Monthly Archives: January 2013

Roxy the Boston Terrier

I think it’s finally going to happen.  I’m going to get a dog. Like my Grandmother used to say: I’m so excited I could just spit. I won’t, though. Her name is Roxy and she is a 21 pound Boston terrier. Janet isn’t thrilled with the idea but Jessie and I can’t wait to adopt her. Think of all the shopping we can do.  Just don’t tell our budget.

I won’t bore you with the whole story of how I found Roxy but I learned of her through Seattle Purebred Dog Rescue.  They’re a great organization who helps dogs relocate, not from a kennel or shelter, but through volunteers who donate time and money to care for dogs in their own homes.  I didn’t necessarily want a purebred dog, and I’m sure they foster non-purebreds, but it just seemed to work out this way.

Originally, I wanted to go to a shelter and pick out a cute little dog that couldn’t live without me but realized it might be better adopting from someone who’s lived with the dog for a while.  I had visions of leaving the dog and having her bark nonstop in my condo.  That would probably be more annoying, to my neighbors, than a pre-teen cackling uncontrollably while watching A.N.T. Farm on the Disney channel.

Jessie and I went to meet Roxy earlier tonight and I think Jessie fell in love with her immediately.  Roxy’s so small and cute, she’s portable size, how could she not fall in love with her? I myself am holding off on adoration until I can pick her up in a couple of weeks.

There’s one thing all three of us can agree on: we don’t like the name Roxy. I’ve always thought of Roxy as a good stripper name and Roxy the dog does not look like a stripper what with the tuxedo she’s wearing.  Jessie wanted to name her Bear but Janet and I said no, she’s definitely not a bear.  I googled ‘popular pet names’ and we had a ball going over all the names.

We decided to keep the new name similar to the old sound wise so when Jessie suggested Monkey (it does end like Roxy) I had to tell her, “but what would we call you then JessieMonkey? If we said ‘come here, Monkey, you’d both come running.”  Jessie had to agree with us so we each made a list of our three favorite female dog names.

There were two major rules to renaming Roxy: her new name had to be on everyone’s list and we had to all be happy with the choice.  Some of the names not making the cut: Cinnamon, Missy, Heidi, Maggie Mae, and about 20 more Jessie picked saying, “Oh!  I like that one!”  The name we chose: Sadie.

So, Sadie the Boston terrier will be joining our little family in the next few days.  Jessie and I are thrilled and Janet is still coming home on the weekends which is probably all I can hope for at this point.  Janet just doesn’t realize how fond of Sadie she will become in the months to come.  How could you not love that little bug eyed face?  She’s wearing a tuxedo, for heaven’s sake!

jenn

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Hello Normal! Nice To See You Again

It’s been a long time since anyone has called me normal.  I’ve been told, ‘that’s pretty normal for you,’ mostly by Janet, but I don’t think normal is a word she’s used to describe me.  In my defense, what exactly is normal?  I’m guessing my normal is much different from your normal.

I wasn’t acting normal this past December when I decided to go to my primary doctor for a checkup.  I can’t remember the last time I went for a general checkup.  Usually, when I get a wild hair they don’t involve doctors or hospitals; at least not at first.

I like this new doctor of mine. She seems very kind and concerned about my well being.  She scheduled all kinds of tests for me: a mammogram, a hearing test, blood tests, pap smear, booster shots…the list went on and on.  I finally had to say, ‘whoa, doctor, I just came in to make sure I won’t drop dead if I start jogging again. I don’t know if I’m ready to be that healthy.’

She sent me right downstairs to the hospital to schedule my mammogram and I thought she was going to escort me herself. You don’t trust little ol’ me, doctor?  I went for my mammogram and was told if there was an issue they would call me and if my test results were normal they would send me a letter via snail mail.

I was on pins and needles the first day after my test just waiting for the phone to ring.  But it didn’t ring that next day or the day after that.  I received a letter a few days later stating everything was normal with my test.  I was shocked.  I sat down at my desk, called Janet immediately and told her, ‘Janet!  Parts of me are normal and I have it in writing!”  I’ve decided to keep that piece of paper just in case someone has any questions about me being normal.

