faux-tay-toes and broccoli)
Thursday: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches & Veggie Soup
Friday: Get-away in Philly!

For more menu plans, see I'm An Organizing Junkie every Monday!

Friday, July 13, 2007

We Have Vacancy, aka Triumph of a Thermometer

So, the thermometer was right. Oh, well. We haven't been trying for that long, so we'll just keep on keepin' on. (Note, I was not using the Galileo thermometer as shown above).

(I'm having the pie though, pregnant or not). Come have a slice and a cuppa with me!!

8 Fun Facts About Jendeis

I am now answering Juggling Frog's call to bloggers who have not yet been tagged. Away we go!!


1. I totally rock all Name That Tune and trivia shows and games. Yes, I am a font of useless knowledge.

2. I have a master's degree in fifteenth-century European art history. It is not as useless as it sounds.

3. The windows in my office face south, as do those in my home.

4. I am addicted to C-SPAN, audiobooks, home improvement shows, and cooking shows.

5. I was raised with the tradition of having a cuppa tea every day at 4 PM. I still follow this tradition.

6. I almost always have a song in my head, and can't get it out unless I'm able to finish the song. Now Playing (NP): "Here It Goes Again" by O.K. Go

7. My husband and I met on E*Harmony.

8. Favorite entree at the Cheesecake Factory: Chicken Marsala with Bowties.

Following Juggling Frogs' lead, if there's anyone out there, who hasn't answered these questions, jump on the Great Meme Zamboni and do so!





BEHOLD THE GREAT MEME ZAMBONI!!

Hello, and welcome to Freak Out Village

Is it right that a purple thermometer from the drugstore should have so much power over my life?

Today, my BBT* was down. One degree down. As in, contraindication of conception, down. Basically, if we believe the thermometer, I'm about to get my period one day late.

I've been spending the last couple hours trying not to freak out (yeah, that's do-able) as if I am pregnant despite the evil thermometer, stress is not good for me or the baby. Deep breath.

Indications that I am hopefully pregnant:

  1. Nausea 24-7.

  2. Head-spinning dizziness (You know those cartoons where someone gets punched in the head and they see stars or birds flying around their head? Welcome to my world. Dizzy, dizzy, dizzy.)
  3. Cravings for pie (could also be an indication of my watching the latest episode of Big Love, or me liking pie).
  4. Fatigue (as in leave-work-early-to-sleep-for-10-million-years fatigue)
  5. My skin is clear and my hair is growing like a champ.

  6. Did I mention the nausea and the dizzy?

Indications that I am not pregnant:

  1. The thermometer


Hopefully, my body knows that we need to land on the side of right and justice this time.

*BBT - Basal Body Temperature: your temperature upon waking; used to determine where you are in your fertility cycle.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

People Change

So, as I was talking about earlier, being friends with Hogan and The Cake Taker can be difficult. I have, however, some good news to report. Last weekend, JD and I met up with the Cancelling Couple and our mutual friend, Roger, and had a lovely time at Chinese dinner.

As The Boy and I were walking Roger to his car (JD's legs were acting up, again), Roger remarked that if he had met The Cake Taker now, and didn't have any of the negative history that we've had with her, he would actually like her. I'm not sure if I would go that far, but the company was pleasant.

Maybe our girl is growing up? Maybe the prospect of Chinese food wore me down? Could be both.


UPDATE: In response to your questions, there were no leftovers from dinner, so we avoided a fight there. (I'm serious about my Chinese food leftovers).

My American Idol

Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh!!! This is so exciting for me! The author of my favorite blog -- the lovely lady at Juggling Frogs -- has read and made comments on some of my entries. I've been jumping up and down with excitement!

Juggling Frogs is a great blog with lots of interesting tips on efficiency, art, cooking and childcare. I've learned so much from reading the blog, and admire its author for her good humor, wisdom, skills and ability to stay sane with five young children. Juggling Frogs, you rock!!