I’ve had issues with my hearing lately so I went to have a hearing test.  After the test, it was determined I have a slight hearing loss in my right ear in the lower tones and my left ear is fine.  I was shocked.  I went home, called Janet and told her, ‘my hearing is fine…you and Jessie mumble.  My left ear is normal!”

Janet flew in early today so we could go over to Bellevue for Costco’s annual shareholder’s meeting (I’m the proud owner of 2.97 shares, thank you) and it was really interesting.  They had all kinds of foods, drinks and various freebies to hand out.  We walked by a booth with free bone density scans and Janet wanted to get hers checked but I told her I wasn’t interested.

The nice nurse talked me into sitting down and rolling down my sock to check my left foot.  I was shocked when she told me my bone density was so good I was almost off the charts. My bones were better than normal: they were the equivalent of a 20-somethings.  Wow.  I’ve got normal throughout my body now.

I haven’t gone in to have my blood tested or my yearly exam so I don’t know how normal those parts will be but I do know my boobs, left ear and bones are completely normal.  And I have it all in writing. Hi normal. Nice to see you again.  How have you been?

jenn

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A Few Differences Between Washington and Texas

When I first moved from Seattle to Texas, back when the ‘90s first arrived, it was a startling change for me.  When I moved back to Seattle the changes weren’t quite as pronounced (I knew then how very different two states could be) but they were still noticeable.   Whenever I say Washington here, I mean Western Washington.  Eastern Washington is like an entirely different state, in more ways than one.  If you’re making a change from Texas to Washington, or vice versa, get ready for a few differences.

Happy Lights

On our return to Seattle, Janet bought something called a ‘happy light’.  I had never heard of these before but if you live in an area with very little sun (oh…say…like Seattle) you can buy a mini version of a tanning bed for your face.  It sits on Janet’s desk and she turns it on most mornings to simulate that giant bright orb in the sky.  In Texas, we called this ‘the sun’.

The happy light is good therapy for people who get a little depressed in cloudy weather: roughly 40% of the population of Seattle (of which, 99% of those people are from California).  Since I grew up in Seattle, I have lived through numerous winters here and I didn’t realize depression was an option during the long winter months.  Ignorance really is bliss.  As I sit here writing this blog, I can see Janet’s happy light out of the corner of my eye.  I will still see the light, seared into the retina of my right eye, for days to come.

Exercise

I’m a natural heater.  Just the thought of hot yoga makes me a little faint.  In Texas, if I didn’t exercise before 9am, for about 9 months out of the year, I had a very hard time with overheating.  I drank a lot more Gatorade in Texas than I do here.  In Seattle, for about 9 months out of the year, I have to wait to go walking or jogging until the afternoon thaw.  No matter how many layers I wear, my poor nose gets so cold.  I’m afraid I’ll have to start wearing a Hannibal Lector mask to keep my nose warm.

Climates

The middle part of Texas is classified as a subtropical, subhumid climate and I think that seems about right.  Washington is classified as a temperate climate and I used to think that meant a mellow climate that was neither too hot nor too cold.  Now, after living in Texas for a long time, I realize temperate actually means freaking cold and incredibly moist.

Texas was never too humid, probably only 30 or 40%, but Seattle usually hovers near 98 – 100%.  Yeah, it’s either raining or seriously thinking about it.  When I was growing up, we never used the term humid (we left that for the south) for our hot spells in August, we used the term ‘muggy’ to describe the weather.  One person described it as such, “walking outside, during your one hot week every summer, is kind of like waking up in someone’s mouth: hot and moist with a slightly unpleasant odor around.”  Thanks for that.

The surprising thing about rainfall is Texas averages about 34 inches a year and Washington averages about 37 so on paper we seem very similar.  In reality, those 34 inches in Texas are mostly limited to hurricanes along the coast with occasional deluges in the Dallas area and Washington’s rainfall is really drizzle which is stretched out over 90% of the year (hence the lack of sun).

Some miscellaneous differences

My towels don’t dry here in Seattle unless I decide to switch from daily showering to the less pleasant twice a week showering.