(It seems that John Dear may have permanently assumed his "my wife is utterly insane" facial expression.)



UPDATE: Now Annie of Jewbiquitous, another favorite blog of mine, has commented. This is so cool!!


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Someone With Way Too Much Free Time

Check this site out:

Yet, I still admire this person. It's how I feel about Martha Stewart too. Or as my Gramie calls her, "My Mahtha" (she's got a New England accent).

Monday, July 9, 2007

Quick Recipes

Here are two of my favorite very-quick recipes:

Tuna Mush - serves 2 (or 1 hungry person)
Better than it sounds; I'd fix this for a quick dinner before running off to class.

1 can tuna
1 box couscous
1 box frozen broccoli
1 Tbsp. mustard
1 Tbsp. mayo

Cook couscous and frozen broccoli according to directions. Meanwhile, empty 1 can of tuna in a bowl and mash up with a fork. Top with cooked couscous and broccoli. Mix in mustard and mayo to taste.


Fast Faux-tay-toes (adapted from the Dinner Diva) - serves 2-4

1 head cauliflower
1/2 brick of cream cheese
1 Tbsp. butter
Salt
Pepper

Steam cauliflower till tender. Mash with a potato masher (doesn't have to be perfect). Add rest of ingredients and blend until smooth-ish.

You could also saute some diced onion and put in before the cream cheese, but I have not tried that yet.

Menu Plan Monday

Last week, our Adventures in Menu Planning went pretty well up till the end of the week. That is, we followed the menu plan up till Thursday when chicken was not defrosted, no one felt like cooking and we went to Silver Diner.

Here is this week's attempt, a combination of chicken in the freezer and a menu from Leanne Ely's Saving Dinner the Low-Carb Way. You can check out the Dinner Diva's site for lots of great info on meal planning and cooking.

  • Monday: Baked chicken w/ steamed broccoli
  • Tuesday: Tandoori-Style Chicken w/ squash-zucchini-onion stirfry
  • Wednesday: Thai Beef Salad w/ celery sticks
  • Thursday: Crock Swiss Steak w/ Faux-tay-toes (mashed cauliflower) & broccoli
  • Friday: Skillet Salmon with Horseradish Cream w/ salad
  • Saturday: Pub Beef Spareribs (if I can get ribs) w/ coleslaw & Faux-tay-toes
  • Sunday: Dinner Out!!

For more interesting menus, go to Laura's blog, I'm an Organizing Junkie!

Friday, July 6, 2007

The Futility of Being Mad at Rude People

I'm blogging about the following because:

  1. I am still mad.
  2. I am mad at myself for being mad, because it's such a tremendous waste of time and energy.
  3. John Dear and I have exhausted all conversation on this matter, and I just keep repeating myself.

Picture it -- The Suburbs, 2007:

John Dear has a loose friendship with Hogan (they used to be roommates). They don't speak or see each other frequently, but John Dear has few friends and it's nice and fun when they get together.

Hogan's girlfriend is The Cake Taker. This is her name because that is what she did. Brought a cake to a party and took it with her after being at the party for 15 whole minutes!! John Dear and I are not huge fans of The Cake Taker, but try to make a good effort for Hogan's sake. I will say that, recently, she had begun to grow on me. Maybe she's not a rude, bullying, cloying, looking-for-complete-life-fulfillment-through-marriage, cake-taker. Instead, she's probably just young and trying to find her way in this big ol' world of ours.

The last several times that we have set up an outing, Hogan and The Cake Taker have backed out at the last minute or last second. This is not a nice thing to do, but we all understand that these things happen.

Flash to the present: John Dear invites Hogan and The Cake Taker to celebrate the 4th with us at SIL's. Hogan accepts for the couple.* In the early morning hours of the 4th, The Cake Taker emails to say that she and Hogan can't come because she just found out that her favorite singer is going to be doing a concert (anymore and it's just too revealing of identity) and she just has to go.