The Seattle Times double wraps my newspaper because the ground is usually wet.

In Texas, in the winter, the static electricity which built up in my body bordered on the dangerous.  I have actually turned off a TV by zapping the hell out of myself.

The Prius gets worse gas mileage in Seattle, not just because of the hills, but because the air conditioning runs off the batteries and the heater runs off the gas engine.  45 mpg is still pretty good, though.

Seattle has something called ‘freezing fog’.  Yeah, I’d never heard of it either.

Even though I’m back in the land of coffee (Janet likes to point out the very obvious reason why the Pacific Northwest is the home of Starbucks and Seattle’s Best and Tully’s), I have discovered the joys of hot tea in Seattle.  In Texas, their teas are best served cold.

Some things are the same no matter where I live

I can’t fold a fitted sheet.

I love to read and write.

I don’t like vegetables and don’t know why people keep growing them.

My idea of a perfect day is the same everywhere:  80 – 85 degrees with a few wispy clouds in the deep blue sky and a slight breeze.  Washington: mid July – end of August; Texas: three days in March, if you’re lucky.

Any day of the year is a good day for ice cream.

jenn

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Picky Eaters, HerGameLife, and Book Two

My daughter, Jessie (almost 12), has always been a picky eater.  Her dad and I used to joke how Jessie only ate 5 things, growing up, and one of them was ketchup.  I’m pretty sure she would have starved if it weren’t for chicken nuggets and apples.  When she decided she didn’t like chicken nuggets anymore, at about age 7, we scrambled to find something to replace her source of protein.

For a while there, I thought Jessie was becoming a vegetarian: she just wouldn’t eat anything resembling meat.  It’s not the worst thing in the world, for a child to become a vegetarian, but since Jessie didn’t like beans, eggs, or most dairy products, I was a little concerned about her protein intake.  How much milk can one little person drink?

Once again, Janet came to the rescue.  She ran across a recipe, in Rachael Ray’s magazine, she thought Jessie might like.  It’s the recipe for Turkey Pucks made with ground turkey, corn flakes, evaporated milk, cheese and spices.  Janet said, “Maybe if we have Jessie help us make dinner, she’ll become emotionally invested in the food and like it before she even tries it.”  Brilliant.

Jessie had a great time mixing the meat and cheese, forming little patties, and dipping them in the milk and corn flakes.  She even helped Janet fry them on the stove (I was allowed to break up the corn flakes with my mallet) and pat the excess oil off.  Jessie loved every minute of it and ate two whole pucks that first night.  Our new meal was a success!  This success led to another experiment, also thought of by Janet (the brains of this operation): Destination Dinners.

“What if,” Janet surmised, “we pick a country, found their national dish, and made it for dinner.  That way, it will be new and interesting for all of us.”  When I asked Jessie how she felt about destination dinners she said, “Great!  I pick Italy and pizza!”  I was momentarily stunned and Jessie laughed hysterically and said, “Just kidding, Mom!”  I’m so glad she’s developing a sense of humor; she was a very serious child for a while there.

So, Jessie picked Morocco and we researched their national dish.  The Moroccan national dish is tajine, a lamb or poultry stew, served over couscous.  The only thing I did was cut up the chicken; Jessie did everything else.  It turned out to be delicious and Jessie realized, not only that she liked tajine, but she also really liked chickpeas.  We will definitely make this dish again in the near future.

Janet and I stumbled upon another great way for Jessie to try new food: CostCo.  We love going to CostCo to try new and interesting things and if we don’t get filled up on freebies, we head over to the deli for a hotdog and soda meal for $1.50.  You gotta love CostCo!

We went to CostCo last month, probably for cheese and 5 hour energies, and Jessie wanted to try a meatball a kind woman offered her.  She absolutely loved it and mentioned it several times while we dragged her around the store.  She convinced us to go back for another try and then asked us if we would buy her a package for home.  Jessie wants to buy food with protein in it?  You betcha!