Five minutes later, we get an email from Hogan explaining that he and The Cake Maker cannot attend because they just found out about the concert and had accepted our invite before finding out about the concert.

Um, anyone else think this is rude? They accepted an invitation and then ditched us when they got a better offer. They stink.

*I have considered the possibility that Hogan accepted the invite without consulting The Cake Taker on not just this, but all of their past no-shows. But why not just say that?

Eat Your Greens

Do you think veggie cream cheese counts as a serving of vegetables?


Thursday, July 5, 2007

TTC

"Aunt Jendeis, when are you and Uncle John Dear having your baby?" - from 4-year old nephew

(Sound of tires screeching in my head) What, what, whaaaat?!

Our close family (except for my father, who could not handle such info) knows figured out that we've started trying -- did I need to inform SIL that such information was not for the ears of her 4-year old son?! I could have sworn that fact would be understood by normal people. Oh wait, I forgot, this is SIL. I love her dearly, but HELLO, inappropriate!!

So, John Dear and I have recently gotten on the trying-to-conceive (TTC) roller coaster. So far, this ride involves me taking my basal body temperature (BBT) every morning, trying to eat right, drinking plenty of water, doing my new exercise routine (entitled "Actually Exercising") and constantly reassuring myself of my sanity. It appears that JD's part of the ride involves him playing lots of video games, whining about the pain in his orthopedic-surgeon-doesn't-know-why-you-have-pain legs, and reassuring me of my sanity while exhibiting an expression that can only be described as "my wife is utterly insane."

Recently, I've been exhausted, just feeling completely drained, and have started taking looong naps whenever possible. Have you ever tried document review while your eyes are at half-mast? It's an experience. I'm also getting feelings of dizziness when I get out of bed, stand up from sitting or straighten after bending over.

I'm trying not to say, let alone think (ha) that these might be symptoms of pregnancy for fear of ... I don't know. Tempting fate? Have told JD that I will not take a pregnancy test until I'm officially late. I am not officially late. I'm early -- way early.

Told nephew that Aunt Jendeis and Uncle John Dear would have a baby when G-d wanted us to. He seemed satisfied with that answer. I think I am too.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy Fourth of July


Wishing you a wonderful holiday!!

John Dear, The Boy and I will be grilling over at SIL's house with that side of the family. SIL lives out in the country (chickens, ducks, and no streetlights) so JD is hot to light some fireworks. We bought some yesterday and have yet to blow up anything or any body parts -- my chief worry.

Have managed to talk Gramie and Elle (my sister) into coming, so I've got familial backup and support. The Fourth has always been a pretty big holiday in my mother's family, so I'm glad that I can be with Gramie today.

It is on this day that I especially miss my Grampie. He was warm, caring and funny. He taught me to love history and travel. Grampie served in the Marines in the South Pacific during WWII


_______________________
In honor of the day, I have made Gramie's Ladyfinger Cheesecake for the first time. While it doesn't look as nice and neat as when Gramie makes it, I'm sure we'll be lapping up the crumbs anyways. :) Will try to post a picture when I can.

**Gramie's Ladyfinger Cheesecake**
Serves 10-13, depending on who's eating
11 oz. cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
1 pint heavy cream
1 Tbsp. vanilla
3 packages of ladyfingers
1 can cherry pie filling (can also use strawberry or blueberry)

1. Blend cream cheese and sugar together. (Use a standing or hand electric mixer!)
2. Whip cream and vanilla till soft peaks form.
3. Combine cheese mixture and cream mixture.
4. Line up ladyfingers in a springform pan, first around the edges and then the bottom. You can use torn ladyfingers to fill spaces in the bottom.
5. Pour half of the cheese-cream mixture into the pan, spreading to make even.
6. Top with a layer of ladyfingers, then pour the rest of the mixture in.
7. Pour the pie filling onto the top of the cheese filling, carefully spreading to cover the top, and leave the ladyfingers uncovered.
8. Chill for several hours or overnight.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Just 15 Minutes!

Thank goodness for FlyLady's principle of "you can do anything for 15 minutes." This morning I was faced with the prospect of: a full (albeit clean) dishwasher, a sink and kitchen counters overflowing with dirty dishes, pans, glasses and cucumber peels, a necessary trip to Costco to pick up some food for tomorrow, and, because I decided to get all Martha Stewart-y for 4th of July, the need to take my lovely Kitchenaid Stand Mixer out of its box* and wash the contents so I could make my Gramie's Ladyfinger Cheesecake (for which I still need to pick up ingredients).

So, being the super-productive diva that I am (ha ... ha ... ha), I woke up, got dressed, fixed my face, put on my iPod and proceeded to tackle the kitchen at 7:48 AM, figuring that I could at least put away the clean dishes before I needed to leave for work, I'd do the dirty dishes this afternoon when I got home, would go to Costco, come home, make dinner and I could make the cake tonight. At 8:03 AM, exactly 15 minutes later, I hung up the dishtowel after having put everything away, put all the dishes in the dishwasher including the unpacked mixer bowl and accessories, started the cycle, and shined my sink. Yay me!!

I didn't even wake up John Dear by slamming cabinets and pots around (wasn't trying to, but I can be loud in the kitchen). Course, JD sleeps with a CPAP machine**, so the noise from the blower probably drowned out any noise I was making. The Boy probably heard me, but knew that food wasn't being prepared so there was no rush to get up and look pleadingly at me.

So, this afternoon JD and I will go to Costco and the grocery store, pick up The Boy from doggie daycare, and I'll make the cake tonight after cleaning up from dinner. Will now call JD at home to see if he can take a break from the job search to unload the clean dishes. Fingers crossed!!

__________________________
*Yes, I got the mixer from my lovely friends for my wedding -- almost 2 years ago -- and it has never been opened. Better late than never? (sheepish shoulder shrug).

**CPAP Machine: used by JD, MIL and many others to combat sleep apnea, where the person stops breathing for short periods of time while asleep. Sleep apnea is characterized by very loud snoring, gasps for air, and marital discord from overtired spouses. JD's CPAP looks like a small alarm clock connected with a vacuum hose to a fighter pilot's mask. When he first got it, we sang "Highway to the Danger Zone" before going to sleep. This did not make me believe that John Dear was Tom Cruise, but it was still pretty cool. :)

Monday, July 2, 2007

Procrastination Diva

I was sooooo unproductive last week at work; I really must do something about that. Umm, maybe actually do your work, Jendeis? Was going to go into work this weekend to catch up, but instead slept a million hours. Not sure if I'm coming down with something, or if I'm pregnant (more on that in an upcoming entry) or if I was just really, really tired. Despite his new RoboCop/Transformer leg (again, more on that in an upcoming entry), JD thoughtfully let me sleep and took The Boy out for several walks.

To be completely cheesy, "today is a new day," so with the help of FlyLady and Ta-Da List, I've been able to accomplish a few tasks, including working up some documents and making necessary phone calls.

My desk is still loaded with paper though -- ah, the life of a lawyer. Plus, I think someone has just heated up meatloaf and the smell is wafting through the office. Mmm, meatloaf. Maybe we'll put that on the menu plan for next week.

Menu Plan Monday




First time for me doing a menu plan. JD is doing Atkins, and I'm trying to follow a modified low-carb diet. Please check out Laura's blog, I'm an Organizing Junkie, for more menus.

This week, I'm trying to use up the food in my freezer, so we'll be using lots of chicken.

Monday: BBQ chicken thighs (steamed broccoli)
Tuesday: Broiled flank steak (creamed spinach)
Wednesday: Fourth of July!! (@SIL's house) Hamburgers and hot dogs (veggie tray)
Thursday: Crock Roast Chicken w/ veggies
Friday: Leftover Crock Roast Chicken w/ stewed tomatoes and sauce (salad)
Saturday: Dinner Out!