We asked the woman where we could find the meatballs and she replied, “You can find these delicious Chicken Pineapple Teriyaki Meatballs just to my right in the freezer on the end.”  You should have seen the look on Jessie’s face: it was the ‘What did she say was in them?’ look.  Jessie scrutinized the packaging, looked over at me, shrugged, handed Janet the package and said, “Oh well, I still like them.”

Now, if I would have asked her, “Jessie, honey, would you like to try a teriyaki meatball made with chicken and pineapple?”  She would’ve not just said no, but given me the look: the ‘are you just meeting me for the first time?’ look or, as I like to call it, the ‘what? Are you new here?’ look.  I can’t blame her: I know I give her weird looks, too.  I mean, she is a pre-teen.

HerGameLife

I started writing blogs, this week, on a website for women who like sports and like to talk about them.  There are quite a few of us out there.  I wrote my first blog, titled ‘Thank You, Seahawks, for Giving Me Hope’ and posted it on Tuesday.

I wasn’t sure how easy it was to find my blog posting so I went to the website, www.hergamelife.com and tried to find it myself.  I couldn’t find a spot to search so I was scrolling through the front page when I saw a blog titled, ‘Thank You, Seahawks…’.  I thought, “Hold on!  You thief! That’s my title…Wait a minute!  That’s my blog!  Holy Crap, I’m on the front!”

I would like to think my post is on the front because it’s pretty good and not because they rotate posts, or because the Seahawks are hot, or they always put your first one on the front.  If you want to go and read it, just click on the link above and scroll down to the Hot Topics section and it should still be there.  Hot Topics…I know, right?!

Book Two

I originally started this blog to talk about my writing and in particular the book I was working on at the moment (but it’s evolved into a blog about things I find interesting, or funny, or scary.  That way in case I ever have fans they’ll know a little bit about me, if they so desire.) There’s a lot of blogs on the hows and whys of writing and I didn’t want to get into all that…I just wanted to write about my work and what I’m doing at the moment.  Then I realized how boring that would be after a little while.

“So, today I sat down to write and was stymied by my imagination for a while.  I decided to play a game of spider solitaire to get the juices flowing. (Scratch that, Janet reads these.) I wrote several paragraphs, read them over, and deleted them as they were crap.  I think I’ll write an essay on the joys and sorrows of Sudoku.  I’ll call it Sudoku: The Bane of Erasers Everywhere or Sudoku: Can There Really Be 3 Sixes in This Box? How about: Sudoku and The Pivotal Moment Where You Realized ‘Oh Crap, I Screwed Up Somewhere’.”

Now, some of you might find this interesting (please, get help) but I’m pretty sure, after I sent it to Janet, she would reply back with just the one word: Really?  Followed closely by: This is what you do all day?  Luckily, my ego can handle harsh criticism.  Oh, you didn’t know that?  What?  Are you new here?

Jenn

p.s. There I go forgetting about the book again.  I finished the first draft of book two, Alex’s Story, before we moved back to Washington and just started the second draft this week.  It’s coming along really well, although I am biased, and I should hit my target of somewhere between Feb 1 and Feb 10 for a release date.  I’ll let you know the closer I get to being finished!  Book one, Devan’s Story, is out there if you want to read it before book two.

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Resolutions, Annie Hall, and Lincoln

Janet and I have been doing a great job with our resolutions!  I know, I know.  Janet already told me what day it is today.  We’ve gone for a walk three times so far (for a total of 8 miles toward our goal of 500 miles each this year), kept track of our eating on MyFitnessPal, thought about every dollar we’ve spent so far, and have yet to eat out: we are batting a 1000.  Now if only we can keep it up for another 362 days!

When Janet and I are driving around and we see someone out in the cold jogging or walking or something else silly, one of us always comments, ‘damn fit people’.  I always like to make fun of something that scares me or I don’t understand: it makes me feel better about myself.  So, this morning, when we were out in the 30 degree weather with our little ears and noses red and cold, I envied the people driving by in their cars.

Janet looks over at me and says, ‘you realize we are now the annoying people out walking making the drivers feel guilty.’  It was the first time I realized that other people could be having the same thoughts about me and how annoying I am!  Awww…it made me feel good about my little soon-to-be fit self.

Annie Hall

Annie Hall just finished a run at the Grand Illusion Cinema in Seattle.  I first saw Annie Hall many moons ago.  It’s been so long, I can’t even remember much about it.  I do remember one thing:  the scene where Annie and Alvy are talking with their therapists, in a split screen, and they are commenting on their sex lives.  When I saw this scene, many moons ago, it was my very first time with perspective.

In the scene, Annie is asked how often she has sex.  She replies, ‘we have sex all the time…three or four times per week.’  Alvy is asked how often he has sex and he states, ‘we rarely have sex…three or four times per week.’  That scene has delighted me and made me laugh, every time I think about it, for over twenty years.

It had never crossed my mind how two people (especially a man and a woman) can have two entirely different perspectives on the exact same experience.  I thought about that scene for a long time after I saw the movie, it was very mind opening for me, and it has never failed to make me smile.

After watching it this time around, I was reminded how neurotic Woody Allen could be and I wonder if he was really like that…at least to some extent.  I loved the scene where a young Christopher Walken tells Alvy the story of how sometimes, when he’s driving at night, he has an urge to crash his car into oncoming traffic.  Mr. Walken then has the privilege of driving Alvy and Annie back home with Alvy sitting terrified in the passenger seat.

Lincoln

I used to go to the movies all the time when I was a kid.  I actually saw Star Wars several times in the movie theater and, in my teen years, went all the time with friends.  Lately, I find it easier, and definitely cheaper, to watch movies at home either through Redbox or streaming on Netflix.  There are very few movies I want to spend the time and money to actually go see in a theater.  One of these movies I really wanted to see on the big screen was Lincoln.

To say I enjoyed Lincoln is an understatement.  To say Lincoln is one of the best movies I have ever seen is not just hyperbole.  I can’t remember the last time I was so utterly enthralled by a movie, so drawn in I forgot my surroundings, so mesmerized I almost spoke to characters a few times.

Just to clarify: I am not a history major.  I have a degree in BS.  No…wait.  I have a BS in science.  I keep getting those confused.  But even I remember reading about Lincoln and the Civil War (thanks, Ken Burns) and the Emancipation Proclamation.  I went into the movie thinking I wouldn’t learn too much at the theater.  I was wrong.

SPOILER ALERT: if you have not seen the movie, stop reading!  I won’t give away any major plot points, and I can only assume you know how it ends, but I like going into a movie with as little information in my head as possible. 

I had a vague idea how hard it must have been getting the 13th amendment passed but I had no idea how Lincoln sold part of his soul for the deal.  I was shocked and proud of the fact Lincoln did indeed get the amendment passed, what with the House of Representatives as big of a nasty mess then as they are now.

I enjoyed watching the backroom deals and the underhanded shenanigans, all in the name of good mind you.  I loved watching men readjust their moral compasses to say what needed to be said, to do what needed to be done, all for the greater good.

Tommy Lee Jones is great as a piece of gristle Representative from Pennsylvania who will stop at nothing to get the amendment passed.  It’s a wonderful twist of fate how Mr. Jones goes against his own words and beliefs to do something he feels is bigger than just him…even though you can see it eating at him.

Daniel Day-Lewis is, in my opinion, the very best actor we have.  I have admired him since I saw My Left Foot, and he just jumped to the top of my favorite actor list with Lincoln.  I wasn’t just watching Mr. Day-Lewis playing Lincoln: I was watching Lincoln on the big screen.  He was funny, real, and tormented, not only about slavery, but about his own life as well.

And how on earth did Steven Spielberg manage to  tell a story, where I KNEW the ending, in such a way I still had a tremendous amount of tension built up and was relieved with the inevitable outcome?   How does that happen?  No, I’d really like to know, I’d love to write movies.

I cannot advocate for this movie enough.  Please, go see this movie.  Not only is this a vitally important movie for Americans, this is a vitally important movie for everyone.  If Lincoln, and his team of rivals, had not gotten the votes for the passage of the 13th amendment abolishing slavery, what would the world look like today?

jenn

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